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  University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council
APPROVED MINUTES: October 2-3, 2008

Mansour O. El-Kikhia, Chair
UT San Antonio

Ted Pate, past Chair
UT HSC Houston

Thomas Albrecht
UTMB Galveston
(day 2 only)

Dora Saavedra
UT Pan American

Emily Robinson
UT HSC Houston

S. David Hudness
UTMB at Galveston

James Bartlett, Secretary
UT Dallas

William Engle
UT Southwestern

Charlotte Wisnewski
UTMB Galveston

Murray Leaf
UT Dallas

Amy Jasperson
UT San Antonio

David Vines
UTHSC San Antonio

Marilyn Kaplan
UT Dallas

Sandy Norman
UT San Antonio

Bennett Amaechi
UT HSC San Antonio

Daniel Formanowicz
UT Arlington

Tim Allen
UT HSC Tyler

Casey Mann
UT Tyler

Janet Staigler
UT Austin

Pierre Neuenschwander
UT HSC Tyler

Jeffrey Mountain
UT Tyler

David Hillis
UT Austin (day 2 only)

Larry Ellzey
UT El Paso

Joel Dunnington
UT MD Anderson

Karen Fuss-Sommer
UT Brownsville

John Wiebe
UT El Paso

Jim Klostergaard
UT MD Anderson

Bobbette Morgan
UT Brownsville

James Eldridge
UT Permian Basin

Danika Brown
UT Pan American

John Priest
UT Arlington

 

 

 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

 

10: 00 AM FAC Chair Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, Introductions & Review of the August Board of Regents Meeting

 

Dr. El-Kikhia reported on the August meeting of the Board of Regents (BOR) in Austin. Dr. Dr. El-Kikhia and two other FAC members – Drs. Sandy Norman and Dora Saavedra – made formal presentations before the BOR, with Dr. El-Kikhia calling for the BOR to help us deal with various forces that threaten higher education. He stressed that incentives are good but that support comes first. He reviewed the issues we tackle and asked for support, stating that we are in the business of education, not the business of business. Regent Dannenbaum asked about junior colleges and our relationship with them. (The system has hired a new Vice Chancellor for community college affairs.). Dr. El-Kikhia answered that we appreciate the Community Colleges but feel there should be more emphasis on tenure-track faculty. There are four new members of the BOR (five if one starts from November and include the student).

Dr. Norman reported to the BOR on the impact of SACS from cost and time perspectives. He noted that the SACS reviews have cost 350 person-years throughout the System which is substantial, and this is not counting administration time. The Regents seemed accepting of SACS review being an onerous burden and are now aware of its costs. The consensus is that accountability is useful and that there is much in the new SACS reviews that can be positive. However, the positives are tempered by the costs of the process, which is becoming virtually continual.

Dr. Saavedra’s presentation to the BOR was on issues of diversity. She noted that faculty are concerned with the high costs of textbooks, and that, though we are not in control of these costs, we are interested in working with students to reduce them. The Regents seemed particularly interested in the textbook-cost issue, and are happy that we are as well.

There followed a discussion at the FAC meeting to the effect that Regents and others do not seem to realize how hard faculty work, and that they should not accept uncritically what people like Dick Armey say. Some administrators are considering initiating some form of hours-accounting to provide better data on how faculty work.

Dr. Norman on other activities at the BOR meeting, noting that the Regents grilled the Presidents on a number of issues including teaching loads. President Natalicio of UT El Paso complemented her research faculty who are productive while holding down a 3-3 teaching load (i.e., three courses in both fall and spring semesters). The Regents as a group did not really come down on either side of the teaching load issue, but some were concerned that a 3-3 load is too heavy for research faculty. The argument was made that the best university teachers are those highly involved in their research.

At this point, the FAC discussed the agenda. It was noted that we asked System staff to help us to get at least one Regent and one legislator to our meeting, and though this proved impossible, we are hoping to have them at our December meeting.

