of Texas System
Faculty Advisory Council
Minutes: September 17, 1996
1. The meeting
was opened at 2:00 pm by Chancellor Cunningham who asked Alan
Cline if he wished to present a few words.
presented comments including:
- We also
want accountability but are concerned that the proposed bill by the
Senate Education Committee would have an unwanted result.
of current methods of review for promotion and tenure and the outcomes
of this process. Showed the documentation etc. included in this process.
out that some people do not make it through the initial process and
leave. It is very difficult to receive a tenured position in a university.
- If faculty
don't continue to carry out their responsibilities, there are serious
- If tenure
is weakened, then our place in the market will be seriously weakened.
We would have difficulty hiring people, they will choose schools with
a stronger tenure system.
are much greater on the outside, something must entice people into academics,
historically, security was that something extra.
- If tenure
is withdrawn, faculty will do those things that will give them the better
reviews rather than things that are challenging and that they really
want to do.
- We will
lose faculty through resignations or dismissals, and these faculty will
be older faculty.
- We would
like to work with the Senate Education Committee to develop something
that will work.
Cunningham introduced a representative from the Austin Statesman and
then introduced Senator Ratliff.
from Senator Ratliff:
brought this problem to me, its something that the public feels. They
feel that the tenure system is a featherbed. (He read a comment in an
article about tenure.)
is a feeling that nobody should have a job for life.
of the people here today knows one or more members of your department
that should be sent packing.
- He has
no problem with the way we go about tenure, it does a good job.
- He first
brought this suggestion to several chancellors.
- He understands
that people who don't pull their load don't get the raises. But there
doesn't seem to be any consequences for those who continue to receive
no raise because they still aren't pulling their load. He says that
some faculty feel this is long overdue.
- We must
compete with faculty salary, but our chances of getting the money for
salary increases are not good unless we show accountability.
- If we
don't do this, the legislature may look to more and more adjunct faculty
as a way out this problem. We should pay more for full professors in
the classroom, but they should be accountable.
- He feels
that the legislature will let us solve the problem ourself if we do
it in a timely fashion and if the solution is meaningful.
Q - Please
elaborate on getting out of this tenure business.
A - Trend
is toward adjunct faculty and if the problems within the tenure system
aren't addressed this trend will continue. Many faculty would rather
have an adjunct situation than go through the tenure process. If that
is fostered it would destroy our university. We have mechanisms in place
that will address the problems.
Q - Is the
problem with tenure mainly to do with teaching or research?
its the perception of a guaranteed lifetime job.
Q - Can the
current tenure be changed legally?
A - The
attorney general won't rule on the proposal in it's current form.
Q - Do other
professions such as a consulting engineer have to take a yearly exam?
A - No,
but I'm not guaranteed an income.
Q - Was there
any thought of tying accountability of administrators to the bill?
A - No,
but I'll be glad to add it. Cunningham pointed out that administrators
Q - Most
faculty work much harder than the picture painted here. People do get
booted. If there is a problem in an industry, who is responsible to make
sure that things work?
A - The
person at the top.
Q - The roots
of tenure is to protect academic freedom. With post tenure review, who
is reviewing whom? Isn't that protection important?
A - Only
if it doesn't protect the incompetent.
A - Tenure
protects the creative people who might not get a good evaluation from
Q - Do you
want people to be fired?
A - If
they are incompetent.
Q - What
about referring poor evaluees to the teaching excellence center?
A - That
could happen with the legislation.
Q - What
evidence do you want to see that this works?
A - A
public perception that the legislature has addressed this problem and
positive reports back from faculty. No particular gauge from the outcome.
Q - What
will be defined as "below standard" and who decides if further
action is warranted?
A - Our
assessment system should provide a standard by which incompetence is
recognized or measured. You have to set the standard.
Q - Is there
a tie between this bill and higher salaries?
A - No.
Q - How much
deadwood is there?
A - Probably
at least 2 or 3 %. I don't really know. The perception of the public
is probably higher.
Q - Do we
need to educate the public?
A - The
public expects us to put something into place.
Cunningham thanked Senator Ratliff for his comments. Senator
Ratliff responded that Texas is not unique, its going on in other
systems. He wants to give universities more money for having a full professor
in the classroom.
7. The FAC
moved into special session.
new members were introduced.
Page- We didn't change his mind. He isn't going to back down very
easy. Where do we go next?
Cline- Two parallel efforts, one from the legislature and one from
the UT System.
Diem-Question becomes which of the two proposals are the best (
Brazier-Does everyone have a copy of the most recent draft of the
We are working on the next draft which should be out in a couple of
days. (A copy of the current draft was distributed.)
Diem-The presidents are already considering how they would implement
Brazier- Summarized the UT proposal.
