Draft Draft Draft (01sep19mins)




Present:          Bryant, Fuller, King, Logan-Peters, Sawyer, Scheideler, Spann, Whitt, Wolf


Absent:           Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Siekman


Date:               Wednesday, September 19, 2001


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace

1.0       Call to Order

            Bryant called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

2.1       Nebraska Research Initiative Funds

Bryant reminded the committee that any pre-proposals for Nebraska Research Initiative grants are due October 1st in the Office of Research.


2.2       Meeting with Legislators

Bryant reported that he is nearing completion of arranging a breakfast meeting with state legislators.  He stated that he hopes to finalize a meeting by next week and will inform the committee of the scheduled date.


2.3       Meeting with President Smith

Bryant reported that he and President-Elect Miller attended a meeting of the Faculty Senate Presidents with President Smith.  He stated that there were discussions regarding members of the Senates meeting with legislators, the retirement cap, and tenure at the campus level. 


            2.4       Academic Senate Office Art

Bryant thanked Professor Fuller for her efforts to obtain art created by faculty members for the Academic Senate office.  He noted that it was originally considered to get art from the Sheldon Art Gallery, but the committee felt that it would be more appropriate to have faculty members’ art on the walls of the Academic Senate Office.


            2.5       Summer Session Class Times

Bryant stated that the committee would be reviewing the resolution made in 1987 by the Senate to establish standard meeting class meeting times for summer sessions.  He stated that a proposal has been made to include the language that a four day week class schedule is permissible. 


3.0       Chancellor Perlman

            3.1       Budget Update

Chancellor Perlman reported that no new information is available at this time.  He stated that he would not have any further information until the special legislative session meets.  He noted that members of the administration are meeting with legislators to discuss how a severe budget cut would affect the university.  He pointed out that the university is finally moving forward again and that this would be a bad time to make any substantial budget cuts.  He stated that it could take approximately five years to recover if the university received a large cut.


            3.2       Thursday Game

Chancellor Perlman stated that administration worked hard to keep disruptions to a minimum for evening classes that were scheduled for Thursday evening.  He noted that they postponed the start of the game to 7:30 p.m., moved classes to east campus to avoid noise disruption, and allowed parking for faculty and students.  He pointed out that the athletic department was very cooperative with the suggested changes.  He noted that this football game with Rice University would earn the university $2 million, and that $1 ½ million of these funds would be used for academics.  Bryant praised the Chancellor for his response to the concerns of the academic community.  Wolf asked what the control relationship is between the athletic department and the university.  Chancellor Perlman stated that Bill Byrne, Athletic Director, has to report to the Chancellor.  Wolf suggested that it would be valuable to itemize how the $1 ½ million is spent on academics.  Sawyer asked if a policy needs to be approved regarding night football games held other than on Saturdays.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he would never approve night football games and that this was the result of unusual circumstances.  Fuller noted that moving the time of the game and providing parking helped to make the situation less of a problem.  She pointed out that it made faculty feel that academics came first.


            3.3       Additional Salary Data Request

Bryant stated that there have been several requests for additional information on the salary increases.  He stated that the committee would like to see information on faculty 55 years of age and older, as well as a breakdown on each percentage and the number of faculty receiving these percentages.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there may be a slight surrogate in rank and that he would try to get the information if possible.


            3.4       Tenure at the Campus Level

Bryant stated that, at the request of President Smith, the Executive Committee discussed the issue of tenure at the campus level.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he had no strong feelings one way or another on the issue; however, he pointed out that tenure at the campus level could create an easier way to eliminate programs.  Bryant asked if a professor could be moved to another campus if tenure was not at the department level.  Chancellor Perlman noted that tenure would be given at the individual campus level, not at the system-wide level, and therefore a person could not be moved to another campus.   SVCAA Edwards stated that a benefit to the campus tenure was that it could make it easier to put together initiatives that would cross department lines.  He pointed out that there would be more protection for the faculty if tenure was at the campus level; however, tenure at the department level would help to protect departments.  Sawyer asked what their opinions were regarding tenure at the system level.  SVCAA Edwards stated that he did not feel that this would be beneficial to the campus.  He pointed out that there are significant differences in expectations, responsibilities, and standards for each campus.  Wolf suggested that the committee should speak with AAUP about this issue since there would be many issues that would need to be addressed.  Bryant asked if tenure at the campus level would allow faculty to move across department boundaries more easily.  VC Owens stated that this could be a benefit, but it could also allow for easier elimination of programs.  


            3.5       Parking

Bryant stated that the committee is waiting to hear about VC Jackson’s report to the Academic Planning Committee regarding alternative funding for a second parking garage.  He noted that the Campus Master Plan needs to be reviewed and possibly modified in regards to parking.  He stated that faculty, and particularly staff, are saying that they can not afford additional increases in parking.  Chancellor Perlman agreed that it is a serious problem but that the situation is that either people pay for parking or there will not be enough parking available for everyone.  He pointed out that the legislature will not cover the cost of building a garage.  He noted that part of the problem is that fees were not raised accordingly in the past which has left the campus with no reserve funding to help address this problem.  He stated that he is reluctant to approve another increase to build another parking garage.  Logan-Peters stated that in a meeting with ASUN President Nathan Fuerst and Vice President Jessica Lopez, the option of freshmen not bringing cars to campus was raised.  She stated that they did not seem opposed to this idea.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this option could be looked at.  SVCAA Edwards noted that Admissions and Student Affairs are concerned that this would have a negative impact on recruiting students. 


