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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

FOURTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL FOR 2006-2007

The University of Texas at Austin
Monday, December 11, 2006
Main Building, Room 212
2:15 P.M.


ORDER OF BUSINESS


I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 5164-5168) — Sue Alexander Greninger.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

A. Minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of October 16, 2006 (D 5169-5180).

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT — William Powers Jr.

A. Comments by the President.
B. Questions to the President (see appendix).
IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR— Linda L. Golden.

V.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT — Douglas C. Burger.

VI.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

VII.
REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.

A. Motion from the Faculty Grievance Committee — Mary Steinhardt (committee chair, professor, kinesiology and health education).

B. General Faculty Standing Committee Reports.
1. Faculty Building Advisory Committee — John C. (Jack) Gilbert (committee chair, professor, chemistry and biochemistry).
2. Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel — Gerald Harkins (committee member, director, parking and traffic).
3. Parking and Traffic Policies Committee — Gerald Harkins (committee member, director, parking and traffic).
4. Committee on Financial Aid to Students — Danielle Alsandor (committee member, student affairs administrator).
5. Commencement and Academic Ceremonies — Yolanda Padilla (committee vice chair, professor, social work).
6. Faculty Rules Committee — Philip Varghese (committee chair, professor, aerospace engineering).
7. Admissions & Registration Committee — Ruth Buskirk (committee chair, senior lecturer, biological sciences).
8. Recreational Sports Committee — Marc Musick (committee chair, associate professor, sociology).
9.
Committee on Student Affairs — Marc Musick (committee chair, associate professor, sociology).
10. International Programs and Studies Committee — Cynthia Buckley (committee chair, associate professor, sociology).
11. Educational Policy Committee — Archie Holmes (committee chair, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering).
12. Faculty Welfare Committee (D 5181) — Martha Hilley (committee chair, professor, music).

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13. Information Technology Committee — Desiderio Kovar (committee chair, associate professor, mechanical).
14. Responsibilities, Rights & Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees — Melissa Olive (committee chair, assistant professor, special education).
15. Research Policy Committee — Peter Riley (committee chair, professor, physics).

VIII.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Report from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies — Paul B. Woodruff.

IX.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. The president will hold his General Faculty meeting immediately following this Faculty Council meeting (December 11), at approximately 3:45 p.m. in Main 212.
B. Save the date for a holiday party at Professor Martha Hilley’s home on December 17, 2006.
C. Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT Faculty Council will be held at UT on March 5, 2007.
D. The Faculty Council annual photograph will be taken on April 16 at 2:00 p.m. on the south steps of the Main building, immediately preceding the Faculty Council meeting.

X.
QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.

XI.
ADJOURNMENT.


Sue A. Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council


Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on December 6, 2006. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


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Appendix

Question for President Powers Concerning Salary Compression

Dear President Powers:

Salary compression is a serious problem for the College of Liberal Arts and especially for departments in the Humanities. My own department, English, has faced this problem for many years. Because the market forces that drive entry-level salaries have moved them up very fast, and because the amount of money available for raises each year has been so meager, by the time Assistant Professors have reached their tenure promotion year, they often make no more than a recently hired beginner, no matter how much academic distinction they have achieved. Moreover, matching offers for colleagues at all ranks have typically moved them well ahead of everyone else in their rank, and have often catapulted them beyond those in higher ranks whose accomplishments are very substantial. In a report compiled by the College of Liberal Arts for the 2004-2005 academic year, salaries in our department and in others at the University have been compared with the salaries earned by professors at comparable public institutions. Those institutions—our "peers"—include national powerhouses such as Berkeley, Michigan, and Virginia, but also some less distinguished places, such as Arizona and Penn State. The figures in the report (adjusted for different costs of living) reveal that in my department, Assistant Professors after their first year in rank make, on average, twenty percent less than they would at comparable public institutions. For Associate Professors, the average level of compensation is fifteen percent below what they would earn at those other schools. And for Fulls, the situation is even worse: they make twenty-five percent less than they would if they taught at one of the universities we consider our peers. I would add that according to the same COLA report, a similar, and similarly dismal, pictures results when one reviews the figures compiled for the language departments as well as for the visual and performing arts, whereas the report also shows that professors in most of the social sciences make roughly what they would elsewhere, while those in economics make well above the average, as do those in engineering and in science departments such as physics.

Let me give you a few specifics about my own department, using information provided by our 2006-2007 budget. As evidence of salary compression at the rank of Assistant Professor, for instance, one can take what all the individuals holding that rank make and compare it with what incoming Assistants have been offered. If one does, what one finds is that the average compensation for Assistant Professors in my department is only $3,000 greater than the salaries offered to those who were just hired. In other words, in the years after their arrival here, our Assistant Professors have scarcely made enough in raises to keep them abreast of those who were hired after them—and this despite the fact that our Assistant Professors have distinguished themselves as scholars such that in recent years virtually none of them has been denied tenure. The inadequacy of compensation for our faculty can also be seen in the fact that one of our Assistant Professors, who recently had an outside offer matched, now makes more than 23 of our 28 Associate Professors and 13 of our 39 Full Professors. Even more revelatory of the problem of salary compression is what one finds at the upper end of our salary scale. The English Department has twenty Full Professors who hold a Professorship, an honor that confirms what one can see from their Vitae, namely, that they are the most distinguished scholars in the department, scholars whose accomplishments compare favorably with those of their colleagues at our peer institutions. Nevertheless, the average base salary of those Professors in 2006-2007 is only in the mid-$90,000 range. And if one subtracts from their ranks those individuals who are involved in departmental and college administration, that figure drops to just above $90,000. In other words, after many years of excellent service and distinguished teaching here, and despite scholarly productivity that has made them the leaders in their fields nationally, and often internationally as well, our Full Professors holding Professorships make less, often considerably less, not just than what they would make at comparable institutions, but than what their colleagues in the social sciences, the sciences, and engineering make at this University.

This situation has had a negative impact on morale at all levels of my department and, I am sure, throughout similar departments in the College and the University. One result has been to drive some of the best of our colleagues to find employment elsewhere. This can be explained, of course, simply as an example of market forces at work. However, it is also the result of demoralization that translates into a lack of any real attachment to this institution that might outweigh a desire to go elsewhere. I say this because in every case, the outside offers our faculty have received have been matched by the University, but many of our professors have elected to leave anyway. Although English remains a very strong department that has been consistently ranked


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in the top twenty departments nationally, we, like many other departments in the College, have ambitions to improve our standing. The "brain drain" caused by salary compression works to thwart those ambitions and thereby affects not just us, but the College and the University as well.

English—and the Humanities in general—will play a key role in teaching courses in the revised core curriculum about to be put into place at the University. Not only will our faculty continue to assume full responsibility for one of the required courses in it (English 316K), but we will doubtless be involved in designing and teaching some of the required Signature Courses, and we will certainly play an important role in teaching "flagged courses," in particular those that focus on undergraduate writing. Indeed, in English already more than eighty percent of our upper division courses are SWC courses. Many of us are eager to participate in these curricular reforms, to be sure, but it is essential that our morale and the commitment of all of our faculty to the University continue to remain high. Consequently, my question to you, President Powers, is the following:

Are you fully apprised of just how serious an issue salary compression is for my department and for other similar departments in the College and the University, and how do you and your administration plan to deal with this problem?

Respectfully submitted,
Wayne A. Rebhorn
Celanese Centennial Professor
Department of English
Faculty Council Member, 2005-2007


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