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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of November 20, 2006.
SAG signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
NOVEMBER 20, 2006

The second regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2006-2007 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, October 16, 2006, at 2:15 p.m.

ATTENDANCE.

Present: Urton L. Anderson, Susan N. Beretvas, Gary D. Borich, Douglas C. Burger, Virginia G. Burnett, Lorenzo F. (Frank) Candelaria, Linda J. Carpenter, Lisa J. Cary, Gustavo A. De Veciana, Diana M. DiNitto, John S. Dzienkowski, Miriam R. Estrin, Amy D. Forestell, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Linda V. Gerber, Linda L. Golden, Oscar Gonzalez, Michael H. Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Bretna M. Hackert, Kenneth J. Hale, Ian F. Hancock, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Lori K. Holleran, Troy L. Johnson, David Justin, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Nancy P. Kwallek, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Wayne Lesser, William S. Livingston, Raul L. Madrid, Julia Mickenberg, Karl H. Miller, John H. Murphy, Kate Nanney, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Jon E. Olson, Alba A. Ortiz, Cynthia Osborne, Yolanda C. Padilla, Thomas G. Palaima, Randall M. Parker, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, Kenneth M. Ralls, Wayne Rebhorn, John H. Richburg, Peter J. Riley, Gretchen Ritter, Danielle R. Rugoff, Bonnie P. Rust, Berkley B. Scroggins, Paul R. Shapiro, Janet Staiger, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, Janice S. Todd, Jeffrey Vaaler, Gregory J. Vincent, Jeffrey Walker, N. Bruce Walker, Sharon L. Wood, Paul B. Woodruff, Patrick Woolley.


Absent:Kamran Ali (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Eric J. Barron, Christopher J. Bell, Randy Bomer, Luis A. Caffarelli (excused), Marcus S. Ceniceros (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Penelope Davies (excused), Douglas J. Dempster, Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov, Linda Ferreira-Buckley, Sherry L. Field (excused), George W. Gau, Juan C. González, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Charles R. Hale, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Judith H. Langlois, Steven W. Leslie, Stephen A. Monti (excused), Joan A. Mullin (excused), Melissa L. Olive, J. Patrick Olivelle, Shirley Bird Perry, William C. Powers (excused), Mary Ann R. Rankin, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly (excused), Brian E. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Christine E. Schmidt (excused), James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, John M. Weinstock, Barbara W. White, Stacy Wolf.

Voting Members: 60 present , 18 absent, 78 total.
Non-Voting Members: 9 present, 29 absent, 38 total.
Total Members 69 present, 47 present, 116 total.


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I.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.

The written report appears in D 5121-5126.

II.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

Minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of October 16, 2006, (D 5130-5151) were approved by voice vote.

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT — None.

IV.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS.1

A. Amendment to the Amended Motion to Change the Degree Requirements for All Undergraduate Students at UT Austin (D 5106-5114).

Professor David Hillis (integrative biology and Education Policy Committee chair elect) briefly summarized the amendment he had introduced just before the quorum call that ended official business at the October 16 Faculty Council meeting. He said the purpose of his amendment was not to delete the science and technology requirement but to temporarily remove that section from the amended motion so it could be sent back to the Educational Policy Committee for further discussion. He said he thought removal of the controversial science and technology section would allow the Council to move forward on the rest of the curricular reform motion. When Professor Janet Staiger (women’s and gender studies) said she was concerned that the amendment introduced at the last meeting did not state that the section would be sent back to the Educational Policy Committee, Professor Hillis said that was his intent. He then said the rationale for the amendment stated that the section would be returned to the Educational Policy Committee for additional discussion and clarification and then be returned to the Faculty Council. Chair Linda Golden responded to Professor Staiger’s point by saying she would request that the Educational Policy Committee report back to the Council at its December 11, 2006, meeting regarding “further deliberations of the severed part.” When Professor Staiger replied, “What I’m basically marking out in the minutes is that this is a change from what you put on the floor at the last meeting,” Professor Hillis said he thought he was presenting the same amendment to strike the science and technology section as he had presented the previous meeting. When he asked for confirmation from the last meeting’s minutes, Secretary Greninger replied that had been her understanding.

