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  University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council
APPROVED MINUTES: March 12-13, 2009

Mansour O. El-Kikhia, Chair
UT San Antonio

Ted Pate, past Chair
UT HSC Houston

Thomas Albrecht, Chair elect
UTMB Galveston

John Priest
UT Arlington

Emily Robinson
UT HSC Houston

Charlotte Wisnewski
UTMB Galveston

James Bartlett, Secretary
UT Dallas

Amy Jasperson
UT San Antonio

David Vines
UTHSC San Antonio

Murray Leaf
UT Dallas

Sandy Norman
UT San Antonio

Bennett Amaechi
UT HSC San Antonio

Marilyn Kaplan
UT Dallas

Tim Allen
UT HSC Tyler

Casey Mann
UT Tyler

Daniel Formanowicz
UT Arlington

Larry Ellzey
UT El Paso

Jeffrey Mountain
UT Tyler

Janet Staiger
UT Austin

John Wiebe
UT El Paso

Joel Dunnington
UT MD Anderson

James Eldridge
UT Permian Basin

Pamela Berens
UT HSC Houston

Jim Klostergaard
UT MD Anderson

Karen Fuss-Sommer
UT Brownsville

Danika Brown
UT Pan American

Gene Jones
UT Southwestern

 

John Sargent
UT Pan American

Karen Polowsky
UT Southwestern

 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

 

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

 

Dr. El-Kikhia reported on the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) executive committee meeting on February 3 which Executive Vice Chancellor David Prior and Pedro Reyes attended. As this meeting was important, the minutes will be circulated to the entire FAC. Secretary will send the minutes. Dr. Prior reported that we are under increased pressure from the Governor to show what faculty do and how hard they work (e.g., that we often work 16 hour days). In essence, the state Government wants more reassurance that we are doing our job. It is impossible to dispute a good deal of what they say, as clearly, we too, want transparency, incentives and accountability. Hence, the Chancellor understands that we would like to work with him and he is interested in working with us and getting our ideas. Murray Leaf suggested that we have a WIKI like one being developed at UT Dallas to provide information on what faculty do. AT UT Dallas, it is possible to put articles on the WIKI with links to other relevant articles and sources of information on things like faculty workload. The idea is that such a mechanism will stand against constant barrage of charges from organizations such as the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). It also can be used to organize our activities. The main audience for information on a FAC-sponsored WIKI would be the Regents.

The discussion then turned to House Bill 330 (now in the legislature) to appoint a faculty Regent. We hope the bill will be passed by September 1, 2009. The FAC has already looked at the bill and made some recommendations, the most important of which is that the Governor would not choose the faculty representative. We are recommending that the FAC would choose a tenured faculty member from a list of three nominees selected by the Chancellor. The term would be six years. We have sent our recommendations to Paula Pearson, letting her know that there are people who will support her in her efforts to get this bill passed. Dr. El-Kikhia reported that the UT System presidents he has talked to are very supportive.

There followed discussion of the fact that the bill concerns only the UT System, and there was some concern that this might be detrimental to its passing. Murray Leaf commented that the members of the Texas Association of Faculty Senates were not sure that their Regents would support the idea and so it appears best that we leave the focus narrow. Differing views were expressed on whether we should oppose the bill if our suggestions for appointments are not followed (and the Governor selects the faculty regent).

At this point Dr. El-Kikhia asked if there was a motion on the minutes from the December 4-5 FAC meeting. There was a motion to approve that was seconded and approved unanimously. The continuing FAC members then introduced themselves to two new members, Drs. Gene Jones and Karen Polowsky, both from UT Southwestern.

Dr. El-Kikhia then reported on a matter discussed with Drs. Prior and Reyes at the FAC executive committee meeting. Dr. Prior is asking all administrative units, including the FAC, to reduce their expenditures for next year by 20% if possible. We discussed several possibilities, including cutting back the full meetings of the FAC to three per year and or conducting some of the FAC executive meetings through teleconferencing. It was agreed that we should think about this and return to the issue later.

At this point, Dr. El-Kikhia called on Dr. Tom Albrecht to report on developments at UT Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB). Dr. Albrecht noted that Dr. David Hudnell, who was unable to attend due to travel commitments, had informed him on these developments so that he could brief us. He first reported that the AAUP had sent a letter to Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and UTMB President David Callender expressing their concern with the “RIFing” (terminating through reduction in force) of faculty and the justifications offered for such. The letter pointed out that virtually everything UTMB did in this matter violated principles that AAUP has endorsed for many years. The letter also stated that if UTMB does not rectify the situation, the AAUP will conduct a full investigation which might result in a vote of censure of UTMB and UT System. A copy of the letter was circulated to the FAC.

Dr. Callender wrote a response which is reported to be not of a character that would allay the AAUP’s concerns, though we have not seen it yet. Dr. El-Kikhia reported that Chancellor Cigarroa has received the three resolutions that were passed at our December, 2008 meeting (two of which deal specifically with the situation at UTMB).

