DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of December 11, 2006.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
DECEMBER 11, 2006
The fourth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for
the academic year 2006-2007 was held in the Main Building, Room 212,
Monday, December 11, 2006, at 2:15 p.m.
Urton L. Anderson,
Efraim P. Armendariz, Christopher J. Bell, Susan N. Beretvas, Lorenzo
F. (Frank) Candelaria, Lisa J. Cary, Penelope Davies, Gustavo A. De
Veciana, Diana M. DiNitto, John S. Dzienkowski, Miriam R. Estrin, Sherry
L. Field, Amy D. Forestell, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Linda V. Gerber,
Linda L. Golden, Oscar Gonzalez, Juan C. González, Michael H.
Granof, Sue A. Greninger, Charles R. Hale, 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, Steven W. Leslie, Wayne Lesser, William
S. Livingston, Raul L. Madrid, Julia Mickenberg, Stephen A. Monti,
Joan A. Mullin, Kate Nanney, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Melissa L. Olive,
Jon E. Olson, Yolanda C. Padilla, Thomas G. Palaima, Randall M. Parker,
Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, William C. Powers, Kenneth M. Ralls, Wayne Rebhorn,
John H. Richburg, Peter J. Riley, Gretchen Ritter, Bonnie P. Rust,
Christine E. Schmidt, Berkley B. Scroggins, Janet Staiger, Vincent
S. (Shelby) Stanfield, Janice S. Todd, Jeffrey Vaaler, Gregory J. Vincent,
Jeffrey Walker, N. Bruce Walker, Stacy Wolf, Sharon L. Wood, Paul B.
Kamran Ali, Eric J. Barron, Randy
Bomer, Gary D. Borich, Douglas C. Burger (excused), Virginia G. Burnett
(excused), Luis A. Caffarelli (excused), Linda J. Carpenter, Marcus
S. Ceniceros, Patricia L. Clubb, Douglas J. Dempster, Andrew P. Dillon,
Richard B. Eason, Stanislav Emelianov, Linda Ferreira-Buckley (excused),
George W. Gau, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Bretna M. Hackert, Donald A. Hale,
Roderick P. Hart, Thomas M. Hatfield, Fred M. Heath, Kevin P. Hegarty,
Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Judith H. Langlois, Karl H. Miller, John
H. Murphy, J. Patrick Olivelle, Alba A. Ortiz (excused), Cynthia Osborne
(excused), Shirley Bird Perry, Mary Ann R. Rankin, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly
(excused), Brian E. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, Danielle R. Rugoff,
Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Paul R. Shapiro, James
Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, John M. Weinstock
(excused), Barbara W. White, Patrick Woolley (excused).
After calling the meeting to order, Chair Linda Golden congratulated
the Faculty Council on the successful passage of the curricular reform measures
by the General Faculty; she noted that only 17 protests were filed. She clarified
that the reports of the Intercollegiate Athletics Councils for Men and Women,
which some Council members had expected to be included on the December meeting
agenda, had been postponed until the January 22, 2007, Faculty Council meeting
at the requests of athletic council presenters due to scheduling conflicts.
||REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D 5164-5168.
||APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
Professor Thomas Palaima (classics) noted that the date listed on the Council
Web site regarding postponement of the reports of the Intercollegiate Athletics
Councils for Men and Women was incorrect. Following the meeting, staff in the
Office of the General Faculty researched the matter and found that the date had
been posted on the Web site from the October 16 minutes when it was anticipated
that the reports would be given at the November meeting. On December 12, the
posted announcements posted on the Faculty Council Web site for the November
20 meeting were corrected to reflect that the reports would be given on January
22, 2007. However, since the date included on the paper document of the November
20 minutes was actually correct, the formal minutes did not need to be revised.
||COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
|| Comments by the President.
President Powers congratulated Council members regarding the
passage of curricular reform and said he thought the faculty
vote was supportive of the proposed changes. He said he thought
Undergraduate Studies Dean Paul Woodruff had been empowered by
the vote to carefully and expeditiously move forward with course
and program development. President Powers said much work remained
that would involve the Faculty Council and Educational Policy
Committee during the implementation phase. Saying “it was
a great day for the campus,” President Powers thanked everyone
for their hard work and support for curricular reform.
said the Consultative Committee for the Selection of the
Executive Vice President and Provost had succeeded in bringing
strong candidates to campus, and he expected a decision could
be reached by the end of 2006. He said the search for a new dean
of the College of Liberal Arts was moving forward, but the final
decision would be delayed until the new provost was named.
to the approaching legislative session, President Powers said
he and former Texas A&M president, Robert Gates, had been
devoting mutual efforts this past fall on raising awareness throughout
Texas about the need for increased higher education funding through
a campaign called “Horns and Aggies—Together for
a Change.” The two presidents have made joint presentations
delivering a unified message that “an investment in education,
especially an investment in higher education, is an investment
in the future of the state.” To emphasize the contributions
of the flagship research institutions, President Powers said “a
state dollar invested on our campus has a 25 to 1 leverage for
impact on the Texas economy.” He said this compares to
a 5.5 to 1 ratio for higher education in general. He said audiences
had been receptive to this information regarding the impact of
higher education funding on the state’s economic development.
