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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of September 18, 2006.

Greninger signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty


The first regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2006-2007 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, September 18, 2006, at 2:15 p.m.


Present: Eric J. Barron, Christopher J. Bell, Susan N. Beretvas, Gary D. Borich, Douglas C. Burger, Luis A. Caffarelli, Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria, Linda J. Carpenter, Patricia L. Clubb, Gustavo A. De Veciana, Diana M. DiNitto, John S. Dzienkowski, Miriam R. Estrin, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Sherry L. Field, Amy D. Forestell, Luis Francisco-Revilla, George W. Gau, Linda V. Gerber, Linda L. Golden, Oscar Gonzalez, Juan C. González, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Bretna M. Hackert, Kenneth J. Hale, Charles R. Hale, Ian F. Hancock, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Lori K. Holleran, Troy L. Johnson, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Nancy P. Kwallek, Judith H. Langlois, Desmond F. Lawler, Steven W. Leslie, Wayne Lesser, William S. Livingston, Raul L. Madrid, Julia Mickenberg, Karl H. Miller, Stephen A. Monti, Joan A. Mullin, John H. Murphy, Kate Nanney, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Melissa L. Olive, J. Patrick Olivelle, Jon E. Olson, Alba A. Ortiz, Cynthia Osborne, Thomas G. Palaima, Randall M. Parker, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, William C. Powers, Kenneth M. Ralls, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, Wayne Rebhorn, John H. Richburg, Peter J. Riley, Gretchen Ritter, Danielle R. Rugoff, Bonnie P. Rust, Lawrence Sager, Christine E. Schmidt, Berkley B. Scroggins, Janet Staiger, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, James Steinberg, Janice S. Todd, Jeffrey Vaaler, Gregory J. Vincent, John M. Weinstock, Stacy Wolf, Sharon L. Wood, Paul B. Woodruff, Patrick Woolley.

Absent: Kamran Ali, Urton L. Anderson (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Randy Bomer (excused), Virginia G. Burnett (excused), Lisa J. Cary (excused), Marcos S. Ceniceros (excused), Penelope Davies (excused), Douglas J. Dempster, Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill, David Justin, Manuel J. Justiz, Dominic L. Lasorsa (excused), Yolanda C. Padilla (excused), Shirley Bird Perry, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Brian E. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Paul R. Shapiro, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, N. Bruce Walker, Barbara W. White.

Voting Members: 64 present , 16 absent, 80 total.
Non-Voting Members: 17 present, 19 absent, 36 total.
Total Members 81 present, 35 present, 116 total.



Chair Linda Golden (marketing administration) called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, and introduced the following five new administrators: Dean Designate Eric J. Barron (Jackson School of Geosciences), Interim Dean Douglas J. Dempster (College of Fine Arts), Interim Dean Judith Langlois (College of Liberal Arts), Dean Lawrence Sager (School of Law), and Dean James Steinberg (LBJ School of Public Affairs). She also welcomed Interim Provost Steve Monti and Registrar Shelby Stanfield, who have assumed new administrative roles this year. Chair Golden then introduced Faculty Ombudsman Stanley Roux, who gave a brief report of his activities during the past year, and Associate Vice President Susan Clagett, who gave a brief overview of UT @ 123 and invited all Council members to attend. Chair Golden also introduced Faculty Council Executive Committee members and the Office of the General Faculty staff. She then closed her introductory remarks by asking everyone to take a moment to honor the memory of two great Texas women—former Governor Ann Richards and former first lady Nellie Connally.

The written report appears in D 4999-5010.

Minutes of the special Faculty Council meeting and the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 8, 2006, (D 4837-4838) and (D 4839-4848), respectively, were approved by voice vote.

A. Comments by the President.

President William Powers Jr. welcomed everyone back for the new academic year, congratulated Chair Golden on assuming her new role, and recognized past chair Alba Ortiz (special education) for her outstanding service in facilitating the dialog about proposed changes in the core curriculum. President Powers expressed his appreciation and gratitude to all of the faculty, administrators, staff, and students who contributed to the development of the undergraduate curricular reform initiatives. He thanked Professor Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Educational Policy Committee) for the “fabulous job” he and his committee members had done over the summer months in creating a proposal that reflected the concerns raised by the Curricular Reform Task Force and the Commission of 125, as well as the constructive feedback provided by faculty, students, and administrators during the spring semester. President Powers said he thought the Education Policy Committee had come up with very good recommendations and the process had “gone forward in a way that has, frankly, surprised some people in the outside world that faculty governance does work and we can get our business done.”

