The University of Texas at Austin operates under The University of Texas System Board of Regents’; Rules and Regulations
. Supplemental rules and guidelines are provided in The University of Texas at Austin Handbook of Operating Procedures and in the Policy Memoranda issued by the President of UT Austin. This information can be found on the web at the following URLs:
In the increasingly complex environment in which the University operates, it is important that faculty members understand their ethical and legal obligations as members of the academy. The following information is intended to acquaint new non-tenured faculty with certain of their rights and responsibilities and to provide an overview of important rules, regulations, services and benefits programs relevant to faculty employees:
Standards of Conduct
Appointment and Tenure
Retirement and Other Benefits (includes enrollment deadlines)
Faculty Grievance Procedure
New Faculty Teaching Seminar
Pre-employment Screening Requirements
Other Information or Questions
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
All employees, including faculty, are expected to conduct University business in accordance with the Board of Regents’ Standards of Conduct:
• Statutory Compliance. Every employee is expected to obey all federal, State, and local laws, and particularly Texas Penal Code Chapter 42 and Section 46.03 and Texas Education Code Section 51.935. Any employee who violates any provision of these statutes is subject to dismissal, notwithstanding any action by civil authorities on account of the violation.
• Disruption of Activities. Any employee who, acting singly or in concert with others, obstructs, disrupts or interferes with any teaching, educational, research, administrative, disciplinary, public service, or other activity, meeting, or event authorized to be held or conducted on campus or on property or in a building or facility owned or controlled by the UT System or any of its institutions is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.
• Channel for communication. The Board of Regents is the only proper channel through which recommendations concerning the administration of the UT System or any of its institutions, as a whole or in any of its parts, should reach the Legislature or other State agencies or officials.
• Advisory Positions. Employees should not be discouraged from accepting appointments of a consultative or advisory capacity with governmental agencies, industry, or other educational institutions. The consideration to the UT System and the component institutions of such activity is the improvement of the individual by virtue of his or her continuing contact with nonacademic problems in the nonacademic world.
• Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of employees of the UT System or any of its institutions is the accomplishment of the duties and responsibilities assigned to one's position of appointment; external consulting or other outside employment that interferes with those duties and responsibilities should not be accepted. In connection with any outside employment, employees must comply with state laws governing the conduct of state employees, including ethics standards and provisions prohibiting conflict of interest and use of state resources.
• Free Advice. Even in the case of employees specifically engaged only in residence work, there exists an obligation, usually intermittent, to furnish expert knowledge and counsel for public benefit free of charge, provided that the meeting of this obligation by an employee does not interfere with his or her regular duties, and provided further that in meeting this obligation an employee shall avoid undue competition with legitimate private agencies.
• Separation of Activities. No employee engaged in outside remunerative activities shall use in connection therewith the official stationery of the UT System, give as a business address any building or department of the UT System or any of its institutions, or any University telephone extension.
• Opinions for Advertising Purposes. Every employee who gives professional opinions must protect the UT System or any of its institutions against the use of such opinions for advertising purposes. If the employee does work in a private capacity, the employee must make it clear to those who employ him or her that the work is unofficial and that the name of the UT System or any of its institutions is not in any way to be connected with the employee’s name, except when used to identify the member as the author of work related to the employee’s academic or research area as more fully described in Rule 90101 of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents concerning general rules for intellectual property.
• Use of UT System Property. No employee shall accept pay from private persons or corporations for tests, assays, chemical analyses, bacteriological examinations, or other such work that involves the use of property owned by the UT System or any of its institutions, unless advance permission has been obtained from the UT System Chancellor or the president of an institution and provision has been made for compensation to System Administration or the institution.
• Filing Requirement. No full-time employee employed by the UT System or any of its institutions on a 12-month or nine-month basis shall be employed in any outside work or activity or receive from an outside source a regular retainer fee or salary until a description of the nature and extent of the employment has been filed with and approved by appropriate administrative officials as set forth in the policies of the UT System or the Handbook of Operating Procedures of each institution. For special provisions relating to other State or federal employment, see Section 11 of Rule 30103 of the Rules and Regulations.