Powers said that the goal for UT Austin to become the best public
university in the country would prove challenging, given that the
1.8% annualized increase in state funding has
|| resulted in an actual decline in real dollars after adjusting for
inflation. Out of approximately 220 universities, President Powers
said UT Austin ranked about 22nd based on peer reviews but only 104th
on overall funding per student. The University of California at Berkeley,
which is smaller in terms of total enrollment, receives over $400 million
in legislative support compared to the $279 million UT Austin receives.
President Powers said it is important to communicate to the public
and the legislature the level of instructional and research quality
provided here at UT Austin and the importance of retaining tuition
flexibility. He said the University does not want to totally eliminate
the top 10% admissions rule but increased flexibility in terms of a
cap on the percentage of enrollees meeting the requirement is needed.
Questions to the President (see Appendix A).
In response to
Professor Wayne Rebhorn’s (English) question on salary compression,
President Powers said he thought the problem was occurring at UT
Austin as well as at other universities throughout the country as
institutions struggled to respond to market pressures in recruiting
and retaining outstanding faculty members. Saying the question was
a difficult one to answer in terms of specifics, President Powers
said he regarded salary decisions as “our most basic incentive
structure” that conveys what our institution values for both
faculty and staff members. He said he did not think the salary structure
should be “purely egalitarian or lockstep” in terms of
time in rank or longevity on the job. He thought the structure should
be equitable rather than equal and should seek to further the institution’s
strategic goals. He said he did not think salary compression existed
if lower-paid, middle-level faculty members were being rewarded according
to the best efforts of their units to determine “who is pulling
hardest on the oar.” However, he said he recognized that merit-based
decisions are difficult and multi-faceted, with priorities and standards
differing from individual to individual across campus. He said he
thought it was unfair to provide the same percentage across-the-board
salary increase to each employee based on the percentage increase
the University allocates to the salary increase pool because this
would not reflect individual effort and productivity. President Powers
said he was committed to increasing the number of departments at
UT Austin that are considered in the top-five nationally, and the
University could not ignore market pressures in its effort to meet
this goal. He said the University needs to keep disparities resulting
from these pressures as short-term and small as possible and work
toward achieving a structure that provides good incentives to the
overall faculty. He said he thought faculty who were particularly
disadvantaged in terms of salary differentials included those who
are “trapped” here due to family constraints, such as
spousal employment opportunities and/or children in school, or commitments
to a lab or type of research that cannot be easily transferred. In
the University’s efforts to respond to market pressures, President
Powers said it was important to maintain a reasonable balance so
as to not adversely impact these productive employees who are constrained
in terms of their job mobility.
positively acknowledged the $1.8 million that former President Larry
Faulkner and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson allocated in 2005-2006
for special salary adjustments. During 2006-2007, he indicated that
$1.5 million had been earmarked for a couple of colleges to help
address salary issues that partially resulted from competitive pressures.
He said efforts were being made to roughly maintain a 3% annual salary
increase pool and decrease the student-faculty ratio by adding 30
new faculty members each year in accordance with policies initiated
by former President Faulkner. President Powers emphasized again that
salary issues involve the important challenge of maintaining a balance;
however, because of the necessity of responding to market pressures
in securing the best faculty at UT Austin, he felt some inequities
would inevitably exist.
Rebhorn thanked President Powers for addressing his question since
he thought salary issues existed in the College of Liberal Arts as
well as across campus. He mentioned that the student newspaper at the
University of Virginia had published the annual salaries of faculty
members up until two years ago. Based on the data available for 2004-2005,
faculty in the English department at Virginia, which was ranked about
sixth nationally, received comparable average salaries for assistant
professors but much higher ones for senior faculty than those here
||at UT Austin. Professor Rebhorn said he thought increasing faculty
salaries of UT’s senior English department faculty members’ salaries
by 10-20% might produce “a Virginia in our future.” He
said low salaries and insufficient research support here at UT Austin
resulted in faculty seeking to teach summer school, which then resulted
in decreased research productivity. Although he was not asking for
less funding for summer instructional activities, Professor Rebhorn
said he thought increasing the number of Faculty Research Assignments
(FRAs) available from the current level of 40 per year would enhance
research productivity and departmental rankings.
agreed that UT Austin was “thinly funded” in areas that
attract and keep talented faculty, such as research support, research
assistant support, travel money, summer leaves, sabbaticals, and free
tuition for faculty children. He said this issue was “a little
different than “the shape of our salary structure,” but
he thought funding increases for faculty, especially for top-quality,
senior-level faculty, needed to be addressed during the next five years
if UT Austin really wants to compete “at the very top.”
