EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Humes, Jackson, Latta, Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler, Whitt, Zorn
Absent: Bender, Bryant, Fuller, Siekman
Date: 02 August 2000
1.0 Call to Order
Scheideler called the meeting to order at 2:34 PM.
2.1 Campus ID Advisory Committee
Scheideler announced that Kathleen Prochaska-Cue has agreed to serve on the Campus ID Advisory Committee.
2.2 Big Red Welcome
Scheduled for August 20; there has been a request for faculty assistance with serving at the picnic.
3.0 Acting Senior Vice Chancellor Brinkerhoff
Scheideler indicated that a faculty member had expressed concern regarding the > 4.625% raises granted to Arts and Sciences Chairs. One estimate of the average raise was approximately 7.9%. Latta asked Acting SVCAA Brinkerhoff if data for chair salary levels was available from peer institutions. Brinkerhoff indicated that he didnt think such data was available for chairs (was available for Deans), he also indicated that if raises were given in excess of that available from the pool, then internal college resources would be the source of funding. Brinkerhoff indicated that he would look into the raises and provide additional information. Miller indicated that the raises might be to take care of past discrepancies, but that it would be difficult to justify raises near 12% (for some Chairs).
Scheideler indicated that she had received a letter from President Smith thanking her for the letter of support sent regarding the Regents actions on proposing a 5.2% faculty salary increase. Latta asked if the Legislature does not fully fund the University budget, how a commitment (by I-C Pearlman) not to reallocate be kept? Brinkerhoff indicated that they might need to reallocate, but that it was still too early to make that decision. Brinkerhoff added that UNL also needed clarification from central administration regarding whether the 4-year taxation plan was still needed. Latta asked, considering the Regents desire to increase faculty salaries, would there really be funding flexibility at the University level? Brinkerhoff indicated that the reports of a possible 5.22% increase begins to build expectations; there might be a need to find funds from other sources. Incomplete funding from the legislature would be problematic. Latta suggested rhetorically that it might be better if the legislature would provide a line-item budget to indicate its priorities. Brinkerhoff indicated that it is probably better to be in control of your own destiny. Zorn pointed out that it was unusual for politicians/Regents to believe that faculty salaries are too low. The Acting SVCAA suggested that some regents believe salaries are too high, especially for administrators. Latta agreed that it would be undesirable for the legislature to dictate, but it was troubling that the legislature buys the argument that salaries are too low but does not buy the argument that additional operating funds are necessary.
Brinkerhoff agreed that the operating budget was a concern, and that past reallocations have resulted in losses in either vacant line monies or from funds that directly support faculty. Each faculty member needs a certain amount of support. Scheideler indicated that the estimates for cost savings from new technology appear to be unrealistic; you cant fire that many people because staff usually have multiple duties. Zorn indicated efficiencies are often net costs (equipment/capital investments); savings are often way off in the future. Brinkerhoff agreed that real costs of such projects as Lotus Notes and SAP were higher than expected. Miller suggested one way to cut costs would be to get rid of the NU system. Brinkerhoff noted that there is a task force , that will examine the Structure of the University, appointed by President Smith to examine reasons for the large numbers of administrative departures.
Brinkerhoff suggested that we need to look into appropriate levels of academic (financial) support across the University. Jackson pointed out that different departments have made various decisions regarding support dollars; during recent reallocations, his department has put a priority on Graduate stipends at the expense of support staff. These decisions make University-wide analysis difficult. Zorn commented that a decentralized model is better; it is hard to make generalizations, and some formula needs to recognize the differences associated with needed support based on student numbers. Teaching a couple of hundred students in a class creates overhead costs! Brinkerhoff pointed out that when administrative flexibility to shift funds from less-needed areas into new areas/areas with increased student numbers is reduced/eliminated, there is little help available to address real needs. Miller asked Which model is better? Brinkerhoff responded that there is a need for flexibility in a centralized office i.e., dont have vacant lines automatically revert to units; this is a tough budget issue, must be able to move funds around. Zorn noted that this is the same logic used to justify central administration; obviously at some point organizations become too vast and micro-management becomes a problem. Scheideler suggested that there needs to be some degree of budget flexibility at all administrative levels. Brinkerhoff noted that the real issue is to determine how many levels are required.
