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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of February 18, 2008.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty and Faculty Council
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
February 18, 2008
The sixth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2007-2008 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, February 18, 2008, at 2:15 p.m.
ATTENDANCE.Present:. Lawrence D. Abraham, Mark I. Alpert, Judy Copeland Ashcroft, Tawny L. Bettinger, Daniel J. Birkholz, Gary D. Borich, Douglas C. Burger, Virginia G. Burnett, Linda J. Carpenter, Elizabeth Cullingford, Molly E. Cummings, Gustavo A. De Veciana, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Jeanne H. Freeland-Graves, Alan W. Friedman, Juan C. González, Darlene Grant, Sue A. Greninger, Bretna M. Hackert, Kenneth J. Hale, Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Steven W. Leslie, Robert P. Lieli, Reid Long, Carol H. MacKay, Stephen Myers, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Alba A. Ortiz, Domino R. Perez, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, William C. Powers, Keshav Rajagopalan, Kenneth M. Ralls, Gretchen Ritter, Brian E. Roberts, Andrew C. Solomon, Shannon Speed, Janet Staiger, Mary A. Steinhardt, Nikita Storojev, Nicole E. Trinh, Jeffrey K. Tulis, Clark R. Wilson, Sharon L. Wood.
Absent: Kamran Ali, Urton L. Anderson (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Matthew J. Bailey, Eric J. Barron, Christopher J. Bell, Hans C. Boas (excused), Lisa J. Cary (excused), Patricia L. Clubb, Miles Lynn Crismon, Douglas J. Dempster, Randy L. Diehl, Andrew P. Dillon, John S. Dzienkowski, Richard B. Eason, Sherry L. Field, Kevin M. Foster (excused), Brian C. Gatten, George W. Gau, Linda V. Gerber, Linda L. Golden (excused), Edmund (Ted) Gordon (excused), Michael H. Granof (excused), Donald A. Hale, Ian F. Hancock (excused), Roderick P. Hart, Fred M. Heath, Neville Hoad, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Nancy P. Kwallek (excused), Wayne Lesser, Raul L. Madrid, Michael J. McFarlin, Robin D. Moore (excused), Joan A. Mullin (excused), John H. Murphy (excused), Jon E. Olson (excused), Cynthia Osborne (excused), Thomas G. Palaima (excused), Shirley Bird Perry, Mary Ann Rankin, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, John H. Richburg, Victoria Rodriguez, Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Paul R. Shapiro, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Pauline T. Strong (excused), Jeffrey Vaaler (excused), Gregory J. Vincent, N. Bruce Walker, Barbara W. White, Travis W. Witherspoon, Stacy Wolf (excused), Paul B. Woodruff (excused), Patrick Woolley (excused).
Voting Members: 44 present , 33 absent, 77 total. Non-Voting Members: 9 present, 28 absent, 37 total. Total Members 53 present, 61 absent, 114 total.
I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D 6089-6099; there were no questions or corrections.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
Minutes of the Regular Faculty Council meeting of January 28, 2008 (D 6100-6117) will be considered at the March 24 meeting of the Faculty Council.
III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
A. Comments by the President.
President Powers said he thought there were some issues, which were not regular agenda items, where it could be helpful to have discursive conversation with Faculty Council representatives. He commented that this process had recently been initiated with the Faculty Council Executive Committee on the topic of how the faculty and departments fit into the development needs and activities of the University. He said he was willing to participate in forums where additional time could be devoted to discussion and idea generation, such as the upcoming breakfasts scheduled with Council members.
B. Questions to the President—None.
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair Doug Burger (computer sciences) announced that two breakfasts for Council members, one on April 1 and the other on May 1,had been scheduled at the Campus Club at 7:00 a.m. Emails were to be sent out to Council members, asking them to preference one of the two dates on a first-come first-serve basis. He said about half of the Council would attend each breakfast, and this format had been chosen to facilitate interactive discussion. Although Chair Burger expected fundraising and development issues would be highlighted, he said other matters could be discussed as well.
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
Chair Elect David Hillis (integrative biology) reported there were additional seats on the bus that will transport Council members to the annual Texas A&M Senate and UT Austin Faculty Council meeting in College Station on March 17. He said the theme of the meeting was “Taking Responsibility for Shared Governance,” and the keynote speaker would be Mr. Raymund Paredes, commissioner of higher education at The Coordinating Board. Agenda items will include an update from Texas legislators on higher education priorities and issues, remarks by the presidents and provosts of each institution, and faculty presentations/discussions regarding core curriculum issues, curricular reform, and academics-athletics concerns and opportunities.
