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Travel for FAC

Academic Affairs

Advisory Council

Advisory Council




The University of Texas System Faculty Advisory Council
Ashbel Smith Hall, 200 West 7th Street, 2nd floor
Austin, TX   April 26-27, 2012

Members Present: Dan Formanowicz, Tom Ingram, Toni Sol, Alba Ortiz, Stanley Roux, Alan Friedman, Elizabeth Heise, Kevin Buckler, Murray Leaf, David Cordell, Carl Lieb, Larry Ellzey, Linda Matthews, Dora Saavedra, Derek Catsam, Todd Richardson, Carola Wenk, Amy Jasperson, Scott Marzilli, Shelly Marmion, Lori Millner, Sharon Croisant, Carolyn Utsey, Richard Castriotta, Donald Molony, Raj Tekmal, Babatunde Oyajobi, Ed Jackson, Carol Etzel, Tim Allen, David Griffith, Amy Tvinnereim


Thursday, April 26 – ASH 208

Introductions and Review of February BOR Meeting Approval of minutes of meetings on September 2011 and January 2012

Discussion of how we wish to minute the meetings. We will review the comments and revisit minutes tomorrow.

MyEdu Presentation with Deepak Surana

There was a demo of the new beta version of Myedu.com. With feedback from students and faculty the system was redesigned to provide course specific information for scheduling purposes.

There are sliders that students can use to set their learning preferences. They can use the feedback about the courses to find a match with their individual learning style.  There also is information from the professor regarding the course expectations.

Faculty can make comments about the course in addition to the course description from the catalog.

Students can leave recommendations for individual faculty members. The faculty member can choose to accept or reject recommendations.  Faculty can opt out of recommendations or auto-accept all recommendations.

An additional slider might be a question of “How much did you learn in this course?”  It might be useful to add value judgment questions about reading assignments, etc.

There is a schedule planner for students to use to optimize for their learning styles.

The feedback can be used during the semester to help faculty adjust coursework, etc.

The marketing of Myedu.com includes choose the easiest professor has gone out to students on one campus.  The new version is centered on objective learning and the marketing will follow.

A goal is to help students find courses that fit their learning styles.

A template for what defines a moderate amount of reading, etc will help the feedback align.
Please contact Deepak Surana directly with feedback or to volunteer to participate in the beta testing.
Report on Student Evaluation of Faculty Teaching Taskforce – Wanda Mercer, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Samantha Dallefeld, Chair Student Advisory Council; Deepak Surana, MyEdu

The taskforce has 2 general charges.
            1) Develop a set of standardized questions that can be used system-wide.
            2) Develop a system of continuous feedback between students and faculty.

The focus is on evaluating learning.

University of Southern California does paper evaluations in class. They have ~80% response rate.  Detailed reports are returned to faculty within 4 weeks.

University of Maryland has online evaluations.  They use 15 standard institution questions. The incentive for the students is that students can see the results of the evaluations for courses that have greater than 70% response rate.  The overall response rate is ~65%. The comments and objective questions are separated.

One of the advantages of Myedu.com is that it provides a tool for students to provide feedback throughout the semester. This should help faculty align student workload with expectations.

A goal is to have the online evaluations completed with a high response rate for evaluations.  One suggestion is that grades be withheld by the institution for 3 weeks for those who do not complete the evaluations.  There are challenges for registrars that will need to be addressed.  As the culture of evaluation spreads then this becomes seen less as a punitive item instead it is seen as an opportunity. Framing this a positive rather than as a punishment is important for quality evaluations.

The list of common questions that can be used at all 15 campuses.  The task force identified the most common questions.  The draft version of the questions are:

The instructor encouraged me to take an active role in my own learning.
The instructor communicated information effectively.
The instructor was available outside of class either electronically or in person.
The instructor was well prepared to teach during each instructional period.
The instructor clearly defined and explained the course objective and expectations.

Some of the questions may need to be modified for the health campuses.

The question about the overall rating was left out because it does not give feedback about the reason for the rating.

Update on UT Brownsville
The faculty RIF has started. Overall the process went well and we are progressing with the changes in Brownsville.  RIFed faculty are being offered $15K (if tenured) or $5K  (if not tenured) for signing a voluntary separation.

Discussion on the Coordinating Board and raising number of graduates required for graduate program closure.

Two committees are working on defining low performing programs – undergraduate and graduate.

The committees met and decided to put off any changes until 2017. In the mean time they will study the impact of these proposed changes.

