UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES
East Campus Union, Great Plains Room
April 5, 2005
Presidents Wes Peterson and Mary Beck, Presiding
1.0 Call to Order
President Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.
2.1 Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics Academic Integrity Document
President Peterson noted that he previously sent the Senate the academic integrity document and asked for feedback on it. He stated that he only received one response on the document which led him to believe that the Senate is not very exercised about the document. He reported that the Executive Committee decided to let the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) make the decision since they are more familiar with the issues that are involved. He stated that the IAC did not make a decision in time to cast a vote and as a result UNL abstained from voting. The final vote on the document was 30 in favor and 1 opposed but 18 abstained from voting. Peterson noted that the document has been adopted by the Coalition but it does not require UNL to do anything. He stated that the Coalition will forward recommendations to the NCAA based on the approval of the document.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman
Chancellor Perlman reported that the strategic planning process is going well and that all college plans have been submitted. He stated that the administration is beginning to review some of the plans and will need to discuss how best to utilize them. He noted that the plans will be helpful in managing the university.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the campus will be going through the accreditation process and the campus will be visited next year by the accreditation team. He stated that instead of the old accreditation process, a more focused self-study process is being proposed. He noted that Professor OHanlon is chairing the accreditation process and he hopes it will be as transparent as possible for the campus.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the athletics department will also be undergoing accreditation next year. He noted that faculty participation will be required for this accreditation.
Chancellor Perlman thanked all those involved with the Big Red Road Show that went out to the Panhandle to speak to the public. He noted that the people of western Nebraska really appreciated the visit and although it was a lot of work, it was well worth it.
Chancellor Perlman reported that there is now a Big Red tool kit to assist people with university publications. He stated that the tool kit allows individuality and creativity but identifies the University of Nebraska in publications and other means of communication. He noted that N is the official icon for the University. He pointed out that the color for the University is red and he asked that people stop using other colors when producing brochures or other material that is distributed.
Chancellor Perlman stated that there was good news and bad news about the budget. He stated that the good news is that the State Appropriations Committee is doing what it can to provide a good solid budget for the next biennium. He stated that if the Appropriations Committees budget for the University is approved, it would be one of the best budgets the University has received in many years. He noted that the Governor puts education as the highest priority for the state and his support could provide opportunities for education.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the Teaching Initiative grants to enhance undergraduate education were recently announced. He stated that an announcement will be made soon on the Programs of Excellence that will be funded. He noted that he is amazed and excited what the faculty members create after looking at the Teaching Initiative grants and the Programs of Excellence proposals.
Chancellor Perlman commended Professor Kooser for his receiving the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He stated that he is delighted by all of the accomplishments professors at UNL have made this year.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the campus continues to face budget challenges because of the enrollment problem. He pointed out that there was a significant decrease in the number of freshmen students this year which has resulted in a significant loss of tuition. He stated that this decrease may be a symptom of the previous budget cuts which forced an increase in tuition rates. He stated that the University and the campus are working hard to convince prospective students and parents that attending the University of Nebraska is the best value that can be found. He noted that the tuition shortfall for UNL could amount to $6 million for this year. He stated that he has asked the Vice Chancellors to begin working on the problem and to stop any unnecessary expenditures. He pointed out that the shortfall will remain with us for the next few years until this years freshmen class graduates.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he will be asking faculty members to make phone calls to prospective students and to call any student in their major who has not yet registered for the fall semester. He stated that the professor should attempt to determine whether there are any impediments to the students registering for fall classes and to see if the University can assist them in some way.
Chancellor Perlman reported that there is some good news in that the numbers for next years freshmen class looks promising. He noted that next years class appears to be larger and should be close to the figures of prior years.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the decrease in tuition revenue will stay with us for 3 5 years and as a result we will not get out of the budget deficit for awhile. He stated that he will be looking at some budget reductions of some kind but he hopes he can do the cuts without invoking the procedures used during the last budget crisis. He noted that one way to reduce the budget is by leaving non-critical positions vacant. He suggested that the cuts could come elsewhere and that budget savings could be associated with a pattern of declining enrollment. He stated that there will be conversations with units regarding enrollment.