Professor Hillis clarified that the intent of his amendment was to remove the science and technology section from the current discussion of the amended curricular reform motion and return that section to the Educational Policy Committee. He said there would be a separate vote on the science and technology requirement at a future meeting of the Faculty Council after the Educational Policy Committee had discussed and resolved some of the controversial issues. The question was called, and this amendment to the amended motion passed unanimously by voice vote.


1The Faculty Council Executive Committee voted to reorder the agenda moving "Unfinished Business" to follow "Communication with the President" in order to have ample time to discuss curricular reform.


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B. Amended Motion to Change the Degree Requirements for All Undergraduate Students at UT Austin (D 5097-5105).

Professor Hillis reminded Council members that the original curricular reform motion from the Educational Policy Committee had been amended in two ways: the first required that one-third rather than 35% of a course grade be based on the “flagged” content area in order for the course to qualify for the flag and the second temporarily removed the science and technology course section as discussed above in Section IV.A.

Dean Paul Woodruff (undergraduate studies) said a “yes” vote on the motion would provide a framework for the next phase of curricular reform but would not mandate specific degree requirements. He pointed out that any changes in degree requirements still would be initiated by faculty in the specific subject matter areas and come back to the Faculty Council through the normal process used in the past. He clarified that changes to the 42-hour state-mandated core would have to be reviewed and approved by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee, which is comprised of six associate deans and six distinguished faculty members. He said he and his advisory committee would need to consult with personnel at the Coordinating Board about the feasibility of any changes to the 42-hour core. In addition, he said there would need to be coordination between his office and the various departments and programs about faculty availability and course scheduling. Professor Hillis agreed that the focus at the present time should be on the overall goals and direction of curricular reform.

Professor Paul Shapiro (astronomy) said he thought it would be difficult to come up with 100-150 distinguished faculty members to create signature courses and to offer them if there were not an adequate base of teaching assistant (TA) support. He said he thought there was “undue emphasis placed on interdisciplinarity" when there has been past emphasis on the need for smaller classes and for students to focus their study within a discipline. He said from his experience the criteria used in faculty recruitment and selection at the University had not focused on interdisciplinarity but placed priority on securing experts in a specific field of study. Since TAs could not be expected to have knowledge outside their areas of study, he cautioned that it would require twice the TA support to service the signature courses. He said this would be a problem given that budgetary constraints on TA funding this year in astronomy and physics had already jeopardized future support for senior graduate students. Professor Hillis responded that concern had been expressed by both the Commission of 125 and the Task Force on Curricular Reform that UT Austin students received most of their education within a discipline taught from a single perspective. He said the general idea underlying the signature courses was that two classes in a student’s program of study would bridge across disciplines and possibly be taught by faculty presenting different perspectives. Professor Hillis said he thought greater experimentation with different approaches to the signature course experience would result if interdisciplinarity were not specifically defined.

Professor Shapiro responded he was not questioning that students learn from different disciplines, but he was challenging the need for multiple disciplines to be taught in the same course. Because faculty members are not generally experts in multiple disciplines, he thought the interdisciplinary signature course might result in “a diluted, artificial multidisciplinarity.” Professor Hillis disagreed, saying he thought the two signature courses would allow undergraduates to explore the connections between different disciplinary perspectives, which he said is often not addressed at a large research university.

Dean Woodruff said he did not think advocates of interdisciplinary signature courses shared the same viewpoints and ideas, which he thought could be a good thing. He thought professors of signature courses would not be expected to address the foundations of two different disciplines. He gave as an example that he and a computer science professor would be team teaching a course next fall on the philosophy of the mind, where he expected the students to benefit from


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two different perspectives. Dean Woodruff said he thought a general criteria could be developed that would allow students “to have models for bringing disciplines together in their minds,” which he thought was the goal articulated by the task force. With regard to the resource issue raised by Professor Shapiro, Dean Woodruff said that the next step would be for him to work with the provost and deans to determine the feasibility of meeting the 2010 target date for curricular reform. If the goal turns out to be impossible with available resources, Dean Woodruff said the faculty would be informed and another plan proposed. He said he thought at this time the goal was attainable if as many as 400 new faculty hires, as projected by the provost’s office, actually occurs.

