UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES

City Campus, Auditorium

February 5, 2002

Presidents Miles Bryant, Tice Miller, and Sheila Scheideler Presiding

 

1.0      Call to Order

            President Bryant called the meeting to order at 2:31 p.m.

 

2.0      Announcements

            No announcements were made.

 

3.0      Chancellor Perlman

            3.1  Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman stated that the budget reductions he is presenting will be painful to the Institution as they are painful for him to make.  He pointed out that the Institution has no choice but to make budget cuts.  He noted that the required reduction is larger than what was originally expected.  He pointed out that none of the programs affected by the cuts are bad programs and that all of them contribute to the welfare and success of the University.  He stated that the judgments that were made were based on what is best overall for the University.  He noted that the campus community has been engaged in the budget cutting process.  He noted that reductions that were made from the colleges and other units were made by the unit administrators, hopefully in consultation with their faculty.  He stated that the objective of the administration during this budget cutting process is to position the University to make the best of the situation.  He stated that they worked hard to preserve the core of the University, to protect the quality of the undergraduate programs, to preserve to the extent possible, the front line faculty who do the teaching, perform the research, and engage and serve the people of Nebraska. 

 

Chancellor Perlman noted that the campus has already experienced a reduction of $830,000 in its budget for the current year.  He stated that in addition to the $5.5 million that the campus must cut, an additional $3,812,379 must be cut because of a system deficit.  As a result, $8.3 million must be cut from the UNL budget for the next fiscal year.  He pointed out that $687,861could be restored to the budget if the employees of the campus received a 5% increase.  He noted that $1,731,037 could be restored to the campus budget if a 4% salary increase is given.  Chancellor Perlman reported that he has complied with the process outlined in the “Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions”.  He noted that he has met to discuss the budget reductions with the Academic Senate Executive Committee, the Academic Planning Committee, ASUN, UNOPA, and UAAD as outlined in the procedures.  He reported that information pertaining to the budget reduction process and framework can be found on the web ( 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that the principles that established the priorities of the campus were followed.  He noted that the first priority is teaching and undergraduate education, the second priority is research, and the third priority is service.  He noted that certain programs did not sustain budget reductions.  They are: Office of Admissions/recruitment, Honors scholarships, need-based grants and scholarships, Engineering scholarship program, Honors program, services for students with disabilities, multicultural affairs, funding for diversity hiring and programming, University Foundations program, Division of General Studies, and programs and departments that affect campus safety, including the University Police Department and Environmental Health & Safety programs. 

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that a number of structural changes will take place to make the campus more efficient.  He stated that an Office of Undergraduate Studies will be created along with the position of Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  He noted that the office will be funded by eliminating one of the three Associate Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs and transferring one secretarial position from that same office. 

Chancellor Perlman stated that Vice Chancellor Paul, Office of Research, will assume responsibility for the Office of Graduate Studies, merging the Office of Research with Graduate Studies once Dean Lawson steps down from his position as Dean.  He noted that this will be a return to an earlier structure.  He stated that the Office of International Affairs will be merged with the Office of International Programs from IANR and that a new director will be appointed to oversee international affairs for the entire campus. 

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that the Farm Business Association, which is a membership organization that provides tax advice to farmers and ranchers, will be entirely funded through grants.  He noted that grant funding has been obtained to permit a three-year transition to increase its membership to the point where it can be self-supporting. 

 

Chancellor Perlman announced that the position of Assistant to the Chancellor for Fine Arts will be eliminated.  He stated that the Dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts and the directors of the various units within the college will be working together to enhance coordination.  He noted that University Communications will be reorganized by merging the integrated marketing program into University Communications. 

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that a plan for the organization and administration of distance education is being prepared by Associate Vice Chancellor O’Hanlon.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the plan, due March 1, will assist in streamlining the administration of distance and continuing education.  He reported that the departments of Mathematics and Statistics would be merged with Biometry.  He noted that both sides are enthusiastic about the merger and are involved in discussions to facilitate it.

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that campus administrators would be working with the deans of the colleges on a process that would facilitate movement of faculty salary dollars among the colleges on an ongoing basis.  He noted that vacant positions in IANR would revert to VC Owens. 

 

Chancellor Perlman noted that although the Office of Professional and Organizational Development in IANR and the Teaching and Learning Center of City Campus have provided valuable services over the years, they would be eliminated.  Restructuring would move their responsibilities to departments and colleges, to the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the Teaching Council and the Technology and Teaching Roundtable.  He noted that examination and course evaluation services, as well as the international teaching assistant workshops, would become a function of Academic Affairs.  Chancellor Perlman stated that eliminating the Teaching & Learning Center was the most difficult decision.  He stated that the campus needs to build the capacity for mentoring new faculty members throughout the campus.  He noted that eliminating the center would save 5 - 7 faculty positions and $412,000. 

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that 70 FTE positions would be moved from state funding, with 17 of these positions being laid off.  Several of the positions will continue based of their ability to support their salaries from sources other than state funding.    He pointed out that no tenure track faculty are being laid off.  He stated that decisions were made to preserve the core of the University, however, 25 faculty positions will not be filled which will have an impact on programs.  He noted that no college sustained more than a 2% reduction in its budget and that there has been no request to increase tuition. 

