Committee and Campus Reports
I: Committee Reports
Report of GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE:
1) Policies regarding financial exigency. We discussed modifying Regents Rules 3100x and could not agree on what might be necessary, if anything. We do agree that each campus should have a policy. FAC should consider reviewing and approving all such policies. Leading to this possibility, the committee asks that the all campuses send a copy of their campuses exigency policy to our committee by May 1 to Murray Leaf at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there is no such policy please tell us. We will review and make recommendation regarding what policies to recommend and, possibly, what kind of approval process would be appropriate for the May 12/13 meeting.
2) Contribution to problem of better informing regents and legislators about what faculty do, and what university work involves.
3) Faculty Regent Legislation. We did not see that there were any arguments we could devise at this point in the process could be useful. It is important to get the wording changed, and be sure the Chancellor and Regents are in support, insofar as such support can be articulated. If the changes are made and the support is established, the subcommittee is ready to respond to any needs for help that we can provide. Representative Pierson has asked from someone who might testify regarding the contribution such a regent might make. Governance committee will agree, by email, on a list of topics that such testimony could cover. Such topics might be: what is involved in preparing a course, what is involved in applying for a research grant, what is involved in meeting requirements of a research grant, what is involved in hiring a faculty member, how much time is involved in teaching apart from the formal contact hours, how faculty are reviewed, how programs are evaluated, and what is involved in gaining and maintaining accreditation.
Report of FACULTY QUALITY COMMITTEE
We discussed the following:
Homework questions will be sent
II. Campus Reports
The big news is – and it goes without saying in Texas – the hiring of Larry Coker as the inaugural coach for the Rowdy Roadrunners football program at UTSA, slated to begin competition Fall, 2011. Games will be played 20 miles from campus at the Alamodome.
The students’ University Center continues to expand services for students – after incorporating an on-campus bank and computer store – will now add a mail services company and laundry/dry cleaners.
We expect to host a visit from Chancellor Cigarroa and a yet-to-be-named regent or regents next week.
The new Engineering II building, supporting additional classroom/lab space is due to come on line Fall of this year.
The PREP (Pre-freshman engineering) program celebrated its 30 th anniversary with an awards banquet and gala recognizing successful PREP alumni.
The revisions to the HOP are proceeding, slowly, but are nearly finished.
UT System $500K grant to develop an ID PhD biomedical degree, focusing on biosensors and regenerative medicine.
CB approval of Masters in Advanced Manufacturing and Enterprise Engineering. Several new academic programs have received campus approval – including a BA in Modern Language Studies, an MS in Urban Regional Planning, and a PhD in Sociology.
The displacement of the Environmental Sciences program and faculty is still unresolved. However, at the next FS meeting the Dean of Sciences, who oversaw the dissolution of the department, will be asked to respond to this and other issues.
New aberration correcting transmission electron microscope – $1.2 M – donated by Kleberg Foundation, to be overseen by the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory.
Marcheta Evans, Associate Professor in the COEHD, was named President of the American Counseling Association.
Great Conversations raised $234,000 for scholarships and the Ricardo Romo Endowed Professorship.
UTSA will be moving to the FAIR system for faculty reporting (annual reports, CVs, workload reports, etc.).
University of Texas at Arlington
Things are going well. We received our first natural gas check to be used in long term investment projects. The Board of Regents approved $73 million for a special events center for our basketball team, concerts, and graduation. We have started a major program for sustainability.
UTA has completed a study on improving first year success of freshmen. Recommendations were taken from best practices at other Universities and include a first semester seminar, more advisors, reducing the number of at risk students entering in the Fall etc.
Faculty Senate is revising the HOP on Faculty review of administrators.
1. Current enrollment has just passed 15,000. We have about 9,200 undergraduates, of which 2,500 are “part-time.” We have about 5,200 graduate students, of which 2,885 are part time. We had projected enrollment increases of 5% a year; they are actually about 3%. We have 396 tenure-track and tenured faculty. Detailed information is available on the website of our office of strategic planning and analysis: http://www.utdallas.edu/ospa/
2. We have three major building projects on campus: A Math, Science, and Engineering Teaching-Learning Center, an Arts and Technology Building, and a new food service facility to serve new housing units. The latter involves something like what used to be called a dormitory, but will actually be a living-learning community geared toward freshmen, with living areas organized around specific curricular topics. The food service facility will include a faculty-staff dining facility and club space. In addition, the entry to the campus is being rebuilt in the campus beautification project that has been reported previously. There are also a number of ancillary projects, such replacing and repairing utilities tunnels and demolishing our former animal care facility. There are also two major renovations: one of the original Founders science building and another expanding our Center for Brain Health. The place is a mess, and a website has been set up to keep the campus community abreast of the continuing changes in access and available parking. The best web overview is at http://www.utdallas.edu/news/2008/10/20-001.php.
