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Present:

Daniel Formanowicz

UT Arlington

John Priest

UT Arlington

Dennis Reinhartz-Chair Elect

UT Arlington

Alba Ortiz

UT Austin

Linda Reichl

UT Austin

Karen Fuss-Sommer

UT Brownsville

David Pearson

UT Brownsville

James Bartlett-Past Chair

UT Dallas

Simeon Ntafos

UT Dallas

Steve Johnson

UT El Paso

Gregory Rocha

UT El Paso

Cynthia Brown

UT Pan American

Ala Qubbaj

UT Pan American

Doug Hale

UT Permian Basin

James Olson

UT Permian Basin

Mansour O. El-Kikhia

UT San Antonio

James McDonald

UT San Antonio

Angela Shoup-Secretary

UT Southwestern

Christine Baker

UTMB Galveston

Mark Winter

UTMB Galveston

Ted Pate

UTHSC Houston

Deborah Baruch-Bienen

UTHSC San Antonio

Margaret Brackley

UTHSC San Antonio

Barry Norling-Chair

UTHSC San Antonio

Vijay Boggaram

UTHC Tyler

David Shafer

UTHC Tyler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thu, December 1, 2005

 

10:00-11:00 AM

 

Dan Stewart, Asst Vice Chancellor of Employee Services;

Angela Osborne, Retirement Programs Administrator

 

Retirement Program Initiatives

The initiatives presented were derived with input from the benefits staff at each component institution. The primary objectives were to obtain better vendors, with inclusion of grandfathering provisions. Further, increased participation in supplemental programs should be facilitated.

There are currently 8 vendors for the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) and ~140 for the UTSaver Tax-Sheltered Annuity Program (TSA), with only ~60 approved. Comparable large university systems have 5 vendors. The large number of vendors/options does not allow best value.

 

The current ORP vendors were selected through an RFP in 1998. These contracts expire on August 31, 2006. For the previous RFP, no selection process was performed and all vendors simply had to agree to meet minimum criteria.

 

The new RFP should garner superior investment options. There will be a common set of vendors and products for all plans. The number of vendors in the TSA will be reduced. Product choice will be maintained with a selection of superior investment products including simple lifecycle (Freedom Fidelity), all-star funds (an abbreviated list of the best from each vendor) and an expanded list for those interested.

 

Grandfathering issues will be addressed for those vendors currently involved that may not be contracted with in future. Employees will not be asked to move any funds, but future contributions may be affected.

 

Key factors in the RFP: Unlike the previous RFP in 1998, this will be a competitive bid process. Vendors will not be asked to just meet minimum requirements. At least 4 vendors will be selected. Limits on fees and expenses will be established. The list of asset categories will be expanded. There will be more emphasis on service and communication. The program will be “branded” as a UT system retirement program. Currently, participants pick a vendor and the vendor educates the participant. In future, the participant will be educated and shown options. They will then select vendors based on the information provided. The intent of the process is to weed out bad options. The goal is to offer broad investment options without mediocrity.

 

There is also a very low participation in supplemental programs at the institutions. Planned improvements in customer service are included to address this concern. There will be a continuum of services available ranging from a website to selected firms to advising. The planned new offering would provide a 3-tiered counseling plan: independent, semi-independent, and “vendor-centric”. This would allow participants to select the best option for their situation to receive the needed information to make decisions in participating. In addition, benefits representatives plan to target TRS participants to educate them more fully about their options in TSAs.

 

Steps in the process included consultation with key stakeholders (survey of employees, RFP advisory group, Retirement Programs Advisory Committee, presentations to key groups including EAC, FAC, SWIAC, BMC, etc. The RFP was then developed with the assistance of Rudd & Wisdom, consultant actuary.

 

The RFP was distributed in December 2005. Responses are due by the end of January 2006. The evaluation period will begin in February of 2006 to determine the recommendation to be submitted to the BOR in May of 2006. The new program will be implemented September 1, 2006. The contracts will be for 3 years with an option to renew for another 3.

The UTSaver Deferred Compensation Plan (DCP) was rolled out on September 1 for some component institutions and will be available to all by January of 2006.

