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Faculty Rules and Governance Committee

Members: Jonathan Bard, Alan Friedman, Irene Gamba (vice chair), Sue Greninger, Hillary Hart (chair), Janet Staiger (chair elect), Samuel Wilson.

The Faculty Rules and Governance Committee (FR&G) met four times during the 2009-10 year (September 14, 2009; October 29, 2009; November 18, 2009, and February 12, 2010). The committee developed four proposals that were presented to the Faculty Council as follows:
  • January 2010: “Proposal to Revise the Membership and Election of Faculty to the Faculty Council Executive Committee” (D 7788-7789).
    Rationale: To open up the composition of the Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) by having the Faculty Council elect three members at large after a transparent nomination process.
    Result: This legislation was approved by the president.
  • February 15, 2010: “Proposal to Change Functions of the Committee on Committees and the Rules and Governance Committee” (D 7845-7846).
    Rationale: The considerable overlap between the two committees made it difficult for other faculty committees to know to which committee to refer which issues. The language changes remove the redundant functions and clarify all the functions of these committees.
    Result: This “general legislation” was approved by the Faculty Council.
  • March 22, 2010: “Proposal Recommending Changes to the Parliamentarian Language in the Rules and Regulations” (D 7979).
    Rationale: The language describing the role of the General Faculty parliamentarian is inconsistent in two places within chapter one of the rules and regulations. This proposal makes selection of a parliamentarian more democratic by opening the position to an election process.
    Result: Changes were unanimously approved by the Faculty Council.
  • March 22, 2010: “Proposal Recommending Changes to the Voting Rights for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty” (D 7980-7981).
    Rationale: The Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) gives voting rights at the University, college/school, and departmental levels only to lecturers (who are at least half-time and have had four or more continuous long semesters of service). There are in fact many other non-tenure-track faculty titles in use at UT Austin, and many of these title-holders are as involved in the life and mission of the University as are lecturers. It seems patently unjust to disallow other titles – clinical faculty, e.g. – who meet the same criteria for percent and length of service from voting.
    Result: The FR&G Committee had inadvertently been working from an outdated copy of the HOP from the UT web site, and so Hillary Hart agreed to work with Steve Monti on the wording of the proposal before discussing again with the Faculty Council.
  • May 10, 2010: “Revisions to Changes to the Voting Rights of the General Faculty” (D 8065-8066).
    Rationale: Same as on March 22, 2010 (see above). Language from current HOP has been corrected.
    Result: After lengthy discussion, the motion was tabled. There was disagreement among the faculty about how to word the legislation such that faculty heavily involved in the University could be given voting rights without assigning those same rights to many faculty who are not thus involved. David Hillis, in particular, mentioned the numerous clinical 51 percent positions that are being planned in advance of bringing a medical school to UT Austin. Hart and Staiger declared an intention to keep working on this legislation.
The FR&G Committee also made two recommendations to the Committee on Committees, one concerning clarifying the terms of chairs-elect who have actually finished their term on the committee, and one clarifying the total number of years a faculty member may serve on a standing committee. Chair Dominic Lasorsa brought legislation on these matters to the Faculty Council, and the legislation was approved.

Michael Churgin, chair