UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES

East Campus Union, Great Plains Rooms

March 5, 2002

Presidents Miles Bryant, Tice Miller, and Sheila Scheideler Presiding

 

1.0      Call to Order

            President Bryant called the meeting to order at 2:34 p.m.

 

2.0      Announcements

            2.1 Change in the Regents Bylaws

Bryant announced that the Board of Regents have approved a change to the Bylaws which states that employees of the University can run for public office as long as it does not conflict with their duties.

 

            2.2  Recognition of the Academic Planning Committee’s Work on the Budget Reduction Process

Bryant commended the APC for the work it has done on the budget reductions.  He noted that the campus community has become stronger by following the procedures written and approved by the APC in 1993 to deal with budget reductions.  He pointed out that one of the strengths of UNL is that the faculty is willing to step forward and do the necessary work to develop and follow these procedures.  Bryant specifically thanked all of the members of the APC for their hard work. 

 

Bryant reported that the Executive Committee endorsed a proposal to APC to salvage more money for faculty salaries.  He stated that he presented to the APC the Executive Committee’s recommendations to increase the salary increase to 5%.  He noted that the Executive Committee is concerned that the actual percentage that faculty will receive will be less because of the amount of money that will be held back by administrators. 

 

            2.3  Use of Donated Funds to the Friends of the Faculty Senate

Bryant reported that the Executive Committee has agreed that some of the money raised through donations this year should go to the re-election campaigns of state legislators who have been supportive of the University.

 

3.0      Chancellor Perlman

            3.1  Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman stated that the APC performed admirably in following the procedures for significant budget reductions.  He noted that the work of the committee demonstrates the there can be public dialog on crucial issues facing the campus.  He stated that he would be receiving APC’s recommendations on the budget cuts on March 6th and that he would then meet with the Vice Chancellors to discuss the recommendations.  He noted that he would try to make an announcement regarding the final budget cuts as early as possible, and definitely before spring break. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that the recommended salary increase that he presented at the last Senate meeting was inaccurate.  He stated that the proposed cuts would allow for a 4.56% increase rather than a 4.8% increase.

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that he has discussed the proposed structural changes with the APC and noted that they would like to discuss some of the changes.  He noted that he would get the recommendations and advice of the APC regarding the position of Dean of Undergraduate Studies. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that additional reductions to the University would create particular problems.  He noted that it is a priority to convince the legislature that an additional 3% reduction in the University’s budget would hurt not only the University, but the state as well.  He pointed out that if people care about the future of Nebraska then they need to have an educational institution that will be able to keep the young people in the state and to help create economic revenue.    He noted that a 3% reduction is equal to over $13 million dollars for the entire University system.  He pointed out that $6.5 million of those cuts would come from UNL. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that he is concerned with how the campus should proceed if the University receives additional cuts.  He pointed out that the current process is reliable and that he would like to continue with it but there is an issue of timing.  He noted that the legislature may not finish working on the budget until mid to late April, which is near the time when the semester is ending and that the APC would probably not want to work over the summer.  He stated that the additional budgets would affect this next fiscal year budget, which begins on July 1.  He stated that the campus may have to defer the budget cuts until fall when the APC would return to campus.  He noted that he wants to preserve the ability to have campus conversations on the budget cuts. 

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that the prioritization process was moving forward.  He noted that 15 proposals have been submitted.  He stated that the administration is still assuming that the funding delegated by the Board of Regents for priority programs will still be available. 

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that the university is trying to restructure technology transfer on campus to bring it up to date.  He pointed out that while we have had some success in this area in the past, it has been done without much structure and without a way to formally interact with the private sector.  He noted that Vice Chancellor Paul is forming a technology transfer office that will formalize the ability to capture intellectual property of faculty work and try to assist faculty in the commercialization of their work.  He reported that a non-profit organization has been formed called UNL Tech Inc. which will be the university’s link to the private sector.  He stated that there would be a Board of Directors that will predominantly consist of private sector individuals although he and Vice Chancellors Paul, Owens, and Jackson will also be on the board.  He stated that he hopes they will be in a position to evaluate the research being produced by the faculty for it is commercial potential.  He noted that in the past any invention produced by faculty was patented which was costly.  He pointed out that what is needed is the private sector experience that can help determine what inventions would have commercial value.  He stated that it is hoped that this will create economic returns for the faculty and university.

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that a new director has been hired for admissions and recruiting.  He stated that improvements have already been made in the admissions office because of the recommendations made by the Levitz consultants.  He pointed out that the Regents scholarship offers went out in January this year, a full 1 ½ months earlier than last year.