Chair Elect Hillis said the meeting was scheduled from approximately 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and the bus would depart Austin at 9:00 a.m. and return at approximately 5:00 p.m. Council members who are interested in attending should contact Debbie Roberts in the Office of the General Faculty.
VI. UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
A. Resolution Endorsing the Goals and Principles of the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) Proposals on Reforms in Intercollegiate Athletics (D 6001-6004).
Chair Elect Hillis, representing the Faculty Council Executive Committee, reviewed the resolution that had been introduced and discussed at the January Council meeting. He explained that the
original attachment to the motion, which had included a list of specific COIA recommendations, had been modified to include only the goals and principles of the COIA proposal because the motion, as originally introduced, had deliberately addressed the goals and principles rather than the specific recommendation. He said the COIA report was primarily intended to encourage discussion that could facilitate the development of athletic reforms at the national level, and the specific recommendation would be unlikely to be voted on at the individual university level. He said that some of the specific recommendations might not be applicable or appropriate for every college or university. Saying he had heard from some faculty members who felt the motion did not go far enough and others who felt some of the specific recommendations would be problematic for UT Austin, he perceived that the focus should involve the non-controversial goals and principles instead of the specific recommendations.
Women’s Athletics Council Chair, Professor Mary Steinhardt (kinesiology and health education) presented the following statement from the women’s and men’s athletic councils in support of the motion on the floor:
The men’s and women’s athletics councils would like to speak in support of Dr. Hillis’ motion. In fact, we offer a friendly amendment, that the word “generally” be struck from the resolution because we believe that COIA principles and goalsare in accord with the fundamental values of the University. At the same time, we offer two points of clarification for the record. One is that the COIA is an informal body and as such the men’s and women’s athletics councils will abide by Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents, UT Austin, and the NCAA. Secondly, given that the recommended practices have not been studied by the athletics councils or this body, our endorsement of the goals and principles is not an endorsement of COIA recommended practices. Faculty Council may also want to seek the opinion of the men’s and women’s athletics department with regard to COIA. The athletics councils look forward to a continuing dialog with the Faculty Council on COIA principles, goals, and practices and to our continued efforts to enhance academics through athletics for the benefit of the University community.
Chair Elect Hillis thanked Professor Steinhardt, said he had no problem with replacing the word “generally” with “are in accord” in the proposed motion and asked if any Council members objected to the change. When he asked for a formal vote on the amendment, Professor Desmond Lawler (civil, architectural, and environmental engineering) responded there would be no need for a vote if the wording change were accepted as a friendly amendment.
Mr. Stephen Myers (chair, Senate of College Councils) reported that the Senate had voted on the COIA recommendations last semester and supported the current proposal regarding its goals and principles. When he asked if there had been a discussion or plan to study the recommendations to determine their applicability to UT Austin and possible strategies for implementation, Chair Elect Hillis said he thought appropriate committees would be reviewing the proposal, but he did not think there had been an effort to do so thus far because most of the specific recommendations pertained to national reform efforts. He said he thought there would be interaction with the various NCAA committees.
Professor Gretchen Ritter (government, women’s and gender studies) said she would like to see the ad hoc Committee on Enhancing Academics through Athletics review the COIA report and make recommendations regarding whether or not UT Austin would want to advocate passage of certain measures by the NCAA and to explore the possibility of local implementation. Chair Elect Hillis responded he would want Professor Alba Ortiz to address this question, but he felt her committee did not see its charge as encompassing the issue Professor Ritter had raised. Professor Ortiz replied that members of her committee felt their focus was quite specific in terms of finding ways that athletics could support academic programs and therefore recommended that another ad hoc committee be named to address this issue.
Professor Lawler urged the Council to approve the motion because he said it was an important document for UT Austin to support because of its national and international stature in athletics. There being no further questions or comments, Chair Burger called for a voice vote on the motion, and it was unanimously approved. Chair Burger thanked Chair Elect Hillis for his leadership in bringing the issue to the attention of the Council.
VII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
A. Report of the Faculty Council Ad Hoc Committee on Academics Enhancement through Athletics.
Committee Chair Ortiz reported on the progress of her committee. A transcription of her report and copies of her PowerPoint slides are attached in Appendix A and B.
