View in portable document format.

5331


DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of March 19, 2007.

Greninger Signature

Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF MARCH 19, 2007

The seventh regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2006-2007 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, March 19, 2007, at 2:15 P.M.

ATTENDANCE.
Present:
Urton L. Anderson, Judy Copeland Ashcroft, Lisa M. Bedore, Christopher J. Bell, Gary D. Borich, Virginia G. Burnett, Linda J. Carpenter, Marcus S. Ceniceros, Patricia L. Clubb, Diana M. DiNitto, John S. Dzienkowski, Miriam R. Estrin, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Sherry L. Field, Amy D. Forestell, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Linda L. Golden, Oscar Gonzalez, Sue A. Greninger, Bretna M. Hackert, Kenneth J. Hale, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Lori K. Holleran, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Steven W. Leslie, Raul L. Madrid, Julia Mickenberg, Karl H. Miller, Joan A. Mullin, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Melissa L. Olive, J. Patrick Olivelle, Jon E. Olson, Alba A. Ortiz, Randall M. Parker, William C. Powers, Kenneth M. Ralls, Wayne A. Rebhorn, John H. Richburg, Victoria Rodriguez, Danielle R. Rugoff, Christine E. Schmidt, Janet Staiger, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, Janice S. Todd, Jeffrey Vaaler, Paul B. Woodruff, Patrick Woolley.

Absent: Kamran Ali, Efraim P. Armendariz, Eric J. Barron, Susan N. Beretvas (excused), Randy Bomer, Douglas C. Burger, Luis A. Caffarelli, Lisa J. Cary (excused), Miles Lynn Crismon, Penelope Davies, Gustavo A. De Veciana (excused), Douglas J. Dempster, Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov, George W. Gau, Linda V. Gerber (excused), Juan C. González, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Michael H. Granof (excused), Charles R. Hale, Donald A. Hale, Ian F. Hancock, Roderick P. Hart, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Troy L. Johnson, David Justin (excused), Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Nancy P. Kwallek (excused), Judith H. Langlois, Desmond F. Lawler (excused), Wayne Lesser, William S. Livingston, John H. Murphy, Kate Nanney (excused), Cynthia Osborne (excused), Yolanda C. Padilla (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Shirley Bird Perry, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy (excused), Mary Ann R. Rankin, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly (excused), Peter J. Riley (excused), Gretchen Ritter, Brian E. Roberts, Bonnie P. Rust, Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Berkley B. Scroggins, Paul R. Shapiro (excused), James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Gregory J. Vincent, Jeffrey Walker, N. Bruce Walker, John M. Weinstock, Barbara W. White, Stacy Wolf (excused), Sharon L. Wood (excused).

Voting Members:
44 present,
34 absent,
78 total.
Non-Voting Members:
10 present,
28 absent,
38 total.
Total Members:
54 present,
62 absent,
116 total.

5332

Chair Linda Golden (marketing) welcomed and introduced Mr. Brian Gatten, who was recently elected to represent the Graduate Student Assembly on next year’s Faculty Council.

I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 5292-5298. Secretary Sue Greninger (human ecology) announced that two items had been completed since the last report. First, the motion recommending the University grade point average (GPA) be based on the in residence GPA (D 3791) had been withdrawn because it was precluded by former President Larry Faulkner’s approval of the motion that removed grades from credit by examination (D 77-81). Second, the major part of curricular reform (D 5155-5163), which excluded the natural science requirement, has been approved and forwarded to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Secretary Greninger also reminded Council members about the four proposed curricular changes under consideration on a no-protest basis and announced that the final phase of the faculty election for at-large Council seats and membership on elected standing committees would begin the following week. Secretary Greninger reported that a new review process for proposed catalog changes has been developed in conjunction with the provost’s office and others. As a result, the Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review is being reconfigured on a trial basis. She said the primary intent of the revised process was to separate the legislative approval phase of curriculum changes from the catalog production phase; information about the process will be disseminated to the colleges and schools in a forthcoming letter from the provost’s office.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

Minutes of the Faculty Council Meeting of February 19, 2007, (D 5299-5305) were approved by voice vote.

III.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Golden congratulated and thanked Chair Elect Doug Burger (computer sciences) for his role in planning and executing the successful joint meeting with the Texas A&M Senate.