Dr. Ted Pate (past Chair of the FAC) called for introductions of all present at the meeting and he then gave an overview of the FAC (with a powerpoint presentation) for the benefit of new FAC members. Dr. Norman pointed out that the Academic Affairs Committee will be putting together a handbook on activities of the FAC over the years to distribute to Regents as well as FAC members. He noted that Academic Affairs deals with academic standards, ethics, delivery of programs and curriculum, and academic issues involving students. Their most recent work was on the workload involved in SACS review (on which he reported to the Regents at the August meeting).

Dan Formanowicz talked about activities of the faculty quality committee. They are looking at distance education courses, orientation for new faculty and instructors, and a textbook resolution passed at the May FAC meeting.

Murray Leaf reported on the governance committee. Their main focus has been on strengthening faculty governance on campuses by fixing Regents’ Rules. This has been a five year enterprise of working on connecting the Regents’ Rules with the Handbooks of Operating Procedures on individual campuses. It is now recognized in the Rules that faculty have a major voice in what goes into the handbooks and where it goes. We have benefited from ex-Chancellor Yudof’s support in this endeavor. The governance committee is also concerned with strengthening faculty governance at the System level. Currently, the FAC is the only faculty governance body at the System level. We need more faculty representation on System-level committees.

Karen Fuss-Sommer talked about activities of the health affairs committee. They have been working on adoption of benefits and compensation packages, as well as retirement and insurance policies. They recently wrote a resolution, passed at the May FAC meeting, to make all UT System components smoke-free. Joel Dunnington added that part of the committee’s work on compensation was concerned with practice plans at health components, and that they wrote another resolution, which also passed at the May FAC meeting, on noncompete clauses and recruitment of faculty from other UT institutions. They have discussed tenure on the health campuses (two of which lack standard tenure), and conflict of interest issues.

Dr. El-Kikhia discussed several examples of how the FAC has worked with System people who now recognize us as experts and listen to our views on various issues. We want this to continue.

11:00 AM Murray Leaf and Amy Jasperson

Drs. Leaf and Jasperson talked about sanction creep and over-regulation which is causing stagnation on our campuses. Coupled with this is a movement attacking higher education based on an alliance of neoconservatives and the religous right.

Dr. Jasperson distributed a handout on the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and a policy brief that they produced to inform Regents about their views. TPPF is a conservative think tank with an education agenda and much money to push it. They put out several memos every month, and have sponsored a forum to disseminate their ideas. They have called for increased teaching loads, ending or reforming tenure, and reduced numbers of faculty, among other things. The have also proposed charter colleges which would constitute a kind of voucher system. The bottom line is that they wish to stop or reduce public support for higher education. Vice Chancellor Prior is interested in our launching a public campaign against this. Dr. Leaf presented a draft petition on sanction creep that the Goverance committee will be working on.

There followed several comments (Cs) from the floor to which Drs. Leaf and Jasperson responded (R), as summarized below.

C: With the current calls for providing more regulation of the banking industry, the timing is not right to argue against regulation. Thus, the wording needs to be changed such that deregulation is not mentioned. R: We can do this over the next 2 to 3 months (Dr. Leaf circulated a hard copy of the draft and invited comments).

C: TPPF is also calling for deregulation and we don’t want our agenda to be confused with theirs. A: Agreed. We want smart regulation, not no regulation.

C: One Regent advised taking a public relations perspective and couching everything in a positive way.

There followed discussion to the effect that we need to work at a federal level, working with other university systems around the country.