He said the original proposal of the Task Force on Curricular Reform had undergone “significant evolution,” and there was now general agreement to allow incoming freshmen to declare majors, to allow greater flexibility and experimentation in signature courses, and to provide general and major advising that complements one another. President Powers said that there was unanimous agreement among the groups who had worked on curricular reform over the past summer that leadership was now needed to further the process. He announced that Professor Paul Woodruff (philosophy and former head of Plan II) was his choice to serve as the inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Describing Professor Woodruff as the “ideal person” for this new position due to his vision, experience, and outstanding leadership capabilities, President Powers then recognized Dean Woodruff and congratulated and thanked him for accepting the position.

B. Questions to the President. (See Appendix A.)
After saying he appreciated the importance of issues raised by Professor Thomas Palaima (classics) in his questions regarding the balance between athletics and academics, President Powers stated that “academics comes first on this campus.” He explained that Professor Palaima


  had agreed to the administration’s preparing written answers to his questions rather than answering them at the meeting due to the heavy agenda. President Powers said responses to Professor Palaima’s questions will be included in the minutes, and there would be an opportunity for further discussion in the future.

Chair Linda L. Golden reported that the University’s standing committees had met the previous Monday. She said she had already sent proposed changes to the General Faculty Rules Committee for action and was expecting legislation to be forthcoming to the Faculty Council. She said she expected the year to be an active one and encouraged members to contact her if they had questions or needed information to facilitate their involvement in Faculty Council activities.

Chair elect Douglas C. Burger (computer sciences) reported that the joint meeting between The University of Texas Faculty Council and the Texas A&M Faculty Senate is scheduled for March 5 here at UT Austin. He said the format of the meeting would involve discussion of issues of mutual interest, presidential remarks, and breakout sessions on prearranged topics. He reported that the breakouts last year had focused on interdisciplinary research, faculty grievance issues, and higher education accountability and performance reporting requirements. He asked Council members to think about potential topics and send him suggestions for the upcoming meeting.


A. Community Oriented Policing Program. (See Appendix B.)
Sergeant Laura Davis, Officer Janna Swain, and Officer Scott Hinderer of The University of Texas Police Department introduced themselves, and Sergeant Davis gave an informative PowerPoint presentation about the University’s Community Oriented Policing (COP) Program. She explained that the program’s philosophy was to engage the community in crime prevention and to coordinate efforts to solve crime-related problems on campus. The campus police are utilizing a variety of different approaches to provide outreach to the UT Austin community and provide educational programs. For example, the department has presented a sixteen-hour Rape Aggression Defense program that has been attended by over 2,500 people. Officers also present children’s clown shows to encourage drug resistance and participate in National Night Out to build a sense of community and cooperation. The entire PowerPoint presented at the meeting is attached in Appendix B.

A. Motion from the Educational Policy Committee on Curricular Reform (D 5011-5019).
Chair Golden gave a brief PowerPoint presentation summarizing the chronology of events since the Task Force on Curricular Reform presented its report to the Faculty Council on October 27, 2005. Her PowerPoint presentation is attached in Appendix C. She highlighted the various ways that faculty input and feedback had been sought and the steps in the process that produced the motion from the Education Policy Committee that would be introduced by Professor Holmes. Chair Golden closed her remarks by thanking the Education Policy Committee and last year’s Faculty Council Executive Committee for working so hard to produce the proposal at the first Faculty Council meeting of the new academic year.


  Professor Holmes thanked his committee members and introduced the motion (D 5011-5019), which recommends the Faculty Council approve a set of changes to the degree requirements for all undergraduate students at UT Austin incorporating the following four components:
  • Require all undergraduate students to complete two Signature courses. These courses will be interdisciplinary, be taught by distinguished faculty members, and use the unique resources of the University.
  • Require all undergraduate students to complete courses – selected from qualifying ("flagged") courses in the core curriculum and their chosen major – that are approved to provide a certain set of important skills and experiences.
  • Identify groups of core curriculum courses that share common thematic strands that can provide students with a coherent experience within the undergraduate core. Students will be strongly encouraged, but not required, to follow a strand appropriate for their individual needs and interests.
  • Broaden the existing nine hour natural science requirement to allow that three of these nine hours be a science or technology course that examines their effects on society today and in the future.
Professor Holmes called attention to a two-page executive summary of answers he had developed to questions faculty members were likely to have about the motion. This summary is attached in Appendix D. He asked Council members to read the motion and executive summary and send him any questions and comments before the October 16 Council meeting.