Dr. Albrecht continued that there was special meeting of the Regents on Tuesday at which they voted to reconstruct UTMB on the island. This plan has been supported by Representative Craik Eiland. Dr. Albrecht also reported that there is a lawsuit against the Regents for holding an illegal meeting and UT System has indicated it is interested in settling. However, the letter they sent is largely about reconstruction instead of reinstating faculty that have been RIFed. The letter did state that it would give priority to hiring RIFed faculty for other positions, but apparently the decision would be entirely up to them and covers only the clinical facilities. Dr. Albrecht noted he will not sign off on a settlement that does not include everyone that was terminated. Since that time, UTMB has a statement on its website to the effect that RIFing might have been a mistake, but they are not providing documentation. Dr. Albrecht noted that one person he knows of has been reinstated. However, she reportedly asked for data pertaining to her case, but was told that since her RIFing had been revoked, such data would not be forthcoming. Finally, Dr. Albrecht reported that the System had stated that they had no dates available for a public appeal hearing. Summarizing, Dr. Albrecht remarked that the appeal process at UTMB is highly flawed.

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

Q: A Houston Chronicle article stated that the Regents were to reverse many of their decisions. R: yes, but we have been given none of the details. There appear to be no restrictions on how the System will use the recovery money at UTMB (e.g., it could be used mostly for bricks and mortar).

Q: How many appeals have been made of the RIFing? R: There is no hard evidence, but Tom Albrecht’s impression is that t here were initially some 40-odd appeals, and that now the number is in the mid- to upper-30s. Reportedly, Mr. Eiland was told that only deadwood were RIFted and only one or two were appealing.

C: According to Regents Rules, the appealing person can have a public hearing if he or she requests it.

Q: Have you seen a copy of the response to AAUP? R: No, but David Hudnall is sending it to him.

C: The financial exigency issue should be dealt with. We should have policies in place ahead of such an event, and this is something that Governance should take up. Regents’ Rules are slanted toward the academic campuses and this is part of the problem.

R: We cannot find anything in Regents Rules that directly applies to the UTMB situation in which the entire campus rather than just a program or department was affected. The appeal process is not well written in Regents Rules, and it needs to be amended to include what you do when Regents’ Rules are not being followed. In addition, since Mayor White is involved in some of the processes, and since he holds a political office, the System has argued that they cannot reveal relevant documents, or e-mail documentation.

There was discussion to the effect that we need to move quickly as UTMB has only several days worth of operating capital on hand, and so financial exigency could be declared very quickly.

Murray Leaf suggested that each campus should have a plan for exigency as the campuses differ so much from each other. The relevant rules at UTMB were not well drafted in the first place. So, we need to think about what can be done at the Regential level and what would constitute a good set of rules for each campus.

Dr. Albrecht noted that the decision not to move the UTMB campus away from the island probably was based more on community pressure than on faculty concerns. He also noted that he agrees that the relevant policies on the UTMB campus are not good. For example, a post-tenure review process for the School of Nursing was written by the Dean in consultation with a few colleagues with no broad faculty input.

11 AM Dan Sharphorn, Associate Vice Chancellor and Deputy General Council

Mr. Sharphorn passed out a set of questions that had been sent to him, and began with guidelines for when and how the Office of General Council (OGC) gives legal advice, business advice, and plain common sense. Many institutions rely greatly on attorneys just for common sense or experience, rather than legal opinions only. Sometimes, in fact, they are asked to help solve problems. Still, it should be remembered that it is only legal advice that attorneys have real authority on.

There followed a series of questions (Qs) and comments (Cs) to which Mr. Sharphorn responded (R), as summarized and paraphrased below:

Q: When we get a response from OGC, what sort of authority is being exercised?

R: We should be clear about this.

C: It would be helpful if faculty could communicate with OGC more directly, as opposed to indirectly through the Provost, so that we may understand the nuances of rulings and the reasoning behind them.

R: We can try to do this, but there will be occasions when the Chancellor wants to give a policy answer rather than a strictly legal answer.

Q: Who decides if something is in violation of Regents’ Rules?

R: OGC considers such matters and indeed may be viewed as the ultimate authority on Regents Rules.

Q: At UTMB, the System is not following Regents’ Rules, so who polices that?

R: In general, OGC would be expected to be consulted in such cases. However, there are pending lawsuits involving the System and UTMB so I cannot be specific.

Mr. Sharphorn then noted that another question that has been put to him concerns the role of legal advice from OGC in the writing of policies and procedures by faculty governance organizations. He stated while OGC can be in the position of translating policies into legal terms, it is reasonable to discuss with them those cases where the intent has been lost in such translation.

Q: Does OGC make policy or advise on policy?

R: We advise on policy, but we will also indicate if something the faculty want to does not make sense even if it is legal, and we will inform the Chancellor of our opinions in such cases.

