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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of September 17, 2007.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
SEPTEMBER 17, 2007
The first regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2007-2008 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, September 17, 2007, at 2:15 p.m.
Present: Lawrence D. Abraham, Kamran Ali, Urton L. Anderson, Efraim P. Armendariz, Matthew J. Bailey, Christopher J. Bell, Daniel J. Birkholz, Gary D. Borich, Douglas C. Burger, Linda J. Carpenter, Lisa J. Cary, Patricia L. Clubb, Molly E. Cummings, Gustavo A. De Veciana, John S. Dzienkowski, Kevin M. Foster, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Jeanne H. Freeland-Graves, Alan W. Friedman, Brian C. Gatten, Linda V. Gerber, Linda L. Golden, Juan C. González, Edmund (Ted) Gordon, Michael H. Granof, Darlene Grant, Sue A. Greninger, Kenneth J. Hale, Ian F. Hancock, Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Neville Hoad, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Nancy P. Kwallek, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Steven W. Leslie, Robert P. Lieli, Reid Long, Carol H. Mackay, Raul L. Madrid, Michael J. McFarlin, Robin D. Moore, Joan A. Mullin, Stephen Myers, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Jon E. Olson, Alba A. Ortiz, Thomas G. Palaima, Domino R. Perez, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, William C. Powers, Keshav Rajagopalan, Kenneth M. Ralls, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, John H. Richburg, Gretchen Ritter, Brian E. Roberts, Andrew C. Solomon, Janet Staiger, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, Mary A. Steinhardt, Pauline T. Strong, Nicole E. Trinh, Jeffrey K. Tulis, Gregory J. Vincent, Clark R. Wilson, Travis W. Witherspoon, Sharon L. Wood, Paul B. Woodruff, Patrick Woolley.
Absent: Mark I. Alpert (excused), Judy Copeland Ashcroft, Eric J. Barron, Tawny L. Bettinger (excused), Hans C. Boas (excused), Virginia G. Burnett (excused), Miles Lynn Crismon, Elizabeth Cullingford, Douglas J. Dempster, Randy L. Diehl, Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Sherry L. Field, George W. Gau, Bretna M. Hackert (excused), Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Fred M. Heath, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Desiderio Kovar (excused), Wayne Lesser (excused), John H. Murphy (excused), Cynthia Osborne, Shirley Bird Perry, Mary Ann Rankin, Victoria Rodriguez, Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Paul R. Shapiro (excused), Shannon Speed (excused), James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Nikita Storojev (excused), Ben G. Streetman, Jeffrey Vaaler (excused), N. Bruce Walker, Barbara W. White, Stacy Wolf (excused).
Voting Members: 62 present , 15 absent, 77 total. Non-Voting Members: 13 present, 24 absent, 37 total. Total Members 75 present, 39 absent, 114 total.
Posted on the Faculty Council web site on October 12, 2007. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
The written report appears in D 5562-5574. Secretary Sue Greninger updated the written report by saying a letter from Vice Provost Terri Givens had been received after the written report was posted. The letter indicated that the Revised Motion to Change the Definition of University Honors (D 4779-4780) had been disapproved and included the following comments: " I do not feel I can approve this change as written. I base my decision on the attached summary by Mike Allen, Associate Registrar, of issues affecting the implementation of changes suggested in this document. If the concerns raised in this summary are addressed and appropriate revisions are made, I will be happy to reconsider approval of this motion." The analysis by Associate Registrar Allen, which was sent to former Vice Provost Lucia Gilbert on June 7, 2006, is included in Appendix A.
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
Minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of May 7, 2007 (D 5447-5459), the special 2007-2008 Faculty Council meeting of May 7, 2007 (D 5460-5462), and the special 2006-2007 Faculty Council meeting of May 16, 2007 (D 5463-5467) were approved by voice vote.
III. NEW BUSINESS.
A. AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center (EECC).
Chair Doug Burger (computer sciences) introduced Vice President Pat Clubb (Employee and Campus Services), who acknowledged the following individuals: Associate Vice President Marla Martinez, Campus Club Director Alicia Bogart, EECC General Manager Ted Hibler, and EECC Director of Sales and Marketing Doug Copeland. The EECC is to be managed by Compass Flik, and the Campus Club will be located within the center. Vice President Clubb indicated that faculty input was wanted regarding the planned revamping of the new Campus Club facility. She then introduced Senior Project Manager Will Shepherd, who gave the EECC PowerPoint presentation. Mr. Shepherd’s visual presentation is included in Appendix B and the transcription of his verbal presentation is included in Appendix C.
When Professor Gretchen Ritter (government, women’s and gender studies) asked what would happen to the building that the Campus Club currently occupies, Vice President Clubb responded that the decision-making process was just getting underway and no decisions have been made. She said she thought the building would require considerable renovation regardless of what function it performs in the future. Professor Alan Friedman (English) said he was somewhat confused since the EECC had been referred to as a UT facility and also a McCombs School of Business facility. He asked if special rates would be available for rooms for all University guests or just for business school guests and whether business school functions would be given priority over other units on campus. Vice President Clubb explained that the business school was the center’s anchor client because it had allowed the center “to guarantee a certain level of business” that would be sustaining. She said the center would be open to the entire University community for conferences, seminars, speakers, workshops, retreats, meetings, and faculty and student recruitment, through normal booking procedures. Vice President Clubb said pricing of rooms and other services would be based on the types of activities requested, number of attendees, time of year, etc. She said one of the unique features of the new center would be the amount of available conference space, with 35,000 net square feet. When Professor Friedman asked about the overnight rates that would be charged, Vice President Clubb said she thought room charges averaged $139 per night. Ted Hibler indicated that he thought the rates were higher by saying, “Well you look at a market like Austin, Texas, it can range depending on time of year from a state rate from $85 all the way upwards of $200. It really just depends on time of year, how far in advance, special events, a number of other factors, could affect the rate. If you look at the overall market costs, $139-149, you’re in that ballpark.” Vice President Clubb indicated that rates would be higher on football weekends.
