UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES
City Campus Student Union
February 4, 1997
President Peter Bleed Presiding
1.0 Call to Order*President Bleed called the meeting to order at 2:37 pm.
2.0 Announcements2.1 NU-Wide Task Force on Benefits. Bleed reported that he had recently attended a meeting on President Smith's university-wide task force on benefits. Progress is slow.
2.2 Nominating Committee. Bleed reported that he has formed a nominating committee for upcoming vacancies on the UNL Senate Executive Committee. Doug Jose, Agricultural Economics and Senate Past-President, will chair the committee. Other members include Fred Choobineh, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, and Wanda Leonard, Southeast Research and Extension Center. Executive Committee vacances beginning April 30, 1997 are for two officers (secretary and president elect), two regular 3-year term members, and one IANR-specific seat.
3.0 Chancellor Moeser3.1 Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Chancellor Moeser stated he was pleased to announce on February 3 that Dr. Richard Edwards, University of Kentucky, will be the new Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Edwards will officially fill the position beginning April 15, 1997. However, he will be on campus as often as possible between mid-March and mid-April to participate in the budget reallocation process.
3.2 Sigma Chi Fraternity. Chancellor Moeser commented on the recent incident involving racist overtones with Sigma Chi Fraternity members' cross-burning ritual. Chancellor Moeser has met with fraternity members and is hosting a luncheon at which Malone Neighborhood community representatives, Sigma Chi members, and Student Affairs representatives will be present. Chancellor Moeser views the issue of multiculturalism as a top priority for the campus.
3.3 Periodic Review of Fully Promoted Faculty Policy and Procedures. Chancellor Moeser stated that he has a firm belief in the value of periodic review for senior faculty members. He assembled a task force to draft a policy document on this topic comprised of Associate Vice Chancellors Brinkerhoff and Kilgore, Interim IANR Vice Chancellor Nelson, Professors Ford and Jose, and ASUN President Marintzer. Chancellor Moeser commended the members of this drafting committee and hopes senators will support the document recently produced and circulated to senate representatives and Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee members. Chancellor Moeser stated he will defend tenure to the legislature and believes the tenure system is not well understood and appreciated by those outside the university community. Chancellor Moeser acknowledged the utility of tenure in ensuring academic freedom, but believes the university requires a rigorous evaluation system for tenured faculty. The document provides funding for professional development.
Discussion. Owomoyela, English, brought three issues of concern from his representative district: 1) Sigma Chi: Owomoyela appreciates the Chancellor's response to the incident, but faculty are disturbed that this ritual did not run counter to any established university policies. 2) Modem pool outsourcing: Faculty access from off-campus to the university system is an issue which needs reconsideration because many faculty work from home. 3) Periodic review of fully-promoted faculty: His constituents have many concerns about this issue. Chancellor Moeser responded that, in reference to the modem pool, the university's demand for quality (enhanced graphics in particular) and quantity in accessing the Internet have overloaded the established system. Outsourcing was the best possible alternative and he stated that the increased service and benefits also entailed increased costs. Regarding the Sigma Chi incident, Chancellor Moeser said he stands by his statement and believes it presents an opportunity for the university to improve community relations and improve on diversity programs.
Scheideler, Animal Science, discussed the budget reallocation process. She stated that the potential existed for support staff to be displaced because of this process and reminded the Chancellor of the human element involved during the current budget reallocation. Chancellor Moeser acknowledged that any budget reallocation is inherently a painful process and, where staff personnel are affected, the first priority would be to reassign them.
Both Zorn, Finance, and Ragsdale, Biochemistry, stated their concerns about the policy document for periodic review of fully-promoted faculty (PRFPF). Zorn asked if the Chancellor was open to faculty input or if the document was in final form. Chancellor Moeser said he would welcome suggestions from faculty. Ragsdale expressed concerns about the internal review panel evaluation process.
Harbison, Chemistry, stated he was concerned about a comment made by Chancellor Moeser when he referred to the current budget reallocation process as being an on-going process over the years. Harbison felt the process seriously demoralizes faculty. Harbison recognized the need for a university to be adaptable to changes, but also some stability is required. Chancellor Moeser stated that he was not talking about continued budget cuts but, rather, ongoing review of the management of the university's funds.
