UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES
127 Architecture Hall
October 8, 1996
President Peter Bleed Presiding
1.0 Call to Order* President Bleed called the meeting to order at 2:37 pm.
2.0 Announcements2.1 Committee Election Results. Bleed announced the results of the recent assembly-wide election to fill two faculty vacancies. Nancy Betts, Nutritional Science and Dietetics, was elected to the Academic Planning Committee. Jerry Petr, Economics, was elected to the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee.
2.2 UNL By-laws change. Bleed reported on the status of last spring's assembly approval to move forward with the UNL By-laws change regarding the election of senators. This change is designed to insure that all members of an academic department are apprised of situations in which only one candidate is on the ballot for a vacancy on the Senate. The proposed language eliminates the possibility of an individual winning a seat by "default." On September 24, Chancellor Moeser forwarded the request to President Smith for the Board of Regents agenda.
2.3 NCAA Self Study Draft. Bleed announced that four copies of the North Central Association Accreditation Self Study draft are available for review in the Academic Senate Office, 1227 R St., City Campus. Comments are due by October 18. Interested faculty may review the document on an over-night basis.
2.4 Initiatives 411, 412. Bleed stated that the November 5 election is upcoming and the property tax initiatives 411 and 412 are very important. A. L. (Roy) Frederick, Agricultural Economics, has produced a series of position statements regarding these two initiatives. Copies are available through his department and he may be contacted at 472-6225.
2.5 Board of Regents Candidates. Albrecht, UNL Senate Secretary, has compiled a list of questions for the three Board of Regents candidates. A letter was mailed to Andrew Sigerson, Nancy O'Brien, and Charles Wilson requesting a response no later than October 15. Questions addressed the following concerns: role and mission of higher education; the tenure system at UNL; academic standards; addition of a non-voting faculty regent to the Board of Regents; and UNL priorities.
2.6 Schwartzkopf fund and Friends of Faculty Senate. Bleed reported that the Senate Office has received contributions of $482 for the Schwartzkopf fund and $587 for the Friends of the Faculty Senate to date. Bleed thanked those faculty members who had contributed and requested senators to encourage their colleagues to contribute. The Schwartzkopf fund is a tax-deductible contribution.
3.0 Chancellor Moeser3.1 UNL Alma Mater. Chancellor Moeser announced that the new Alma Mater, composed by Chip Davis, of Mannheim Steamroller, will be played during half-time of the Homecoming game. Research has revealed various compositions throughout the history of the university such as "The Cornhusker" composed in the 1920s, but none have been for the specific use as an Alma mater.
3.2 Search Committees. Chancellor Moeser stated that the search committee for the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs will review approximately 80 applications during the next two weeks and narrow the list to about 15. Additionally, the chancellor announced that Charles Bethea, from Arizona State University, has been selected as the Lied Center Director.
3.3 UNL Budget Process. Chancellor Moeser stated that a letter will be mailed to all faculty explaining the budget process during this academic year. Selecting academic areas of excellence is one goal for the process and he has requested that deans prepare three budget scenarios: -4%, 0% change, and +4%. Moeser said this process would not be a radical departure from the past, but that he would look at budgets across-the-board for reallocation possibilities.
3.4 Leadership of Higher Education of Nebraska. President Smith has assigned a task force from the Leadership of Higher Education of Nebraska which includes Chancellor Moeser. The task force objective is to prepare a document concerning the impact of a possible passage of ballot initiatives 411 and 412. Moeser stated the university could be faced with a $50-$60 million shortfall if 412 passed.
3.5 Chancellors Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission held four public forums on October 1 and 2; two of which Chancellor Moeser attended, regarding the climate for women on campus. Chancellor Moeser stated that the faculty associates program for minorities and women will be reinstated. Moeser also requested that President Bleed to add maternity leave to their employee benefits package issue.
