EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Present: Bryant, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf
Absent: DiMagno, King, Prochaska-Cue, Scheideler
Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2002
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.
2.1 Changes to Honors Convocation
Griffin distributed a report from the Honors Convocation regarding the changes being made to the Honors Convocation ceremony. She stated that Professor Martin, Chair of the Honors Convocation Committee, would be meeting with the Executive Committee on March 6th to discuss all of the changes. Bryant stated that the recent information received on grade distribution has left him concerned that it is easier for students in some colleges to get recognition than in other colleges. The committee agreed to discuss this issue further.
2.2 Academic Rights & Responsibilities Committee Procedures
Bryant reported that progress is being made on revising the ARRC procedures. He stated that he hoped to get one of the revised procedures to the committee soon for them to review.
2.3 Board of Regents Meeting
Bryant reported that a conflict of interest policy was passed at the Board of Regents meeting allowing employees to run for public office. He stated that the Board of Regents also reviewed enrollment data for the colleges. Bryant stated that he would make this information available to the committee. He reported that Regent Wilson is very supportive of faculty salaries reaching the mid-point of their peers and that this is important for improving the quality of the institution.
2.4 Quality Indicators
Bryant reported that the IANR Liaison Committee is seriously discussing the quality indicators. They are planning on having further discussions with the research and extension centers on the indicators. Whitt and Logan-Peters stated that their departments have been asked to come up with a list of journals that would be accepted as the indicators for their department and college. Bryant stated that administration is working on gathering the information needed for the database. Wolf suggested that the committee get reassurance from the SVCAA on how the quality indicators will be used.
3.0 Approval of 2/20/02Minutes
Wolf asked that the tape be reviewed for clarification of SVCAA Edwards response to Wolfs question regarding the use of last years rules for faculty salary raises. The committee agreed that the SVCAAs response should be reflected verbatim. Sawyer moved and Logan-Peters seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
4.0 NCAA Athletics Certification Interim Report
Bryant distributed copies of the report to the committee and asked them to review it. He stated that the committee would discuss any concerns they may have regarding the report at the March 6th meeting. He noted that he did not see any problems with it, but he has heard that a faculty member has some concerns. He stated that he would check with this faculty member to determine what the problems are with the report.
5.0 Michelle Waite, Assistant to the Chancellor for Community Relations and Ron Withem, Associate Vice President for External Affairs & Director of Governmental Relations
Waite reported that she and Withem met with all four academic senate presidents after the Board of Regents meeting on February 23rd to discuss the gravity of the state budget. Withem noted that this first round of cuts resulted in a cumulative amount of $11.2 million being cut from the University budget. However, additional cuts had to be made to cover unanticipated costs, such as increased insurance and utility rates. He pointed out that the states budget shortfall is $186 million. He noted that Governor Johanns would be making his recommendations on how to deal with the additional revenue shortfall on February 28th. Withem stated that the university could be cut another 2.5 to 5 percent. He pointed out that a 2.5% cut means the University would lose another $11 million dollars. Waite stated that UNLs portion of the budget cut is 48-49%.
Withem stated that the state Appropriations Committee is looking at a wider range of solutions to resolve the budget problem. He noted they are suggesting that 1/3 of the shortfall come from additional budget cuts and 2/3 of the shortfall be raised through taxes. He pointed out that the University has some strong supporters in the Appropriations Committee. Miller noted that Governor Johanns has stated that he is against raising taxes. Miller asked if the Governor plans to fight an override if the legislature does not approve his proposals. Withem noted that the Governor very much wants his proposals to pass but he did not know if the Governor would try to fight an override. Miller pointed out that if the K-12 budget is reduced it could shift the tax burden to local property owners.
Bryant asked Withem to provide him with a list of senators who strongly support the university and who are up for re-election. He stated that later in the meeting the Executive Committee would be discussing whether to support some of the senators campaigns financially. Waite stated that she often gets invitations to attend campaign fundraising events and that she would pass these on to Bryant to share with interested people. She pointed out that state Senators do not often get thanked for the work they do and that it would be helpful if members of the campus community would send them a note or email to thank senators for their support of the university.
