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Travel for FAC

Academic Affairs

Advisory Council

Advisory Council



The University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council

Ashbel Smith Hall, 200 West 7 th Street, 2nd Floor

Austin, Texas

September 23, 2010    10:00 am – 5:00 pm

September 24, 2010       9:00 am – 2:00 pm   



September 23-24, 2010

Dan Formanowicz, President (UT Arlington); Bobbette M. Morgan, Secretary (UTBrownsville); Murray Leaf (UT Dallas); Amy Jasperson (UT-San Antonio);  

See sign-in sheets.


Review of the Minutes-April 28-29, 2010

Minutes from April 28-29, 2010 were presented.  Dean Nilkirk made a motion to accept the minutes as presented and Amy Jasperson seconded the motion. The motion passed.


Dan Formanowicz, our President, discussed the Board of Regents Meeting from this summer. Tuition Waivers were presented and the Regents were very supportive.

 The Board of Regents want more Physicians graduating from our system.

The Criminal Record Check has been reduced from 32 pages to 4 pages. The Presidents of the institutions worked with faculty to clarify the proposed policy. The development of the HOOP will need to go through each senate. Regents want this to be implemented for fall 2011. It must be a local policy and a process defined for how things are handled. Usually a Grievance Policy already in place can be the procedure followed. Each branch needs to clearly define the process. The template designed by the FAC members is a starting point.

We reviewed the agenda and the speakers scheduled.

Agenda/Issue 1.

Steve Collins, Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations and Special Counsel

The Eyes of Texas Murphy are upon you:    

Murphy’s Law: If there is a way to do something wrong I will find it.

O’Toole’s Law: Murphy was an Optimist.

A screen of the Texas legislative process was shown---an organizational chart. What can go wrong? Texas politics.

The legislature meets for 140 day. Eighty percent of the bills introduced die. Budget is currently in the red----a few billion dollars. Stimulus funds from federal government helped us out. This year the State is looking at $12 to $21 billion dollars short. Approximately $11 billion is in the Rainy Day Fund. This fiscal year we have been cut five percent. Higher Education is being asked to reduce by another ten percent. Higher Education gets the leftovers. Then it is divided based on a formula.

Programs may be shut down, but institutions will continue. Every issue will be on the table—furloughs. Sufficient formula funding to maintain growth. Funding for the Health Institutions sufficient to meet demand---this will be impacted because of changes at the federal level. Eighty-eight thousand employees in the UT-System, 17,000 are professors. The UT-System has a $12 billion budget yearly. We are expected to do more with less.

Texas stands a chance to add new congressional seats, 3-4, sometime in April, 2011. Redistricting is rural vs. urban. Gerrymandering will be rampant—it drains the energy from the legislature.

Epstein’s Law: If you think the problem is bad now, just wait until they’ve solved it.

Issues to be addressed in the Legislature this year:

Distance Education, Textbooks, Handguns on Campus, Dual Credit Programs, Research Conflicts of Interest, Community Colleges and transfers

Sunset Review: TX Dept. of Insurance, TX Commission on Environmental Quality, TX Dept. of Transportation, Public Utility Commission,

Water, Voter ID, Public School Finance,

Law of Probable Dispersal: Whatever hits the fan is not evenly distributed.

Campus Reports

UT Arlington, UT Austin, UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College

Agenda/Issue 2.

Dr. Sandra Woodley, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives

Dr. Sandra Woodley introduced Dr. Stephanie Bond Huie---Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives. She started working for this office one week ago. She comes from Houston-Tillotson University.

We take an immense amount of data and make sense of it. Look for gaps and strategies to address long term planning. Take information and provide answers to questions asked about the system---the legislature, the campus presidents, and community. It is our job to provide information for different perspectives---white papers in a format that will be useful.

Measuring graduation success is the one that we have the most information on. The research brief provides context for the 6 year graduation rate. Our office will be generating approximately 10-12 of these white papers each year on topics of interest.

Financial modeling of tier one institutions using benchmark comparisons will help explain the value of research. It is a lost leader—the pursuit of research takes resources. We need to tell the story about the important connection between research and teaching.

First time, full time freshmen are a small amount of what we do.

Faculty productivity: A&M counted number of students in each professor’s course. The UT System Presidents will be meeting and putting together a well thought out plan to discuss and share information about our faculty productivity. Lots of data is available. What is missing is a way to use the information at multiple levels.

Benchmark institutions are those you are compared to, not who you want to be. The ten most statistically similar institutions that were clustered around multiple topics are used and then we averaged their data. Federal research, number of doctoral students, average salaries by position are some of the areas considered.

Topics for the future include productivity and efficiency, cost for a degree, faculty productivity, graduation success, tuition and affordability, financial aid, trends compared to other states, funding adequacy of  institutions, peer institutions, benchmarks on baseline and aspirations. Time is now spent on preparing for the legislative session.

We have been working with institutions to document what already exists in terms of data collected. We want to be able to evaluate what is being collected. We are interested in working with multiple levels within the institutions. If we are successful we will be able to streamline the reporting process.