3. With regard to policy, our main focus at the moment is campus safety and security. As at all Texas universities, security at UTD is assigned by law to the Vice President for Business Affairs and student discipline is assigned to the Dean of Students. Faculty governance has no assigned. The resulting situation was not satisfactory. About six years ago the Senate took the initiative to make some important changes to the procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty. In the fall of 2007, we added sections dealing with referrals for disruptive and menacing behavior. Among other things, these amendments provided for immediate feedback on all actions—both for dishonesty and for inappropriate behavior—to both the faculty making the complaint and the concerned Associate Dean. The aim was to be sure that we had this information in making decisions such as assigning Teaching Assistantships. As it happened, the amendments came to floor the day after the shootings at Virginia Tech. This removed any possible argument to the effect that the worries behind them were too far fetched. It took almost a year to get approval from our system Office of General Council, but with a little prodding we finally got it last October. The changes then went into effect. This, too, however, has turned out to be not enough.
About a month ago, we had an incident on campus in which a male student set out one evening to find a female student to murder, it seems. He very nearly succeeded. He attacked a young woman in a copy-machine room in our engineering school, grabbing her behind and only missed cutting her throat by about an inch and a half. This has prompted a review of all of our safety and security policies by our Safety and Security Council. Their problem is not only to make sure that good policies are in place. It is also to assure that the campus community knows about them and has the information required to implement them. This will include consideration of ongoing educational efforts, printed material, signage, and public information programs. It will also almost certainly include policies regarding the obligation to provide affirmative warnings. For example, although faculty taking students on field trips must apply for clearance and provide the names of the students who are going, there is no obligation on the part of the dean of students to warn the faculty member if any of these students have a history of violence or other problems that might require special attention or action. We also have no policy on the kind of warning the Counseling Center might have to provide regarding their clients. The present rule is that the student pose an “immanent danger” to themselves or others, and it is left to the Counseling Center to decide what this means. Their track record does not appear to be good enough to assure campus safety.
4. In a related vein, several faculty have now asked for more faculty involvement in the judgments made by the Dean of Students regarding the referrals for academic dishonesty. The suggestion was forwarded to our Senate Committee on Academic Integrity, and they have passed a resolution to the same effect. This is also a concern in the Office of General Council at the U T System level. We will work on it.
5. Robert Nelson, former chair of the FAC and now moved to A & M Corpus Christi, has been replaced as Associate Provost at UTD with four people. This is not as odd as it sounds. They all still also hold faculty appointments of 50% and are on that account still subject to the usual peer review process, so they are literally scholar-administrators. They are very well thought of by the rest of the faculty, and we all consider this an interesting and promising experiment in a new type of faculty-administration integration.
6. On December 4, 2008, the Academic Senate passed a resolution on firearms parallel to the FAC resolution. In response the student newspaper ran a pro-concealed carry opinion piece in the student paper. The editor invited a faculty response, and I was delegated the job. This ran on January 26, 2008, under the lead “Concealed handguns would harm campuses.” http://media.www.utdmercury.com/media/storage/paper691/news/2009/01/26/Opinion/Concealed.Handguns.Would.Harm.Campuses-3596521.shtml Responses were mainly NRA pro-gun hyperbole and the sort of thing one might hear if one listened to Rush Limbaugh, although the editor has subsequently advised me by email that they surveyed the students directly and the responses were 2.5 to 1 opposed to concealed carry on campus. Still scary, in my opinion.
7. Finally, our President has met with both the Staff Council and the Senate to discuss how we might react to financial stringencies if they develop, and to encourage very careful spending now He is determined that we will respond together. We appreciate this.
All in all, things seem to be going fairly well.
The University of Texas at Tyler
All three engineering programs, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical, were informed by their ABET accreditation team that an NGR (Next General Review) would be recommended for each of the programs.
