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Following are the minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of December 10, 2007.


Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty and Faculty Council

DECEMBER 10, 2007

The fourth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for the academic year 2007-2008 was held in the Main Building, Room 212, Monday, December 10, 2007, at 2:15 p.m.


Present: Urton L. Anderson, Judy Copeland Ashcroft, Matthew J. Bailey, Christopher J. Bell, Tawny L. Bettinger, Daniel J. Birkholz, Douglas C. Burger, Linda J. Carpenter, Patricia L. Clubb, Elizabeth Cullingford, Gustavo A. De Veciana, John S. Dzienkowski, Kevin M. Foster, Luis Francisco-Revilla, Jeanne H. Freeland-Graves, Alan W. Friedman, Linda L. Golden, Michael H. Granof, Kenneth J. Hale, Ian F. Hancock, Kevin P. Hegarty, James L. Hill, Martha F. Hilley, David M. Hillis, Klaus O. Kalthoff, Karrol A. Kitt, Robert C. Koons, Desiderio Kovar, Nancy P. Kwallek, Dominic L. Lasorsa, Desmond F. Lawler, Robert P. Lieli, Reid Long, Carol H. MacKay, Raul L. Madrid, Robin D. Moore, John H. Murphy, Stephen Myers, Patricia C. Ohlendorf, Jon E. Olson, Alba A. Ortiz, Cynthia Osborne, Thomas G. Palaima, Elizabeth C. Pomeroy, Keshav Rajagopalan, Kenneth M. Ralls, Soncia R. Reagins-Lilly, John H. Richburg, Andrew C. Solomon, Janet Staiger, Vincent S. (Shelby) Stanfield, Mary A. Steinhardt, Nikita Storojev, Pauline T. Strong, Nicole E. Trinh, Jeffrey K. Tulis, Jeffrey Vaaler, Travis W. Witherspoon, Stacy Wolf, Paul B. Woodruff, Patrick Woolley.


Absent: Lawrence D. Abraham (excused), Kamran Ali, Mark I. Alpert (excused), Efraim P. Armendariz, Eric J. Barron, Hans C. Boas, Gary D. Borich, Virginia G. Burnett, Lisa J. Cary (excused), Miles Lynn Crismon, Molly E. Cummings, Douglas J. Dempster, Randy L. Diehl, Andrew P. Dillon, Richard B. Eason, Sherry L. Field, Brian C. Gatten, George W. Gau, Linda V. Gerber, Juan C. González (excused), Edmund (Ted) Gordon (excused), Darlene Grant, Sue A. Greninger (excused), Bretna M. Hackert, Donald A. Hale, Roderick P. Hart, Fred M. Heath, Neville Hoad, Manuel J. Justiz (excused), Steven W. Leslie (excused), Wayne Lesser, Michael J. McFarlin (excused), Joan A. Mullin (excused), Domino R. Perez, Shirley Bird Perry, William C. Powers (excused), Mary Ann Rankin, Gretchen Ritter, Brian E. Roberts, Victoria Rodriguez, Lawrence Sager, Juan M. Sanchez, Dolores Sands, Paul R. Shapiro, Shannon Speed, James Steinberg, Frederick R. Steiner, Ben G. Streetman, Gregory J. Vincent, N. Bruce Walker, Barbara W. White, Clark R. Wilson, Sharon L. Wood.

Voting Members: 53 present , 24 absent, 77 total.
Non-Voting Members: 8 present, 29 absent, 37 total.
Total Members 61 present, 53 absent, 114 total.



The written report appears in D 5903-5915. Since Secretary Sue Alexander Greninger was unable to attend the meeting due to an illness, Chair Doug Burger (computer sciences) suggested that members email questions and/or comments relating to the report to the secretary.


The minutes of the regular Faculty Council meeting of November 12, 2007 (D 6005-6040), were delayed and will therefore be voted on at the next Council meeting on January 28.


A. Comments by the President.

Because President William Powers could not attend the meeting due to other pressing matters, Chair Burger invited Deputy to the President Charles Roeckle (music) to comment on the 4.95% tuition cap adopted recently by The University of Texas Board of Regents. Deputy Roeckle said in recent years the UT Austin administration had sought to improve transparency regarding its real costs in providing high quality education as well as its policies and processes in setting tuition levels. As the Tuition Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) was initiating its work last summer, Deputy Roeckle said The University of Texas System assured UT Austin that there would be no constraints on tuition policy. After months of data-driven analysis and deliberations, TPAC issued its report and then held public forums to gather feedback regarding its recommendations. Deputy Roeckle thanked TPAC members for their hard work and noted the important contributions of the student members, especially during the public review stage of the process. Council members joined Deputy Roeckle in a round of appreciative applause.

