Draft Draft Draft (01feb21mins)




Present:          Bryant, Humes, Jackson, Latta, Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler, Siekman


Absent:           Bender, Fuller, Swoboda, Whitt, Zorn


Date:               Wednesday, February 21, 2001


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace

1.0       Call to Order

            Scheideler called the meeting to order at 3:08 pm.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Meeting with President Smith

Scheideler reported that she and President Elect Bryant attended a meeting with President Smith and the Senate Presidents/President Elects from the other three campuses.  She stated that the following topics were discussed:


¨      Fetal Cell Tissue Research – Scheideler reported that they discussed the use of fetal tissue cells in research and the Bioethics Advisory Committee report  (a copy of the report can be found on the web at:  http://www.uneb.edu/administration/Reports/Bioethics/BioethicsCommittee.htm )


¨      Intellectual Property Policy – Scheideler reported that a revised draft of the intellectual property policy would be distributed to the campuses shortly.  Bryant noted that two outside consultants were hired to work on the policy.  He stated that there is concern that the faculty would not be given adequate time to provide input.


¨      University Budget – Scheideler reported that President Smith announced that the Appropriations Committee generally supported the Governor’s recommendations concerning the University budget.


¨      Need-Based Scholarships – Scheideler reported that a bill (LB364) has been introduced to the Legislature that would limit need-based scholarship award amounts authorized under the State Scholarship Award Program Act to be no greater than “…the resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at the state’s highest-cost public four-year eligible postsecondary educational institution.”  The impact of this bill would be to reduce scholarship funding to students attending private institutions.


¨      Student Recruitment – Scheideler stated that there was a discussion about the problems that some students have in being able to obtain a degree in four years.  She reported that President Smith is considering a program that would guarantee parents that a student could obtain a degree in four years, providing the student remains a full-time, continuously enrolled student during those four years.  The student would also be required to take a minimum number of credit hours each semester.  Bryant suggested that the General Education requirements might need to be reviewed.


¨      Transfer of Tuition Remission Benefit – Scheideler reported that President Smith is going to strongly support this benefit for the UNL campus in discussions with the Board of Regents.  She noted that UNO and UNK have already obtained this benefit through bargaining with their unions.  Bryant pointed out that members of GLBT are protesting that this benefit does not apply to them and thus it is an unethical benefit.


¨      Distance Education Strategic Plan Report – Scheideler reported that the other campuses favored the report’s direction.  She reported that President Smith stated that the plan does not intend to centralize the curriculum.


2.2       Athletic Scholarships

Scheideler reported that she received a phone call from Professor Diffendal, Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC), who stated that the removal of the cheerleading scholarships was reviewed by the IAC.  The committee found the Athletics department to be in compliance with Title IX. 


2.3       ASUN Motion on the New Grading System

Scheideler reported that ASUN has a motion on the floor stating that the Academic Senate needs to hear and consider student concerns regarding the change to the grading system.  Bryant stated that it is important to have good communication with ASUN on this matter.  Scheideler and Bryant agreed to attend an upcoming ASUN meeting to discuss the changes to the grading system.


3.0       Approval of 2/14/01 Minutes

            Bryant moved and Humes seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


4.0       Vice Chancellor Owens

            4.1       Prioritization Process

Scheideler stated that the committee wanted to address concerns of faculty and department heads in IANR over the process that was used to develop the priority list.  She noted that IANR’s process did not seem to be consistent with that used by some of the other colleges.  In particular, the faculty feel that within IANR there was not an opportunity to put forward smaller programs for consideration.  She pointed out that Interim Chancellor Perlman has stated that a subset of these programs would be developed in order to establish funding priorities.  She noted that there is concern with how this would be done.  VC Owens stated that he was assured by the IANR Deans that there had been considerable faculty input in developing the priority list.  He pointed out that outside constituents have indicated to him that they were very concerned that specific IANR programs are difficult to find on the list.  He stated that he intends to work with the Deans and unit heads to develop more recognizable language to include on the list and in the program narratives.  He noted that having a large number of specific priority programs might cause difficulty in the future for some colleges because with the priorities comes the responsibilities that go with trying to develop these programs.  Jackson stated that there is concern regarding who would be making the choices as to which priority programs would receive funding from University-wide sources.  VC Owens pointed out that Interim Chancellor Perlman has stated that if a program is on the list, then the chairs or Deans are expected to put some funding into the program.  He noted that the list is subject to change as priorities within the colleges change. 