Agenda/Issue 3.

Committee Meetings

Academic Affairs and Faculty Quality met in ASH 910

Health Affairs met in ASH 202

Governance met in ASH 910

Campus Reports

  UT Dallas, UT El Paso

Agenda/Issue 5.

Friday, FAC Meeting

Committee Meetings

Academic Affairs and Faculty Quality (ASH 910)

Health Affairs (ASH 202)

Governance (ASH 910)


Agenda/Issue 6.

Regent Robert L. Stillwell

Dr. Prior, Dr. Shine, and Pedro Reyes attended the audio conference.


 An audio conference was held with Regent Stillwell in Dallas. He lives in Houston, but works in Dallas. Boone Pickens is one of his clients. He said he’s the world’s oldest Regent at 73.

Question: What is your goal as a Regent over the next 2-3 years?

Response: He wants to leave the UT System in as high a status as possible. It has a $13 billion dollar budget—and is considered one of the greatest assets of the State of Texas and in the world.

Question: What can you share with us about tuition waivers?

Response: Tuition waivers for graduate students, it is an important matter---grounded in tuition, health care, and stipends. We want to recruit the best and the brightest. Research dollars help with this. All schools don’t have these resources. 2009 and in 2011 we will address this again-Zaferini and others will help again, but it comes down to dollars. Each institution needs to lean on their donor base.  

Statement: Our FAC President shared that he spoke with Regent Longoria about this and our FAC will be generating a list of points to share with the Regents.

 Response: Each time the Regents have an audience with legislature, we need more than just talking points-a knowledgeable student, faculty member, or community member that can share what the decisions mean. We need to be able to tell the story.

Question: Please comment on the corporatization of academia.

Response: Maybe what you mean is commercialization, accountability, management. The A&M Plan—red or black in terms of teaching. It has holes in it and fraught with peril. We have teaching awards, peer participation, and lots of measurements—but not connected with money. Maybe more emphasis needs to be placed on it. What we want to achieve is accountability, transparency, and good management.  A collaborative effort between faculty, students, and administration should be something we want in terms of good evaluation. All academia is valuable, music and art, not measured only against the sciences.

Question: Will you consider a Faculty Regent?

Response: It is important. Why would we not want to have representation? I would like to see that. Regent Stillwell asked Dr. Prior and Dr. Shine to make sure this issue is brought back to the Regents for discussion.

Question: HB 2405 requires us to post the syllabus in advance. This was sponsored by the Texas Policy Foundation-Jeanie Morrison.

Response: Transparency was the purpose. Provides prospective students with information. We don’t want something that doesn’t serve the original purpose. Everybody got something done but probably didn’t completely comply.

Question: What would you see as resistance to having a faculty representative on the Board of Regents?

Response: I don’t see any---Ken Shine or David Prior—can you add to that? Ken: When the Student Representative was considered it is like having the fox in the hen house. Stillwell: I think the most valuable member of the Board of Regents is the Student Representative. Ken: Student Regent knows the questions that make you squirm.  FAC President: A bill was presented in the last legislative session but asked for a voting member. Stillwell: Let’s revise that and move it forward.

Question : Leadership Training for campuses was promoted a few years ago. What has happened?

 Ken Shine: We have very strong leadership training on some of our campuses. There was lots of concerns and differences by the presidents. I was impressed when we did the survey at what is available. The problem is that it is very uneven. David Prior: Two Institutes were established. One Global and one for campuses. The cost of bringing people here to Austin was too much. Ken Shine:Dr. Susan Francin organizes this and works for Dr. Prior. I am committed to this, but it is unreasonable to expect this to occur without support. San Antonio has had great training, others don’t have support.

Question: It is important to educate faculty in terms of leadership.

Response: It has been expanded to staff. This is moving from broad based training, but is moving to consultancy.

FAC President: Thank you. We will renew our invitation to you to join us in person at another time.

Agenda/Issue 7.

Senator Kirk Watson

Senator Watson from District 14, Travis County, serves on the Higher Education Committee. Senator Kirk has a passion for Higher Education.

He asked to serve on the Higher Education Committee. His father was a late bloomer; raised by a single Mom, married, had 2 kids, and then went to night school. It made a difference in my life. My parents laid opportunity at my feet. My reason for serving the State of Texas is to provide opportunity to all kids in our state. We are going in the wrong direction.

You may have seen my name in the paper about budget---the budget is $180 billion dollar budget.The second part of the budget is $80 billion in the General Fund. We are in a huge hole and we don’t know how big. There is a constitutional obligation. We need an up-to-date forecast. Short by $11 to $21 billion is what is projected. He is promoting budget reform. It is getting more difficult all the time. Just get it done this cycle is the approach.

Session after session money is diverted to make the budget balance. It is a problem that is on-going. Cash, cuts, and the “kitty” (Rainy Day Fund) are the only things we can do to correct the deficit. “Kitty” will take a 2/3 vote. Until there is budget reform I won’t support touching it. Cash---no support unless budget reform occurs so we know that monies go to where they are supposed to go. We are about average in the cost of tuition, but below average on income.