Mr. Sharphorn then turned to a third question that has been put to him, one concerning academic dishonesty. He noted that he has not yet reviewed what individual campuses are doing, and noted that there are different models at different institutions. Most have a central judicial office covering dishonesty on both academic and business sides. It may not be possible for faculty governance to get all the details of relevant cases, but it is reasonable to ask for summary information on the outcomes of all such academic dishonesty cases that have occurred in the last three or four years.

C: At UTMB, each incident in areas like sexual misconduct is treated as a unique event with no tracking system.

R: In general, the standard practice is to keep records. However, sometimes a person may stay under the radar because no single offense is considered sufficiently serious for a record to be made.

Q: Can OGC help here?

R: Keeping records is such a common sense activity that it is surprising if an institution is not doing it. If records are not being kept appropriately on a campus, faculty should let OGC know so that they can write a letter to the campus administration and pursue the matter.

C: UTD has a committee on academic integrity. Could we use this as an oversight body that receives annual reports from the Dean of Students?

R: That would make a lot of sense. . . . .

Q: Could we draft a policy and send it to you? We are continuously facing the problem of people pleading that HIPPA or FERPA rules and regulations prevent them from providing relevant information.

R: It is agreed that HIPPA and FERBA have more flexibility than many people believe.

Mr. Sharphorn then took up the issue of troublesome and difficult students. Two relevant items are on the OGC website, though one is very difficult to find. Mr. Sharphorn stated he would send this to Mansour El-Kikhia. Regarding the issue of trips, one good idea is to have a form the students fill out that must be signed by the Dean of Students. However, a problem in such matters is that it is difficult to determine what is dangerous or threatening. OGC has been getting more complaints on such behaviors due to recent events in the country (e.g., the shootings at Virginia Tech). Each UT System campus is supposed to be getting Behavioral Intervention Teams together to deal with these issues. However, these matters are not an exact science . . . lawyers and psychologists can be wrong about whether a student is dangerous or not, and students have rights of privacy. Having said this, Behavioral Intervention Teams can help. Mr. Sharphorn also stated that if a student is acting bizarrely, you can talk to anyone about it.

C: We have a team and the requirement for the Dean of Students to sign off on student trips, and yet there was a student on a trip who had been indicted for criminal assault. This was not a first case and Dean of Students knew about it.

R: This is a good case to think about. By signing off, the Dean is making some judgment that the student will be safe, but s/he is not affording faculty the right to weigh in on the decision. You might require the Dean to disclose any conduct record (some might be troubled by this procedure but Mr. Sharphorn is not).

C: The Dean of Students may not know about the criminal background of a student.

A: You can consider whether you should do a criminal background check for students who are applying to go on a trip.

The discussion turned to the issue of whether information on students could bias professors, as some student Deans have argued. Mr. Sharphorn stated that this is more of a policy issue than a legal issue.

C: The UTMB administration has refused to open appeals files when faculty asked them to.

R: This is not true. I oversee these appeals files, and if someone wants his or her file opened, it is opened.

C: Regents’ Rules state that the appealing faculty member will be given any information used in making the adverse decision against him or her, but at UTMB such requests have been refused.

R: I was not involved in this and have no comment.

The final issue Mr. Sharphorn addressed concerned counseling centers. The issues here are difficult as the relevant law is fairly well developed, and there are rules about when you disclose and when you don’t (when, for example, a client says that he will kill his boss).

Q: Can we try to define rules for our individual campuses?

C: We will get you a study OGC did on the issue, and we will be happy to work with you. It is a tough balance because there are many troubled kids on our campuses and we want to see them succeed. These are policy issues and they should not be treated as legal matters unless the law is clear.

There followed discussion to the effect that psychologoists and other professionals have a terrible time predicting dangerous behavior because of the low base rate of such behavior and other problems. It was remarked that there is actually a scholarly literature on these difficulties.

C: It is very difficult to know when parents of students should be informed about their behavior.

R: The Dean of Students has more flexibility here than other persons.

Q: Is a referral to a campus counseling office confidential?

C: No, but the counseling office cannot say if the referred student actually came to the center.

Q: What about the issue of handguns on campus?

R: The Office of Governmental Relations is working on this. OGC is not involved at this point.

Q: At the last FAC meeting, we passed a resolution opposing guns on campus, but we have heard that laws might be being changed to allow guns inside campus buildings

R: I to not know the status of this bill.

Q: What about rules requiring students to sign a statement in order for their parents to know about their progress?

A: Technically under FERBA, the parent does have the right to see the records of a dependent, though some campuses policies contrary to this.

Q: What are the consequences of violating a Regents’ Rule?

A: This is a good question. If someone is terminated in violation of rules, the courts will not like that . . . The attitude of the courts is that, if an institution has rules, it is supposed to follow them.

C: We have been told Regents’ Rules are just guidelines.

