December, 2008 Faculty Advisory Council Meeting
The Board of Regents held its November meeting at UTEP. The visit included a great deal of student participation and efforts were made to showcase the research achievements of students and faculty. The visit also included a videotaped “virtual groundbreaking” for two new buildings – the Chemistry/Computer Science Building and the College of Health Sciences/School of Nursing Building. Community leaders (and our very own FAC chair, Mansour) were invited to a formal dinner with the Regents, at which President Diana Natalicio was recognized for her twenty years at the helm of the institution. Also in attendance was the growing contingent of Bhutanese students (currently 16 strong) at UTEP. The University is building a strong relationship with the small Himalayan nation of Bhutan, after which its architecture is modeled. Dr. Natalicio recently attended the coronation of the new king of Bhutan.
There has been an increased focus on all things related to evaluation. The Provost’s office is coordinating the SACS evaluation process, and individual programs are being tasked with more evaluation efforts than they have previously undertaken. Because the University has never done formal evaluation of the Core Curriculum, a faculty committee is being established to recommend a strategy. There is ongoing discussion of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) as a possible tool to use in the process, and as a supplementary measure of general institutional effectiveness. The CLA attempts to measure nonspecific benefits of a college education (such as increased capacity for critical thinking) and is corrected for standardized test performance. Both freshmen and seniors at UTEP score above the 90 th percentile compared to those at other institutions where the CLA is administered, and their increase in performance over their time at UTEP (a measure of, among other things, the “value added” by their education) is at the 68 th percentile. The authors of the CLA will be coming to campus next semester to discuss how the instrument may be best applied.
The Graduate Council is under new leadership (with Larry Ellzey as Chair), as is the Graduate School (with Patricia Witherspoon as Dean). Efforts are underway to obtain approval for four more doctoral programs, bring the total number of programs to 20. More scrutiny is being applied to the progress of students currently enrolled in doctoral programs, and there is an effort to remove unnecessary institutional barriers in order to ensure students’ timely progression and graduation. Deans have been charged with being “personally acquainted” with the status of every graduate student in their colleges. It has become clear that existing doctoral graduation rates will become an important criterion in the approval of new programs.
UTHSC-Houston FAC Update
We have had very positive interactions with new President Dr. Kaiser-he has attended multiple faculty meetings at the different schools and is scheduled to meet with the interfaculty council in January. As a result of a meeting, the Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs has been charged to conduct a salary equity study across the Health Science Center. The IFC is looking into allocation of state funds and teaching remuneration “mission based budgeting”. Ongoing work on SACS accreditation, due to come in 2010.
School of Nursing
At the last UTFAC meeting, the question was raised during Dr. Shine’s visit about the apparent disconnect between the OMB guidelines on cost sharing and the narrower UT System policies: specifically, at what point in the process that cost sharing must be reconciled. Following subsequent clarification from Dr. Shine’s office, it was agreed that compliance with the Federal policy can be accomplished on the grant award side, as opposed to the submission side, as currently in practice, at least at our Institution. Thus, our Upper Administration has agreed in principle to modify our procedures in this regard, and the Senate is working on this with them. This change would relieve considerable burdens both from PIs submitting grants and from our Office of Sponsored Programs, since ~80+% of grants do not get funded.
As proposed by the Senate, the Upper Administration now seems supportive of developing backup power capability for our Marriot-managed Rotary House where patients’ families typically stay during prolonged treatment regimens. This would address the unfortunate expulsion of residents of the Rotary House as Hurricane Ike approached a few months ago.
Dr. Dunnington’s efforts in participating in re-writing the Physicians Referral Service Bylaws were acknowledged by Upper Administration. The current dual (Senate and Institutional) salary review committee activities would be enfolded within one PRS committee; however, since Basic Research Faculty cannot be PRS members, there remains an issue dealing with their participation in the salary review process.
Our Management Committee removed proposed wording from the draft revised bylaws that would place a cap on gifts. However, our Institutional Conflict of Interest Committee is in the process of rewriting its policies to conform to NIH/NCI guidelines, as well as those from other Federal agencies, and may adopt a global policy that governs acceptance of gifts.
Our annual Faculty Honors Convocation, co-sponsored by PRS, was held on November 20.
Our financial performance so far this fiscal year has been strongly affected by missed hospital and clinics activity during the days of closure due to Ike, as well as the very negative performance on investments. Longer term, the recession may even affect our payor mix or even numbers of patients seeking care at MD Anderson.