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  University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council
UNAPPROVED MINUTES: December 4-5, 2008

Mansour O. El-Kikhia, Chair
UT San Antonio

Ted Pate, past Chair
UT HSC Houston

Thomas Albrecht
UTMB Galveston

John Priest
UT Arlington

Emily Robinson
UT HSC Houston

S. David Hudnall
UTMB at Galveston

James Bartlett, Secretary
UT Dallas

Amy Jasperson
UT San Antonio

Charlotte Wisnewski
UTMB Galveston

Murray Leaf
UT Dallas

Sandy Norman
UT San Antonio

David Vines
UTHSC San Antonio

Marilyn Kaplan
UT Dallas

Tim Allen
UT HSC Tyler

Bennett Amaechi
UT HSC San Antonio

Daniel Formanowicz
UT Arlington

Larry Ellzey
UT El Paso

Casey Mann
UT Tyler

Janet Steiger
UT Austin

John Wiebe
UT El Paso

Jeffrey Mountain
UT Tyler

David Hillis
UT Austin

Nenoo Rawal
UT HSC Tyler

Joel Dunnington
UT MD Anderson

Karen Fuss-Sommer
UT Brownsville

Todd Richardson
UT Permian Basin

Jim Klostergaard
UT MD Anderson

Bobbette Morgan
UT Brownsville

Doug Hale
UT Permian Basin

Danika Brown
UT Pan American

 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

 

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

 

The minutes from the October meeting were approved.

Dr. El-Kikhia reviewed highlights of the November Board of Regents Meeting, and expressed gratitude to the Regents for their support of faculty initiatives. The big news is that the Regents approved 3800 total positions to be cut in a reduction in force ( RIF) at the University Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) for financial exigency, allowing the UTMB president to terminate tenured faculty. At least 127 faculty positions will be lost in the process.

There followed much discussion to the effect that the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) needs to take a stand against the practice being followed at UTMB. It emerged that Tom Albrecht (FAC Chair-elect and former Chair of Faculty Goverance) and David Hudnall are on the cut list as are five other members of the UTMB Faculty Senate. The UTMB administration has not published a list or stated the number of administrators to be cut, but it is known that no Department Chairs have been cut at this point. Questions have been answered with the statement that “Regents’ Rules have been followed,” but there has been no indication of the criteria used for faculty termination decisions. There was to be a committee (including a Faculty Senate member) that was to make a list to be submitted to the President. There was to be six months notice for to-be-terminated non-tenured faculty, whereas to-be-terminated tenured faculty would retain their positions until the end of the year. In addition, the policy was that if there was an untenured and a tenured faculty member in similar positions, the untenured person was supposed to be chosen for the RIF. As it happened, two thirds of the to-be-terminated faculty are tenured or tenure-track while the faculty composition on campus is less than 50% tenured/tenure track. It appears that the cut-list includes many young tenure-track faculty who have been at UTMB less than three years, faculty from 60 to 66 years old, faculty without recent grants and faculty who have a history of speaking up at meetings. All of these actions are subject to review and grievance procedures. The Galveston newspaper obtained the list of names and released it publicly. Rumors are that department chairs used a quota system for the RIF, and that their recommendations went to institute directors, and then to the committee. The Texas Faculty Association (TFA) is suing. Requests from the Faculty Senate to the UTMB President offering assistance were never answered, meetings between the administration and the faculty to discuss the situation were scheduled but later cancelled. The RIF has eliminated much of the Faculty Senate leadership, but has spared faculty in the School of Nursing (which in fact is hiring new faculty). Two faculty from Allied Health were RIFed, but were not named on the list. Staff being terminated were notified prior to November 24, but faculty being terminated were notified on that day by means of a one page letter from the Provost to be signed & returned, with Regents’ Rules attached. Dr. Hudnall has filed a formal appeal. Dr. Albrecht plans to appeal as well.

