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Resolution on the Core Curriculum

To the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs; Legislature; THECB

The Faculty Advisory Council of the University of Texas System supports the principles of academic freedom and local control with regard to the implementation and approval processes for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Core Curriculum. All course approval processes should happen with the teaching faculty of each campus having the maximum control over their courses and syllabi.

Approved April 26, 2013

Resolution on the Department Chair Policy

To the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, the Executive Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs, and the Vice Chancellor and General Council.

The Faculty Advisory Council of the University of Texas System supports the following guidelines for a UT System rule or policy

All UT System campuses, including the Health Science campuses, require local policies for implementation, which will be in the HOP (and hence will require review by the formal governance organizations), and should cover department chairs, vice-chairs, and directors of large divisions (more than 10 fulltime faculty) within departments.

Local policies should provide for the following:

1. Substantial faculty involvement from the specific departmental faculty in chair hiring processes such as specifying the size and composition of the search committee, the desired qualifications of candidates, and the number to be interviewed, brought to campus, and sent forward for final consideration.

2. The Chair’s role in the annual review process.

3. The Chair’s role in Periodic Performance Evaluations.

4. Regular meetings with the faculty of the department.

5. The establishment of the role of the chair within the structures of departmental governance. For the Health Science Centers, chair responsibilities shall include management/oversight/organization of the clinical activities for which that department/division is responsible.

6. The length of the term of office and the extent to which it is renewable.

7. The appointment of interim or acting chairs shall be made with significant departmental faculty input and reappointment of interim chairs should not occur save for exceptional circumstances.

8. The procedure for annual evaluation of chairs, which shall include significant faculty input. A summary of the results of the evaluation and the intended actions resulting from this evaluation must be made available in a timely fashion to the departmental faculty after review by the Dean, Provost or their equivalent, and President.

The policy should not be a roundabout way to obtain FAC endorsement for weakening existing UT System campus policies if the local faculty do not want to make such changes.

Approved April 26, 2013

Resolution on peer observation of teaching

To the Chancellor, the Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

The goal of peer observation of teaching should be the enhancement of teaching, therefore any system-wide peer observation policy should have the purpose of improving teaching rather than providing evaluation. This should not preclude individual institutions from establishing additional policies for a separate process of peer observation for the purpose of evaluation, but any such policy should be developed at the local level.

Approved April 26, 2013

Resolution on bridge funding and start-up funding.

To the Executive Vice Chancellors for Health Affairs and Academic Affairs: 

Whereas: the threshold for funding individual Federal grants or contracts including but not limited to National Science Foundation (NSF)/ National Institutes of Health (NIH) research proposals (RO1 applications), Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, has reached a historically high level resulting in successful competition for federal extramural funding only for those proposals scored in the top 6th to 5th percentile.

Whereas: this funding threshold is expected to become even more prohibitive with the anticipated across the board spending cuts currently mandated by Congress thus restricting further funding realistically to only a limited number of experienced investigators with established funding track records.

Whereas: in this unfavorable environment, researchers in the biomedical, pure and applied basic sciences, and social sciences (PhD and MD) competing for federal extramural funding in both the academic and health science University of Texas component institutions are still evaluated for professional and academic success and importantly for promotion on the basis of attaining independent NIH / other equivalent federal funding.

Whereas: persistence of this standard of evaluation is unrealistic and potentially unfair and quite detrimental to the University of Texas system and the state.

Whereas:  in particular, early career or midlevel faculty will inevitably either become frustrated with the process or will be let go after failing to garner the required funding in the expected period of time, thus leading to an increasing risk that the University of Texas will lose a generation of early career scientists / investigators.

Whereas: the tangible consequences of losing a large number of early career and mid-career researchers both from the perspective of lost scientific contributions and from the perspective of wasted resources utilized for prematurely terminated career development are incalculable.

Be it resolved that the University of Texas System should establish a fund to allow for start-up or "bridge" funding for early career and established researchers who are academically and scientifically productive and show promise for future contributions but who are not able to procure federal funding in the first few years of their careers or who have temporarily lost funding supporting ongoing meritorious investigations, that this funding should complement any funding currently available for such support on some of this University of Texas campuses, such that this funding will allow early career and established faculty to continue successful or promising research and  for early career investigators in particular, to amass the necessary experience, publications and data to build a portfolio to support successful NIH / NSF funding applications, and not coincidentally, to also remain competitive for promotion within their respective institutions.

Furthermore, be it resolved that such funds should be established to support mid and senior level investigators who have been successful but who have lost current NIH/NSF or other equivalent federal funding to supplement the limited funding that is currently available on some but not all UT institutions.  

Furthermore, be it resolved that the University of Texas System start-up and bridge funds will be allocated to the individual UT Universities on a formula basis.  Each individual campus / University shall establish a faculty led research funding review committee. This committee shall establish criteria for application and awarding of the start-up and bridge funding for the individual campuses. The review committee shall receive and review applications for start-up and bridge funding and award funding on a merit basis according to the established criteria and level of funding.

Lastly, with no improvement in NIH/NSF / federal funding in sight, be it resolved that the University of Texas System consider a re-evaluation across the system by the constitutive institutions of use of extramural federal funding as a leading metric by which academic success in the biomedical and basic pure and applied sciences is measured and as a sole or principal metric for determining faculty retention and promotion.

Approved April 26, 2013

Resolution thanking Kenneth Shine

To the Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Chancellor, and BOR: 

Be it resolved that the Faculty Advisory Council wishes to thank most sincerely Kenneth Shine, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor for his work on behalf of the Faculty of the University of Texas, his commitment to a shared vision of achieving excellence in teaching, research, and clinical care, and his unwavering support for the faculty in their efforts of achieve the core missions of the University of Texas.

Approved April 26, 2013

Resolution on Computer encryption

To the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellors for Health Affairs and Academic Affairs:

The UT System Faculty Advisory Council advocates a common sense approach to computer encryption. Data that would be encrypted would be restricted to that which is protected under state and federal regulation such as FERPA and HIPAA, identification data, the collection of which is authorized by the Institutional Review Board, and information that is protected by contractual agreement.

The UT System Faculty Advisory Council further asserts that certain kinds of faculty records related to students are not FERPA protected and therefore are not subject to encryption. Those kinds of records would include faculty maintained grade records and the like that are not maintained by the institution. Also included is communication about students by faculty to anyone in the institution who has a legitimate educational interest in the information.

Approved April 26, 2013

 

 
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