DSJ Suggestions (00sep20mins)



Present:        Bender, Bryant, Fuller, Jackson, Latta, Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler,

                        Swoboda, Zorn


Absent:          Humes, Whitt


Date:              Wednesday, September 20, 2000


Location:       Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0          Call to Order

                Scheideler called the meeting to order at 3:02 PM.


2.0          Announcements

                No announcements were made.


3.0          Interim Vice Chancellor McBreen

                3.1  Update on Dean Searches

Interim VC McBreen reported that the Dean of CASNR search is on hold until a new Vice Chancellor for IANR is in place.  She stated that the Dean of the CooperativeExtension Division search committee is conducting a second search.  She noted that she has not received any feedback on how many candidates are being considered for interviews.  She pointed out that if a decision on a newVice Chancellor is made soon, then that person will make the final decision on who to hire for the Deanship.  If not, the search process will still continue, and she will make the decision.  Jackson asked why there are different approaches to the two searches.  Interim VC McBreen stated that the search for the Extension Dean was started before Vice Chancellor Omtvedt retired. 


Scheideler asked for clarification on the email sent to IANR faculty concerning the position of Interim Associate Vice Chancellor.  Interim VC McBreen stated that the position would be for up to one year and is somewhat dependent upon whether a new Vice Chancellor is identified soon.  Latta asked if there is public information on which candidates are still being considered.  Interim VC McBreen stated that as far as she knows, all four candidates are still in consideration.  She noted that the Daily Nebraskan article on Wednesday, September 20th was incorrect in that it indicated Dean Darrel Nelson had quit.  She stated that Donald Edwards, Dean of CASNR had retired, not Dean Nelson. 


3.2  Extension Task Force Report

Interim VC McBreen suggested that the committee meet and speak with Elbert Dickey about the report.  She stated that she is receiving wide ranging and divergent feedback; some suggest that the report does notpropose any change, while others indicate that the report advocates excessive change. She pointed out that if Extension is truly supposed to be the “front door to the University,” this role must be further defined and receive faculty support.  She noted that if the university is going to continue its service to rural Nebraska, then we need to have a more comprehensive, broad-based  look at extension.  She stated that there is a request in the biennial budget for 5 additional faculty lines and 4 additional extension educator lines that would be for engagement with rural Nebraska.  Interim VC McBreen stated that another issue important to rural Nebraska is how distance education and extension education can be pulled together or coordinated.


Bryant pointed out that there are many programs and activities occurring on campus that deal with rural Nebraska.  He asked if there is any coordination of all of these efforts.  Interim VC McBreen reported that she has been asked to determine and survey what programs (throughout the NU system) are focused on rural Nebraska.  She stated that a letter is going to be mailed from President Smith and the Chancellors indicating what the priority areas are and asking people who are interested in these areas to be part of the process.  She stated that a committee is being formed, with members from each of the campuses, to look at priority program areas  focused on rural Nebraska.  She noted that they will try to get additional funding for rural Nebraska programs.  Bryant stated that he has concerns, relative to the overall prioritization process, that if a program does not have a tie to rural programming than it will not be considered a priority or that some programs might not be properly identified by the committee as having a rural Nebraska component.  Interim VC McBreen stated that this process is different from the overall prioritization process, and that the members of the committee have a broad perspective such that the diverse range of programs associated with rural Nebraska should not be overlooked.  Scheideler stated that the Senate would be helpful because of its broad representation.    Interim VC McBreen stated that President Smith will try to get additional funding to support the identified rural initiatives.  Latta asked what impact this is going to have on the intention to approach the legislature about additional funding, outside of the budget request, for research.  Interim VC McBreen stated that she did not think the additional funding request would be for research. 


3.3  Distance Education

See 3.2 above.


3.4  Issues on the Horizon

Interim VC McBreen reported that an interim study from the legislature, which looked at the status of IANR within the university system was conducted and that hearings will be held concerning the study.  She stated that there will be two hearings, one in Scottsbluff, and one in Lincoln (November 3rd, 9:00 a.m., State Capitol Building).  Jackson asked if the study was being conducted because there is the notion that IANR is being short changed.  Interim VC McBreen stated that the belief is that agriculture is being short changed.  She noted that the call for the study came from the agricultural community. 