Scheideler asked the Acting SVCAA what initiatives have been started in response to the Life Sciences task force report? Brinkerhoff responded that Dean Nelson has initiated some activity around research clusters and that some Chairs have begun very limited discussions regarding the life sciences curriculum. Also high on the agenda is the need for engagement on the 2020 report. Deans have been asked to develop strategies to engage the faculty. The Deans have a retreat the first week of October. Faculty will have the responsibility to reflect and comment on the report. Scheideler asked if there was faculty representation on any groups discussing Life Sciences curriculum changes. Brinkerhoff stressed that there was good intent to move forward with faculty input.
Latta asked if there was any news regarding a search committee for the UNL Chancellor position. Brinkerhoff responded that he thought there would be a delay until the administrative vacancy task force reports, but that they are trying to move forward and fill other positions. Latta commented that this was new information and that the University community needs to know if there is going to be a large time window in filling this vacancy. Prochaska-Cue asked if there was faculty representation on the task force. Scheideler replied that there was representation. Latta also asked if the Acting SVCAA could provide some information regarding the recent congressionally-approved funding (specifically the distance education money). Brinkerhoff indicated that the federal funds were for UNL, not Class.com and that the nano-technology and virology funds were also targeted to UNL. Latta asked for an update on any new interdisciplinary groups established by Dr. Torr. Brinkerhoff noted that Vice-Chancellor for Research Torr has been targeting NIH funds, and that groups consisting of UNMC and UNL faculty were provided some seed grant dollars with the expectations that additional funds for these groups would be available on a competitive basis.
4.0 Approval of 7/5/00 and 7/19/00 Minutes
Humes moved and Zorn seconded approval of the 7/5 and 7/19/2000 minutes. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Future Nebraska / 2020 Task Force Activities
Scheideler asked for input regarding how faculty can directly discuss and respond to the 2020 report; should a discussion be held at the Senate Meeting? Miller agreed that a Senate meeting forum would be a good idea. Scheideler suggested the first meeting; Zorn warned against having a dog and pony show, and suggested a debate format. Scheideler responded that the first discussion topic should be on whether the vision laid out by the task force was appropriate. Latta agreed and suggested a panel/debate format with a moderator. She also stressed the need for a balanced panel (supporters, detractors and researchers across the entire spectrum of the University). Scheideler took suggestions for possible panel members and indicated she would make the contacts.
5.2 Political Contacts
Scheideler noted that a candidate for the 29th Legislative District contacted the Senate indicating his willingness to meet. Scheideler proposed to the Committee a 4:30 meeting time at one of the regular meetings, and stressed that both candidates running for that race would be invited.
5.3 ARRC Procedures
Scheideler indicated that the ARRC was working on revising its procedures/rules. Humes commented that the Executive Committee needs to see something on paper (a draft) so that the Committees input can be provided. Zorn expressed concern that he was unaware of what was being considered and that it was odd to have such a committee working without sufficient input. Scheideler, Whitt and Zorn stressed a draft document would be beneficial. Latta commented that some of the work related to the special committees. Zorn responded that the issues cant be secret if they appear in the Lincoln Journal Star. Zorn stressed that he didnt want such serious issues slipping under the door. Scheideler indicated that she wanted faculty input to be a strong as possible, and indicated that she would encourage ARRC to provide a draft of any new policies and engage the Executive Committee as soon as possible.
5.4 Antelope Valley Project
Miller indicated that presentations were made recently on aspects of the project; these presentations included an excellent bus tour of the impact area(s). Latta asked if the need for the project was due to control measures apparently being implemented in conjunction with the new ballpark and suggested that the bus tours would be useful to members of the campus community.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Administrative Salary Increases
[The issue was discussed with the Acting SVCAA Brinkerhoff, see above]
The meeting was adjourned at 4:26 PM. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, August 16, 2000 at the Wick Alumni Center, Steinhardt Room. Respectfully submitted, David S. Jackson, Secretary.