 

11:00-12:00 AM

 

Paul Woodruff, Ph.D., Dir Plan II Honors Program, UT Austin

 

Davis Hillis, Ph.D., Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor in Natural Sciences, UT Austin

Curriculum Reform – Commission of 125 Proposals

POINT: Paul Woodruff provided an overview of the Task Force on Curriculum Reform. The task force reviewed the commission of 125 purpose and composition. A report is available on line (Report of the Task Force on Curriculum Reform). Prior to this, the general curriculum was last addressed 25 years ago. The proposal from that task force was only partially implemented because UT Austin had already become extremely decentralized. The current task force wanted to start a continuing dynamic process of curriculum reform that would affect the entire institution.

 

Some excuses presented for not performing as desired: UT Austin is under-funded, poor faculty/student ratio, interference from legislature and coordinating board, extremely decentralized, limited leadership in undergraduate education.

In order to overcome some of these challenges and improve the curriculum, the following recommendations were put forth:

  • Core curriculum:
    • Background: 42 hour core curriculum in Texas by law. 36 of these hours are common to all public institutions in Texas, thus they are transferable. At UT Austin, there are degree programs that fill up the remaining 5-6 hours (engineering, etc.).
    • Strategy for enhancing core without requiring new courses:
      • “Flag system”. Course flagged if in addition to its main content it addresses another issue (i.e., substantial writing component). Proposed 6 flags over the UT curriculum, dovetailed into existing core and departmental requirements:
        • Writing (already has but has developed another): Research indicates students learn to write best when they write every year in their college experience. Recommendation: freshman writing course + 3 flags to be taken in next 3 years.
        • Quantitative reasoning
        • Global cultures
        • Diversity (internal: within this country, in our society)
        • Ethics and leadership (with some focus on the area of study the student is pursuing, i.e., business, medicine, law, etc.)
        • Research (independent inquiry, discipline related)
      • Strategy for students to collect “flags”:
        • Concept of strands: a series of courses to satisfy core requirements and the flags as well as move towards a type of degree/focus.
        • Must have enough courses offered, dovetailed with dept. requirements, reasonable array of strands available, students appropriately advised.
  • Oversight: There must be a new entity. There must be a dynamic way of implementing, able to respond to new pressures (new knowledge, political, etc). A continuing entity is needed to work on the core curriculum after the commission disbands. 2 approaches:
    • Appoint new vice provost and set up new office with staff and faculty advisory committee
    • Have a University college (strongly favored – 19 to 1). This would provide high visibility and strong leadership in the undergraduate area through the Dean, the mechanism of a college is more pliable by faculty than the provost office (responsible to the faculty). All faculty at UT will be members and rotate through committees that control it. University college will also bring together offices scattered across campus. This may address some concerns about decentralization on campus. Further, 65% of students change majors at least once. The University college structure would allow delay of major declaration. All students enter in University College and then they select a major at the end of the 1 st year. Others can admit to specific programs at the Freshman level as “pre-admits” but they cannot officially declare a major until the end of the 1 st year. All such specialty colleges must reserve 20% of spaces for students who declare a major from the University college at the end of the 1 st year.
  • Signature courses: common educational experience for all students entering UT
    • 1 course for Freshmen in Science (where science and humanities meet. Involves writing, taught by best faculty) and
    • 1 for Sophomores (culture; social science course)
  • Funding: Must hire new faculty for both Flags and Signature Courses. Alumni will be needed to endow to a substantial extent. Significant resources should not be taken from other colleges.

 

This proposal was signed by 19 of 20 members of the commission.

 

COUNTERPOINT: David Hillis dissented on the final report. He agreed with everything except the creation of a new administrative structure to provide oversight. He wrote a minority report which he stated reflects a lot of the open discussions in the committee as a whole. This report identified major problems to be faced in implementation. Specifically, aspects of the report that take a lot of the resources/money were reviewed and the report queried whether this was the best use of additional funds.

