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D 10343-10347



Dean Linda Hicke of the College of Natural Sciences has filed with the secretary of the Faculty Council the following changes to the College of Natural Sciences Chapter of the Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2016. The secretary has classified this proposal as general legislation.

The Committee on Undergraduate Degree Program Review recommended approval of the change on April 29, 2013, and forwarded the proposed changes to the Office of the General Faculty. The Faculty Council has the authority to approve this legislation on behalf of the General Faculty. Final approval resides with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

If no objection is filed with the Office of the General Faculty by the date specified below, the legislation will be held to have been approved by the Faculty Council. If an objection is filed within the prescribed period, the legislation will be presented to the Faculty Council at its next meeting. The objection, with reasons, must be signed by a member of the Faculty Council.

To be counted, a protest must be received in the Office of the General Faculty by noon on May 9, 2013.

SAG signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
General Faculty and Faculty Council

Distributed through the Faculty Council website on April 30, 2013



1. Type of Proposal: Change an Existing Certificate Program

2. Scope of Proposed Change

a. Does this proposal impact other colleges/schools? Yes
  The certificate is also available to students seeking degrees in the College of Liberal Arts. Thus this legislation is being presented there as well.  
b. Will students in other degree programs be impacted (are the proposed changes to courses commonly taken by students in other colleges)? No
  This is not a degree program change. The certificate program is purely elective for Liberal Arts students and many Natural Sciences students.  
c. Will students from your college take courses in other colleges? No

If the answer to 2a, 2b, or 2c is “yes”:

How many students do you expect to be impacted?
Current enrollment in the program is 252; we project that, by academic year 2014, when the changes would take effect, enrollment will be close to 300.

Impacted schools must be contacted and their response(s) included:
Person communicated with: Richard Flores, Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts
Date of communication: February 14, 2013
Response: Acceptable

3. Official Certificate Name:

new name: Evidence and Inquiry Certificate
replacing: Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (Texas IP) Certificate

4. Proposed Implementation Date: Fall 2014

5. CIP Code (administrative unit awarding the certificate):

Administrative units are the College of Liberal Arts and the Office for Honors Research and International Study in the College of Natural Sciences.

6. Statement of Objective

  1. Changing name from “Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (IP) Certificate” to “Evidence and Inquiry Certificate”
  2. Remove RHE 309S / 309K requirement
  3. Modify “Critical Thinking Seminar” requirement (referred to in proposed catalog copy as “Signature course” requirement) to include UGS 303, Originality in the Arts and Sciences
  4. Add fourth field course requirement.

7. Number of Students Expected to Receive the Certificate Each Semester: 25 to 40

8. Number of Hours Required for Completion: 18

9. List Faculty on the Certificate Program Faculty Committee

Name of Faculty Member


Title at UT Austin

Highest Degree and Awarding Institution

Brent Iverson* (Program Chair)

Chemistry and Biochemistry/
Natural Sciences

Professor, Chair

PhD, California Institute of Technology

Mia Carter*

English/Liberal Arts

Associate Professor

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Michael Starbird*

Natural Sciences


PhD, University of Wisconsin

Arturo De Lozanne*

Biological Sciences/Natural Sciences

Associate Professor

PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine

Timothy Loving*

Psychology/Liberal Arts; and Human Ecology/Natural Sciences

Associate Professor

PhD, Purdue University

10. Academic Course Requirements Use this table to identify the courses that qualify for this certificate program.

Course Abbreviation and Number

Course Title


UGS 303

Originality in the Arts and Sciences; Research Methods; Critical Thinking for the 21st Century



Four three-credit-hour courses in the student’s field of study and approved by faculty on student’s proposal


NSC / LA 371

Capstone Course


11. Other Certificate Requirements:

Students must be seeking a degree in the College of Natural Sciences or the College of Liberal Arts.

12. Give a Detailed Rationale for Change(s):

        Each rationale is for the objective mentioned in #6 above:

  1. Changing name from “Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (IP) Certificate” to “Evidence and Inquiry Certificate"
    Effective April 2013, the Texas IP program is being moved out of the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan to host a third honors community, alongside Dean’s Scholars and Health Science Honors, in the College of Natural Sciences. The new honors community is designed for outstanding science majors with demonstrated interests and talents outside the sciences. By fall 2016, it is estimated that over half of the certificate program’s participants will be honors students seeking majors in the College of Natural Sciences. The certificate program will, however, remain open by direct application to highly motivated students in the College of Liberal Arts.

    Since its inception, there has been confusion over whether students seeking a Texas IP certificate are TIP Scholars. (TIP Scholars is a first-year support program.) In AY 2012-13, only about 20 percent of IP students had also been in TIP. In addition, “Texas IP”—the “IP” stands for “interdisciplinary plan”—didn’t describe the most unique aspect of the program, which is the freedom to design and propose a curriculum based on the student’s own questions of interest outside her major. Three years ago, faculty and staff began to brainstorm names that would reflect this novel aspect of the program. After it was decided to name the new honors community University Fellows, faculty and staff arrived at the name “Evidence and Inquiry” for the certificate itself: “evidence,” since it’s the main product of a major research university; “inquiry,” since the students are required to develop questions based on evidence to shape their fields of study.

  2. Remove RHE 309S / 309K requirement
    The decision to remove the RHE 309S / 309K requirement is based on four reasons. First, almost a third of students in the program arrive at UT with dual credit for RHE 309K. Second, since students must have two writing flags to graduate, the requirement to take RHE 309S / 309K does not increase their writing instruction. Third, it was decided that a fourth field of study class was needed, and that adding three additional hours would make it harder for students to fit the program within a four-year plan. The RHE requirement would be removed to keep the curriculum total at 18 credit hours. Fourth, it was felt that more upper-division coursework should be required. (See “Add fourth field course requirement” below).

  3. Modify “Critical Thinking Seminar” requirement (referred to in proposed catalog copy as “Signature course” requirement) to include UGS 303, Originality in the Arts and Sciences
    While UGS 303 / Critical Thinking in the 21st Century and UGS 303 / Research Methods will still fulfill the Signature course requirement for this certificate, Originality in the Arts and Sciences would become the course that most students seeking this certificate take in their first semester. Our students create their fields of study based on questions that require expertise from at least two disciplines; thus their proposal requires that they receive training in asking productive interdisciplinary questions. The Originality course will provide ideal preparation for this work: the course is inquiry-directed, requiring students to develop research projects based on questions appropriate to a variety of disciplines.

  4. Add fourth field course requirement.
    Faculty sought to make the curriculum more rigorous by exchanging the three lower-division RHE hours for an additional upper-division three -hour field course, providing students more preparation for their Capstone research project. The current field course requirement is for nine credit hours, six of which can be lower-division. This makes it possible to include only two upper-division courses in the curriculum. Under the present proposal, at least nine credit hours (six from field courses, three from the Capstone) must be upper-division.

13. College/School Approval Process:

Approver: Course and Curriculum Committee; Sacha Kopp
Date: April 16, 2013
Title: Associate Dean for Curriculum and Programs