The University Center expansion (44,000+ ft 2) was opened on the first day of classes of the spring semester. The new facility, which was dedicated on March 5 th, includes expanded dining and meeting facilities, as well as office space for student services. The old UC was immediately closed for extensive renovations, which will include the addition of a 300+ seat auditorium/theater. The renovations are expected to take 14 -18 months and once completed the University Center will have over 100,000 square feet of student oriented space.
We are currently searching for a new Dean of Business and Technology, and hope to have that search completed, and a new dean on site, before the middle of the summer.
The revision of the University’s Strategic Plan is ongoing, and has had significant faculty input.
Budget concerns have dominated the discussions around campus, including having to deal with a significant shortfall for the current fiscal year. While enrollments have been very slightly up, the budget was based on a 4-5% increase, which has not materialized. Initially, all travel, including grant funded travel, was curtailed, and no new computers will be purchased this year. Also, many of the ongoing faculty searches were initially suspended, although searches for replacement faculty positions are currently being allowed to go forward. The ban on grant funded travel has been lifted, but must be authorized by the Associate VP for Research prior to approval by the Provost. Course fee accounts have been raided along with funds held in indirect cost recovery accounts, in an effort to deal with the immediate shortfall if necessary. IDC accounts will be at least partially refunded if we are able to fund the shortfall through other means. As a positive note, the enrollment office has taken a proactive step and now has a presence on the local junior college campus 4-5 days each week to answer questions about UT Tyler and facilitate transfers.
There are still problems with mid-level administrators appointing faculty to ad hoc and newly formed standing committees without any notification to the Senate. While it is difficult to rein in those mid-level administrators, the upper administration is somewhat sympathetic to the significant service load maintained by many of the faculty. They have agreed with the concept of developing a faculty committee wiki that would cross link faculty members with all of their committee service (University, College and Department level) Finalization of the wiki is an ongoing effort, but the administration is willing to provide support to help establish and maintain the wiki.
The review and oversight of the complete HOP is ongoing and a committee which includes several faculty has been working on the revision. A Senate resolution to substitute the last Tenure and Promotion policy developed by faculty committee and approved by the Senate (prior to editing by the Council of Academic Deans) into the current version of the HOP was unanimously approved. The request was made to the Provost and President, and included reference to the Regent’s Rules regarding Faculty Self Governance. We have received a response from the administration in private sessions, that indicates a willingness to compromise, but an unwillingness to completely disenfranchise the Deans or past Provost. A small committee of the Senate President and President-elect, two Deans, and the Provost will attempt to work out a compromise early next week, so that the revised document can be sent to OGC and become the policy for fall 2009. The new HOP Format will encourage and allow regular review and revision (as necessary) of sections without having to review the entire document. A standing HOP committee, which will include several faculty members, will review various sections of the HOP each semester.
An effort is ongoing to create an endowment for the explicit use of the Faculty Senate; specifically for faculty development. The intent is to give the Senate, access and control over a funding stream to enhance the concept of “the Academy” on the UT Tyler campus. Several current and retired faculty members have already contributed to an initial fund which is close to the minimum for a named endowment. In addition, an ad hoc committee of the Senate is working with the Development office to provide the information necessary to attract outside donors, and to include the Faculty Endowment in the current major development campaign.
Efforts to prepare for SACS reaffirmation are ongoing, with a major effort to refine the proposed QEP. All indications are that UT Tyler is on track to create a draft self study over the summer, and to submit the final self study document in the fall for a SACS site visit during spring 2010.
The Honors program is beginning to take shape and has begun to recruit high ability students from around the world. Our first accepted applicant is a Mechanical Engineering major from Chile. There have been a few “top down” decisions made with regards to the new program, but those have been attributed to “rooky mistakes” and are soon to be addressed, so as to include significant faculty involvement.
University of Texas at El Paso Campus Report
Following the December FAC meeting, efforts began to evaluate the University’s policy on financial exigency. The current policy is over twenty years old, but fairly well elaborated. Both the President and Provost were supportive of a review. A committee of three faculty members and three administrators has been appointed to work through the UTEP policy, the relevant Regents’ Rules, the FAC recommendations, and the model policy from the AAUP. Feedback has been solicited from the Senate and the faculty at large. One of the issues most frequently raised has to do with the role that tenure should play in financial exigency decisions. The chair of the review committee has requested information about issues that may have arisen at other institutions where similar reviews are underway.