  • The minority report states that the creation of a University College is the most controversial part of the proposal. If there is a college in charge of the core curriculum, this automatically suggests this is not the job of other colleges and deans. There are offices responsible for these functions (i.e., Provost’s office). All deans report to the Provost’s office. Creating a new entity, like a college, has enormous costs associated. A better use of resources may be to take advantage of improved utilization of current administrative structures.
  • University College as home for incoming Freshmen: This will create a large amorphous group, with a mix of students who know what they want to study with those who do not.
  • Goal to decrease the number of students who change majors: Rather than create a University College, the minority report would recommend having some programs targeted for students who do not have a major, without penalizing those who enter knowing what they want to study. There should be multiple options for students.
  • Signature courses: This recommendation requires substantial resources without clear indication that this is the best use. Is this the best way to tweak the core curriculum? The task force decided that it is not politically expedient to tweak core requirements, so Signature Courses were added. The 1 st is a course in science with interdisciplinary input. There is not a strong thematic theme at present.

12:30-01:00 PM

Teresa Sullivan, Ph.D.,Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Chancellor Yudof was unable to attend, so Terry Sullivan provided an update:

 

The Los Alamos deadline will be prolonged.

 

FERPA and faculty evaluations: Dr. Sullivan is preparing a briefing on FERPA for Charles Miller, head of the National Commission for the Future of Higher Education. Main point: FERPA is being over interpreted by the Department of Education. Current interpretation even frustrates conducting research in high schools and elementary schools as the Department of Education is interpreting FERPA to mean that only the home school can conduct research on the school. This interpretation does not allow Universities to study elementary or high school education and does not allow comparative research. If we have faculty colleagues who have run into FERPA research roadblocks, please report to Dr. Sullivan.

 

William Powers, J.D., Dean of the School of Law, is the recommendation for UT Austin President.


Tuition proposals are due from campuses today. As in previous years, each campus was to seriously evaluate needs in order to determine what costs can be cut and what needs it must meet. Universities were asked that this process be fully consultative, including student involvement. Student Body Presidents are also invited to attend the February BOR meeting when tuition proposals are considered. An additional request was made in the process this year. Campuses were asked to look at a two year (biannual) plan for tuition rather than for a single year. This would dovetail with legislative budget schedules and also make tuition more predictive/consistent for students. This will make a significant difference for CFOs who have never before been able to plan for 2 years at a time. Dr. Sullivan predicted we will probably eventually move to an optional 4 year plan at most schools. However, it is difficult to anticipate costs over 4 years (i.e., energy costs). Universities are also encouraged to use tuition as an incentive plan (discount for paying on time, discount for graduating early or on time, etc.). Dr. Sullivan and her staff will review the proposals and then discuss with the Chancellor. Chancellor Yudof will make a recommendation to the BOR who will discuss/decide in February.

 

Graduation rates: At the last Regents meeting there was a detailed discussion about graduation rates. At the undergraduate campuses, graduation rates in Texas are not good compared to national standards and ours are also not good compared to some other schools in Texas. For example, the 6 year graduation rate at UT Austin is 75% and the rates for comparative institutions are close to 90%. Evaluation of causative factors reveals that this is not totally within our control. Graduation rates reflect not only what is going on with the institutions, but also what is going on in the lives of our students. Students come to us under-prepared and over-committed. We must focus on those factors we can control and improve. Institutions can control scheduling of classes, advising of students, etc. Dr. Sullivan has asked each campus to deploy a graduation rate task force to evaluate the situation and come up with a plan of 2-3 things to do this year, next year, and so on. A number of campuses are using graduation rates as part of the QEP for SACS accreditation.

In response to a question about measures of graduation rates from Jim Bartlett, Past-Chair of the FAC, Dr. Sullivan stated that we are stuck with the federally mandated definition of graduation rate which does not fit the Texas situation well at all as it is based on a model of no transfers. Dr. Sullivan is working on alternative measures to take transfers into account. However, we do have a responsibility to do what we can to plug the institutional holes.

 

Policy on review of administrators: Drs. Sullivan and Shine believe the BOR policy is important, but do not know if it is taking place on all campuses. The policy is strong and provides for faculty input as well as staff and student input. However, in the current policy only faculty input has to be given to the administrator.