Professor Jeffrey Walker (rhetoric and writing) questioned whether freshman and sophomore students would benefit from the interdisciplinary signature courses when they had not mastered a discipline of study. Although he agreed with the goals of the improving the undergraduate curriculum and recognized that the committee had worked very hard on a difficult task, he summed up why he could not support the proposed motion as follows:

...we have taken a set of state mandated requirements, a hodge-podge of requirements, which we’re not substantially eliminating or changing (a little bit around the edges) and then we’re adding to that another hodge-podge of requirements, which I do not see really in having any inherent coherence to them.

Referring to signature course suggestions 28 and 29, which he said he randomly picked, Professor Walker said he could not see how a coherent experience existed from offering courses in “Chaos Theory in Mathematics, Science, and Society” and “Questions of Representation in Art, Society, and Science.” Although he thought it might be possible to find two courses that provide a synergy, he believed it was likely that courses offered would have “virtually nothing to do with each other.” He said he feared the result would be an intensification of the bureaucracy that already exists, which he referred to as “working your way through a welter of requirements in order to try to graduate within four years.”

Professor Hillis responded he thought the modified version presented in the amended motion would not pose a large bureaucratic burden on students or faculty members, but he realized this would be a matter of personal perception. With regard to the freshman signature course, Professor Hillis pointed out that the interdisciplinary aspect was only one of the six requirements specified for such a course. He thought the idea was that UT’s signature courses would reflect offerings that are only possible at a major research institution and could not be provided by a community college.

Professor Martha Hilley (music) said she supported the amended motion because, after listening to the positive feedback from students and colleagues across campus, she had reached the conclusion that this was an opportunity to bring about exciting and significant changes in the undergraduate curriculum. She said she was pleased that President Powers had appointed an individual of the caliber of Dean Woodruff to oversee the development of the undergraduate core curriculum. She encouraged Council members to vote “yes” because this would allow Dean Woodruff the opportunity to determine if the proposed changes are feasible.

Noting that a great deal of negotiation and compromise had occurred in the development of the proposed changes, Professor Hillis said he thought no one was entirely happy with the resulting document. However, he thought moving the issue forward would result in experimentation and draw “on our strengths from different regions of the University.”

Professor Rob Koons (philosophy) said he agreed with the concerns expressed by Professor Walker about the “hodge-podge nature of the status quo.” However, Professor Koons said he was supporting the proposal because he perceived it as a small step forward that could produce


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  “a container into which a coherent curriculum could eventually be poured.” He said he perceived the current requirements as providing no real core of study for undergraduates, but he hoped the proposal would produce a framework for such a core to be developed in the future. He said the University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter was sponsoring over the next year a lecture series on “what is the essence of a liberal education,” and he invited Council members to attend and participate in the discussions.

After saying he thought it would be a positive experience for his graduate students in classics to work with the interdisciplinary signature courses, Professor Thomas Palaima (classics) asked two questions: (1) what did graduate students think were the benefits of teaching signature courses and (2) whether the financial resources actually exist to provide office space for 300-400 new faculty hires and provide funding for the signature course TAs. Professor Hillis said he thought the resource matter was an enormous issue, and he and others on the task force had wanted the issue more fully addressed. However, since the faculty’s responsibility focused on curricular rather than financial and structural issues, he pointed out that the specific charge to the Educational Policy Committee was to make recommendations primarily about curricular changes. Professor Hillis said the sources of funding would be addressed in the next phase if the motion under consideration were adopted by the Council. He said he perceived the 2010 date as a guideline and expected curricular reform to be a multi-decade program. As a result, he recommended that the Council not overly dwell on the resource questions at the present time.

