MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF November 16, 2008

III.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT.

Chair Janet Staiger (radio-television-film) announced that President William Powers Jr. had a change in his schedule and therefore was able to attend the meeting. President Powers asked if there would be a December meeting, and Chair Staiger said the meeting had been cancelled unless an urgent matter were to arise. President Powers said he thought the next Council meeting would be back in MAI 212, where the logistics and audio/visual system would be a great improvement.

President Powers said he knew everyone was aware that the University is facing tough times due to the budgetary situation. He stated that the same budgetary cuts were occurring in the portfolios of the vice presidents as were occurring in the colleges/schools and other units, such as Information Technology Services. He described the budgetary debate and disagreement occurring in the College of Liberal Arts as “absolutely essential” and applauded the department chairs and faculty members for raising important issues and Dean Randy Diehl for listening and responding as he had to their concerns. President Powers said he had indicated in his State of the University address that the budget issues would require a great deal of deliberation, disagreements, and difficult decisions, and he thought the foreign language requirement issues were a good example. He said budgetary decisions needed to occur “in a way that moves the colleges ahead and the faculty and department chairs need to be a big part of that.” He said the process occurring across campus would involve painful disagreements, but he thought the debate of such issues “presented a great service to the University.”

Chair Staiger thanked the president for his report and said she also wanted to applaud those involved in the debate, including the University administration and Dean Diehl “for engaging in an intellectual and thoughtful process.” She said that the global economic downturn was forcing the faculty and the entire institution to face difficult financial decisions even though the situation here at UT Austin was not as austere as what many other universities were experiencing.

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