01:00-01:45 PM

Kenneth Shine, M.D., Exec Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Dr. Shine stated that review of administrators is particularly important at Health Institutions.

 

System wide initiatives

Shortly after his arrival, Dr. Shine established a task force on the future of public health in the state. The report was published last February. The report included a distributive learning component that was developed by faculty groups using distance instruction. The report emphasized that the planning for these public health activities had to be joint activities with the host campus with very specific ways this was managed with joint involvement. The full report is available on the website. The report was presented at Houston to Faculty on Public Health, and was unanimously approved. Dr. Shine met with all campuses involved and they agreed to develop joint planning committees. The BOR approved $10 million to address initiatives from the report. One recommendation was for creation of increasing numbers of courses for Bachelors in Public Health. Around the country there are 20 such programs, but we don’t have any in Texas. There are currently ongoing discussions between the school of public health at Houston and UT Austin about the creation of such a program at Austin.

 

Nursing: The major nursing shortage continues to be of concern. There are thousands of qualified Texans who could enroll in nursing programs, but there are not enough faculty members to teach them. Additional funding was provided by the coordinating board, but this was primarily to community colleges. The programs in community colleges have poor yield and very few of their students subsequently pursue a Bachelors degree. The BOR approved $5 million of LEER money to be used in recruiting efforts. Brownsville and Pan Am are not eligible for LEER money, but money could be offered to Houston to support joint efforts with these campuses.

 

Handout: One Day Six Health Institutions (article on the UT system’s six health campuses)

 

Handout: University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education. In October of 2004 a meeting was held on education in health. At this meeting, a steering committee was developed. The committee developed an agenda that included an annual symposium, a small grants program, competition for innovations in education, and development of a website for sharing of previously developed curricula. Due to the enthusiasm for this, the University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education was created. The proposal is open for comment until the end of December. The proposal was sent to all Faculty Senates. Eligibility is restricted to health professionals, but not restricted to health campuses. 24 individuals will be elected the 1 st year from across the system. An additional 24 will be elected the 2 nd year and then 12 per year in subsequent years.

 

Bugs, Drugs and Vaccines symposium will be hosted by UT system and The Texas Academy of Medicine at UTMB in April 2006.

 

Chancellor’s Health Fellows continue: Sharon Martin, Vice President for Quality Management at the UT MD Anderson cancer center is the fellow in quality of care and is creating a multidisciplinary program focusing on ICU quality initiatives. Milton Packer from UT Southwestern has been appointed the fellow in Research. Joe McCormick was appointed health fellow in public health and Brenda Jackson from San Antonio was appointed fellow in Nursing.

 

Emphasis on collaborations: $15 million in 2004 and $12 million in 2005 were dedicated to collaborative efforts at multiple campuses (i.e., imaging studies at UT Dallas, UT Southwestern and UT Arlington).

 

Dr. Shine approved proposals for salary structure (base, additional compensation and incentives) at 4 of 6 campuses. He has begun discussion with the OGC and plans to bring a policy to the Board of Regents next year.

 

Task force on access to health care in Texas: Composed of 20 people. The task force is supported by all 10 health institutions in the state. A report will be available in February. Findings will be controversial. The task force has commissioned 6 papers to be published.

 

Commerce Department Regulations on export controls: These regulations affect whether a graduate student from over seas can work in a lab where there may possibly be something of national security or commercial interest. A task force is planning to protest and try to get the regulations changed.

 

FERPA and research in high schools: Dr. Shine will co-chair a NRC council on research on teacher education. How can you determine what works or doesn’t work in terms of education without reasonable research? Dr. Shine plans to address this issue and the impact of FERPA on such research while serving on this council.

 

Jim Bartlett, Ph.D., Past-Chair of the FAC raised the issue of difficulties encountered in working out indirect costs for collaboration of centers that include multiple institutions. Dr. Shine is going to look into this concern, possibly stipulating that this be agreed upon prior to the awarding of a grant.

 

A bill passed to allow free tuition for children of nursing professors. In implementation, it is only for the campus where the professor teaches. Dr. Shine has tried to open access to other campuses but has thus far been unsuccessful.