Chancellor Perlman reported that he thinks that there will have to be some changes to traditions. He noted that remissions will need to be budgeted. He pointed out that there is no control over graduate remissions. He stated that incentives will need to be created at the department level for departments to sustain and increase their enrollment. He pointed out that that everyone needs to make enrollment a high priority.
Chancellor Perlman noted that he was invited by President Peterson to comment on the issues recently raised about Professor Bodvarsson. Chancellor Perlman stated that he will speak to some degree about the issue but he does not intend to speak about Professor Bodvarsson, his qualifications, his intentions or his decisions.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he has received many email messages concerning the March 14th email message that he and SVCAA Couture sent regarding the issue. He stated that a few of the email messages stated that the March 14th email was inappropriate because it put personnel information into the public domain. Comments stated that this should have been done privately.
Chancellor Perlman then outlined the events beginning with the September 3, 2004 column in the Daily Nebraskan which criticized the University for not offering Professor Bodvarsson a tenured faculty position, and continuing through until the March 14th email message.
Chancellor Perlman noted that Professor Bodvarsson was offered a renewable five year contract as a senior lecturer but Professor Bodvarsson wanted a tenured position. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the Economics department stated that only the Chancellor can create tenured or tenure-track positions.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the student petition and all of the publicity on the issue led him to believe that he should let the campus know what he was thinking on the subject. He stated that his email message sought to make people aware of the process for hiring faculty members and creating faculty positions. He stated that no where in the email did he evaluate Professor Bodvarssons abilities or service at the University. He invited people to read his email message again carefully. He pointed out that he was led to believe that an offer of a five year renewable contract was offered but he has since heard there is disagreement on that point.
Chancellor Perlman stated that it is the role of the faculty to establish faculty positions and appointments. He noted that these positions must be filled through a competitive search process and the candidates must be qualified in teaching, research, and service.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the administration does not have the financial resources to create a new position for Professor Bodvarsson. He noted that he is willing to work with the Economics department to see if their resources would allow them to create a faculty position. He pointed out that if a new faculty position is created a national search must be conducted to fill the position unless it is a targeted position but this would require justification.
Chancellor Perlman stated that it was his intention in the email to point out that teaching is no less valuable at the University than research. He pointed out that there are some faculty members who have exclusively untenured research positions and he believes that the University should offer a similar position for those faculty members who specialize in teaching.
Chancellor Perlman stated that one good thing that came out of this incident was to see how engaged and enthusiastic students were about teaching.
Professor Stick, Educational Administration, asked if departments can show a need for more faculty members because of a large increase in the number of students. Chancellor Perlman stated that some kind of balance will need to be done. He noted that policies may need to be reviewed regarding vacant lines and how they are handled. He stated that it is possible that all vacant lines will come back to Academic Affairs and Deans and departments would need to justify getting lines back. He pointed out that college and department budgets have not been based on student credit hours in the past but this may have to be considered in the near future. He stated that increasing enrollment will take considerable effort. He noted that it will be important to get the necessary resources to those units that have opportunities to increase their enrollment.
Professor Stick asked if extension education is going into the high schools and community colleges to generate interest in UNL. Chancellor Perlman stated that this is starting to be done. He noted that state resources are going more towards challenged students rather than gifted students and it is important for the University to reach the gifted students.
Professor May, Economics, noted that the Chancellor indicated that some traditions would need to change. She pointed out that the UNL fact book demographics states that there has been an increase in administrators while the number of tenure track faculty positions has gone down. She asked, in lieu, of the $6 million shortfall, if this tradition will change resulting in a decrease of administrators. She noted that the Academic Planning Committee awarded $300,000 to programs that serve a small number of students. She asked if the Chancellor has thought about decreasing the amount of the awards to these programs since they produce a small number of credit hours. Chancellor Perlman stated that over 50% of the last budget cuts were taken out of administration. He stated that he would be happy to look at any administrative position that is believed to be unnecessary to see if it can be eliminated. He stated that the University is committed to having quality programs. He stated that as long as these small programs bring distinction and help the reputation of the University, then the University will continue to invest in them. He noted that the J.D. Edwards program has a national reputation and that not all of the small programs of excellence have seen an increase in enrollment. He stated that he believes the J.D. Edwards program is a good program.
