EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Present: Bender, Bryant, Humes, Jackson, Latta, Miller, Prochaska Cue, Scheideler, Swoboda
Absent: Fuller, Siekman, Whitt, Zorn
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2001
1.0 Call to Order
Scheideler called the meeting to order at 3:05 PM.
2.1 Capital Construction Budget Request
Scheideler reported that she received a copy of the Universitys Capital Construction Budget Request for fiscal years 2001-2002 and 2002-2003. The report will be kept in the Academic Senate office.
2.2 Rescheduled Forum on the Prioritization Process
Scheideler announced that the faculty forum to discuss the prioritization process has been rescheduled due to the closure of the campus last Friday. The forum will now be held on Thursday, February 15th at 1:30 in the East Campus Union.
2.3 Meeting with President Smith
Scheideler reported that she and President-Elect Bryant would be meeting with President Smith on February 16. The Academic Senate Presidents from the other campuses will also be in attendance. She stated that if anyone has any issues they wish to have addressed, they should contact either herself or Bryant.
3.0 Interim Chancellor Perlman/SVCAA Edwards
(Interim Chancellor Perlman was unable to meet with the Executive Committee as he was testifying before a Legislative Committee on the Tobacco Settlement Bill.)
3.1 Distance Education Report
SVCAA Edwards stated that the Burns Commission report pointed out that there was a need for the university to have a strategic plan on distance education; as a result a task force on distance education was formed. This task force has developed the University of Nebraska Distance Education Strategic Plan. Scheideler asked if UNL has developed its own plan and how this plan would fit with the university-wide plan. SVCAA Edwards stated that they could not frame the UNL plan until they have a better sense of how the university plan would work. Bryant inquired if there was a need to have a university-wide structure to coordinate distance education. SVCAA Edwards noted that a university-wide plan would help avoid duplication of courses and programs as well as provide a means of easy access for interested students. He noted that Central Administrations plan calls for a coordinator to be hired to oversee the universitys distance education programs. Scheideler stated that she could see a need for some centralization, but that faculty are usually housed on one campus for masters degree programs. Prochaska Cue pointed out that centralization could possibly offer an opportunity to pull in faculty from other campuses to participate in some of the degree programs.
Humes questioned if the equipment needed to operate distance education courses would be housed on each campus or at central. He noted that the report discusses funding but does not indicate where this money would come from. Jackson stated that he was concerned with faculty control over their own programs curriculum, and that centralizing distance education programs would take this jurisdiction away from the faculty on each campus. Scheideler stated that clarification would be needed in determining what campus would award a diploma if there were joint degree programs. Latta noted that the report states that faculty will be identified from each campus to participate in distance education, yet it was not clear whether these faculty will have dual membership in a central administration distance education: group and/or their own campus departments. Scheideler stated that the report did not give strong justification for centralizing distance education. She noted that while it is fine to have different campuses involved in offering courses, ultimately some department must claim ownership and responsibility for a particular degree-granting program. Latta stated that one of the responsibilities of the Distance Education Council is to resolve barriers and develop resources. She wondered how well faculty would be represented on this Council.
SVCAA Edwards stated that the Deans were concerned with the costs involved in centralizing distance education. He pointed out that some duplication could help to create healthy competition as well as provide a back up course should one campus need to cancel a course. He stated that faculty control of courses is needed. He pointed out that the distance education courses are supposed to be in-load and not an overload of course assignments. He noted that the plan mentions some incentives for faculty participation in teaching distance education classes, but that no clear strategy was presented in the report. Swoboda asked for clarification on the justification for offering distance education courses. She questioned whether the intent is to increase enrollment or just to offer another mechanism for course content delivery. SVCAA Edwards indicated that some surveys suggest that place bound, non-traditional students want to take courses, but there was also evidence that actual enrollment in courses is not as great as would be indicated by the surveys. Jackson stated that he was concerned that a centralized system might not recognize the market potential of a specialized course or educational offerings that would generate considerable income above normal tuition rates. Latta pointed out that the vision being presented involves media intensive, web-based courses that have considerable start up costs. She wondered to what extent the vision suggests using NETV and whether the vision includes faculty who are already involved in these types of courses. Humes noted that someone needs to maintain distance education courses and that faculty would need incentives to get involved in such an undertaking. Scheideler pointed out that some of these courses could become quite large and be difficult for one professor to handle. She noted that there needs to be policies developed regarding distance education courses. SVCAA Edwards stated that distance education could be viewed as a source for revenue or a way to extend the universitys land grant mission. He noted that the report does not make this clear. He pointed out that President Smith wants ten percent of the courses listed in the catalog to eventually be offered on-line.
Miller indicated that the report does not present a clear direction on how the university should proceed in distance education. He stated that the report was full of jargon and written with little concern for solving the problem associated with distance education. Latta pointed out that the report did not even adequately reflect the institutions history offering distance education courses. SVCAA Edwards noted that in the past courses, have been developed by faculty and departments. He suggested that the report appears to indicate that a different process would be used whereby people would be assigned to teach these courses. Bryant questioned whether the coordinator would have the authority to appoint faculty. Latta pointed out that the short time frame for providing feedback on a plan that has far reaching impact on the university would not allow adequate input from the faculty community. She wondered whether people who are involved in current distance education degree programs were provided with a copy of the report so that they could provide input. The committee agreed to send a letter to President Smith summarizing their concerns.
3.2 UNL Bylaws
Scheideler pointed out that the subcommittee appointed to review and examine the UNL Bylaws, as well as the Executive committee, have meticulously reviewed the Bylaw language. She noted that they have been upset to learn that new faculty and administrators are not even made aware of the bylaws. She asked for clarification on what is being done to educate new hires on the bylaws. SVCAA Edwards stated that faculty and administrators are currently provided only with a copy of the bylaws, but once the revisions have been approved, it will be an excellent opportunity to highlight the document.
3.3 Issues on the Horizon
SVCAA Edwards distributed a copy of a proposed email policy regarding the group-wide distribution of email to all faculty. He noted that the object will be to reduce the number of unwanted email messages to faculty. He pointed out that clear guidelines need to be developed on what kinds of emails can be delivered campus-wide. He stated that the intent is to develop a web site where events could be advertised, rather than sending individual email messages for each event. He noted that the office of public relations would have responsibility for maintaining this site and only recognized campus organizations would be allowed to publicize their events. Humes asked for clarification on the difference between sponsored and endorsed programs; he indicated that events could be endorsed by a member of the campus community that would not be sponsored by a UNL recognized group. SVCAA Edwards stated that he would clarify this issue.
Byrant asked for clarification on whether the entire campus would be migrating to LotusNotes. SVCAA Edwards stated that they will be and they would like to do it as quickly as possible. Latta asked if use of LotusNotes as a POP3 server would fulfill the system-wide mandate to migrate to Notes. SVCAA Edwards stated that a policy has not been finalized yet. Jackson indicated that he was holding a meeting of the Computational Services and Facilities Committee on February 15th and that he hoped email issues would be clarified by this committee.
4.0 Approval of 2/7/01 Minutes
Miller moved and Prochaska-Cue seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Review Proposed Changes to Professional Conduct A Procedures
The committee worked on reviewing the proposed changes to the Professional Conduct A procedures. Jackson suggested that an attorney, specializing in this area of law, be brought in for consultation. Bender stated that he would check with Mary Kay Hanson, the attorney used to assist the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee on whether she could provide expertise or suggest an alternate specialist.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, February 21, 2001 at 3:00 pm in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. Respectfully submitted, David S. Jackson, Secretary.