Bob Anders previously suggested a summit on the nursing shortage. Other Deans suggested postponing as several studies by the workforce commission were in progress. These have been released. Dr. Shine plans to have a summit in the fall.

 

Dr. Shine stressed the importance of making the case for higher education support early to the legislature. This is especially important in light of decreasing NIH funding, etc.

02:00-02:15 PM

 

Barry Norling, Ph.D.

Chair, FAC

Chair’s Report: BOR meeting:

  • UT system had the requirement that all Medical students carry $1 million liability insurance. This was changed to require “up to” $1 million.
  • Campus reports given by Presidents:
    • UT El Paso: Commemorative Wheaties box is now celebrating the 66 th national basketball championship of UTEP over Kentucky.
    • UT Arlington: $250,000 seed money is available for collaborations with UT Dallas. UT Arlington now has an Executive MBA program in China. This is the largest US higher education presence in China.
    • UT Pan Am and UT San Antonio have raised academic standards and have now had to turn away 1600 students.
    • John Sobo, President of UTMB, gave a report on the responses to Katrina and Rita.
  • Chancellor Yudof, President Sobo and Vice Chancellor Kelley all credited the governor’s office with their cooperation in allowing the institutions to do what was needed with support/backing of the governor’s office.
  • There was a suggestion that unit leaders/administrators at UT Austin have too few powers and it was recommended that they should be strengthened in a constitutional way.
  • Terry Sullivan reported on graduation rates. Her report was extremely well reasoned and tried to address all major issues. The BOR refused to take any action on a resolution to support these recommendations. The BOR wants fast action and stringent reporting on this issue. Cyndi Krier will bring back a hard hitting recommendation from the BOR.
  • New Regent: Colleen McHugh.
  • Vice-Chancellor Kelley gave a report on emergency preparedness. We have a contract with BMS Catastrophic. If coastal campuses are wiped out, this contract is a guarantee that we will be able to find materials for reconstruction at pre-disaster prices. The recent disasters revealed problems with communication and problems with fuel availability.
  • UTEMPCO is doing well. PUF returns are up 18.8% with growth of $1.8 billion.
  • Financially UT system is in good shape. Philanthropy was good last year with a total of $661 million. 75% of this went to UT Austin, MD Anderson and UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • All construction and construction planning requests passed.

 

02:15-03:30

Campus Reports

3:30-5:00 PM

Committee Meetings

Fri. December 2, 2005

 

9:00-10:00 AM

Priscilla Lozano, Attorney, Office of General Counsel

Legal problems that are creating difficulties for hiring foreign citizens as faculty

Priscilla Lozano provided an overview of the process involved in hiring foreign citizens. First, the institution must follow appropriate posting, recruiting, interviewing, EEOC processes, etc. as used for any faculty search. In addition, when hiring a foreign national one must negotiate the immigration law maze, which involves interaction of 3 major government entities: the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor and the Department of State for visa issuances. The institution is usually the petitioner so must be involved. At most of the larger institutions, there are international offices and international personnel to help the departments and the foreign faculty member through this process. The most common avenues are the H1B status for foreign professionals, O status for individuals of extraordinary ability and sometimes J status for professors and research scholars (intended for exchange visitor status, not for employment).

 

When faculty members have been at the institution for a while and the department plans to retain them, they must go through permanent residency. The options for permanent residency are: Alien of extraordinary ability, professor or researcher of outstanding ability, alien of exceptional ability, and an option for those not meeting any of the above qualifications for entry as a faculty member. The status chosen determines protocols to be followed and the Department(s) that will be involved (i.e., only Homeland Security or also Labor). International offices have specialists to assist in selecting the appropriate avenue to allow the institution and the faculty member the most flexibility. With each type there are different requirements and privileges.