 

12:00 PM

Dr. Kenneth Shine, ad Interim Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

As interim Chancellor, Dr. Shine noted that he is involved in many matters new to him. The main thing on his mind has been the effects of hurricane Ike in Galveston. Some things were learned from the prior hurricane, but that storm did not greatly affect the two campuses there. There is no comparison between these storms and Ike, which had truly devastating effects. The very future of the island remains very uncertain. Even yesterday (October 2), power was just returning in some places. Patients were evacuated effectively before the storm the struck, with the prisoner patients being moved to Tyler where they remain. A large number of faculty and staff stayed on the island. 15% of the square footage of UTMB campus was covered in water, and a System Emergency plan is in force with 1,000 persons working on cleanup as of yesterday. The plan is to resume operations October 20. The work conditions are terrible, involving, for example, the carrying of heavy equipment up several floors with stairs covered in water. A number of these people lost their homes while working at the medical center. There has been great cooperation from other campuses, with clinics opening up on the mainland, and payroll being managed through other campuses, etc. There will be a minimum of 60 days before any patients return

Issues being dealt with include maintaining cash flow. It is under control, but it is not clear for how long. NIH agencies have been supportive, and we are working with the federal government and FEMA on recovery. We are retaining a firm that helped us in Houston with FEMA.

Another issue concerns support from the legislature. The System had flooding coverage but the policy has a $50 million deductable and only $100 million of coverage. The total loss will be $600 million plus or minus $100 million.

Other campuses have provided enormous support, housing students, residents, etc. Most of the research buildings can be reopened (except for their first floors) once safety conditions are passed. Hopefully, this will happen in the next two or three weeks.

The National Laboratory at Galveston was essentially unaffected by the storm. In general, the newer research buildings were the least affected.

Dr. Shine then discussed a $15 million package including $5 million for teaching at UT Austin. The asymmetry in funding across the System campuses has to do with legal matters controlling how we can use PUF funds.

There will be a Retreat with the Regents in December devoted to teaching Regents about education. Individual campuses will have booths for innovations in education. Presenters will discuss the role of the university in education, as well as how to collect better data on the educational process. We are not interested in time and motion studies, but there is a need for strategies for showing what our educational activities are.

System is moving ahead with grants for educational programs, and have funded about eight of these on the health campuses. We are hoping for funding for undergraduate education.

There is a new program for competitive grants for promoting patient safety. The PI must be at a medical school because of money restrictions, but it is not intended that all of the projects be medical projects.

The Regents approved $20 million in LEAR money for the star programs, half for the health components and half for the academic components. Overall funding in the UT system continues to rise despite federal cutbacks due to the awarding of large grants and partly because of the successful recruiting of faculty through the with STARS program.

Proposition 15 has helped us. It may allow money for cancer research in Texas. The first monies will be focused on prevention. The Texas Academy wants 50% for basic science and the rest for translational and clinical projects. We have argued that peer review for the awards should be from out of state. The awards are not restricted to health institutions. A problem to be dealt with is what to do after 10 years when we have spent all the money. One answer is to use the funds to recruit new people to Texas and to invest in infrastructure. To deal with such problems, there are three working groups, one of which will be working on infrastructure. We will be getting white papers from these committees.

There is an active concern with the relation between UT System and the community colleges, and we have new Associate Vice Chancellor who is focused on this. We want to significantly increase the ability to provide the kind of background students need in the community colleges before they matriculate to System campuses. There is also a need to work on issues of transfer of credit. There is a need for more creativity in this area.. The University of California benefited enormously from the state college system.

Another set of issues concerns problems in raising tuition. Other Systems say that they are not raising tuition, but in fact are raising fees (one reason this is problematic is that hardship grants do not cover fees).

Regarding the legislative session, the System will be pushing for tuition revenue bonds. We need TRBs for completion of buildings that were started but not finished. Another legislative priority is to restore funding through the formulas to levels of prior years. The Coordinating Board lowered recommendations for an absolute increase in formulas, arguing for incrementing performance-based funding.

Dr. Shine noted that he supports efforts to modify the 10% rule which is bad for UT Austin and for the state. In California, there was a similar rule, but a top-10% student did not get to pick the particular campus s/he would attend.

One piece of good news is that 30 of the 50 states have major deficits and we do not, and so many faculty across the country are looking to come to Texas. However, the economy is in trouble despite the current surplus. Our endowment has begun to go negative, and the call on state surplus is substantial (especially given the hurricane). We will be arguing to the legislature about the opportunity costs of not making investments.

