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Present:

Daniel Formanowicz

UT Arlington

James Olson

UT Permian Basin

Dennis Reinhartz-Chair

UT Arlington

John Priest

UT Arlington

Larry Ellzey

UT El Paso

Sandy Norman

UT San Antonio

Linda Goldman

UT Austin

John Walton

UT El Paso

Karen Fuss-Sommer

UT Brownsville

David Pearson

UT Brownsville

Lynna Littleton

UTHSC Houston

Marilyn Kaplan

UT Dallas

Murray Leaf

UT Dallas

Pierre Neuenschwarder

UTHSC Tyler

Cynthia Brown

UT Pan American

Doug Hale

UT Permian Basin

Mansour O. El-Kikhia

UT San Antonio

Cristina Gonzalez

UT Southwestern

James Bartlett-Secretary

UT Dallas

Christine Baker

UTMB Galveston

Thomas Albrecht

UTMB Galveston

Kieth Krolick

UTHSC San Antonio

Ted Pate

UTHSC Houston

Jonathon MacClements

UTHSC Tyler

Barry Norling-Past Chair

UTHSC San Antonio

Joel Dunnington

UT MD Anderson

Keith McCoy

UT Tyler

Alba Qubbaj

UT Pan American

 

 

 

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006

 

10:00 AM Approval of minutes and report of FAC Chair Dr. Dennis Reinhartz

 

 

The minutes of October 12-13, 2006, were approved with minor corrections.

 

Chair’s report: Some last minute changes to agenda were made as System invited Lewis Watkins to report to us on information security. David Pearson will be the new Vice President for Partnership Affairs at UT Brownsville. Regent Caven will visit us at the March meeting, as will Francie Frederick and Ana Maria Rodriguez and perhaps one or more legislators. We will not see the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor Melandra as the higher system people are involved in strategic planning.

 

The FAC Chair sent the Chancellor amendments to Regents Rules that the Executive Committee has been working on. The Chancellor saw no no real problems and has forwarded his comments to Vice Chancellor Melandra.

 

At the November 3 Executive Committee meeting, John Delagarza briefed us on the new presidents’ volunteer service awards: Faculty will be asked to record when they do work in the community, and awards will be given based on these reports. The UT Staff Council expressed opposition to this program at the Board of Regents meeting, and, in our discussion at the executive committee meeting, we expressed concerns about security of the data base, complications in the weighing service for promotion and tenure, and in the hours spent in managing the base. The motivation for the program seems to be to show the legislature how much we do in our communities, but it is unclear if the legislature us concerned about this.

 

The November 15-16 Board of Regents meeting in Austin included the 125 th anniversary celebration of the Board. Apart from this, much time was spent on future of medical education, and how to get more women and minorities into medicine. The work of the FAC on this issue was mentioned, and Vice Chancellor Shine stated that the FAC was supporting his work. Dean Rankin at UT Austin talked about their UTEACH program to get students interested in science and math education. They are working on a plan to get more science front-loaded into the curriculum, and are getting federal grants for this effort. A potential problem is that most students in this program might be those who do not make it in the premed curriculum.

 

There followed discussion at the FAC meeting to the effect that it would be great to have teachers well educated in science. Kieth Krolick commented that, at UTHSC at San Antonio, they have masters programs for teachers to get training in science. Dan Formanowicz described a program at UT Arlington in which students simply take the sequence that biology majors take. The program could help promote a hands-on approach to teaching science but there are problems. There apparently are turf issues involving education departments that need to be addressed. It was noted that the Legislature does like substance courses more than education courses

 

At the Board of Regents meeting, the Campus life committee devoted 20 minutes to presentations by the UT System Staff Council. They reported that there is poor communication between the Regents and themselves and cited the volunteer service awards as example of a new policy affecting them that was just handed down from above.

 

It was noted at the FAC meeting that we do not have a problem of poor communication with the Regents, and that it might be a good idea for us to partner with Staff Council, having the Chair of Staff Council coming to one of our meetings. MD Anderson does not even have a staff group, and there appears to be no systematic system for staff groups to be created on all campuses.

 

The Planning and Finance Committee of the Board of Regents is concerned with getting greater participation in retirement programs.

 

UTEP President Natalicio talked about graduation rates and how we look at them in too simple a way, also pointing out (along with some other Presidents) that some System campuses have a different goal than achieving Tier 1 status. President Powers of UT Austin spoke of many accomplishments on his campus, but said he needed more resources. However, Regent Krier took a skeptical view of both presentations.