 

There are time limitations on the H1B (1 year up to a maximum of 3 years initially. The H1B can be renewed). An international specialist will talk with the faculty member and the academic department. They then go to the Department of Labor to provide attestations to assure the government that the employment of this person will not adversely affect US workers in wages, working conditions and privileges. Once approved, they go through the petition process to CIS (Department of Homeland Security). A lot of paperwork is required to support the petition by demonstrating the person is a professional individual with appropriate degrees, experience, letters of support and recommendations. If approved, the faculty member goes to the US consulate in their home country to make an appointment to get a visa for entry into the US. Issuance of a visa involves security checks that usually take ~14 days. This will take longer if the faculty member is coming from certain countries. If in certain professions on the technology alert list, the process will take even more time and review before the prospective faculty member is issued a visa. This process of review is called the Visa Mantis. CIS used to conduct Visa Mantis checks 1000 times annually. Now this is done up to 20,000 times annually. Some of the special technology areas are aviation, remote sensing, advanced computing, cryptography, marine technology, laser assisted technology, urban planning, and biomedical engineering. The complete list may be classified.

 

Not only are visas more difficult to obtain, but they are also more costly. There is a $185 petition fee. To expedite the process (for H1B they are running 5-6 months) you can pay a fee of $1000. There is also a $500 antifraud fee that institutions are required to pay. All of these fees are paid by the prospective employer (the hiring Department at the university). Departments must insure that the state entity does not pay the $1000 due to poor planning, but because there is a true governmental need to process the visa rapidly.

 

Faculty member’s initially come on a nonimmigrant visa status (intent to return home at some point). When this happens, almost immediately we have to start deciding if we intend to retain the faculty member so we can begin to convert from temporary to permanent resident status. The process must be initiated with the international offices. The cost to the department can range from $3000-$6000 to obtain permanent resident status for their employee and can be time consuming. Departments hiring foreign nationals must be careful not to promise current or prospective employees that they are going to seek permanent resident status. The decision must be made with the participation of the Dean that this person is likely to become a tenured individual. Once this is decided, the international office must be contacted to determine the most expedient route to obtain permanent residency status. The international office personnel must juggle their caseload and prioritize cases, usually based on seniority, time remaining on H1B, renewal options for H1B, likelihood of approval of petition, etc.

 

The Texas Attorney General’s office has approved 9 firms across the state to represent UT system institutions as long as the institution has a request to retain on file and a contract with the firm. These firms may facilitate processing of some cases in the international office.

 

Spouse visas cannot be paid for by the institution. These costs are the responsibility of the faculty member.

 

There is a special category for nursing. The process can be expedited due to the extreme need for nurses.

 

The process is different for students and usually not as involved (SEVIS: student exchange and visitor information system). We must keep this information updated for the government. The record keeping requirements are time consuming, expensive and difficult. F1s can be employed on campuses (some limited circumstances where these students can work off campus in cases of financial need). J2s can be employed off campus in their area of research or training.

10:00-10:40 AM

Geri Malandra, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Institutional Planning and Accountability

Progress in accountability

 

Timeframe for our accountability report: The accountability report is updated annually to present to the BOR in February. The report cannot be completed until January as much of the data does not come in until the end of November. A draft is completed by mid December and circulated to the accountability working group, all presidents and all system offices. The responses/comments are incorporated in a revision completed in January for presentation to the BOR in February. Once the report is passed by the BOR it will be published.

 

Examples of findings: Handout:

  • List of indicators included in the report, including 70 for academic and 50 for health campuses
  • Changes from previous list:
    • Originally the first section was called “student access and success”. This is used in the statewide framework for higher education focusing on closing the gaps. However, this was changed to “student access, success and outcomes” to match our commitment to documenting progress, success and outcomes. To accomplish this, student satisfaction data and licensure exam pass rates are used. The group has also been working on instruments to assess student learning. Over the past year, they agreed to participate in the RAND collegiate learning assessment project. This year we will have preliminary results from that assessment. Thanks to the coordinating board, we will also have a marker of what happens to students after completion. The statewide accountability system, through working with the Texas workforce commission, includes an indicator on post-graduation employment in Texas or enrollment in a graduate program. In future, we want to try to get a handle on how these different lenses help us understand the real situation on a particular campus and to show the value each institution is adding due to its uniqueness and student demographic.
    • Economic impact: When the accountability report was first presented to the legislature 1.5 years ago, Royce West asked why economic impact could not be reported for all institutions as the data was available for a few. Last year UT system acquired economic impact data for all institutions. The report was published last spring. Now that we have consistent information in the accountability report, this data can be included. In the most recent addition of the Milton institute study of the best performing cities in the country, 11 TX cities are on the list of the top 150. Every one of those cities has at least 1 UT system institution and all UT system institutions are in one of these 11 cities.