When Professor Luis Francisco-Revilla (information) asked about the technology services that would be provided at the conference center, Vice President Clubb said that $5 million of the $25 million paid by AT&T for the naming opportunity had been used to upgrade technology to bring it up to AT&T standards. Will Shepherd said there would be a dual network system. Those whose offices are in the conference center and those from the McCombs School will be on the University network while students and other guests will be on the local AT&T network; however, the latter group will be able to access the University network if they have proper authentication. As far as wired versus wireless, both will be available in most locations, and there will be a complete wireless overlay throughout the building for both laptops and cell phones.
When Mr. Stephen Myers (Senate of College Councils) asked if special rates would be available for students and their organizations, Vice President Clubb said all requests for space and its use would be considered in the overall calendar of the year. She encouraged those interested in possibly using the new facility to make a call and ask for pricing after specifying their needs. She said that package rates that include guest rooms, meeting rooms, and food will be available.
When Professor Tom Palaima (classics) asked if the facility would have an academic café for those who were not interested in the sports café, Vice President Clubb said the Carillon would be the replacement for the Campus Club and would continue as a membership organization. A large dining facility will be available for conference attendees. The presentation ended with Mr. Shepherd inviting groups to call him to arrange a tour of the new building.
B. Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL).
Professor David Hillis (integrated biology) called for a point of order and requested item IIIB be moved to the announcement section of the agenda due to the length of the meeting. The IIIB presenters said they would take only about ten minutes of the Council’s time, and Chair Burger agreed to leave the agenda order as published when Professor Hillis did not insist that a vote be called. Dr. Connie Deutsch, director of the Employee Assistance Program, and Dr. Chris Brownson, director of the Student Counseling and Mental Health Center, presented information about the BCAL program, which has been implemented in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Both presentations are included in Appendix D. Following their reports, Chair Burger expressed his appreciation and said that having a single point of contact through BCAL was a “great” addition. For more information, go to the BCAL web site.
IV. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.
A. Comments by the President.
President William Powers Jr. said he had no comments and would more forward to answer the questions submitted by Professor David Hillis. He did remind everyone that he would be presenting his State of the University address on Wednesday, September 19.
B. Questions to the President.
From David M. Hillis.
1. The Austin American Statesman has made repeated references to plans for a new medical school at UT Austin. Has this decision already been made? If so, when and how will UT Austin faculty be involved in the implementation process?
There has not been a decision made on that. What we do have is the Dell Pediatric Research Institute that came from the gift from the Dells. That is a research unit that will do medically-related research, especially in pediatrics and translational research, which will require work by scientists. There will be people at the Dell Pediatric Institute to use the research, and it’s associated with the Dell Children’s Hospital. But, that will be a research and academic unit.
Our task now is to make sure that this unit is on a sound financial footing. I’m very concerned that we not add things that are good programs, but put them on a skeleton of central core activities that cause that skeleton to get osteoporosis. That is a major concern. It is one that we’re dealing with the system and with the Board of Regents about. We’re doing fundraising. We have not yet worked through that, but that’s what we’re working on now. There has been a lot of talk in the newspapers about a medical school, and I know that there’s a great deal of interest in the Austin community, in the future, about some form of medical education in the Austin area. Texas A&M, as you’ve read in the paper, is going to have a medical education facility in Round Rock. I think they got $9 million from the Legislature. Let me say, these are very expensive—very expensive—enterprises, and the watch word on the campus is to make sure that we are very prudent and cautious in both the Dell Pediatric Research Institute and any other coordinated efforts we might have with other medical schools around the state, or certainly, if at some point in the future, we are going to go down that road. That decision has not been made. When it is made, faculty input will be solicited, and depending on what the form of these discussions may come up, we will get faculty input.
2. The Daily Texan reported on 4 September that the "...undergraduate studies department would change to the College of Undergraduate Studies." Has this decision already been made? If so, when and how will UT Austin faculty be involved in the implementation process?That was reported in The Daily Texan. I did have a discussion with The Daily Texan about that, and I think it didn’t quite clarify what I had said. When I appointed Dean Woodruff as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, I said, at that time, that I did think that we needed some type of unit. It would not be a unit like in the original report, like University College, where students would have to go into the college, or would have faculty or any of those items. It would not be required; it would not offer degrees.
I do think, and stated at that time, that I think we need some form of unit, a school or a college, that will house whatever advising, not to supplant what goes on in the colleges, but whatever advising undergraduates need across the college, and we have advising of that sort starting in place. I do think we need a home for truly undecided students, that is, students who come not knowing what college they want to go into. That may be a large group of people--that may be a very small group of people. That was a major debate during the curriculum reform discussions.
I think we correctly came to the conclusion as a faculty (and I know you were in on the discussions in the task force) that this not be a required thing, and that debate is behind us. We’re not going in that direction. There are some students who come to us who haven’t decided between history and government, and they’re truly undecided Liberal Arts. We have other people who come to us that really don’t know what college they want to go into. and they need a home. It seems inappropriate that people who think they want to be in Communications or Business or some other college are undecided Liberal Arts. I don’t think that’s good with Liberal Arts. I think we have undecided Natural Science majors as well, who might be waiting to get into Engineering. But, whatever their choice is, I think there ought to be a home for undecided, truly undecided, people. I still think we need that entity.
