April 14, 2008



Faculty Grievance Committee Proposal to Revise the Handbook of Operating Procedures 4.03, Teaching Assistant and Assistant Instructor Grievance Procedures (D 6174-6183).

Professor Alan Friedman (English and committee chair) announced that Professor Mary Steinhardt had been appointed the new ombudsperson. He said both the faculty and administration were pleased with the outcome of the selection process, and he expected a smooth transition and continued success for this important service to faculty.

Professor Friedman said the intent of his committee’s legislation was to make the grievance process for teaching assistants (TAs) and assistant instructors (AIs) in section 4.03 of the Handbook of Operating Procedures parallel that of the faculty, which is specified in section 3.18. He described the major differences between the two processes as follows:

  1. The process for TAs and AIs would terminate at the presidential level whereas the one for faculty, in many cases, continues beyond the campus to the UT System’s Board of Regents. He said the general consensus among faculty and administrators was that cases involving TAs and AIs should be resolved on campus.
  2. There are slight differences in the description in item 2.A.1. regarding the academic freedom of TAs and AIs from that of the faculty because the work of graduate student employees is generally supervised by faculty members. He explained that this primarily involved constraints related to the structure and curricula of courses under the direction of faculty members.
Professor Friedman pointed out that the proposed legislation applied to TAs and AIs in their roles as teachers and did not apply to graduate student employees involved in research and other non-teaching activities.

After thanking Professor Friedman for his report, Chair Burger congratulated Professor Steinhardt and thanked her for accepting the position of ombudsperson.

Return to the minutes of April 14, 2008.