March 23, 2009


Chair Elect Janet Staiger reported she thought the joint meeting with the Texas A&M Senate had gone very well, and she had already thanked Professor Marilla Svinicki and Associate Vice Provost R. Michael Kerker for their excellent presentations on evaluating quality teaching and the state of the state budget, respectively. She said she wanted to publicly acknowledge the following individuals for moderating the chat sessions on faculty equity and faculty governance: Professors Larry Abraham, Ted Odell, Steve Friesen, Patricia Hanson, and Carol McKay. She also thanked Debbie Roberts and Jen Morgan for their hard work and organizational skills that contributed to the event’s success.

Chair Elect Staiger summarized the following topics that were addressed at the March 12-13 meeting of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council (SYSFAC): (1) concern about the momentum building to expand the concealed weapons laws, (2) strategies to secure a faculty representative on the Board of Regents, and (3) financial exigency issues that arose at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) due to the extensive hurricane damage. Although the Board of Regents has recently re-emphasized support for UTMB, Chair Elect Staiger said there had been a number of letters sent from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) regarding the process followed at UTMB. She said SYSFAC was advocating compliance with AAUP guidelines and procedures with assured faculty involvement in these difficult decisions should another similar event occur within the UT System causing reductions in personnel. The advisory group, according to Chair Elect Staiger, is planning to survey the official statements regarding financial exigency published at each campus in the UT System. The goal will be to study the definitions and procedures and use the findings to assist the System’s institutions to improve the transparency of their processes should such difficult situations arise again.

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