IV.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

Chair Elect Burger thanked Council members for attending the joint meeting and said he hoped participants had found the discussions “useful and substantive.” Chair Golden again thanked Chair Elect Burger and said it had been “an excellent meeting.” She said President Powers would be sharing the legislative update he gave at the joint meeting during his comments for the benefit of those who were unable to attend.

V.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.

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

A. Report from the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Dean Paul Woodruff reported on two issues his office is currently addressing. The first is the need for consistency in implementing the core curriculum across campus, and the second involves the Southern Association of Colleges (SAC) accreditation process. The consistency issue is important, according to Dean Woodruff, because UT Austin’s core curriculum needs to meet the transferability intent of the state mandated 42-hour core. The purpose of the state mandate is to allow students to transfer from one Texas institution of higher education to another and change majors at the same institution without having to retake core coursework. To accomplish this, Dean Woodruff said the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee would need to work with others

5333

 
  across campus to “try to achieve some kind of consistency with which everybody is happy or as happy as they can be under the circumstances.”

With regard to accreditation, Dean Woodruff said his office was the preparing the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is the part of the accreditation report where the University articulates its five-year plan for improving the quality of undergraduate education across the entire campus. Each component of UT Austin involved in undergraduate instruction, according to Dean Woodruff, will be required to make “a commitment to the QEP.” Saying his first response to this task had been to think “what a lot of work,” Dean Woodruff said he had become a convert and now sees the assignment as an opportunity for implementing curricular reform, particularly the first-year signature course. He said implementing signature courses for all freshmen would require several years of planning and total commitment across campus. As a result, Dean Woodruff said he is now looking forward to determining a workable mechanism for deans and departments to commit to the QEP by next January, when the plan must be submitted.

Chair Golden thanked Dean Woodruff for his report and his willingness to present monthly updates on the activities of his office for the benefit of the Faculty Council.

VII. NEW BUSINESS.

A. Proposal to Revise the Principles for the Development of the Academic Calendar (D 5314-5315).

Professor Kenneth Ralls (mechanical engineering and Calendar Committee chair) introduced legislation that proposed minor wording changes to the Principles for the Development of the Academic Calendar. Five changes are proposed to accomplish the following: (1) establish Spring Break as falling after the eighth week of classes, (2) include the observance of July 4 as a holiday, (3) clarify that the last class day of the semester is on Friday, (4) make the wording about the School of Law’s calendar consistent with the school’s requirements, and (5) delete the reporting procedures and add them instead to the function statement for the Calendar Committee.

Professor Patrick Woolley (law) asked if the changes pertaining to the School of Law had been coordinated with personnel in the school. Professor Ralls said Laura Kobler (registrar’s office) had done this. When Professor Woolley said he would like to consult with personnel in his school about the proposal, Chair Golden said the Council would follow its typical procedure of voting on the motion at the meeting following its introduction, which in this case would be April 16.

Chair Golden called attention to the announcements listed at the end of the agenda. She said she had moved forward the deadline for receipt of the annual reports from General Faculty Standing Committees to April 15 in order to have a smooth transition to next year. When Vice Provost John Dollard indicated that April 15 was on a Sunday, Chair Golden said she would follow the IRS model and move the deadline to Monday, April 16. She also pointed out that any committee that had legislation for Council consideration should send the proposals to the Office of General Faculty by March 28 for the April 16 Council meeting and April 26 for the May 7 Council meeting.

VIII. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

A. Comments by the President.

President Powers said he would first give his legislative update and then discuss the issues that had emerged from the Faculty Council survey conducted by Chair Golden (See Appendix A). Saying he had found the survey results informative and useful, President Powers noted there was a tremendous level of concurrence between the issues identified by Council members and those he and other administrators, including the deans, had also identified. He listed the following issues as

5334

 
  being of tremendous importance to the future of the University: space and facilities; faculty-student ratio and class size; and recruitment, compensation, and benefits for faculty.

Before discussing the survey, President Powers said he would like to apprise the Council about some of the issues facing the legislature and their impact on the University. He said he would see that the following three documents were sent to Council members so they could become informed about the issues: (1) a white paper, “Higher Education and the Future of Texas,” (2) a letter to UT Austin alumni, “Horns and Aggies, Together for a Change,” and (3) an Austin American-Statesman op-ed piece, “What you don’t know about UT and A&M.” These three documents are included in Appendices A, B, C, and D.