said he thought the challenge of improving funding levels for faculty
was “absolutely enormous.” He said he had no idea that
the number of FRAs awarded each year was so low. Regarding salary allocation,
he pointed out that a 3-4% merit pool is usually cut down to 2.5-3%
by the time it reaches the department level. He said allocating such
a small pool doesn’t provide much of an increase, for example,
to top quality faculty members in departments such as classics. He
said his calculations regarding the $1.5 million set aside mentioned
by President Powers would provide only $500 per faculty member if divided
among 3,000 individuals and only $750 if divided among the 2,000 most
productive ones. He said it was very important to communicate to the
legislature just how little this level of funding can reduce the compression
that has occurred over the past 20 years.
also expressed concern that the contributions of engineering, math,
and science on economic development were overshadowing other educational
needs in the social sciences and humanities. He said he thought an
emphasis was also needed on such areas as history, culture, and languages
in the current geo-political environment and hoped this message would
be conveyed to the legislature. Professor Palaima said he was disturbed
that subsequent drafts to the original report prepared by the Commission
on the Future of Higher Education omitted discussion of higher education’s
contributions to social virtue development and only focused on their
impact on economic development.
noted that $178 million was being spent for the north end expansion
of UT’s football stadium, and his calculations indicated the
additional suites and club seats would generate approximately $22-24
million annually in “voluntary contributions to higher education.” Professor
Palaima referred to the tax deductibility status of these so-called
voluntary contributions as a scam, given that little of the athletic
revenue generated is actually used to fund academic activities. He
strongly suggested that a considerable portion of the newly-generated
money from the stadium expansion as well as from trademark revenues
should be used for academic priorities, such as addressing salary compression
and expanding FRAs. He also questioned the relative value of spending
as much as $700,000 for the Bevo Museum vs. only $1.5 million for a
salary shortfall that is causing faculty to leave the University. Lastly,
Professor Palaima questioned whether UT’s student athletes were
learning much about the “spirit of competition” when only
two of the 13 games played last year were against teams ranked in the
top five and two other end-of-season games were against teams ranked
in the top twenty-five. He said the remaining games were played against “fodder
schools” where the victory margin averaged 39.6 points. Professor
Palaima suggested that the Intercollegiate Athletics Council for Men
or the UT administration should address this aspect of the football
Powers agreed that the challenge of raising the funds needed for faculty
compensation as well as graduate student stipends, research leave, start-up
funds, etc. is enormous. He said he
believed in the “compound interest theory of progress,” where
you start and gradually make progress which leads to more progress
and so forth; therefore, it was essential to get the process underway.
President Powers said he thought all areas across campus, including
liberal arts, law, business, and communications, rather than just
engineering and science were contributing to the economic impact
on the state. He acknowledged there were pressures to move the
University toward scientific areas and away from the arts and humanities,
but he said it was crucial that the UT Austin be regarded as a
comprehensive rather than a technical institution.
said he was pleased to know the president wanted UT Austin to be
a comprehensive institution, but he thought the Bevo Museum and
the UT Club generated an impression that the University was “wealthy
beyond belief.” He said spending $178 million on the stadium
expansion amounted to “burning political capital” when
there are such pressing economic requirements that were not being
met President Powers replied that UT Austin’s image embraced
more than athletics. Although faculty salaries and research funding
are higher at UT Austin than at most institutions of higher education,
President Powers said the University is competing at the margins
rather than the averages, and this difference needs to be communicated
to legislators and Texas residents.
With regard to
athletic funding, President Powers said the stadium expansion was
a business decision based on the assumption that additional revenue
could be raised by adding seating capacity. He said the question
of whether or not the money being contributed to athletics would
automatically be contributed to academic was an empirical question,
but there was evidence that individuals who contribute to athletics
also provide large contributions to academic and cultural programs.
Professor Palaima said his empirical and anecdotal evidence indicated
that many individuals may be “tapped out” by what it
takes to get good seats at the games, leaving them with little
to contribute to academic needs. He said Jim Boom told him that
the most common reply from Texas-Exes, when they are asked to donate
to UT Austin, is that they already gave to the Longhorn Foundation.
He said Miguel Ferguson had told him that a neighbor’s son
had bought a $75,000 skybox as a way of giving something back to
the University. Professor Palaima said he expected $6-8 million
of the $24 million spent on skyboxes would likely be donated for
academic needs if the boxes were not available. He also said that
former high-ranking University officials resented the fact that
athletics controls trademark revenues. He said he thought the president
should insist that these funds support academic needs, such as
TA salaries, salary compression, FRAs, and lab construction and
renovation. He concluded by emphasizing that the tax deductibility
of so-called voluntary contributions violated the social values
that the University should be teaching. Agreeing that the evidence
was anecdotal, President Powers said he knew of individuals who
were drawn to the University through athletics and then provided
major gifts to other programs on campus. Regarding the tax issue,
President Powers said the deductibility of the voluntary contributions
was a federal income tax judgment, and it would be difficult for
the University to dictate whether donors take what is permitted
under federal law.
