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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
SIXTH REGULAR MEETING OF THE FACULTY COUNCIL FOR 2012-2013
The University of Texas at Austin
Main Building, Room 212
Monday, February 18, 2013
ORDER OF BUSINESS
I. REPORT OF THE SECRETARY (D 10198-10203)—Sue Alexander Greninger (associate professor, human development and family sciences).
II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES.
A. Minutes of the Regular Faculty Council Meeting of January 28, 2013 (D 10206-10218)—Sue Alexander Greninger.
III. COMMUNICATION WITH THE PRESIDENT—William Powers Jr.
A. Comments by the President. B. Questions to the President.
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR— Martha F. Hilley (professor, music).
V. REPORT OF THE CHAIR ELECT—Hillary Hart (distinguished senior lecturer, civil, architectural, and environmental engineering).
A. Dialogue on Conflict of Interest (Appendix A)—Vice President of Research Juan Sanchez.
VII. REPORTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY, COLLEGES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMITTEE—None.
A. Student Experience in the Research University (SERU)—Dr. Gale Stuart (director) and Gina Gordon (research associate). B. Proposal to Align Affiliated Studies Credit with Reciprocal Exchange Credit so that All UT-Approved Study Abroad Programs Have the Same Academic Characteristics (D 10188-10192)—Mary Rose (chair, Educational Policy Committee and associate professor, sociology). C. Proposed Q-Drop Policy in the General Information Catalog (D 10193-10194)—Mary Rose. D. Resolution Reaffirming the Ban of Firearms on Campus (D 10195)—Martha F. Hilley.
IX. ANNOUNCEMENTS AND COMMENTS.
A. The next Faculty Council meeting is scheduled for March 18 in Main 212 at 2:15 p.m. B. The nomination phase of the at-large General Faculty elections to the Faculty Council and to five standing committees begins February 18 and will run through March 8. C. Joint Meeting with Texas A&M Faculty Senate and UT Austin's Faculty Council, February 25, UT Club; RSVP now. D. The final phase of the at-large General Faculty elections to the Faculty Council and to five standing committees beings March 25 and will run through April 5. E. Breakfast with the president, March 28, 7-8:30 a.m., Main 212; RSVP.
X. QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIR.
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council
Distributed through the Faculty Council website on February 15, 2013.
Appendix AFrom Bill Beckner, professor, mathematics
Questions on Conflict of Interest
1) In light of discussion of several cases of University personnel over the past two years, has the University implemented any major policy changes in actual rules for University faculty and staff in reference to "conflict of interest"?
2) but there does seem to be increased emphasis and especially paperwork for faculty and staff associated with organized research units and research Institutes plus faculty requirements for compliance training. Can you provide justification for the increase in "paperwork" for which some units have registered complaints as being "onerous"?
From Jon Olson, associate professor, petroleum and geosystems engineering
I am being asked to create a COI management plan because I have a research project funded by a large multi-national corporation and my wife and I also happen to own a moderate amount of stock in that same company (the stock value is on the order of 1/2 my annual university salary). The COI plan is asking for annual reviews of all of my grad students' progress toward graduation because of this one project that supports only one student (I currently supervise 10 grad students). In addition, I am being asked to divulge my conflict in publications and presentations, which I was specifically told includes stating that I am a stock-holder of this corporation (of which there is no precedent in the literature in which I publish that I know of). Although no one has asked me about the details of my research project before requiring me to agree to this COI plan (I have been given some feedback, but I have not been asked for any detailed discussion of the nature of the research project beyond who funded it), the fact that I am neither evaluating a product nor property of this corporation (i.e., this research would never produce results of the nature that they could be construed as an endorsement or criticism of the funding corporation) makes me believe no COI exists beyond that which would require more than simple disclosure to the university and acknowledgment of the funding source in publications. The conflict management plan seems like an over-reaction and an unwarranted administrative burden. Is there a dollar threshold for which COI management is required in cases like this, or is this a "no tolerance"policy when it comes to stock holdings of research faculty? Some of my colleagues have divested of industry stocks related to our work is that what I should be considering?
From Alan Friedman, professor, English
To what extent to you think the new rules will impact faculty in COLA?
From Nina Zuna, assistant professor, special education
I read that every member of the research team does not need to complete the COI training; only the individuals responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of research.
I have a few Master's students/doctoral students AND researchers from within my department and from other universities who are not responsible for the design, conduct, and reporting of research. It seems that it is not necessary for these individuals to complete this training. Am I interpreting this regulation correctly?
On my IRB protocol probably about 4 lead researchers would be responsible in conjunction with me for the design, conduct, and reporting of research. All of the other individuals and co-PIs are supervised by or follow the lead researchers guidance in the implementation of overall research activities and the reporting of the research. These individuals are not involved in the design of the research at all; they only carry out the procedures; they also only report the research findings under the guidance of me as the lead PI. Can you clarify this scenario I have provided.
From Daron Shaw, distinguished teaching professor, government
At the urging of Brian Roberts and several of my colleagues in the Government Department, I am writing you to express my (our) opposition to UT's new Conflict of Interest policies. As you probably know, as of August, the university requires anyone conducting ANY research to complete four training modules regarding potential conflicts of interest. That's annoying, but unremarkable. What's remarkable is that upon completion, you will be sent a Financial Disclosure form. This form requires that you list all sources of income, equity, all royalties, sponsored or reimbursed travel, etc. for yourself, your spouse, and your children. If there is any potential conflict of interest with any of your research, you can be asked to sit down with UT officials to craft a "remediation contract" so that the conflict is "resolved." This contract includes terminating sources of income that could be construed as a potential conflict. The university says nothing about special protection for this information and my conversations with people in the Tower indicate that this information would be subject to public records and FoIA requests.
I asked what right the university has to demand all of our personal financial information (there is certainly nothing in my employment contract to suggest that they have this right). The response was that they really don't, but they simply adopted NIH disclosure requirements (made for grantees) for everyone (and all projects) at UT. I asked what they would do to someone who refused to turn in this form. They said OSP would probably refuse to approve any IRB requests. I pointed out that this is not (and should not) be part of IRB's jurisdiction (which is, after all, about protecting human subjects); UT people agreed but said it's likely anyway.
Look, I'm not a complainer. But this is the most egregious, chilling policy UT has adopted since I've been here. It's the work of attorneys who want to limit UT's liability--I get that. But this policy will kill the incentive to go out and get grant money. I believe that we all need to register immediate and powerful opposition to this policy.