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5/14/2012

Dear Colleagues,

            Here are the highlights of the eighth regular meeting of the Faculty Council (FC) for 2011-12.  Given the current circumstances surrounding the UT Austin campus, the rumored threat to President Powers’ tenure, and a resolution on the agenda from the Faculty Council Executive Committee (FCEC) in support of the President and his administrative team, the meeting was anything but routine: it was attended by several hundred non-Faculty Council members of the faculty, staff, and students, as well as by numerous representatives of the public media.

            President Powers thanked both the campus community -- for its support, friendship, and the quality of its professional work -- and also the University’s many supportive alumnae and friends around the world.

            He announced the appointment of new deans Linda Hicke in the College of Natural Sciences and Ward Farnsworth in the School of Law; David Laude in the new position of Senior Vice Provost of Enrollment and Graduation Management; and Marc Musick to oversee the Office of New Student Services, which will implement changes in orientation, including making it mandatory and more academically oriented.

            The President spoke of the pending lawsuit regarding holistic admissions, Fisher v. University of Texas, and the law firm of Latham and Watkins (which won the Grutter case) that has been hired to handle it.

            He explained that the larger-than-usual incoming freshman class (roughly 8400 rather than the more usual 7000-7200) was not caused by a deliberate decision to increase revenue; rather, it resulted from a significant increase in applications and in UT’s popularity, as well as a slight miscalculation about anticipated yield on the part of Admissions.  He maintained that resources will be devoted to insuring that we have the necessary classes for all our students.

            The FC then considered the following Resolution in Support of President Bill Powers presented by the FCEC:

“Recognizing the extraordinary efforts exerted by UT Austin President Bill Powers and his administrative team in support of the recent proposal for a modest, well-documented, and crucial tuition increase, the Faculty Council strongly commends them for seeking to protect and enhance the quality of our students’ education and the value of their degrees, as well as the research and public service achievements of the faculty.  The fact that the Regents ultimately rejected the proposal diminishes neither the campus’s need for such financial support nor the efforts made to attain it.  The faculty of the University of Texas at Austin offer their support for William Powers in the performance of his duties as president of the University.”

            During the discussion, Manuel Justiz, the senior academic dean, reported that the deans had already endorsed the resolution; Alba Ortiz reported that the Hispanic Faculty and Staff Organization had done the same.  And Shernaz Garcia polled the members of the Graduate Assembly who were present; they too endorsed the resolution.  All these votes were unanimous.

            The FC then endorsed the resolution: 45-0-1.

            Elections were held for the 2012-13 FC officers, with the following results:

Chair-Elect: Hillary Hart, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Civil Engineering
Executive Committee: Patrick Davis, Pharmacy; Michael Domjan, Psychology; and Susan Klein, Law

            The FC passed a Resolution of Appreciation for Services to Faculty Governance at the University of Texas at Austin rendered by the following retiring faculty members:

            Mark I. Alpert, Marketing Administration; Shernaz B. Garcia, Special Education; Alba A. Ortiz, Bilingual Education and Special Education; Janet Staiger, Radio Television Film and Center for Women's and Gender Studies. '

"The Faculty Council expresses its deep gratitude to these esteemed colleagues for their outstanding contributions over many years to the Faculty Council (and its preceding organizations), the Graduate Assembly, and the well being of the General Faculty.  The University of Texas at Austin has been enriched by their enlightened leadership through shared governance and will miss their wisdom and expertise."

            I announced that the Guidelines for Implementing the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents’ Rule 31102: Evaluation of Tenured Faculty, that the FC approved 4/23/12, have been approved by the administration. 

            Chair-Elect Martha Hilley moderated a panel discussion on the recommendations of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.  Panelists included Michael Clement, Accounting Education (standing in for UT’s COIA representative, Ted Gordon); Alba Ortiz, Special Education; and Tom Palaima, Classics.  The COIA report and recommendations are available at:

http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2011-2012/reports/FC_chair_rpts/COIArpt2012membership.pdf, http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2011-2012/reports/FC_chair_rpts/COIArecs2012membership.pdf, and http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2011-2012/reports/COIA_recommendations.pdf.

As always, I welcome your questions or comments about what the Council is or isn’t doing.

            Best,

            Alan W. Friedman

            Chair, Faculty Council 2011-12

            friedman@austin.utexas.edu