A: Yes, they sometimes are viewed in this way. However, the rules in Regents’ Rules are worded as rules, not guidelines.

12:37 PM

Barry McBee

Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations

Mr. McBee began by noting that tomorrow is the 60th day of session, and this is the bill-filing deadline. Also, bills cannot come to the floor for another 60 days. So, for the next 80 days, we will see a great pick up in activity. There is never a shortage of bad ideas . . .overall, we are seeing 23% more bills than in the last session.

Turning to issues of substance, Mr. McBee referred to a priority list of issues for UT System, noting that some issues of interest are kept off this record as it is a public document.

Regarding formula funding, preliminary work in the Senate and House in the mark-up phase. The process is fairly closed, but the Senate has increased formula pots. An increase in incentive funding is also in a bill. So, it appears we have some good gains. On the House side, thus far there has been no talk about adding money.

There is a movement for competitive knowledge funding for UT Ausin, but no dollars have been put into this yet.

Regarding special items and new exceptional items (which are called exceptional until approved, and then are called special), it is doubtful that we will have many approved. It is possible to trade out some special items for exceptional items, but we have declined to do this so far.

Q: what are incentive funding items?

R: these are the Governor’s ideas.

Mr. McBee noted that there will be a lengthy discussion about tuition. We need to predict how much the legislature will support UT System in order to decide on tuition. One idea is to give authority back to legislature, while another idea is to have tuition caps (e.g., increases of no more than 5% or $360 per year). There are behind-the-scenes conversations on this as a tuition freeze would be devastating. Cigarroa is talking about a 5% increase but legislators might be looking for lower number. There also is talk of a biannual cap of 8% or so. However, the hope is to work toward a more formalized approach to figuring out what is needed and what the State can do and what tuition can do. A 5% cap bill has passed committee and is on the floor. President Powers is leading on this.

Q: Has there been a correction factor for prior miscalculation of formula for nursing?

R: No. Nursing is an area where everyone knows formula has flaws, and we are looking for another $70 million for nursing. In the future, we will be working on a rider for UT Tyler that might be a first step in fixing the formula for nursing.

Regarding the issue of producing new national research universities, there are bills on both sides of chamber, and there is a hearing underway in the House. There is a consensus Texas should have more Tier 1 institutions, we are looking for a framework to get resources for the relevant institutions. Another bill would take the higher education fund (HEEF) and move some of this money into an aspriational fund which would allow institutions to where get money if certain benchmarks are reached.

There is a Healthcare Workforce which is focused on nursing, graduate medical eduation, and funding for more residencies. This issue is a matter of availability of funds.

The Board of Regents has floated an “island plan” for UTMB which calls for funding not just to rebuild but to keep up operations in the face of funding losses. The bill has been heard in House appropriations committee.

Q: The Sealy Smith Foundation is supporting a primary care pavilion . . . .
is there anything that will turn around the decision to not to repair?

R: There is money to rebuild but not to restore.

Q: The Sealy Smith Foundation has money to restore but their offer has been declined. . . . have legislators done anything to unblock this funding?

R: No. This sounds like an internal decision on the campus that I cannot speak to.

Mr. McBee continued that a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute seems to be well supported. He also mentioned another important item that is not on the

circulated priority list but it nonetheless important: Compensation for UTEMPCO. In the past, the legislature has felt that we could do better than what UTEMPCO was providing. There was a debacle of a hearing on this matter after the Madorf scandal, and there will be another hearing on what have we learned since. We believe UTEMPCO is very important to us because they have outpaced other firms. So we are trying to get them back in the box.

Another item not on the circulated priority list is the federal stimulus package. There will be much money for education (maybe $4 billion), but public education (as opposed to higher education) will have first claim on this. There is a proposal for higher education to get about one third of this money to spend on construction and tuition. The System is not in favor of the tuition part, as, if we received the money, the legislature might hold that now we need no tuition increase. There is a danger that this money might be given to us once but not continued thereafter. The System is arguing that if money is given for tuition, it should become part of base funding.

Mr. McBee then circulated a statement from the Chancellor on guns on campus. The statement is intended to provide guidance, saying that we have done much already by way of increasing security on our campuses. The statement has not yet been issued publically and has not been shown it to legislators. Hence, it should be treated as document internal to the System. There will be a hearing on the concealed-guns bill and the UT System may serve as a resource. We might suggest that fungs be outlawed in residential communities, and idea that might fly because what the proponents of the bill really want are guns in classrooms.

Q: Who are the supporters of this bill?

R: Windworth and Joe Driver.

Mr. McBee continued that Faculty Senates can take positions on such issues and faculty can come to Austin to testify on their own time. UT faculty cannot lobby, but any state employee has first amendment rights. It is a good idea, however, to seek advice from council on your campus.

C: I probably will lobby on this and will get a gun and protective vest if the bill passes.

