February 20, 2012


Chair Friedman reported that the UT System Faculty Advisory Council had been asked to draft a model template for implementing the new rules for post-tenure-review, which would then be adapted by the individual campuses. Because he lacked full confidence in the UT system council’s actions of late, Chair Friedman said he thought it was very important for UT Austin to draft an implementation model for what will occur here on our campus.  He urged the administration to work with the FCEC on policies and procedural guidelines that could be implemented at the departmental level here at UT Austin. Since the president has indicated that implementation is to occur in the next review cycle, Chair Friedman said these policies and guidelines must be developed soon. He added that it was critical that UT Austin not fall into having to deal with policies and procedures that have not been seriously scrutinized beforehand. He asked that everyone review the system’s new requirements to understand the amount of time and effort that will be involved “in evaluating each other’s productivity rather than producing what we will be evaluated on.” Because he was concerned about the extent to which negative and unintended consequences might result, Chair Friedman asked Council members to give serious thought to the new requirements in order to identify what the potential problem areas might be and to send their questions, ideas, and thoughts to FCEC members as soon as possible.

In addition to post-tenure review and financial exigency legislation, Chair Friedman said the issue of the upcoming UT Austin budget had been discussed by the FCEC. Because he assumed the Faculty Council’s position from about a year and a half ago that opposed merit raises “if they come out of the hides of the most vulnerable among the campus community members” was still true, he said he had reiterated that position to the administration. In addition, he wanted to reiterate the idea often espoused by President Powers that UT Austin is an institution of the first class with outstanding faculty members. Therefore, when only a small percentage of the faculty were selected to receive merit raises, he said this action sent a demoralizing message to other exceptional faculty members that were not receiving merit raises. Other issues of importance included the task force report on graduation rates and an improved definition of faculty voting rights, which is being pursued in the Rules and Governance Committee chaired by Professor Dean Neikirk (electrical and computer engineering). He reported the devolution of the graduate school has resulted in a joint resolution from the Graduate Assembly and the FCEC that Professor Shernaz Garcia would present later in the meeting under new business.

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