He is very scared for higher education. Cost drivers are what are being discussed in the legislative committee.

Question: State support is at 6%. We are expected to take more students—with fewer resources, lack of space, and no increase in faculty.

Watson: It is time for Texas to think big again. We need stability in funding the system. We are working to support the development of the tier one institutions. It feels good, but the resources aren’t there to support them, same with medical schools. We should be doubling our efforts but it isn’t being talked about.

Question: Health care reform, we need more general practitioners.

Watson: The discussion about how we will increase the medical providers it is being driven by you in higher education. It is not being addressed by legislature. Most medical providers completing programs live within 200 miles of where they did their training or their home.

Question: Stabilization of your university, what is happening and what are the ramifications?

Watson: We are not talking about how to balance the budget. Investment in medical schools, nursing schools, and tier-one institutions is less and less. Fiscal note - items cost money-you never get to consider the return on investment. We need to reform the process where the real debate will occur.

Question: We have a Board of Regents without representation of the faculty. We would like to have you support us in this effort.

Watson: Yes, you want to get it out of the house real fast.

Question: What would be the resistance?

Watson: Number of people on the Board. Power hates change. I would think you would want that. There will be many issues that will slow down the process. Issues include: redistricting, Sunset, and guns on campus.

Question: Governor’s Election

Watson: If you are happy with the state of higher education now, we have a decade of experience with one candidate. Vote your conscience. kirkwatson.com is his weekly newsletter. Please sign-up.

Agenda/Issue 8.

Office of General Counsel

Dan Sharphorn

Criminal Record Check: The self-reporting section is the part we are most concerned about. Applicants for employment and the current employee piece about self reporting of employees charged.

Criminal convictions, excluding misdemeanors, is suggested for the language from the FAC members.

Agenda/Issue 9.

Dr. David Prior, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

We are doing some interesting things in the UT System:

1. Support UT Austin and move it forward.

2. Supporting emerging research universities. Four are moving forward.

NURF – how can that money be shared? First one gets one-fourth.

3. Chancellor has identified the importance of south Texas. STEM, advanced manufacturing, environment, energies, allied health and nursing. A draft plan is being marketed to the Board of Regents.

4. Health issues

5. Energy

Connections are being proposed between MIT and UT Austin focusing on working with the oil industry. All UT System members are on board.

Question: How do you reconcile these plans in view of the budget cuts? Prior: We are dealing with a short term budget shortfall. We need to look ahead.

Question: Input is not being asked for from faculty.

Prior: Ask them.

Question: UT Brownsville and UT Pan Am-how will the health connections and representation be done?

Prior: The whole plan is to be sorted out today. Establish a smart-campus may be a way to address this.

Question: Health insurance for students?

Prior: I will follow-up on that. There is work being done on this.

Question: Distance learning---we used to have Tele-campus—where are we?

Prior: The campuses can provide their own services. All campuses are represented on the Shared Alliance Committee.

Question: Do you see the need for centralized planning strategies for on-line education? How can we be competitive? 

Prior: We can’t compete with the marketing efforts of Phoenix. There is no line item for this anymore—each institution is making money on this.

Question: What are benefits of merging health institutions and academic institution?

Prior: I think the whole interdisciplinary activity is enriching the area of health care.

Question: The partnership vote didn’t happen last night at UTB. Comments?

Prior: We have been working on this and provided a draft to the Texas Southmost College Board. This is about the use of state resources in a high need area.

Prior: A&M Model of faculty evaluation, there are other ways to address the issues rather than faculty salaries and semester credit hours. I’m working on a paper: UT Universities: Faculty-The Greatest Resource. It is a longitudinal review, outputs must be related to the mission, and faculty are evaluated each year.

Question: We have been asked to calculate SCH in a very Aggie-like way.

Prior: We are going to develop 30 metrics, 10 each for

Question: There is a list? I don’t believe it. 

Pedro: Yes, it is our list. We need to be able to respond to show what we are doing to contain costs.

Agenda/Issue 10.

Campus Reports


UT-Pan American, UT-Permian Basin, UT-San Antonio, UT-Tyler, UT- Southwestern Medical Center-Dallas, UT-Galveston Medical Branch, UT Houston-Medical Center, Health Science Center San Antonio, MD Anderson, UT Tyler Medical Center.

Agenda/Issue 11.

Committee Reports

Governance Committee ---Criminal Background Check. Language about charges instead of convictions will be revised and submitted.

Leadership Training was discussed also.

Academic Affairs and Faculty Quality Committee ---The committee has set a timeline to be prepared for the January FAC Meeting to share Best Practices for Faculty Development.

Health Affairs--- A resolution entitled “The University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council Health Affairs Committee”. This resolution centers on class size and quality of programs. Also, a suggestion to design faculty awards that parallel the Regent’s Teaching Awards is proposed.

The resolution passed.


Agenda/Issue 12.Closure

Sharon Petronella made a motion to adjourn and Ed Jackson seconded. All FAC members supported the motion. Meeting adjourned at 2:45 pm.


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