Finally, Dr. Shine noted that we hope to have a Chancellor by the start of the legislative session but cannot be sure. The Regents are very serious about the search and want a strong academic with strong management background. He noted that he has been asked for his advice and also asked to talk to certain persons under consideration, and that all have been persons of quality.

There followed a series of comments (C) and questions (Q) which are summarized below, along with Dr. Shine’s responses (R).

C: Power generators should not be in basements.

Q: There is talk of changing formula funding for engineering, nursing, education and pharmacy.

R: These are areas of trouble. The analysis underlying the proposals was badly flawed. The procedure was that of estimating costs but the costs were grossly underestimated. In addition, the computations were such that if a component was not spending much, its funding when up and vice versa if a component was spending more. We have argued that existing programs should be held harmless or that a whole new study should be done. We also have argued these are areas where we need the most people.

Q: There are problems with the reporting of cost sharing and effort reporting. The OMB directives seem relatively enlightened in that they look for compliance at funding stage rather then the proposal stage. However, the directives from System call for compliance at the submission stage (this is onerous as many proposals are not funded).

R: Send me an e-mail that lays this out.

Q: There has been talk about doing away with standardized admissions tests and also with in-state tuition for undocumented students.

R: We have offered instate tuition to those coming over the border at UT El Paso, but I do not know more than that. We do not have system wide position on SATs. I am not aware that the System or the Regents would oppose am initiative to do away with the requirement.

C: At UTMB, there was a communication yesterday that faculty would be given adverse weather leave only under certain conditions (such as there being no alternative work place available), and that, in other conditions, sick leave must be used.

R: Send me a copy of the communication and I will look into it.

C: At UTMB, it is difficult to get any message out. One of the secretaries had no internet access. And nursing staff are supposed to report on Monday and yet some have problems climbing stairs (which will be necessary). In addition, about 100 employees have not been located.

R: Dr. Shine noted that the situation at Galveston had a profound effect on him, and that he has seen great dedication from workers, many of whom had lost their own homes in the storm.

 

1:30 PM

Campus Reports

2:30 PM

Committee Meetings

Friday, October 3, 2008

 

8:30 AM

Barry McBee, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Mr. McBee presented a preview for his presentations at the November Board of Regents meeting.

We will have a budget surplus of as much as $15 billion (with a total budget of $140 billion), but much of it is committed. However, we do not know how much of this is available for higher education for several reasons including monies that will be spent for Medicaid, public school finance, health and human service programs, Hurricane Ike expenses, and national economic conditions. The reason why we have a surplus at all is that there has been healthy consumer spending and we have a sales-tax driven budget. However, consumer spending is going down.

Formula funding accounts for about 70% of UT System funding. We need increases in tuition to offset state appropriations reductions.

Several things are on the table including:

1. Increases in formula funding. The coordinating board recommends $178 million in formula funding and the Governor’s incentive funding task force recommends $950 million. Financial aid helps students but does not aid institutions.

2. We expect to continue the top 10% scholarship program.

3. There is support for more Tier 1 institutions that would receive enhanced support of up to $200 million a year (but the amount is uncertain). President Daniel of UT Dallas has led the discussion highlighting the economic contributions of first class universities to their regions. There are four candidates for Tier 1 status including three in the UT System (UT San Antonio, UT Arlington and UT Dallas). If the legislature attempts to choose among these, the bill will never pass. The UT System argument is that these components should compete for Tier 1 status.

4. A big priority at System is reform of the 10% rule (81% of UT Austin incoming freshmen were admitted under this rule). The System might propose tapping this at 50% to 60% of the entering freshman class. There is a lawsuit underway from two anglo students who were denied admission but were only just shy of graduating in the top 10% of their classes. They are arguing this is reverse discrimination

5. On tuition re-regulation, we are not out of the woods. We really need the flexibility of deregulation so this is important.