Jensen, Psychology, was disturbed by the Chancellor's use of the term "contract." Chancellor Moeser explained he was not talking in a business sense but rather, when discussing academic freedom, one must also include academic responsibility.
Powers, Plant Pathology, brought concerns from his constituents regarding the PRFPF document. Powers and his colleagues are often frustrated by the amount of time currently directed toward reviews of faculty, departments, and research and teaching programs. Adding another layer of review with the six-year evaluation required in the policy draft is an extensive commitment in time and funding, and a serious cause for concern.
4.0 Approval of 1/14/97 Minutes* Kennedy, Marketing moved for approval of the minutes. The motion was seconded. Minutes of the 1/14/97 senate meeting were approved as amended.
5.0 Committee Reports5.1 Committee on Committees. Chair Leonard, Southeast Research and Extension Center, reported on the activities over the past year of the Committee on Committees. A detailed report was distributed prior to the meeting. A major task of this committee is to put together a slate of faculty members to serve on the Academic Planning Committee and the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee and Panel. Chair Leonard will present this ballot to the senate for approval later on the agenda.
5.2 Convocations. Chair Bender, News Editorial, reported on the speaker awards distributed from both the Special Events and Avery funds. A detailed report was distributed during the meeting.
5.3 Curriculum. Chair Hofeditz, Theatre Arts, gave a summary of a report of the Curriculum Committee, distributed prior to the meeting. Over a one-year period, his committee took action on a total of 561 proposals for new courses, course deletions, Integrative Studies designations, and other curriculum topics. Chair Hofeditz noted that, of that total, all but 41 tabled items were approved.
5.4 Honorary Degrees. Chair Grady, Educational Administration, highlighted the two major activities of the Honorary Degrees Committee: nine nominations for honorary doctoral degrees, of which five were brought forward and approved by the senate; and the committee received two nominations for the Pound-Howard award, one of which the senate will be asked to vote on later on the agenda. In the future, Chair Grady strongly encouraged faculty to submit names for this respected award.
5.5 Intercollegiate Athletics. Chair Sommer, Management. Sommer focused on three areas of this committee: NCAA certification process, due for completion in 1998; the campus climate--their committee conducts exit interviews of student athletes; and the revised missed-class policy. Chair Sommer noted that, of the extracurricular entities on campus, the Athletic Department was alone in adhering to this revised policy.
6.0 Pound Howard Ballot Nominations/Elections* Chair Grady, Honorary Degrees Committee, distributed a confidential ballot for the Pound-Howard award nominee. Senate representatives voted and the ballots were collected for tallying by the Academic Senate Office staff. The results of the vote will be forwarded to Chair Grady, with copies to Howe, the Associate to the Chancellor, and Chancellor Moeser for future announcement of the award winner.
7.0 Committee on Committees Slate and Ballot Approval* Chair Leonard, Committee on Committees, requested approval of the draft ballot for faculty seats on the Academic Planning Committee and the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee and Panel. This request is brought to the senate from the Committee on Comittees as a seconded motion. Leonard stated that the ballot has a left-column name reversal, as done last year. Bleed noted that Hallbeck was representing the Industrial and Management Sytems Engineering Department, rather than the Engineering and Technology College. Winter, Classics, objected to the use of "vs." between two faculty names running for the same seat and suggested the substitution of the word "or" in its place. So noted. Radant, Cooperative Extension, Cherry County, requested that the full address of the Academic Senate Office be included for proper first-class mail return of ballots by those voting off campus. So noted. Ballot approved with noted changes. The ballot will be distributed via campus and first-class mail to the entire senate body for voting during spring semester.
