The first meeting (organizational meeting) was held on Monday, September 11, 2006, in MAI 212. Ken Ralls (the chair) pointed out that the committee's primary purpose is to nominate voting members of the General Faculty to the president for various standing committees of the General Faculty. Using our lists, Vice Provost Terri Givens will select members for each standing committee. The chair also pointed out that the committee's nominations will be made late in the spring semester, after Faculty Council Chair Elect Doug Burger has selected Faculty Council appointees to the various committees. Joan Mullin was elected vice chair.
Nominations for General Faculty Standing Committees
There were only 114 nominees for 25 committees on the initial deadline of Friday, February 16, 2007. Due to the low turnout, the chair requested that the Office of the General Faculty extend the nomination deadline to Friday, February 23, 2007.
At the request of the chair, the Office of the General Faculty sent a second message to the General Faculty requesting committee nominations (Appendix A3a, attachment 1
). A separate message was also sent to department chairs and to program directors requesting committee nominations (Appendix A3a, attachment 2
The result was a very large increase in the number of faculty nominated for the General Faculty Standing Committees. A message from Debbie Roberts in the Office of the General Faculty to the chair stated in part, "I think you will be happy to know that the final push for nominations from the voting members of the General Faculty was very successful! Online submissions totaled 453, with an additional 62 received via email. Very impressive! This is the most number of nominations received since I’ve been working in this office (1999)." Debbie Roberts prepared lists of faculty nominated for the various standing committees and conveyed the lists to the chair.
Message and Questionnaire Sent to Chairs of the General Faculty Standing Committees
The chair requested that the Office of the General Faculty send a message to standing chairs (Appendix A3b
). A set of questions was both appended to the message and included as a separate attachment. Only about seven standing chairs responded. This needs to be pursued further.
E-mail Meeting of the Faculty Committee on Committees
The tasks set forth for the email meeting initiated on March 7, 2007, were: (1) election of a chair elect for 2007-08; and (2) consideration of suggested changes in "Function" statements and/or in "Composition" statements for various standing committees of the general faculty. In addition, the committee members were reminded that our primary task is to nominate panels of faculty members for positions on standing committees so that the president (actually, a vice provost) can select committee members for 2007-08 standing committees.
The current chair volunteered to become chair elect, and a majority of committee members approved. However, one committee member suggested to we should not finalize this until the committee had a face-to-face meeting.
The chair also pointed out that changes in "Function" and/or "Composition" statements could go directly to the Faculty Council.2006-07 Standing Committee Membership Lists, 2007-08 Standing Committee Nominee Lists
Debbie Roberts compiled lists of faculty nominated for the various standing committees (2007-08) and lists of faculty currently serving on standing committees (2006-07), which included information about who is eligible (or ineligible) for reappointment and how many replacements are needed for each committee. In addition, she prepared a list of chairs elect, a list of faculty members elected by the general faculty to certain committees (A-1 Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and A-4 Faculty Grievance Committee), and a panel of names of those elected by the general faculty for selection (six out of twelve) by the president and vice provost for A-3 Faculty Committee on Committees. These documents
were distributed to committee members via campus mail and were made available online.
Faculty Council Appointments to General Faculty Standing Committees for 2007-08
After new and continuing members of the Faculty Council for 2007-08 had submitted their rank-ordered top five committee preferences, Doug Burger, chair elect of the Faculty Council, made standing committee appointments, two Faculty Council members on each committee. Professor Burger forwarded a copy of his appointments to the chair. The chair then attempted to schedule a face-to-face meeting of the Faculty Committee on Committees before classes ended, but this turned out to be impossible.
Meeting of the Faculty Committee on Committees
The meeting to make standing committee recommendations was held on May 10, 2007. The chair started with two agenda items: (1) balance the appointment of student members to certain committees, and (2) balance the number of replacement faculty members on each committee each year.
The first agenda item was based on a request from Kate Nanney, former chair of the Senate of College Councils, who met with Linda Golden, chair of the Faculty Council. Ms. Nanney requested that each general faculty standing committee that has student members have at least one student member from the Senate of College Councils. The Senate of College Councils is made up of the presidents or selected representatives of the 12 undergraduate councils and seven graduate councils at UT. The Senate of College Councils is the most academically oriented student governance organization, and it also has fostered academic integrity and the Honor Code. The chair expressed his opinion that Ms. Nanney's proposal has merit and should be implemented. Indeed, the committee proposed that there be a balance in representation, with at least one student member from each of the student governance organizations (Senate of College Councils, Student Government, and Graduate Student Assembly) serving on each committee that has student members. After some discussion, it was decided that the chair should contact each committee chair for the current year and each chair elect for next year and obtain their input, so that this issue can be brought up at the beginning of the 2007-08 academic year.
The second agenda item arises because many General Faculty Standing Committees have a mismatch in the number of replacement members appointed each year. An equal number of replacement members should join each committee each year. After some discussion, it was decided that input from committee chairs for the current year and chairs elect for next year should be obtained.
A third agenda item was election of a chair elect for the Faculty Committee on Committees. Once again, the current chair (Ken Ralls) volunteered and was elected unanimously.