There was considerable discussion, led by Drs. El-Kikhia and Hudnall, of faculty rights when positions are being terminated. It was suggested that the Faculty Advisory Council write a memo to the acting Chancellor asking for clarification of the procedures that were followed in the terminations. The Regents’ Rules recognize the principle of particapatory governance and this appears to be a retrograde move at odds with that principle. It was noted that UTMB has been losing $40 million a month, and that the UT System cannot retain such losses. However, it also was noted that the losses were foreseen well before Hurricane Ike and that the persons terminated were not always linked to units that were losing money. There were suggestions that the terminated faculty should be offered positions at other UT System components.

The Governance Committee agreed to fashion a document dealing with these issues.

11:17 AM Tom Johnson, Director, Texas Faculty Association

Mr. Johnson began by noting that collective bargaining is not legal in Texas, and that it has been eroding across the country. The problem we are facing is how to create some semblance of such a process. The TFA is making collective bargaining a part of its legislative agenda. In the short term, no bill will be passed, or even make it out of committee, but the aim is to stimulate debate. We need to build power away from the table, so that when we get to table, we can win.

Mr. Johnson noted that informal types of collective bargaining take place away from table. The process needs to start with a power analysis, which involves determination of how money is controlled. Faculty in Texas are more dedicated and harder working than elsewhere due to limited resources. Texas is the 15 th largest economy on earth and so we need to ask how existing money is being distributed among UT System components. UT Austin and Texas A&M are the only tier 1 institutions in state, and their national rankings are only in the 40s. Leveraging is needed to get a better distribution of resources. There will be increasing pressure to push people through school and get high scores as quickly as possible, but we can fight this. We can also fight over working conditions.

Mr. Johnson then stated that a major issue at this juncture is the dismantling of UTMB. The process did not start with Hurricane Ike, but began some years back, maybe before Dr. Stobo became UTMB president. The first item on the agenda was to undermine tenure (which is a kind of power). They also abandoned responsibility to care for the uninsured (most of whom actually work) because it was not profitable. The Regents have a goal of building a new teaching hospital in Austin. They have laid off half of UTMB workforce and did this without conducting a study or abiding by the law. The TFA is currently dealing with the Regents about this. This process of destruction will cost more money than a constructive program.

The termination hit list of faculty is 127, and though the administration had said they would go after clinicians rather than researchers, the hit list includes many researchers, two-thirds of whom are tenured or tenure-track. Additionly, there are a disproportionate number of female and minority persons on the list. If they can get them, they can get you. All is at risk because we do not have power of collective bargaining.

There followed a series of questions (Q) and comments (C) that are summarized below, along with Mr. Johnson’s Responses (R).

Q: To what extent can faculty bodies make recommendations to the legislature? Are there legal problems with this?

R: No, but in order to influence legislators, you need to talk to their constituents. An example was the ABOR (academic bill of rights), which states that any student can challenge anything in a class based on religous freedom, and that if a faculty member offends them, they can take action. ABOR was on house bill but TFA caught it and modified it. Currently it is in the form of a sense of the house resolution that does not carry much weight. The TFA met with the Chair of house committee on higher education and made him aware of the issue. Faculty from the south of the state lobbied him in the standard way, but we were able to approach the committee directly because we have a base

Q: But could a Faculty Senate send a letter to a US legislator? Would this be illegal?

R: No, but I would start at the state level. Of course, people might come after you, as a lot of this work involves fights. If you were able to get faculty organizations in several states to work together, this could be powerful.

Q: Which organizations are most useful?

A: We have worked with the AAUP the AFL/CIO which is interested in higher education. However, which groups you contact depends on which issue you are addressing. You need to decide who your allies are in each issue you are addressing. Personal contacts are very important.

Q: If you prevail on the situation at UTMB, will this force the Regents to change their decision?

R: Yes, that is the best case, that they would reconsider their decision. However, the big issue is that what the Regents do, they should do in public. We will continue to challenge them to open up. They are not telling the truth about how much things will cost, and about not touching research faculty.

Q: What about the new medical branch at Round Rock?