SysFAC needs to keep an eye on this issue. We might need to take a look at the local policies on Program Abandonment. Additionally the need of the community needs to be considered in program abandonment, including service courses.

Regent Alex Cranberg, Board of Regents

Regent Cranberg graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering from UT Austin. Subsequently earned an MBA from Stanford.  Founded Aspect Energy. Very interested in approaching problems from many different angles.

UT System is a dynamic leader in education. Affordability of college is a concern. Innovation is important in higher education. Innovation has to come from within each department throughout the system.

Prefers data driven decision making, thus requests a lot of data to be able to understand the decisions that are needed.

Q – What do you think the BOR can do to foster outside the box ideas?
A – Ideas need to come from the campus’. The taskforces have produced some ideas.  The $50 million for the Institution for Transformational Learning should create new ideas from faculty. An example of these types of innovation is the open coursework that MIT and Stanford. Is that something that UT should be exploring?

Q – What do you think of liberal arts within the UT System
A – All programs are important. Every field of study has its place in society.

Q – A reference point for UT is the University of California. UC has 8 tier-one research universities. UT has one. Texas needs more research university campus’. What do you think might be done.
A – The emerging research universities are moving forward. We should leverage more off of the health campus’. Funding for research has changed.  We need to be inventive and resourceful in our attempts to gain funding. We need to find unexpected groups who are interested in results and impact of research.

Q – UC has Vice-Chancellors for international studies on each campus. Perhaps UT can have centers for international studies. 
A – That is something we should explore. It is important to find ways to pay faculty more. How do we do this within our funding system?  The key is innovation. We have to do research that has greater impact. We need to reach out to more students.

Q – This body has suggested a Faculty Regent in the past.
A – I support this idea, because I served on a board that had a faculty representative on a board I served on in the past.

Q – In the case of humanities and social sciences, these fields have historically not had a lot of monetary support. Where does this leave these fields.
A – These fields have a lot of room to gain thus it is an opportunity. The gap between impact and funding. Donors need to be educated about the opportunities in humanities research.

Committee Meetings

Election of New Officers

Amy Jasperson nominated Ed Jackson for Incoming Chair. Seconded by Elizabeth Heise.  Ed accepted the nomination.

Donald Molony nominated Richard Castriotta for Incoming Chair. Seconded by Raj Tekmal. Richard accepted the nomination.

Larry moved to close nominations.

Ed Jackson was elected incoming chair.


Friday, April 27 – ASH 208

Members Present: Dan Formanowicz, Tom Ingram, Toni Sol, Martha Hilley, Alan Friedman, Elizabeth Heise, Kevin Buckler, Murray Leaf, David Cordell, Carl Lieb, Larry Ellzey, Linda Matthews, Dora Saavedra, Derek Catsam, Todd Richardson, Carola Wenk, Amy Jasperson, Scott Marzilli, Shelly Marmion, Amer Shakil, Lori Millner, Carolyn Utsey, Richard Castriotta, Donald Molony, Raj Tekmal, Babatunde Oyajobi, Ed Jackson, Carol Etzel, Tim Allen, David Griffith, Amy Tvinnereim

Review and Approval of the Minutes
Murray Leaf moved to approve the Sept and Jan min as amended. Ed Jackson seconded. Donald Molony called the vote. Motion passed.

Committee Meetings

Committee Reports
Governance Committee

Resolution 1 ----
The UT FAC wishes to express its appreciation for the way in which The University of Texas has confronted the problems arising from the separation of Texas Southmost College from UT-Brownsville.  We understand that such a problem is novel and believe that the assistance of the Chancellor and UT System served to avert potential abuses in the process.

In the view of the UT FAC, the positive resolution of the recent events at UT Brownsville reaffirms the value of faculty participation in review of program and tenure faculty positions recommended for elimination.  These events have reinforced our prior commitment to the recommendation from UT FAC that Section 2.1 of Regents’ Rule 31003 be modified to include the wording of Section 3.1 in terms of the constitution of the committee appointed to review program and tenure faculty positions recommended for elimination.

Motion of committee, seconded Donald Molony. Motion passed unanimously.

Resolution 2 ---
The UT FAC resolves that the name of the UT Faculty Advisory Council be changed to the UT System Faculty Senate.

Motion from the committee; seconded Amy Jasperson. Motion passed unanimously.