B. Reports from the General Faculty Standing Committees.
1. Faculty Committee on Committees.
Professor Kenneth M. Ralls (mechanical engineering and committee chair) reviewed the function and composition of the committee and said that the committee’s primary focus is to produce lists of faculty members based on nominations received for the General Faculty Standing Committees. The proposed lists are then forwarded to the administration, where Vice Provost Terri Givens evaluates and makes the selections and appointments. The nomination phase for next year’s committee members produced initially 465 on-line nominations and 34 additional ones sent in by email. Last year, the nominations totaled 773 received.
There have been four meetings thus far, but more will be needed to complete the recommendations for committee service for next year. Professor Nick Lasorsa was elected vice chair of the committee. In the most recent meetings, which were held with Vice Provost Givens and her assistant, Mr. Kevin Carney, committee members discussed “how can we get more faculty to buy into faculty governance at UT Austin and participate in the standing committee process as well as the Faculty Council?” Suggestions included having college/school councils as a part of the faculty governance structure and providing training to empower committee chairs since the effectiveness of the committee often depends on the capability and enthusiasm of the chair.
2. Committee on Financial Aid to Students.
Professor Clark R. Wilson (geological sciences and committee chair) reviewed the composition of his committee, which includes two Faculty Council members, five additional faculty members, two staff advisors, five student members, and three ex officio administrators. In addition to initiating and reviewing policies and procedures related to financial aid, the committee hears the appeals of dissatisfied students. The committee has met once each semester so far and is scheduling appeals hearings this spring.
There has been a good deal of interface with the acting director, Dr. Chuck Sorber, who came out of retirement to provide interim leadership after the former director left. Dr. Sorber has reported that morale and functioning of the office is good and conflict of interest training has been emphasized, but there are funding issues related to office administration, reduction of tuition for students from low-income families, and incentives to attract National Merit Scholars. According to Professor Wilson, Professor Pat Somers, the committee’s vice chair, has a professional interest in student financial aid, and is serving on the search committee for the permanent director. The entire committee will be interacting with the finalists for the permanent director, and Professor Somers is providing ways for the committee members to provide feedback regarding the candidates.
3. Faculty Building Advisory Committee.
Professor Ofodike A. Ezekoye (mechanical engineering and committee chair) reported that his committee is charged with representing the faculty in major capital projects on campus.
The committee addresses issues of accessibility, sustainability, programming, ascetics, and adequacy of instructional space in its review of new building projects. Committee members are assigned to specific projects on an ad hoc basis and serve on subcommittees, such as the one involved in the review of art. The committee meets monthly and is comprised of nine faculty members, one staff member, and three students on his committee.
Professor Ezekoye said the overall committee strongly recommended that the Experimental Science Building project be designed to minimize its impact on the environment; as a result the building is proposed to have a living green roof and solar-thermal heating located on the roof He said the administration was receptive to these recommendations even though they involved a slight deviation from the campus master plan. Other projects underway, largely along Speedway, include the Dell Computer Science Hall, Chilling Station 6, and the Student Activity Center; the committee is anticipating that plans for a new liberal arts facility will be eventually forthcoming. To improve accessibility for individuals who face various disabilities and other challenges, there are eight restrooms in the central campus areas being converted to unisex facilities. The Americans with Disability Act Committee will be evaluating the suitability of these facilities in order to provide input for future renovations across campus.
4. Parking and Traffic Appeals Panel.
Professor Thomas Milner (biomedical engineering and committee chair) will report at the April 14 Faculty Council meeting.
5. Recruitment and Retention Committee.
Professor Lisa Bedore (communication sciences and disorders and committee chair) reported that her committee has met monthly and initiated its work by reviewing the extent to which the diversity of the student body reflects that of the community at large. She said the committee’s analysis indicated that the student population of certain minority groups is continuing to increase, but there are still areas where challenges exist. The proportion of African-American students on campus is still significantly lower than that of the population at large. Even though the proportion of American Indian students on campus appears to be approaching the proportion in the broader community, the number of students is very small and falls short of the critical mass the committee members perceive is needed to assist this group in achieving various satisfactory outcomes on campus.
Professor Bedore reported that the survey initiated by the committee last year to review recruitment policies across campus provided various levels of detail in the plans they received; however, it did not yield the list of best practices, which the committee had hoped to determine and disseminate across campus. This year the committee scheduled meetings with personnel from the new Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Preliminary results indicate that centralization and increased accountability of efforts have provided some positive results. She said her committee needed to continue to support recruitment efforts and facilitate retention and graduation of students. Because undergraduates see graduate students as role models for success, particular emphasis is needed to recruit and retain graduate students from diverse backgrounds. Efforts to secure funding though training grants and/or minority supplements need to be increased. In addition, thematic hiring to increase the diversity of the faculty should be pursued to positively impact research funding.
