Round 3 APC Recommendations - Fiscal Year 2002 & 2003 Budget Reduction Process

 



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ACADEMIC PLANNING COMMITTEE


TO: Harvey Perlman, Chancellor
FROM: Craig J. Eckhardt, Professor of Chemistry, Chair, Academic Planning Committee
DATE: November 14, 2002
RE: Round 3 APC Recommendations


In a series of eleven closed meetings and six hearings the Academic Planning Committee has considered your budget recommendations and the evidence and testimony presented by those affected. You have been apprised of these results in the Committee's draft letter of November 7. This letter reports the actions of the Committee.

The Academic Planning Committee sought early to define guidelines for dealing with faculty appointments prior to consideration of any specific case. To that end, it approved the following resolution:

APC Resolution on the Termination of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty in the Case of Program Dissolution
Whereas the Academic Planning Committee is governed in its procedures by the Guidelines to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions (February 10, 1993), which states that "Participants in the process must be sensitive to the relevant guidelines of the American Association of University Professors;" and

Whereas the AAUP's Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure are designed to protect academic freedom and tenure and to ensure due process which together form the foundation of a strong university system;

Therefore be it resolved that the APC will operate under the presumption that the University of Nebraska-Lincoln should follow the AAUP guidelines concerning Termination of Appointments by the Institution.

Specifically, the AAUP guidelines stipulate that: "Termination of an appointment with continuous tenure, or of a probationary or special appointment before the end of the specified term, may be effected by the institution only for adequate cause." When such a proposed termination is a result of a Discontinuance of Program or Department Not Mandated by Financial Exigency, AAUP guidelines state the following:

(1) The decision to discontinue formally a program or department of instruction will be based essentially upon educational considerations, as determined primarily by the faculty as a whole or an appropriate committee thereof. [NOTE: "Educational considerations" do not include cyclical or temporary variations in enrollment. They must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuance.]
(2) Before the administration issues notice to a faculty member of its intention to terminate an appointment because of formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, the institution will make every effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered. If no position is available within the institution, with or without retraining, the faculty member's appointment then may be terminated, but only with provision for severance salary equitably adjusted to the faculty member's length of past and potential service. [NOTE: When an institution proposes to discontinue a program or department of instruction, it should plan to bear the costs of relocating, training, or otherwise compensating faculty members adversely affected.]
(3) A faculty member may appeal a proposed relocation or termination resulting from discontinuance and has a right to a full hearing before a faculty committee. The hearing need not conform in all respects with a proceeding conducted pursuant to Regulation 5, but the essentials of an on-the-record adjudicative hearing will be observed. The issues in such a hearing may include the institution's failure to satisfy any of the conditions specified in Regulation 4(d). In such a hearing a faculty determination that a program or department is to be discontinued will be considered presumptively valid, but the burden of proof on other issues will rest on the administration.

SUMMARY OF APC RESPONSES

The APC recognizes the very negative impact the proposed budget reductions have on the University. The Committee strongly believes that any subsequent budget reductions after the current ones will be devastating to the University and it may be quite difficult to recover from such effects.

The APC recommendations on the Division of Continuing Studies have been forwarded to you but, for completeness, are again stated:

Division of Continuing Studies
The Academic Planning Committee:

Endorses the proposal to dissolve the DCS as an administrative unit. The APC expects that plans for restructuring and reassignment of functions be presented to APC as they are developed.
Accepts the proposed Division of Continuing Studies budget reduction, not including the Learning Centers, of $773,467.
Supports the continuance of the functions of Distance Education and Evening and Weekend Programs. Related faculty and student units should be involved in developing plans for these programs.
Supports the proposed closure of the hotel located at the Hardin Center for Continuing Education.
Endorses the recommendation that the Independent Study High School and Conferences and Professional Development will be expected to be self-supporting within 18 months, after which reassessment will occur. This reassessment should involve the APC.

Additional responses of the Academic Planning Committee follow.

Learning Centers
The Academic Planning Committee:

Endorses the recommended budget reduction to the College Park Learning Center at Grand Island. ($136,590 annual budget)
Endorses the recommendation to remove UNL funding for the Nebraska High Plains Learning Center at North Platte.