Professor David Hillis (integrative biology and member of the Task Force who opposed some of the original proposals in the Task Forces report by writing a minority report) spoke in support of the Education Policy Committee’s motion. He said he thought the committee had “done a very good job of taking the concerns of the faculty into account.” He said the concerns he had raised in the minority report had been addressed and were no longer an issue from his perspective.

Professor Janice S. Todd (kinesiology and health education), who said she was also in favor of the motion, asked how the financial impact of the proposal would be handled. She asked, “Will there be administrative changes, TA funding and things of that sort, and has that been considered yet? After Professor Holmes explained that the charge to his committee had not included the financial aspects of curricular reform, President Powers said there had been a great deal of attention by the administration regarding financial issues. He thanked the Co-op for providing one million dollars to help fund the initial stage of curricular reform. With other fund-raising, President Powers said he thought UT could cover the financial impact of curricular reform’s “ramping up term.”

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Stephen Monti said administrators had been modeling approaches to determine the level of financial support required by curricular reform. He said, “I don’t think there are any major roadblocks that we can see for any of the proposals that have been laid out.” He said the administration was committed to meeting what the faculty felt was important to accomplish with curricular reform and that financial support “should not be a factor.”

Professor Holmes closed by emphasizing the importance of what the motion was trying to accomplish in improving the undergraduate experience at UT Austin and said he felt the motion “deserves a lot of discussion.” He said he would appreciate hearing what concerns and questions Council members have about the motion so he can prepare responses.

Chair Golden thanked Professor Holmes and members of the Education Policy Committee for their work on behalf of the Faculty Council. She said Professor Holmes was leaving UT Austin at the end of this semester to join another institution, and he would be “very much missed.” She reminded Faculty Council members that the curricular reform motion would be an action item at the October 16 meeting.

A. Save the date for a holiday party at Professor Martha Hilley’s home on December 17, 2006.


B. UT@123 and Installation of UT President William Powers Jr., will be held Friday, September 29, 2006, at 3:30 p.m. at Bass Concert Hall.
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. Send comments and questions on the Educational Policy Committee Undergraduate Curricular Reform motion to


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

Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on October 11, 2006. Transcripts of the Faculty Council meetings and copies of these minutes are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


August 31, 2006

Dear President Powers,

Since last February you said that I should not take a vow of silence, I have 3 sets of simple, related questions.

The first concerns policies connected with admissions and academic achievement.

The second concerns the leasing of sports sky boxes and their educational use.

The third concerns the values we take active steps to promote iconographically.

Answering these questions should not take much time. The simple facts can, I am sure, be easily gathered by staff. The first set might require a simple review of the academic files of some 2005-2006 athlete-students, and the second set a call to the leasing office of our NCAA Football program.

You may choose the option of answering them in writing to be 'read into' the minutes.  That way the questions and your answers do not have to take up  air time at the actual council meeting in September.

Thank you in advance for answering these questions. They will give us a good view of the priorities and educational standards that we are now using.


(1a) In an article of July 10, 2006, (Austin American-Statesman  Ralph K. Haurwitz) we are informed that basketball coach Rick Barnes, whose salary was increased between $400,000-500,000 to $1.8 million for 2006-2007, is also eligible for academic performance bonuses, if his team does well academically.  It was reported on July 10 that "Barnes' academic award, if any, hasn't been calculated yet for this [2005-2006] year."

By now the calculations must have been made.

What were the criteria for this bonus and which ones were achieved this year?

How much money was paid out?

(1b) I discussed with Bruce Walker, director of admissions, what mechanisms were used to admit athlete-students whose academic profiles fall far below the average student body profile.

The men's basketball athlete-students for 2005-2006 were a clear example.

The average of their SAT scores was 873.

This is a staggering ca. 330-370 points below the range of average SAT's over the last ten years for all UT students (between 1205-1242).

(NOTE: The average for all students is already lowered by low athletics scores such as these!)

I assume that at least some of my colleagues share my concern as to whether it is in the best educational interests of students with such profiles to be pursuing degrees at UT Austin.

Students with such profiles, even if they were not distracted by the long practice hours and travel of 'Sweet Sixteen quality' basketball, would find UT difficult.

If they pull through by means of judicious course selection or by having batteries of tutors and academic overseers, they are not really getting the kind of education that serious academics want them to get.


And this is not even to consider the effects that students with such academic profiles have on classroom dynamics and therefore on the quality of educational experience of other students.

