Secretary Sue Greninger (human development and family sciences) briefly explained to new members that the monthly secretary’s report kept track of resolutions and legislation approved by the Faculty Council. She said that most of the items that had been completed since the previous report were undergraduate degree program changes. She noted that the following non-curricular items had received approval: (1) governance procedures for the School of Undergraduate Studies (D 7982-7983a), (2) functional modifications to the Committee on Committees and the Faculty Rules and Governance Committee (D 7845-7846), (3) composition changes to the Responsibilities, Rights, and Welfare of Graduate Student Academic Employees Committee (D 8080), and (4) revisions to Q-drop procedures (D 8006-8008).
She reported that four letters had been received from President Powers after the secretary’s report was posted on the Council web site this month. Although some of the specific recommendations included in the “Proposed Changes from the Committee on Committees Affecting Terms of Service Term Limits, Chairs, and Chairs Elects” (D 7976-7978) were acceptable to the administration, others were not or needed possible modifications. President Powers returned the entire proposal for reconsideration because he said he thought it was “important to consider the proposal as a whole.” The items that were problematic, according to a letter from Provost Steven Leslie, were proposals providing for (1) committee election rather than presidential appointment of the chair of Faculty Advisory Committee on Budgets, (2) extension of service for individuals on Standing Committees of the General Faculty beyond a maximum standard of two terms, (3) extension of service of individuals as chairs of these committees beyond a maximum of one continuous term, (4) extension of chair elects service on these committees beyond the two continuous term limit, and (5) extension of past chairs service on these committees beyond the two continuous term limit.
President Powers returned the “Proposed Revisions to UT Austin’s Handbook of Operating Procedures 3.16 Threatened Faculty Retrenchment” (D 8009-8012) for reconsideration by the Council so that Provost Leslie’s recommended modifications could be considered. Provost Leslie had advised President Powers that the proposal varied “substantially from UT System guidelines” and decreased “excessively the decision-making authority of the president as it relates to selection of faculty committees.” President Powers said a meeting was held in late August with Professor Dean Neikirk (electrical and computer engineering and Faculty Council chair) and Professor Janet Staiger (radio-television-film and past Council chair) to discuss the proposed legislation, and Professor Staiger had agreed to work on a revision, taking the provost’s concerns into account.
In addition, D 7979, the “Proposed Changes to the Description of the Parliamentarian of the General Faculty,” was returned with the following recommendation by Provost Leslie: “The Parliamentarian be appointed annually by the President on the advice of the Faculty Council, and may be reappointed.” The “Proposal to Change the Function and Composition of the C-13 Information Technology Committee” (D 8074-8075) was also returned to the Council for reconsideration of a recommended modification suggested by Provost Leslie. Assuming the standard term of service for Standing Committees of the General Faculty was extended from two to three years as proposed by the Council, Provost Leslie recommended D 8074-8075 be modified to say the president would be provided a slate of four members of college Information Technology (IT) committees from which he would choose two to serve on committee C-13. By staggering the terms of appointees, two of the six IT committee representatives would roll off of committee C-13 each year and need to be replaced.
When Secretary Greninger asked if there were any questions about her report, Professor Martha Hilley (music) asked if the term limits for committee service had been extended from two to three years. Secretary Greninger responded “no” because the entire legislative item had been returned to the Council for reconsideration. President Powers had indicated that he wanted to consider the proposal in its entirety rather than individually approve or disapprove parts of the proposed legislation. When Professor Hilley asked if reconsideration and approval occurred soon, would the new term limits apply this year or during the next cycle, Professor Greninger said she did not know because it was difficult to say how long it would take for items to be reconsidered when sent back to the Committee on Committees and then forwarded back through the Faculty Council. The amount of time involved depended on the level of controversy, which was hard to predict. There being no more questions, Secretary Greninger said her report normally was not this lengthy, but she thought it important to inform the Council about the items that had been returned after the report was posted on the Council web site, and they served as a primer regarding the legislative process and the advisory role of the Council.