Deputy Roeckle said President Powers had supported TPAC’s recommendations this past fall; however, before the president actually submitted his formal recommendation regarding tuition increases, The University of Texas Board of Regents approved a resolution limiting system-wide tuition increases to 4.95%. Noting that Board Vice Chairman James R. Huffines had acknowledged UT Austin’s need for adequate resources to remain competitive at the national level, Deputy Roeckle said he did not know “how that acknowledgement is going to play itself out over the next two years.” According to Deputy Roeckle, President Powers continued to indicate that faculty competitiveness and student support were top priorities and had already held extensive meetings with other UT Austin administrators to consider strategies to address the impact of the Board’s tuition cap. Deputy Roeckle said UT Austin had asked for clarification from the UT System as to whether the Board’s cap applied only to resident tuition, which had been the focus of the TPAC’s recommendations, or was broader in its focus.

B. Questions to the President—None.



Chair Doug Burger announced that Drs. Lynn Jones Eaton (associate director, instructional innovation and assessment, continuing and innovative education), Karen L. Rascati (professor, pharmacy), and Pauline T. Strong (associate professor, anthropology) have been selected to participate in the 2008 Leadership Texas program. The Faculty Council Executive Committee had recommended Professor Strong for this honor and was pleased at her selection. After saying that this statewide program was quite selective, Chair Burger asked Council members to join him in a round of applause for the UT Austin recipients.

Chair Burger said he thought it was unproductive to hold Council meetings on an open-ended basis and had decided, in consultation with the Faculty Council Executive Committee, that setting a 4:15 p.m. ending


  time for meetings would benefit members in scheduling other work. He said, if the ending time turned out to be inappropriate given the agenda item under consideration, members could move and second that the meeting be extended and the Council would then vote on the motion. He encouraged members to plan to attend for the full two hours if possible and said he would try to manage meetings so that the agenda items would be completed by 4:15.

Chair Burger reminded Council members that he and Professor Linda Golden (marketing and past chair) are serving on the President’s Policy Advisory Council (PPAC), which is now meeting each month. He said PPAC is close to completing its data gathering and analysis phases of comparison information provided by the President Powers’ staff. He said he thought the next task facing PPAC members would be to determine data-driven strategic priorities, and he would update the Faculty Council as these efforts of the new advisory group progressed.


Chair Elect David Hillis (integrated biology) announced that the joint meeting with the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and UT Austin’s Faculty Council will be held at College Station on March 28 from approximately 11:00 a.m. to about 4:00 p.m. The president’s office has offered to pay for a chartered bus to the event. He encouraged Council members to suggest ideas for discussion topics as the agenda is currently being developed for the meeting. Chair Burger encouraged Council members to support faculty governance by planning to attend the joint meeting.


A. Proposal from the Educational Policy Committee Regarding the Implementation of Plus/Minus Grading System for Undergraduates (D 5770-5772).

Professor Desmond Lawler (civil, architectural, and environmental engineering and committee chair) reminded the Council that the proposal had been discussed in detail at the November meeting. He summarized the following major points regarding the plus/minus grading system:

  • The undergraduate grading system passed by the Council last year is the same as that previously adopted at UT Austin for graduate student grading, where both A+ and A are numerically weighted as 4.0. An A- is worth 3.67, a B+ is worth 3.33, and so forth, with adjacent grades differing incrementally by approximately 0.33.
  • In implementing the plus/minus system, references to grade level C in current University publications will be changed to C-, B will be changed to B-, A will be changed to A-, by default unless the appropriate academic units have established other grade standards for courses, degree requirements, and academic policies though normal University processes.
  • Although rules regarding grading standards remain in the purview of academic units, this default provision provides that the standard of academic quality that is acceptable now should be acceptable in the future.
  • Current GPA requirements, such as the 2.0 needed for graduation, are not changed by the new plus/minus grading system
  • Implementation of the new grading system will begin in the fall semester of 2009 and be applicable to all undergraduate classes and student enrolled in those classes unless the Office of the Registrar determines that this target date cannot be met.
  • If implementation occurs in 2009-2010, which is a mid-catalog year, the plus/minus system will be used for the academic year; however, “for the sake of any rules in the catalog, the minus will be included as the same as the flat grade during that time.” Following this transitional year, the new rules will apply so academic units need to specify their grading standards for the 2010 catalog, if they do not want the default policy to apply.The plus/minus grading system cannot be applied retroactively to grades earned in an earlier semester before the new system existed


  Professor Jeanne Freeland-Graves (human ecology) said she could not support the legislation unless an A+ could be included in the grading system to reward excellence in student performance. Professor Lawler responded that the Educational Policy Committee planned to bring a subsequent motion to the Council in coordination with one proposed in the Graduate Assembly that would recommend inclusion of an honorary A+, weighted at 4.0, so the grading systems utilized for undergraduate and graduate course would be the same. He said that the research presented when plus/minus grading passed last spring indicated that grades above a 4.0 were generally rescaled by fellowship and graduate school officials when assessing applications, which could penalize students who had received grades weighted above a 4.0. He also indicated that very few universities and colleges utilize grading systems that include weightings for grades above 4.0 and that none of the peer institutions to which UT Austin is normally compared are using such systems. Professor Lawler summed up the situation by saying the following: “The bottom line is we do intend to bring to you a motion later this year that includes an A+, but at the moment it will not have any different value than a 4.0.”

