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Campus Reports
October 2-3 FAC Meeting

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Fitness Center

Thursday, September 11 th was the groundbreaking ceremony for the new fitness center being built on campus.

Dean search for the Graduate School Continues .

The search continues for a new dean for the Graduate School. There were 65 applicants and 8 will be invited to the campus for an interview in September and October.

Green initiatives:

The Health Science Center has a task force looking at various ways to turn the campus green.

Clinician-Researcher-Industry-2008 revisions and policy changes:

A committee made up of representatives from all of the schools and compliance revised the guidelines related to interactions with industry. These guidelines are currently under review by the Senate and Executive committee.

XYZ compensation plan:

A guideline document was given to each of the schools to develop their own XYZ compensation plan.

SAHS name change:

The School of Allied Health Sciences is now the School of Health Professions.

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Town Hall Meeting

We had a Town Hall meeting on July 28, to discuss Faculty concerns with Administration about infrastructure, particularly, hospital function/capacity issues, and information technology. The Physician-in-Chief (PIC) and the VP for IT were present and featured speakers/responders.

Of major concerns were 1) the hospital bed crunch, where typically by mid-week, access to hospital beds is tenuous, as capacity is exceeded by several percent; and 2) the unreliability/instability of several aspects of our essential communications, including BlackBerrys and our electronic medical records system, called ClinicStation. There have been instances where critical communications among our Clinical Faculty and Staff have been lost for several hours, and involved patient procedures. There have also been instances during down-time where HIPPA-driven confidentiality barriers have been relaxed, due to altered procedures for information access.

Despite these well-articulated concerns, there was little evidence for movement of positions among Administration. For example, the PIC was insistent that the crunches in bed access could still be tactically managed (e.g., earlier vacancy from room on discharge day), as opposed to adopting any new strategies (e.g., relocating less-critical functions away from central hospital/clinics). This remains a concern, as it is projected to be a bottleneck for another 15 months or so. Further, it undermines the opportunity for further growth in volume. With regard to IT, the IT VP remained opposed to development of redundant systems, citing their liability on the overall system stability. Further, there is resistance to the idea of Institution-issued cell phones for the Clinical Faculty to overcome solitary dependence on BlackBerrys or other email.

New Assistant Provost Position-Recruitment

This position will have both line and staff aspects. He/she will deal with various committees that report to the Provost like Radiation Safety, Animal Committee, and others. The Provost will still handle the Research Chairs and the Division Heads.


Drs. Mendelsohn and DuBois were made aware of the initial questionnaire developed by the Faculty Senate Research Affairs Committee (Chaired by the Faculty Senate Chair Elect, Dr. Lance Pagliaro), that asked the Faculty how they have been impacted by the recent changes in institutional policy on Cost Sharing and Effort Reporting. The questionnaire was targeted at Research and Clinical Faculty who have part of their salary on grants. There was a very high level of response to this questionnaire, and it revealed considerable misunderstanding about and irregularity in the process. There was agreement to avoid possible bottlenecks in the grant submission process and to reduce effort spent on the high proportion of grants that will ultimately not be funded, ensuring compliance on the award rather than submission side would be reasonable.

Leftover Revenue from Clinical Trials and Sweeping of Funds

The concern initially raised from the Senate perspective was that current practices could stifle flexibility of Faculty in conducting trials. However, a disconnect was identified, in that, "sweeping" of funds was primarily implemented to address unused funds that have been saved by not paying for the appropriate clinical activities performed under a research protocol. Nevertheless, if this practice occurs across the board to Investigator’s funds, there could be a significant negative impact on having sufficient funds to do start-up investigations requiring preliminary data for submission of the next grant. Many clinical trials require an Investigator to have start-up funds to hire research nurses and others to start the study before the money comes in from an industry contract or grant.

Smithville/Bastrop Visit

The Senate Leadership visited the Smithville campus in late August, and Faculty from Bastrop also participated. There was a far-ranging discussion, including the role of the Senate in general, as well as specifics, such as new procedures put in place to comply with cost sharing/effort reporting, some of which are viewed as significant hindrances to the grant submission process. The Faculty expressed a high level of interest in being involved in the Senate meetings occurring on the main Houston campus, which has prompted us to relocate these meetings to an auditorium where teleconferencing is possible.

Hurricane Ike

MD Anderson was generally well-prepared for Hurricane Ike, which caused some damage,and clinical operations were only shut down for two days (Friday and Monday). The Ride Out teams performed commendably. The possibility of providing a backup power system for the Rotary House, which houses many patients’ families and which was shut down as the storm approached, is being explored.