Dean Woodruff responded that serious study would be initiated early in the spring to produce an implementation plan. He said one large lecture class and six freshman seminars were being piloted and evaluated this semester and other formats would likely be explored. He said the different course formats would require different resource plans, which was the reason it was premature to have a specific resource plan already in place. Dean Woodruff said the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee will be creating learning objectives, which are required by the Coordinating Board, as well as considering signature course formats and definitional questions during the spring semester. Professor Hillis said he did not think the independent inquiry flag could be implemented without a considerable amount of new resources.

Ms. Amy Forestell (Graduate Student Assembly representative) reported that the sentiment from attendees at the graduate student open forum was overwhelmingly positive about the signature courses. She said the graduate students were excited about their prospective involvement in the signature courses since many saw their own research interests moving toward interdisciplinary topics. She said that graduate students definitely want to be involved in the instruction of interdisciplinary classes and to have the opportunity to work closely with outstanding professors at the University. In response to criticisms that graduate students were not prepared to teach such classes, she said graduate students want the training to become ready and the experience of teaching such courses.

Professor Jon Olson (petroleum and geosystems engineering) said his impression was the University was interested in hiring individuals who are interdisciplinary, and many faculty and graduate students exist on campus who have studied disciplines outside of their primary fields. He said he thought the challenge was to make such courses enticing in the classroom, but he did not think finding individuals with interdisciplinary interests would be that difficult. He said he was supporting the motion because he had observed as an undergraduate advisor that many students perceived core courses as something to take at a community college or by correspondence or to postpone until their senior year. Recalling his enthusiasm about the core philosophy and other courses he had taken as an undergraduate student, Professor Olson said he hoped curricular reform would result in students becoming excited and wanting to take their core course requirements here at UT Austin. Professor Hillis agreed that the goal was for


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students to perceive the core courses at the University as opportunities rather than just requirements.

Chair elect Doug Burger (computer sciences) said he had been initially concerned about curricular reform being an unfunded mandate that might fail, but he felt the revised proposal offered greater flexibility and an opportunity to experiment in order to determine what works. He said Dean Woodruff was a great choice to oversee the development of curricular reform, and the changes provided an opportunity to produce new resources that would not exist with the status quo. He said he perceived the proposal as a lever that if properly implemented could generate enough excitement to “become self-funding and self-perpetuating over time.”

Ms. Kate Nanney (Senate of College Councils chair) reported that after multiple forums and months of discussion the Senate of College Councils passed a series of resolutions that overwhelmingly supported the recommendations of the Task Force on Curricular Reform except for a couple of significant recommendations for modifications. After saying she was pleased to see the students’ concerns addressed and integrated into the Educational Policy Committee’s motion, she said the students positively supported the revised motion.

There was a call for the question, which was seconded. When Chair Golden asked for the vote, the amended motion overwhelmingly passed by voice vote, with only a couple of negative votes heard. Chair Golden said Council members should congratulate themselves for “making history.” Noting that no one would agree with everything included in the approved legislation, she said, “we have opened the door for an investigation that we haven’t had in 25 plus years.” Saying the Council members had done a wonderful job, she acknowledged the message that had been repeated during the deliberations that curricular reform would be a matter requiring further Council attention during the years to come. Chair Golden said she hoped the Council would continue to change in response to the dynamic world in which we live so as to meet the needs of our undergraduate and graduate students. She then extended special thanks to Educational Policy Committee members and Professor Hillis for all their hard work in developing and shepherding the curricular reform proposal. Noting that Professor Archie Holmes (electrical and computer engineering and current committee chair) was not able to attend the meeting, Chair Golden said the Council will be able to thank him at the December meeting, when he will make a presentation and recap some highlights regarding curricular reform before leaving the University to assume his new position at the University of Virginia.

V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.

Chair Golden distributed copies of a membership survey and requested that each Council member provide input regarding important issues that need to be addressed. She said she hoped one or two of these seminal issues would be addressed during the spring semester. She commented that ad hoc committees on academics and athletics and the electronic Course Instructor Survey have been established. Chair Golden then introduced and welcomed Vice Provost Terri Givens to the Faculty Council. Calling attention to the article in The Daily Texan announcing the names of the four provost candidates, Chair Golden distributed copies of the scheduled forums when faculty members can speak to the candidates and encouraged everyone to attend. She also asked the Office of the General Faculty staff to post the schedule on the Faculty Council Web site.