Mr. Steven Myers (chair, Senate of College Councils) asked to yield his speaking privileges to Mr. James Tolleson (vice chair of the Senate of College Councils and member of the Educational Policy Committee). Mr. Tolleson said students had raised many concerns regarding the implementation of plus/minus grading and thought their research efforts had determined that, “that there isn’t a one size fits all policy for plus/minus grading, but rather each institution had taken a great deal of time to sit down and determine how best to implement plus/minus grading for its institution because each institution is unique.” He said he and his fellow student members on the Educational Policy Committee felt that adequate time had not been allowed for development of “a detailed report to give to the academic community, both students and faculty, saying, ‘this is what we’re doing, this is why we’re doing it,’ and he was recommending that the Council establish an ad hoc committee or task force.” He said that he thought the A+ issue could be included in the process, but the outcome would be “a clearer justification in a document that we could show to our constituents so that we can be transparent and show them why we’re doing what we’re doing.” He said he thought establishing an ad hoc group to deal with the plus/minus grading issue would free up the Educational Policy Committee to focus on the other important matters.

Mr. Reid Long (Senate of College Councils representative to the Faculty Council and Educational Policy Committee member) expressed support for Mr. Tolleson’s position and pointed out that Student Government had passed a resolution asking for a comprehensive document on plus/minus grading. He then moved that the legislation under consideration (D 5770-5772) “be committed to a task force by the Faculty Council.” When Chair Burger responded that he did not think a new motion could be considered when another motion was under consideration, Mr. Long replied, “A motion to commit should be of higher precedence.”

Professor Hillis spoke against the motion made by the students, saying the issue of plus/minus grading had been discussed for decades and the new grading policy had been implemented with minimal problems at the graduate level. He emphasized that the system recommended by the Educational Policy Committee was a reasonable one and corresponded with the systems used by peer institutions. Given the amount of time that had already been devoted to the issue, Professor Hillis recommended its passage and adoption.

Mr. Keshav Rajagopalan (Student Government at-large representative and member of the Faculty Council) seconded the motion made by Mr. Long and said that Ms. Nicole Trinh (Student Government vice president) was distributing copies of the resolution that Student Government recently approved. He said the resolution asked for a more thorough review of plus/minus grading than had previously occurred because students had raised a number of unanswered questions in the forums held on the issue. He said many students thought the process had not been transparent from the onset and many current students had not been at UT Austin when discussions had been held during the past 10 years. Professor Hillis responded that the Faculty Council had already approved the adoption of a plus/minus grading and the current legislation dealt only with its implementation. He said he thought the Educational Policy Committee’s recommendations for its implementation were “very simple, logical


  rules.” Mr. Rajagopalan responded the students were focusing on implementation issues and a six-month period of study would not delay the 2009 start date.

Professor Janet Staiger (women’s and gender studies and radio, television, and film) called the question on the motion to establish a task force on the implementation of the new grading system. She said calling the question meant that a vote on the motion would determine if further discussion of the issue should continue or not. Professor Alan Friedman (English) added that a two-thirds majority vote was required on a question call. After confusion was expressed regarding what the vote would mean, Professor Lawler said the vote would be on whether or not to continue discussion of the student’s motion. If that passed, then the Council would vote on the actual motion made by the students to commit the plus/minus implementation issue to a task force. Chair Burger asked for a vote on the question call by raised hands; the motion passed with more than 23 Council members voting favorably to end the discussion.

Mr. Andrew Solomon (Student Government representative) requested a roll call vote on Mr. Long’s motion to commit the implementation proposal to a task force. When Chair Burger asked for the motion to be repeated for the benefit of the Council, Mr. Long said it is “to commit this motion to a special task force of students and faculty to discuss details of implementation of plus/minus grading.” When Professor Jon Olson (petroleum and geosystems engineering) asked if the method of choosing task force members needed to be determined before the vote occurred, Chair Burger responded he did not think it was necessary and added, “We can certainly amend it with the composition, but I’d prefer not to do that.” The names of the Council members were read and each member responded either “yes” or “no” on the motion. The motion failed with 36 no votes and 15 yes votes being cast; the actual record of how individuals voted is available in the Faculty Council Office.

