Executive Committee Minutes - April 17, 2002




Present:          Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Prochaska-Cue, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf


Absent:           King, Miller, Scheideler       


Date:               Wednesday, April 17, 2002


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building

1.0       Call to Order

            Bryant called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1      Meeting with Teachers College Faculty

Bryant reported that SVCAA Edwards will be meeting with faculty of the Teachers College on May 3rd to discuss the future of the college and the search for a new dean.


3.0       Chancellor Perlman

            3.1       The Next Budget Cutting Process

Chancellor Perlman stated that the process for the additional 1% budget cut was outlined in his email message to the campus on April 16th.  He pointed out that he is still trying to follow the procedures approved by the Academic Planning Committee.  He noted that on April 22nd he will announce his tentative recommendations for budget cuts.  He stated that affected units will have until Friday, April 26th, to respond.  He noted that units that will be affected have already been notified.  He stated that the schedule outlining the process will be posted on the web.  He stated that the APC is not restricting the length of the response on those units directly affected.  He pointed out that there will be an opportunity for people to respond who are indirectly affected by the cuts, although they will be limited to a one page response.  He reported that the APC will hold hearings on May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  He stated that the APC is scheduled to provide him with its recommendations by May 10th.  He stated that he will respond as quickly as possible, although he does want to take the time if serious questions are raised.  He noted that he is sensitive to completing the process while faculty members are still on campus. 


Logan-Peters asked if individuals who may be losing their position have been notified.  Chancellor Perlman stated that some positions will definitely be cut but he is unaware whether the individuals holding those positions have been notified.  He pointed out that the university will adhere to the existing policies regarding the termination of employees. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that on April 19th Central Administration will be making an announcement regarding the total amount of dollars that will be cut from each of the campuses. 


3.2       Climate Survey

Chancellor Perlman stated that Gallup will be conducting the campus climate survey.  He noted that two sets of questions will be on the survey.  He stated that the questions have been used in many surveys and have been empirically verified.  He noted that the first set of questions will provide information regarding an employee’s engagement with work which directly relates to outcomes such as retention and productivity.  He stated that the next set of questions is designed to describe inclusiveness.  He pointed out that the survey will be conducted during a three week period and should be completed by May 17th. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the survey will be web based.  He stated that employees will receive an email which will give them a pin number and website for them to use to respond to the survey.  He pointed out that employees who do not use email or the web have been taken into account and that they will receive the survey in another format.  He noted that the survey should only take about 10 minutes to complete.  He stated that the pin numbers will allow Gallup to categorize the responses by departments.  He pointed out that all responses are confidential and will go directly to Gallup so that no employee of UNL will have access to any of the data. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that Gallup will collect the data and develop a score card from the responses.  Gallup will then meet in June with the senior administrators to discuss the results and train personnel to work with units that need improvement.  He pointed out that the survey is designed to encourage conversation on the campus and to work towards improving the climate at UNL.  He reported that the Deans, and he hoped the chairs, will receive information in September. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that this year’s survey will be used to set a base line.  He noted that the survey will be conducted on an annual basis and the data gathered from future years will be used to determine if improvements have been made. 


Fuller asked if Gallup will be conducting sensitivity training of UNL personnel.  Chancellor Perlman stated that Gallup will train UNL personnel to work with the units on management training, conduct that creates a better workplace.  Bryant pointed out that Gallup needs to understand that it is university personnel who will be training UNL units.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is fully understood by Gallup. 


Wolf pointed out that some questions are missing.  He noted that it is easy for employees to know what is expected of them but the real question is whether they have the time to do all that is expected of them.  Chancellor Perlman noted that if an employee is disgruntled, this should come out in his/her responses.  Whitt noted that the survey has been validated in industry but questioned whether it has been used at universities.  Chancellor Perlman stated that some universities have done climate surveys.  Whitt pointed out that the survey may be a good diagnostic tool but that it may fail to show some of the problems on campus.  Spann asked when the data will be available to the departments.  Chancellor Perlman stated each unit should receive feedback sometime in early fall.