Research and Extension Centers
The Academic Planning Committee:

Opposes the proposal for closing the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the West Central Research & Extension Center.
Recommends that the position of Diagnostic and Extension Veterinarian at the West Central Research and Extension Center be retained with appropriate support.
Reluctantly accepts the proposal to eliminate the South Central Research and Extension Center as an entity. The Center has been highly productive and has served the University and the State in an exemplary manner. It accedes to the elimination of the following positions: 4-H Youth Specialist, Small-Scale Enterprise Specialists, Water Management Engineer, Administrative Assistant, Computer Technologist, Communication Associate, Accounting Clerk, Research Technologists (2), Staff Secretaries (2); for a total reduction of $470,950.
Endorses the elimination of the South Central Research and Extension Center District Director position for a savings of $140,706.
Does not endorse relocation of South Central Research and Extension Center faculty members to Lincoln or to other research and extension centers. The APC opposes this for the following reasons:
Cost savings would be minimal.
Relocation would disrupt the strong interdisciplinary team that has developed. It is very likely that cooperation would weaken if the faculty were dispersed.
Conducting quality research that the faculty, administration and state expect would be extremely difficult with the separation imposed by relocation.
Trust developed between the University and its clientele would be needlessly diminished.
Encourages the University administration to develop and implement a plan that will provide a viable structure to allow the South Central Research and Extension Center faculty to remain in the Clay Center area to conduct quality research.
Opposes the elimination of the plant pathologist position. The pathology expertise for corn and sorghum is unique and is critically needed in Nebraska.

The APC urges that opportunities to shift state-funded research support positions at the SCREC be actively explored. Anticipating success and a future arrangement, the APC recommends retention of one secretarial position. Although some savings in utilities and operating costs may be realized under the new organizational structure, the APC is unable to determine that amount and trusts the administration will craft the optimal operating plan for the future.

The APC reluctantly agrees to the staffing reductions at SCREC of $470,950 and the elimination of the District Director position for a further savings of $140,706. However, the APC cannot determine the extent of savings realized in operating and utility costs if a new structure is developed as proposed by the APC.

Termination of Tenure-track Faculty
The APC believes that proposed budget reductions resulting in the dismissals of two non-tenured, tenure-track faculty members are caused by the reorganization of programs presently located at the WCREC and the SCREC, and not the closing of the programs in which the assistant professors participate. This interpretation is based on the fact that at least some of the services presently provided by Assistant Professors Stack and Ensley will still be offered, but offered from a different location. Assistant Professors Stack and Ensley appear to be qualified to offer those services from their tenure home departments.

Whether or not the Chancellor accepts the APC’s recommendations on SCREC and WCREC, the APC opposes on separate grounds the dismissal of Assistant Professor and Extension Plant Pathologist Jim Stack and Assistant Professor of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Steve Ensley because:

The decision to dismiss these tenure-track faculty members will have a chilling effect on our probationary faculty and will cause unnecessary loss of confidence in the University’s tenure process for little monetary gain. Such actions are inimical to the development of a high quality university.
The dismissal of these faculty members was made prior to review by any cognizant faculty committee. The Administration advanced no justification concerning the quality of their work or the importance of their areas of study.
Faculty members who are associated with centers will be perceived to be more vulnerable to termination than those who are only associated with their tenure home program. A policy of dismissal based on association with a non-tenure home program will inhibit the kind of inter- and multi-disciplinary collaboration the university seeks to promote.
The APC recommends that the Administration withdraw notification of Assistant Professor Stack’s dismissal to allow him to proceed with his tenure review process without prejudice. The APC also recommends that the Administration withdraw notification of Assistant Professor Ensley’s dismissal to allow him to continue in a normal tenure-track cycle in accordance with IANR Guidelines for the Evaluation of Faculty: Annual Evaluation, Promotion, Tenure and Reappointment.

As a general principle, the APC opposes dismissal of tenure-track faculty members and replacement by non-tenure-track faculty.

Nebraska Center for Economic Education

The Academic Planning Committee:

Supports the academic mission of the Center for Economic Education, advises continued state support of the Director of the Center for Economic Education at 0.5 FTE, and supports preserving the function and national status of the Center for Economic Education and the Nebraska Council for Economic Education at UNL.
Endorses all other proposed budget cuts for the NCEE.

Community and Regional Planning

The APC endorses the proposed reduction of $144,027 to the Community and Regional Planning budget.


Business and Finance

The Academic Planning Committee:

Supports the reduction of $185,000 to the custodial budget, but opposes elimination of custodial support of the recycling program. The APC suggests that alternatives to the proposed reduction strategies in custodial services be explored.
Reluctantly acknowledges the cut of $73,250 to the Landscape Services budget. A beautifully landscaped campus is an important part of UNL's efforts to recruit and retain students, faculty and staff. Therefore APC strongly recommends that Landscape Services develop a plan to maintain the high quality of the campus environment at this reduced funding level.

Student Affairs

After due consideration, the APC accepts the budget reductions proposed for Student Affairs and looks forward to increased efficiencies in recruitment and admissions activities.

The Academic Planning Committee endorses all other budget recommendations not specifically dealt with here. It appreciates the discussion of its draft recommendations with you on Thursday, November 7, 2002, and would be happy to meet with you again if you have any questions about its final response.




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