Stephen Monti said that sabbatical programs normally involve only
the tenured faculty at an institution, and about 10% of the faculty
members are on leave each year. UT Austin currently has 1,300 tenured
faculty members, and approximately 130 individuals are currently
awarded FRAs or Dean’s Fellows each year. Because not all
the awards here at UT Austin go to tenured faculty, Provost Monti
said our program is not exactly comparable to a normal sabbatical
program; however, we do have 130 funding opportunities rather than
just 40 each year.
||REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair Golden briefly reported on the System Faculty Advisory Committee meeting,
where newly-elected State Senator Kirk Watson was a guest speaker. She said he
was receptive to ideas and information regarding higher education and recommended
that institutions work to expand overall funding without treating the situation
as a zero-sum game. She encouraged President Powers to let the Council know how
the faculty can assist in fostering support for the University. She said the
|| salary compression issue had been discussed at the system-wide meeting
and was also reported as a concern in the survey she had recently conducted
regarding Faculty Council priorities. Noting that the University’s
competitiveness in terms of faculty and TA salaries and research travel
support were key issues raised in the survey, Chair Golden said she would
soon be preparing a report of the survey results and encouraged those who
had not yet sent her their completed survey instruments
to do so. Because Chair Elect Doug Burger (computer sciences) could not
attend the Council meeting, Chair Golden reminded everyone make plans to
attend the joint meeting with the Texas A&M Senate on March 5.
||REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT— None.
||UNFINISHED BUSINESS — None.
||REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
||Motion from the Faculty Grievance Committee.
(committee chair, kinesiology and health education) summarized
her committee’s motion (D
5191-5194) proposing a change in
the composition of the ombudsman selection committee from four
members elected by the Faculty Council and two members appointed
by the executive vice president and provost to a subcommittee of
the Faculty Grievance Committee. The proposal also recommends that
the new committee provide oversight of the ombudsman function.
She said the committee would work in conjunction with the administration,
with the executive vice president still making the final selection
of the ombudsman. Due to increased demand for consultation with
Professor Stanley Roux, the current ombudsman, the committee’s
proposal also recommends the establishment of an assistant ombudsman
Professor John Dzienkowski (law) asked for additional clarification
of the rationale and role expectations for the assistant ombudsman
position, Professor Steinhart responded as follows: (1) demand warranted
the need; (2) Professor Roux would supervise the assistant, who would
have similar duties; (3) the new assistant would negotiate release
time and/or summer salary; and (4) the assistant position could provide
on-the-job training for a future head ombudsman successor. When Professor
Michael Granof asked if the code 1000 appointment would have any
implications for a tenured faculty member who accepted the position,
Professor Steinhart said it would not, which was also confirmed by
Vice President Ohlendorf (institutional relations and legal affairs).
|| General Faculty Standing Committee Reports.
||Research Policy Committee.
Peter Riley (committee chair, physics) reported that his committee
had focused on pre- and post-award research grant issues this
year. The committee has established a subcommittee charged
with developing a proposal in conjunction with the Office of
Sponsored Projects to provide grant-writing mentoring for young
faculty. Professor Riley said the committee was developing
a recommendation that the University hire grant specialists
to provide campus-wide support for principal investigators.
He said the transition to electronically-submitted grant applications
on February 1, 2007, would likely pose difficulties, and he
thought grant administration was “getting worse rather
||Faculty Building Advisory Committee.
John C. (Jack) Gilbert (committee chair, chemistry and biochemistry)
reported that his committee had met four times this fall in
its oversight role regarding capital projects. Proposals the
committee has reviewed include the following: (1) the chilling
station being relocated to the east side of Taylor Hall, which
will later be replaced by the Dell Computer Building; (2) a
large water tank being considered for energy conservation
||and financial savings, which will possibly be located north
of the San Jacinto parking garage; (3) and fire/life safety issues
involving the Texas Memorial Museum, which currently has only one
building exit. The committee has active subcommittees related to
master plan compliance and to the review of art in public spaces.
In addition, committee members provide service as liaisons to ad
hoc committees created when buildings are in the planning stages
of development. When Professor Granof asked if the Wright Committee’s
recommendations that all athletic projects be reviewed by the Faculty
Building Advisory Committee were being followed, Professor Gilbert
said they were.
behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, Secretary Sue
Greninger thanked Professor Gilbert for his outstanding contributions
to faculty governance at UT Austin over the past 40 years. She noted
a number of his specific accomplishments while serving as chair of
the Faculty Council in 1997-1998, which coincided with the Office
of the General Faculty and Faculty Council becoming electronically
of age, as well as his service chairing other standing University
committees. Professor Gilbert will be moving to California where
he will serve as professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry
and senior fellow in the Center for Science, Technology, and Society
at Santa Clara University.
||Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel.
Vice President Gerald Harkins (committee member, campus safety and
security) reported that approximately 9,000 appeals result from the
60,000 parking and traffic tickets written each year at UT Austin.
The committee members are divided into four panels, which provide
second-level appellate review; of the 169 cases reviewed last year,
115 were denied and approximately 44 were sustained. Vice President
Harkins said he thought the process was a good one in allowing review
of cases where individuals perceive they have been unfairly treated,
and the panel members provide honest appraisals of each appeal.
||Parking and Traffic Policies Committee.