Professor Friedman moved that item seven in the motion regarding implementation of the plus/minus grading system be rewritten to read as follows: “All undergraduate students will be subject to this plus/minus grading scale.” After the motion was seconded, Professor Friedman explained that he thought this minor wording change was needed because the document obviously pertained only to undergraduates and therefore it was a “logical absurdity” to include the School of Law in a document labeled “a grading system for undergraduates.” He said he thought his motion pertained to a non-substantive change that made the document more coherent than its original wording.

Professor John Richburg (pharmacy) pointed out that the Doctor of Pharmacy (or Pharm.D.) students are not all undergraduates but are assessed a different tuition rate that the regular undergraduate pharmacy students. He said these students were not considered graduate students so it would be helpful if their status were clarified. Executive Vice Provost Steve Monti explained that in the past there had been two different tuition rates for the pharmacy’s professional students. One rate was assessed undergraduates during their first two years and another professional school rate was assessed during their third and fourth years. He said that there is a new proposal to assess a single flat rate throughout the program of study. He did not think it would make a difference with regard to the legislation under consideration if a student were a graduate or an undergraduate student. Registrar Shelby Stanfield said he did not think there would be a problem for the professional pharmacy program because item number seven clarified there would be one grading scale used for graduate and undergraduate students. Professor Lawler said he would accept Professor Friedman’s motion as a friendly amendment.

Mr. Rajagopalan thanked the Council for the roll call vote and apologized for the time it had consumed. He pointed out that all six student representatives on the Faculty Council had voted in favor of committing the motion to a task force, indicated the level of student concern regarding the implementation of plus/minus grading. He said he would like assurance from Professor Lawler that the vote today was not the end of discussion about plus/minus grading and that student questions would be addressed before the system is implemented in 2009.

Professor Lawler replied, “As far as I can tell no discussion is ever finished around here.” He said the legislation, if passed, would “have the effect of being the implementation policy assuming it’s signed by the president.” However, if any new developments or problems occurred in the future, new motions


  would have to be considered by the Faculty Council. Mr. Rajagopalan said students were concerned as to how the University would publicize the change in grading systems for students whose transcript will include courses taken under the two systems. Since students did not think notification placed on the back of a transcript would be that obvious, he asked if this were an issue involving the Council or only the Office of the Registrar. Professor Lawler replied that this matter would be decided in the registrar’s office. He said he had discussed placement of the information explaining the two systems on the front of the transcript, but no decisions had been made thus far. Chair Burger pointed out that the Educational Policy Committee or student representatives on the Faculty Council could bring matters to the Council’s attention. He said the motion being considered would not terminate discussion but would only establish a policy to implement the system that had been previously approved.

When Mr. Long asked about the timeline regarding the A+ grade, Professor Lawler said he hoped the issue of its adoption as an honorary grade weighted at 4.0 in GPA calculations would be presented at the February Faculty Council meeting and voted on at the March meeting. When Mr. Long asked how peer institutions handled the C to C- issue, Professor Lawler said the details differed from institution to institution. If the new system is adopted at UT Austin, Professor Lawler said the general perception was there would be little impact on GPAs in that 2.2 GPA under the current system would still be approximately a 2.2 under the new system. Because some grades in the C range could fall below the 2.0 weighting under the new system, he said he thought schools and colleges would need to carefully choose the wording of their rules regarding grades and GPAs.

Professor Pauline Strong (anthropology and chair of the Graduate Assembly) said she would be asking the appropriate Graduate Assembly committee to consider the honorary A+ weighted at 4.0 early in 2008. She said she expected any resulting legislation would be presented to the Graduate Assembly later during the spring 2008 semester.

Chair Burger asked for a vote by show of hands on the plus/minus implementation legislation as amended by the slight wording change presented by Professor Friedman, and the motion passed.

B. Update on the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

Chair Burger introduced Vice President Patricia Clubb (employee and campus services) by saying she had graciously agreed to answer additional questions raised by Professor Palaima regarding the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. The questions and her bulleted answers are included in Appendix A. Vice President Clubb said she preferred to quickly read through the questions and answers because they were interrelated. Following the section pertaining to pricing policies and practices (Question 1), Vice President Clubb explained that she expected approximately 80% of the new facility’s business would involve groups and the remainder would be transient business. For the group business, complete meeting packages could be offered, which she did not think existed elsewhere in Austin. The packages could offer different combinations of services and would be priced accordingly. She said group business currently booked for the new facility has been offered at a daily room rate varying from $132 to $146. The transient room rate currently booked is priced at $159. She said the room rate for the year is expected to average $169, with the UT–related business running at a lower average than $169. She said the pricing for the new facility was similar to that for airline travel where a number of variables can determine the actual amount. As an example of the variability in pricing, she reported that two visitors to UT last week stayed at the same Austin hotel on the same night, with the amount paid by one being $289 and the other $149 due largely on how they had made their reservations.