President Powers explained that the ideas for the three papers he had written emanated from his joint efforts with former Texas A&M President Robert Gates to convince Texas legislators and citizens about the special functions and funding needs of UT Austin and Texas A&M. Although formula-based funding here in Texas was created to remove some of the political influence on allocation decisions, President Powers explained that the formula is primarily based on student credit hours, which rewards enrollment growth and penalizes institutions that are in a steady state or seeking to decrease enrollment. He said formula funding does not mean an institution is allocated a certain amount per student credit hour. He explained that when the general revenue budget is determined by the legislature, it is then divided according to the formula, which results in the two flagship institutions receiving a reduced proportion of the total allocation. The problem, according to President Powers, is that the formula does not recognize the important role of research activities at UT Austin and Texas A&M and their impact on the state’s overall economy. He said recognition of this difference between flagships and the other state institutions of higher education was the idea underlying the campaign, ”Horns and Aggies, Together for a Change,” which he and former Texas A&M President Robert Gates had jointly launched. President Powers said this information campaign had been successful and gained some traction with legislators. He encouraged Council members to share the message about ”what we do for the state and the funding needs we have” with friends, colleagues, and citizens.

President Powers said he had testified before legislative committees and met with the legislative leadership and individual legislators on how the state’s two flagships share similar but not identical missions. He said he had focused his testimony on how the two flagships differ from other universities and colleges across the state with regard to the importance placed on research productivity. In an effort to send a unified and focused message in testimony and discussions with legislators and presentations to alumni and citizens across Texas, President Powers said the following two priority areas for legislative action had been targeted: increased funding needs and the impact of the top 10% rule. Although faculty members cannot legally lobby the legislature, President Powers said they can share the facts in his presentation to help Texas residents understand what UT Austin and Texas A&M need to become even greater universities than they currently are.

Funding Needs

With regard to raising awareness about funding, President Powers said a three-pronged approach was being utilized. First, the major impact the flagships have on the Texas economy as well as the political, business, and cultural/artistic leadership of the state needs to be emphasized. To illustrate the economic impact, President Powers said modeling has conservatively estimated that $1 spent on the flagship institutions returns on average $18 to the economy of Texas. After claiming that no other economic development program in Texas had produced “more bang for the buck,” President Powers reported that sponsored research funding at UT Austin and Texas A&M had currently reached a combined total of one billion dollars.

The second prong that needs to be widely understood, according to President Powers, is how under funded the Texas flagships are in comparison to peer institutions. He said UT Austin now receives only 16% of its total budget from taxpayer-based general revenue. Because of this low

5335

 
  level of state funding and UT Austin’s relative high rankings among public research institutions as reported in U.S. News and World Reports, President Powers said the University deserves credit for doing “a tremendous amount with the resources we have.” He said UT Austin placed 23rd in peer review among the 248 institutions in the rankings but only 104th in per student expenditures. According to President Powers, this low level of state funding will unfortunately not allow UT Austin to achieve the goal of becoming the best public university in the U.S. Reaching this objective will involve a successful capital campaign as well as increased funding from students in tuition and from the state in general revenue, according to President Powers.

President Powers said another method for assessing funding inadequacy here at UT Austin involves a benchmark group of 12 public universities that are UT’s competitors in recruiting faculty and students. Of this group, which includes Berkeley, Michigan, Indiana, Washington, and Minnesota, UT Austin’s per student funding ranks next to last. President Powers reported that $59 million in additional annual funding would be required to move UT Austin up a notch to tie for 10th place. He said achieving a tie for 10th place could be met in various ways; one way might be to raise tuition by $1,000 per year although, according to President Powers, there is no plan at present to do this.

Even though the Legislative Budget Board originally projected a 3% reduction in general revenue for UT Austin based on formula funding, the University had requested an additional $80 million for the biennium. He said he was cautiously optimistic and felt the data showing how under funded UT Austin is in comparison to its competitors had gained some traction at the legislature. He said he was pleased to see a House bill introduced that includes a knowledge incentive factor to reward universities $1 million in additional general revenue funding from the state for each $10 million generated in outside research funding.