In the spring, I consulted with the Faculty Council Executive Committee and told them that that was my view and that those would be my plans. I got feedback from them. The only feedback I got from the Faculty Council Executive Committee was that they thought it should not be called a college for a variety of reasons. Different people had different reasons they thought it ought to be called a school. I think that’s fine. I came back and talked to the Faculty Council Executive Committee when it was raised again at first meeting this year, and we talked about it and that was still their view that it ought to be called a school and not a college. I have consulted with the Faculty Council as I said I would when I came--I mean with the Faculty Council Executive Committee.Professor Hillis thanked President Powers for the information and said his concerns were primarily about the level of information shared with faculty and the limited level of faculty input into the implementation of the plan. He said he had purposefully sought to involve himself in every entity that he thought would provide opportunities to have input into the operational planning and implementing of the changes to undergraduate education at UT Austin. He said these included his service on the Educational Policy Committee, Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee, and Faculty Council Executive Committee, Professor Hillis said he felt as if he had “no opportunity to provide any serious input into exactly the details of what would be going on with this new school.” Although he recognized that the president had the final decision-making authority, Professor Hillis said he hoped there would still be opportunities for faculty input before the operational plans are solidified because he believes the success of the new school depends on faculty input and participation. Although he sensed that many faculty members wanted to be involved in the process, he thought it was essential that the flow of information and discussion be improved. President Powers responded by saying he agreed that working together was important, and both he and Undergraduate Studies Dean Paul Woodruff were open to comments, suggestions, and discussion. He said he thought he had done this by discussing the matter with the Faculty Council Executive Committee last spring and by listening to their concerns with regard to naming the new entity a college. Professor Hillis said that members of the Executive Committee did not recall the discussion so he was concerned that the levels of communication and information flow were not at “a level that they need to be.”
I don’t think it takes legislation, and so I do have plans to go forward with a School of Undergraduate Studies, or some similar name. We haven’t gotten that worked out, but I do think we need a home for some of the activities that will go on in that unit. If at some point in the future, there were changes in that, if it were to offer a degree or it were to have faculty, then all of those would be curricular and faculty issues that would have to come back, I think, for legislation.
Past Chair Linda Golden (marketing) said that the changing composition of the Executive Committee and the inability of members to attend every meeting could have contributed to the differences in perceptions about the level of what was discussed. She said she recalled a discussion early in the process, possibly when Professor Alba Ortiz was the Council chair, but she could not recollect when the discussion occurred. President Powers said it was definitely last spring, and the discussion resulted in the name being changed from a college to a school. He said he does consider this a matter of importance to the faculty, and he depends on the Executive Committee members to raise issues even though he does not always take their advice. If the recommendation had been to involve the Education Policy Committee or some other group in the discussion, President Powers said he would have taken that advice. Dean Woodruff said he would gladly give a comprehensive report at a time that would be convenient with Chair Burger and the Executive Committee. He said he thought the issues might have more to do with admissions and registration than with education policy, but he would work with Chair Burger to determine when he could present a detailed plan to the Faculty Council and receive feedback from the members. President
Powers said there was work involving the UT System and the Coordinating Board that must be done, and, in his opinion, “we do need to go forward to get the authorization to get this in place.”
3. The faculty and staff merit raise pools were well below the rate of inflation this year (the merit pool for non-administrative faculty in my college was 1.67% this year, for example). In addition, college budgets had to be cut across the board to fund existing initiatives. What do you see as your relative priorities for existing programs and faculty compared to the development of new administrative units such as the College of Undergraduate Studies?Let me say that when we did get the budget back from the legislature, it was about a 1.8% increase, which has been the history. Maybe, we should have anticipated it. It did catch us somewhat by surprise, and a lot of it was done behind closed doors at the very end. We had very poor formula runs as we do because we don’t grow. In the past, we had gotten what are called hold harmless funds that had made up for low formula funds. Perhaps, it ought not to have caught us by surprise, but it did catch us by surprise. The college budgets were planning on a larger increase than that. Against those anticipated increases, we did have a 2% hold back from the college budgets. It was not for any initiatives from the president’s office or undergraduate studies or initiatives of that sort.
We have been running deficits in our student financial aid programs of about $9 million. Information technology has been running about a $9 million deficit a year. We’ve been paying for those out of deficits for about a five or six year period. We simply can’t sustain those. We have to get these programs and other programs on sound footing. It’s a little like the Dell Pediatric Research Institute I talked about before. To balance the budget, we had about a $30-some odd million deficit. About two-thirds of that was made up by taking programs across the campus or from the provost’s office or from the president’s office and cutting them, or cutting them from other administrative units. We were still left with a deficit against the anticipated budgets, and we had to balance the budget and make up for it somehow. That was to reallocate 2% of college and administrative unit budgets into making sure we could make up that budget deficit. We did hold back some extra money, not very much, but for college initiatives. There will initiatives that come up in the colleges, and the provost’s office needs to be able to respond to those, from guarding against faculty being raided to a number of other things that will come up in the colleges. None of that was used for any other University-wide initiatives.
The one thing that we did do, and this goes back to the question about faculty salaries, was we did carve out a 3% fund for faculty salary raises. We passed that along to the colleges. When you take that into account, the colleges on average had more money than they had had in last year’s budget. They didn’t have enough to have a 3% centrally-funded salary increase and all of the other things that were in their budgets. So, the 2% cut on other programs was, in a sense, to make sure that at least 3% of what we are spending went into faculty salaries. That was funded from the central budget. The colleges then added more, if they had the wherewithal to do it, and the overall average increase on faculty salaries was 4.37%. So the structure of that, not just funding the budgets as anticipated but going through with this 2% cut and then putting money into faculty salary increases, was actually a recognition that the faculty salary competitiveness is of the utmost importance. We carried that forward. I’m going to talk more about this at my State of the University address.