 

A number of the campus presidents reported cost overruns and made requests for more money. Regent Caven commented that these situations reflect poor planning. Regent Krier asked about the costs of competing for the best students and faculty, and expressed concern that too much money may be being spent on recruiting.

 

In following discussion, FAC members expressed interest in President Natalicio of UT El Paso coming and speaking to us. There was also discussion of developing a better measure of graduation rate, and of dealing with the Regents’ perception that, though the current measure might be poor, nonetheless it should show increases if we do a better job with our students.

 

11:00 AM

Dr. Raymond Paredes, Coordinating Board Commissioner

 

Graduate Education in the 80 th Legislative Session:

 

Dr. Paredes began his presentation by noting that 23 institutions in Texas offer doctoral degrees, as compared to 8 in California (which has a larger population). His concern is that if we spread resources too thinly, we will be mediocre.

 

The following is a paraphrased synopsis of Dr. Paredes’ presentation.

 

Preliminary results of a study underway suggest we are not doing well. In Texas there are a number of graduate programs that are very small, not cost efficient, and have low admission standards with many not requiring the GRE. Some campuses have programs in professional fields that require 60 hours before candidacy even though many of their students are working full time and cannot take more than 6 SCH per semester. This amounts to five years of courses and a built-in 7 year doctorate. Many programs do not gather data on the placement of their students. We need to make sure we are nationally competitive and, at this point, many of our programs are not. The Coordinating Board will be scrutinizing proposals for graduate programs more closely, looking, for example, at performance at the undergraduate level.

 

Dr. Paredes remarked that if one has a 20% undergraduate graduation rate, it is difficult to justify a doctoral program. If a School does not have a strong undergraduate program, it needs to proceed with graduate programs very carefully. Undergraduate education is the priority in Texas, and we need to make sure that our undergraduates are getting a sound education, and that resources are not moved from undergraduate programs to not very strong graduate programs. The Board has proposals from institutions where faculty are not publishing and haven’t for many years. In many cases, institutions propose Ph.D. programs where masters programs would be fine in the field. The Board will be pushing for regular program reviews for all programs. The most rigor is required at the campus level. Many campuses now do not review their programs at regular intervals at all. The gGaduate Education Advisory committee has been very helpful in thinking about approval and monitoring of graduate programs. The question we are asking is whether we have too many programs and whether we are doing all we can to insure quality. Students told about the job market often think they are the exception, winding up as academic gypsies, doing 10 year post-docs, etc.

 

Dr. Paredes reported that the legislature this session wants to support higher education but is asking how we will use more money to achieve better outcomes and how we will conduct our activities with more efficiency.

 

In the following discussion, it was noted that there is an incentive to offer graduate programs due to the nature of formula funding. Dr. Paredes repeated his preference for campus level monitoring, with the Board establishing only general guidelines and standards. The advisory committee is not looking at formula funding issues, and its members are knowledgeable about graduate education, but not formula funding. There does exist a formula-funding advisory committee and they have been directed to develop models of incentive funding.

 

The following are the comments and questions addressed to Dr. Paredes along with his responses (these are paraphrased and should not be viewed as word-for-word quotes):

 

Q: What was the last proposal you rejected and why? A: We often get very poor proposals, but usually we don’t reject them. Rather, we advise the institution to withdraw the proposal and work more on it.

 

Q: What about nurse practitioner doctorates? A: There is a problem of degree creep, but we can’t buck national trends.

 

Q: What characterizes a cost effective graduate program? A: Time to degree and percent of students who complete program.

 

C: Time to degree can be dangerous measure due to many variables (e.g., different subfields within biology). A: The Coordinating Board intends to consider these variables.

 

C: Many institutions have systematic reviews A: sure, but some don’t

 

Q: Is the CB moving towards removing any programs A: We are not near that point, but might be looking at ways to help institutions improve programs. Individual institutions should do this themselves.

 

Q: We need guidelines in print instead of just hearing that meetings are being held A: We will do this at the April Coordinating Board meeting. This is one of the things the Graduate Advisory Committee is looking at.

 

Q: What about graduate programs that are primarily web-based? A: It is possible to do web-based instruction and do it well. But there are studies showing that hybrids are the most effective programs at the undergraduate level. Dr. Paredes stated that he believes the same holds at the graduate level. In his experience, the most effective mentoring of graduate students was one-on-one. When students took jobs before they finished their degrees, and tried to complete their degrees off-site communicating by email, things have often not gone well. He was doubtful about programs that are totally online and the Coordinating Board looks very carefully at proposals for online degrees.