Nominations for Governance Committee co-chair positions:
Tom Ingram (UT-Arlington) and Todd Richardson (UT-Permian Basin)
Unanimously approved by Governance Committee.

Health Affairs

Given that each of the UT System Academic Health Science Centers is actively seeking to develop alternative models of care for our underserved population, the FAC Health Affairs Committee suggests that the Academic Health Science Centers work together to plan uniform, consistent mechanisms of implementation and community health needs assessment, develop metrics for comparative effectiveness, derive both process and summative evaluation practices, and eventually, develop best practices that will serve the people of Texas, and potentially provide a model for our students and the nation in transformation of provision of care.  Furthermore, in so doing, we will develop programs that are comparable across the System and document not only the health effectiveness of a preventive model of managed care but also demonstrate the cost effectiveness of such measures.  Collaborative, cross-institutional initiatives will be especially important in the coming years since many of the institutions are in the process of applying for 1115 Medicaid waivers.

The Health Affairs Committee recommends that the Academic Health Science Centers establish a central, collaborative core to foster development of best practices for delivery of quality care for underserved populations.  We assert that by instituting partnerships with local and regional social service agencies to establish community-based clinics, it will be possible to develop models of care for indigent patients while also creating venues that will serve as training grounds for our medical, nursing, and health professions students. Doing so will address access to health care for all patients, will offer learning opportunities for our students with culturally diverse populations, will enable our faculty to model for our students ethical and professional behaviors, and will increase community health, safety, and resilience.

Donald Molony was elected chair of the committee.

Academic Affairs and Faculty Development

The Chancellor has formed a committee to look at improvement of instruction and faculty development. It is unclear what the resources will be allotted to this. The report is due in June. The committee is exploring models of peer observation of instruction on our campus’.

Derek Catsam has agreed to be serve as co-chair for next year.

Discussion on issues of conflicts of commitment

A committee has been formed to develop a conflict of commitment policy that defines what a conflict of commitment and provides a safe harbor that encourages participation in activities that are the norm for faculty. The time commitment is assumed to be a normal workweek.

A Regents Rule is being developed along with a template for local policy.

The Chancellor is coming to talk with us about this work.

Conflict of interest applies to financial conflict in research; conflict of commitment applies to time; and the standard of conduct standards of behavior.

The changes to the policy, rule and template will be reviewed by FAC.

There is concern regarding definition of the time commitment for faculty.

Discussion and voting on template for post-tenure review

There was discussion on specific language within the template.
Murray Leaf motioned to approve the template as amended. Corola Wenk seconded. Passed unanimously.

Discussion of HOP Amendment Approvals and other topics
Pedro Reyes, Executive Vice Chancellor, ad interim
              Dan Sharphorn, Assoc. Vice Chancellor and Deputy General Counsel

Tuition hearing was postponed.

UTB will have a vertual separation from TSC in Fall 2013. UT System will try to find employment at other campus’ for the faculty and staff that are RIFed.

UTEP had scheduled a boxing match on campus.

System is looking at the role and responsiblities of chairpersons.  There is a broad range of roles and responsiblites of chairs throughout the system.  A report will be brought to FAC this summer. Adding represention from FAC is a welcome idea.

How do we shorten time to completion for graduate students? How do we improve graduate student advising?  The graduate deans are working on these.  How do we connect students to jobs?

Student success at undergraduate level is being worked on by the enrollment management persons throughout system. We are looking at part-time and transfer students.

The South Texas initiative is moving forward. It is focused on STEM fields and Biomedicine.  The UTeach program has being implimented in the valley.

HOP committee is a policy recommending committee.
Q - The implimentation of the template has not been following the intent of the policy. UT Dallas has a new draft HOP committee policy that will go to OGC soon.

Many campus’ are  having difficutly with the implimentation of the policy. This was discussed at length.

Discussion of Conflict of Commitment
Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa
Patricia Hurn, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Pedro Reyes and Dan Sharphorn

The Conflict of Interest policy was worked on last year.  Now we need to look at Conflict of Commitment. A blue ribbon committee was put together with representatives from FAC.  Conflict of Commitment is really more about time than money.

We want to make sure that the faculty have a safe harbor of activities that are encouraged. Also that the faculty understand the procedures for approval.  There will be annual disclosure of activities with both retrospective disclosure and expected activities.

Discussion on Standard of Conduct

The changes to this policy emphasize the positive value of outside work.

Reporting has been changed from paper to electronic reports.


2:00 – 3:00 pm            FAC Executive Committee Meeting

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