We have had a program in place for about eight years or so of making sure that before we distributed the rest of the budget, there was this 3% faculty salary increase pool to make sure that we were putting money into the central faculty core mission rather than letting it dissipate onto other projects. Frankly, that has meant that we have about treaded water or made some, but not dramatic, progress. We’re behind
Professor Hillis asked if the message he received was accurate that the non-administrative merit pool for faculty in the College of Natural Sciences was 1.67%. He also asked if this meant that the College of Natural Sciences got less than other units for salary increases? President Powers said he thought it was higher than 1.67%, but he did not know what the College of Natural Sciences did. He said the funds were not distributed equally to the colleges and schools to take in competitive pressures in the marketplace and resources that had previously been distributed. He said that some colleges spend almost all of their funds on salaries while others do not, and the College of Natural Sciences spends a great deal on facilities. He said it was 3% on average, and the colleges and schools added to that amount, such that the average was 4.37%. Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie agreed that the original allocation to the colleges and schools was 2%, and he said 1% was held back for later allocation for an “equity kind of allocation.” The provost added that the later equity allocation had already occurred.
our competitors. I think faculty salaries are something that we lag behind, and we need to address if we’re going to stay competitive.
Professor Tom Palaima said he was surprised but thought it was business as usual to return from Spain this year and learn that another committee is looking at salary compression. He said this was the fourth such committee in the 21 years he has been at UT Austin. He said it was disappointing in the year that the Secretary of the Department of Education Charles Miller recommended larger state support for educational institutions that the message did not have an effect in Miller’s home state. Professor Palaima said he thought this was the most serious problem that had gone unaddressed over the last two decades. He said everyone knows that competitive pressures are driving up the salaries of the new hires, but in the meantime departments are losing good experienced faculty members because of their lower salaries. He said his own department had lost two or three high caliber faculty members because of the salary compression issue and wondered if there was any reason to be optimistic given the long history of this problem.
President Powers replied that unfunded mandates from the government were an important issue. He referred to the salary compression problem as “the canary in the coal mine” because it indicates that “we’re competing at the margins with very low averages.” He said over the last seven or eight years a 3% annual amount had been allocated for salaries no matter what other pressing issues existed, and he said this amount was only allowing us to “tread water.” He said he thought the percentage over a five-year period should be elevated to 5% or maybe even 6% if UT Austin were ever going to be competitive. President Powers said a big part of the capital campaign would focus on this problem, and the University will continue to work with the legislature; however, he said it would involve budget discipline here at the University as well. He said this would be a central message of his State of the University address. He said he thought this issue was “the most critical strategic decision that we have to make over the next several month,” and that it would take commitment to catch up with the competition regarding both faculty salaries and graduate student stipends.
When Secretary Sue Greninger asked if it were possible to have median incomes and salary increases reported rather than just means since the latter is much more greatly skewed by outliers in the distribution, President Powers said, “We can try.” He explained that reasons means are used is that it is the way the budget process works in the aggregate, and it would take effort to go back and collect the data after the raises are all made. President Powers said there was also a timing problem because the budget comes out in June, and it takes time to make the decisions and get the salary increases processed through the Board of Regents. President Powers said that it would take time but it could be done and medians, department by department, would most likely be the most helpful.
4. The Daily Texan also reported that the new freshman signature course will cost $5 million per year. Is this figure accurate? If so, and given our current lean fiscal situation, have you considered delaying this initiative until we have raised an endowment to pay for it?
The figure is not accurate. There is some notion that if you project out and everyone were taking a signature course--we’re certainly not there even next year, when we’re hopeful that half the students can take a signature course. At some point off in the future, it’s going to cost more than it costs now. Right now it’s costing about $1.4 million. All of that money has been raised privately. All of that’s being paid for by private donations. We are looking for an endowment to cover it and other initiatives of the curriculum initiative. Another point to keep in mind about that $1.4 million is coming in through private giving. It goes to Undergraduate Studies as the donors requested. There have been several of them, and it has been several million dollars thus far. There’s, I think, more in the offing, including raising quite a substantial endowment. All of that money comes into Undergraduate Studies. It ends up in the departments and colleges. It all goes back into the departments and colleges whose faculty are teaching in the signature courses, most of which now are freshman seminars. It has not come out of the central budget. It has not been part of any reductions of college or unit budgets, and to the contrary, it’s actually put money back into the college or unit budgets.Professor Hillis said this was “great news” and thanked President Powers for explaining it. He then asked if the president were committed to paying for the signature courses from private funds on a continuing basis. President Powers responded that he would try to fund them as much as possible from private funds. However, he pointed out that as the reforms, including the flags, are implemented, there will be a substantial number of credit hours being taught. He said he could not commit or promise that the core teaching of UT students will come only from private giving. He said he was pleased that this has been true thus far, and he was optimistic about the future, but he could not guarantee or promise this would always be true.
Chair Burger said he wanted to get a question on the record even though he was not expecting an answer. He said rumors were spreading that departments had better start developing signature courses in order to get any new faculty lines. After commenting that he could see this serving as an incentive for signature courses, he said he thought it would be problematic to allocate faculty lines based totally on the creation of these courses. Chair Burger asked if this was going to happen. President Powers responded that the Task Force on Curricular Reform was concerned that the undergraduate revisions might become an unfunded mandate. He said that some departments carry a heavier burden with regard to core course than others, and it is important that faculty who want to teach signature courses and freshman seminars do not leave their own departments shorthanded. This is why funding has been allocated to the departments where these course are being offered in order for staff levels to be maintained. He said he did not think it would be wise of a department to offer these courses just to raise money, but he felt that the faculty and departments who are teaching the courses should get paid for doing this. He thought the departments needed to manage or control the number of their faculty members who teach these courses.