Associate Vice President Harkins
reported that members of this committee provide oversight regarding
fee-setting and regulatory policies governing parking and traffic
issues on campus. He said he thought the committee’s advice
had been helpful in coping with the loss of parking spaces as new
facilities are constructed by providing feedback and communication
from constituencies across campus. He said the task is challenging
since over 70,000 visitors, staff, faculty, and students come to
campus each day, and there are only 14,500 parking spaces currently
available. He said he appreciated the assistance the Faculty Council
provides in staffing both the Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel
and the Parking and Traffic Policies Committee.
Golden reported that 11 non-Faculty Council members were chosen first
for the two parking and traffic committees this past year. She said
this supported the fact that committee membership was broadly-based
and representative of the entire faculty and University community.
|| Committee on Financial Aid to Students.
Ms. Danielle Alsandor (committee vice chair, student affairs administrator) reported
on behalf of Professor Patricia Somers (committee chair, educational administration),
who could not attend due to medical reasons. Ms. Alsandor said the committee
had met twice to discuss strategies and recommendations to increase the availability
of financial aid resources for students. She said participation of committee
members had been very active this fall.
|| Commencement and Academic Ceremonies.
Professor Yolanda Padilla (committee vice chair, social work) reported on behalf
of Professor Jacqueline Angel (committee chair, LBJ school), who could not
attend due to medical reasons. Professor Padilla said the committee had met
once this fall to add to a list of potential 2007 University-wide commencement
speakers that is maintained by the
|| committee. Based on a poll conducted by the committee, the top
recommendations for 2007 commencement speakers are the following:
former President Jimmy Carter, Paul “Bono” Hewson,
Maya Angelou, Kofi Annan, Lance Armstrong, and Robert Rodriguez;
these recommendations have been provided to President Powers. Chair
Angel, who is the University Marshall, has participated in two
ceremonial events, President Powers’ installation and the
fall graduate student commencement ceremony. Professor Padilla
said the committee would meet in the spring to develop recommendations
to submit to the Faculty Council and the Office of the President
on policy issues related to Honors Day and the 2007 spring commencement.
|| Faculty Rules Committee.
Professor Philip Varghese (committee chair, aerospace engineering) reported his
committee had met once and conducted most of its business thus far by email.
The committee sent forward legislation this fall recommending changes in the
composition of the Committee on Committees and the charge of the Faculty Welfare
Committee. Both of the motions were endorsed by the Faculty Council and approved
by President Powers, with only a minor wording change to the one pertaining to
the Faculty Welfare Committee. Professor Varghese said the committee is currently
considering if recommendations are needed regarding the voting status of new
faculty classifications, such as clinical faculty. Information is being collected
regarding the uniformity of responsibilities and policies pertaining to these
job classifications across campus. Chair Golden reported that the voting issue
was of concern because more of these new classifications are being utilized;
she said the issue had also come up at the System Faculty Advisory Committee
|| Admissions & Registration Committee.
Dr. Ruth Buskirk (committee chair, biological sciences) reported that her committee
had considered the impact of the Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) on general
admissions to UT Austin. She said the number of CAP applicants, who enter at
other UT institutions in hopes of later matriculating here at UT Austin, has
increased even though the program requirements have been strengthened. Even with
these tightened requirements, approximately one-third of the applicants have
consistently made the transition and enrolled here at UT Austin. Dr. Buskirk
said the committee was pleased with the increased diversity of this year’s
entering freshman class. She said the admissions office had actively developed
centers in areas of the state where large numbers of under-represented groups
reside, and the committee was considering joint work with the financial aid office
as a means of potentially increasing aid for these students. Data on the varying
impact of the top 10% legislation on different colleges and programs are currently
being developed and will be shared with the Council when the findings are available.
Dr. Buskirk said the committee was concerned about
the number of Q drops occurring after the
45th class day since many appear to be unrelated
to substantial non-academic reasons. Because the
committee has determined that there is a great variability
in the policies of the various colleges/schools and
the practices of faculty members across campus, the
committee is seeking greater transparency and understanding
of the functions served by Q drops and exploration
of potential deterrents to late drops.
Golden commented that the reports from the committees
were intended to familiarize Council members with the
charges and activities of the various committees. She
said this information would be helpful when continuing
Council members are asked to prioritize committee assignment
||Recreational Sports Committee.
Professor Marc Musick (committee chair, sociology) reported that the committee’s
charge to provide advice to the Division of Recreational Sports was facilitated
by the efforts of Director Tom Dison and his assistant, Megan De Gennaro. He
said the committee has met four times, with the first meeting providing an overview
of the division and its functions.
||The second meeting was called in response to the resolution passed by Student
Government regarding availability of pool hours for children. As a result of
the meeting, pool hours were expanded for children as well as all users, and
a regular review process was established by the division. At the last two meetings
of the semester, budget recommendations from the division and proposed fee and
program cost increases were considered.
||Committee on Student Affairs.