After going over her bulleted responses regarding the setting of priorities (Question 2), Vice President Clubb explained that business involving the following UT Austin entities was currently booked or in the process of being finalized: McCombs School of Business, College of Liberal Arts, School of Law, School of Social Work, Jackson School of Geosciences, College of Engineering, College of Natural Sciences, College of Communication, Marine Science Institute, Office of the Vice President for Development, LBJ School of Public Affairs, College of Pharmacy, University Health Science Services, the Budget Office, IC2 Institute, and Office of Public Affairs. Other business that is booked or being


  finalized includes The Catholic Center, Texas Academy for General Dentistry, Conference of College Teachers of English, National Council of Arts Administrators, College Band Directors Association, Philosophical Society of Texas, Advanced Equities Corporation, NAUCO, and one private wedding. She noted that thus far no athletic-related business has been scheduled. With a goal of $22 million and current definite and potential bookings totaling $7,141,759, Vice President Clubb summed up the situation by saying, “we have a ways to go.” However, she pointed out it was still early in the year and all bookings that could be made prior to September 2008 would provide security and help meet the debt service payment.

Following the remainder of her presentation of the bulleted responses to Professor Palaima’s questions, Vice President Clubb commented that there are presently many unknowns, and she expected next year to present many challenges. She said that five or six sales staff members were included in the new facility’s marketing plan. Since each of these representatives will have responsibility for four or five colleges/schools/units at the University, she said this would mean that each organizational unit on campus would have an assigned sales person to service their needs. She said the director and associate director of sales and marketing are already on board, leaving at least three more new hires to make.

Professor Palaima thanked Vice President Clubb for her “wonderful presentation.” He said she had clarified all of his questions except the one pertaining to athletics versus general institutional use or outside use. He said there was concern about the impact the planned rental of suites for football weekends would have on the use of the facility for academic purposes during fall semesters. He said there would be serious limitations for use of the facility if this model extended to spring sports and wanted to know what the plans were regarding these events. Vice President Clubb said the football weekend plan had been being developed for some time under the leadership of ex-students. Individuals would be able to license a room for two nights during home football games at a base price of $150,000 and higher for a 15-year period. The new facility will receive the present value of the revenue generated for those rooms as well as a flat amount to be placed in reserve for the facility. The ex-students will receive a philanthropic amount from the revenue, and the participants will know they are “making somewhat of a philanthropic gift, primarily to ex-students, and that they have a room for 15 years at the facility for the home football games.”

Vice President Clubb said the plan was to maximize revenue during the football season, and she expected the rooms on football weekends would be booked even if this plan were not being offered. However, she guaranteed Professor Palaima that the weekend plan would not be extended to other sports. In fact, Vice President Clubb said discussions had been held to explore ways to provide an “academic flavor” to the football weekends by providing lectures and discussions with faculty members on subjects of interest to the hotel guests as well as their teenage children. She said the facility was perceived as being “academic at its heart,” and faculty involvement is being explored. She said discussions regarding campus history and facilities, such as the Carillon and Tower, might be of interest to the facility’s patrons.

Professor Palaima said his questions had been answered and much of what was now being planned was what he had been advocating. He said he thought the facility could offer outreach opportunities similar to those provided by Explore UT. He also thought the ideas being discussed were consistent with the work underway in the Academic Enhancement through Athletics Committee, which is chaired by Professor Alba Ortiz (special education). Professor Palaima said he applauded these new approaches and Vice President Clubb’s presentation had clarified many of the faculty’s initial concerns about the new facility. He said written information regarding the pricing structure would be helpful, and he hoped in the future that the Faculty Council Executive Committee might suggest that detailed reports be distributed or posted on the Council’s web page before being discussed at meetings. Vice President Clubb said she would provide what she could, but it was challenging to address all the variables that come into play, such as the level of services, the number of attendees, the time of the year, etc. Events involving large groups get price breaks that are not available to smaller groups. She recommended anyone planning a conference or event could get detailed information by talking to the facility staff; she indicated that she was concerned that a published price list could not adequately address all the conditions that influence pricing for the facility’s varied levels of service.


  Professor Palaima said the differential pricing issue was quite clear, but he would like to see a range of pricing that could be available for various services. He said his suggestions were not meant as criticisms, but there had been concern that departments might not be able to use the facility for visitors or job candidates in the same way that they could use a state rate at a local hotel. He again complimented the vice president on her presentation, saying he appreciated what she was doing and trying to accomplish. Vice President Clubb said she would provide copies of her comments since it appeared that Council members understood the complexity of pricing and appreciated that any published list would at best provide only a range of estimates. She closed by saying that she would be happy to address any future questions that Council members might have and encouraged everyone to watch for announcements regarding the new Faculty Club, which she hoped would be enjoyed by faculty across the campus.