R: That is being done by the A&M system. What is the reason behind opening up two medical institutions in the Austin area? The UT System needs to chop up UTMB in order to create the new medical center in Austin. Additionally, UTMB just closed another women and childrens’ clinic, claiming Ike as the reason. However, the word is that this clinic was a money maker. We hear claims of the System not having enough money, but studies show UT System assets continue to grow. Money gets shifted around but the bottom line is that assets have been increasing. Regarding the claim of financial exigency at UTMB, TFA will argue that even if UTMB is broke, the UT System is not, and the System owns UTMB. In general, we will have to put pressure on people. We cannot simply issue a report and hope something gets done.

Q: Is there a web site that is especially useful for learning what is going on in higher education.

R: There are many. The Chronicle of Higher Education lists current topics, but the coverage is thin. There is another website for researchers and scientists.

 

12:05 PM

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

Dr. Shine began by stating that he has been a strong proponent of innovations in higher education at UTMB and elsewhere. He recently has obtained half a million dollars for grants for innovation in health education and now has a task force on graduate education. Further, the Regents have set aside money for grants to stimulate innovations in doctoral education and about 10 proposals (out of about 20) are about to be awarded. Nothing similar has been done for undergraduate education, but the Regents have approved 2.5 million dollars for innovation in undergraduate education and are looking for matching funds.

Dr. Shine continued that the System has had a great year in research, up 11%. This reflects great work being done by faculty.

Dr. Shine noted that Dr. Cigarroa announcing he is stepping down from the presidency at UT San Antonio and intends to return to transplant surgery. The System is putting together an advisory committee that Dr. Shine is chairing, and intend to have a replacement by summer. President Callender had done a great job at UTMB Galveston.

Dr. Shine then reported that institutions are being scrutinized about conflicts of interest in research on pharmaceuticals. A large grant at Emory was terminated due to conflict of interest, and the federal government is looking at conflict of interest policies throughout the country and will be visiting campuses so see if the policies in place are being taken seriously. Dr. Shine noted that he is opposed to a trackijng system to find out what faculty are doing, but we do need evidence that we have good policies in place and that people know about them.

Dr. Shine also stated that he has asked all campuses to activate their practice plan templates by December 31. There will be a first audit this year on whether campuses have applied the system correctly.

There followed a sequence of questions (Qs) and comments (Cs) to which Dr. Shine responded (R) as summarized and paraphrased below.

Q: What is Dr. Sharphorn’s position?

R: He is Deputy General Council (Mr. Burgdorf is the head). Mr. Sharphorn is the legal backup for the review of the UT Pan American plagerism issue. Dr. Shine noted that his position is that allegations of scientific misconduct are serious and if there is any credible reason to undertake an inquiry, we will, even if the allegations are anonymous. Dr. Shine himself is not involved in the review. Dr. Prior put together the committee and is serving on it. Dr. Shine will remain uninvolved until the review completed.

Q: It is being said that at UT El Paso, people lose tenure when they assume administrative positions, even at the level of Assistant Dean.

R: Send us a letter documenting this.

Dr. Shine then turned to the situation at UTMB Galveston, making several statements. First, at no time has the System or Regents undertaken to move UTMB someplace else, like Austin, although some units will go to the mainland.

Second, there has been no attempt to undermine the campus, which would be crazy. We are interested in helping UTMB recover so that it will go on to greater things. Although critics have argued that our assts are growing, this has nothing to do with whether there is money for operations. Legislative appropriations for operating money come directly to the individual campuses. The System does not control the allocation of these funds. In addition, FEMA will not pay for salaries or wages or business interruption costs, which are estimated to be $276 million. 55% of the UTMB budget comes from clinical programs and these are just beginning to open. Thus, revenues are plummeting. The System has failed to find flood insurance in the past, but we did ultimately find the current $50 million decductable plan. And, since we have paid only $3 million in premiums, we will lose this coverage.

The largest problem at UTMB is the hospital. Much of the first floor was destroyed and so we will need to move everything upstairs. The current plan is to decide on a certain numbers of beds and fill them. The big question is whether to bring up 600 beds on the island or to build a 200 bed facility on the mainland.