The third prong with regard to funding involves tuition flexibility, which President Powers called “absolutely crucial.” Although there has been talk among some legislators about re-regulating tuition or placing caps on the amount of proposed increases, President Powers said he thought there was a good likelihood that tuition flexibility will be retained in this legislative session. He said it was important for Texans to know that UT Austin ranks seven out of the 12 benchmark public universities in terms of tuition and fees, and the amount charged by UT Austin is below the median charged by these peer institutions. He said UT Austin’s annual tuition was approximately $7,000 in comparison to $33,000 charged by private and some public universities. He pointed out that UT Austin’s increase of $24 per student credit hour the year that deregulation first occurred was not that different from the $23 increase proposed in the legislature just before the passage of the deregulation provision. Since that first year of tuition deregulation, increases in tuition at UT Austin have been a little less than 5% per year, according to President Powers. Although an annual increase of 5% is higher than the average annual increase for consumer prices in general during this time period, President Powers said he thought the increases UT Austin had imposed had been “quite reasonable.”

Top 10% Rule

President Powers said the top 10% rule was a capacity issue for the University, with the proportion of in-state students who met this criteria rising from 45% to 71% since the policy was implemented. Noting that 24,000 students across Texas met the top 10% criterion in June 2006, President Powers said UT Austin just does not have the capacity to handle all the qualified students who want to attend. In addition, he said, the rule has negatively impacted some of the University’s outreach programs, such as the Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship Program. President Powers told the Council that a 50% cap on the number of students that could be admitted under the top 10% rule had passed in the House during the 2005 legislative session but did not prevail in the Senate. Because of resistance among legislators, President Powers was not very optimistic about the top 10% law being modified during the current legislative session and only gave this outcome a 50% chance of occurring.

5336

 
  When asked by Chair Golden what the faculty could do to help, President Powers said faculty members cannot lobby, but they can talk to opinion leaders about the issues. He said they might explain that our tuition is below the median of our competitors, but our funding per student ranks only 11 out of the 12 peer institutions. He said faculty could explain that there are programs other than the top 10% provision, such as the Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship, which can increase campus diversity.

Professor Jon Olson (petroleum and geosystems engineering) commented that there seemed to be a perception among students and residents of Texas that it is expensive to attend the University. When he asked if there had been any traction gained regarding how inexpensive it really is, President Powers said he thought it was less expensive than attending competing institutions. He said the average debt for undergraduates of $16,000 seemed reasonable to him given the level of debt generally assumed to purchase an automobile or house, but it was important to keep the University accessible. Individuals need to be aware that students from families at or below the state’s median annual income ($40,000) had seen no increase in their tuition due to extra financial aid in grants being made available. In addition, only half of the increases in tuition had been required of students from families with higher incomes that do not exceed $80,000 per year. He said he was concerned about the increased costs of education, but he thought students would “choose quality over a $300-400 tuition increase.” He went on to say that a choice was involved because shortages will occur and quality will suffer if the prices charged by the University fall below the true cost of an education. He said he was not personally receiving complaints from students about the increased cost, and he believed “students realize that this is one of the great values in higher education.”

B. Questions to the President.

President Powers turned his attention to the specific items noted in Chair Golden’s report of findings from the Faculty Council survey. The survey of Council members was conducted by Chair Golden during fall 2006 to identify important issues facing the Council and UT Austin at present and in the future. With regard to facilities and space, President Powers said the University would be using its tuition revenue bond for construction costs associated with the Experimental Sciences Building. Noting that fundraising efforts are underway for other buildings, he said plans were in various stages of development for a new student activities center and additional space for the College of Liberal Arts. He said there was a high priority on adding and renovating space as indicated by current construction activity that totals more than one billion dollars. He said inadequate space reflects the 104th ranking of the University in terms of total per student expenditure level. The funding limitations, according to President Powers, require that rational decisions be made, such as increasing the number of available classes for students instead of renovating buildings. President Powers also pointed out that prime footprint space on campus for new construction has been largely exhausted. Because of this, he felt back-office functions like accounting could be moved off campus, such as to the recently purchased building at 1616 Guadalupe. He said this type of relocation could free up space on campus for classrooms and other academic functions and could be quite cost effective. The purchase and renovation of the building on Guadalupe ended up costing only about one-third of the amount required to construct a new building on campus, according to President Powers.