Professor Musick explained that the Committee on Student Affairs includes the
chairs of the following committees: admissions and registration, recruitment
and retention, calendar, financial aid, and recreational sports. In order to
provide useful advice regarding student affairs, the committee members met with
Vice President Juan Gonzalez (student affairs) and determined that they should
provide reviews and recommendations regarding the following: (1) his office’s
Strategic Work Group Report or mission statement; (2) campus-wide career center
functioning and effectiveness; (3) financial aid issues; and (4) relationships
between the University and campus student organizations. Professor Musick also
requested that his committee review undergraduate research issues and develop
recommendations on how to increase participation in this activity.
||International Programs and Studies Committee.
Professor Linda Gerber (committee vice chair, marketing) represented
the committee in the absence of Professor Cynthia Buckley (committee
chair, sociology) and reported that the committee had met three
times during the fall semester. She said the mission of the committee
was to promote interest in international activities and determine
what issues were of importance in the various colleges/schools
across campus. After acquainting themselves with programs on campus,
committee members spent the first meeting generating a list of
policy issues that might be addressed. The following two meetings
focused on grading issues, particularly problems related to how
grades are understandably and equitably translated when transferred
to UT Austin from a wide variety of study abroad programs that
can have different grading bases, formats, standards, and distributions.
Pointing out that cultural differences in grading standards offer
both incentives and disincentives for student engagement in study
abroad opportunities, Professor Gerber indicated committee members
had questioned the extent to which the University might utilize
such differences as communication and learning tools for students.
She said she expected the committee would present recommendations
to the Faculty Council in the future regarding whether or not grades
earned from study abroad programs should count toward calculating
student grade point averages, how pass/fail credit might be utilized
for such courses, and how grade translation mechanisms will work.
In addition, Professor Gerber said
the committee had not yet addressed the following matters: effective
promotional strategies to increase study abroad participation through
campus events such as Explore UT; broad awareness about a national
study abroad conference that will be hosted here in Austin this
coming March; campus-wide support for the Lincoln Study Abroad
Act; development of multi-disciplinary, multi-department, cross-department
study abroad opportunities; and recommendations on Institutional
Review Board policy and procedural issues pertaining to international
Golden suggested that motions from committees seeking Faculty Council
endorsement be prepared for presentation at the March Council meeting
so there will be sufficient time for the Council to act on them before
the end of the spring 2007 semester. She announced that due to length
of the meeting, Professor Desiderio Kovar, chair of the Information
Technology Committee, had agreed to defer his committee’s report
until the January meeting.
|| Responsibilities, Rights and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic
Professor Melissa Olive (committee chair, special education) reported that her
committee had met four times, focusing their efforts primarily on issues dealing
with the salaries and
||rights and responsibilities of graduate student academic employees
(GSAEs). The committee’s preliminary assessment indicated
that there is considerable variation in the pay rates and criteria
for pay increases of GSAEs across the UT Austin campus. According
to survey data from the Association of American Universities,
the benefits available for GSAEs here at UT Austin are unmatched
by other institutions with the exception of the University of
Michigan. Professor Olive said that the average salaries paid
to UT’s assistant instructors (AI) and teaching assistants
(TA) are considerably reduced after students make payments for
their tuition, books, and other expenses. She said that when
nine-month TA salaries were clustered into four groups, the committee’s
analysis indicated that $600,000 in additional funding would
be needed to bring the salaries of the 303 TAs in the lowest
paid group up to $10,948 and $1 million in additional funding
would be needed to bring the salaries of the 400 TAs in the two
lowest paid groups up to $12,000.
reviewing the rights and responsibilities of GSAEs as covered in
the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures,
Professor Olive said the committee had concluded that family and
medical leave policies and procedures did not exist for GSAEs.
She said the committee was considering the possibility of conducting
a survey of TAs and AIs about their working conditions.
|| Educational Policy Committee.
Professor Archie Holmes (committee chair, electrical and computer
engineering) introduced proposed legislation (D
his committee to clarify the natural science requirement of the
core curriculum for all undergraduate students at UT Austin.
This new motion replaced the controversial change in the science
and technology course requirement that ended up being struck
from the curricular reform legislation that the Faculty Council
endorsed and was subsequently passed on a no-protest basis by
the General Faculty on December 8 and then transmitted to President
Powers on December 12, 2006. When Professor Jon Olson (petroleum
and geosystems engineering) asked if six hours of natural science
credit were still required in one field, Professor Holmes responded
that it was. Professor Holmes clarified that his committee was
proposing a possible rather than a required change. He said the
committee members were suggesting that the UT Austin faculty “go
on record in saying that educating our students about science
and its impact on society is important.” He said the committee
hoped that course offerings addressing this important issue would
be expanded beyond those currently offered in natural sciences,
liberal arts, and geosciences. This motion will be an action
item at the January Council meeting.
behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, Professor David
Hillis (committee chair elect, integrative biology) thanked Professor
Holmes for all he has contributed to UT Austin and especially for
his service as chair of the Educational Policy Committee and as
a subcommittee chair on the Task Force on Curricular Reform. He
said he had learned by working with Professor Holmes of his “love
for The University of Texas” and tremendous “commitment
to the educational mission of this University.” Professor
Holmes will be joining the faculty at the University of Virginia
in January 2007.
|| Faculty Welfare Committee.