The core curriculum has been a focus of late. UTEP has a relatively restrictive core compared to other UT institutions, and there has been debate about whether to expand the core, in part to permit departments to include prerequisites and major courses in the core in an effort not to exceed 120-hour degree plans. There are concerns about transferability and appropriate advising, as well as the identity and purpose of the core. Our most recent test case was the successful insertion of Engineering Economics, a course that will be taught in the College of Engineering and is required for ABET accreditation, in the core as a social sciences course. As we deal with the issue of defining the core, we are simultaneously attempting to assess it, for our own institutional evaluation purposes, as well as to comply with directives from the Coordinating Board and SACS. The Senate has appointed a faculty committee to work on the problem. The committee is considering a mixed-method approach, using a combination of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and content analysis of syllabi. The head of the Council for Aid to Education, Roger Benjamin, visited UTEP recently and the committee is working with him on a proposal to fund evaluation efforts. There is interest from the Provost’s Office in assessing the core not only as delivered at UTEP, but also as delivered at the local community college and at the new early college high schools in El Paso.
The Senate’s Teaching Effectiveness and Development Committee is working on recommendations regarding implementation of the recent directive from the System on syllabus posting and evaluation of all courses. Concerns have been raised about whether it is feasible to post a full syllabus for each course online five months before courses start, when class size is unknown and it is uncertain which graduate student or part-time instructors will be teaching some courses. Efforts are underway to provide as much information as is available, with the appropriate disclaimers regarding its tentative nature. On the issue of course evaluation, tradition has been to have students evaluate only courses with five students or more. There is concern that in smaller classes (e.g. “Dissertation” sections with only one student each) it will be difficult to maintain the anonymity of students in the evaluation process. The Chancellor will be visiting UTEP on March 26-27, and we will have an opportunity to update him on our progress on these issues.
Faculty Senate Report for UT Southwestern Medical Center of Dallas
Dr. Susan Cox, Associate Dean of Medical Education, revealed to us the Quality Enhancement Plan, that was submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), an accrediting body for Southern colleges. The springboard to the completed compliance report was completed the Faculty Senate’s recommendations in a report submitted by Dr. Frederick Grinnell, Past President of Faculty Senate 2006 ‐ 2007. After doing systematic interviews with Deans of education, student affairs, post ‐ doctoral fellows, medical students, graduate students, etc., Faculty Senate submitted the study project in spring 2007 to “transform learning at UT Southwestern” These guidelines and comments helped Dr. Cox and the 30 member QEP Subcommittee to create the QEP proposal.
After meeting with many standing and institutional committees and the Deans of the three schools, the QEP Subcommittee came up with a theme called Convergence. Convergence involves students from the three schools and from multiple professions, interactively learning together in a protected and nurturing community to improve interprofessional communication, collaboration and health/well ‐being. Educational Convergence has two missions at the medical center: patient care and biomedical science. Convergence is also a campus ‐wide
interprofessional event called Learning Community Days. Each school will have its own learning community, linking our strengths in patient care and research with our educational mission:
1. Southwestern School of Health Professions (SSHP): Interprofessional Development,
2. Graduate School: Science of Medicine Interest Groups (SMIGS)
3. Medical School: Academic Colleges (6)
For our Medical School, we will have six colleges. For MS1, each of 240 incoming students each fall which are divided into 40 small groups of 6, each group is assigned to a college and to a mentor. The students meet on a weekly basis to learn how to do a history, a physical, how to interact professionally, and how to understand human behavior (psychiatry). The students in different levels can now work together as a team.
The outcomes of Convergence are to enhance the students’ knowledge and understanding of common diseases and the communication skills of their knowledge to peers, professionals, patients and the public. The students will be judged at Learning Community Days, when they communicate with patients in hospitals and with other members.
The Medical School Colleges are already being put into place. We will start implementing the Convergence leadership team and faculty directors for SMIGs and IDEAL in 2009 with baseline studies and will add more certificate program workshops over a five year span. There will be an annual assessment of Convergence. Outcomes will be evaluated. The focus will be on increasing scientific knowledge and interacting.
In addition, plans have begun to create a new degree program in the medical school: MD, with Distinction in International Health to recognize those students who distinguish themselves in the conduct of meaningful activities in international health during the course of their medical school training.
Progress of the Practice Plan: The practice plan for UTSW clinical faculty has been signed and sent to Austin.
Going Green- We are continuing looking into ways the UTSW campus can cost-effectively increase the green activities on campus. A page on the faculty senate web page has been created for students from the 3 schools and post-doctoral students interested in recycling efforts on campus.