8.0 Unfinished Business* No unfinished business up for discussion.
9.0 New Business* Periodic Review of Fully Promoted Faculty Policy and Procedures Draft Document (PRFPF). Jose, Agricultural Economics, Senate Past President and member of the Chancellor's ad hoc drafting committee, explained that the Executive Committee has reviewed and commented on two previous drafts but the document comes from the Chancellor. The document does, however, refer to the document entitled, "The Academic Context for Periodic Review of Tenured Faculty at UNL," previously presented to and approved by the senate during the Dember 3, 1996. Jose stated the PRFPF policy draft builds on the peer review process and also requires the identification and commitment of resources for faculty redirection and professional development. Jose moved that the senate support the Periodic Review of Fully-Promoted Faculty Policy and Procedures document in principle. Seconded by Ford, English, Senate President-Elect and member of the Chancellor's ad hoc drafting committee. Ford called the senate's attention to a change in the document, prompted by McShane, English, Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee (ARRC) member. The revision is a change to process #5 and a deletion of #6 altogether. This revision is to place the document in line with existing procedures. Ford stated that there are two major reasons why he served on the writing committee. First, Ford perceives an external threat to the tenure system and the PRFPF process asserts the value of tenure to those outside the university system. Second, the Chancellor will move forward with a PRFPF policy, regardless of opposition, and Ford prefers that faculty be involved in the development process rather than being handed a document. Ford noted that the policies described in the document are in consonent with existing policies. There are no new punitive powers provided to administrators that do not already exist. Bleed stated that a vote for approval of the document in principle would not occur at least until the March senate meeting. Bleed stated that the ARRC has copies of the document and will be reviewing and reporting back to the senate on their interpretation.
Discussion. A lengthy debate about the PRFPF document followed. Jensen, Psychology, called for a clarification of the senate vote impact. Chancellor Moeser stated that, if the senate approved the current document, he would guarantee that this is the document he would establish as policy. He is satisfied with the document as is, but added he is also willing to accept suggestions from faculty. Jensen also questioned the sense of urgency for approving the document. Chancellor Moeser stated he is more interested in gaining faculty consensus than in a specific timeline.
Genoways, Museum, although he agrees with the review process, stated the document was seriously flawed especially in regards to the responsibility of the University to actually provide funds for professional development. Genoways stated that the punative measures are specific, but the rewards mentioned in the document are vague. He also asked why administrators with faculty appointments are not included. Jose responded that the administrators have a five-year cumulative review process already in place that includes a faculty evaluation as well as the administative assessment.
Wise, Law, would like to see the ARRC report back to the senate giving them time to adequately review their interpretations of the PRFPF document. Wise objected to the tone of the document, noting a sentence about "responding to budget constraints." Wise also felt there was too much paperwork involved and not enough face-to-face interaction and communication. Bleed requested that Wise prepare a written response to the document which addressed specific issues, and Wise agreed to do so.
Weiss, Agricultural Meteorology, stated that faculty were taking a defensive stance in that we perceive an external threat to the tenure system. Weiss suggested that the UNL administration conduct a public relations campaign to promote the rigorous evaluation polices already in place, rather than establish new ones.
Zorn, Finance, asserted that the tenure system exists in part for faculty to have ownership rights in determining the university's future.
Swenseth, Management, expressed concern with selecting a realistic set of peers for the evaluation process. Chouinard, Mathematics and Statistics, opposed the PRFPF document and concept, asserting that it will create an enormous amount of work for a very slight problem. Chouinard agreed that the tone was negative. He stated that the essense of the document approved earlier by the senate was "if it ain't broke--don't fix it." He urged the senate to reject the PRFPF document.
Scheideler, Animal Science, spoke in support of the document stating that, among her constituents, there is a feeling of resentment by the junior faculty toward the senior faculty for, what they perceive to be, a lack of the same rigorous evaluation process.
Sartori, Physics and Astronomy, asked Chancellor Moeser if he had spoken with the newly appointed Senior Vice Chancellor Edwards about the evaluation model used by the University of Kentucky. Chancellor Moeser responded that he had, but he faulted its focus on negative productivity. The UNL PRFPF document addresses and rewards those faculty who are being very productive.
Harbison, Chemistry, stated he and his constituents are already continuously setting research goals to keep their research going (with funding agencies). He does not foresee his peers setting his goals.
McShane, English, ARRC member, stated that the ARRC will be meeting on Thursday, February 6, to discuss the PRFPF draft policy. The goal of the ARRC is to report to the senate all the issues it presents.
Spann, Broadcasting, ARRC member, encouraged faculty to make suggestions directly to ARRC members for their consideration. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Bleed stated there is a distribution list called ARRC to send suggestions simultaneously to all five members. Bleed stated, at present, there is only an introduced and seconded motion and no action would be taken until the March meeting at the earliest. Chancellor Moeser stated his goal was to gain faculty consensus by the end of the academic year and reiterated his intent to work closely with faculty on this issue.
The meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m. The next Senate meeting will be March 4, 1997 at the Clifford Hardin Nebraska Center, East Campus. Respectfully submitted, Julie Albrecht, secretary.