Professor Martha Hilley (committee chair, music) reported that her committee
elected Professor Michael Ferguson (social work) as vice chair and had met three
times during the fall semester. Human Resources Manager Robin Jarman met with
the committee in October to discuss a health insurance coverage problem that
had developed involving the Austin Diagnostic Clinic (ADC) and HMO Blue. ADC
had notified approximately 180 HMO Blue participants that it would no longer
honor HMO Blue coverage, leaving 300 individuals in need of new primary care
physicians and specialists. Professor Hilley commented that this scary situation
was entirely legal even though it imposed a hardships on the participants. The
committee met with Professor Gretchen Ritter, director of Women’s and Gender
Studies, regarding the modified instructional duties policy and determined that
members need increased awareness and information about this
opportunity through improved communication mechanisms. Professor
Hilley said she is also working with Dr. Hillary Hart (civil
engineering) on issues raised in the report of the Implementation
Committee on the Status of Non-tenure Track Faculty and the
development of materials they believe will be beneficial to
deans and chairs regarding these issues. In addition, the Board
of Regents recently approved the distinguished senior lecturer
designation. Professor Hilley said her committee is expecting
to receive a detailed report from Associate Dean Marv Hackert
on faculty travel grant awards made this fall after the new
policy changes were implemented. Data on the number of awards,
total and average award amounts, allocation patterns, administrative
load, etc. have been requested. These data will provide the
committee with information needed in relation to potential
policy recommendation regarding faculty interest in funding
coverage for lodging and/or per diem expenses.
Hilley introduced proposed legislation (D
5183) from her committee
that would (1) allow two parents who are both principal caregivers
to take modified instructional duty in the same semester, (2)
develop a standard for communication of University Family Friendly
Policies (UFFP), and (3) create communication vehicles for conveying
UFFPs regarding modified instructional duty for dissemination
to chairs, new faculty, and interviewees for faculty positions.
This proposed legislation will be an action item at the January
||Report from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
Dean Paul B. Woodruff announced that the Undergraduate Studies Advisory
Committee has been formed and is comprised of six associate deans,
six professors, and two students. (See Appendix
B for the handout
listing the committee members.) Dean Woodruff said he or his representatives
would be meeting with individuals who are responsible for specific
degree programs to determine how curricular reform might be practically
implemented. Efforts to expand the Freshman Seminar Program and
Freshman Interest Groups and to increase the academic presence
within residence halls are being pursued. Meetings with the Division
of Instructional Innovation and Assessment personnel and others
have been initiated to discuss evaluation strategies and methods.
||ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
|| The president will hold his General Faculty meeting immediately
following this Faculty Council meeting (December 11), at approximately
3:45 p.m. in Main 212.
|| Save the date for a holiday party at Professor Martha Hilley’s
home on December 17, 2006.
|| Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT
Faculty Council will be held at UT on March 5, 2007.
|| 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.
||QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR —None.
Chair Golden adjourned the meeting at 4:17 p.m.
Posted on the Faculty Council Web
on January 18, 2007. Paper copies are available on request from the
Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.
Question for President Powers Concerning Salary Compression
Dear President Powers:
Salary compression is a serious problem for the College of Liberal Arts
and especially for departments in the Humanities. My own department, English,
has faced this problem for many years. Because the market forces that drive
entry-level salaries have moved them up very fast, and because the amount
of money available for raises each year has been so meager, by the time Assistant
Professors have reached their tenure promotion year, they often make no more
than a recently hired beginner, no matter how much academic distinction they
have achieved. Moreover, matching offers for colleagues at all ranks have
typically moved them well ahead of everyone else in their rank, and have
often catapulted them beyond those in higher ranks whose accomplishments
are very substantial. In a report compiled by the College of Liberal Arts
for the 2004-2005 academic year, salaries in our department and in others
at the University have been compared with the salaries earned by professors
at comparable public institutions. Those institutions—our "peers"—include
national powerhouses such as Berkeley, Michigan, and Virginia, but also some
less distinguished places, such as Arizona and Penn State. The figures in
the report (adjusted for different costs of living) reveal that in my department,
Assistant Professors after their first year in rank make, on average, twenty
percent less than they would at comparable public institutions. For Associate
Professors, the average level of compensation is fifteen percent below what
they would earn at those other schools. And for Fulls, the situation is even
worse: they make twenty-five percent less than they would if they taught
at one of the universities we consider our peers. I would add that according
to the same COLA report, a similar, and similarly dismal, pictures results
when one reviews the figures compiled for the language departments as well
as for the visual and performing arts, whereas the report also shows that
professors in most of the social sciences make roughly what they would elsewhere,
while those in economics make well above the average, as do those in engineering
and in science departments such as physics.