 

Q: What are your views on multi-institutional programs. A: Such programs are a great idea in principle, but very hard to implement. In my experience, with UC and Cal State, joint doctoral programs have never worked. One must consider joint appointments of faculty involved in such programs. One problem with joint programs is that one institution sees their credentials as better than the other. Dallas is one area where this might be considered.

 

Q: What about medical-school/academic-campus collaborations? A: Again, this is a great idea in principle, but there are huge practical problems. The Coordinating Board would welcome such proposals.

 

Q: If the formula funding system were reviewed by faculty on each campus, they would give useful feedback. A: This is a good point. The Coordinating Board is expanding our communication with faculty on a range of issues. Dr. Paredes stated that he came from a strong tradition of shared governance, and that faculty should feel free to call or e-mail him with their ideas.

 

C: We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to the UC system (yet), as we are not getting the same level of support. A: Dr. Paredes stated he was on the graduate division of the Commission of 125, and they looked at funding of graduate programs . He was stunned by the gap in funding, especially research support and graduate student support. We need a strategic plan for higher education in Texas. Right now are given just enough money to fail.

 

Q: Is geographic dispersion a factor that needs to be considered? A: Absolutely. The Coordinating Board did a study which is online and Representative Morrison wants a more detailed examination of the issues. Texas Tech is an issue because that part of the state is not growing. Ultimately, the Texas Tech medical school in El Paso has more promise than the medical school in Lubbock.

 

12 PM

Lewis Watkins, UT System Chief Information Security Officer

Mr. Watkins noted he had been at UT a long time, and though Chief Information Security Information is a new role for him, he has been thinking about information security for some years. Mr. Watkins’ Powerpoint presentation would not launch, but he stated he will make it available to the FAC.

 

The following is a paraphrased synopsis of Mr. Watkins’ presentation.

 

Today the e-mail, course management (Web-CT/Blackboard), and internet systems are most important to keep university business going. And yet it is possible for people to bring these systems down.

 

FBI and granting agencies are concerned with data security. The risks of financial loss and loss of reputation with breaches of security are substantial. For example, it is now known that a breach of security involving social security numbers occurred at UT dallas). Simply notifying people about the breach is expensive.

 

We are dealing with a set of problems, and we must avoid the tendency to think about only what is in the news today. For example, massive amounts of info can be lost on memory sticks . . .

 

Tolerance for breeches is going down. Government, donors and granting agencies are all concerned and it is becoming socially unacceptable not to be careful. People feel violated when their social security numbers are lost, and this make them less likely to donate money to the University. Additionally, breeches may translate into legislation. Moreover, the security threats we are facing are getting worse. It is easier to hack, and it is more widely recognized there is money to be made through hacking. Finally, the consequences of security breeches are getting more dire. HIPPA regulations now come into play.

 

Security is more of a people problem than technology problem. Many breeches are due to carelessness (e.g., losing a computer).

 

Mr. Watkins listed several of his guiding principles:

  • It is possible to secure information in a way that does not interfere too much with our ability to meet university missions.
  • We must work with whomever who is trying to address the issue.
  • We need to keep focused on long-term goals of getting solid solutions in place
  • We should not blame, but instead should seek solutions
  • We must understand the issues of the stakeholders (e.g., what researchers need to get jobs done)

 

Mr. Watkins then described the UT System action plan:

  • The plan defines accountability, and charges administration with providing adequate resources.
  • The plan entails the training of people in individual departments, the development of a curriculum and the identification of people who need the training.
  • We must know the vulnerability of the assessment process which demands communication among all parties. We will use automated tools to assess vulnerability.
  • We want to increase efficiency by considering commonalities across all the different regulations.

 

Finally, Mr. Watkins requested that the FAC help get faculty to use encryption.

 

The following are the paraphrased comments and questions addressed to Mr. Watkins along with his responses (they should not be viewed as word-for-word quotes):

 

Q: We need effective communication between Information Technology people and others, and this is difficult. What are the new rules on keeping records? A: We need a records retention program that describes your policies for keeping information.

 

Q: The BPM rules about centralization and control of data by administration is making people uncomfortable. A: There are three BPM policies, but they say the same thing. We must do risk assessment and data needs to be secured in a manner appropriate to its sensitivity. It is not required that the data security be centralized.

 

Q: Information Technology people are bad at communicating. We need to make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be regarding communication. A: point noted

 

Q: We don’t know about encryption on our campuses . . . how do faculty find out? A: There should be a push to get this going on each of our individual campuses. Mr. Watkins stated he will make the information available to our campus Information Security Officers (all campuses either have one or soon will).