Professor May stated that the concern of faculty members in the Economics department with the Chancellors email message on Professor Bodvarsson is that the email intimates that Professor Bodvarsson is only a good teacher. She stated that many faculty members felt it was inappropriate to send an email message on personnel matters. She noted that she could understand why the Chancellor wanted to clarify things but she felt that it was unfortunate that Professor Bodvarsson was referred to in the message. Chancellor Perlman stated that if the interpretation of the email message is that he was making statements on the quality of Professor Bodvarssons work, he apologizes. He pointed out that he did not make any statements evaluating Professor Bodvarssons work but he can understand how people read things.
Professor May stated that many faculty members in departments across the campus have been involved in the strategic planning process. She stated that the chair of the Economics department did not allow its faculty members to participate. She noted that the College of Business Administration has a committee that has taken over the strategic planning. She asked how a department can map out where it is going if it is not allowed to participate in the process. She pointed out that in January the Board of Regents passed a mandate stating that each department will have participation in the process. She stated that it is frustrating for the faculty members in a department to not have participation. She pointed out that the Economics department passed a resolution concerning this issue. She noted that Regent Wilson talked about there being accountability on the campuses but she asked how this is to happen when faculty members are not allowed to participate. Chancellor Perlman stated that the Academic Deans were given latitude to do what is best for the college. He pointed out that the strategic planning is an iterative process and things may change. He noted that the Regents report directs the President to assure accountability. Chancellor Perlman stated that President Milliken will take this to heart and respond accordingly.
Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, asked where the linkage will be if student credit hours are going to effect department budgets. He asked if the linkage will be published. Chancellor Perlman stated that it is contrary to his nature to develop formulas that generate output when there is so much variation within UNL. He noted that there are some departments that do not teach undergraduates and others that mainly focus on research. He pointed out that judgments will need to be made in some cases. He stated that it is important for the campus to create an environment that will increase enrollment. He noted that the most important way to retain students is for faculty members to foster a student mentor. He stated that he understands the frustration that faculty members feel when there are not enough available resources.
Professor Alloway, Broadcasting, stated that Southeast Community College is producing press releases that stress the affordability of going there as compared to UNL, UNK, or UNO. Chancellor Perlman stated that Southeast Community College has been advertising this information for years. He noted that UNL needs to recognize the trend across the country that many students are going to community colleges with the intention of transferring to a four year college to receive their bachelors degree. He pointed out that UNL needs to be warm and embracing to these students. He stated that it is important that the University allows these students to succeed. He pointed out that for some students the community colleges are a godsend because these students may not be ready to handle the rigor of classes at a research institution.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the campus should be very supportive of the community colleges but he cannot accept that the courses at a community college are the same as those courses given at a research institution. He pointed out that only part of an undergraduate career is in a classroom. He stated that outside the classroom social skills are developed on a four year campus such as leadership skills. He noted that the University is engaged in a campaign to convince Nebraskans that the University is affordable. He stated that the campaign is promoting the many strengths of the University. He pointed out that only 25% of those students who intend to transfer to a four year university from a community college actually graduate. He noted that 60% of the UNL students who begin here graduate with a B.A. He stated that the campus needs to have conversations about what is good and works best for the students.
4.0 Approval of 3/1/05 Minutes
Professor Dewey, School of Natural Resources, moved and Professor Haller, English, seconded approval of the minutes. Motion approved.
5.0 Recognition of Outgoing Senators
President Peterson recognized Senators whose term on the Senate has ended. He also recognized those Senators who have been re-elected to serve another term on the Senate.