6. The Coordinating Board is recommending that formula funding be based on completed semester hours, not simply semester hours for which students originally register. It is not clear where this proposal will go. Officially, the UT and Texas A&M Systems are not opposed to the idea, as no campus currently loses more than 8% of their students through drops. However, in discussion it has emerged that the rate can be much higher for certain courses.

Regarding the Governor’s seven breakthrough solutions, there has been no activity for eight weeks or more. However, the issue could reemerge with a focus on measuring faculty activities, hours in class room, etc. The System is arguing that teaching is much more than standing up in front of a class.

Other issues that have arisen include a Hurricane Ike relief fund to UTMB and a cancer prevention and research fund, “green” initiatives and technology advances (identity theft and digital piracy). The Governor is focused on technology commercialization.

The Senate might get more than the current 11 democrats, which will allow them to block legislation.

In response to a question about new medical schools, Mr. McBee noted that there has been talk of opening one in the valley.

In response to another question, he noted that there are seven candidates for Tier 1 status across the state. These include UT Dallas, UT San Antonia, UT El Paso, UT Arlington and Texas Tech. It is believed that attaining Tier 1 status will allow a component to attract more funding, and better students.

 

9:37 AM Francie Frederick, General Council for Board of Regents with Pedro Reyes

Ms. Frederick began by noting that the current Board of Regents is working hard to stay at the policy level, setting the overall tone of System activities, developing long term plans, and getting a good Chancellor. Thus, we should take policy issues to the Board, and Pedro Reyes can help us with this. The FAC does not need to wait until the meeting scheduled for FAC presentations, but can sign up to speak at any meeting. Ms. Frederick also encouraged the FAC chair to come to Board of Regents meetings and social events, having breakfast with Regents, etc.

There followed a series of questions (Qs) and comments (Cs) that are paraphrased below, along with Ms. Frederick’s and Mr. Reyes’ responses (Rs).

Q: There is a concern that there is pressure for more details about tenure reviews going up to the Regents before presidents have made their decisions.

R: Mr. Reyes responded that there is a concern about faculty working only 18 hours a week, but that, in promotion and tenure reviews, the Regents only want to know the steps that were taken in the course of the review. Ms. Frederick added that, in 30 years, she has not seen the Board intervene in a tenure decision,

Q: Did the FAC resolution about nonsmoking on campuses make it to the Board of Regents?

R: Mr. Reyes replied that he would take it to the Chancellor.

Q: How can we know about meetings of Regents called by the Governor and others?

R: The Governor posts meetings with the Secretary of State.

Q: Why are we going back to time and effort reporting?

R: We are not going back to time and effort reporting, but we will need to document what we do. There is a need not only to inform the Regents, but also to educate people outside the university. We will be working through Dr. Prior in considering what to do. You might want to talk over this matter with the legislative affairs person on your campus.

Q: The FAC executive committee discussed the meeting called by the Governor and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). Should we be taking them on, writing rebuttals and sending them to Governor?

R: Barry McBee is the person to talk to about this. We are probably not going to convince anyone, but things have seemed quiet for maybe the last two months. In the meantime, we should get things together that Vice Chancellor Prior asks for. It would be a good idea to get out stories (e.g., the story of one faculty member who took on refugees of Hurricane Ike).

Q: Would it be possible to move in the direction of standardizing pay increases that occur upon promotion?

R: The Regents could do this but they would not want to. Ms. Frederick stated that she has changed titles of people in her office when she could not increase their pay. However, the Board of Regents has been reluctant to mandate that all System components do things in the same way.

C: Dr. Shine has expressed interest in working with us on multi-step salary guidelines like those of the University of California system.

Q: What about the Breckenridge plot?

R: This land was given to the University for University purposes. It has been leased for a golf course, a field laboratory, retail space and student housing. The Board of Regents is the trustee of the asset, and had the duty of maximizing its value. The decision to use consultants from New York has been criticized, but their proposal beat out the competition. This is endowment land is different from other land in that it involves a chartable endowment. The Board could decide that the best thing to do is to leave it the way it is. Regarding conflict of interest, each Board member must fill out statement every year. With any deal, the System performs a cross-referencing operation to determine if there are any conflict-of-interest problems. If Cooper Robertson does recommend commercial development, the deal will be public. No Board of Regents member will benefit directly or indirectly from a deal.