R: You should be very careful. Some UT System employees – a police chief and someone else -- wrote a letter on the matter and the Legislature reacted negatively. Do consult with council before proceeding.

C: The passage of this bill would affect our ability to recruit and retain faculty.

R: The Presidents and the Chancellor very sensitive to this issue.

Q: What about private institutions?

R: They are concerned about it too. McBee continued that we have eight Regents up for confirmation. Only Regent Colleen McHugh is not up for confirmation.

Q: Will the Regents support the bill for a faculty Regent?

R: The Regents have not taken a position on the matter.

Q: what about the issue of deciding which if any institutions should be supported for Tier 1 status?

R: Our position is to let all seven contenders compete for Tier 1 status, perhaps creating a winners’ pot for one or more campuses who reach some standard.

Q: where will money come from?

R: The federal stimulus money . . not all will be used for this purpose directly, but still it should help.

Q: Could some of the stimulus money be used to increase rainy day fund?

R: No, unless the economy changes course dramatically. The 2012-2013 biennium looks worse than present one.

Q: Has there been any preparation for future disasters like IKE?

R: Not really, but we will be working toward this.

1:38 PM

Joaquin Castro, State Representative

Dr. El-Kikhia introduced Representative Castro, who represents San Antonio. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he serves on the Higher Education Committee as Vice Chair. He has authored and co-authored 36 bills, seven of which relate to higher education. His brother is running for Mayor of San Antonio.

Representative Castro began by stating that he is excited the current session, and is happy to be on the Higher Education Committee because Higher Education is that corner stone of the infrastructure for advancement.

One big issue the committee is taking on is building our future in Texas. The UT System and UC System are the two best in world. However, in order to get better, we need two or more new Tier 1 universities in Texas. The state has only three at present, and he is behind a bill that would set up a system to evaluate seven of our universities allowing them to compete for dollars so that one or two could ascend to Tier 1 status in five to ten years. This is House Bill 51.

There are big gaps in higher education in Texas. One such gap is in south Texas. There have been PhD programs in that region only since 1980s, and one could not get a law degree there until recently. One could argue that there are similar gaps in the pan handle, west Texas, and east Texas. This bill is a first step toward filling such gaps.

But why start in the particular way proposed in House Bill 51? Because historically when we have tried to anoint a particular school as top research university, other parts of state gang up, and nothing gets done. This process reduces to a political fight (so letting institutes compete is better).

Another big bill concerns the top 10% rule, which we have been under for 12 years. UT Austin has led the charge to change the rule because 81% of students matriculating there were admitted under this rule. There is a need for more flexibility and discretion.

The representative then noted that one of the reasons for so many of the top-10% students wanting to go to UT Austin is that it is the only UT System Tier 1 school.

Representative Castro then turned to the question of what moving away from top 10% rule would do to our achieving our diversity goals. To understand the issue, one needs to consider the three sets of students: Those who are elgible to go to UT Austin under the 10% rule, those who are eligible and go on to apply, and those who apply and matriculate. Many students eligible to go to UT Austin never consider applying. We need to ask why they are not.

Part of the problem is the counseling they get. One cannot have a ratio of counselors to students of 200 or 300 to one (apparently, there is no mandatory ratio). In addition, counselors suffer from divided attention. They are dealing with TACT tests and discipline in addition to counseling. There is a need t o have advisors available to students in their junior and senior years whose only job is counseling for college. This is critical because many of these students do not have parents who went to college. We have valedictorians who are going to community colleges. Further, while there is talk about good students going to Community Colleges just to get basics out way, only 16% of such students transfer to UT System schools. To deal with this problem, we should not rely on community colleges working on plans with four year institutions. Rather, each System should work out a broad agreement with all the Community Colleges.

Another problem is that 60% of students who go to Community Colleges are first going into developmental or remedial education. A student can do this for two years without getting a single college credit. And this is in the context of a work-school tug-of-war. In San Antonio, we give a test to kids in their junior years of high school, and remediate those in need before they enter college.

Representative Castro then stated that he welcomes our suggestions about higher education barriers he described and how we can overcome them.

C: Counselors are often part of the problem, because some of them have biases against some of these kids (like those whose parents had no college). We need motivators.

R: Understood and agreed. Part of the problem is that counselors are distracted by other tasks. Counseling is not a regulated function.

Q: Would it be better to invest in hi tech solutions using the web or whatever? There could be a competition for building the best system for this.

R: Yes, but some of this sort of thing will be daunting for an 18-year-old.

Q: The 10% rule has increased diversity at UT Austin . . . . what do you think will happen in the legislature this session?

R: I do not know what will happen this session. In 2007, a bill failed in the final vote. I do not think the bill in its present form (with a 47% cap) will pass this session. We will need to move the cap higher to pass. We need to ask people what it will take to change their minds? We need to talk to them about counseling, financial aid etc. Another idea is that we could require that a top 10% rule applies to either A&M or Austin but not both.