Whenever this sort of thing happens, people demonize. However, the Regents care a lot about the situation. Some of them have visited UTMB and have worked with Dr. Shine on raising capital. We are trying to get an emergency appropriation because UTMB will otherwise run out of cash and there is no way for the System to get them money. Tenured faculty will get paid for the academic year and there will be time for appeals of terminations.

At the hearing yesterday, Senator Schwartz said that the Regents have decided to do away with the hospital. However, it was the legislature several years ago that cut back funding for the hospital.

Dr. Shine also noted that we are loaning some financial experts from MD Anderson to help at UTMB. However, UTMB is running out of money. He has seen no evidence that the Regents are not prepared to support a strong UTMB. The question is, how to get there.

One problem is that FEMA will not pay in advance. An institution must invest capital in reconstruction, and then attempt to get reimbursement. We cannot use $700 million in FEMA money for operations. FEMA restricts putting money into operations.

Q: Does the UT System have a blog?

R: Yes, and the financial analysis will be up on website.

C: The UTMB President has not met with the faculty.

R: I do not know about this.

C: It has been said that the Sealy Smith Foundation offered to fund rebuilding and was turned down.

R: I will ask them.

In response to a question about the plan for a Texas A&M medical branch at Round Rock, Dr. Shine noted that he has no connection to that plan.

C: UTMB has always done training in Austin . . . Why talk in terms of Galvestonor Austin when it is a matter of Galvestonand Austin?

R: We have said that we want a hospital on the island.

Q: Two FAC members from UTMB have been fired. What does this say about support for faculty governance?

R: I would have to look at the process . . . Is it reasonable, are there sensible appeal mechanisms, etc.

Q: How many faculty were fired from UT Houston after Ike?

R: I do not know. C: I believe none were fired.

R: How is that relevant? The situation at UTMB is different. There, 59% of the revenue was from clinical activities which were stopped. The terminations were a result of careful program by program review.

Q: Was there faculty input into the systematic program review?

R: I am prepared to look at the process.

C: Department Chairs had the first say and none of them were terminated.

Q: How many beds are in operation?

R: 16 maternity beds are in operation.

Q: What is the Regents’ policity on financial exigency? My understanding is that the policy pertains to closing departments.

R: That is one approach, but in this case the whole campus had financial exigency.

Q: Is such a case covered in the Regents’ Rules?

R: This is a legal question, but the Regents write the Regents’ Rules. They determined that financial exigency existed at UTMB and instructed the President to work with me on reducing the work force.

Q: We are concerned with the implications of the UTMB situation for tenure. This is why we are concerned with transparency. Are you also? And what has been done regarding transparency?

R: I will ask for statement in writing from Dr. Callender that addresses this.

C: The UTMB President said in June that there was a $100 million deficit at that time.

R: I don’t believe it. The hospital had lost $25 million at the end of fiscal year, but they obtained donations that brought it almost even. What happened in June was that the number of medicare patients from the mainland were falling and the campus as a whole was down. But anyway the exigency was a loss of $40 million per month after Ike.

C: It seems the System is at cross purposes with itself if it is going to RIF faculty involved in the core mission of the institution when that is what you are trying to maintain.

R: I cannot speak to the cases of the individuals who were RIFed. . . The charge was to cut down the costs and keep the educational mission going. I cannot really answer questions about individual cases.

C: No one has seen the criteria for terminations that Dr. Callender said he would provide

R: I will get them.

Q: Do RIFed employees have any guarantee of being rehired?

R: There is no guarantee but we have stated that RIFed persons will get first consideration for openings at any of our institutions. We have also been doing job fairs, though the focus has not been on faculty as they have more time than other employees to find positions. We also have plans for rebuilding but we cannot present them before we receive input from consultants.

Dr. Shine closed by stating that he will get input on the transparency of the RIF process and on the grievance procedure. He will also find out about contact with the faculty senate regarding the RIF, and will check on reports that there were offers of financial help from Sealy Smith. The System is working on how to start with reconstruction, and obtain capital from FEMA. The problem is how to get up-front money.