 

Chancellor Perlman reported that a recruitment and retention committee has been created which will have representation from the colleges.  This committee shall coordinate recruiting activities at both the college and university level can be coordinated.  He pointed out that this coordination is critical in terms of scholarships and financial aids and is needed to maximize a return on these dollars.  He noted that the committee will not interfere with college or department recruiting activities.  He stated that retention is another issue that implicates the colleges.  He stated that he hopes the committee will help coordinate efforts to retain students. 

 

Chancellor Perlman announced that the Gallup Corporation will conduct a climate survey on campus.  The survey is two address the issues of how the university treats minorities of all kinds and employee satisfaction.   He stated that he hopes the survey will allow the campus to work towards improving employee satisfaction by conducting training in areas where improvement is needed.  He stated that he hopes the survey can be completed by this semester.  Professor Wolf, English, asked if the survey will be given to students.  Chancellor Perlman stated that at this time it is only for the faculty and staff.

 

Chancellor Perlman stated that the new logo policy has been created to have a consistent identifier for the University.  He noted that the UNL campus is entitled to use a secondary logo.  He stated that the question being raised is whether any other logo is permissible on this campus.  He stated that this could only occur if both President Smith and he agree to it.  He pointed out that people need to know the good work that comes from the University.  He stated that currently a number of publications and other work that comes from the University do not have a common identifier on them.  He stated that people can apply for another logo through the Public Communications office.  He noted that 60 applications have been received but that only a handful of these will probably receive approval.  He pointed out that it will be difficult to get approval for a logo for an individual department, program, or faculty member. 

 

President Bryant asked for clarification regarding the email message sent on the temporary suspension of hires.  Chancellor Perlman stated that an email was sent reaffirming the policy of the temporary suspension of new hires.  He stated that no offers could be made to a new employee or faculty member without the express permission of the appropriate Vice Chancellor.  He stated that he has asked the Vice Chancellors, Deans and Directors, to be extremely cautious in terms of hiring.  He noted that it is not a freeze, but people need to be aware of the additional budget cuts that the University may be receiving in addition to the cuts already made.

 

4.0      Professor Merlyn Nielsen, Chair of Academic Planning Committee

Professor Nielsen reminded the Senate that the proposed budget reductions were announced one month ago.  Since that time the APC has shared the process that will be used for the committee to review and hear arguments on the reductions.  He stated that the APC required that written comments opposing any budget cuts were to be sent to the committee for review by February 11th.  The committee then held hearings February 25th - 28th to hear testimonies of support.  He noted that all of the hearings were carried out very professionally and that there was a good exchange of discussion at each of them.  He stated that the APC then met on March 1st to make  decisions on the cuts.  He reported that the final recommendations of the APC would be given to the Chancellor on March 6th.  He stated that the APC will then meet with the Chancellor on March 11th to discuss their recommendations.  Finally, the Chancellor will make a public announcement regarding the cuts after March 11th. 

 

5.0      Approval of 2/5/02 Minutes

Professor Diffendal, Conservation and Survey, moved and Professor Hallbeck, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.

 

6.0      Committee Reports

            6.1  Curriculum Committee Report (Professor Allgood)

Professor Allgood stated that the committee has begun examination of the distance education classes and how they can be utilized for the oral component of the Integrated Studies requirement.  He stated that the committee had a presentation made to it on how these courses could satisfy the IS requirement.  He stated that the committee is considering this as a possibility but realizes the potential ramifications from it.  He suggested that anyone who has concerns on this issue should email Professor George Tuck, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, or any other member of the committee.

 

            6.2  Employee Benefits Committee (Professor Riordan)

Professor Riordan noted that last year some improvements were made in Employee Benefits with the approval of the tuition remission program being extended to dependents and spouses and the coverage of oral contraceptives.  He pointed out that this year has not been as good a year.  He noted that issues remaining are benefits for domestic partners, tuition remission coverage for dependents take graduate courses, and part time employee benefits.  He reported that the committee has asked for information on the costs of the tuition remission program and oral contraceptives but they have not received a response.  He stated that the committee is still reviewing benefits for on-campus child care, the retirement cap, and benefits for domestic partners. 

 

Professor Riordan stated that UNL had good representation at the University-wide Benefits Committee held in February.  He reported that they were informed at this meeting that there has been a 13 - 18% increase in pharmacy costs.  He stated that the President’s health care review report is scheduled for release on April 1st.  He noted that employees are currently paying 22% of the health care cost but that it will drop to 21% on July 1st when the state contributions increase. 