C: Many students decide how much education they will get when they are still in elementary school. We need to think of how to inspire kids much younger. R: how can we do this?

C: There are many ways, such as making the information less dry.

There followed an open discussion of how to motivate kids toward higher education, of how college professors do not work with pre-college kids, of how teaching to tests turns kids off.

R: Serious attention is being given to end the TAKS test as we know it.

C: Dual credit courses are taught at the community colleges and these lead students away from us.

R: Is it written in law that universities cannot do this? C: No, because we do some of it. R: This is a problem because community college people get sensitive when hearing talk about how students should be going to universities.

Q: What about these high schools that offer early college courses?

R: Generally, this is a good conception, but there are unintended consequences, such as a valedictorian taking these courses and then attending a community college after receiving an admission letter from one.

C: If we build more Tier 1 universities, they will be welcome.

R: agreed

C: Regarding closing the gaps . . . . this is a very good initiative from point of view of UT Pan American.

R: There are structural bureaucratic features that need to be fixed. An example is the policy of not letting students register if they owe even one dollar.

C: It is understood that places like UT Pan American are not in top seven (competing for Tier 1 status). Still, however, places like this need centers of excellence.

C: Bill 330 advocates faculty member of the Board of Regents. Paula Pearson from Arlington supports this bill.

R: I support it.

Q: What about the guns on campus bill?

R: I am against it, but there is a chance it will pass.

Q: There are many police at UT MD Anderson, but you can see more police in gallery of legislature where they actually frisk people. So, why not add an amendment to the guns-on-campus bill allowing handguns in the gallery?

C: There are many reasons to have stricter laws for the special population of young undergraduates (e.g., insurance rates are different for them than other groups).

R: If it looks like the bill could pass, you might try to add a provision that the university community must approve it (concealed weapons in classes).

C: We could also require that carriers must register with campus police

R: Good idea.

 

2:30 PM

Committee Meetings

3:30 PM

Murray Leaf read a brief statement of the Governance Committee’s view of the gun-on-campus bill, and polled the group to ask who would sign it. All but one member present indicated they would sign. Dr. Leaf noted that he will run the statement by Mr. McBee to determine if sending it would be problematic. Finally, Dr. Leaf stated that he will circulate a statement of belief regarding the law that was passed at UT Austin for consideration by the Faculty Senates at all UT System components.

3:45 PM

Campus Reports

The FAC heard reports from UTSW at Dallas, UTMB at Galveston, UTHSC at Houston, UTHSC at San Antonio, UT MD Anderson, UTHSC at Tyler,

UT Tyler, and UT San Antonio (no one from UT Permian Basin was present).

Friday, March 13, 2009

 

8:30 AM Breakfast and discussion of cost-cutting measures

There was discussion pertaining to the request from Executive Vice Chancellor Prior that we undertake to reduce our budget by 20%. After considerable deliberation, there was a motion to reduce our full meetings from four to three in 2010-2011, pending the outcome of an inquiry into cost-saving measures being undertaken by the Board of Regents. The motion was seconded and passed with 21 in favor, 3 opposed.

9:15 AM

 

Committee Meetings (cont’d)

10 AM Susan Franzen, Director, Leadership Institute

Ms. Franzen noted that she had spoken with us about the Leadership Institute in June, and that she would review what had been done, and what will be done in the future. The Leadership Institute was initially conceived in meetings of the FAC around 2003. The idea made it into the Strategic Plan, and is now underway.

The Institute focuses in three areas: (1) Leading yourself, (2) Leading others, and (3) leading within your institution.

It was launched in November and, at that time, the focus was on leading yourself. The participants created a behavioral profile listing their strengths and weaknesses as a leader. The program included virtual university case studies followed by discussion of how each participant’s style helped or hurt the situation. It also included the creation of an online learning community with wikis, blogs, etc., to share best practices and resources, among other things. It will be released by end of the month

Now the institute is moving toward more customized programs. There also are plans for a leadership conference every other year so that anyone who has participated in leadersip programs can attend.

Q: Each of our campuses charges a lot of money for videoconferencing. So how much will this cost?

R: We are moving away from vidoconferences because they can involve only one institution at a time. Instead, we have been looking into webcasting technology which costs only about $1800 per year . We also are looking at virtual worlds like second life (a virtual world with avators that give the impression of participating in a real meeting . . .These allow groups to do just about anything that they could do live. This might begin in the Spring of next year. The costs are minimal and the system requires only internet access in order to be used..

Mz. Franzen continued that the office has hired a training coordinator –Monica Townes -- who handles all logistics. She is an excellent contact for anyone wanting information about the A good contact.for anyone who wants to know about activities at the Institute.

In November, the Institute produced a leadership dimensions pilot program with 38 fellows that went for 2 ½ days. The Fellows rated the program as 95% effective. We are now developing a Spring pilot, and also engaging an interactive sharepoint site for best-practice sharing. There are ongoing discussions with institutions regarding on-site needs and goals for expanding leadership development.

