October 27, 2008


Chair Elect Janet Staiger (women’s and gender studies, radio-television-film) reported she and Chair Hillis had shared the responsibility for attending the UT System Faculty Advisory Council meeting. She reported that Interim Chancellor Kenneth Shine had given an in depth report about the extensive and continuing impact of Hurricane Ike on the Galveston campus and the entire University of Texas System. Chair Elect Staiger reported that classes were just beginning to resume in Galveston, and the extent of the damage on the training programs for medical students. Although other institutions have generously contributed to the education of these students, the entire UT System is still faced with many problems to solve as a result of the damage to the facilities in Galveston.

A second area of concern at the meeting, according to Chair Elect Staiger, pertained to on-going interactions regarding the faculty’s role in shared governance. She reported that former Chancellor Mark Yudof had been very supportive of the shared governance concept. She said there had been an effort during his administration to see that the major roles the faculty should play in the UT System, as specified in the Regents’ Rules, conform to the actual activities occurring on each campus and the policies and procedures included in the individualized Handbook of Operating Procedures at each institution. She said that the representatives from other UT System institutions appeared to be quite cognizant of the roles specified in the Regents’ Rules, and she thought it would be informative for her to share this information with the UT Austin Faculty Council. The Regents’ Rules, according to Chair Elect Staiger, specify that the faculties at the various UT universities “are to be in charge of, or at least have a major amount of input on,” academic policies and issues at their respective institutions. She then listed the academic areas specifically listed in the Regents’ Rules as being the following; “general academic policies and welfare; student life and activities; requirements of admission and graduation; honors and scholastic performance; approval of candidates for degrees; and faculty rules of procedure.” Chair Elect Staiger said the Faculty Council Executive Committee is reviewing the degree to which our UT Austin faculty members are engaged in each of these areas where strong faculty participation is authorized.

Chair Elect Staiger said she had been invited to give a de-briefing at the UT System Leadership Program, which she thought was worthwhile since it corresponded with the Commission of 125’s recommendation regarding development of leadership at the departmental level. To facilitate leadership development, the UT System is setting up a leadership workshop program on a pilot basis. Chair Elect Staiger said nominations to the provost for candidates to be considered for participation in the workshops were due today, October 27, and had been solicited primarily from department chairs, research center directors, and deans. . Professor Bill Beckner (chair, mathematics) asked it there were a web page where information existed about the nomination process; Chair Hillis said he would be sure to send this information to Professor Beckner.

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