Bruce Walker explained clearly that, in granting such 'exceptional admissions',  individual cases are examined and that there is a mechanism whereby even a non-athlete-student whose academic profile has weaknesses--we used the example of a talented musician or artist--may be admitted via a presidential scholarship.

Would you or Bruce Walker give us some good faith (and non-vague and non-anecdotal) figures for the following questions?

(1c) How many such presidential scholarships were given out to non-athlete-students in 2005-2006 and what were their average SAT scores?

(1d) How many athlete-students participating in major sports (men's football, baseball and basketball and women's basketball) in 2005-2006 were admitted with serious shortcomings (say SAT's below 1005)?

If you are unable to answer these questions, may I request that these statistics be researched and made available to the Faculty Council by the Standing Committees for Admissions and Registration and/or Educational Policy.


On the Longhorns commercial web site that is linked to the University of Texas at Austin educational web site, we read:

Football Stadium Suites: SOLD OUT FOR 2005-06 The Longhorn Foundation markets the 62 private stadium suites within Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium (14 on the 8th floor of Belmont Hall on the stadium west side; 28 on the 9th floor and 24 on the 8th floor of Reese M. Rowling Hall on the stadium east side). Suites are leased for three, five or seven years. Lease prices are set by UT Athletics, and a significant portion of the annual costs for the suites is up to 80 percent tax deductible.

(2a) What are the current leasing rates of these sky boxes?

Patti Ohlendorf in discussing (February 8, 2006 Cox News Service Ralph K. Haurwitz) the current $150-million stadium expansion is quoted as saying, ""And there will be a portion - I think one floor - not yet finished out that will have some future university use."

(2b) Taking as a given that legal minds are precise with words and their implications, does this statement imply that most of the rest of the project, i.e., the sports component, is dedicated to non-university uses?

(2c) If so, then why is there an up-to-80% tax deduction for contributions to the sports programs as contributions to our educational institution?


It was reported in the Austin American-Statesman (John Maher, "Nine-foot Campbell Statue on the Way" August 16, 2006) that  "[a]ccording to the current University of Texas System Board of Regents rules, 'No gift of statuary depicting a living person shall be accepted by an institution, unless intended for display in a museum or for addition to the collection of works of art for display in a museum'"; but that San Antonio oilman James Nixon led a movement that "credits UT president emeritus Peter Flawn, vice president Patty Ohlendorf and former president Larry Faulkner with keeping the bureaucracy moving and getting the statue [of Earl Campbell] its place on campus."

So we will soon have on campus statues of:

1. confederate general Albert Sydney Johnston;


2. U.S. secy of war and president of the Confederate States Jefferson Davis;
3. Texas governor James Stephen Hogg;
4. U.S. president Woodrow Wilson;
5. U.S. president George Washington;
6. civil rights leader Martin Luther King;
7. political leader and educator Barbara Jordan,
8. civil rights leader Cesar Chavez;
9. U.T. sports donor Joe Jamail;
10. U.T. football coach Darrel Royal;
11. U.T. football player Earl Campbell.

It is conspicuous here that the living figures on this list (the only exceptions to regental rules against statuary of living people?) are all sports figures (a donor, a coach and a player).

Likewise conspicuous among the statues of the dead is the absence of any human beings who are remembered primarily for exemplifying or championing the traditional values of scholarship and teaching, scientific and humanistic, at UT Austin.  (NOTE: Barbara Jordan's tenure at the LBJ School came after her retirement from the distinguished political career that made her famous.)

Simply put, the score here, as in so many other things at UT Austin, is UT sports 3, UT academics 0.


(3a) Is it true that regental rules still prohibit statues of living humans?

(3b) If so, why or how were these particular exceptions made?

(3c) What message do these particular exceptions transmit about the priorities of (y)our institution?

(3d) What precedent did granting these exceptions set?

(3e) In the interests of some semblance, not of balance, which pragmatists among us realize is completely unrealistic, but of putting academics on the statuary scoreboard, would you support an initiative to identify one deceased and one still-living UT academic who would be worthy of memorializing in statuary at UT Austin?

(3f) If so, what do you think of the merits of former UT president Homer Price Rainey as a candidate for the deceased category? His conspicuous presidential courage in the 1930's and 40's in standing up for true educational values and the intellectual freedom of faculty against political and regental intervention has never seen its equal in the UT president's office before or after his tenure.

You and other members of UT Austin community might like to read the New Handbook of Texas entry on President Rainey, while you consider the merits of this proposal.

(3g) If not, why not?

Thank you again.