Streamlining Compliance-A large portion of faculty member’s time is required for training and paperwork required to stay in compliance with all the various regulatory requirements associated with many different aspects of a work day. So much so, that people have a tendency to ignore them. Non-compliance then becomes an issue of accreditation for the entire school. Deiter Lehnortt, Assistant Vice President and Compliance Officer for UT Southwestern, and Ms. Jacqueline (Jackie) Mutz, Director, in the Office of Compliance gave a presentation to the senate on what they are responsible for and how they are going about streamlining compliance issues. They are working to provide refresher courses instead of full-blown courses whenever possible for maintaining compliance status. They are trying to deliver a new Enterprise Learning System to the campus in 2010/2011 to set up as much web-based training instead of classroom training whenever possible. They are also working with Children’s Medical Center, Parkland Memorial Hospital, St. Paul and Zale Lipshy Hospitals and the Veteran’s Hospital to create a “one size fits all” training system that allows people to take one class to satisfy IRB training for all of the hospitals instead of the 4-5 different classes that need to be performed to work with all the hospitals as it is now.
In addition, a letter with suggestion for streamlining compliance in animal research was sent to Suzanne Rivera, VP of Research Services. Dr. Rivera responded that the animal research center and the institutional advisory committee on care and use of animals are now meeting regularly to allow for better communication between the two groups. Also, a new web based system for protocol application forms and animal ordering is being designed. Dr. Rivera said that her office is currently looking
into overly complicated procedures for animal transfers and for notification of building managers about PI contact information. Information Resources is currently getting rid of computer lock ‐ups and time ‐out problems on the existing system.
Steven Leach, MD became our new Chief Medical Officer Jan. 1, 2009. Dr. Leach earned his MD from the University of Chicago. He completed his internship and residency at UT Southwestern Medical Center and he has been here, on staff, since 1996.
Cost Cutting Measures: The Dean of UTSW called on the faculty senate to survey the faculty for cost cutting measures that could help stem the effects of the downturn in the economy on the economic health of the university. We got quite a few suggestions from the faculty. Those suggestions were organized under subheadings to make the information more manageable and sent to the Dean at two different time points, an early set and a later set, in order to get the information to the administration in a timely manner.
The suggested cost cutting measures included:
Better employee utilization
UT MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER
Following UT System directives, we have begun to implement a hiring freeze, with specific policy details still unfolding. Encouragement is given to rehire from within MDA for newly-vacated positions or for new positions. If funded from extra-mural sources (e.g., Federal funds), hiring is allowed to fill new positions, although the Provost must sign off on this; however, one exception is that if positions are funded from royalties, which can be counted as “cash-on-hand”, these hires are also frozen. If written offer letters have not been issued, these searches are on hold. Trainees will likely fall outside of this freeze, although exactly how is still to be decided.
30 DAY LEAVE POLICY
We are now enforcing the previously-existing cap on extramural leave at 30 days, at this point, with no exceptions, although that may yet see some discretionary enforcement by the Provost. The only a priori exceptions are linked to participation in Global Academic Programs. This new emphasis on enforcement is in part driven by a need to keep personnel present at the Institution, both for patient care functions and to better exploit certain new funding initiatives.
The national and global economic conditions have negatively affected several aspects of the financial picture at MD Anderson; ~25% drop in philanthropy, non-operating/investment income has crashed, and shifting in the patient payer mix away from commercial and toward more indigent and bad debt cases. Our cash-on-hand is in the 7/8 day range, putting us at risk of being on the UT System “watch list”, as well as possibly affecting our bond rating. Our Clinical Affairs Committee developed a written response to a “State of the Institution” memo issued by the President and Executive Vice-Presidents. The report focused on point-by-point issues, such as “implementing ways to increase the number of new patients” and “ways that we could decrease the patient waiting time”. These responses are constrained in numerous ways, including the realities of hospital bed occupancy rates that are routinely exceeding 100%, particularly at mid-week, and the context of the original memo from Administration that disallowed considerations of improvements to our IT systems.
COST SHARING: EXPANDED POLICY
At the January Senate Meeting, our guests were Ted Gilbert, the Associate VP, Research Finance and Melinda Cotten, the Executive Director, Sponsored Programs. We discussed a new work flow for extramural grant submissions, concerning the issue of Institutional cost-sharing. The key points were the following:
Principles and Issues