6.0 Academic Freedom Award
Professor Haller stated that the Academic Freedom Award Committee did not receive any nominees this year for the award. He stated that the Committee was disappointed that no one was put forward this year. He noted that the Committee considered an application that was received last year but adequate information was not provided. He encouraged faculty members to put forward previous nominees next year so that academic freedom can be recognized at UNL.
7.0 Committee Reports
7.1 Computational Services and Facilities Committee (Professor Jackson)
Professor Jackson, Chair of the Committee, stated that there were three particular items of importance on the report. He noted that the antivirus site license has expired and the campus is currently going through a bidding process for obtaining a new site license. He stated that the two main issues for a new site license is functionality of the program and the cost. He noted that faculty members should receive information regarding a new site license soon.
Professor Jackson reported that the use of Blackboard has continued to increase. He stated that the problem with this is that there are increasing site license fees for Blackboard. He noted that Information Services is currently reviewing other products and is a fee paying member of the Sakai Educational Partners Program which is seeking to develop an alternative to Blackboard.
Professor Jackson stated that the Libraries and Information Services are looking into site licenses for plagiarism prevention software. He noted that safeassignment.com and turnitin.com are two software programs that are being considered.
Professor Hoffman asked if there is any kind of update service for the antivirus software since the site license has expired. Professor Jackson stated that the current antivirus program is still operating and everyone should be fine. He pointed out that the Committee is unsure whether the MacAfee software will need to be uninstalled or whether MacAfee can just switch the system off. Professor Hoffman recommended that the University move as swiftly as possible to obtain a site license for a new antivirus program. Professor Jackson stated that the University is still receiving updates and that everyone should be okay for awhile.
7.2 Executive Committee Report (President Peterson)
President Peterson noted that the Executive Committee had a good year and that a number of goals were accomplished. He pointed out that the current Executive Committee serves until April 25th and they will still be working on issues up until that time.
Professor May noted that one of the goals of the Committee was to provide information to the Senate on collective bargaining. She asked for an update on the status of this goal. President Peterson stated that the Executive Committee tried to make arrangements back in January to have a teleconference meeting with Rutgers University, a land grant university, which is unionized. He pointed out that Rutgers was still on break in January when the Senate met and since then he has been unable to receive a response back from Rutgers. He noted that there does not seem to be a lot of interest anymore in having the teleconference but if things change, the Executive Committee can try again to make arrangements for a teleconference call in the fall semester.
Professor Haller asked if there has been any further action on goal three dealing with the climate and quality of life at UNL. President Peterson stated that things seem to be hung up in Central Administration with regards to domestic partner benefits. He stated that the Executive Committee has been told that progress is being made towards having child care on campus. He noted that the main holdup seems to be finding a suitable building for the child care facility. He stated that operation of the child care facility will be contracted out. He pointed out that the Executive Committee will continue to push for child care on campus.
President Peterson stated that officers of the Senate met with UNOPA and ASUN leaders to work on the climate of campus. He noted that the Executive Committee has been in contact with President Milliken stressing that the University-wide Benefits Committee needs to be reactivated.
7.3 Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (FCAC) (President Peterson)
President Peterson stated that the FCAC will be meeting on April 11th. He noted that at the meeting the Committee will review the reports generated by the office of Institutional Research and Planning. He stated that a copy of the minutes from this meeting will be sent to the Senators.
President Peterson stated that he and Professors Perrin and Fulginiti met with Dr. Nunez and Lauren Drees from Institutional Research and Planning to work on the model used for calculating information on gender equity. He stated that the hope is to make the model more effective.
President Peterson reported that one of the reports that the Committee will be reviewing is the comparison report which compares UNL with its peers in terms of salaries. He noted that department peers will also be compared. He pointed out that department peers can be different from UNLs peers. He stated that there can be huge disparity between department peers that may not be evident in the comparisons made with peer institutions.
President Peterson stated that he will keep the Senate updated on the FCAC.