 

Q: Are there any mandates coming out of the Information Security Office on information security? A: The action plan says that each campus must have people who report to the Chief Information Officer, so that someone is responsible for the operation of each server on campus. The Chief Information Officer must meet with these is people regularly.

 

 

1:30-3:30 PM

 

Campus Reports (see attached)

3:30-5:00 PM

 

Committee Meetings

Friday, December 8, 2006

 

9:00 AM

State Representative Patrick Rose

Issues facing higher education in the 80 th Legislative Session:

Representative Rose began his remarks by stating that immigration will have a large impact on education, stressing the entire system. He also stated that he voted for tuition deregulation, but that legislators are now using tuition deregulation to justify not writing checks for higher education. Tuition deregulation might be revoked, but if so, legislators will need to put more money back into education. He noted the importance of getting the business community to help us make our case. He has visited several of the UT System Academic campuses and plans to visit more.

 

The following are the paraphrased comments and questions addressed to Mr. Watkins along with his responses (they should not be viewed as word-for-word quotes):

 

Q: Do you see the new legislative leadership in higher education? A: The current house Speaker will continue, but there has been some turnover and this will have a moderating impact.

 

Q: The nursing shortage is partly due to a change in formula funding. . . can we reverse this change? A: This would have his full support.

 

Q: Will there be a return of payment from the state for indigent care services? A: for the first time, we have a budget surplus and part of this needs to go to higher education and medical care.

 

C: The legislature doesn’t know what faculty do. A: San Marcus is in my district and the institution there as well as its faculty are my constituents. Reresentative Rose than noted that faculty are welcome to call him at 512-463-0647 or e-mail him at Patrick.rose@house.state.tx.us. Further, he expressed his wish to have contact information for the FAC.

 

C: Faculty do a good deal of creative initiative, which means they cannot function well if there are too many rules. Accountability is important, but it needs to be implemented in terms of initiative. Faculty are entrepreneurs and the legislature needs to understand this. Our working conditions need not to interfere with the creative process. A: We cannot make widgets out of professors or students.

 

C: The legislature thinks all our work is in the classroom. Their constituents are even more in the dark.

 

There followed a free-flowing discussion. A new point that emerged was that we need more effective sharing of indirect costs with faculty researchers.

 

C: We have a current struggle with legislature involving graduation rates using a poor measure of graduation rates . . . .it is very hard for kids to get through in four years, especially if they lack resources. A: We need to take into account the fact that there are different types of students. We need to add a perspective that considers who we are comparing to who.

 

C: We are not taking part time students and other types of nontraditional students into account. There needs to be recognition that the role of the university is broader than just graduating people in 4 years.

 

Q: There is a problem with the business model applied to higher education. Our product is ideas while our accountability does not respect time and space issues needed for growth and the exchange of ideas. A: well put

 

Q: What about tuition rates? A: people in Austin should not deal with this topic

 

C: We are not in the business of business . . Returns on investment in higher education take 20 years or more. A: If Michael Dell stands up and says he needs higher education for his business, this can really help. The legislature does need to see a numerical payoff for their outlays

 

Q: State funding of MD Anderson at about 7%, and yet legislators call them when they have cancer. Medical centers are not funded adequately, raising the question of when public higher education ceases to be public? We need a commitment from the state like there is in California. A: Mr. Rose stated that, as long as he is in legislature, he will work hard to make that case.

 

C: An informative statistic would be the proportion of graduates that are 4-year graduates. Such a statistic would show that most graduates are not counted as graduates by present system. A: It would be interesting to see that.

 

Q: We have a part-time faculty creep problem due to our limited budgets. However, this is self-defeating because faculty with terminal degrees have more depth and breadth than masters-level and part-time instructors. Overuse of part-time instructors will not turn out the same quality of student. A: Can we get data on ratio of part-time to full-time instructors? (The answer was yes.) The majority of representatives in both parties want to do what is right, but in a short session, it is hard to educate people.

 

Q: Do people know that we are competing nationally or internationally for faculty? A: Mr. Rose stated that he and others started a caucus for the manufacturing sector to organize membership around issues of manufacturing jobs. It would be good to do something similar for higher education. A document called “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” that came out of the caucus was very effective. Boundaries between states and countries do not matter but communities do matter.

 

C: We need to promote national searches to get the best people possible. Rankings of universities often are based on perceptions of people in other places. If our graduates do not go elsewhere, we are not visible at a national level. Another problem is that we have a very low rate of turning our patents into licenses, and turning these licenses into profitable business. There is constant turnover in our technology transfer offices. Part of problem concerns the return of indirect costs.

