UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES
City Campus Union, Auditorium
April 2, 2002
Presidents Tice Miller, and Sheila Scheideler Presiding
1.0 Call to Order
President Miller called the meeting to order at 2:38 p.m.
2.1 Upcoming Campus Events
Miller announced that the dedication of the Hixson Lied College of Performing Arts would take place on Sunday, April 7th. Miller announced the dates of the following ceremonies: Honors Convocation will be held on Friday, April 12th and Saturday, April 13th, the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 10th, and Graduation will take place on Saturday, May 11th.
2.2 Recognition of Nathan Fuerst, Past President of ASUN and Jessica Lopez, Past First-Vice President of ASUN
Miller presented Nathan Fuerst and Jessica Lopez with plaques from the Academic Senate recognizing their work on behalf of UNL. Fuerst expressed his appreciation by stating that he was honored to receive the recognition and that he appreciated the experience of working with the administration and faculty. He stated that through all of the dialogues he was able to learn about the unique relationship between faculty and students. Lopez stated that she has honored to receive the plaque and that it was a pleasure to work with the Executive Committee.
3.0 President Smith
President Smith reported that he was told several weeks ago by the Appropriations Committee of the State Legislature that the University was doing well. He noted that four years ago a plan was implemented to enhance the quality of the University on all of its campuses. He stated that what was needed at that time was additional funding and the University began to push to receive increases in our budget. He noted that in the beginning of the biennium we started off well. He stated that all of the campuses have contributed greatly and done an outstanding job to enhance the quality of the institution. He pointed out that enrollment has increased by 2.5% university-wide, the average ACT scores of incoming freshmen are up at UNL by 2 full points, retention rates have increased to 7% at UNL, and graduation rates at UNL are up 5%.
President Smith stated that UNL and UNMC have expanded research funding. He noted that UNL has increased its grant funding by 39% from 1999, increasing funding from $45.1 million to $62.9 million. He pointed out that an example of this is the Center for Virology grants that received $10.7 million.
President Smith reported that instead of losing good faculty, we have been able to retain and hire new outstanding faculty. He stated that the faculty members of the University are putting the institution on the map. He noted that when the US Army needed vaccines to counter bioterrorism threats, they turned to UNLs Biological Process Development facility. He pointed out that this is the only facility at a university in the nation that is certified by the federal drug administration as currently the best in manufacturing process. It can produce new vaccines in a faster time than any drug company can accomplish in the US.
President Smith reported that when the planning for the bicentennial celebration of the Lewis & Clark expedition began, Professor Moulton of UNL was contacted to assist since he is one of the worlds leading experts on the expedition. He pointed out that UNL is doing pioneering work at the Scottsbluff center on chicory and faculty members are having success in fighting E-coli. He noted that other programs such as distance education, teachers education, the JD Edwards program, which is attracting the best and the brightest across Nebraska, and the biotechnology and plant sciences are having great success. He noted that these examples show that the university and the UNL campus are excelling. He stated that it is becoming the kind of university that students in Nebraska will list as their first choice to attend. President Smith stated that the prioritization programs are moving forward which will further strengthen the quality of the campuses and he believes we still have the support of the people of the state.
President Smith noted that while the biennium budget started out well with the best budget increase in a decade, no one could foresee what was going to happen on September 11th and the impact that it would have across the nation. He pointed out that the university received a 2.5% cut out of its base budget for the 2002-03 year. He noted that Governor Johanns is now recommending another 3% cut for 2002-03. He stated that if this should occur it would result in the university receiving a total budget cut of $25 million. He pointed out that the 2.5% cut resulted in the loss of 140 positions university-wide and a reduction or elimination of a number of programs and services at all campuses. He stated that another large cut could stop the university in its tracks. He pointed out that we cannot let this happen. He stated that we are committed to the programs of excellence. He noted that money has been set aside for these programs and that the current plan is to give it to the campuses on July 1st.
President Smith stated that the administration is working on reducing the size of any additional cuts. He urged the faculty to contact their legislator to push for support of the university. He noted that the best-case scenario is being proposed by the Appropriations Committee that calls for a 1% cut to the university. He pointed out that each percentage point in cuts is equivalent to $4.4 million. He noted that Governor Johanns has stated that he wants larger reductions to state agencies and he would veto any tax increases. President Smith stated that there could be a veto override but it is uncertain as to how the legislature will act. He stated that until the situation is resolved at the state legislature, the university will not know how much further our budget will be cut.
President Smith reported that candidates for the position of Provost are being interviewed on campus. He stated that he hopes to make a decision sometime in May.
