Faculty Affairs Update – Sept. 16

Dear faculty colleagues,

I hope your semester is off to a reasonable start and that you are starting to enjoy some relief from the summer heat. I also hope that some of you might take some time and thought into celebrating our graduates at tomorrow night’s Commencement 2020 Reunion whether remotely or in-person.

This message provides some information and requests in terms of campus’ current health and safety measures that faculty can take, lists some upcoming promotion (and tenure) information sessions, and includes a few other updates to keep top-of-mind for the start of the academic year.


Flowchart for Next Steps Given COVID-19 Exposure

We have been asked many questions about what to do when someone is exposed to another person who tested positive for COVID-19. Our team created this flowchart to offer an alternative visualization to the same content presented in the Exposure Chart. You can access the flowchart here.

Protect Texas Together App – New Features

The Protect Texas Together app has added new features to support contact tracing that allow students to identify where they are sitting in classrooms during in-person class sessions. Users can also use the app to find testing locations and self-report test results along with many other features. Please encourage your students to download the app and sure that they have the latest update if the app is already installed. More information about how to download the app and its features can be found here. If you have any questions about the app and its use, please address them to this email.

To support the classroom check-in process, these QR codes can be used with the app and are available for all rooms on campus. Instructors can display their room’s QR code on a slide at the beginning of class and ask students to check-in by scanning it in the Protect Texas Together app. After students have checked in once using that QR code, the room’s information will remain in the room list in their app and they no longer have to use the QR code for check-in. Again, please ask app-related questions using this email.

If you have not already posted a seating chart, please do so using this link. This also can prove helpful in the contact tracing process.

Student Cell Phone info for Contact Tracing

It is of the utmost importance that instructors encourage students to update their cell phone numbers in the MyUHS portal. Please remind your students of this at the start of class for the next few class meetings to motivate this simple activity that can expedite contacting any index COVID-19 positive case (to share information and resources for them about self-isolation, to find out close contact information, etc.). Updated cell numbers are also essential for accelerating the contact tracing process itself. The university has communicated this same request to students, and any reminders that faculty can share is greatly appreciated.

#IGotTheVax Campaign

The university recently launched a vaccination campaign – #IGotTheVax – to encourage students to get the vaccine. The campaign materials include social media graphics, posters, buttons and these efforts include partnerships with student organizations and campus ambassadors. There is also a vaccine incentive program for students, faculty, and staff. You can find out more here.

Promotion (& Tenure) Information Sessions – Fall 2021

The Faculty Affairs team will be hosting promotion (and tenure) information sessions this fall semester. Each session focuses on a certain kind of promotion (professional-track faculty promotions, tenured associate to tenured full professor, and tenure-track to tenured faculty) and includes a representative from the President’s Promotion (& Tenure) committee. These sessions offer the opportunity for the P&T committee member and the Faculty Affairs team to share advice and to answer faculty questions focused on the relevant promotion(s). Please email Faculty Affairs in advance to request accommodations during these Zoom information sessions.

Tuesday, September 21, 9-10am
Professional-track Faculty Promotion
Information Session with Interim Sr. Vice Provost and Dean Brent Iverson

Wednesday, September 22, 11am-12pm
Tenure-track Faculty Promotion & Tenure
Information Session with Sr. Vice Provost and Dean Mark Smith

Wednesday, September 29, 9-10am
Tenured Associate Professors’ Promotion
Information Session with Vice President for Research Dan Jaffe https://utexas.zoom.us/j/94493053173

Information Sessions focused on Promotion (&Tenure) for our Dell Medical School Faculty will also be scheduled soon.

New Resources for Faculty Service

The Provost’s Distinguished Service Academy (DSA) has created brief insight videos, interactive workshops, and articles to support professional- and tenure-track faculty in finding career synergy across teaching, research, and service portfolios throughout the faculty career cycle. These resources are designed to assist faculty and academic leadership in ways to engage in meaningful service opportunities that align with professional goals and values, offer guidance on finding and providing effective mentorship, and share approaches for advocating and acknowledging service within and beyond your department, college and school. DSA members share insights on their professional journey and offer actionable steps to craft your mentorship network, navigate service opportunities, and practice inclusive service recognition.

Proactive Initiatives for Pool Excellence in Searches (PIPES)

The PIPES program was created to support faculty search committees in expanding the diversity of their applicant pools during the faculty recruitment process. The Provost’s Office is currently accepting requests from committees that are conducting approved faculty searches and have creative ideas to expand the diversity of their pool through proactive approaches. Please reach out with any questions about this program to the Managing Director of Diversity, Dr. Lydia Contreras, using this email address.

Bright Horizons Update

The university has ended its contract with Bright Horizons. If you need support around care, LifeCare is available to you. LifeCare is an employer-provided work/life benefit from UT Austin available to all benefits eligible employees and their household members. LifeCare provides personalized assistance with life’s most important issues including childcare and parenting, adult care and aging, and financial and legal concerns. Here’s a FAQ sheet with more information.

Please continue to check our Faculty FAQs page and the Protect Texas Together website for the latest information and guidance. Please reach out with any faculty-related questions to the Faculty Affairs team. And many (belated) congratulations to our 2020 graduates!

Stay well,

Tasha Beretvas

Faculty Affairs
Faculty Updates