Q: How were Fellows selected?

R: By Presidents or Provosts (most sent three Fellows). All of the Fellows were department chairs or higher administrators who had some leadership skills but were in need of others. In the future, we will produce customized campus-based programs upon request. These will blend of live and virtual delivery strategies.

Q: The FAC is thinking about wiki and other technologies for some of our meetings. Could we ride along on your technology?

R: Definitely. The new version of ShairPoint has WIKI. You can talk to Monica about this. the institute to do?

Q: Did every institute contribute to the pilot program?

R: yes.

Q: Why was not the process more transparent?

R: We left it up to Presidents and Provosts, who had only three weeks to make their recommendations.

C: The SharePoint program requires training . . .I still have difficulty after two training sessions

R: Monica is developing a training program

C: AT UT Southwestern, I signed up for training, but the earliest possibility is June.

R: This is a problem.

C: W need to talk to our Pesidents about this to get broader range of participants in the prorams.

C: The Speaker of the Faculty at UT Dallas heard nothing about it (the first pilot program). You should include in your letter to Presidents that they need to include faculty governance.

C: We also need to include junior faculty.

Q: Do you have a website?

R: Only an old one, but we are updating it and will let you know when we are done . . . . probably it will be in the next three to four weeks.

C: Leadership competence has been one of our greatest problems throughout the UT System so this is important. It is short sighted if institutions do not support leadership training.

R: They do (though the Governor wants to reduce travel expenses).

Q: Did the pilot program include anything on ethics and integrity?

R: It did have a component on ethics and we will continue this.

C: The numbers are small.

R: We are working on developing the program and then will expand it. We will also be training Fellows to be mentors themselves.

C: The FAC’s original focus was on new department chairs.

R: That is our focus too.

 

11 AM Stephen DePaul, JD, Director of Global Initiatives

Mr. DePaul began by noting that the concern of his office is much broader than student travel. Iinternationalization touches all aspects of a university’s activities. He distributed a handout and noted four goals:

 

  1. Building the infrastructure and getting resources for work abroad (p. 4).
  2. Adding value to faculty activities (p. 9)
  3. Enhancing the student global experience (p. 11)
  4. Working towards results (p. 18)

Some of the things they are doing include: (1) Good practices for exchange programs and operating overseas bases, and outcome assessment, (2) Identifying best models for things like hiring abroad, risk management, in-country counsel, health and safety, and risk management, (3) Improving communication, (4) Instructional innovations, (5) Searching for models for programs, and (6) Expanding student opportunities by getting cooperation between institutions. The office has a complete data base of study abroad programs throughout the UT System, and they are streamlining processes of students getting to the website that has this data base and getting in on programs sponsored at other institutions. They will be doing a health-side inventory. Finally, a Paul Simon Study Abroad Program might be passed and funded this year, and it should be a big help.

C: You may have to go to students to find some of these programs.

Q: What are you doing in the way of teaching students the language of the place they are going to?

R: We have not had a role in this (the individual campuses do this)

C: In some cases, the students already have the language skills they need (because the courses are taught in native language).

C: I believe only UT Austin has mandatory language requirement.

C: This could be a vehicle for language training.

R: In some programs language is irrelevant to program goals. However, most of the undergraduate programs have some language requirement or component. I am strong supporter of language study, but we need to support particular programs.

C: Your program could be a way to get support for real language learning in a country (instead of students learning language through boring course work).

Q: Do you have a counterpart to deal with programs within the this country?

R: It appears there is not, and perhaps we should work on this. The UT System does run a program to send students to D.C. called the Archer Fellows program.

Mr. DePaul then turned to the long term strategy (p. 18 of the handout). Under Chancellor Yudof, there were moves for campuses or the System to have a footprint overseas. But there is an attitude of caution as one program oversears was apparently closed down after three years with no degrees awarded.

C: chancellor Yudof made this possible by turning us into a System. The Regents need to hear about this.

 

12:00 PM

Patricia Somers, Vice President, Texas Conference of AAUP

Dr. Somers began by noting that her discipline is higher education and that she has serious interests in financial exigency. At her first job, the university went into exigency, and she has spent 15 years in New Orleans and followed the events post-Katrina. She circulated a handout on “Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” written by the AAUP. She then presented a brief history of the AAUP, which was started in 1915 when economics professors were getting fired for talking and writing about business. Their chief concerns are shared governance

And academic freedom and tenure

Dr. Somers then outlined what occurs in cases of complaints on termination. The general secretary receives the complaint and seeks a resolution. If that doesn’t work, the case goes to an investigating committee. The complainers deal directly with AAUP lawyers in Washington and this is kept apart from the in-state officers (The Chinese wall).

The results of the investigation go to a committee that then makes a recommendation.