VI. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.

Chair elect Burger asked everyone to save March 5 for the joint meeting between the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT Faculty Council, which will be held here on campus. He thanked members who had submitted suggestions for the break-out session topics and asked others to send in their ideas. He said the two topics currently under consideration were (1) athletics and academics and (2) unit


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  leadership. He said he would like to have individuals from departments and organized research units that had improved their internal governance, quality, and reputations share their successful strategies.

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

A. General Faculty Standing Committee Reports.

1. Calendar Committee.
Professor Kenneth Ralls (committee chair, mechanical engineering) said his committee had met two times and would meet again in December. The major topic under consideration by the committee related to the recent legislative mandate regarding the start date for public schools. He said the start date would have an impact on UT Austin’s summer session schedule, and he was uncertain if the needs of all parties could be accommodated.

2. Committee on Committees.
Professor Ralls reported that the Committee on Committee had met once for organizational purposes but would do most of its work in the spring semester when it considers nominations for faculty membership on most of the General Faculty Standing Committees. He said his committee might also consider potential changes in the responsibilities of the standing committees. Chair Golden reminded Council members that committee assignments can result from either Faculty Council appointment or recommendations from the Committee on Committees to the administration or other parties who then make the appointments.

3. UT Libraries Committee.
Professor Michael Winship (committee chair, English) reported that the members of his committee had met for three of four planned meetings this semester. He said the committee had reviewed the current budget of The University of Texas Libraries as well as quantitative and qualitative measures comparing UT’s libraries to those of other research institutions. He said committee members were currently polling their colleagues to determine how well faculty research and structural needs were being met by available collections and services. The committee plans to submit a statement to the UT administration in January 2007 for the forthcoming capital campaign.

4. Recruitment and Retention Committee.
Professor Lorenzo Candelaria (committee chair, music) said his committee had focused on identifying the best practices currently being utilized on campus to increase diversity through recruitment and retention strategies. This fall the committee has requested the sections of strategic plans, compacts, accreditation reports, and other documents that address minority recruitment and retention from all of the deans of academic units across campus. Professor Candelaria said the response rate thus far is 50%, and committee members are currently collating and analyzing the information, with the goal of presenting a written report of best practices to President Powers and the Faculty Council by April 2007. He said the committee is also studying the roles of minority liaison officers as well as the faculty/staff mentor program. In response to a request from Vice President Juan C. González (student affairs), the committee is giving detailed feedback on a strategic work group report that was prepared by staff in Vice President Gonzalez’s office. Professor Candelaria closed his report by thanking Debbie Roberts of the Office of the General Faculty for her logistical support for the committee’s major project this fall.


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5. Faculty Grievance Committee.
Professor Mary Steinhardt (committee chair, kinesiology and health education) distributed copies of her committee’s written report. This report is included in Appendix A. Following the Faculty Grievance Committee’s report, Chair Golden encouraged all committees to elect a chair elect if one had not already been chosen. She said this would help with continuity from year to year.

6. Committee of Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR).
Chair Golden explained that CCAFR’s function is to respond to any faculty member, the provost, the president, or the Board of Regents, and much of the committee’s work does not come before the Faculty Council because of its confidential nature.