6. Research Policy Committee.
Professor John W. Kappelman (anthropology and committee chair) will report at the March 24 Faculty Council meeting.
7. Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee.
Professor Brian L. Evans (electrical and computer engineering and committee chair) used PowerPoint to make his presentation; the content on the slides is attached in Appendix C. He reported that his committee was comprised of five members of the General Faculty, two Faculty Council appointees, one staff graduate coordinator, three graduate students, and a
non-voting administrative adviser from the Graduate School. The committee is charged with advising the president and the Faculty Council on matters pertaining to the responsibilities, rights, welfare of graduate student employees, which includes teaching assistants (TAs), assistant instructors (AIs), graduate research assistants (GRAs) and graduate graders.
Professor Evans said he had selected a few representative activities his committee had been addressing to share with the Council. In the area of rights, he said the committee had looked at the grievance process for academic employees and what students should do when they have complaints or issues with the professors or departments for whom they are working. Although there are policies in the Handbook of Operating Procedures, the committee members thought it would be helpful to distill the process into steps that were easy to understand and follow. Another rights issue involved the Family and Medical Leave Act, which is not usually applicable to graduate students because their work generally does not involve the requisite 25 hours per week for 12 continuous months of service. At present, the department chair or the dean, who may have an emergency fund, handles the situations on an ad hoc basis. These events, which often involve pregnancy/birth or illness, have become more frequent, and the committee believes an equitable solution is greatly needed here at UT Austin.
Under responsibilities, the committee has talked with the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment about guidelines for at least an informal agreement or contract that outlines work expectations between the instructor and TA. Last November and December, the committee surveyed 2000 TAs and AIs with a 25-item questionnaire using SurveyGizmo. The data are currently being processed and should be available soon. In the meantime, interested faculty members can review the survey instrument as well as the minutes of the committee’s four meetings on the Faculty Council web site.
Professor Evans said the information on his last slide had been developed by the committee last year and is based on internal data from UT’s Graduate School and Office of Student Financial Aid regarding pay levels for TAs and AIs as well as living expenses. Although specific schools/colleges/departments are not identified, the data indicate considerable variance in the levels of pay for TAs and AIs across campus. When measures of living expenses are factored in, Professor Evans reported that 40 percent of the graduate student employees end up not meeting living expenses after one academic year. He said the committee was trying to determine how to deal with this problem and was “still trying to hammer out the details” before presenting a proposal to the Faculty Council.
Professor Ritter asked what kind of policies or proposals the committee had been considering about the problems caused by graduate student employees being ineligible for coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act. Professor Evans said the committee had identified that this was being dealt with on a special case basis and varied across campus. He said the committee had discussed the issue but had not come up with anything concrete enough to draft a proposal to present to the Council. He said this was a “very tough issue,” and the committee would appreciate any input and ideas regarding possible solutions from Council members.
Professor Janet Staiger (radio/television/film and women’s and gender studies) said the Faculty Grievance Committee runs the grievance processes for TAs and AIs and is working on a revision of the Handbook of Operating Procedures so that Section 4.03 will conform to Section 3.18. She suggested that the committee might want to talk with members of the Faculty Grievance Committee. When Professor Evans said the policy in the Handbook was fairly long, Professor Staiger agreed that the policy would not be simplified, but it would be the same policy available to faculty members and the committee perceives that it is a very good policy. She suggested that Professor Evans and his committee members might want to talk with her, since she is responsible for the revisions, or with Professor Alan Friedman (English), who is the chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee. Professor Evans thanked her for the information.
VIII. NEW BUSINESS.
Proposal from the Educational Policy Committee to Add an Honorary A+ to the Grading System (D 6088).
After saying this proposal to add an honorary A+ was a minor expansion of the recently approved plus-minus grading system and would not be an action item until the March Faculty Council meeting, Professor Lawler (committee chair) read the motion as follows:The motion is
- That the grading system at the University of Texas at Austin be amended to include an A+;
- That this grade be worth 4.0 quality points (the same as the grade of A) in calculating the GPA or any other grade-related statistic;
- That this grade be shown on students' transcripts, and
- That this amendment will only be instituted if approved by both the Graduate Assembly and the Faculty Council, that is, if the grading system is to apply for all graduate and undergraduate courses.