Chair Burger thanked President Powers for his candid responses to all these questions and reminded the Council that the State of the University address would be at 4:00 p.m. on September 19 in Rainey Hall.
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
Chair Burger said he expected the year ahead to be a challenging one given that there was much to do to implement curricular reform and plus/minus grading. He also mentioned the academic leadership mandate from the Commission of 125. He said his goals were to have the Council address these important issues, as well as the electronic course instructor survey (eCIS) and salary compression, to the extent it can and move UT Austin forward given the budgetary constraints and curricular challenges. He then introduced Professor Gretchen Ritter, co-chair of the Task Force on Gender
Equity, who summarized the purpose and importance of the Faculty Climate Survey and asked Council members to encourage faculty members in their home departments to participate.
REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT.
A. Report on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA).
Chair Elect David Hillis reminded Council members they should have received a copy of the report, “Framing the Future: Reforming Intercollegiate Athletics,” which was issued from a COIA meeting he attended in May. The report was distributed to Council members in June as an attachment to an email sent out by the Faculty Council office and is included in Appendix E of these minutes. Chair Elect Hillis said the report recommended 28 specific proposals, some of which UT Austin’s athletics programs already follow. However, a number of the proposed recommendations, if adopted by the NCAA would require major changes in the UT Austin athletics program according to Chair Elect Hillis.
Chair Elect Hillis said the report had been positively received across the nation, except by one important organization, the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (FARA). He said the opposition of FARA, whose members are currently responsible for faculty oversight of intercollegiate athletics, was both ironic and problematic. Chair Elect Hillis said he had great respect for the faculty athletic council representatives here at UT Austin, but he thought the “current system really doesn’t allow for enough faculty oversight or input in general.” According to Chair Elect Hillis, neither UT Austin nor any other athletics program could unilaterally implement the proposed changes without incurring the risk of harming its own athletic competitiveness. However, he thought it would be positive step if UT Austin would actively encourage athletic reform by formally supporting passage of the recommended changes or some subset of them. To facilitate this proactive role, Chair Elect Hillis recommended that the UT Faculty Council create a committee of faculty, students, and athletic department representatives whose charge would be to review the report’s recommended changes to NCAA rules. This committee could then present a list of the recommended changes its members agreed should be supported to the Faculty Council for its consideration. If the Council then endorsed the committee’s report, a resolution of support could be forwarded to the NCAA, with the stipulation that UT Austin would not be bound to comply with the recommended list until these changes were actually approved and enacted at the national level. Chair Elect Hillis also recommended that this issue be put on the agenda for discussion at the joint meeting of the UT Austin Faculty Council and the Texas A&M Faculty Senate in an effort to encourage the A&M faculty to take an active role in supporting athletics reform.
When Professor Janet Staiger (radio, television and film; women’s and gender studies) asked why Professor Hillis was not recommending UT Austin accept all of the recommended changes, he said he was trying to be realistic. Although he would personally support a blanket approval of all the recommendations, he realized that others might not agree with all the proposed changes. In addition, he noted that the proposals had not been widely discussed here at UT Austin, and he felt this discourse was important to ascertain the extent of faculty support for the recommended changes. When Professor Jon Olson (petroleum engineering) asked if it would be appropriate for the Council to communicate directly with the NCAA or whether the Council would need to make its recommendations to another entity, such as president’s offices or the athletics department, Chair Elect Hillis responded that he did not think there was any standard plan at the national level for how the COIA report should be handled. He said he was encouraging UT Austin to use its leadership position in athletics to support athletics reform by saying: “The University of Texas thinks that these are important things to do. We’d like to see this done nationally. We don’t want to do them by ourselves because if we do it by ourselves, it would really significantly hurt a lot of our athletics programs, but we think this is something that should be passed on a national level.” Professor Olson said he thought such a dialog would be beneficial.
Professor Michael Granof (accounting) commented that the COIA would be presenting its report to the NCAA because the two groups work closely together. He said he thought the report’s recommendations were “sort of at the margin” by assuring greater faculty input, fairer treatment of athletes, and university pretense regarding academic standards. He said the problem was that the recommendations did not address commercialism, which he called the “big elephant in the room.” While acknowledging that COIA had made some progress, Professor Granof said commercialism of athletics was growing at a tremendous rate. He said that larger programs, such as UT Austin could take an important leadership role, but the real opposition to reform was among the tier two institutions. The proposal to prohibit football games on week nights in order to encourage academics, according to Professor Granof, had been strongly opposed by programs who would not be able to get their games on television on the weekends when the focus is on the tier one programs. He said he supported Chair Elect Hillis’ position, but he warned against being too optimistic that major reforms would occur. Chair Elect Hillis said he understood this to be a very difficult problem that would take decades for any changes of serious magnitude to occur. However, he hoped UT Austin would take this opportunity to assert its leadership for reforms since he thought many programs across the country perceived our University as “a large part of the problem.” He said he did not think this perception of UT Austin was good for our University or for higher education institutions in general. He said he thought UT Austin could continue to have outstanding athletics programs even while leading the reform movement.