Tom Palaima Classics FC member 2006-2008




Appendix D

Executive Summary on the Motion from Educational Policy on Changes to the Core Curriculum

What charge did Educational Policy receive regarding the Task Force Report?

In May of 2006, the Faculty Council Executive Committee charged Educational Policy with providing recommendations to the Faculty Council on the following aspects of the Task Force on Curricular Reform’s report: signature courses, courses required of all students as part of the state-mandated 42-hour core curriculum, flagged courses, and thematic strands.

What information was used by Educational Policy in crafting its motion?
The following was reviewed by a subcommittee of Educational Policy, chaired by Marilla Svinicki, this summer before the final motion was crafted:

  • The Original Task Force Report
  • The Supplementary Task Force Report
  • Transcripts from the faculty forums in the various Schools and Colleges
  • Transcripts from Faculty Council meetings where the task force recommendations were discussed
  • Email comments sent to This email was established by the Faculty Council to allow faculty to comment on the report.
  • The motion crafted by the Senate of College Councils
  • The Report of the Academic Counselors’ Association
  • The Report of the Student Deans Committee.

What are the main differences between the motion of Educational Policy and the original and Supplementary Task Force Reports?
A list of the main differences appears below:
  • The topics of “Culture” and “Nature” were removed from the Signature Courses.
  • The goal of the Freshman Signature Course was changed to have students discuss and analyze an important contemporary issue from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • The Sophomore Signature Course’s goal was changed to look at an issue from a narrower interdisciplinary focus such that the course fit within an existing area requirement.
  • The Signature Courses were redesigned to allow more flexibility on the part of faculty to develop such courses. The areas in which flexibility is given is class size, how Interdisciplinarity is achieved, and how communication is emphasized in the class.
  • The flagged courses are the same as those proposed in the original Task Force Report. The descriptions of the criteria for a flagged course has been modified from those proposed in the Supplementary Report.
  • The Natural Science Requirement in the state-Mandated 42-hour Core Curriculum has been expanded to allow a course on Science and Technology to be used. The nature of this course is consistent with the original vision outlined in the Task Force Reports.

Why is 35% of the course grade used for the following flags: Writing, Global Cultures, Cultural Diversity in the United States, Ethics and Leadership, and Independent Inquiry?

This percentage was selected by Educational Policy as a balance to many competing factors. First, we felt it was important that a student should not pass a flagged course without showing some competence in the skill or experience for which the course was flagged. Second, the criteria for the flag needed to be such that an instructor has the flexibility to cover other content important in the course and not have to sacrifice this in order to satisfy the flag requirement. Lastly, Educational Policy believes that one course could cover more than one flag. Using 35% allows a course to have two flags (possibly three if writing is one of them).

Why is the Science and Technology Course not required for all UT undergraduate students?
While Educational Policy hopes that many degree plans at UT will add a Science and Technology course for their students, the decision to make this course an elective was based upon two main factors. First, many science and technology degree plans satisfy the spirit of a Science and Technology Course in their regular course work. As such, they should be able to continue to educate their students as they do now. The second main factor is that degree plans may have a justifiable reason for requiring nine hours of traditional science courses to best prepare their students for their future careers. Again, these degree plans should have the flexibility to make the determination about whether this new courses or a traditional science course is in their students’ best interest.


The Commission of 125 believed that students benefit from studying some common academic topics and concepts to add richness to discussions and debates outside the classroom and to create a bond among graduates. They also believed that current curriculum lacks sufficient common intellectual experiences shared by all undergraduates, whatever their discipline. How does this proposal from Educational Policy address this?
The ideal way to address this concern might be to have certain specific courses that all students are required to take. However, Educational Policy believes that this approach at a university with the size and diversity of UT is impractical. In addition, we believe that there is merit in giving students choices on how to get the knowledge, skills, and experience they need for their career and personal goals. Nonetheless, we believe that the recommendations of the committee go substantially in the direction of meeting the Commission's recommendation. First, the Signature courses create a "special" type of course that has a common focus on using an interdisciplinary approach to examine a topic of broad interest. This commonality lends itself well to discussions outside the classroom between students in different Signature courses. The lecture/performance series connected to the Freshman Signature Course also provides common experiences that can help create the type of bond we are seeking. Second, the flags also serve to create common experiences that extend beyond the individual classroom. For example, every undergraduate will be required to take a course including a substantial ethics component. Since there are commonalities in ethical considerations across fields, this will provide common background and experience to prompt and enrich discussions of ethics in dorms and other places where undergraduates gather.

  Updated 2013 October 18
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