4.0          Approval of 9/13/00 Minutes

Bryant moved and Prochaska Cue seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


5.0          Michael Foley, Candidate for the 29th Legislative District

Scheideler welcomed Republican candidate Michael Foley, candidate for the 29th Legislative District.  She explained the role of the Academic Senate in faculty governance.  Bryant noted that the faculty have several issues of concern that can be influenced by the legislature.  In particular, academic freedom is a current concern for many faculty members.  Foley stated that he is concerned with politicians meddling in the research efforts of faculty.   However, he stated that since he is pro-life he would vote in favor of prohibiting the use of fetal cell tissue in research.  Scheideler asked how he viewed academic freedom.  Foley stated that he believes that academic freedom is needed at institutions of higher learning. 


Bryant stated that another issue concern is the desire for the university to be one of the top 20 land grant research universities in the country and the ability to achieve this goal.  Foley stated that in order to accomplish this task it would take a great deal of funding.  He stated that he is a champion of the public institution.  He feels they are essential to the state.  He pointed out that his district has many families with children.  He wants the university to be the best that it can be for these children.  He noted that Love Library is in dire need of support and that it pales in comparison to other schools because of the lack of resources. 


Scheideler noted that all funds currently go to Central Administration from the legislature.  She asked how specific programs located at UNL can be assured of support.  Foley stated that it will be difficult to distinguish an individual campus but he stressed that UNL will be a high priority for him.  Latta pointed out that UNL has lost its status as the state’s university and that allegiances are now defined geographically.  She asked if there is a way of addressing this in the legislature to restore their understanding of the statewide mission of UNL.  Foley stated that it is important to address the system as a whole and not just focus on one campus.  He pointed out that it could do more harm than good to just champion UNL.  Miller pointed out that UNL needs a strong advocate.  Foley stated that he hoped the UNL campus to be the flagship campus and stated that he will push for this.  Miller stated that the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education placed another layer of administration on the university and asked Foley about his views on it.  Foley stated that he was unaware of the Commission but indicated that he has plans to study its role. 


Scheideler pointed out that salaries are an on-going concern for faculty.  She pointed out that unlike UNK or UNO, UNL is based on merit pay.  Bryant noted that UNL wishes to be seen as the premier campus.  He pointed out that it is the campus where international students come to study.  Zorn noted that UNL is the primary campus for expensive doctoral programs, which are essential for the quality of the university; he stated that funding doctorial programs on all the campuses would dilute their overall quality and that no one campus would have a quality program.  Foley stated that he made comments to the media that he would like to see a world class university here in Nebraska.  Scheideler stated that the committee hopes to see him on campus again and that if he has any questions, that he should feel free to contact any of them.


6.0          Unfinished Business

                6.1   Revised Strategic Agenda

Item postponed.


6.2   Student Absence Policy

Griffin passed out information on the history of the student absence policy.  The original motion passed in 1983 called for “any extra curricular program to be discontinued as a sanctioned program if it schedules activities requiring a student to be absent for more than three weeks during a semester”.  Bryant noted that the Intercollegiate Athletics committee drafted a form, which was presented to the Academic Senate last spring, that would help with the problem of students missing classes.  Latta suggested that instead of a form a resolution be passed stating that it is the student’s responsibility to inform and get permission from an instructor when they know they will be absent from a class(es) to participate in sanctioned event(s).  Zorn pointed out that this policy cannot be a mandate.  Miller noted that extra curricular activities can be wonderful learning opportunities for students.  The committee agreed to draft a resolution to recommend that students contact their instructors regarding expected absences. 


7.0          New Business

7.1   Administrative Interviews

Scheideler asked the committee if they felt that it is important for to participate in interviews  for positions at the Dean’s level.  The committee felt that it is important to show that the Senate and the Executive Committee is involved in faculty governance.  Members indicated they felt that it is important to discuss faculty issues and concerns with the candidates.  Latta pointed out that it is important to establish a point of contact with the candidates and that meeting with them creates continuity with the person should they be hired.  The committee discussed whether the interviews could be opened up to interested Senators.  The committee felt that too large a group could result in a less intense, in-depth interview.  Zorn suggested that Executive Committee members invite someone to attend the interviews for them if they cannot attend.



The meeting was adjourned at 5:10M.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, September 27 2000 at 420 University Terrace, Academic Senate Office.  Respectfully submitted, David S. Jackson, Secretary.