EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Banerjee, Bryant, King, Logan-Peters, Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf
Date: Wednesday, May 30, 2001
Location: 201 Canfield Administration Building
1.0 Call to Order (Bryant)
Bryant called the meeting to order at 2:27 P.M.
2.1 Report on Meeting of Academic Senate Presidents and President Smith
Bryant reported that the Presidents of the Academic Senate from each campus recently met with President Smith and Provost Jones. He stated that there was discussion on the implementation of the tuition remission transfer benefit. Bryant noted that President Smith proposed to the Board of Regents that the benefit negotiated by UNK into their contract should be made system-wide. The UNK version of the benefit states that spouses and dependents may only take undergraduate courses and dependents must be enrolled as full-time students. Bryant stated that UNO would like to see graduate courses included in the benefit. Bryant noted that President Smith is reluctant to propose a different plan to the Board of Regents. He is concerned that the benefit would be tabled for further discussion. Bryant stated that UNL and UNO pointed out that the benefit should also be extended to domestic partners. Siekman stated that central administration did not indicate in their memo to employees that there would be a difference in the benefit from what employees currently receive.
Bryant reported that there was discussion on the diversity reports submitted by all four campuses. He stated that they pointed out that the reports were silent on gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender employees.
Bryant stated that there was also discussion regarding university/industry partnerships. He noted that President Smith strongly promotes this kind of alliance. Bryant stated that there was discussion on whether these alliances could affect retention of ownership of faculty created work in regards to curriculum development. He noted that President Smith pointed out that the intellectual property policy would protect facultys ownership rights.
Bryant reported that there was a lengthy discussion on tenure residing at the campus level rather than the department level. He pointed out that one advantage would be that faculty could not be terminated if their unit was disbanded. He stated that no conclusions were reached and that the topic would be discussed further.
Bryant stated that there was discussion on the proposed senior learning passport (possibly in conjunction and thru the UN Alumni Association). He noted that this program would allow senior citizens (defined as over 70 years old) to take undergraduate courses for a nominal fee of $25 per course (plus any additional course fees). The committee agreed to discuss this issue further.
2.2 Update on the New Grading System
Bryant reported that the Graduate Executive Council approved the new grading system. It will be implemented in the fall semester.
2.3 Update on Transfer of Tuition Remission
See 2.1 above.
2.4 Meeting with Student Affairs Council
Bryant reported that he met with Vice Chancellor Griesen and various members of his staff to discuss undergraduate issues.
2.5 Letter to Governor Johanns
Bryant reported that he wrote to Governor Johanns, on behalf of the Executive Committee and the Academic Senate, to thank the Governor for his support of faculty salaries during this past legislative session.
2.6 Intellectual Property Policy and Distance Education Report
Bryant distributed the latest revised version of the Intellectual Property Policy. He asked the committee to review the policy so they may discuss it at the June 13th Executive Committee meeting. He also distributed the revised Distance Education Report. He stated that it would be discussed at a future meeting.
3.0 SVCAA Edwards
3.2 Search for Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
Bryant stated that the committee wanted to clarify their involvement in searches for Associate Vice Chancellors. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that the UNL Bylaws requires Senate involvement when the position is for a Dean, Vice Chancellor, or Chancellor. He noted that the practice has been for the Vice Chancellor, with involvement of a search committee, to select the person to fill the appointment of Associate Vice Chancellor. He pointed out that this position is considered part of the staff of the hiring office. SVCAA Edwards noted that he is responsible for the work that comes out of the Academic Affairs office and that the Associate Vice Chancellors do not work independently of that office. Miller asked if the faculty should be involved in the search process if the responsibilities of the position include contact with the faculty, such as Director of Summer Sessions. SVCAA Edwards stated that a search committee is formed, usually involving some faculty. However, he pointed out that the search committee for an Associate Vice Chancellor position is different from the search committee stated in the UNL Bylaws. He noted that the search process was proceeding for the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs but he has temporarily halted it due to the possible restructuring of that position. He stated that this might mean that another interim appointment would be made. Bryant stated that since the position oversees summer sessions, it might be a good opportunity to review how summer sessions is administered. SVCAA Edwards stated that he would be interested in discussing the policies regarding summer sessions.
3.3 Promotion & Tenure Process
Bryant reported that the Executive committee agreed to move forward on further discussions of the promotion and tenure process. He stated that they would like to review salary increases to see if there is a relationship between the reward and what it is being given for (teaching, research and/or service). Wolf pointed out that there is concern with the promotion and tenure process in that there is no accountability when bad decisions are made. He noted that these decisions could result in not meeting the mandate set forth by the legislature to retain and hire women and minorities. Banerjee stated that affirmative action should not be a factor in the promotion and tenure decision and that it does a disservice to the quality of the university. Wolf pointed out that some faculty are not being promoted because of their gender and minority status and that administration should be responsible for overseeing some of these decisions. SVCAA Edwards stated that Associate to the Vice Chancellor Jacobson has taken on this role in the past three years.