A. Proposal to Disband the Committee on Student Affairs (D 5810).

Professor Karrol Kitt (human ecology and committee chair) reported that members the Committee on Student Affairs had decided that their committee was no longer needed due to administrative organizational changes and was, therefore, recommending its disbandment. She said the functions assigned to the committee, which previously involved the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, have been moved to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of the Vice President for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. She reported that the members of the committee felt that the charge of the committee was no longer relevant. Professor Golden asked if there had been discussion as whether the charge of the committee could be changed to make it relevant to the changed organizational environment or if there was no longer any interest in the linkage between the Faculty Council and student affairs. Professor Kitt responded that these issues had been discussed, and the committee was not opposed to having a new charge. However, she said the current members as well as those from the previous year perceived that the committee was not working, which contributed to poor attendance and a sense that the committee was unneeded. She said five of the committee’s members are chairs of other University Standing Committees and generally thought their committees were performing student-related functions that did not need to be duplicated.

Mr. Solomon asked if he could yield his time to Mr. Nathan Bunch, a student member of the Committee on Student Affairs. Chair Burger noted that the Council would need to vote to allow a non-member to speak at the meeting. The Council affirmed by voice vote to allow Mr. Bunch to address the Faculty Council. He said he had talked with Senior Associate Vice President Soncia Reagans-Lilly about changing the charge of the committee. After reviewing the composition of the committee and that of the other related committees, he said they voted to disband the committee because they felt there were no unmet needs related to student issues. However, after further review and thought, he realized “there are different aspects of student affairs that do need to be met, including academic integrity, issues with orientation, things change year to year, issues of campus climate, behavior in the classroom, faculty to student resources, and student to faculty resources.” He said he felt the committee’s charge did need to be modified, but the committee itself did not necessarily need to be disbanded. He said he thought the lack of attendance at meetings was possibly related to the committee’s composition including chairs of other committees who “were already doing their jobs.” Professor Kitt said input regarding the composition of the committee was needed because the five chairs of the current standing committees as well as their predecessors had questioned why they should be serving on a second committee.

When Professor Golden suggested that the 1997 legislation that created the committee might be reviewed and the committee could recommend changes to its composition and function statement, Professor Liz Cullingford (English and chair of the recreational sports committee) said she recalled that members of the Committee on Student Affairs “felt very strongly that we didn’t want to go looking in some corner for another charge.” In view of the inactivity of the committee, recommendation of disbandment from its former chair, and general perception that the other student-


  related committees were functioning well, Professor Cullingford said committee members did not see “another layer of bureaucracy” as worth maintaining. Professor Hillis said he thought Council members wanted to be supportive of student affairs and have appropriate functioning committees, but he thought this committee duplicated the activities of other committees. He recommended disbandment of the current committee and re-establishment of a new committee if it were needed in the future.

enior Associate Vice President Lilly said there had been concern regarding the ease with which creating a new committee compared to just changing the charge of an existing committee. She said she would support changing the charge if that were the easier course of action; however, if reinstating a committee after its disbandment were just as easy to do as changing an existing committee’s charge, she was willing to move in that alternate direction. She agreed that the current committee’s function and composition created redundancy, but she said, “there is an interest and a need to create that collaboration between faculty and student services.” Chair Burger said if a clear vision of what the committee should be accomplishing and the composition that would facilitate achievement of that vision, he would recommend that recomposition of the committee be pursued. However, if there were a lack of clarity and consensus at present, he thought it would be better to disband the current committee and then establish a new committee once its purpose and roles were determined. He said he would be willing to work toward this goal during his term of service, and he felt Professor Hillis and other future chairs would also do this. Senior Associate Vice President Lilly said Chair Burger’s perceptions were accurate, and there had been confusion regarding the process that would be appropriate to follow. She said she would work toward re-establishment of a new committee if that were just as efficient as changing the existing committee’s charge. When a Council member called the question, Professor Kitt explained that the presentation had been to introduce the proposed legislation but voting would occur at the January Faculty Council meeting.

B. Motion to Change the Core Curriculum Course Lists for the 2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog (D 5872-5878).

Chair Burger clarified that Dean Paul B. Woodruff (undergraduate studies) would introduce a motion to change the core curriculum course list for the 2008-2010 Undergraduate Catalog (D 5872-5878) for discussion purposes, but the vote on this motion would not occur until the January Faculty Council meeting. He also reminded Council members that the proposal had been emailed to members as well as posted on the Council’s web page to allow extra time for members to review the proposed legislation.