Acknowledgment from the Incoming Chair

At the August Senate Meeting, Dr. Klostergaard presented a certificate to Dr. Dunnington, on behalf of the Executive Committee and the full Senate, recognizing his unparalleled contributions to Faculty governance at MD Anderson and at the UTFAC, and to tobacco control statewide and nationwide. The Senate gave Dr. Dunnington an unprecedented standing ovation.

UT Health Science Center at Tyler

Pierre Neuenschwander, PhD, Chair, Research Faculty Assembly

Tim Allen, MD, Chair, Clinical Faculty Assembly

  • In the news…
    • One of our clinicians, Dr. Ted McLemore was highlighted in the news concerning his expertise as an interventional pulmonologist. Interventional pulmonology is a relatively new field, focused on developing non-surgical procedures to diagnose and treat both malignant and benign lesions inside the lung. Dr. McLemore uses electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy and UT Health Science Center is one of a handful of medical centers in the United States offering this advanced procedures.
    • Five of our biomedical researchers were recently awarded grants totaling more than $1.2 million: Murty Madiraju, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry; Hua Tang, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry; Steven Idell, MD, Ph.D., vice president for research at UTHSCT; Ramakrishna Vankayalapati, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology; and Sharmila Shankar, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry.
    • Barbara W. Huggins, MD, professor of pediatrics was recently honored with her second Anson Jones Award for Physician Excellence in Reporting from the Texas Medical Association. She now holds the 2007 and 2008 awards.
  • We have a new logo that was approved by the BOR.
  • Student/Resident/Postdoctoral housing issues. We are looking at building residential housing on campus. Several methods are being examined including leasing out land for commercial development.
  • Research is now conducting another round of recruiting to fill 2 facuolty positions.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

  • New President

Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, former chief academic officer of Partners HealthCare and chief of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital, became the third president of UT Southwestern Medical Center on Sept. 2. Dr. Podolsky’s appointment is the culmination of a national search for candidates that began after Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern since 1986, announced his retirement in October 2007.

Dr. Podolsky, who has been associated with Harvard Medical School throughout his career to date, said his decision to come to UT Southwestern was in large part based on the opportunity to build on the remarkable accomplishments made since UT Southwestern was established nearly 65 years ago and its bedrock values of excellence in research, education and patient care.

As chief academic officer of Partners HealthCare for the past three years, Dr. Podolsky was responsible for a $1 billion research enterprise in addition to overseeing its graduate medical education programs encompassing more than 1,800 residents and fellows, technology transfer activities, faculty affairs and systemwide research initiatives. Partners HealthCare was founded in 1994 by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General, the two largest hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and now includes specialty and community hospitals as well. Dr. Podolsky concurrently served as faculty dean of Harvard Medical School for academic programs at Partners and participated in university-wide strategic planning for science and engineering.

Dr. Podolsky is an expert in the study of epithelial biology and mucosal immunology with particular interests in the causes and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. His laboratory made significant contributions to understanding the mechanisms by which growth factors and cytokines regulate epithelial function, as well as the mechanisms of epithelial injury and repair. In addition to his own laboratory he served as director of an NIH-funded digestive disease research center. During the 20 years he served as chief of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General, he also led a clinical program that expanded fifteenfold under his direction and that is now ranked fourth among all digestive disease programs in the U.S. News & World Reports honor roll of best hospital specialty services

After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard, he went on to complete his medical studies at Harvard Medical School in 1978. He finished his residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General and joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital in 1981.

In 1989, he became the chief of the gastroenterology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, following in the footsteps of his mentor, Dr. Isselbacher. In 1991, Dr. Podolsky established a multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease funded through the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Digestive Disease Center program.

Among his other achievements, Dr. Podolsky is an active member of the American Gastroenterological Association, where he served as president in 2003-04. He is the past editor-in-chief of the journal Gastroenterology. Dr. Podolsky’s research has led to more than 300 original papers and review articles. He is the member of the board of directors of GlaxoSmithKline PLC, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and also co-founded The GI Co., a privately held specialty biopharmaceutical company based in Framingham, Mass.

  • Faculty Senate plans for 2008-09
    • The faculty grievance process; are revisions to the Handbook of Operating Procedures necessary?
    • Recycling and environmental enhancement; what can be done to encourage more green practices on campus?
    • Streamlining compliance; what can be done to minimize the effect of compliance activities on faculty and staff productivity while still meeting compliance requirements?