3.6 External Review of Athletic Department. Chancellor Moeser stated that a consultant will be selected by him to conduct a review of the Athletic Department concerning the treatment of female athletes. Additionally, an NCAA self-study review is being organized. Joan Laughlin, College of Human Resources and Family Sciences, is chair of the steering committee which will oversee four subcommittees for the review.
3.7 Periodic Review of Tenured Faculty. Chancellor Moeser is expecting a position paper from the Senate Executive Committee and looks forward to conversations about this issue.
Discussion. Sartori, Physics and Astronomy and Senate Executive Committee member, stated that he had served on the Conduct and Behavioral Standards Task Force. During that time, he had heard complaints from female athletes about their poor treatment at the training table. Sartori questioned the Chancellor about measures he had taken to remedy this situation. Moeser stated that he will appoint the outside consultant rather than someone from within the Athletic Department and give this person access to previous reports to aid in the review. He is confident that a non-threatening environment can be established to conduct the review. Ford, English and President Elect of the Academic Senate, is concerned about the way Chancellor Moeser presented the report to the media about the upcoming Athletic Department review. Moeser said the report will be made available to the public and that he is confident that UNL has one of the premier athletic programs in the country. He stated that the Athletic Department conducts an outstanding sensitivity training program for all athletes, faculty and staff.
4.0 Committee Reports4.1 Academic Rights and Responsibilities. Judy Johnson, Libraries, Chair of the ARRC, reported on that committee's activities and a written report was distributed to Senators prior to the meeting. Johnson thanked past committee members. Highlights of the ARRC included the input for the Discrimination and Harassment document and input on the selection of Mary Kay Hansen as the new university legal counsel with the departure of Karen Flowers. The ARRC is also exploring the issue of re-instating the ombudsman position. Chouinard, Mathematics and Statistics, questioned Johnson about the ARRC panel of 36 members and whether we were overloading faculty. Parsons, AgLEC, questioned Johnson about the selection process for panel members. Johnson stated that the ARRC desires members that have past experience with panel service and that they also have a lack of minority representation. Ragsdale, Biochemistry, questioned Johnson about the post-tenure review document. Johnson explained that the Senate Executive Committee has forwarded a draft to the ARRC for review and input.
4.2 Dismissal Appeals. Don Lee, Agronomy, Chair of the Dismissal Appeals Committee, stated that Don Gregory is the on-going consultant to this committee and prepared the report which was distributed to senators. Parsons, AgLEC, stated that processing 250 cases between three members seemed to be an overload. Lee agreed that this committee does demand a lot of faculty time, clustered around the beginning of each semester. Narayanan, Engineering, questioned whether standards were being lowered to accommodate these students. Lee responded that the work of this committee is to make decisions regarding future academic success for students and depended on their past efforts and reasons for the initial dismissal. van Roojen, Philosophy, questioned whether establishing a set of rules might help faculty to determine the potential for success. Lee stated that each case needed to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and no generalities could be made.
4.3 Grading and Examinations. Lee is also the Chair of the Grading and Examinations Committee. Their two main functions are to review late withdrawals and grade option changes. Dewey questioned the number of approvals. Lee stated a change in major from one college to another was often the cause. An example is the College of Business Administration which requires grades for majors rather than pass-no pass for non-majors. Chouinard raised a question from a past senate meeting concerning changing the grade submission timetable for faculty, such as the possible elimination of Friday afternoon examinations. Lee stated their committee had decided not to make a change in policy at this time due to a lack of information. Humes, Political Science, stated that he had conducted an informal poll of his department's faculty. Fifteen of the faculty responded they would like to see a change in grade submission made.