Cline-I feel that the Chancellor takes the property rights issue
more seriously, but how close is the linkage between the review and
revocation of tenure?
Travis- We shouldn't rush into this without sufficient faculty input
into the process.
Davis-How widespread is the dissatisfaction about higher education
among the legislature? We need to talk to our state legislatures and
find out their feelings.
Mahmood-If Ratliff is going ahead with his bill and the UT System
goes ahead with its proposal, we'll end up with two evaluation requirements.
Cline-If we can weaken the legislative proposal it will weaken the
need for a UT plan.
Gilbert-Ratliff doesn't like A&M's plan and maybe Cunningham
wants to be able to put his plan on the table.
Poelzer-This system can be abused and will be a problem with academic
Cline-Will academic freedom sell to the legislature?
Diem-Minn. and CA are the states where this is the biggest issue.
Can't sell the academic freedom issue.
Davis -We're in trouble if we can't sell the main point of our tenure
Hale-We need to see how Teel Bivins feels about this issue and I
will volunteer to visit with him.
Siciliano-I think we can make a case for tenure by educating the
public and the legislature. We need to show that this bill will destroy
Cline-We will have three people including Getman, a TFA rep &
its director at our meeting on the 26th and 27th.
Poelzer-This bill will destroy tenure and that should be the main
Travis-Senator Ratliff is trying to sell accountability but its
really an attack on tenure.
Chan-Evaluation is the responsibility of administrators, but that
was passed over.
Bronson- We need to tie in administrators.
McDaniel-What is meant by the statement that faculty should not
preside over this bill?
A - We
shouldn't preside over passing this bill.
Pate-We need to document outstanding people in our fields that would
have received poor evaluations by their peers during their careers.
Freireich-The threat to tenure may be coming from within the UT
Bartlett-I don't like Ratliff's plan, but I like the UT plan even
less because it really hurts tenure. I would favor yearly evaluation
if done properly.
Freireich-Our 7 year tenure system weeds out the competent instead
of the incompetent.
Page-We need to find a way to solve the problem that he (Ratliff)
perceives, that we can live with.
Cline- Should we take a straw vote?
Travis-We need more time.
Cline-Is the train heading down the track or can the FAC slow it
Frederick-The FAC will be listened to, but I think that the Chancellor
wants to take something to the Regents.
Davis-We don't know how strong the legislature feels and also that
the legislative plan may be better. The UT plan may be "always
winter but never Christmas".
Diem-Shouldn't we contact other legislators. This same proposal
for lower Ed was stopped several years ago. The chancellor at Minn.
did exactly the same thing.
Cline-Senator Barientos said that 11 senators could stop this and
gave him a list that included mostly minorities, since minorities were
concerned that gains made by minority faculty might be lost if this
Freireich-The legislation is not the problem, the administrators
want to steamroll this through. We need to do our homework within the
Travis- Our homework assignment is to have each of our FGO's pass
resolutions that we need more time to study this issue.
Cline-Betty will you work up a model resolution? Can we conduct
Little-Yes, we can conduct business pertaining to the issue for
which the meeting was called (i.e. tenure review).
Siciliano-The FAC should represent this concern. Can we make a minority
report to the Regents if necessary?
Frederick-Yes and each Senate President can address the Regents.
The next Regents meeting is Nov. 14 at Southwestern Medical School in
Brazier-We do need a strong voice on each campus.
Siciliano-The Senates need some help from us. We should come up
with an alternative proposal to present to them.
Travis-Time is too short to come up with something.
McDaniel-We should ask each FGO to support delaying any consideration
by the Regents until the Feb. meeting.
McDaniel made a motion and Mike Siciliano seconded the following
resolution: "The UT Faculty Advisory Council requests that the Board
of Regents postpone consideration of the Post-Tenure Review proposal until
their February meeting."
Siciliano made the following amendment to add to the resolution, seconded
by Mo Mahmood: "in order for the UT FAC adequately to address
and study the many issues associated with the proposal."
discussion, the amendment passed.
motion passed 18-0 and reads as follows:
UT Faculty Advisory Council requests that the Board of Regents postpone
consideration of the Post-Tenure Review proposal until their February
meeting in order for the UT FAC adequately to address and study the
many issues associated with the proposal."
McDaniel made the following motion seconded by Richard Diem:
"The UT FAC asks each component faculty governance organization to
support the UT FAC's resolution that the Board of Regents postpone consideration
of the Post-Tenure Review proposal until their February meeting."
Poelzer-We shouldn't do anything to weaken academic freedom.
Page-We should ask the Executive Committee to write a position paper.
Siciliano- Will provide his position paper.
adjourned at 4:25 pm.