• Public Office. Subject to the other provisions of Rule 30103 an employee of the UT System or any of its institutions may hold other non-elective offices or positions of honor, trust, or profit with the State of Texas or the United States if holding the other offices or positions is of benefit to the State of Texas or is required by State or federal law and if there is no conflict between holding the office or position and holding the office or position with the UT System or any of its institutions for which the employee receives salary or compensation.
• Political Activities. The Board of Regents recognizes the right of employees to participate in political activities provided such activities are not conducted during work hours unless the employee uses accrued compensatory or vacation leave; are in compliance with the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas; do not interfere with the discharge and performance of an employee's duties and responsibilities; do not involve the use of equipment, supplies, or services of the UT System or any of its institutions; do not involve the impermissible use of University facilities; do not involve the attempt to coerce students, faculty, or staff to participate in or support the political activity; and do not involve the UT System or any of its institutions in partisan politics. (The complete text of this section is available at Rule 30103, Section 13.)
• Prohibition. It is the law of this state that a state officer or state employee may not have a direct or indirect interest, including financial and other interests, or engage in a business transaction or professional activity, or incur any obligation of any nature that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of the officer’s or employee’s duties in the public interest.
• Sexual Harassment and Misconduct: The educational and working environments of the UT System or any of its institutions shall be free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment and misconduct are unprofessional and unacceptable. (The University’s policies on sexual harassment and misconduct are available online HOP 3-3040 "Sexual Misconduct" and HOP 3-3030 "Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment.")
Source: The Regents’ Rules and Regulations Rule 30103, Rule 30104 and Rule 30105. Also see UT Austin’s HOP 7-1230, “Misconduct in Science and Other Scholarly Activities”
- FACULTY APPOINTMENTS
All faculty appointments are subject to confirmation by the Board of Regents. Policies governing faculty appointments are described in the Regents’ Rules and Regulations Rule 31001 and in Chapter 2 of UT Austin’s HOP: Academic/Faculty. No non-tenured member of the faculty should expect continued employment beyond the period of his or her current appointment as approved by the Board of Regents. Any commitment to employ a non-tenured member of the faculty beyond the period of his or her current appointment shall have no force and effect until approved by the Board of Regents.
- RETIREMENT AND OTHER BENEFITS
Insurance and retirement benefits will be covered at the Human Resource Services New Employee Orientation. New faculty employees should plan on attending this orientation as soon as possible after their arrival on campus. Benefits information may be previewed at http://www.utexas.edu/hr/current/new/resources.html.
There are two basic retirement programs at the University from which full-time faculty members may choose: (1) The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is a defined benefit program that provides retirement benefits with a minimum of five years of creditable service upon reaching retirement age. This program also provides survivor and disability benefits. Additional information about the Teacher Retirement System is available at http://www.trs.state.tx.us/. In lieu of TRS, the eligible faculty member may select (2) the Optional Retirement Program (ORP), which is a tax-deferred, defined contribution program. There is a 90-day deadline from the original date of retirement eligibility for making an election to join the ORP. There are eight approved insurance and mutual fund companies authorized to provide the ORP. Additional information regarding the ORP is available at http://www.utretirement.utsystem.edu/. Participant and state contribution rates for both retirement programs are established by the legislature.
Tax Sheltering and Deferred Compensation Programs
There are two additional tax sheltering programs available through the University: The Tax Sheltered Annuity Program and the Deferred Compensation Program. Both programs provide pre-tax deferral of salary. More information about the supplemental retirement plans can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/hr/current/retirement/#vol. An employee can contribute to either or both a Tax Sheltered Annuity and to the Deferred Compensation plan from the first date of hire.
In order to provide protection for the faculty member, all full-time benefits eligible employees are given the automatic package from the first day of employment at no cost to the employee. This employee-only package contains the UT Select (PPO) medical insurance, $10,000 Term Life, and $10,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance. Full-time employees have 31 days from the first date of benefits eligible employment to elect other coverages. In addition to two health plans, the University offers optional plans of insurance at group rates: dental insurance; vision insurance; Short-Term Disability Insurance; Long-Term Disability Insurance; Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance; Term Life Insurance; and Long-Term Care Insurance. The two health plans and the optional plans, except Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, offer dependent coverage.
Part-time benefits eligible employees (i.e., less than 100 percent time) must enroll for insurance coverage within their first 31 days or they will not have coverage.
