October 31, 2011



Chair Elect Alba Ortiz (special education) reported on a meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates, held October 28, which was attended by representatives of the faculty governance organizations from thirty-three universities and colleges across the state. The following topics were discussed at the meeting:
  • Texas Legislature and the disproportionate share of budget cuts to higher education
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s elimination of low-performing programs
  • Shared governance

Professor Ortiz said UT Austin had not been greatly impacted as far as low-performing programs, and she thought the administration had involved faculty and students in meetings about that issue, but other institutions had not fared so well. The shared governance discussion had been similar in nature to the discussions that had occurred earlier in the Council meeting. Much of the discussion had focused on faculty involvement in budget decisions and the need for increased transparency in these processes. Public access to post-tenure reviews and course-instructor survey results were discussed at length, and the use of online surveys in faculty evaluations, given the universally low return rates. In addition, Professor Ortiz said the role of faculty in evaluating administrators and the lack of transparency regarding the results of those evaluations appeared to be matters of on-going concern and possible discussion at future meetings

Professor Ortiz reported that Texas A&M personnel had indicated that the joint meeting with our Faculty Council would occur on February 28, but their personnel had not asked if that were a convenient date for UT Austin’s Council. She said more information would be forthcoming on this event.1

1 After the Council meeting, the date of the joint meeting proposed by Texas A&M was corrected to be Monday, February 27.


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