Q: Has there been any talk about consulting the UT Austin faculty on this matter?

R: We will let you know if there is a hearing with faculty. At least one Dean has been involved in the process.

C: We have tried to have input but feel we have failed.

R: Talk to the consultant

C: We have tried.

Q: Has anything developed involving conflict of interest regarding textbooks?

R: I cannot recall but will get back..

10:30 AM

Committee Meetings

11:40 AM

Campus Reports (cont’d)

12:00 PM

Geri Malandra, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Management, and Susan Franton

Ms. Malandra discussed the development and current status of the Leadership Academy. She reported that the Board of Regents’ strategic plan laid out several initiatives, including the global initiative and leadership initiative. Things are being done pursuant to these initiatives on individual campuses, but we wanted to add a System component as well. The FAC has been talking about this for a while, the Washington Advisory Group recommended it, and former Vice Chancellor Terry Sullivan pushed it as well. The most important aspect of the System initiative is getting the talent, and we are pleased to have Susan Franton who has done leadership development for private enterprises and for not-for-profit organizations as well. We have formed an advisory group that includes one person from each System component. Mansour El-Kikhia serves on the committee and represents the FAC.

The planning of the initiative started with the following goals:

  • promote personal development
  • promote translational development
  • improve campus operations
  • identify potential leaders
  • help retention of administrators
  • smoothen operations
  • increase depth and redundancy in decision making
  • develop cohorts of leaders with shared vision.
  • have the UT System recognized as a leader in the area

Ms. Franton reported that she began her work in June, noting that the first pilot program will be relatively small. We are asking each campus President to recommend three persons from their campus. These should be recent leaders, with 2 to 5 years experience, numbering about 45 in all. There will be a fall and spring session. The conceptual framework is that of leading oneself, others, and institutions. The philosophy is that of integrating you as a person with you in a public role. We will be looking ahead to see how can continue to expand the program, considering such things as an alumni program and programs for emerging leaders and executive level leaders.

Q: As we go forward, we will want to grow people. What about a program for people not already in administrative positions?

R: Agreed, we should have programs for them.

C: Mansour El-Kikhia spoke to commend the committee for its work, also noting that it would be a good idea for members of the FAC to participate in these programs.

Q: Could you let us know when you select a person from a campus?

R: We will find a way to get you copies of relevant communications to and from your presidents.

C: We need to teach faculty-administration communication.

R: Success and leadership are not about one person and they are not hierarchical. There is a need for cross-level communication, as well as cross-campus communication.

C: Leadership is not the same thing as management. Administrators want outcomes, such as good chairs, getting things done. Faculty want leadership, and integrity.

R: (Franton) Management training not really what we will be doing. We will have students work together as teams and give each other feedback. So a student will find out if her style is effective in different situations. Later, we will get into how to coach people. We wanted to start small, so that we could use the first cohort to help teach the second cohort and so on. This is why we are having three students from each campus.

C: A missing piece is that academic leadership is different from administrative leadership

R: The focus will be on having people understand their role.

Q: How will you cover ethics?

R: We are having someone come to teach on this topic, and we will also have a case study where students need to resolve some ethical issues.

Q: What about regional leadership?

R: We are trying to build cross-campus collaborations.

Q: How long will the academies last?

R: Each session is three days long, and we will be assessing whether this is long enough.

Q: Will executive coaches have had experience working with faculty?

R: Yes, they will have had experience in higher education.

Q: What are your materials?

A: They are under development, but we do have materials from prior work that we will utilize.

C: A big problem is that many people are both faculty and administrators.

R: This reality will be built into the case study.

Q: Will you be talking about inter-cultural dimensions?

R: We have not talked about this, as the topic did not come out on our surveys.

Q: Who were surveyed? R: I don’t know.