The final agenda item was a discussion of the election of faculty panels of potential members for each General Faculty Committee (except A-1 Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and A-2 Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets). Each panel must have (at least) two more names than the number of replacements needed. The chair specified that the panels must be broadly representative of the General Faculty so that committee members come from various academic ranks and from various colleges or schools. He also pointed out that some committees have specific college or school membership requirements. The members directed the chair to check over the nominees' lists and delete any current, continuing members. He also was directed to fill in the rank and departmental affiliation of the Faculty Council appointees. He will transmit an Excel file listing the nominees and an Excel ballot to all committee members. Once votes have been submitted electronically, Chair Ralls and Vice Chair Mullin will look at the results. If any of the results do not meet the guidelines for broad representation, another face-to-face meeting will be called to rectify the situation.Recommendations
The nomination process and deadline need to be reconsidered next year. A longer time period should be used. More than one message must be sent out.
Standing committees need to evaluate whether or not they serve a useful purpose. They also need to decide if they have too many members.
Student membership needs to be considered again.
The balance between then number of replacement members from year to year needs to be considered again.
Some mechanism for determining if faculty members are willing to serve on General Faculty standing committees is needed.
The Faculty Committee on Committees needs to start consideration of the faculty panels earlier, and then make adjustments when the Faculty Council chair elect makes Faculty Council member appointments to the committees.
A scribe is needed to record the minutes of the meetings.Final Comments
I express my appreciation to all committee members who participated in and contributed to the committee's deliberations and votes.
Cc: Linda Golden <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Jennifer Morgan <email@example.com>,
Sue Alexander Greninger <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Standing Committee Function and Composition
From: Office of the General Faculty and Faculty Council <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 15:42:50 -0600
Dear Standing Committee Chair,
The Faculty Committee on Committees requests that all standing committees review their function and composition statements. See http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/
for the link to the list of standing committees for 2006-2007 and the link to Rules and Regulations. A serious review of all standing committees is needed.
Some committee chairs have commented to me that they believe their committee's scope of function is not as useful as it might be. The function statement can be changed, if the Faculty Council approves. Other committee chairs have told me that their committee serves no useful purpose. If this is the case, then the committee needs to be disbanded or merged with another committee. This also requires approval of the Faculty Council.
Please review your committee's function and composition statements and let me know if you want to submit a motion to the Faculty Council for any changes. I need these motions so that they can be forwarded to the Faculty Council Executive Committee, which may have helpful suggestions.
If you know of changes that you want to move on now, send them to me by February 26th. It may be possible for you to present them at the March 19th Faculty Council meeting, if you can do it by then.
If you do not know your changes, now, and require further committee work, please get your changes to me by March 26th so your changes can be presented at the April Faculty Council meeting. The sooner you alert me to the changes you need, the better. They will need to be presented in the form of a motion to the Faculty Council meeting to be effective, after the Committee on Committees does its work.
I have appended a longer (and somewhat redundant) set of questions following this message. Please respond to these as promptly as possible.
With best regards,
Chair, Faculty Committee on Committees 2006-2007
Dr. Kenneth M. Ralls
Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Office: ETC 9.178
The chair of each standing committee of the General Faculty must be a voting member of the General Faculty. The chair elect (for 2007-2008) must also be a voting member of the General Faculty.
Questions for All Standing Committees
||Does your Standing Committee serve a useful purpose or should it be disbanded or combined with another Standing Committee?
||Does your committee meet regularly (e.g., monthly during the academic year)? If it meets irregularly or infrequently, why?
||Is the "function" statement on the Faculty Council Web page that can be accessed from http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2006-2007/standcom/standcom.html accurate? Does it need to be modified? If so, how?
||How is your committee's agenda set? Is it related to the "function" statement?
||Does the "composition" statement on the Faculty Council Web page that can be accessed from http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2006-2007/standcom/standcom.html need to be modified? If so, how? For example, should the number of committee members be decreased? And should the balance of the committee be changed (number of faculty, staff, students and administrative adviser(s))?
||Do you recommend any faculty committee members for reappointment, if eligible? Please provide names, if you recommend them and they are willing to serve again.
||Have any faculty committee members have been unresponsive? Have any faculty committee members been unable to attend most of the meetings?
||Have any faculty council appointees have been unresponsive? Have any faculty council appointees been unable to attend most of the meetings?
||Have any staff committee members have been unresponsive? Have any staff committee members been unable to attend most of the meetings?
||Have any student committee members have been unresponsive? Have any student committee members been unable to attend most of the meetings?
Question for Committee C-8
||Should your committee have an administrative adviser?
Questions for Committees A-7, B-2, B-3, C-2, C-7, C-12
||Does the administrative adviser attend meetings or is a surrogate sent? Is the administrative adviser unable to attend most of the meetings?
||Is the administrative adviser appropriate for your committee?
||Does an unofficial "administrative adviser" attend your meetings?
Questions for Committees B-1, C-1, C-3, C-4, C-5, C-6, C-9, C-10, C-11, C-13
||Does each administrative adviser attend meetings or is a surrogate sent? Is any administrative adviser unable to attend most of the meetings?
Committee C-4 administrative advisers and consultants.
||Are the administrative advisers appropriate for your committee? Should the number of administrative advisers be decreased?
||Does an unofficial "administrative adviser" attend your meetings?
Office of the General Faculty
The University of Texas at Austin
West Mall Building, Room 2.102
P. O. Box 7816
Austin, TX 78713-7816
Office: (512) 471-5934
FAX (512) 471-5984