When Professor Nick Lasorsa (journalism) asked if the University had considered taking a leadership role regarding athletics reform within the Big 12 Conference, Chair Elect Hillis said he thought this was a great approach. He said he had suggested reaching out to Texas A&M since we already have an established joint meeting each year. Professor Granof agreed that it was a good idea, but pointed out that both Texas A&M and Oklahoma had refused to join COIA. In addition, he said Oklahoma’s response had been to say more commercialism was better than less commercialism. Chair Elect Hillis acknowledged that obstacles like this exist and the problem would not be simple to resolve. Past Chair Golden pointed out for the benefit of new Council members that Professor Granof had represented UT Austin at COIA meetings for several years, and Chair Elect Hillis had attended the May meeting due to a scheduling conflict that made it impossible for Professor Granof to attend. She thanked both of them for their time and energy in this service to the University. Chair Burger encouraged everyone to read the COIA report since he hoped to devote Council time for a discussion of the proposed recommendations.
VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS—None.
VIII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.
A. Report from the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
Dean Paul Woodruff reported that curricular reform was progressing well through the colleges/schools and departments. He expected that one-half of the freshmen in the 2008 fall semester would be fulfilling the signature course requirement. He said the inaugural University Lecture Program, which is designed to provide a common experience for incoming students by featuring presentations by some of UT Austin’s “greatest academic stars” had been successfully launched this fall. He reported that approximately 1,500 freshmen or one-fifth class had heard a “marvelous” joint presentation by Associate Dean Darlene Grant (graduate studies) and Professor Ellen Spiro (radio, television, and film). Dean Woodruff also announced the creation of the Office of Undergraduate Research, which is responsible for coordinating information about undergraduate research opportunities available for UT Austin students. He reported that his office in cooperation with Stephen Myers (Senate of College Councils) is organizing Research Week, which will be a spring event to celebrate undergraduate research and to encourage younger students and minority students to get involved with research as undergraduates.
Dean Woodruff said he thought it was “unusual” that our University requires incoming students who are often only 17-years old to know at the time they apply for admission the college and sometimes even the specific program from which they think they will graduate. He said that his office is developing a strategic advising center that will be staffed with strategic advisors, whose job will be to help undecided students determine their majors. He expects this center to be open in the 2009 fall semester and to be staffed by three or four individuals.
Saying she did not just pull the $5 million figure out of thin air when she wrote her article for the Daily Texan regarding curricular reform, Kia Collier (journalism and philosophy) asked Dean Woodruff to explain the context of the issues raised about her article. Dean Woodruff complimented her on the article, saying he and President Powers thought it was a very good article that reflected the information they had provided. He said the $5 million figure was the projection for the cost of the fully–implemented signature course program. When she asked about the accuracy of her reporting, Dean Woodruff said she had been accurate but readers inaccurately inferred that the $5 million was the amount being currently spent for the program. Dean Woodruff said he would give a full report of the progress in undergraduate studies at a future meeting when it can be conveniently scheduled.
IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
A. State of the University address, Wednesday, September 19 at 4:00 p.m. in Jessen Auditorium in Rainey Hall. B. Annual Faculty Council photograph, October 15 at 2:00 p.m. on the south steps of the Main Building. C. Annual meeting of the General Faculty, October 15 at 2:15 p.m. in Main 212. D. Faculty Council meeting, October 15, immediately following the General Faculty meeting. E. Faculty Council breakfast with the president, October 2 from 7:00-8:30 at the Campus Club. RSVP to email@example.com by September 24.
X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.
After calling attention to the announcements listed in the agenda, Chair Burger asked if there were any questions for him from Council members. There were none. Past Chair Golden announced that the Division of Innovation and Instructional Assessment was pilot testing an alternative product to Turnitin.com this semester. She said the alternative product for educating students about appropriate citations and plagiarism is available on Blackboard, and faculty members are invited to participate in the pilot study. She said she had flyers about the pilot test for any faculty members who were interested.
Chair Burger adjourned the meeting at 3:55 p.m.
Implementation Issues Regarding Faculty Council (D 4779-4780) pertaining to the Definition of University Honors
Mr. Shepherd’s PowerPoint presentation has been converted to HTML format.
Transcription of Mr. Shepherd’s Oral EECC Presentation
Thank you, Dr. Clubb. Mr. President, Ladies and Gentleman. It’s my pleasure to talk to you this afternoon about a new major addition to The University of Texas campus. When you entered, you were given a little yellow thing, an anxiety reliever. I hope my presentation today will relieve any anxiety you may have about the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. As Dr. Clubb mentioned, we are under construction for a soft opening, which means that we’re going to be training staff in preparation for completion of the center in July of next year, and we’ll be open for business in August of next year. We must be open for August because we’ve already booked about 5,000 room nights in August of next year. We’re very, very busy. The facility you see before you really fills a void that has been here at The University of Texas campus for quite some time. The McCombs Business School is the only major business school in the country that does not have a residential learning facility. There have been several attempts in the past few years to fill this void. About five or six years or so ago, President Faulkner and Dr. Clubb decided it was time to make this happen and the results are what I’m going to talk about today.
The facility, as you know, is located at MLK and University Avenue. It will become a new south gate or a new entry point to establish the south boundary of the University. We think it will be quite an attractive one, including a revision of University Avenue from MLK all the way up to the Littlefield Fountain. As a result, it will open a view corridor all the way to the Tower.
The facility itself is a square doughnut, which occupies a complete city block. It’s about 535,000 square feet of construction, which includes a 520 car-parking garage that is shown in the gray portions of the illustration. The brownish portions on the west-facing U-shape include all the hospitality areas, guest rooms, three restaurants, and social spaces (lobbies, etc.). All of the educational facilities and activity areas will be housed in the blue area on the west side.
As the animation flies around, you’ll recognize some of our components that akin to the 40 Acres buildings. That’s not unintentional. In the early 1990s, The University of Texas hired Cesar Pelli, a well-known international architect who helped us with the campus master plan. Pelli developed design guidelines for our future buildings here on the campus and established a pallet of materials, forms, and shapes for us to follow. We’ve attempted to do that with the familiar limestone at the base of the building, brick in the heart of the building, red tiles on the roof of the building, and the massing itself is very similar to the massing of the six-pack buildings on the South Mall. The scale is jumped, of course, because it’s a much larger building, but it is reminiscent of that area.