3.3       Faculty Salary Distribution

Bryant reported that the Executive Committee passed a motion last week regarding the distribution of the faculty salary increases.  He stated that the same pattern was followed as last year; however, units would receive more while Deans and Vice Chancellors would receive less.  He noted that the reasoning for this was that the committee felt that issues of inequities were addressed last year.  He pointed out that the committee felt that knowledge of an individual’s performance is best known at the department level rather than the Dean or Vice Chancellor’s level.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not received the recommendations of the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee.  He pointed out that the Executive Committee’s recommendation actually gives the Deans more money for merit increases.  He noted that he has been reminded by faculty that some departments are not doing well in distributing the increases.  He pointed out that the recommendations create a puzzle as to how to engage faculty in a department to discuss faculty evaluations.  He noted that some units feel very strongly that they do not want to be engaged in conversations whereby faculty evaluations are discussed.  Wolf asked if this meant that departments who are interested in doing this will be restricted from having these conversations.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this would not happen.  He noted that he is interested in making the process more public as long as actual figures are not revealed.  He stated they are considering stating in the guidelines that the criteria for evaluations must be articulated and increases must be made in conjunction with faculty evaluations.  He stated that they hope to give departments more leeway this year.  Bryant stated that the committee agreed with the comments made regarding articulating the criteria used in evaluations.  He pointed out that the process of determining which faculty would be put forward to the dean for further increases was a bone of contention last year.  SVCAA Edwards pointed out that the time frame is becoming an issue.  He stated that the Chancellor may have to make a decision before the FCAC makes its recommendations. 


Sawyer asked what is being done with the faculty members who received less than satisfactory performance evaluations.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he hopes that conversations have taken place that would help these faculty members to improve their performance.  SVCAA Edwards stated that most of the letters of evaluation include a statement about what will trigger a post tenure review.  He pointed out that usually this initial statement is enough to motivate the faculty member to improve his/her performance.  He stated that there have been some second year statements made.  VC Owens stated that the IANR has one on-going post tenure review. 


Wolf pointed out that the figures endorsed by the committee are an attempt to keep 1/3 of the increase from being kept by administration.  Spann stated that the recommended 3% increase for satisfactory performance is a response to help faculty members at the lower end of the salary range deal with the increase in parking, health insurance, and taxes.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the goal is not to have faculty members just perform satisfactorily, but to perform at a higher level.  Bryant pointed out that the recommendation was a reaction to the spread that was stipulated in the guidelines last year.  Siekman stated that keeping the funds in the colleges would help Deans give additional funding to those units that have a large number of high performers.  He stated that the range stated in the guidelines last year caused faculty evaluations not to match the raises in some units.  Byrant pointed out that in some units there seemed to be a floating set of criteria for evaluations.  He noted that this created a lot of misunderstanding in the units.  Siekman pointed out that faculty members were not informed whether their increase was based on their performance or whether part of it was due to inequities.  Spann noted that personal notices explaining the increase should be given to each faculty member.  Bryant asked that the Executive Committee be notified of the Chancellor’s decision as soon as it is possible. 


3.4       Consultant’s Report on Recruiting Students

Chancellor Perlman stated that most of the recommendations from the consultants have been technological.  He stated that these recommendations are in the planning stages.  He stated that he will report to the committee on the essence of what has been recommended by the consultants.  He pointed out that extraordinary improvements have already been made, such as scholarships being awarded earlier than has previously been done. 


            3.5       Notifying Units of Budget Cuts Before Notifying the Press

See 3.1 above.


3.6       Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman stated that Central Administration is supposed to distribute the funds for priority programs sometime soon.  He noted that UNL could receive as much as $3 million.


4.0       SVCAA Edwards, VC Owens

            4.1       Quality Indicators

Bryant reported that departments have been asked to identify the top journals and associations in their field for use as quality indicators.  He noted that he has received emails from faculty members who are concerned about the process that is being used to determine these indicators.  He stated that there should be campus-wide discussions on the quality indicators.  SVCAA Edwards agreed that it would be good to have campus discussions on the indicators.  He stated that the administration wants the departments to decide what they consider as quality indicators for publications and associations.  He stated that the purpose of listing these publications is a way of creating indicators for areas that do not receive external funding. 