Let me give you a few specifics about my own department, using information
provided by our 2006-2007 budget. As evidence of salary compression at the
rank of Assistant Professor, for instance, one can take what all the individuals
holding that rank make and compare it with what incoming Assistants have
been offered. If one does, what one finds is that the average compensation
for Assistant Professors in my department is only $3,000 greater than the
salaries offered to those who were just hired. In other words, in the years
after their arrival here, our Assistant Professors have scarcely made enough
in raises to keep them abreast of those who were hired after them—and
this despite the fact that our Assistant Professors have distinguished themselves
as scholars such that in recent years virtually none of them has been denied
tenure. The inadequacy of compensation for our faculty can also be seen in
the fact that one of our Assistant Professors, who recently had an outside
offer matched, now makes more than 23 of our 28 Associate Professors and
13 of our 39 Full Professors. Even more revelatory of the problem of salary
compression is what one finds at the upper end of our salary scale. The English
Department has twenty Full Professors who hold a Professorship, an honor
that confirms what one can see from their Vitae, namely, that they
are the most distinguished scholars in the department, scholars whose accomplishments
compare favorably with those of their colleagues at our peer institutions.
Nevertheless, the average base salary of those Professors in 2006-2007 is
only in the mid-$90,000 range. And if one subtracts from their ranks those
individuals who are involved in departmental and college administration,
that figure drops to just above $90,000. In other words, after many years
of excellent service and distinguished teaching here, and despite scholarly
productivity that has made them the leaders in their fields nationally, and
often internationally as well, our Full Professors holding Professorships
make less, often considerably less, not just than what they would make at
comparable institutions, but than what their colleagues in the social sciences,
the sciences, and engineering make at this University.
This situation has had a negative impact on morale at all levels of my department
and, I am sure, throughout similar departments in the College and the University.
One result has been to drive some of the best of our colleagues to find employment
elsewhere. This can be explained, of course, simply as an example of market
forces at work. However, it is also the result of demoralization that translates
into a lack of any real attachment to this institution that might outweigh
a desire to go elsewhere. I say this because in every case, the outside
offers our faculty have received have been matched by the University, but
many of our professors have elected to leave anyway. Although English remains
a very strong department that has been consistently ranked in the top twenty
departments nationally, we, like many other departments in the College, have
ambitions to improve our standing. The "brain drain" caused by
salary compression works to thwart those ambitions and thereby affects not
just us, but the College and the University as well.
English—and the Humanities in general—will play a key role in
teaching courses in the revised core curriculum about to be put into place
at the University. Not only will our faculty continue to assume full responsibility
for one of the required courses in it (English 316K), but we will doubtless
be involved in designing and teaching some of the required Signature Courses,
and we will certainly play an important role in teaching "flagged courses," in
particular those that focus on undergraduate writing. Indeed, in English
already more than eighty percent of our upper division courses are SWC courses.
Many of us are eager to participate in these curricular reforms, to be sure,
but it is essential that our morale and the commitment of all of our faculty
to the University continue to remain high. Consequently, my question to you,
President Powers, is the following:
Are you fully apprised of just how serious an issue salary compression
is for my department and for other similar departments in the College and the
University, and how do you and your administration plan to deal with this problem?
Wayne A. Rebhorn
Celanese Centennial Professor
Department of English
Faculty Council Member, 2005-2007
Report from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies
The Office of Undergraduate Studies has these missions:
|| To develop and maintain a solid core curriculum for all undergraduate
majors at the University, working closely with the existing Colleges
and Schools, in accordance with decisions of the Faculty Council.
|| To develop and maintain academic experiences for freshmen in learning
communities through seminars, interest groups, residence-hall based encounters
with faculty, signature courses and other initiatives.
|| To evaluate core courses and promulgate methods for improving them.
|| To advise students on matters relating to the core curriculum; to
foster and coordinate strategic advising programs for students who are
undecided about their majors, or are considering a change in major.
|| To initiate, enhance and coordinate academic programs that are open
to all undergraduates, working closely with the Schools and Colleges,
with special attention to the needs of students who have been denied
admission to the college or program of their choice.
Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee
Paul B. Woodruff, dean of Undergraduate Studies
Cale McDowell, special assistant to the dean
Urton Anderson, associate dean, McCombs School of Business
Mark Bernstein, associate dean, College of Communication
Pat Davis, associate dean, College of Pharmacy
David Dolling, associate dean, College of Engineering
Richard Flores, associate dean, College of Liberal Arts
David Laude, associate dean, College of Natural Sciences
Members of the General Faculty
David Hillis, professor, integrative biology
Brent Iverson, professor, chemistry and biochemistry
Larry Speck, professor, architecture
Laura Starks, professor, finance
James Vick, professor, mathematics
Sam Wilson, professor, anthropology
Kate Nanney, Senate of College Councils representative
Keshav Rajagopalan, Student Government representative