8.0 Unfinished Business
8.1 Motion on 15th Week Policy
President Peterson reported that the Executive Committee was bringing an amendment to the 15th Week Policy motion. The amendment was designed to include language that would allow ASUN to get involved early on if a student makes a complaint on a violation of the policy. Frank Opal, ASUN representative, stated that he asked for the amendment because the section in the 15th week policy dealing with violations is confusing and the process outlined is time consuming. He noted that ASUN already has a committee in place to help deal with violations. He pointed out that students should first try to resolve the issue with the instructor. He stated that the ASUN supports the amendment.
Motion to approve the amendments to the 15th week policy passed.
Professor Harbison, Chemistry, questioned why the definition of a full semester of class was needed in the policy. Professor Haller stated that there are some courses that are only taught for part of the semester.
Professor Harbison moved that the entire paragraph dealing with mutually agreeable be struck. He stated that the process outlined in the policy is cumbersome. He noted that in the courses that he has taught he has never had difficulty with changing the time of a final. He stated that he believed the process was juvenile and did not warrant surveying the students three times. Professor Reichenbach, Computer Science & Engineering, seconded the motion.
Professor Hope stated that she served on the ad hoc committee that worked on the policy. She noted that the committee spent a lot of time discussing this issue. She pointed out that the problem is that many classes differ in size and the language and process included in the policy was to provide a mechanism to protect students. She stated that surveying the class once may not be enough because students may not want to speak up the first time or because they may have been absent from the class at the time the survey was taken.
Professor Hoffman stated that his past experience has shown the three time requirement to be beneficial. He noted that it is not unusual to have a graduate class with seven students but two of them may not show up the day the class is questioned about changing the date. He pointed out that there is no cost to the faculty member to conduct the survey three times.
Motion to amend the policy by deleting the paragraph on mutually agreeable was defeated, 9 in favor, 35 against.
Professor Bender, News-Editorial, stated that the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, has strong objection to the Wednesday deadline date. He noted that there are a number of courses in the college that have projects in lieu of final exams and requiring them to be completed by the Wednesday of the 15th week would be cutting off the last half week of the course. He stated that he wanted to offer an amendment to include the following sentence in the third paragraph: However, if the instructor has assigned a project, paper, or speech by the eighth week to replace the final exam, then the project, paper, or speech may be completed any time in the week of finals.
Professor Nickerson, a member of the ad hoc committee, pointed out that this issue was raised during the March Senate meeting. He noted that if the project was in lieu of the final exam, then that project could be due at the time the final exam would have been normally scheduled. Professor Bender suggested that this should be clearly stated because it is not clear in the policy. Whitt suggested that the language could be made more explicit to accommodate this situation.
Motion to amend the policy approved.
Professor Alloway, Broadcasting, stated that many courses in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications have both projects and final exams. He noted that limited time is available in production studios for students to complete their projects. He stated that while he does not disagree with the concept of the 15th week policy, it will be difficult for the College to accept and adhere to it.
Frank Opal reminded the Senate that last years dead week proposal was substantially different than the one presented this year. He noted that one of the major differences in the proposal this year is the elimination of having study or stop days when no classes would have been held. He stated that having an end to when projects are due will help students greatly and students will be able to go into a final exam knowing where they currently stand in the course according to their current grade.
The motion to change the current dead week policy to the 15th week policy was approved, 35 in favor, 7 against.
8.2 Motion on Final Exam Week Scheduling
President Peterson noted that motion to change the final exam week schedule is a recommendation to be made to the Vice Chancellors. He stated that it will be up to the Vice Chancellors to approve and implement the changes.
President Peterson reported that the Executive Committee met with Earl Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records, regarding the effects the changes would have on the final exam week schedule. President Peterson stated that Dr. Hawkey reported that there were no structural impediments to making the changes and that it would possibly minimize the number of students who would have conflict with three or more exams on the same day.
Motion to recommend changing the final exam week schedule was approved, 42 in favor and 2 against.
President Peterson stated that the will convey the Senates decision to the appropriate Vice Chancellors.