 

1:38 PM

Dan Sharphorn, Associate Vice Chancellor and Deputy General Council and Helen Bright, Managing Attorney

Mr. Sharphorn reviewed the policies regarding termination of faculty for cause. The President of the institution conducts an investigation and then meets with the accused person and makes a decision. If his decision is to terminate, there is a termination hearing in front of a faculty committee. The results of the hearing go to Board of Regents. Mr. Sharphorn believes the procedures should be changed such that the the results of the hearing go back to the President before being sent to the Board of Regents, so that the President can make a final decision.

Q: Where in Regents Rules can we find the current policy?
R: Section 31008

Q: Can we remove gross immorality from the policy?
R: Yes

Q: Can we include in section 6 that the person be told why they are fired?

There followed discussion among the FAC as some thought that a terminated person should always be given the reason, while others believed that the reason is obvious in some cases and yet it is wise not to put it in writing for fear of a lawsuit. In general, the FAC agreed with the changes that Mr. Sharphorn is advocating. He stated that he will get the new proposed wording back to us when it is developed.

After Mr. Sharphorn departed, there was additional discussion of the terminations at UTMB. It was agreed that UT Austin will send UTMB a section from their HOP that affords faculty protection. The principle is that we should have policies that are public and agreed to. It remains unclear why people not part of the clinical operation were laid off. Some UTMB faculty believe that bias was involved, and that department chairs were able to get rid of people they wanted gone. The discussion then turned to a situation in California some years back. The System was too “tenured up” and so it bought out people. Dr. Shine has stated that he looked into this possibility but that the necessary funds were lacking.

 

2 PM

Committee Meetings

3:30 PM

Campus Reports

Friday, December 5, 2008

 

9:00 AM

 

Committee Meetings (cont’d)

 

Representative Martinez has just been re-elected to 5th term, and serves on the Urban Affairs and Civil Procedures Committees. She noted several current items of politics in the House:

  • There are 76 Republicans and 74 democrats serving.
  • The race for Speaker is continuing
  • The 2 vote margin means there will be more deal brokering.
  • It appears unlikely that the tuition deregulation issue will be solved this session.
  • Tier One status for some institutions is a current issue
  • What to do about UTMB is a current issue.

There followed a series of questions and comments that are paraphrased and summarized below, along with Representative Martinez’s responses.

    • Q: The UT System can’t help out UTMB, but what about the Rainy Day fund?”
    • R: This is a priority, but we do not know if the legislature can do anything. Regarding the Rainy Day Fund, we know how much that is, but the surplus keeps changing as tax revenue changes. No new business in the House before 1 st 30 days of the session, I assume that Ike will get top priority and be discussed in 1 st 30 days as an emergency measure.
    • Q: UTMB is over 100 years old, and holds pearls of the state. Management failed to recognize the changing demographics that put the school in a difficult financial situation. The hurricane hit a wounded animal. The size of hospital is being reduced from 600 to 200 beds, with resulting layoffs in research & educational faculty. The school takes average medical applicants & graduates them near the top of the nation, at 100% graduation rate, an extraordinary educational effort. Tenure is being threatened, and the Regents not supporting it by calling for a layoff. Meanwhile, management is receiving bonuses. Stakeholders should be included in the decision making for the benefit of entire state.
    • R: Cutting the budget, and then restoring UTMB with a smaller amount looks like a political victory. All of the medical schools need help, and all are competing for funding. You should talk to your own representative. Your colleagues should also approach your representative.
    • Q: The campuses could not get flood insurance. Can the legislature set up a way to aid these campuses?
  • Q: What about a Faculty Regent?
  • R: we are interested, but we want to know more. Such a policy should apply to all systems. The proposal should be taken to Paula Hightower Pearson.