 

Chancellor Perlman announced that the Chancellor’s office would receive a 7.27% reduction saving $322,518.  He noted that Academic Affairs’ budget would be reduced by 2.12% for a savings of $2,926.559, that Student Affairs’ budget would be decreased by 1.97% for a savings of $108,385, and the Research budget would be reduced by 2.5% for a savings of $83,498.  He reported that IANR would reduce its overall budget by 2.11% resulting in a savings of $1.46 million.  He stated that the business and finance budget would be reduced by 2.5%, saving $635,944.  He noted that the proposed cuts in this area would eliminate 12.5 positions.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that no cuts were made to the campus police and that the business and finance unit is realigning staff to offset the positions that will be cut.  He reported that some older buildings on campus that have been getting cleaned on a daily basis will now only have custodial services twice a week.

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that an additional budget reduction of $2,766,603 would be needed to give faculty a 6.3% increase and other employees a 5% increase.  He pointed out that a 4.8% increase would allow the proposed reductions without needing further cuts.  He noted that last year’s increase helped to progress faculty salaries to the mid-point of our peer institutions.  He stated that rough calculations indicate that our peers might receive a 4% increase that would make us 2 - 2.5% below the average of our peers in faculty salaries.  He pointed out that many other states are facing the same kinds of budget shortfalls. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that the projection for the next biennium suggests that there will be further cuts.  He stated that although it is unsure what the Board of Regents will approve in regards to the budget, increasing faculty salaries remains a high priority.  He pointed out that improvements to the University cannot be based on just increased faculty salaries.  He stated that further reductions to the University would definitely have a negative impact.  He pointed out that a 4.8% salary increase would allow us to make a modest increase and keep the University as a whole.  He noted that UNMC has recommended a 4% increase for its faculty.

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that the Academic Planning Committee’s time line has been set up and is available on the web.  He stated that he would except other proposals to the budget cuts but that people need to keep in mind that UNL must reduce it’s budget by $8.3 million. 

 

President Bryant stated that the Executive Committee attended a meeting earlier in the day to hear the proposed budget cuts.  He commended Chancellor Perlman for following the guidelines for the budget cutting process and reported that it has been an open process that has allowed for significant participation by the Executive Committee. 

 

Professor Nielsen, Chair of the Academic Planning Committee, reported that the committee is in the next phase of the process which is to invite campus units to submit written responses to the proposed cuts.  He pointed out that these responses to the APC were due on Monday, February 11th at 3:00 p.m.  He noted that the committee hopes to provide the Chancellor with their recommendations by early March.  Professor Nielsen stated that the APC will meet on February 13th to review the written responses.  He stated they would then decide if further information is needed from the units.  He reported that the committee would meet on February 20th to decide on the format of the discussion sessions and general hearing.  He stated that an announcement would be made on the 21st on the format.  He announced that discussion sessions will start at 1:00 p.m. on February 26th, in the City Campus Union and on the 27th in the East Campus Union.  He stated that a general hearing session would be held of February 25th at 3:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union.  He noted that anyone wishing to share their thoughts with the APC about the proposed budget reductions can speak at this time.  He reported that the APC will meet on March 1st to deliberate and make recommendations which they will share with the Chancellor on March 4th.  He stated that the Chancellor would then meet with the APC on March 11th to discuss their recommendations.  Professor Nielsen stated that written responses from units directly impacted by the cuts should be no more than 2 pages long.  He pointed out that only a 1 page response should be written if it is a letter of support from outside the unit being cut. 

 

Professor Anderson, Teaching & Learning Center, stated that research substantiates the value and work of the Center and that he was surprised to learn that the decision was not based upon research.  He pointed out that the Center is the second oldest in the U.S.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he looked at the data relating to the Center and accepts the value of it but that he had to weigh it against the loss of possible faculty members.  He stated that the fact is that expertise on good teaching rests with resident faculty on campus and pointed out that the Center often used resident faculty for conducting workshops.  He noted that the campus needs to find a good way to enhance mentoring of faculty on campus and that this should be something that is embedded in the colleges. 

 

Professor Reichenbach, Computer Science & Engineering, stated that the cuts appear to be more tactically oriented.  He asked whether the cuts were made strategically or tactically.   Chancellor Perlman stated that the decisions were based on a mixture of both.  He stated that he tried to follow the commitments of the university when making his decisions.  He noted that academics is the core of the university.  He pointed out that no college had more than a 2% cut.  He noted that some units did suffer more than a 3% reduction and that some expedient reductions were needed.  Professor Ford, English, asked if the Chancellor has heard any further information from UNK and UNO in regards to the faculty salary increases and whether there would be an uncoupling from the other campuses.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he does not know what the other campuses will do regarding salary increases.  He noted that the UNL campus has been uncoupled in the past.  He stated that we need to focus on what is best for the UNL campus.  He pointed out that it would not be in our best interest to reduce our income to benefit the other campuses.  He stated that he has been assured by Central Administration that this will not occur. 