Dean Woodruff reported that the University’s recent undergraduate catalogs had included a listing of courses that satisfied the core curriculum requirements; however, the listing of core courses was not referred to in the specific degree programs that were located later in the catalogs. Furthermore, according to Dean Woodruff, the list of core courses was not crisply maintained even though it was periodically updated. For the 2008 catalog, seven colleges have prepared their degree programs in accordance with the curricular reforms approved last year, and these degree programs now refer to the list of approved core courses. Dean Woodruff said the faculty needs to review and update this list, but there is currently pressure on the University to submit the list as required by the Coordinating Board. Although Coordinating Board administrators have indicated that they have the right to approve the list, Dean Woodruff said he thought they really wanted assurance that UT Austin actually had such a list and had given thought the courses included on it.

Dean Woodruff presented a table comparing the 42-hour core requirements to how they had been implemented at UT Austin. (See Appendix B.) He said the list had been in force for about 10 years. As a result of curricular reform, UT Austin made two modifications in January 2007 involving the six-hour institutional option where greater flexibility is allowed. One of the modifications allowed technology courses to be included within the three-hour additional natural science requirement (031in Appendix B). The second modification was the addition of the first-year signature course, which is being implemented for seven colleges in fall 2008 and the other colleges in fall 2010 (090 in Appendix B).



Dean Woodruff said UT met the six-hour communication area requirement with one of the Rhetoric 306 courses and a substantial writing component course. He said the University had for years mapped the humanities area requirement to a literature course, English 316K, which all degree programs require their students to take. When the core curriculum was originally established, the humanities and performing arts requirement involved six hours of credit but the distribution by course type was not specified. Subsequently, the Coordinating Board specified that there should be three hours in humanities and three hours in visual and performing arts. Dean Woodruff said the other core requirement areas had remained relatively the same.

Turning to the proposed legislation, Dean Woodruff said the approved area core courses presented in D 5872-5878 were developed by the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee, which was organized into a set of faculty/administrative subcommittees that worked on the various different course lists. He said the process had progressed in the following conservative manner:

We basically tried to maintain the 2006 catalog list with only the changes we had to make in order to accommodate degree programs that were already requiring certain courses that could be satisfied from the core. We also wanted to make sure that what was on the list met some reasonable standard of integrity.

Dean Woodruff said it was his understanding that the curriculum reform legislation enacted last year charged the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee with reviewing the core courses each catalog cycle. In order to allow for adequate transitional time for adjustments to be made by units across campus, he said only limited changes were proposed for the 2008 catalog. Dean Woodruff stated that he expects the review in preparing for the 2010 catalog will be “more searching” and involve “harder decisions” than this initial one.

Dean Woodruff pointed out that brief explanations of the changes proposed for the 2008 catalog are provided in the right column of the table on D 5874-5878 of the proposed legislation. He then briefly summarized the changes, starting with the addition of the first-year signature course. With regard to the humanities requirement, he noted the name change for the area and that a world literature class can be counted by Plan II students. He explained that undergraduate studies wanted to see new course numbers for American history classes that have historically carried the statement that courses may be repeated when topics vary. Dean Woodruff said there is no efficient way to check each different topic to see if it satisfies state requirements; however, time constraints did not allow this problem to get resolved for the 2008 catalog. Dean Woodruff indicated that the social science changes were very small, but he hoped that Council members would take time to review them before the January vote. He pointed out that statistics had been included in the mathematics requirement, and some conservative additions involving specific anthropology and geography courses had been included in the three-hour natural sciences requirement. Due to the complexity involved with the visual and performing arts area, the committee had retained what had been previously allowed but included some classics courses because the classics department had provided a strong case for their inclusion.

Professor Robert Koons (philosophy) asked if shifting three hours from humanities or visual and performing arts to just visual and performing arts would result in insufficient course offerings in art history to meet student needs. He also asked about the impact this shift would have on enrollments in other humanities courses. Dean Woodruff said he had been meeting with personnel from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts regarding this matter. He said he thought the degree requirements for the BA Plan I in both liberal arts and natural sciences could require more than the minimum mandated in humanities by the Coordinating Board. He said the campus-wide requirement that students take English 316K provided a common academic experience in literature for undergraduates, but he strongly encouraged the adoption of additional humanities requirements in degree plans in all colleges/schools. However, he said his major responsibility was the 42-hour core and the flags specified in UT’s curricular reform legislation.