            3.6       Update on Distance Education Plan

Chancellor Perlman stated that the mechanisms of the Distance Education Plan have been set at Central Administration.  He reported that the UNL plan is not due until March 1st.  He stated that he has had some discussions with Vice Chancellor O’Hanlon on it.  Bryant noted that it is important for the faculty to know what the university is going to support in terms of distance education programs.


            3.7       Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman asked if the Senate would review the policy allowing faculty to change a student’s final grade at any time.  He asked if there should be some restrictions on this policy.  He pointed out that the Law College created a policy that a grade could not be changed unless it was proven that a mathematical error had been made.  He noted that the current policy undermines the appeal process.  SVCAA Edwards stated that it is unclear what academic purpose the current policy serves.  Scheideler suggested that the committee should charge the Grading & Examination committee to review the policy.  Spann pointed out that there needs to be consideration for students who may have had extenuating circumstances that did not allow them to complete all of the necessary work for a course.  Bryant stated that the committee would charge the Grading & Examination committee to review the policy.


4.0       Senior Vice Chancellor Edwards and Vice Chancellor Owens

            4.1       Tenure at the Campus Level

                        See section 3.4 above for discussion.


            4.2       Promotion/Tenure Practices

SVCAA Edwards stated that he met with Bryant to discuss the promotion and tenure study.  He stated that he is having his office pull together documents and data that would be helpful for the study.  He pointed out that this study is not to test the limits of tenure but to compile and review the current practices on campus.  He stated that there is no connection with this study and any possible budget problems that may arise.


            4.3       Teaching Environments

Bryant stated that there is concern with some of the conditions of general purpose classrooms.  Spann pointed out that before more funding is put into distance education, many classrooms need to be improved.  He stated that many classes are in poor condition.  He noted that some classrooms need better technology and faculty members need to be trained in how to use the equipment.  He stated that security of the equipment is also an issue that needs to be addressed.  Whitt stated that some buildings and classrooms are still not accessible to handicapped students.  SVCAA Edwards stated that the university has an obligation to move a class that is not accessible to handicapped students.  He noted that old buildings on campus that do not provide accessibility to all people are slowly being renovated.  Spann pointed out that it is unclear to many professors whom they should call for help if there are problems with a classroom. 


5.0                   Vice Chancellor Owens

            5.1       Proposals for Additional Funding for Priority Programs

VC Owens reported that the Deans are taking the leadership in being proactive in preparing pre-proposals to request funding for the identified academic priority programs.


            5.2       IANR’s Diversity Plan

VC Owens reported that Mary Beck, Animal Science, has been charged with developing IANR’s diversity plan.  He stated that she will be meeting with the IANR Liaison Committee to present and discuss the plan.  He pointed out that the plan would need to gather input from members of IANR on the plan and that it might take some time before it is completed and in place.  Scheideler stated that search committees do not seem to be aware that diversity hiring is a priority.  She suggested that this be made clearer to all search committees.


            5.3       Administrative Salary Pool

Scheideler asked if the money for increases for chairs was kept separate from the faculty pool.  VC Owens stated that they were kept separate.   Scheideler asked if the range of increases for administrators was as diverse as it was for faculty.  VC Owens stated that the resignation of Associate VC McBreen gave some additional funding for increases for administrators.  Scheideler asked if there was a great range for heads and chairs.  VC Owens stated that there was not that great a range and that some recommendations were lower than the average.  Scheideler asked if the faculty evaluations of chairs/heads are considered in the salary recommendations.  VC Owens stated that they are considered, especially for those administrators who are up for their five year annual review.  Scheideler pointed out that faculty currently do not do an annual evaluation on administrators above the level of head/chair.  Bryant noted that this has been an issue that has been raised several times in the past and one that needs to be discussed further with administrators.


6.0       Terry Riordan, Chair of UNL Employee Benefits Committee

Riordan reported that the committee met on Monday and discussed the impact the committee had on the approval of the employee and dependent scholarship program as well as the coverage of oral contraceptives.  He stated that continuing issues of concern are the inclusion of part time employees in the benefits program, inclusion of graduate courses in the employee and dependent scholarship program, and partner benefits.  He stated that the committee is going to request a status report on the costs of the scholarship program and coverage for oral contraceptives.  He stated that they are also requesting a report on the status of the health care trust fund.  He noted that the committee identified several potential areas of focus:  domestic partner benefits, retirement contributions, on campus child-care, the possibility of parking benefits for staff, and examination of the retirement vendor.  He reported that he and Ann Mari May will be co-chairs of the committee this year. King asked if there were any discussions of soft benefits.  Riordan stated that they have not had any discussions on these benefits.  Sawyer pointed out that some universities have different contracts with TIAA/CREF and asked if the committee could look at the university’s arrangement.  Bryant asked if long term disability was being reviewed by the system-wide benefits committee.  Riordan stated that Linda Leake, Benefits Coordinator, stated that the current plan is working well.  Scheideler asked if the committee could address Parking Services to see if more remote lots could be made on east campus.  Fuller asked if there has been any discussion on increasing the NU Credits.  Riordan stated that this has been discussed but there is concern that providing more NU Credits would result in retired employees having to pay a larger cost for insurance coverage.  Riordan stated that he would like to meet with the committee again to discuss further issues that may arise regarding benefits.


7.0       Approval of 9/12/01Minutes

Whitt moved and Spann seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


8.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


9.0       New Business

            9.1       Summer Session Standard Times

                        See 2.5 above.


            9.2       Climate Survey Meeting

Wolf reported that he attended the meeting to discuss the survey that is being written to study the campus climate.  He stated that he has concerns that the committee working on the survey does not understand all of the issues.  He noted that the committee wants a short survey in the hope of getting a good response.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, September 26th at 3:00 p.m, in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace.  Respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.