Professor David Hillis (integrative biology) asked President Powers if more explicit requirements might be mandated to increase classroom space when new buildings are constructed on campus and if the Brackenridge tract might eventually be used for possible campus expansion. President Powers responded that current rules regarding building construction specify that a certain proportion of space be dedicated to classrooms; however, he said the issue involved more than the number of rooms and square footage and included the sizes and types of classrooms that are needed. He also thought better utilization of existing space could be achieved without having to offer classes on weekends and late at night. Although President Powers acknowledged that space was important, he said he thought the real “bottleneck” was having enough faculty members to provide adequate courses to meet student demand. President Powers said he thought a report

5337

 
  regarding the Brackenridge tract would be available this summer. Since the tract is not contiguous to the campus, he said he did not think this site was workable for classroom space. It could be used for back-office space or to generate funds that could be used to purchase less prime real estate for such functions.

President Powers agreed that smaller classes and managed growth were of importance. He said he wanted to be sure that the number of planned new faculty hires actually occurs and does not get co-mingled with faculty replacements. He likened faculty recruitment to the free-agency situation existing in major sports where expensive employment packages must be assembled to attract the high quality faculty UT Austin needs. When Chair Elect Doug Burger asked how the University can better compete with top ranked institutions to attract super-star faculty, President Powers responded that this was certainly a ”great challenge for us as we move forward.” He acknowledged that it is currently difficult for UT to meet the packages offered by top tier institutions, such as Princeton, Stanford, and Berkeley. He said Austin was no longer such an inexpensive place to live, and salary is not the only issue involved in attracting outstanding faculty. He said faculty members today are more mobile and likely to consider generous sabbaticals, housing allowances, and free tuition for their children as requirements for choosing a position.

President Powers said the University’s School of Law had mobilized a major fundraising effort 20 years ago that focused largely on sabbaticals and housing allowances for faculty and endowments for graduate students. Although there is a tendency to think that fundraising of this magnitude is too difficult to even begin, President Powers said he was a “firm believer in the compound interest theory of progress” and thought efforts should be initiated to develop privately funded talent packages to attract top candidates to UT Austin. He said the School of Law had been able to convince law firms and other benefactors to pay $50,000 a year for 10 years to “partner” with faculty members as a way of providing generous packages to recruit new faculty. He said a large part of the upcoming capital campaign would need to focus on similar efforts across campus in order for the University to progress toward its goal of becoming the top-rated public institution. To be successful in this effort, according to President Powers, will take “internal stomach and discipline” and cannot be accomplished “if we raise everything across the board an inch at a time.” He said the issue of salary compression for the faculty who are already here will need to be addressed as well.

President Powers cautioned that how the University spends its resources is also an important issue that involves discipline. He said it was essential to eliminate obsolete programs that are no longer priorities. To illustrate this, he used the example of whether funding should continue for a hypothetical “center for vacuum tube technology that has existed for 50 years” when other more important and timely priorities exist. According to President Powers, departmental level involvement of chairs, budget councils, and faculty members will be needed to determine where new funding as well as existing resources should best be utilized. He said these important decisions cannot be addressed only by the central administration or the deans but are important to make because he strongly believes “you can’t make everything a high priority and move ahead.” President Powers concluded by saying he thought the survey was excellent and the Council had identified the significant issues facing the University.

Chair Golden thanked President Powers for his comments and Council members for responding to the survey. She said the survey results could be an on-going agenda item if there were further interest and questions.

5338

IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.

A. The Standing Committees should submit any motions and/or reports for action by the Faculty Council at the April 16th and May 7th meetings no later than March 28 and April 26, respectively.
B. General Faculty At-Large Elections to the Faculty Council, final phase, are scheduled for March 26 through April 6.
C. Please remember our joint faculty governance event with the Graduate Assembly: “Breakfast with the Provost and Central Administration Deans” on March 29th from 7:00-9:30 a.m. at the Campus Club on Guadalupe. PLEASE RESPOND TO YOUR eVITE ASAP (REGRET OR ACCEPT), IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY.
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.
E. Annual Reports of the General Faculty Standing Committees are due in the Office of the General Faculty no later than April 15, 2007. Please get these in on time so your Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) and FCEC+ can focus on any matters that you might have that can be acted on this academic year (up to and including our May 7th meeting).
F. Faculty Council is one of the co-sponsors of the Student Government event, “Keep UT Hate Free,” with a week of special events, beginning March 26th.

X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR —None.
XI. ADJOURNMENT.

Chair Golden adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D

Back

Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on April 12, 2007. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.