A. Employee Discount Program and Supply Cards.


  Staff Council Chair Erin H. Waneck provided information regarding the employee discount cards that are now available through the joint efforts of the Staff Council and Human Resource Services. She asked Faculty Council members to distribute cards to vendors that they would like to see participate in the program. She said people often do not ask about discounts, but she had recently saved $150 through such a discount program. The vendors who are participating in this new UT program are listed by product/service categories on the Human Resource Services web site at Chair Burger thanked Ms. Waneck and asked her to leave the cards just outside the door so Council members could pick them up as they left the meeting. He then called attention to the announcements listed below.
B. Next Faculty Council meeting will be held on Monday, January 28 at 2:15 in Main 212.
C. General Faculty Standing Committees’ online nominations begin January 28 and run through February 15.
D. General Faculty college nomination phase for election to the Faculty Council begins February 25.
E. The Joint Meeting of the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and the UT Austin Faculty Council will be on March 17 at College Station from 11a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a luncheon. UT will provide bus transportation.



Chair Burger adjourned the meeting at 4:00 p.m.

Posted on the Faculty Council web site ( on January 28, 2008. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.



Update on the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
Response from Vice President Patricia Clubb to Questions from Professor Tom Palaima

1. What is the current thinking about the pricing of the rooms and facilities for academic purposes? And, how will the pricing scheme compare with the state rates now offered at Austin hotels and bed and breakfasts? Many of the faculty are interested in specific costs, since “competitive rates” can cover a wide range of price points.
a. The average price for 07-08 is listed as $169. This can be everything from $300 for guests that are not price sensitive to the state rate ($85.00).
b. All hotels offer state rates when it fits with their occupancy goals and the time of year.
c. It was never planned that UT would subsidize the facility although any dean or director is free to do that if needed. In fact, several have expressed an interest in that approach.
d. To the degree we have some outside or non-UT business that optimizes pricing, we are in a better position to offer lower prices to academic departments.

2. How will the use of space for academic purposes be determined? Are any programs within UT Austin being given priority? If so, on what basis? Also, how will requests for important academic purposes be weighed against reservations made for followers of athletics events throughout the year?
a. To some degree, it’s first come, first serve. There is a priority on academic events versus all others. But, at some point the space needs to be reserved. This first year will allow us to have a better idea of the base amount of UT business, both group and transient.
b. The McCombs Executive Education Program has a priority and that is due to the equity position they have in the facility. It has been stated from the beginning that this facility was being constructed largely because of the executive education program needs of McCombs although all University departments are encouraged and welcome to use it.
c. McCombs must develop their “custom” program in order to fully utilize the facility. In the meantime, we must find other replacement business.
d. The debt service of the facility must be met. It is approximately $5 million per year. Revenues need to hit ~$22 million the first year. All profits from the facility will return to the academic enterprise. All deficits will be paid for by the academic enterprise.
e. Horwath Associates did the initial and follow-up market studies. They say that UT has the market to support such a facility. However, this market needs to be developed. The third year of operation will not have the same customer profile as the first year. We don’t know exactly how the UT academic market will develop from now till the end of the first year.

3. What is the recent thinking about what was being planned as a sports café? Has the committee done any rethinking along the lines of using the café to highlight general educational and cultural aspects of UT Austin? If so, will it be contacting interested faculty?
a. We have dropped the “sports” part of the name and have changed the interior design to reflect a more casual but traditional café-type feel. We did this because of what we heard at our earlier conversation with this group and at some cost to the project.
b. We will contact faculty for various programming possibilities. They won’t be necessarily restricted to Gabriel’s Cafe but for the facility as a whole—with a possible focus on the Carillon.

4. What will be the design of the glass mural?
a. The design will be historical features of the University, particularly architectural.
b. It will not be etched but done with film so that it can change over time.

5. In regard to the advance bookings of the facility mentioned at the September Faculty Council meeting, can we have a breakdown of what these bookings look like and which fall into the category of athletics-related and which academic?
a. 10 colleges and schools are represented



b. No athletics events are yet recorded
c. 84.4% of the bookings are UT Austin
d. 3.52% are educational
e. 10.7% are other

6. What faculty input was there on the closing of the Faculty Club and transferring it to the EECC with non-University employees?"
a. We currently have 400 members with over 100 being retired faculty and staff. Of the remaining 300, 240 are faculty members.
b. The Campus Club was told the long-standing $150,000 UT annual subsidy would be phased out.
c. Membership has been stagnant or declining for the past seven years. Only in the last few months have we been adding a few members.
d. I visit with the deans each year and from a large majority of them I heard they did not use the Campus Club because of the condition of the facility.
e. We have had drawings of the new facility on display at the CC for the past year. 99% of the comments from the faculty who are current members have been positive.
f. All members were notified by letter of the move and the response has been positive.
g. We have established a faculty committee to advise us on the new organization.
h. The director of the new club is a UT Austin employee, Alicia Bogart.
i The Carillon is the restaurant in the facility that will be restricted to the faculty club for lunch and other events. Its name focuses on the tower, it has quotes within its interior architecture from the library in the Main Building as well as 212, and it will feature faculty on one of its display walls. The purpose of the entire décor is to evoke an academic feel.

12/10/2007 2:01 PM





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