11 AM

Dr. Kieth McDowell, Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer, Dr. Larry Plutko, System-wide Compliance Officer, Dr. Lisa Leiden, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Sponsored Programs

Dr. McDowell spoke about conflict of interest, making the following points:

  • Audit & compliance functions separated at the System.
  • We have a new position which is Associate Vice Chancellor for Research & Sponsored Projects (Dr. Leiden).
  • A research collaboration initiative will soon be going forward to the Regents
  • Conflict of interest:
    • In the mid 1990s there was a court case that resulted in new rules for documenting your conflicts of interest
    • Senator Grassley gets information from bio-technology companies concerning payments to faculty members and has found discrepancies in many cases. A letter was written to the UT System Chancellor documenting some of these cases. Information has been requested on all NIH grants, and OGC is handling the responses. State Senator Shapley is proposing legislation this session on conflict of interest. We call our system “self-reporting,” but politicians call it an “honor system.” The question is, how do you check? What power does the System have to demand payment information? What are the consequences for incorrect reporting? The UTcSystem has a team looking at the issue in detail, including the relevant policies.

Dr. Plutko reported that the Universities want to be ahead of legislation in the area of compliance. We would like to add an e-filing process to reduce the burden of recording, and to provide more just-in-time reporting than is possible with paper. Ethically, we have to balance the desire to advance science commercially, individual rights, and the common good to organizations. We are trying to enhance the current process. The Cleveland Clinic is posting physician relationships publicly, changing the landscape and giving more transparency.

    • C: There should be faculty governance input to the System.
    • R: There were Beta users, trying to define terminology, etc., but this recommendation is accepted.
    • Q: Why are we picking on doctors?
    • R: Leiden replied that the procedures apply to anyone covered by the policy, including faculty, management, staff etc.
    • Q: When working with others on a project, you must certify that they don’t have a conflict of interest, but there is no centralized database to help. Transparency would help.
    • R: Dr. Leiden replied that we want to make it a one-stop shop.
    • Q: How can a person maintain positions on more than one campus? Some things fall through the cracks.
    • R: Dr. McDowell replied that we don’t want Big Brother, but we do need a better process for our honor system.
    • C: Textbook reviews provide only small payments to faculty, writing a textbook provides more.
    • Does the conflict of interest policy apply to practice plans & acceptance of gifts”
    • R: Yes.
    • Q: Regarding faculty commitment to PHARMA, what percentage of time can be allotted to PHARMA. . . can it be a fixed percent?”
    • Dr. McDowell replied that this is a percentage-based system, not a time-card system. Things can get muddy, but this is the best we can do because it is so complicated.
    • Q: Regarding faculty working with PHARMA, this conflict of interest policy can can put a damper on development of new drugs.
    • R: It will take time to sort this out.
    • Q: Is there a cap on the amount of money involved.
    • R: Dr. Plutko responded that this issue has to be addressed, and we need guidance. McDowell commented that this is a bigger issue on the health campuses, but it can apply to academic campuses as well. Dr. Plutko stated that the problem is that we are trying to regulate a free market system, and ultimately we want to avoid legislation.
    • C: We would like to see consistency across campuses.”
    • R: Dr. Plutko responded that we should have a best practices system to suggest policies to the campuses. Dr. Leiden stated that they will clean house at system, and then look at campus policies. Dr. McDowell commented that Dr. Plutko is trying to create compliance systems that are workable, and that will not automatically trigger an audit.
    • C: Our system is an electronic time card system that creates an ethical problem. We are verifying working 40 hours per week, when it is clearly much more.
    • Dr. McDowell commented that this makes enormous comp time. One cannot log in on weekends, or in the evening.
    • C: In cases such as tobacco consulting, where there is private and secret research, the focus should be on what/where disclosure should occur.
    • Dr. Plutko responded that there should be guidelines. Compliance does not equal auditing. We have to be ahead of the regulatory curve. Regulation slows us down. Yet we have to make the system work for us.
    • Dr. McDowell commented that transparency is a minimum requirement.. The Chancellor, or the Board of Regents could say you cannot do something (like sit on a board) due to a conflict of interest, but they should not dictate the amount of pay.
    • Dr. Plutko commented that we could set up a foundation model for contributions to organizations as opposed to individuals. We need more discussion on this topic.
    • Q: When I go to a conference or an educational event with vendors, is it ok to take the gifts?”
    • Dr. Plutko responded that these are societal dilemmas.
    • Q: Is the state encouraging researchers to start bio-tech companies?”
    • Dr. Plutko responded that the State is encouraging free enterprise but trying to limit it. The concern is organizational conflicts of interest, not individual. Dr. Leiden added that Institutional conflict of interest policies are coming. Dr. McDowell remarked that we should stay tuned, as some of these issues have been decided without debate. It is common practice.

