OCTOBER 21, 2013


Chair Elect Bill Beckner reported on the UT System Faculty Advisory Committee meeting in late September, which Chair Hart and he attended. He noted that Dr. Hart is co-chair of the governance subcommittee, as well as a member of the executive committee and that he served on the academic affairs discussion group. Dr. Beckner explained that the UT System Faculty Advisory Committee (SYSFAC), with representatives from nine academic and six health institutions, discusses topics quite similar to the ones the UT Austin Faculty Council is dealing with, such as UTS 180, peer faculty assessment and how it could be used to improve faculty teaching, etc. The topic of employee-student relationships was discussed, especially as it relates to athletics programs. Also, there was a call “for support for the humanities and liberal arts,” which happened about a week before an op-ed piece on this same topic by UT System Chancellor Cigarroa appeared in the Austin American Statesman.

Professor Beckner reported that there was interest in increased faculty input in the selection of administrative leadership. In addition, he said there was discussion regarding the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s input on core curriculum, and significant push-back from SYSFAC on the issue of core curriculum coming from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and Assessment Pedro Reyes suggested that faculty should continue to express their concerns on this issue.

In concluding his report, Professor Beckner asked for a round of applause for Chair Hillary Hart, Past Chair Martha Hilley, the office of Neil Armstrong, and the office of Patti Ohlendorf—especially Jeff Graves—and their efforts on behalf of the faculty in drafting UT Austin’s HOP model policy of UTS 180. The Faculty Council members obliged.

Chair Hart added that the draft policy on peer observation is currently being circulated and will be posted for Council members to review in the near future.

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