 

President Bryant reported that a draft bill has been written to remove the retirement cap.  Professor Kathlene, Political Science, asked who was included under the definition domestic partners.  Professor Riordan stated that both heterosexual and homosexual couples would be included.  Professor Kathlene reported that the University’s health care insurance will not cover a dependent if they are not a person’s legal custody but they can be claimed as a dependent with IRS.  Professor Riordan stated that there has been no discussion on this issue and suggested that she should send him an email with more information.

 

Professor Nielsen, Animal Science, pointed out that the APC has approved the proposal to build another parking garage but has not approved any financing for it.  He stated that the committee has required VC Jackson and Parking and Transit services to come up with alternative funding.  He stated that the APC is not in favor of putting the cost on employees. 

 

Professor Martikainen, South Central Research & Extension, asked if there has been any discussion on providing the tuition remission for all dependents rather than having to split it up among them.  Professor Riordan stated that this was discussed.  He reported that employees can only receive 15 credit hours per academic year and that currently this is all that can be transferred to dependents.  He stated that it is important to keep issues such as this and others on the table.  Past President Scheideler noted that VC Griesen’s report distributed to the Academic Senate in January indicated that amount of students receiving tuition remission funding. 

 

            6.3  Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (Professor Boden)

Professor Konecky, member of the IAC, was substituting for Professor Boden, Chair of the IAC.  Professor Wolf asked where a copy of the Executive Summary can be obtained.  Professor Konecky stated that the Academic Senate office has a copy.  Professor Wolf asked for clarification on the 15 missed class days policy.  Professor Konecky stated that there is a careful accounting by UNL of the number of classes an athlete can miss.  She stated since 9/11 there has been a problem in the amount of travel time needed for athletes due to the decrease in available flights.  She pointed out that the policy was developed and approved by the Academic Senate.  Professor Wolf stated that his department policy is much more restrictive in the number of days that can be missed.  He pointed out that missing 15 days out of any of his courses would result in a student failing the course.  President Bryant reminded the Senate that this topic was discussed last year with the Student Absence Form.  He noted that the faculty members can still determine the number of classes that a student can miss.  Professor van Roojen, Philosophy, pointed out that there is a rule that states that only 20% of classes can be missed.  Professor Konecky stated that there is continual pressure from the Athletic department to increase the number of days an athlete can miss.  She noted that some sports, such as baseball, have competitions that can extend over a period of days if a team continues winning.  She stated that UNL and many other universities have complained to the NCAA to change some of their rules.  President Bryant asked how faculty can express their concerns.  Professor Konecky stated that they can contact anyone on the IAC.  President Bryant reported that there are some concerns on the process of gathering data that has been used for the Interim NCAA Gender Equity Report.  He stated that he would be meeting with members of the IAC to discuss this issue.

           

6.4  Parking Advisory Committee (Professor Hampton)

President Byrant indicated that Professor Hampton, Chair of the PAD, was unable to attend the meeting due to a time conflict.  He suggested that anyone with questions should email Professor Hampton (  President Bryant stated that one of the main issues is the funding for the next parking garage.  He stated that the Executive Committee met with VC Jackson and discussed this issue.  He reported that they have not been able to come up with alternative funding yet. 

 

7.0      Unfinished Business

7.1  Motion to approve APC, ARRC, and ARRP Ballot

The Senate approved the 2002 APC, ARRC,and ARRP ballot.

 

8.0      New Business

            8.1  Gathering Support for the University

President Bryant suggested that faculty should read the recent email message sent by Deb Thomas, Director of Special Projects, and Ron Withem, Associate Vice President External Affairs, regarding talking points to address when sending letters or calling state legislators to voice support for the University.  President Bryant urged faculty to contact their state legislator and to speak out about what will happen to the University should it receive an additional 3% cut. 

 

8.2  Recommendations to APC on Faculty Salary Increases

Professor Bauer, West Central Research & Extension, stated that he appreciated receiving the information on the history of salary increases.  He asked what official position did the President make when testifying to the APC.  He pointed out that the Senate never took a vote on the faculty salary increases.  President Bryant reported that he told the APC that he represented some of the Executive Committee and faculty members but in no way did he speak for all of them.  He pointed out that he was not speaking with an unanimous vote from the Senate.  He stated that the Executive Committee discussed the money ear-marked for salary increases and they felt that improvements in faculty salaries were still needed.  He stated that his comments to the APC were to try to get some additional money put towards salary increases.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:44 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, April 2nd at 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.