 

4.0      Approval of 1/15/02 Minutes

Professor Diffendal, Conservation and Survey, moved and Professor Germer, Southeast Research & Extension, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.

 

5.0      Academic Senate Redistricting Report (Secretary King)

Secretary King stated that the Senate Redistricting Report was conducted this year as stated in the Senate Bylaws.  He noted that several districts increased in size due to additional faculty that resulted in an additional senator for that district.  Professor Diffendal moved, and Professor Flowers, Psychology seconded approval of the report.  Motion approved.

 

6.0      Committee Reports

            6.1  Curriculum Committee Report (Professor Tuck)

President Bryant announced that the Curriculum Committee Report has been postponed until the March meeting.

 

            6.2  Convocations Committee (Professor Gardner)

Professor Gardner was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.  President Bryant, who has served on this committee, stated that the purpose of the committee is to distribute funds to bring speakers to campus.  He noted that a portion of the Palladian/Avery Lectureship Fund goes unused each year and he encouraged faculty to apply for Convocations funding. 

 

            6.3  Committee on Committees (Professor Powers)

Professor Powers, Chair of the Committee on Committees, pointed out that the number of faculty who volunteer to serve on committees has continued to decrease over the past few years.  He stated that only 97 of over 1400 faculty members volunteered to serve this year.  He stated that he hoped this did not reflect a lack of faculty interest and he hopes there can be a discussion on how to get more faculty to volunteer.  President Bryant pointed out that one of the strengths of the Academic Senate is the committee structure that allows faculty to be involved in many aspects of the campus.  He asked Senators to encourage their colleagues to volunteer to serve on committees.  He pointed out that many of the committees do not demand a lot of time.

           

6.4  Honorary Degrees (Professor Ruffo)

Professor Ruffo, Chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee, stated that the committee had a difficult time in selecting the person to be nominated for the Pound Howard Award due to the number and quality of the applicants.  He stated that all candidates were very well deserving of the award and that they were great people who have done a lot of service to the campus.  He asked that the name of the individual selected be kept confidential.

 

7.0      Pound Howard Award Election

The ballots were distributed and the Senate voted on the Pound Howard Award.

 

8.0      Committee on Committees Ballot for APC, ARRC, and ARRP

            President Bryant asked the Senators to review the ballot and be prepared to vote on it at the March meeting.

 

9.0      Unfinished Business

            9.1  Resolution on Budget Reduction Options

President Bryant stated that the resolution presented at the January meeting was on the floor for further discussion.  Professor Martikainen, South Central Research & Extension, pointed out that the heart of the resolution was not to freeze salaries, but to consider all possibilities in dealing with the budget cuts.  He noted that Chancellor Perlman’s comments indicate that administration is exploring all options.  Professor Keith, Entomology, suggested that the motion might be delayed until the Senators have an opportunity to discuss the budget cuts with their departments.  He suggested that the Senate might want to meet in a week or so to prepare a response on the cuts.  Professor Hallbeck, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, pointed out that the Academic Planning Committee was not going to make recommendations to the Chancellor until March and to vote upon this motion before that time would be premature.  She proposed that the motion be tabled indefinitely unless it appears to be necessary to vote upon it.  Motion seconded by Professor van Roojen, Philosophy.  Motion approved, two opposed. 

 

President Byrant asked if the Senate has any particular comments or direction for the Executive Committee regarding the budget cuts.  He suggested that they can let the APC process unfold and if needed, an emergency meeting of the Senate could be called.  Professor Bauer, West Central Research & Extension, suggested that it be left up to the discretion of the Executive Committee as to whether the Senate needs to meet again before the March meeting.  Professor Reichenbach stated that his department voted unanimously against decreasing faculty salaries.  He stated that the department feels that higher salaries are needed to attract higher quality faculty and that it is an investment in the future quality of the department and university.  President Bryant stated that other departments have expressed similar opinions.  Professor Flowers, Psychology, stated that his department had a similar reaction and that they were very vocal and firmly opposed to the resolution.  He pointed out that in decreasing the salary increase you are losing the base budget which is permanent.  He noted that it particularly affects older and younger faculty.  He stated that his department wants to maintain a strong salary base. 

 

Past President Scheideler asked for clarification from Professor Nielsen on the responses that can be made to the APC regarding the cuts.  Professor Nielsen stated that any item of the budget cuts can be responded to but only responses from units, not individuals, would be accepted.  He stated that the procedures for responding to the cuts will be on the Chancellor’s web site and that the Chancellor would send an email message to all faculty and staff regarding the cuts and the APC hearings.  Professor Fuller, Art & Art History, asked if individual faculty members could attend the open general hearing.  Professor Nielsen stated yes and that they could also build support within a unit to oppose a cut and respond to the APC by February 11th.  President Bryant stated that any Senator, who feels that a special meeting should be held after examining the budget cuts, should contact him. 

 

10.0    New Business

            No new business was discussed.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:02 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, March 5th 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.