Professor Lawler explained that the last statement in the motion was included because the original motion to approve the pass-fail grading system was worded so that the undergraduate grading system would be the same as the plus-minus graduate grading system, which already exists and does not include an A+.Professor Lawler responded, “What the motion suggests is that if it passes both assemblies then it’s a go, and if it doesn’t pass both assemblies, that is to say if it’s rejected by either group, then it’s a no-go.” When Chair Burger said he just wanted to be clear about the automatic change occurring if both the Graduate Assembly and the Faculty Council passed the same motion, Professor Lawler replied, “Yes, well of course everything has to be approved by the president….” He added that he thought faculty members have opinions about this proposal, and he encouraged Council member to poll faculty members in their departments either formally or informally so they will know how their colleagues feel about this proposed legislation that will be voted up or down at the March 24 Council meeting.
Chair Burger requested clarification of the motion’s intent by asking the following: if the Graduate Assembly passed a similar motion to the one the Faculty Council was considering and the Faculty Council passed the motion presented today at its March meeting, would the grading system change occur automatically and not come back before the Faculty Council.
IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
A. Senate of College Councils is hosting the University's official debate watching party on Thursday, February 21. The screening will take place in the Union Ballroom and will start at 5:30 p.m . B. The next Faculty Council meeting will be held on Monday, March 24 at 2:15 in Main 212. C. The General Faculty college nomination phase for election to the Faculty Council will be February 25 through March 7. D. A charter bus has been reserved for transportation to the Joint Meeting at College Station on March 17. Please RSVP no later than March 3 and indicate if you will be riding the bus. E. The General Faculty college voting phase for election to the Faculty Council will be March 31 through April 11. F. Standing Committees should elect a chair elect to serve as chair beginning the first class day of fall 2008. Please provide that information to the Office of the General Faculty no later than March 10. G. Two breakfast meetings with the president have been scheduled, one on April 1 and the other on May 1. Please sign up to attend one of these two breakfasts by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR—None.
Chair Burger adjourned the meeting at 3:17 p.m.
Posted on the Faculty Council web site on March 21, 2008. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.
Transcription of Report of the ad hoc Committee on Enhancing Academics through Athletics
Alba Ortiz, chair
I think you may recall that in 2006, Linda Golden named a Faculty Council committee on academics and athletics. Doug reinstituted the committee this year and asked me to chair and then invited me today to give you a progress report on the work of the committee. The committee chose to focus very narrowly on the charge to identify ways men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics support the University’s academic community and then to identify other opportunities to call attention to the outstanding contributions of the faculty and the teaching, research, and service communities, very unashamedly using the resources of the athletics department. Before telling you about the work that we’ve done, I’d like to share with you that the members of the committee are five faculty including David Fowler, chair of the Men’s Athletics Council and Mary Steinhardt, chair of the Women’s Athletics Council. We were approached by the student representatives on the Faculty Council asking for representation on the committee, and Reid Long joined us recently as their representative.
We had a lot of ideas as we began to think about how we could highlight academics through athletics. I guess I would have to share with you that many of the recommendations that we had we discovered were already in place. They were things that athletics was already doing. In addition, though, I think the collaborative effort that we have launched working with the athletics department has really led to athletics expanding the way that it focuses on the academic components of the community. The other thing that we discovered in doing our work is that athletics works hand in hand with the Office of Public Affairs under the leadership of Don Hale, and that while athletics provides the venues, public affairs often times provides the content of the publicity that is disseminated through athletics.
What I’d like to do then is to share with you some of the ways that athletics is supporting academics. We met and decided that one of the things that we could do was to utilize the athletic events and the Jumbotrons to call attention to the work of the faculty here on campus. We developed a list and sent it to athletics only to discover that actually since 2006 they have been highlighting the contributions of faculty at each of the home games. The publicity is sponsored by ING financial and this is the Jumbotron at the Texas Tech game, which was attended by 86,000 fans. The Professors of Excellence is a video board focus on two faculty members. It talks about their accomplishments. There’s a public address announcement. At the Texas Tech game, David Oshinsky, Pulitzer Prize winner, and James Daniel, award winning teacher, were the focus of the Professor of Excellence awards. You can’t see this very well, but this is a full stadium. I think that what we wanted to share with you is that the home football games really do provide an excellent venue to call attention to the work of the faculty. We’ve had 46 consecutive sell-out games, and so we really do have a captive audience where we can highlight the contributions of the faculty to a wide audience. This is the list of faculty that were highlighted this past football season. It includes members of the athletics councils as well as faculty such as Michael Granof and Shelley Payne who are recipients of the Civitatis Awards.