9.0 New Business
9.1 Committee on Committees Motion to Correct Syllabi (Professor Fuller)
Professor Fuller stated that the Committee on Committees was presenting a motion to remove any language that refers to the May Senate meeting and replace it with the last meeting of the academic year. Professor Fuller pointed out that the motion is just a housekeeping motion to update any Senate committee syllabus. She noted that the Senate will vote on the motion at the April 26th meeting.
9.2 Motion on Gender Equity Issue
President Elect Beck stated that a motion was being made from the Executive Committee calling for the Chancellor to address the gender equity issue on campus in three ways. She then read the motion.
President Peterson noted that the Senate would discuss and vote on the motion at the April 26th Senate meeting.
9.3 Motion on Professor Bodvarsson
President Elect Beck presented a motion from the Executive Committee calling for Chancellor Perlman and SVCAA Couture to publicly apologize to Professor Bodvarsson for the email message that was sent to the campus community regarding his employment at UNL.
President Peterson stated that the Senate would discuss and vote on the motion at the April 26th Senate meeting.
9.4 Open Forum How to Strengthen Research and Teaching
President Peterson noted that the Executive Committee originally considered calling the open forum impediments to research and teaching. He stated that the topic was considered due to complaints being made about the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) procedures that are being enforced on faculty members. It was explained that the IACUC issue was raised with SVCAA Couture and it deals with federal regulations which require protocols of animal use.
A faculty member pointed out that the problem with UNLs IACUC is the level of scrutiny. Faculty members who have approved protocols are now being required to submit a request to conduct individual experiments under that protocol. It was pointed out that that this is time consuming and will have a negative impact on students. An example was cited of a student who wants to conduct an experiment. The protocol was submitted on February 15th and approval has still not been received and the student is graduating in May. Another faculty member agreed and stated that these procedures are slowing down productivity. It was suggested that Vice Chancellor Paul should be informed of these problems.
A Senator noted that faculty members will change their focus on research approximately five times during their career. He stated that there needs to be a mechanism for faculty members to apply for a change of career grant. He pointed out that if a faculty member wants to change the focus on their research there are no funds available to assist the professor.
A Senator stated that getting approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is just a way of making work to justify what a faculty member is doing. He noted that it takes a long time to get a study approved by the IRB. He pointed out that it is not possible to try to conduct a study during the semester because the approval process takes too long. The Senator stated that a former student who is getting his doctorate at another institution was able to get approval on his study in three days.
A Senator stated that there are two sides of the issue in regards to the IRB. He pointed out that faculty members should assist graduate students with completing the IRB request form. He noted that he is on the committee that reviews the IRBs and many of the proposals are not done correctly. He stated that a protocol and consent form can be approved by the IRB within the semester if it is done correctly and if it is organized.
Another Senator who is a former member of the Research Council stated that the Council looked at the problems with the IRB. She noted that the IRB is working hard to resolve the problems but there are some serious problems with the whole notion of the IRB. She stated that it is nice to have certification from the IRB but it is not good from a research aspect. She pointed out that faculty members spend many hours writing up protocols and consent forms for the IRB.
A Senator stated that graduate students should be required to take an introductory research method course. This would be helpful to the student in learning how to create well constructed protocols.
A Senator suggested that it would be helpful to have people on the IRB and IACUC whose only responsibility is the work of these committees. He pointed out that the people serving on these committees have other responsibilities and the time they have available for the IACUC is limited. He agreed that protocols needs to be written well and thoroughly explained.
It was noted that six years ago a Life Sciences Task Force was established to review the courses and departments in the Life Sciences. The task force determined that the number one impediment to the Life Sciences discipline was the separate campuses and two sets of administrators, one for each campus. He suggested that the strategic planning process should consider the merging of East and City campus because it is a major impediment to research for the campuses to be separate.
The issue of compliance was raised. There are so many compliances that faculty members must adhere to that it becomes very time consuming. The Senator questioned whether the campus administrators are overly zealous when it comes to enforcing the compliances. An example of over zealous compliance is the search committee training.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:29 p.m. The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, April 26th, 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Patrick Shea, Secretary.