12:00 PM

Barry McBee, Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Mr. McBee began by noting that his presentation is on the Board of Regents webpage. He covered a range of items:

  • Budget – There is concern about the economy over the next biennium. We cannot spend all of surplus now, but must think about the future. Enrollment growth will be covered, but probably no new programs or initiatives. The Comptroller presents a revenue estimate on January 12.
  • Rainy Day fund – This will be used for unique, one time events, not operating expenses. It could be used to help UTMB.
  • Maybe we need a Standing Disaster Fund
  • An Emergency Appropriations Act will come up in February or March
  • Supplemental Bill will be effective immediately, and then there will be the usual appropriations bill
  • Federal funds for Texas infrastructure
  • Incentive Funding may drop away, if there is no money
  • The Higher Education Coordinating Board has discussed a merit component in Texas Grants. Legislators will discuss this.
  • Regarding the Tier One “National Research University Initiative,” Zafarini has said that: we should do something legislatively even if it can’t be funded. There might be matching of private gifts or estructuring of funding schemes.
  • Exceptional items are falling by the wayside
  • TRB (tuition revenue bonds) are still there
    • There is ongoing discussion of the Top 10% rule. It might be capped of 50% or 40% of the entering class.
  • Tuition re-regulation, a moratorium on tuition increases, and caps on tuition increases are all being discussed.
  • Community Colleges have more political power than universities
  • The Governor is reconvening Regents, and it appears this is involving the Texas Public Policy Foundation
    • There is an ongoing Faculty Activity Study that will allow us to present information on what faculty really do
  • There will be serious discussion in the legislature on open carry/concealed carry or weapons on compuses.
  • The Senate has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats
  • Prefiling has begun
  • A constitutional spending limit has been adopted, and a lowest estimate chosen
  • The Legislature convenes on January 13
  • Q: What is the status of the Research Development Fund?”
  • R: This will be continued.
  • Q: Will the mistake in funding Nursing programs be corrected?”
  • R: There are some proposals. It is a high priority.
  • Q: Are there any interim studies?
  • R: There were studies of tuition flexibility, and merit-versus-need based grants. There is nothing else to worry about.
  • Q: What about “Green buildings?”
  • R: The Regents will consider sustainability, and the new chancellor will probably have influence in this matter.
  • Q: Do we have any insight on the new chancellor?
  • R: The Regents have been working hard. They were hoping to have someone for the 1 st of the year, but there are no finalists yet.
  • Will there by a faculty regent bill?
  • R: I am not sure what Pearson is looking at, whether it would be considered as a proposal for all state systems or just the UT System.

1:00 PM

Committee Reports

There was a discussion of HOP policies, and of the perception that the System sends down policies that they should not be writing. The wording often does not match local campus terminology. It was agreed that this issue should be addressed on a future agenda.

  • Academic Affairs
    • A manual for the Board of Regents is in the works
    • The committee is also working on Academic policies, and student dishonesty
  • Health Affairs
    • There has been nothing new on insurance. The committee is looking at paying for transplant searches and trial treatments.
    • The committee is working on a “cheat sheet” for the Board of Regents, and will have more on this next time
    • Regarding the situation at UTMB, the committee is looking at self-insurance from the State
    • Finally, the committee is working on a definition of financial exigency
  • Faculty Quality is working on three tasks:
    • Teaching Load
    • Retention of faculty
    • Orientation/Faculty Development
  • Governance presented three resolutions that were passed by the FAC pending minor changes in wording. The final versions will be emailed to FAC members by Amy Jasperson
    1. Resolution on Regents Rule 31003 on terminations for financial exigency
    2. Principle of role of faculty governance in participatory management
    3. Firearms on campus

 

 

2 PM

Adjournment and Executive committee meeting

 

 

 

Appendix

Resolutions passed (pending minor changes in wording) at the FAC meeting of December 4-5, 2009.