President-Elect Miller pointed out that the state budget situation cannot be fixed just by budget cutting alone. He stated that revenue is going to be needed. President Smith agreed and stated that there should be a statewide summit to discuss the future of the state and how the university fits into the future plans. Professor Gardner, Libraries, asked if a 3.5% budget cut is the worse case scenario. President Smith pointed out that it could be better or worse, but until the legislature deals with the budget crisis, the university does not know what the final results will be.
4.0 Chancellor Perlman
Chancellor Perlman reported that the Honors Convocation committee has been working on revising the ceremony. He stated that he was displeased with the ceremony because he felt it did not focus enough on the accomplishments of the students. He noted that this year the ceremony will be divided into two separate events, although he admitted this does create some logistical problems. He stated that freshman and sophomores will be honored at a ceremony separate from the seniors. He stated that he has invited the colleges to conduct recognition ceremonies for their junior students. He hopes that the revisions to the ceremony will give students greater recognition for their achievements.
Chancellor Perlman reported that he is currently working on selecting the priority programs that will receive initial funding. He noted that this initial funding will hopefully be available in July.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he hopes to have the climate survey conducted sometime during this semester although he acknowledged that it may have to be done in the fall. He pointed out that this will not be the only thing that will be done to determine the climate on campus. He noted that Gallup will be developing and conducting the survey. He stated that he hopes the survey will be web based but there are some technical difficulties with this that will need to be resolved.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the Academic Planning Committee has approved the position of Dean of Undergraduate Studies. He stated that the search for this position might be postponed until the fall.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he has had discussions with the Academic Senate Executive Committee regarding the faculty salary increases. In particular, he noted that there were concerns with the process that was used last year. He pointed out that there is an interesting dichotomy in that on the one hand he is hearing that too much money was retained at the administrative level, yet there is concern with the disparity of how the increases were decided at the department level. He stated that he will be having conversations with the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee regarding the increases. He noted that there is strong support to reward people based on their performance. He stated that he wants to create a culture that rewards good work.
President-Elect Miller reported that he received an email message from a faculty member who stated that departments seem to have a hiring freeze but administration is allowed to fill new positions, such as the Executive Associate Dean for Graduate Studies opening that was just advertised. Chancellor Perlman stated that there are no hiring freezes. He stated that what he has done is told the Deans, Chairs, and Directors to be cautious with using open lines because it is unclear whether or not the university is going to be hit with additional budget cuts. He stated that his comments were sent as an alert for people to be careful. He pointed out that the position of the Executive Associate Dean is the result of the restructuring of the Graduate Studies Office and that this position is actually downgrading the Deans position.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that this is a difficult time and that the university will almost appear to be schizophrenic at times since we will be building up some programs will cutting out other programs. He stated that while this may not appear rational, it is more detrimental to not do anything at all. He noted that it is important for the university to move forward, even in these difficult times.
Past President Scheideler asked if there was a time line for the blue ribbon panel on health care to report to the university. Chancellor Perlman stated that the proposal to change the universitys health care insurer occurs in September or October. He stated that they should have a report from the panel very soon so a decision can be made before the fall.
5.0 Approval of 3/5/02 Minutes
Professor Logan-Peters, Libraries, moved and Professor Flowers, Psychology, seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
6.0 Committee Reports
6.1 Computational Services and Facilities Committee (Professor Jackson)
6.2 Academic Freedom Award Committee (Professor Moshman)
Professor Moshman stated that the Senators received a copy of the report in their packet. He asked if there were any questions regarding the operation of the committee. Professor Kranz, Northeast Research & Extension asked if information regarding the committee syllabus is available. Griffin stated that it is on line at the Academic Senate web page.
7.0 Academic Freedom Award Nomination (Professor Moshman)
The ballot for the 2002 Academic Freedom Award was distributed to the Senate for their vote.
8.0 Recognition of Outgoing Senators
President-Elect Miller asked each of the outgoing Senators to stand when their names were called for the Senate to acknowledge their appreciation of their service.
9.0 Unfinished Business
No unfinished business was discussed.
10.0 New Business
10.1 Resolution Recognizing the Work of Executive Vice President Provost Lee Jones
Professor Stock, English, introduced the following motion to recognize the work of Provost Lee Jones who is retiring from the university.
Whereas Dr. Lee B. Jones has been Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Nebraska since 1985;
Whereas he has conducted that office with quiet good humor, unfailing tact, real openness to the opinions of others, humane grace and competent steadiness;
Whereas he has provided leadership characterized by self-effacing calm and thoughtful preparation in what were potentially turbulent changes of executive personnel and disruptive changes of academic structures and procedures;
Whereas Dr. Jones is retiring from his position;
Be it therefore resolved that the Academic Senate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recognizes Dr. Jones for his enduring leadership and thanks him for his exemplary service as Executive Vice President and Provost of the University of Nebraska.
The Senate approved to treat the motion as an emergency item. Motion approved to accept the resolution.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m. The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, April 30th at 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Great Plains Room. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.