UNL ACADEMIC SENATE MEETING MINUTES
Clifford Hardin Nebraska Center, East Campus
January 14, 1997
President Peter Bleed Presiding
1.0 Call to Order*President Bleed called the meeting to order at 2:35 pm.
2.0 NU President L. Dennis Smith* President Smith shared his views for the future of higher education. He stated that the typical 1996 college graduate will change occupations an average of five times during his or her career. Smith talked about the demand by business and industry for "brain power." Additionally, the peak of the "boomer" generation--those born in 1956--are now turning 40 and are returning to college in record numbers. Nationwide, ten percent of all undergraduate students are 40+ and that statistic jumps to 22% for graduate students. These statistics present challenges and opportunities for universities in how and what we teach these diverse groups. In President Smith's view, the "how" is best answered through the use of information technology. He stressed that a combination of computer- and people-based instruction is essential; the former never replacing the latter. The "what" is to increasingly offer core curriculum courses.
Discussion: Pederson, Conservation and Survey Division, asked about the new administrative procedures for the Nebraska Research Initiative (NRI) funds. President Smith stated that he had established a review committee through the Office of the President, as had been the initial design. Smith state a Peer Review Committee, including representatives from business and industry, will be established to review proposals based on merit.
Narayanan, Electrical Engineering, stated he has heard rumors that competition for new centers for the NRI funds will begin in the fall of 1997 and that some allocation of these funds has already been predetermined. President Smith stated that nothing has been set in place at this point. Sartori, Physics and Astronomy, expressed his concern that, even though the State of Nebraska's economic situation was good, he has only read about the approval for $23 million for the UNO engineering institute. President Smith stated that, due to timing, he could not elaborate on university budget specifics because Governor Nelson had not yet given his state address, scheduled for the following morning, January 15. The reality of the fiscal climate is that, due to LB 229 and 1114, limiting expenditures by the city and local government not to exceed two percent and zero in 1998 and 1999, legislators feel the state should also adhere to this philosophy. The University has requested a four percent increase of the state-aided budget and three percent for salary increases. President Smith noted that the state employees have agreed to two and one-half percent in salary increases. The University has three broad priorities: the IST&E building; the operating budget; and a bonds request for building renovations on all four campuses, entailing 16 buildings, and solving 70% of the University's deferred maintenance backlog.
Jensen, Psychology, questioned President Smith about salary increment distribution among the four campuses. Jensen is concerned that a trend of disparity may be developing, citing last year's uneven distribution of four percent to UNK and UNO and three percent to UNL. Smith stated that all four campuses were awarded the same three percent salary increment and he was unaware that the UNL campus had not made up the one percent difference. Chancellor Moeser stated that both UNK and UNO had contracts to honor and UNL did not make up the difference in salary as the other two had done.
Roysircar-Sodowsky, Educational Psychology, questioned President Smith's use of "relearn" in his presentation. She would, instead, use "unlearn" as a more appropriate metaphor. President Smith responded that, in his opinion, learning is an ongoing process.
Latta, Libraries, asked about the University's role in joining Internet II, including the economic issues regarding differential charges for service. President Smith stated that, although he is very supportive of the project, he is not involved with specifics and that his only concern is that the University be involved.
3.0 Announcements* No specific announcements were presented by President Bleed.
4.0 Chancellor Moeser4.1 Chancellor Moeser welcomed the faculty back to campus from the holiday and semester break. Moeser stated he had just returned from the NCAA convention in Nashville and reported that a restructuring of the NCAA was approved during this meeting. Representatives from all major conferences will now be involved in NCAA governance. Chancellor Moeser extended his congratulations to Allison Weston, a former member of the UNL Volleyball Team, who was honored at this convention by receiving the Honda Sports Award for Volleyball.
4.2 Chancellor Moeser reported that the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs search is close to a decision point.
4.3 Chancellor Moeser reported that he and Interim Senior Vice Chancellor Omtvedt have meet informally with the college deans regarding the upcoming budget hearings for the next biennium. Moeser stated that interdisciplinary proposals will be given funding priority.
4.4 Chancellor Moeser stated that the drafting committee is making good progress on the drafting of a policy for the periodic review of fully-promoted faculty. He looks forward to discussing it with the Executive Committee.
4.5 Dr. Ledbetter is on campus and is close to completing a final report on her external review of the Athletic Department. She will be brought back to campus to present the report upon completion.
5.0 Committee Reports5.1 Academic Planning Committee. John Wunder, Chair of the APC, reported on this committee's activities during the past year. Regarding the upcoming budget hearings, Wunder stated that faculty should keep three issues in mind: 1) their views and concerns regarding the budget process; 2) be prepared to agree or disagree with the Chancellor, who has requested faculty input; and 3) review the budget procedures document approved by the Senate and ASUN several years ago for any changes that might be necessary, including the possibility of greater faculty input in the process. Discussion: Jensen, Psychology, asked if it would be too late to make changes to this document at this time, if needed. Wunder stated that modifications would impact this current budget process, but faculty might wish to review it after the process is over, looking toward the next round of budget hearings.
Narayanan, Electrical Engineering, asked about plans and funding for the areas of excellence. Wunder stated that funds will be reallocated to these areas, whether existing or newly created.
Wise, Law, asked specifics about the documents Wunder referred to for budget hearing procedures. Wunder stated the document was created about five years ago for programs and reallocation of resources that affect programs; i.e. restructuring or abolition. These are supplementary procedures adopted for reinvestment. The stipulation is that no tenured faculty lines can be affected by the reallocation process. (NOTE: The document is entitled Procedures to be invoked for significant budget reallocations and reductions, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, dated 2/10/93.)
5.2 Teaching Council. Helen Moore, Chair of the Teaching Council, reported on their activities. Moore noted that the Council has made significant efforts to support innovative teaching on campus. Moore reported that the Teaching Council receives $13,000 annually from the NU Foundation. In contrast, the Research Council receives $329,000 annually. This underfunding highlights the need to place a greater value on teaching through increased funding for recognition. The Council is currently working on a proposal to rectify this disparity.
Discussion: Latta, Libraries, asked if there was an effort to support technology-based teaching proposals. Moore stated that the only restriction was the Council did not approve hardware purchases but, rather, funded faculty activities in technology-based instruction.
6.0 Approval of 12/3/96 Minutes* Latta, Libraries, moved for approval of the minutes as amended. Pederson, Conservation and Survey, seconded. The minutes of 12/3/96 were approved as amended.
7.0 Unfinished Business
8.0 New Business
The meeting adjourned at 3:55 p.m. The next Senate meeting will be February 4, 1997 at the City Campus Student Union. Respectfully submitted, Phyllis Japp, acting secretary.