Withem reported that President Smith would be making a statement after Governor Johanns releases his recommendations for additional budget cuts. Withem stated that a list of talking points for the campus community to use when speaking or writing to state senators would be distributed shortly. Miller asked what the most important thing is that a person can do to help support the university. Withem stated that making phone calls and sending letters or emails to senators to show support of the university would be very helpful. He pointed out that these messages need to be communicated from off campus. He noted that financial contributions to election campaigns are also very helpful.
Sawyer asked if the legislature would be responsive to a radical change in how the University is funded. He noted that if the University became more independent then the legislature could lose some control over it. Withem stated that he does not know how the legislature would react. Wolf stated that he has grave concerns about the next biennium and the $600 - $700 million deficit now predicted. Waite and Withem stated that it is too early to tell yet what the consequences of the next biennium shortfall will be. Withem pointed out that some kind of revenue increase will be needed in order to deal with that kind of deficit. Wolf suggested that the public needs to be made aware of the programs that will be cut if further reductions are made to the University budget. Waite stated that these cuts truly hurt the entire state because the University, particularly UNL, has programs throughout the state. Waite and Withem stated that they would keep the Executive Committee informed of any further news.
6.0 Dean of the College of Engineering & Technology Search
Fuller stated that she attended all three of the interviews with the candidates for the Dean of the College of Engneering and Technology. She stated that she has some concerns with the candidates and she reported that she has been approached by several members of that college who have concerns regarding the search and the search committee. Fuller noted that out of seven faculty members on the committee, four are chairs and only two are regular faculty members from the college. She pointed out that two of the chairs on the committee have split appointments between two colleges. She stated that the UNL Bylaws indicate that a plurality of the members on the search committee needs to be faculty. Fuller stated that she also has concerns that the position announcements are being written before the search committees are even formed. The committee agreed that they need to discuss this matter with SVCAA Edwards.
Fuller stated that she is concerned with the lack of administrative experience of the candidates. Logan-Peters noted that in reviewing the vitas of the applicants that she saw a definite lack of administrative experience. The committee agreed that Bryant should send an email message to the Chancellor stating that the committee has concerns with the quality of the search, the quality of the candidates, and the critical need to have a strong, highly qualified Dean for that college.
7.0 Committee on Committees Procedures
Fuller reported that the Committee on Committees is going to consider whether members can appoint themselves to committees. Logan-Peters, who once served as chair of that committee, stated that the other members of the Committee on Committees should object to a self-nomination if they think it is inappropriate. She noted that in the past self-nominations were rarely done and only occurred when the committee was having difficulty finding someone to appoint. Griffin pointed out that part of the problem is the lack of faculty members volunteering to serve on committees. Fuller noted that service is not valued in departments and that faculty members are often discouraged from doing service work. She stated that faculty members from the Libraries and Extension volunteered significantly more for service than the other colleges on campus. She stated that some colleges are poorly represented on committees because of their lack of volunteers. Siekman pointed out that there is a need to address the problem of how service is viewed on campus. He suggested that part of the criteria for getting a merit increase should be the amount of service a faculty member does for the campus. Logan-Peters stated that senators serving on promotion and tenure committees should bring up the importance of service work. Bryant stated that he would email SVCAA Edwards to express the concerns of the committee and that this issue should be placed on an upcoming agenda for further discussion.
8.0 Unfinished Business
8.1 Evaluation of Administrators
Item postponed until the next meeting.
9.0 New Business
9.1 Campaign Contributions
Bryant suggested that some of the funds from the Friends of the Faculty Senate be used as contributions to election campaigns for senators that have shown strong support for the university. The committee agreed that this should be done.
9.2 Career Summary at Retirement
Bryant stated that the IANR Liaison Committee has suggested that a career summary could be written up at the time of an employees retirement and kept at the university. Whitt suggested that such information could be maintained by the Libraries archives. Logan-Peters stated that faculty members could leave a copy of their papers with the Libraries.
9.3 Resolution Recognizing Fuerst and Lopez
Bryant stated that he would like to make a resolution at the March 6th Senate meeting recognizing the work and contributions made by outgoing ASUN President Nathan Fuerst and Vice President Jessica Lopez. The committee agreed.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 6th at 3:00 p.m., in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King Secretary.