Professor Michael Granof (committee vice chair, accounting) informed the Council of a resolution from CCAFR for revisions of the general guidelines for the preparation of supporting materials and the management of tenured and tenure-track candidate promotion files (D 5127-5129). Because faculty members had reported that adverse material had been added to their promotion and/or tenure dossiers without their knowledge, CCAFR was recommending to the provost that several paragraphs be inserted into the administration’s promotion and tenure guidelines. Professor Granof said CCAFR did not think the resolution required a faculty vote or review of the University’s or the UT System’s legal counsel. He said CCAFR was “hoping that the provost would simply agree to this.” When Professor Staiger asked if the resolution would be voted on by the Council, Professor Granof repeated that CCAFR did not think a vote was necessary. She responded that her status as a current member of CCAFR made it appear that she had approved the wording in Professor Granof’s report; however, she said the current CCAFR committee members had decided they would not interfere with the wording of the previous year’s committee and thus did not vote on the resolution. Professor Staiger expressed concern that the wording recommended in section 2.D. of the resolution only applied to adverse information being added to a dossier. She said she thought candidates who had adequate but not strong votes would want any new positive information reconsidered if it developed after the vote. She said she had suggested to CCAFR that the “adverse information” wording be changed to “significant, substantive information,” particularly if a revote were potentially going to occur. Chair Golden clarified that the resolution presented by Professor Granof was the result of the report of last year’s CCAFR committee. She said she wanted the Council to know about the resolution, but she thought it could go forward to the provost directly from CCAFR. She said individuals could submit additional information to the provost for his consideration and suggested that Professor Staiger do so. Professor Staiger responded that was the intent of her comments at the meeting, and she wanted Council members to “know that if the provost were to adopt the vocabulary here what that significance might mean to the process.” Chair Golden said the purpose was “to provide as complete information and reflection of faculty opinions and ideas to the provost as soon as possible.”

When Professor Palaima asked what differentiated this matter from others that typically involved discussion and action on the part of the Faculty Council, Professor Granof said CCAFR advises the administration on such matters, and it seemed to committee members that faculty would not oppose the resolution. He said the committee had considered submitting the resolution for Council action but thought it would save time just to go directly to the provost. He said he thought CCAFR would bring the resolution forward for Council action if the provost rejected it. Chair Golden reported that Interim Provost Monti, who could not attend the Council meeting, had said he would take the resolution under advisement and report back to the Council.

Professor Tess Moon (committee chair, mechanical engineering) reported that CCAFR was currently dealing with the issue of public access to written student comments on the Course Instructor Survey (CIS). According to the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment, the University regards student comments, whether handwritten or typed, to be


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  public documents that are available by request in accordance to the Texas Public Information Act. Release of such documents is subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Professor Moon distributed for informational purposes (1) the four motions (D 4250-4253) passed by the Faculty Council based on the report of the ad hoc Committee to Study Course Instructor Surveys and (2) the memo (PDF) issued by the provost on April 20, 2006, articulating the administration response to the ad hoc committee’s recommendations and motions. She said the memo noted that CIS results, including the handwritten student comments, are regarded as official University documents, but the Office of the Attorney General has determined that handwritten comments cannot be made available to the public to protect the privacy rights of the students because handwriting is personally identifiable. She said the memo failed to state or emphasize that it is the handwriting rather than the content of the statements that is protected and inaccessible according to the attorney general. Professor Moon said this means student comments that are typed would be available to the public to the extent that they are FERPA-redacted to protect the student’s identity. She said that CCAFR believes that faculty members need to know about this interpretation and its implication for the potential dissemination of student comments, particularly with regard to online professor-rating Web sites. Since companies with these Web sites could easily request the online records and post them, CCAFR is working with the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment to inform faculty of this interpretation and its consequences. Professor Moon said that CCAFR had requested that last year’s ad hoc Committee to Study Course Instructor Surveys be reconvened to consider the Electronic Course Instructor Survey in view of this new information. She encouraged Council members to send their concerns and ideas to the ad hoc committee members, who were listed in an email Chair Golden sent out on November 17. For more information see Appendix B.

7. Budget Advisory Committee.
Professor Alexa Stuifbergen (committee chair, nursing) reported that committee members serve three-year terms on the Budget Advisory Committee, and the chair is appointed by the president rather than elected by the committee members. She said the committee had met four times this year. After a general review of revenue sources and expenses, she said the committee had focused primarily on the $974 million academic core budget as well as the academic enhancement and self-supporting components of the University. As a part of the discussion of funding sources, the committee explored issues pertaining to the generation and expenditure of revenue produced by the UT trademark over the past five years. The committee is presently finalizing a recommendation for President Powers regarding how those funds might be spent in the future. Professor Stuifbergen reported the committee is also continuing its discussion of TA and assistant instructor (AI) salaries and the wide variation in pay across campus. She said that the minimum salary is $8,451 but averages in different programs ranged from $8,700- $16,000 for TAs. The salaries for AIs have slightly higher minimums, but their range is also quite wide. She said the committee was considering whether the minimum should be raised and the resulting costs of such an increase as well as the impact on graduate student recruitment and completion rates.