Miller noted that a question that needs to be dealt with is whether good annual evaluation over the past five years constitutes an automatic approval of promotion and tenure. He pointed out that to not approve someone with good annual evaluations could result in a legal case. SVCAA Edwards agreed and stated that a problem, which exists at this campus, is the varying practices of the promotion and tenure process. He noted that questions arise as to whether or not the same process should be used across the campus, and if so, which process is the best, or whether the process should remain unchanged. He pointed out that as the aspirations of the University change, they could have an impact on the promotion and tenure process. He suggested forming a joint study group to start discussions on the process. He pointed out that this would not be an action plan and that no particular outcomes are being sought. Byrant stated that faculty want a better understanding of the tenure and promotion process.
3.4 Faculty Salary Increases
Bryant asked for clarification on the information provided to unit heads regarding distribution of faculty salary increases. SVCAA Edwards stated that a memo was sent outlining the three merit pools that would be available and the procedures needed to access the pool at the Vice Chancellors level. Banerjee asked for clarification on the distribution range within departments. SVCAA Edwards stated that they expected to see a differential range in the distribution of increases since the Board of Regents had determined that increases would be based on merit. Bryant stated that the committee would like to get information on the distribution of increases when the process of determining raises has been completed. Wolf asked what the aim is for retaining the pools of money at the Deans and Chancellors level. SVCAA Edwards stated that the money is to be used for rewarding exceptionally meritorious work. He stated they have tried to create a mechanism where good faculty can be rewarded above the department level. He pointed out that Deans must make a recommendation for a faculty member to receive money from the Vice Chancellors pool. Scheideler noted that Deans should report what their criteria were for distribution of the funds for faculty salary increases.
4.0 Approval of 5/16/01 Minutes
Spann moved and Logan-Peters seconded approval of the minutes. Motion approved.
5.0 Parking Issues - Tad McDowell, Director of Parking & Transit Services, Sandy Lineberry and Lloyd Bell, Parking Advisory Committee
McDowell reported that due to construction on campus and the Antelope Valley Project, parking stalls on campus might eventually be reduced by 4,000 spaces. He stated that Parking & Transit are working on the planning phase of the 14th& and Avery Street parking garage. He pointed out that Parking & Transit is totally self-supporting and their only income is through parking fees. He noted that he is working with Vice Chancellor Jackson to explore alternate means of funding. Miller asked if the fees would be increased to pay for the 14th street garage. McDowell stated that we are currently in year three of a 4-year plan to pay for the 17th street garage and that parking fees would have to increase even more to cover the 14th street garage. Scheideler asked how many stalls would be available when the 17th street garage is opened. McDowell stated that there will be a surplus of spaces available upon its opening but that the Antelope Valley Project would eventually remove 1400 spaces.
Griffin noted that shuttle buses are often seen driving around empty, particularly during the recent two-week period when no classes were in session. She pointed out that this is an unwise use of funds, particularly with the cost of fuel these days. McDowell stated that there was a demand a few years ago for increased shuttle service but they are in the process of reviewing the program for efficiency.
Scheideler pointed out that there seems to be an assumption that the only resolution is to build parking garages. She stated that other alternatives, such as restricting student parking, should be explored. Prochaska-Cue pointed out that the faculty and staff on east campus will be enraged if another parking fee increase is made without there being any improvements on east campus. McDowell noted that restricting student parking may cause a decrease in admissions and would cause more students to park off campus in the surrounding communities. Bryant pointed out that the faculty and staff can not afford to pay for another parking garage. He suggested that some alternative be found. McDowell stated that he is working with ASUN to see if they would consider implementing a transit fee of approximately $15 per semester for each student to help offset the cost of parking and transit services. Whitt asked what the worst-case scenario would be for parking fees. McDowell stated that fees for a 10 permit could rise to $600 per year. Banerjee asked if fees would come down once the garages are paid off. McDowell stated that it was possible, but unlikely.
Lineberry, Chair of the Parking Advisory Committee, stated that they looked into a sliding scale based on income. She reported that the majority of people paying for parking fall in the $10,000 - $50,000 range and that there are not enough people in the higher pay ranges to offset the costs for parking. She stated that the committee is open to looking at other alternatives to support parking.
6.0 Unfinished Business
No unfinished business was discussed.
7.0 New Business
7.1 Meeting with Jim Yankech, Interim Director of University Health Center
Bryant suggested that the committee meet with Jim Yankech to discuss the services the health center offers to faculty and staff. The committee agreed to have Yankech speak to them at an upcoming meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, June 13th at 2:30 p.m. in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. Respectfully submitted, James King, Academic Senate Secretary and Karen Griffin, Coordinator, Academic Senate.