 

Geri Malandra then briefed the FAC on the American Council of Education Solutions for America Campaign. This is a 3 year campaign with the goal of changing the conversation from the need for money to a focus on how the institutions solve problems for the communities and the state. Geri recommended the FAC plan discussion/presentation on this topic.

 

There are difficulties in documenting and assessing ways resources are invested to help faculty do more with teaching: effective teaching, effective learning, use of technology, etc. One issue is the use of technology to support education and to increase productivity. Most institutions use the Telecampus for distance learning. This year the accountability working group will be reporting trends of use of the Telecampus. They cannot currently answer how many courses in the UT System are offered at least 50% by distance learning.

 

The US dept of education, under Margaret Spellings, appointed a national commission on the future of higher education composed of university presidents, people from business, people involved in higher education and student organizations. Charles Miller is the Chairman. Geri will work one day per week on accountability: access, affordability, accountability and quality (for more information, go to http://www.utsystem.edu/IPA/commission/homepage.htm). The commission meets for 1 - to 1.5 days every other month. They commissioned input from various places. They want parents of students, students, counselors, etc. to have easier access to understanding what the colleges are like they may be planning to attend. One of the top priorities is to make better information available for everyone. Student outcomes are also a focus. In addition, they are interested in looking at the connection between efficiency and learning quality for productivity related to distance education and other modes of learning. The commission is working on a very tight timeframe with the intention of submitting a report by August 1, 2006.

 

The presentations from the Accountability Symposium held last year, including comments made by Margaret Spellings, can be accessed through the accountability website (http://www.utsystem.edu/IPA/symposia/AcctSymp2004/homepage.htm).

 

The system wide Business Managers Council has experienced difficulty in aligning productivity indicators with measures of fiscal accountability. Efficiency and productivity are very serious issues.

 

Preparation for SACS self-study offsite and onsite evaluations: The system is creating a website at system level with common information all institutions need. There will also be a resource on the website listing people working on SACS accreditation at each campus including schedules for each institution. Each institution will be queried to determine who has recently served as consultant evaluators for SACS.

 

Dennis Reinhartz, Ph.D., Chair-elect of the FAC raised concerns about distance education. Geri reported that there are concerns across all sectors about the use of technology in education. She predicts there will be serious consideration given to this whole cluster of issues with focus not only on quality but also competition.

10:40-10:50 AM

 

Daniel Formanowicz, Ph.D., UT Arlington

UT Arlington/UT Dallas $250 Grand Initiative and Cross Collaboration

The Presidents of UT Arlington and UT Dallas each allocated $125,000 for a total of $250,000 dedicated for seed grants for collaborative projects between the two institutions. An RFP was issued stating that each approved grant would be for $20,000. The intent of this program is to encourage collaboration between UT Arlington and UT Dallas that will eventually lead to larger federal proposals. There will be a review panel on each campus as well as a joint review panel. The proposals will be evaluated based on scholarly impact, experience of investigators, and the potential for external funding. The deadline for submissions is mid January.

 

In addition to this program, UT Arlington has a similar program with UNT HSC. The total amount available is $50,000. There is no indication as to how much each grant will be. The deadline for this program was 2-3 weeks ago.

10:50-12:00 PM

Committee Meetings

Based on concerns raised by FAC members as to the impact of the current maternity/paternity leave policies for students on Ph.D. student’s ability to meet timelines proscribed by UT system, Barry will ask the current Chair of the SAC if they are considering maternity/ paternity issues to request an extension for graduate students and, if so, offer the support of the FAC if desired.

 

12:00-01:15 PM

Lunch & Campus Reports

01:15-02:15 PM

Committee Meetings

02:15-3:30 PM

FAC Executive Committee Meeting

 

 
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