8. University of Texas Press Advisory Committee.

Professor Mounira M. Charrad (committee chair, sociology) reported that her committee approves all books published by the UT Press. She said members of the committee read a dossier on each book that is prepared by one of the four acquisition editors and includes two or three peer reviews by experts in the field. The committee meets about once a month during long terms to discuss and vote on manuscripts as well as to make suggestions for future improvements. Professor Charrad said the committee had met twice thus far this year and approved 12 manuscripts. Approximately 100 books per year are published by the UT Press from all over the U.S. and the world in approximately 35 different academic disciplines. Professor Charrad said she thought the committee provided a great milieu for ideas to be exchanged about current developments in various fields as well as in publishing. She closed by encouraging Faculty Council members to submit their good manuscripts for consideration.

 

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  She closed by encouraging Faculty Council members to submit their good manuscripts for consideration.

Chair Golden thanked the chairs for their presentations and the members of the various committees for their service. She also expressed gratitude to Debbie Roberts and Jenny Morgan for their work in scheduling the presentations for both the November and December meetings.

VIII.
NEW BUSINESS — None.

IX.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.2

After Professor Linda Gerber (marketing) thanked Chair Golden for preparing the Faculty Council Primer and said she had found it very helpful, Chair Golden reported that she had received complimentary emails from others.

Professor Hilley reported that Vice President Patti Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs) had informed her the Board of Regents recently approved the distinguished senior lecturer title, and the Council expressed approval with a round of applause. Professor Hilley explained that the proposed new title had been recommended to create an addition to the career path for teaching faculty back in March 2003 by the President’s ad hoc Committee on Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Faculty, which was chaired by Professor Judith Langlois. Someone from the audience explained that this would create a position for the non-tenure-track teaching faculty members that parallels the rank of full professor for tenured faculty.

Professor Hilley pointed out that invitations to the holiday party on December 17 had been distributed at the meeting; she asked for Council members to respond so she would know how many were planning to attend.

Professor Ortiz encouraged Council members to attend the forums scheduled for faculty members to meet and ask questions of the four provost finalists. She said she thought there were four outstanding candidates, and it was important for search committee members to receive input from the faculty.

A. The president will hold his General Faculty meeting on December 11 at 3:45 p.m., immediately following the Faculty Council meeting.

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 —None.

XI.
ADJOURNMENT.

Chair Golden adjourned the meeting at 3:46 p.m.

Posted on the Faculty Council Web site on December 6, 2006. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


2The announcements posted on the Web were from the October 16 minutes; the announcements for the November 20 meeting were corrected on December 12. The paper document of the November minutes was correct, and therefore needed no revision.
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Appendix A

Faculty Grievance Committee Report to Faculty Council

November 20, 2006

Thank you for the opportunity to report on the activity of the Faculty Grievance Committee. Since September 1, 2006, no formal grievances have been filed. As chair, I have been contacted by two individuals and worked informally with them. I also joined one of these individuals at an informal meeting with Faculty Ombudsman Stan Roux. One formal grievance filed by a faculty member during the 2004-05 academic year has gotten to the point where Interim Provost Monti’s office has initiated the process of selecting hearing tribunal members. The Faculty Grievance Committee will continue to work with the administration on this case.

Ombudsman Professor Roux attended a meeting of the Faculty Grievance Committee in October and discussed his role, activities, and annual report for the 2005-06 academic year. During this time, 30 individuals contacted Dr. Roux, which required a commitment from him of approximately seven hours a week during the academic year and 2.5 hours a week during the summer. Professor Roux suggested the need to appoint one Assistant Ombudsman, which current legislation supports. Our committee is working on a document that addresses the Assistant Ombudsman, as well as oversight and continuity of the Ombudsman’s office, and will present it for consideration by the Faculty Council at its December meeting.

