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30 January 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Here are the highlights of the fourth regular meeting of the Faculty Council for 2011-2012, Monday, 23 January, plus some related events:

My Report:

MyEdu: At the Chancellor’s urging, several of us met with Michael Crosno President of MyEdu; the meeting addressed but did not allay many of our concerns, except that he maintained that he would work with the individual campuses to create a site with which each of them is satisfied. UT Austin has formed a campus committee that will be co-chaired by Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter and Shelby Stanfield, the University Registrar. It has been stressed that the committee’s recommendations must be vetted by the FC.

Task Force on Graduation Rates: The FCEC met with Randy Diehl and Mark Music and heard the recommendations that they were considering; some sounded quite reasonable to us, others raised concerns. We are impressed that UT’s current 4-year graduation rate is 52%; 65% for 4 ½ years; and 80% for 6 years – not far off from the stated goal of 70% within 5 years. We understand that the committee’s report will be submitted soon; again, we expect that their recommendations will be considered by the FC.

Occupy UT: The administration proposed a “Prohibition of Camping on University Property” that it intends to become part of the Handbook of Operating Procedures. The FC Executive Committee expressed several concerns about this proposal, but has had no success in modifying or forestalling it. We are especially concerned that, despite the Regents Rules requiring each campus to have an HOP committee that includes faculty to consider modifications of the HOP in areas affecting the campus community, the faculty were excluded from the drafting process. The matter remains one of concern for us.

Election of Chair Elect to replace Alba Ortiz, who is retiring as of 8/31/12. According to Chapter 1: Faculty Governance, Section III: Faculty Council, D. Organization: 1. “If either the Chair or the Chair Elect should cease to be a member of the Faculty Council, the Council shall promptly elect a successor.” But no method is prescribed and no precedent exists. Seeking to adhere as closely as possible to past procedure, the FCEC nominates Martha Hilley, who was the alternative candidate to Alba at last May’s election. No other nominations were submitted and Martha was elected by acclimation. It is understood that Alba will complete her current Chair Elect tasks and then Martha will assume the position.

Report of Chair Elect: The annual joint meeting with the Texas A&M Faculty Senate, will occur on Monday 27 Feb. 2012, at College Station.

Report from Tim Taliaferro, Editor-in-Chief of Alcalde: We invited Tim to report to the Council because of the strong support that the Texas Exes Association and Alcalde have accorded to the University’s educational mission, especially over the last two years. Tim urged the faculty to familiarize themselves with recent issues of Alcalde and urged faculty to provide articles and news for the journal. (Please check out the Alcalde website, and especially an interview with Gene Powell, the chairman of the Board of Regents.)

Proposals from Janet Staiger, Chair of the Education Policy Committee (both were approved by the Council):

  1. to mandate that textbook orders be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the first day of class(http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2011-2012/legislation/textbook_orders.html)
  2. to make the current peer-review requirement for Writing Flag courses optional(http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/2011-2012/legislation/writing_flags.html)

Please send me any questions or concerns about the FC doings.

Best,

Alan Friedman
Professor of English & Chair, Faculty Council, 2011-12
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station, B5000
Austin, Texas 78712