5.0 James Van Horn, Vice President for Business and Finance5.1 Change in Insurance Carriers. Vice President for Business and Finance Van Horn gave a presentation which had been earlier presented to the Board of Regents concerning the university's decision to change indemnity insurance carriers from Mutual of Omaha to Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Van Horn explained that, unlike other benefits plan components such as disability or life insurance, the health insurance carrier is re-negotiated every five years. The last time it was done was in 1991. One major reason for changing carriers was the increased participation of preferred providers, especially at out-state locations such as the UNK campus. The St. Elizabeth Health Center is now included in the Lincoln provider network, along with Lincoln General and Bryan hospitals. Also, the level of quality for claims processing with Mutual of Omaha has decreased and Mutual of Omaha required a higher cap for their level of risk in their submitted bid. The goals of the university are to improve financial and quality aspects for its employees. The Blue Cross/Blue Shield bid implied a greater level of confidence in these areas. Van Horn also stated that Blue Cross/Blue Shield is receptive to the idea of an open enrollment period offered to university employees, regardless of pre-existing conditions. This is only in the discussion phase at present.
Discussion. Roysircar-Sodowsky, Educational Psychology and Senate Executive Committee member, questioned why the faculty were not more involved in the decision to change insurance providers, especially as the decision was made over the summer months when many faculty are not on campus. Van Horn stated that, although the process begins much earlier, it necessitates a decision be made during the summer. However, in the future, greater efforts would be made to involve the faculty. Pederson, Conservation and Survey and Senate Executive Committee member, inquired if anything could be done by university administration to improve the claims process by Mutual of Omaha. Van Horn will work closely with them to improve the situation. He stated that Mutual of Omaha is interested in submitting a bid in the next five year cycle and is being cooperative in making improvements. Luther, Architecture, inquired about the effect of the new carrier on those employees enrolled in Mutual of Omaha's HMO. Van Horn stated they will not be affected in any way. Dewey asked who will conduct the quality assessment. Van Horn stated that the university will conduct them. Agnes Adams, Chair of the Employee Benefits Committee and member of the University-wide Fringe Benefits Committee, stated that their committee did report on the possibility of changing health insurance carriers in last year's report to the senate. She took responsibility for not reiterating this process more strongly to her constituents. Adams stated that the U-wide Fringe Benefits Committee is scheduled to meet on October 17 and offered to present any questions senators might have during this meeting.
6.0 Approval of 9/10/96 minutes* Jose, Agricultural Economics and Past President, UNL Academic Senate, moved for approval of the 9/10/96 minutes. Seconded by Dewey, Geography. Minutes were approved.
7.0 Unfinished Business* No unfinished business was discussed.
8.0 New Business8.1 UNL Campus Recycling Program. Bleed noted that Dale Ekart will speak during the November senate meeting to explain UNL recycling activities which were outlined in a flyer distributed in the October senate packets.
8.2 Maternity Leave. Bleed stated the faculty senate presidents are scheduled to meet with President Smith and Bleed will use this opportunity to present the benefit option of paid maternity leave.
8.3 Periodic Review of Tenured Faculty. The Executive Committee has drafted a document about the faculty position on periodic review of tenured faculty. The draft has been given to the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee for review and input. A final draft of this document will be distributed at the November 5 Senate meeting. Narayanan stated that he received information on tenure at the University of Minnesota. He questioned how we can prevent these problems from happening at UNL. Bleed responded that the Executive Committee document is one method, but also he stated that the two universities have very different faculty climates. Humes, Political Science, stated that post-tenure review is a priority issue and encouraged Bleed to have the document emailed to faculty as soon as possible.
8.4 Email privacy. Chouinard stated he read in the Executive Committee meeting minutes that the university holds employee email messages for two years. Roysircar-Sodowsky stated that McShane, English, has informed the Executive Committee of this fact during a past meeting. Dewey stated that, in the case of computer failure, accounts can be rebuilt and restored. This necessitates that the system keep documents for a period of time, but it was unclear to him why the period should be two years. 8.5 Luther welcomed the senate to Architecture Hall and encouraged members to view student and faculty work throughout the building.
9.0 For the Good of the Order
The meeting adjourned at 4:12 p.m. The next Senate meeting will be November 5 at the Clifford Hardin Nebraska Center, East Campus. Respectfully submitted, Julie Albrecht, secretary.