EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, Fuller, King, Logan-Peters, Miller, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Wolf
Absent: Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler, Whitt
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2001
1.0 Call to Order (Bryant)
Bryant called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.
2.1 Access to Promotion & Tenure File
Bryant distributed a copy of the guidelines on tenure and promotion. He asked the committee to review the document for future discussion. He stated that changes to the document need to be presented to the Senate. Specifically, the changes would deal with facultys access to their file. Bryant stated that the changes would also deal with how the situation is dealt with when the annual evaluations are not compatible with the recommendations made with promotion and tenure.
2.2 Meeting with President Smith
Bryant reported that he and President-Elect Miller would be meeting with President Smith and the Presidents of the Faculty Senate of the other campuses on Friday. He stated that items on the agenda for discussion are: the impact of the shortfall in tax revenues, funding for academic priority programs, tenure residing at the college or university level, the cap on retirement, benefits for domestic partners, and parking policies in regards to building on campus.
2.3 Meeting with Faculty Senate Presidents
Bryant reported that he met with the Faculty Senate Presidents of the other three campuses to discuss strategies for discussing the revenue shortfall and its impact on the university with state legislators. He noted that there is a proposal to exclude the public schools from any budget cuts. He pointed out that this would create a serious hardship on the university.
3.0 Nathan Fuerst and Jessica Lopez, ASUN
Fuerst stated that the ASUN would be meeting with Tad McDowell, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, that evening to discuss the future of parking on campus. He noted that students are in favor of having a second garage built, particularly those students in the Harper, Schramm, Smith dorms, because of the impact the Antelope Valley Project will have on parking on campus. He stated that students do not seem to be too concerned over the displacement of intramural fields to create further parking. He pointed out that the intramural fields could be placed on east campus.
Lopez stated that students would probably be willing to pay a higher fee if they feel that parking in a garage is worth it. She pointed out that a serious question is how the building of a second garage would be funded. She noted that the faculty and staff are paying outrageous prices now for parking. Bryant stated that the fees would increase for all permit holders if the second garage is built. Logan-Peters stated that the parking fees are particularly hard on staff and that the increased cost would create difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff.
Fuerst stated that there has been a proposal to charge a transit fee of $15 per semester to all students to help cover the cost of transit services and parking. He reported that he did not think this would be accepted by the students. He stated that paying the fee would entitle students to free transit and StarTran services.
Sawyer asked if permit fees would decrease once the garages were paid off. Spann stated that McDowell indicated that this would not happen.
Logan-Peters asked if the students had discussed the possibility of not allowing freshmen and sophomores to park on campus. Lopez stated that the ASUN has not discussed this option but understands that many universities follow this policy. She stated that they would need to know how many of these students bring cars to campus. Fuerst pointed out that sophomores should be excluded from this plan because they are not guaranteed housing on campus.
Bryant stated there appear to be three competing entities: the parking garages, athletic fields, and surface parking. Garages seem to be the main goal, the second goal is to increase athletic fields, and the third goal is to eliminate small parking lots. Wolf asked if the Academic Planning Committee has asked for an alternative plan for financing the building of another garage. Bryant stated that the APC requested that Vice Chancellor Jackson needed to come forward with an alternate plan for funding the construction of another garage. Miller noted that there would be a revolt amongst the faculty and staff if the parking prices were to go up further. Bryant pointed out that the last time students were in support of building a garage but the faculty and the staff were not. Siekman suggested that those parking in the garages should have to pay a surcharge. Bryant stated that the faculty and staff are adamantly opposed to building another garage if they have to bear the brunt of the cost.
4.0 Approval of 9/5/01 Minutes
Spann moved and Fuller seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved. King stated that he needed to clarify the August 29th minutes in regards to coverage of preventive costs. He noted that the current health care plan does cover some preventive costs.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Meeting with State Legislators
Bryant reported that members of the UNO Faculty Senate will be meeting with legislators to discuss the budget situation. He suggested that the Executive Committee should do the same, perhaps at a breakfast meeting. The committee agreed. Bryant stated that he would arrange the meetings.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Faculty Access to Promotion & Tenure Files
See section 2.1.
6.2 Changes in Minimal Grade Acceptance
Fuller stated that many of her colleagues are in favor of the new grading system although many of them say that they will never use the C- grade because of the requirement to have a C in your major. Lopez stated that ASUN has not really heard from the students on it because it is too early for them to see the impacts of the new grading system. Bryant stated that the concern for the graduate courses is in regards to the B-. Currently, a B is considered an acceptable grade for graduate courses. It is unsure whether B- would be considered acceptable. Miller noted that the pressure to give a B defeats the purpose of the new grading system. Fuller noted that a B- is considered a B grade. Bryant suggested that the Grading & Examination Committee should review this issue. Miller moved to have the Grading & Examinations Committee review the policy by looking at minimums for GPA. Motion seconded by King, motion approved.
On-line Teaching Evaluations
Fuerst reported that the ASUN is working on creating a teaching evaluation website. He noted, however, that they are only in the research and development stage and that they are leaning towards course evaluations rather than individual instructor evaluation. Wolf asked if each section would be evaluated. Fuerst stated that it would and that they are looking at questions relating to course content and how the course could be improved. He noted that it would work through WAM (What About Me) and a student would only be allowed to give one evaluation for a course he or she has taken. He stated that the evaluation would not be posted until at least 10 people have provided input. He pointed out that they would want the approval of the administration and faculty before going on line. He noted that whether students would have t pay a fee for this service has not yet been determined. Bryant suggested that this would be helpful to faculty and that they should work with Professor Bernstein who is in charge of the Peer Review of Teaching project. Wolf stated that it would be beneficial to students to be able to learn how they can get a good education. He pointed out, however, that there is a conflict with administrators who value research over teaching. He stated that the students need to put pressure on the administration to regard and reward teaching as highly as they do research. Lopez pointed out that this is a progressive project which will probably take considerable time before it is up and running. Fuller suggested that they start with the ES courses since many students are required to take these courses.
6.3 Tenure at the Campus Level
Bryant stated that there is some concern that potential budget cuts could result in the Board of Regents declaring financial exigency which could result in some small departments being cut. He stated that if faculty were tenured at the college level, rather than the department level, it would offer protection to faculty whose departments could be eliminated. Fuller questioned whether this would allow administrators to change a faculty members job responsibilities. Logan-Peters questioned whether this would change committee structures and functions in the college. Sawyer stated that the faculty is protected the most if they have tenure at the broadest level. Logan-Peters asked who would have control over the decision to give tenure. She pointed out that more information is needed. The committee suggested that Bryant address this issue with President Smith at Fridays meeting.
6.4 Executive Committee Vacancy
Bryant reported that because his department has declared his appointment invalid, Joe Luther has had to vacate his seat on the Senate and his newly elected position on the Executive Committee. The committee discussed possible nominees for the ballot.
6.5 Salary Data
Sawyer requested that more specific information be obtained on the salary data. He requested information on the percentage of increase for employees 55 years of age and older. Bryant stated that he has received requests from other faculty for a finer breakdown on each percentage of increase. He stated that he would ask the Chancellor for more information.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, September 19th at 3:00 p.m. Respectfully submitted, Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.