Faculty and other University employees must enroll for group insurance plans within 31 days of their effective appointment date. After 31 days, evidence of insurability must be provided during the Annual Enrollment Period for health, Term Life, Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, and Long-Term Care.
The State and the University provide a monthly contribution (premium sharing) to help offset the cost of medical insurance premiums. In most cases, premiums that exceed the monthly contribution may be paid with before-tax dollars through UTFLEX premium re-direction. UTFLEX also offers optional medical reimbursement and day care reimbursement accounts that allow the employee to pay for certain eligible expenses with tax-free dollars. Details of the various retirement, tax deferral, and insurance plans may be obtained from Human Resource Services; Benefit Services, North Office Building A (#J5600), 101 E. 27th Street, Austin TX 78712 (512/471-4343 or 800/687-4178). HRS’ Benefits home page is located at http://www.utexas.edu/hr/prospective/benefits.html.
Sick Leave and Parental Leave
Employees of institutions of higher education appointed at least half-time or more for a period of four and one-half months or longer are eligible to accrue sick leave. Full-time employees earn sick leave at the rate of eight (8) hours for each month or fraction of a month of employment, while those employed part-time (half-time or more but less than full-time) accrue sick leave on a proportionate basis. Sick leave accumulates with the unused amount of leave carried forward each month. Information related to faculty sick leave accrual and use can be found at General Information for Faculty Employees on Sick Leave, Parental Leave and Related Policies. This online resource also provides an overview of parental leave and related policies.
Modified Instructional Duties
Faculty who are full-time on the instructional budget may apply for modified instructional responsibilities for a semester when certain personal circumstances prevent them from being able to perform their classroom teaching duties and when such modifications are found to be in the best interest of the University. This non-leave policy allows for equivalent academic service to be substituted for classroom duties in situations where use of sick leave is not appropriate. Full information on this policy is available at https://policies.utexas.edu/policies/modified-instructional-duties.
- FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE
A faculty member has the right to seek redress of any grievance related to the terms and conditions of employment. The University faculty grievance procedure is described in HOP 2-2310.
- NEW FACULTY TEACHING SEMINAR
The week before classes begin each August, the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment’s Center for Teaching Effectiveness offers the New Faculty Teaching, Learning, and Orientation Seminar. This three-day-plus program introduces newcomers to the many different centers and services available to support them. You are invited to register online at http://ctl.utexas.edu/teaching-resources/assess-your-course/. Information on this and other seminars, resources and services for enhancing teaching effectiveness is on the home page of the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment.
- PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING REQUIREMENTS
Any offer of employment at the University is contingent upon the candidate completing the proper forms and providing identification and employment eligibility as required by law for new employees. Form I-9 Within the first three days of employment, anyone employed by the University must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification form and provide documentation to Human Resource Services to establish identity and evidence of employment authorization, as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act. To view a list of acceptable documents for this purpose, please see http://www.utexas.edu/hr/manager/hiring/i-9_checklist.html.
Criminal Background Check Form
In keeping with the University’s obligation to provide a safe environment for all members of the UT Austin community and to protect the property of UT Austin, all University positions are designated security sensitive. All finalists for UT positions are required to have a criminal background check conducted prior to the first day of employment. Each finalist must provide signed, written consent for this via the Criminal Background Check Form, which authorizes law enforcement agencies to furnish any records of criminal convictions or deferred adjudications.
The Security Sensitive Form can be printed from the web Background Check for Staff/Faculty/Student Employee. Candidates should complete the top section and return the signed form to the hiring department for completion of the bottom section. To expedite processing, the document may be faxed to (512) 475-6883 (Attention: Mary Lopez) and the original mailed or delivered to the hiring department. Processing background checks requires between 48-72 hours from the time the Security Sensitive
Form is received in the Office of Human Resource Services. The hiring department is responsible for notifying the candidate when the background check has been completed and the hiring contingency removed.
Additional information on this policy and procedure is available at Criminal Background Checks.
- OTHER INFORMATION OR QUESTIONS
Campus offices stand ready to be of assistance to you concerning any aspect related to your faculty appointment. Questions relating to faculty employment may be referred to the Office of the Dean or to the Provost’s Office at (512) 471-4363. Additional information of interest to new faculty members is available through Faculty Quick Links at http://www.utexas.edu/provost/.