The west side over on Whitis Avenue reflects the arches at the base of the Main Tower as well as offers the primary entry into the education wing and the entry point for the ballroom up above.
As we come around to the northwest corner every facility has to have a service location. We’ve located that as far away from our primary entrances as possible. As you come down to the corner of 20th and University, our sports café is prominently located just before you come around the University corner to the main entry on University Avenue.
As we continue around, we’ll take a bird’s eye perspective. You can see the relationship to the University Avenue. The median in the University Avenue is actually University property and has been almost since the institution of the University back in the 1800s, but it has been largely ignored, unfortunately, and we intend to correct that. The bird’s eye view also illustrates the pool here on the south corner, which will be protected from all the noise, etc. on MLK, but it will give our guests an opportunity for some recreation.
The primary entrance on University Avenue will, of course, have a covered drop off point with easy access for both guests and pedestrians to enter the facility for guest room stay, and educational activities. There are also two major restaurants at this level.
The lower-level lobby will feature some forms and shapes and materials that are very similar to those here in the Main Building. The form of the primary staircase, the railings associated with it, the University Seal, and the two lanterns, which will be recycled from the Experimental Science Building, and not showing on this drawing, but will include an outline of the state of Texas with a star very prominently located for the City of Austin.
If you turn to the south, you’ll look into what we’re calling the Carillon, which will be the new home for the Campus Club. This facility will be a substantial improvement in the dining environment for the Campus Club. It will seat 300 at noon, and will be partitioned down to about 85 in the evening for a five-star dining opportunity.
The materials throughout are in a warm family of colors, which you’ll see in a moment in the model room, and feature native woods, native stones, and some leather goods all to give a very residential feel to the facility.
Gabriel’s, our sports café, named for obvious reasons, will be an 18-hour, seven-day a week activity, open to the public but also for the use of our students with the familiar screens up on this screen wall as well as in the interior with longhorns featured prominently throughout. There will be some light games and opportunities to utilize the high-tech equipment offered by our new technology partner, AT&T.
The lobby atrium connects the lower lobby to the upper lobby. Our design architects from San Antonio, David Lake, is a University of Texas graduate and was the AIA architect of the year in 2004. One of the wonderful features of this design is its openness. Many of you have been in major commercial hotels in cities where a lobby is quite dark an interior. That’s exactly the opposite of the approach that Lake Flato and our production architects, HKS, have taken here. I think it’s very successful, and you’ll enjoy it.
This is the view of the main lobby with the windows off to the east on University Avenue and then off to the west in the courtyard, which is prominently featured and visible from just about every place in the building. Materials from the warm family with more leathers are featured in this area.
One of the wonderful features about the design is a very large interior courtyard. As you know, many of the buildings on the 40 acres have wonderful courtyards, and we’ve tried to capture that same feel in this project. We’ll be isolated from the noise, etc. on MLK and University. We’ll also offer the opportunity for quite a few events in the courtyard to include pep rallies, barbeques, and special functions, etc. The courtyard itself will have a natural feel with plant materials selected from the five ecological zones from the state of Texas as well as a very large oak tree that we’re actually going to lift over into the building to give us some instant maturity. We’ll have a very nice fountain involved and some wonderful furniture around the perimeter in the loggia, which form three sides of the courtyard.
This illustrates the native plant materials that we’ll be using, and also points out the brief pre-function area up on the ballroom level so that when you’re checking in for an event, getting your nametag or a cup of coffee, you’ll have a wonderful view of the courtyard itself. Notice that the interior guest rooms all have a view of this courtyard as well. Very quickly, we have selected materials from the various ecological zones. We tried to select them and locate them so that we’ll never have a dormant season in the facility. We’ll always have something in bloom all the way around utilizing native Texas plant materials.
Looking over to the west side, over what we lovingly refer to as the player’s side, the primary entrance into the McCombs Educational Wing is here at the north most arch. Again, the dimensions of these arches are very similar to those in the base of this building. We have a long drop off zone because, as I mentioned, this will be the drop off zone for events in our ballroom, which we expect to be used quite frequently.
The conference lobby has a wonderful visual connection directly through this lobby into the courtyard into the main lobby across the way. Again, I think one of the wonderful features about this design is that it’s very easy to understand. You don’t need a way finding system or a guide. Once you walk in the door, it’s very easy to understand how the building is organized, and I think it’ll make people feel less anxious.
Quickly, here are some notes about the components. We worked very closely with the folks at McCombs and also visited about eight or 10 facilities of McCombs competitors around the country to determine what the program functions should be, what we should include. We came up with two sixty-seat tier classrooms here on the main floor, a ninety-seat tier classroom, and then a 300-seat auditorium, as well as break out rooms that oversee the courtyard. You’re all familiar with tier classrooms. These are kind of tiered classrooms on steroids because we have all of the high tech and audio-visual equipment that our technology partner, AT&T, is helping us with.
The floor immediately below has similar rooms, with two sixty-seat classrooms, two ninety-seat tier classrooms, and then flat classrooms. These have all of the audio-visual equipment that is in the catalog right now. We feel that we have included a strong enough technology backbone to be able to accommodate any changes coming in the next decade.
Let me just skip over that one and go right to the ballroom. The ballroom is quite large, about 10,000 square feet, which puts it in the top five in terms of size in the city. We think it’s quite unique. It’s a little bit dark to see here, but the ceiling structure is an exposed wood truss system, and we drew extensively from the design of the main reading room of this building as well as the main reading room in Battle Hall. We’re not quite as ornate as those are, but the sense is still the same. It gives a very voluminous effect and wonderful space.
