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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY FOR 2009-2010

Following are the minutes of the General Faculty meeting of Monday,January 27, 2010.
Greninger signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The General Faculty

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY FOR 2009-2010

I.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES.

Minutes of the 2008-09 regular meeting of the General Faculty, which was held on October 27, 2008 (D 7157-7158), were approved by voice vote.

II.
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL, 2008-2009.

Secretary Sue Greninger (human development and family sciences) presented a brief overview of the annual report, which was published as D 7239-7263. She reported the major legislation regarding the natural science core curriculum requirement for all UT Austin undergraduates (D 6802-6803) received approval from the Coordinating Board. The UT System approved the legislation originally proposed by the Faculty Welfare Committee regarding University family friendly policies (D 5183) and the Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) has been updated with the new information. In addition, UT System also approved the following two policies, which were originally proposed by the Educational Policy Committee:

  • recognition of academic certificate programs allowed on official University transcripts (D 6128-6130)
  • satisfaction of academic programs’ designated course prerequisites by credit-by-exam minimum scores (D 6464-6465)

Secretary Greninger also reported that President Powers approved the following items that the Council had recommended:

  • authorization to offer one and two-hour flagged courses that count toward undergraduate core requirements (D 6967-6968)
  • modification of rules for designation as college scholars and distinguished college scholars (D 7339-7341)
  • • change in name, function, and composition of the Faculty Rules Committee, which is now broadened in focus and called the Faculty Rules and Governance Committee (D 6850)

In response to the legislation seeking to add staffing to the Office of the Faculty Ombudsperson (D 5191-5194), Provost Steve Leslie approved the creation of an assistant faculty ombudsperson as a voluntary non-salaried position, without additional compensation, such as reduced workload expectations.

Secretary Greninger reported that Faculty Council resolutions in support of the following four actions were forwarded to President Powers during the year:

  • banning firearms on campus (D 6849)
  • providing domestic partner benefits (D 6804)
  • creating a bicycle-friendly campus (D 6889)
  • establishing staff ombudsperson position (D 6966)
With the implementation of the core curricular reforms and the issuance of a new undergraduate catalog for 2008-10, she said the number of catalog changes approved for degree programs had been extensive.

III.
DISCUSSION OF ANNUAL REPORT—None.

IV.
COMMENTS BY AND QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT.

President Powers said there were questions for him to answer at the Faculty Council meeting scheduled to follow the General Faculty meeting; however, he wanted to address the following question that had been submitted for the General Faculty meeting by Professor Stuart Reichler (biological sciences):

What is being done to ensure that the recommendations of the Committee on the Status of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty are being implemented? What progress has been made in integrating lecturers, of all ranks, into the departments for which they work, as well as, offering more stable employment to lecturers?

Vice Provost Judy Langlois, who chaired the Committee on the Status of Non-tenure Track Faculty (D 2488-2493) five years ago, reported that the principles her committee had recommended were largely accepted and implemented during the terms of Presidents Larry Faulkner and Bill Powers. She said the Faculty Welfare Committee was currently responsible for monitoring what is happening with regard to this matter. She said the promotion process had been standardized and the procedures were specified on the provost’s web site. A meeting involving the president, provost, dean of graduate studies, dean of undergraduate studies, and vice president of research was being held each year to review the promotions. Fixed or rolling contracts were now offered to senior lectures and distinguished senior lecturers for two-year and three-year terms, respectively.

Professor Bill Beckner (mathematics) asked if rolling contracts and some sort of voting rights to lecturers at a lower rank, who play important roles in their departments, would ever be given consideration. With regard to contracts, President Powers said the idea was to provide stability and greater job security, but this was “limited to senior lecturers, clinical professors, and distinguished senior lecturers.” President Powers went on to say: “If the need is there for similar kinds of arrangements for other kinds of non-tenure track faculty, I would certainly be open to them. We’d have to look at the facts and the situation. I think the idea is to give tools to the departments who want to use them—tools that will help them develop a strong and cohesive non-tenure track faculty.” President Powers said he would have to look into voting rights because there are regental rules involved with that matter.

Professor Alan Friedman (English) said the HOP covers voting rights of faculty members, which he thought should be fairly standardized throughout the University’s departments. He reported that the Faculty Rules and Governance Committee, of which he is a member, was currently reviewing voting guidelines and hoped to provide its recommendations to clarify this issue by the end of the semester. Professor Janet Staiger (radio-television-film and chair of the Faculty Council) said lecturers have voting rights at the college and General Faculty level; however, she said “even full-time lecturers do not have voting rights in departments.” She said she understood that “departments with large numbers of lecturers have concerns about over-weighting departmental decisions if full-time lecturers have voting rights.” She suggested the Faculty Rules and Governance Committee might need to consider this issue. President Powers said he would be willing to consider recommendations on this matter from the Council or committee.

Professor Andrea Gore (pharmacy) asked Vice Provost Langlois what role the Faculty Welfare Committee should play regarding these issues because there had not been any discussion of the topics during her service on the committee. She asked what might be done to be sure the committee moves forward in meeting the responsibilities to which the vice provost had referred. Vice Provost Langlois said there were two reports posted on the provost’s web site that provided background information and recommendations from her original committee and the follow-on implementation committee chaired by Dr. Hillary Hart (civil, architectural, and environmental engineering). In the second report, it was recommended that monitoring of progress be part of the regular duties of the Faculty Welfare Committee. She suggested that Professor Gore both review the reports and contact her so she could “do some reminding and encouraging.”

Vice Provost Langlois told Professor Beckner that if he wanted lecturers to be a stable part of the department that they be recommended for promotion to senior lecturers. She said the process was similar to tenure promotions in that the candidates need to be in rank for six years. She agreed with President Powers’ willingness to look into rolling contracts for lecturers if departments were interested in recommending this policy to the administration.

With regard to the charge to the Faculty Welfare Committee, President Powers said there were two specific issues of importance. First, the committee should monitor if the recommendations are being adequately implemented. From his perspective, he said there are quite a few individuals being recommended for promotion to senior and senior distinguished lecturers each year, which indicates the policy is being implemented. However, it would be worthwhile to determine if selectivity is occurring among the departments across campus. The second issue involves looking for other possible areas where recommendations could be useful, such as the one involving contracts for lecturers. President Powers said he thought both of these issues were within the purview of the Faculty Welfare Committee.

V.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS—None.

VI.
REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEES.

A. Committee to Nominate a Candidate for Secretary of the General Faculty.

Chair Janet Staiger (chair of the nominating committee) reported that Professor Sue Alexander Greninger was the committee’s choice for the secretary position. Also serving on the nomination committee were Professors Cynthia Buckley (sociology), Andrea Gore (pharmacy), David Hillis (integrative biology), Dean Neikirk (electrical and computer engineering), and Tom Palaima (classics).

VII.
NEW BUSINESS.

A. Election of the Secretary of the General Faculty.

President Powers asked if there were any nominations for secretary from the floor. Since there were no other nominations, he called for the vote. Professor Greninger was unanimously elected to serve for the calendar year 2010. President Powers congratulated and thanked Professor Greninger for her willingness to serve as secretary.

VIII.
REMAINING QUESTIONS TO THE PRESIDENT—None.

VIX.
AJOURNMENT.

The meeting adjourned at 2:44 p.m.

Distributed through the Faculty Council web site on June 24, 2010.