Our major accomplishment has been the approval of the UT Faculty Grievance Procedures by UT System. As you may recall, in September 2004 the Faculty Grievance Committee suspended the processing of grievances because we believed that the grievance process was broken and that all our attempts to fix it had failed. Throughout the 04-05 academic year, we negotiated changes in HOP 3.18 and HOP 4.03 with the administration, and the legislation we submitted was approved by the Faculty Council in May 2005. Larry Faulkner approved these changes in August 2005 and the Faculty Grievance Committee showed its good faith by resuming processing grievances even though the changes had not yet been approved by the UT System. The revised HOP 3.18 document was sent to UT System for final approval, but the response that we received in March 2006 raised significant concerns. With the help of President Powers and Patti Ohlendorf, a subcommittee of the Faculty Grievance Committee has worked with Helen Bright of UT System to write a version that everyone could endorse. I’m extremely happy to report that last Wednesday Helen Bright approved the negotiated changes to the HOP 3.18 document. This document was sent to Patti Ohlendorf last Thursday for her review and transmittal to President Powers. We anticipate receiving President Powers’ approval shortly and will then make the final document available to the Faculty Council. Pending final approval of the revised HOP 3.18, the Faculty Grievance Committee will begin a similar process with respect to HOP 4.03, which governs grievances by TAs and AIs. Finally, our committee has selected Professor Alan Friedman as chair elect for the 2006-07 academic year.
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Appendix B

CCAFR Report—Faculty Council Meeting—November 20, 2006

[Michael’s Comments regarding CCAFR’s Resolution for “Revisions of the General Guidelines for the Preparation of Supporting Materials and the Management of Tenured And Tenure-Track Candidate Promotion Files” to the Provost’s Office.]

Also refer to April 20, 2006, Memo and CIS Policy "What Faculty Should Know" (both are PDF).

The second issue with which CCAFR has dealt this Fall semester is the Course–Instructor Survey, in particular public access to the student comments.

Very recently, CCAFR has been able to confirm that the University regards student comments—handwritten or typed on-line–to be public documents, and as such are available to the public upon request in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act.

Of course, like all documents UT releases under the PIA, their release would subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (or FERPA for short)—the Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

If you are like a number of other faculty—including some on the ad hoc Committee to Study CIS, chaired by Marvin Hackert last year—this comes as a surprise to you.

You might recall a April 2006 memo from the Provost entitled “Course–Instructor Survey Policy: What Faculty Should Know.”

While the memo does state that “CIS results, including handwritten student comments, are official documents…,” its only reference to public access is indirect and perhaps misleading: “The Office of the Attorney General has deemed that handwritten comments made by students are not available to the public due to the privacy rights of the student who wrote the comments as handwriting has been determined to be personally identifiable.”

What the memo fails to clearly state or emphasize is that it is the handwriting–not the content–that is excepted by the Texas Attorney General’s opinion.

If these same student comments were typed—or submitted on–line as in the electronic CIS for example—they would be available to the public, of course after FERPA-mandated redaction.

CCAFR believes faculty members need to be made aware of this interpretation and its implications with respect to public dissemination of survey comments, including to on-line Professor–rating websites.

In accordance with the Faculty Council’s approved motion that “The University … inform faculty in writing of their rights and obligations with respect to student written comments relating to FERPA law, the open records act,” we have been working with the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment to notify the faculty ASAP.

CCAFR has also asked that last year’s ad hoc Committee to Study Course–Instructor Surveys be reconvened to study the eCIS in light of this “new” information.

I encourage you to communicate any ideas or concerns you might have directly to the ad hoc Committee, whose composition and charge was e-mailed to FC members on Friday, Nov 17th by Linda Golden, FC Chair.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to report on our activities.



  Updated 2013 October 18
  Copyright | Privacy | Accessibility
  Comments to fc@austin.utexas.edu or
  Contact Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary,
  General Faculty and Faculty Council