The University of Texas at Tyler Campus Report UT System FAC

Prepared by Jeffrey Mountain, 08-09 Faculty Senate President

  • The University has initiated creation of an Honors Program. An initial steering committee is nearing completion of their recommendations for the program outline, which will be sufficient for the enrollment management office to market the program and solicit high ability students for Fall 2009 enrollment.
  • The University will soon begin a major development campaign ($20 M) of which 90% is specifically targeted for academic related programs. $10M will be used to endow the Honors Program, $5M will be for endowed faculty chairs and $3M will be used to endow the global component of the proposed QEP.
  • The University hosted a team of SACS evaluators specifically to review the new Ph.D. program in Nursing. The exit interview was very positive with the exception of needing better library resources. A successful outcome from this task specific review was necessary before the second Ph.D. program at UT Tyler, (Human Resource Development) can begins classes. The first HRD Ph.D. classes have been postponed until spring 2009 due to the SACS review requirement.
  • Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox presented a distinguished lecture at the Cowen Center. The lecture was well attended; particularly by a large number of students.
  • The University hosted several hundred special needs evacuees from Beaumont during the Hurricane Edourad. The Nursing students and faculty earned high praise for their work. University personnel were also assisting the special needs evacuee for the Ike relief effort, but at an off campus location.
  • The Construction Management Program is sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity house and hopes to involve a significant number of people from the University at large.
  • The first faculty senate meeting for 2008 – 2009 was setup as an orientation session for both Senators and University Committee Chairs and Chair-elects. Feedback from the attendees was solicited and is available for future orientation sessions.
  • The first “regular” meeting of the Faculty Senate was postponed due to IKE, but has now been successfully completed after several attempts at rescheduling.
  • The Faculty Research Council held their first Faculty Research Day during which many UT Tyler faculty presented highlights of their work to the UT Tyler academic community.
  • The Handbook of Operating procedures is still being updated to reflect the most recent revisions.

UT Brownsville

  1. Hurricane Dolly
    The main campus survived with minimal damage.
  2. Fence Issue- came to an agreement with Homeland security.
  3. Voting Initiative- on campus to increase early voting
  4. Dual Enrollment – 7000 students
  5. SAP – Satisfactory Academic Progress
    Estimated revenue loss of 2.3 million dollars
  6. Dr. Bobbette Morgan promoted to Full Professor and named Houston Endowed Chair
  7. Jared Diamond will be the distinguished lecturer
  8. Dr. Eloisa Tamez honored with the Henry B. Gonzalez award from the Texas Civil Rights Project
  9. Senate
    1. Gender Equity Study
    2. Faculty welfare issues
      • Salaries
      • Workloads
      • Parking

University of Texas at El Paso

Transition in Senate Leadership:

After a second term of two years leading the Senate, Larry Ellzey has moved on to other challenges as Chair of the Graduate Council. In that role, he will continue as a representative on the FAC. John Wiebe is now President of the Senate.

Building Projects:

The University is undergoing an unprecedented construction effort, with the following buildings in various stages of planning or construction: a chemistry/computer science building, a health sciences and nursing building (which will bring those two units onto main campus for the first time), a bookstore, a childcare center, a basketball practice facility, a fitness center expansion, and a parking garage and transit terminal (which will be shared with the City of El Paso).

Increase in Degrees Granted/Graduation Restructuring:

Aggressive efforts to promote degree completion have led to a 14% increase in undergraduate graduations from 2006 to 2007. This increase is expected to continue during the coming year, and will necessitate moving from the traditional two graduate ceremonies to three ceremonies in one day, beginning this December.

New Graduate Programs:

Two Ph.D. programs, International Business and Rhetoric and Composition, awarded their first degrees this past year, and two new Ph.D. programs, Computational Science and Teaching, Learning and Culture, received final approval to begin enrolling students. UTEP now has 16 doctoral programs and has planning authority for at least four more.

Advances in Research:

More than 500 new grant proposals were submitted last year through the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects, which represents a 15% increase over the previous year. A total of $77 million in grants were secured through those proposals. New leadership for the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research has decreased the time necessary for full board review of proposals to one month, and expedited review of proposals is usually done in less than two weeks.

SACS Reaccreditation Evaluation Process:

Efforts are underway to evaluate programs and institutional functions for SACS, and the primary challenge facing the Senate is evaluation of the Core Curriculum. The Provost has expressed openness to working closely with the Senate on this task, but it remains unclear what direction it will take. The Senate is looking at the standardized Collegiate Learning Assessment as one potential tool, and will appoint faculty representatives from each area represented in the core to a committee to be staffed by Associate Provost Sandra Hurley.



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