 

Q: Will emerging technology funds be returned? A: Yes and this will help, but the devil is in details.

 

C: K through 12 education is not getting better. Rather, it is getting worse partly because of TACT testing.

 

10:00 AM

Committee Meetings

11:00 AM

 

Campus Reports

12:00 PM

Senator-Elect (and prior Austin Mayor) Kirk Watson

Issues facing higher education in the 80 th Legislative Session:

 

Representative Watson began his remarks by noting that he represents District 14 (including Austin and Travis county) which includes UT Austin. He also noted that he is very interested in questions from faculty, that he is a believer in supporting higher education, and that, other than health care, higher education is the biggest issue we are addressing to help citizens. Finally, he observed that many good things in Austin are the result of decisions involving UT Austin made 30 or even 100 years ago. It is not clear this will be true 30 years from now. He wants to help come up with money to get the right people in education

 

There followed a series of questions and comments from FAC members. These questions and comments, along with Representative Watson’s answers, are paraphrased below:


C: There is a long-term problem of two major institutions being built in small towns. A: Austin in transitioning into a major city. The number 1 economic development tool is education. Our nation is losing its competitive edge due to good education elsewhere (e.g., India). We need to stop thinking of funding as a 0 sum game, and we also need more than two flagship universities in the state. When one considers the size of our state, it is strange to have only two flagships. The return on investment is greater for flagships

 

C: There is concern along the border that legislators do not understand who our students are. A: Every institution does not need to be like UT Austin. California doesn’t try to have all of its campuses serve the same constituents. I will come to UT Brownsville if invited, and I have asked the Lt. Governor to be put on an education committee.

 

C: There is no reason why all communities should not benefit from their colleges just like Austin has benefited from UT Austin. A: good point. There is a need to study how various other institutions have benefited their communities.

 

Q: can we create a whole that is greater than sum of parts? A: yes, and yet we are degrading higher education rather than improving it.

 

C: Legislators need to think bigger than their own constituency. A: Agreed.

 

Q: What are your thoughts on challenges in health care that impact health institutions? I and my family have had many medical problems (cancer) and we have benefited from health institutions (UTHSCSA). A problem is that Texas has a large percentage of uninsured persons, and I do not understand this state of affairs because having everyone insured makes financial sense. Another problem is the nursing shortage. We are working on a new place for nurse training. There should be medical schools more places.

 

Q: What about indigent health care? A: It must be possible to cover it. We need to get out of the mindset that some things are off the table.

 

C: Apart from the need for more medical schools, we need to pay for existing medical schools. A: We must convince elected officials that we need to make this investment.

 

C: A problem is that education on the Health campuses is suffering due to faculty struggling to make their own salary. A: Agreed and this problem must affect recruitment. Why would the best and brightest come to a place that the state does not support? Or where one cannot do certain kinds of research?

 

C: Faculty in some areas are not paid enough to create an adequate incentive. Graduates of nursing programs make more money than the adjunct faculty who teach them. A: I will be an advocate on this issue, but we need to get together with legislators of your district. Some people like to view education funding as a zero sum game, and believe in making institutions go through 10% budget cuts even in times of surplus.

 

C: There is a problem in math-science education. In San Antonio, we will need 1000 new teachers in 10 years, our universities can only produce about 400-500 in that area. We will face a shortage with the consequence that history teachers will be teaching math. A: Sadly, this is where we are. Shame on us in this area as well as others, such as HB1 visas. We are not focusing on math and science. We need to change how we think. If you are debating the adequacy of funding you are in wrong debate.

 

C: One idea is to get the formula funding for nursing and science back to where they were. A: yes, but the first step is to stop doing harm.

 

C: There is a bad use of fear tactics. A: . . . so that we will be happy with what we get.

 

C: We need to know where salary increase money is going (e.g., how much is going to administrators?).

A: Yes, we should look at this.

 

Q: We are concerned with the weight placed on the graduation rate measure. A: We need to get back to idea that all institutions are not alike. We need to ask what are the different values that we want to achieve with higher education? It is not just a matter of graduation rate. (There followed an open discussion of the graduation rate measure.)

 

As the session closed, the Senator-elect stated that he was committed to learning more about higher education and that he is passionate about our issues. He encouraged faculty to seek him out and make sure he learns. He also mentioned that Edna Ramone Butt is a higher education expert we might want to contact. There was a concensus that the FAC needs to develop a matrix of needs and goals being addressed on the various campuses.

 

 

1 PM

 

 

Committee Reports (attached)

2PM

Meeting adjourned

 

 
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