Q: What about post-tenure review

R: We have a policy on post tenure review if it is mandated by the state. There is not much data yet, but it appears many who go through remediation take voluntary retirement within three years.

Q: Is there a procedure for determining financial exigency?

R: A faculty body should be involved in the determination. The faculty should develop the relevant criteria. Before termination, the university should make every effort to find a new suitable position for the faculty member. The faculty member has the right to a full hearing with the burden on administration to make the case for termination. In addition, the institution cannot create new positions while it is laying people off. The termination of tenured faculty in favor of untenred faculty should be done only in extraordinary circumstances.

Q: Isn’t tenure about academic freedom as opposed to being a license to be unproductive?

R: It is job protection against the perception of being unproductive. It appears that Regents’Rules no longer comply with AAUP regulations.

C: AT UTMB the President selected the committee.

Dr. Somers continued by stating that the AAUP operating guidelines for financial exigency include early, careful, and meaningful faculty involvement. The primary responsibility for recommending reductions in force is vested in the faculty. Also, before final determination, faculty have the right to be heard. Tenure rights are respected. There should be one year notice of layoff or severance.

Considerations relevant to a reduction in force include retention of key programs, and analysis of short term and long term viability of programs.

Two major issues in legal cases are: (a) was there a bona fide financial exigency? And (b) was there due process. Regarding the former, the institution has the burden or proof. The courts have used AAUP guidelines but have not set the bar as high as AAUP. Regarding due process, one must consider procedural due process and substantive due process. Procedural due process involves a written notice, and the opportunity to be heard. Substantive due process concerns the merits of the decision, whether it is arbitrary or capricious, and has a rational basis.

Other considerations concern whether tenure in the system? If yes, tenured or higher level faculty have bumping rights.

Dr. Somers then remarked on Katrina and financial exigency in Lousiana. . Tulane University is still under censor as is the University of New Orleans. The University of New Orleans used financial exigency to downsize, deleting faculty and then hiring new tenure/tenure-track faculty. At Loyola University, the censure was lifted. Xavier University fired all faculty and then the President hired some back.

Tulane university is especially relevant. They cut 200+ faculty even though they had adopted the 1940 AAUP statement on academic freedom and tenure in their handbook. They actually cut endowed faculty in the medical school and gave the positions to nontenured faculty (saying they had the approval of donors). There were censured and this probably will not be lifted for a while.

At the LSU Health Sciences Center, the dental school never reopened. They had in place a policy following the 1940 AAUP standards but claimed “force majeure” and were not censured. The medical school now conforms to the 1940 AAUP standards, and only 15 of the terminated faculty were not recalled. Further, they gave out some generous retrirement packages. It seems it was decided they made a good faith effort. One can see reports on all these cases at aaup.org.

Q: Does AAUP censure have impact?

R: Yes, as high-flyers might not move to a censured institution. All AAUP does is to recommend caution in accepting jobs at censured institutions. It might be possible that the AAUP would censure the UT System.

C: There is very strong evidence that Regents’ meeting regarding UTMB was illegal.

C: The FAC should consider a resolution that UT schools endorse in writing the

1940 AAUP guidelines as amended

C: It would be good to have data on what institutions across country have explicitly endorsed the AAUP guidelines.

1 PM

Campus Reports (cont’d) and Committee Reports

The FAC heard reports from UT El Paso, UT Pan American, UT Dallas, and UT Brownsville.

Faculty Quality Committee reported that they are working on a program for orientation of new faculty.

The Acadamic Affairs committee reported that they are trying to get summary statements on how individual campuses handle troublesome students. They also are concerned that academic departments seem to have lost control of the core curriculum, and is not clear that the faculty senate approves the core curriculum.

Health Affairs reported that Laura talked to them about the UT Select Benefits. They predict cost increases and, as of now, the legislature is not increasing the funds enough to cover these increases. The committee will review a list of cost-saving ideas that are being considered. The preliminary vision plan may decrease in its benefits. The System will start a health risk reduction plan in the fall and may set up a system for dietician counseling.

Health Affairs is also concerned with (a) the hiring freezes and how they are interpreted on different campuses, (b) increases in medical school debt, and (c) following up on the anti-smoking resolution. They have asked Francie Frederick about the budget cuts for Board of Regents meetings. She expressed surprise that the FAC is being asked to cut back

The Governance committee reported that it agrees that each campus should have a policy on financial exigency. The committee asks that all campuses send govenernance their policies (or tell them if have no policy). They are thinking about materials go get on a wiki or some other platform to inform regents about what faculty do. They will also ask the FAC membership send them information on teaching awards. Regarding the faculty regent bill, it is important to get the wording changed and see if the Chancellor agrees. Dr. El-Kikhia read a letter asking our input on this matter from Andrew Billingsly, who is the legislative director for Paul Pearson

2:17 PM

Adjournment and Executive committee meeting

 

 

 

 
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