Q: Can you survey us?

R: Yes, we will send something to Drs. Pate and El-Kikhia (Dr. El-Kikhia noted that he and Dr. Pate have been working on the Leadership Academy since the start and feel good about it).

Q: Will you be visiting all the campuses?

R: Yes, we have been to five and maybe by March will have visited them all.

 

 

1:00 PM

Committee Reports

Academic Affairs

Dr.Wiebe reported that the committee met and worked on developing a FAC informational resource for new FAC members and Regents. They also are working on principles for increasing retention and graduation of students without relaxing academic standards. There followed a discussion of an effort at UT Arlington on the first year experience during which it was noted that the Coordinating Board hired an expert on college readiness and student engagement. There was much discussion of preparedness, time management, and admission standards, and how faculty should control admission standards.

Health Affairs

The committee has been discussing teaching laboratories and how they are credited toward teaching load. They have also been working on benefits with the Office of Retirement Benefits. They have also looked into the AIG story, and see no problems for faculty with AIG retirement money. In general, we can be assured that none of our retirement account carriers are in trouble (all have been called).

It does not appear that the legislature will change the 90 day hold on insurance coverage for new hires. Most campuses are covering this insurance out of their own funds.

Student health insurance is also under discussion.

Finally, it was noted that employee assistance programs vary across the UT System campuses. One problem is people do not get help that is available to them because they do not want it known that they have psychological problems.

Faculty Quality

The committee has been considering the creation of an orientation for new faculty regarding teaching. They have also been discussing faculty retention rates, and will send out a question on this. AT UTArlinton, it is hard to get information on why people leave.

Finally, they are reviewing how teaching loads are met, what sorts of activities things can count toward teaching load.

Governance

Governance circulated the following petition which was amended in discussion, advanced as a resolution, seconded, and unanimously passed.

To: Senate Health Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (Senator Edward Kennedy, Chair) and the House Education and Labor Committee (Representative George Miller, Chair).

Petition to Reform Federal Sanctions Pertaining to American Institutions of Higher Education.

The U. S. Congress has authorized various agencies to create and enforece regulations. In many cases the regulatory burden and the penalties that the agencies have deemed appropriate are disproportionate to possible damage from failure to comply (see appendix for list of Acts and penalties). These penalties commonly include exceedingly large fines and the possibility of cutting all federal funds. The regulations also commonly preclude appeal to courts.

While we fully endorse the purposes of these laws, unreasonable sanctions interfere with our abilities to compete effectively, both domestically and internationally. The problems include the following:  

  • Regulations often are written too broadly.
  • Potentially disastrous sanctions cause universities to hire large numbers of staff to assure nominal compliance.
  • Excessive and inappropriate sanctions distort the concept of “risk.”
  • Agencies have become potential vehicles for the imposition of ideologically and politically motivated agendas or policies of the sitting administration.
  • Imposing centralized, bureaucratic, control beyond appropriate oversight is destructive of an autonomous and independent system of academic and scientific self-regulation.

 Because of the increasing reliance of state universities on federal funding and the increasing national reliance on universities to meet the nation’s needs for research and higher education, we must do better.

The undersigned representatives of faculty governance organizations petition our representatives to inform themselves of the impacts of these Acts and to amend them so as to eliminate these adverse effects.

Specifically, we ask for the following types of amendments:

  •   Align penalties with actual or likely damage.
  • Provide for appeals to courts with regard to comparabililty to penalties that would be imposed under ordinary tort or contract standards.
  • Provide for public hearings on proposed regulations and changes, with congressional participation.
  • Increase congressional oversight over the administrative agencies.
  • End entirely the practice of threatening to eliminate all federal funds for an infraction under any one Act.

Goverance also reported that it is discussing how to deal with communications issued by the TPPF (Texas Public Policy Foundation).

 

2:05 PM Approval of the minutes and adjournment

The minutes from the May 22-23Faculty Advisory Council meeting were approved unanimously without changes. The meeting was then adjourned.

 

 

 
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