There is a guestroom that we have just opened, and I would encourage you to come take a look at. It is not intended to be a luxurious room; however, it’s intended to be very comfortable and very efficient. Most of our students will be mid-level executives in corporations, ages 27-35, more or less, so they’ve got an important job back home, and we want to make that job as easy for them as possible with large lay-out rooms, all the hi-tech connectivity that you can imagine, wireless cell phone overlays, etc, etc. You may recognize the color scheme. Ergonomic chair, we do have just a spot of Bevo leather, but very hi-tech features. The responses that we’ve gotten to our model room thus far have been positive.
We did do an extensive search to make sure that we had the correct operator for the facility. Dr. Clubb recognized early on that we did not have the in-house expertise to operate this so we wanted to go to a very competent outside operator who could help us with excellent service, and also excellent food service. After an extensive search, we chose Flik International, a division of Compass International. They claim to be the largest food service operator in the world with all their various subsidiaries.
We’ve heard time and time again, that the facility will bring conferees to a facility, but food service will bring them back. We intend to offer a very high level of food service in the Campus Club, and also for our guests, our students, and our alumni guests. That concludes a brief presentation. I do want to open the floor for questions. We are very confident that about a year from now we will opening the premier facility that lives up to the charge the Texas Constitution gave us about a facility of the first class. Questions?
Transcriptions of BCAL Presentations by Drs. Deutsch and Brownson
Thank you. Hello everybody. I am director of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and hopefully all of you know what that is. We’re a personal and managerial counseling and consulting service for all faculty and staff on campus. I’m here with my colleague, Chris Brownson, who is also a psychologist, as I am, and he is director of the Student Counseling and Mental Health Center. We want to talk to you about something that’s very important, which the impetus may have been some of you in this room. Over the summer, the Dean of Students’ Office, Counseling Mental Health Center, and EAP have been getting an increased number of calls from people alarmed about student behavior, what appears to be mental illness occasionally in students, erratic behavior, things that didn’t rise to the level of a crisis necessarily, but people were just concerned. And clearly, this increase in calls was a result of the Virginia Tech incident. We’ve been getting calls like that all along, and we’ve dealt with them.
The president’s office then asked a group of people to get together, form a committee, and make a decision about how to address this issue. We have come up with a single point of contact for people on campus to call. Anyone can call this number if they’re concerned about the behavior of someone on campus, whether it’s a student, a fellow faculty member, a staff member, a visitor, a contractor, or anyone on campus. This behavior concerns advice line will direct you to the proper resources. Chris will talk about that in just a minute. As I said, it was really initiated through the president’s office, and it’s a partnership with the Dean of Students Office, Counseling and Mental Health Center, Employee Assistance Program, which is affiliated with Human Resources, and the University of Texas Police Department.
We’re not going to go over the information in the handouts. I just wanted you to have that information. The beige colored handout is a training we’ve put together on the behavior concerns advice line. We’ll be offering these trainings for faculty, staff and specific groups, such as Academic Counselors. Chris will give you the dates of those training. Those are hour-long trainings that talk about dealing with aggressive or agitated individuals or people whose behavior is alarming in some way. The other handout is a more detailed presentation on campus safety given earlier in the summer. It has a little bit more of the content of the presentation here on the PowerPoint, so I wanted to pass that out to you. And again, it’s about dealing with these kinds of situations that we all want to avoid, but we really need to confront them and provide guidance in some way. Chris is going to say a few words about the advice line itself.
Thanks. I think it’s important to point out that these kinds of calls and consultations have been occurring for years. It’s just that they’ve been occurring to faculty and/or staff members, such as a department chair, someone at the Counseling and Mental Health Center, or someone in the Dean of Students Office. I think the problem that we saw with Virginia Tech was that there wasn’t a way to get information more centralized than it had been in the past. We thought we could focus on coordinated services for students, faculty, or staff, who may really be needing our assistance.
Faculty training sessions will be held on the 18th and 26th of September. The session on the 18th is from 11-12 in the Aces Auditorium; on September 26, the session will be from 2-3 in the same location. If you would like to receive training for yourself or your department on using the advice line, workplace violence, or how to help students who might be in distress, feel free to call on me at the Counseling Center or on Connie at EAP. We would be happy to come to your place and give a presentation. This service impacts some departments more than others, and I happen to know that some departments are concerned about these issues more than other departments.
I want to draw your attention to two things. One is the handout on the behavior concerns advice line. This tells you what the line is about and why you might want to use it. The advice line ‘s phone number is 232-5050. Calls will be answered during regular business hours in the Dean of Students Office. If there is concern about a student, the situation will be handled by the Emergency Staff in the Dean of Students Office; if it’s about a staff or employee matter, it will go to the EAP: if it’s a matter about a visitor or contractor, it’ll go to UTPD. Referrals can be made to the Counseling Center as well as other places on campus. We also have staff after hours answering the phone. If it’s an urgent situation, help will be offered immediately. For more routine matters, the call will be re-directed back to the main number during regular hours.
The second handout I wanted to point out to you is titled How You Can Help Students in Distress: A Guide for Faculty and Staff. This is a brochure was developed at the Counseling and Mental Health Center to provide pointers about what to look for in student behavior, what you can do to help, and what’s the difference between someone being in a real crisis or simply being stressed, This is a helpful brochure, but it was written pre-BCAL. We encourage everyone to call us at the Counseling Center, but it is better now to go through the BCAL line
Framing the Future:
Reforming Intercollegiate Athletics (PDF)
The Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA)
Adopted on 15 June 2007 by vote of the Coalition membership