4.2       Issues on the Horizon

VC Owens stated that three candidates would be interviewing for the Dean and Director of Cooperative Extension position.  Scheideler reminded him that the Senate Executive Committee interviews each candidate for positions of Dean or higher.  VC Owens stated that he would make sure the Executive committee is on the interview schedule.


Scheideler asked if there were any administrative reviews that needed to be conducted.  VC Owens stated that he would check into this and get back to the committee.  Scheideler noted that, in the past, there has been some concern with confidentiality associated with information/evaluations collected during administrative reviews. 


VC Owens announced that he plans on having Friday afternoons, from 2:00 – 4:00, open for drop in meetings with faculty, staff, or students.  He stated that the he hopes to have the first one on Friday, March 9th.


5.0       Implementing the Changes to the Grading System – Dr. Early Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records

Hawkey stated that it would be best to implement the new grading system at the beginning of an academic year.  He noted that grading sheets will need to redesigned, new transcript paper ordered, and some computer programming will need to take place.  He stated that he does have concerns with the Graduate College and whether the new grading system would be implemented in that college.  He stated that we do not want to have two different grading systems on campus.  He pointed out that the Graduate College is a university-wide college that is governed by a different structure.  Scheideler noted that it is the faculty at large, not the Graduate faculty, who can vote on whether to change the grading system.  Latta suggested that the Graduate Council would be able to make the decision to change the Graduate College’s grading system.  Hawkey stated that he spoke with UNO and UNK and that both campuses are in the process of reviewing whether to change their grading system.  He noted that if they do change to the new system, it would alleviate a number of problems in regards to transfer of courses between the campuses.  He pointed out that some faculty might want to reevaluate the standards for probation and dismissal, although he was in favor of not changing them.  The committee agreed that the new grading system should be implemented at the beginning of the next academic year (Fall 2001), if it is feasible.  Humes wanted to clarify whether students would have the option of a grandfather clause.  Hawkey stated that there should not be any grandfathering. He noted that on the reverse side of UNL’s transcript there is an explanation of the grading system.  He noted that his office already provides such explanations with transcripts that have grades from UNL’s earlier grading systems.  He stated that all the grades would be factored in together to calculate the GPA, regardless of what grading system was used; the grade points earned when the grade was issued is used in the calculation.  Griffin was concerned with students whose programs are based at UNO, but who take the majority of their classes at UNL.  Hawkey stated that if UNO or UNK does not change their grading system, classes considered UNO or UNK courses would be graded according to their grading system. Bryant asked if the Academic Standards would need to be changed.  Hawkey stated that at this point we should keep the same standards but that grade distributions would need to be reviewed to see if there are any significant changes as a result of the new grading system.  He noted that he would work to accommodate UNMC courses but he was unsure as to how the Law College will deal with the new system.  Latta asked if the changes would have an impact on the minimum gpa for students on academic probation.  Hawkey stated that it should not.  He pointed out that unless or until the rules are changed, any grade below a C, including a C-, can be removed by retaking the course. 


6.0       Unfinished Business

            6.1       Revisions to Guidelines for Tenure and Promotion

Scheideler noted that Professor McShane and Dr. Howe observed that the Wheeler and Young policies, which pertain to faculty access to their tenure and promotion file, have not been incorporated into the Guidelines for Tenure & Promotion document.  The committee agreed that the guidelines need to be reviewed and brought to the Senate for a vote.  The committee agreed that this should be done in the fall semester.


7.0       New Business

            7.1       FCAC Report (Bryant)

Bryant stated that the Faculty Compensation and Advisory Committee (FCAC) would be meeting on Tuesday, February 27th.  He stated that one of the topics on the agenda would be to discuss faculty salary distributions.  He noted that there is concern that administration will want to redistribute salary funds so that some colleges, who are behind their peer institutions, would receive a larger portion.  He noted that last year the Senate’s stance was that the distribution should be equal across the colleges and that if additional funding was needed to address market issues, then these funds should come from other sources.  Latta stated that there is an argument that colleges should be awarded based on performance and that the justification for an equal distribution of salary dollars supported last year, in relation to market factors, could not arbitrarily be used as justification to reject differential distributions based on other criteria such as performance.  The FCAC might want to deliberate on these issues this year as well.  Scheideler noted that those colleges considered behind their peers are in fact the colleges where faculty salaries are the highest on campus.  She pointed out that the turnover rate in these colleges is quite low.  Bryant stated that he would report back to the committee after the FCAC meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 pm.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, February 28th, at 3:00 pm in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  Respectfully submitted, David S. Jackson, Secretary.