In December 15, 2007, the athletics department began highlighting faculty at the Erwin Center, the home basketball games. This is an example of the video boards. In this case Dr. Pat Somers is being highlighted, and attention is being called to the work that she does around the topics of the changes in levels of family involvement in the lives of their children, and particularly her recent work on what she calls hovering parents or helicopter parents, which are parents that support their college-age students in a variety of ways, everything from helping them with term papers, dorm decorating to laundry and selecting girlfriends and boyfriends. That’s kind of an interesting twist on the academic research. These are the faculty members that are being highlighted at the home basketball games. I think all of you are aware that this Friday we’ll have our first baseball game at the UFCU Disch-Falk Baseball Stadium. We’re looking forward to that. We’ll also be watching faculty spotlights on their Jumbotron.
Since January faculty spotlights have been included on the Longhorn Sports Center weekly television show. This show is aired throughout the state on network affiliates as well as regionally on FoxSports net and nationally on the college sports TV network, CSTV. We were going to show you a video clip, but I guess the technology in this room isn’t exactly what we needed so we could put enhancing the technology in this room on the list of ways that athletics could support the academic community. One of the video clips focuses on Mary
6155Lou Adams from the School of Nursing and the work that she’s been doing with the African-American Breast Cancer Outreach Project. This is a project funded by the Texas Cancer Council, which resulted in the screening of 8,000 women and identification of 100 cancers that were successfully treated. This is the list of faculty highlighted on the sports TV show.
Another resource for focusing attention on the academic community is BevoD, the Time Warner Cable sports on demand subscription service. Among the things shown the BevoD network are video documentaries that focus on various units on the University campus. These are some of the examples: inside the Ransom Center, the McDonald Observatory, and the Solar Decathlon. Another way that faculty are being highlighted are through campus videos. These are again, faculty spotlights that appear on TexasSports.com, our web site. They also appear in the football game day printed program and the Longhorn Scoreboard, which is athletics newsletter. This is the campus cameo that also focused on Mary Lou Adams and her work with cancer screening. Another of the cameos featured Grant Wilson and S.V. Sreenivasan from the College of Engineering who came up with better ways to manufacture computer chips and optic devices for less money leading to the establishment of a technology start-up company. These cameos have actually been highlighted on the football program for several years so we can’t really take credit for that. They’re also now found on TexasSports.com, which as I said is the web site for athletics. That web site enjoys about 5.5 million page views per month. The link to UT Austin has been improved graphically and the placement on the sports.com web page so that people can find it more easily. They have also re-done the page that focuses on men’s and women’s athletics so that it’s more easily read. You can’t read it very easily, but it has the names of the members and the nature of their appointment, and it includes obviously the Faculty Council appointments. Finally, those are things that we have been exploring and the ways that we have found that UT athletics focuses on the academic community.
There are several other things that are in the works. As I mentioned I think, campus video documentaries are going to be available through TexasSports.com so that what you see on the television network will be available through the web site. We’re working--our athletics--is exploring the possibility of having faculty spotlights on network radio broadcasts. It’s talking with the UT radio-television-film department about some possible mini documentary series, and then it’s also exploring the possibility of broadcasting the UT Commencement address on XM satellite radio. That concludes our report.
I’d like to say that we have been joined in our discussions by members of the athletics staff including the athletics directors, DeLoss Dodds and Chris Plonsky, who are really supportive of the work that we are doing. The committee has particularly been helped by Nick Voinis, who has served as our primary liaison and has dedicated a lot of time to helping us do our research and to pull together information. As I said, one of the things that provided a really a pleasant surprise to us is that we probably were not giving athletics the credit it deserved for really spotlighting the work of the faculty. I’d like to thank the athletics staff for helping us. DeLoss has offered the services of Julian Reed, a marketing consultant, to help us think of other ways to bring attention to the academic mission of the University, and finally, Hugh McCann, who is the technology expertise behind the PowerPoint. Thank you.
Ad Hoc Committee on
Academics Enhancement Through Athletics
February 18, 2008
C-12 Responsibilities, Rights and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee
February 18, 2008