VC Owens stated that IANR has been discussing the indicators.  He reported that they conducted a town hall meeting which was telecast to the various extension centers.  He noted that there was reasonable participation with much of the same comments being made as on city campus.  He pointed out that they are still wrestling with the outreach indicator.  He noted that the list of indicators is a work in progress that can change over time.


Bryant stated that faculty members are concerned that the list used for the quality indicators will become a part of the department and faculty evaluation process.  Siekman stated that some faculty are worried that only those publications listed as quality indicators will be accepted by the department when conducting faculty evaluations.  Wolf noted that the limitation on the number of publications compresses the list.  Whitt pointed out that faculty members who specialize in a particular discipline could be told that the article they published is not going to be counted because it is not published in a journal that is on the list.  Chancellor Perlman noted that in each field there are some journals that are more prestigious than others.  He stated that if a faculty member publishes in a national, competitive journal, then it should be looked at as an achievement.  He stated that the indicators are not meant to be exclusive.  Wolf pointed out that the manner in which the process of identifying the indicators is being instituted is making it an exclusive list.  He noted that people specializing in the cutting edges of their field will be penalized for not publishing in the journals listed.  SVCAA Edwards stated that units need to decide what publications should be considered.  He noted that the discussions of this list should include the question of what is meant by quality.  He pointed out that this list should be used as a draft.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the quality indicators are meant to show the quality of the institution.  He stated that faculty performance is separate from the list. 


DiMagno stated that in each field there is usually a division in the quality and tiers of journals.  He pointed out that as long as four or five groups of journals can be defined then it should not be difficult to establish a list.  Wolf noted that restricting the size of the list creates problems for large departments who have faculty members specializing in different fields.  SVCAA Edwards stated that the College of Arts & Sciences put the limitation on the number of publications that can be listed.  He stated that the reasoning was to figure out what departments consider real accomplishments.  Wolf stated that a faculty-wide forum is needed.  He stated that the faculty should determine whether a finite number of publications are appropriate.  He pointed out that the faculty members were told that identifying these indicators needed to be done quickly, but there has been no involvement of the faculty afterwards. 


SVCAA Edwards stated that he would be happy to be involved in campus or college forums, although he noted that campus-wide forums are usually not successful.  He reported that the feedback on the process has been mixed with some departments feeling that it has been a useful exercise.  Bryant asked how the data will be used.  SVCAA Edwards stated that the data cannot be compared across disciplines or colleges and that there can be no comparisons with other institutions.  He stated that the purpose is to see how departments are doing over a period of time.  He noted that the data eventually become a statement of what departments consider to be high quality.  DiMagno pointed out that there is a problem with narrowly defining high quality.  He noted that if the list is too limited, not much data will be gathered.  Fuller pointed out that in some fields the issues are more complex since high quality is not easily defined. 


Bryant asked if the quality indicators would be used as a report to the Board of Regents.  SVCAA Edwards stated it is for the Board of Regents as well as for UNL itself.  Bryant suggested that the Academic Senate could hold some campus forums in the fall. 


            4.2       Update on Searches

SVCAA Edwards reported that they are still negotiating with a candidate for the Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology.  He stated that they hope to have an agreement soon.  He stated that the Executive Associate Dean of Graduate Studies position and the Director of International Affairs position have both been announced and the searches are now under way.  He reported that the search for the Dean of Undergraduate Studies will be an external search, as recommended by the Senate Executive Committee.  He pointed out that all of the funds for this position are redirected funds coming from his office as a result of eliminating one of the positions of Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. 


Bryant suggested that the tag line indicating that the University is an equal opportunity employer be shortened.  He pointed out that the length of it is costly.  Wolf noted that the statement is helpful for those who want to determine what the policies of the institution are in regards to discrimination.  SVCAA Edwards suggested that it could be communicated differently by referring to the actual policy on the UNL website. 


VC Owens reported that the campus based interviews for the Dean of CASNR position have been completed.  He stated that he is still receiving comments from people but he hopes to make a decision soon. 


5.0       Approval of 4/10/02 Minutes

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


6.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


7.0       New Business

            No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate Executive Committee is Wednesday, April 24, 2002 at 3:00 p.m., 420 University Terrace.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.