It is the view of the University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council that Regents Rule 31003, abandonment of academic positions or programs, must be interpreted in the light of Rule 40101 which gives faculty the “major role” in regard to “general academic policies and welfare” and related matters (2. section 3) and in the light of the further provisions that assign these faculty responsibilities to the faculty governance organization.

Specifically, to assure transparency and maintain confidence in the commitment of the U. T. System and Regents to the preservation of tenure, academic freedom, and participatory governance, key concepts of Section 31003 should be interpreted as follows:

I. Clarifications of Regents Rules:

  • In section 3.1-- Committee evaluating programs and positions. We suggest that the faculty appointments be made from recommendations submitted to the president by the faculty governance body. The faculty should constitute at least 50 percent of the committee.

 

  • In section 3.2 – Evaluation of programs. The committee will provide a written report of its analysis of programs.

 

  • In section 3.3 -- Evaluation of specific positions to be eliminated. The committee will provide a written report explaining individual positions to be eliminated in relation to its assessment of programs.

 

  • In section 3.5 – Recommendation. Reasons given for termination, if acted upon, should be provided in the written notice of termination.

 

  • In section 3.7 and 3.8 --Appeals. The Regents’ Rules state that the president should appoint a hearing committee for appeals. This committee should have all faculty membership. If campus policies do not establish an alternative procedure for this purpose, we suggest that the faculty appointments be made from recommendations submitted to the president by the faculty governance body.

 

II. In specific reference to section 3, Elimination Due to Financial Exigency, we recommend the following:

 

  • No faculty position should be terminated unless a clear case is made that all other remedies have been considered.
  • Every campus shall have a stated policy on termination for exigency that has been approved by the faculty governance organization (placed in the HOP). If there is no such policy, or if the policy does not include the following points, the following should apply:
  • Exigency should be clearly explained in financial and budgetary terms (cost and benefits).
  • Terminations should be explained in relation to the campus exigency.
  • Faculty involvement in decisions should be substantial.
  • The appropriate faculty governance body, as determined by the Faculty Senate/Council, should be involved in decisions.
  • The Committee making the recommendations should be independent of administrators making recommendations for termination. For example, if Chairs make recommendations, these recommendations should be reviewed by a unit-wide committee with no less than half of its membership being faculty.
  • The president shall choose faculty committee members from a list provided by the faculty governance body.
  • There should be due process.
  • The written termination notice to the individual should specify the reasons for termination of that individual in relation to the stated exigency.
  • Membership of the recommendation committee should be publicly known.
  • This entire process should be transparent.
  • Faculty positions should not be terminated when the exigency could be remedied with managerial or budgetary changes.
  • The process should give discernable preference to faculty with tenure.

It is a basic principle of due process that the principles underlying a rule or standard be applicable in the same way for all who are affected.

Resolution II

The evaluations applied in the UTMB case appear to have been based on the interests of the departments rather than the interests of the campus as a whole. The fact that a high proportion of tenured faculty selected for termination at UTMB are members of the Academic Senate and the U T System Faculty Advisory Council, including the Chair-Elect of the Faculty Advisory Council, suggests that a low value is placed on governance service. The mission of the University requires effective faculty governance, and faculty participation in a wide range of committees under the governance purview. It is essential for effective faculty governance that the several units on a campus make their faculty available to participate in such bodies for the good of the entire campus, and not restrict their evaluation of faculty to the benefits they produce for the individual unit/department alone. Failure to recognize this principle should be regarded as inconsistent with Regent’s Rules’ recognition of the importance of participatory management involving both faculty and administration.

Resolution III

The University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council strongly opposes any change in law which would expand the ability to carry firearms on campus by any personnel other than law enforcement officers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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