EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Present: Bryant, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Spann, Whitt, Wolf
Absent: DiMagno, King, Sawyer, Siekman, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2002
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:06 p.m.
No announcements were made.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman
3.1 Faculty Salary Schedule
(Taken from the April 30th Academic Senate meeting.) Chancellor Perlman stated that he tried to preserve the salary increases as best he could, given the budget situation. He stated that estimates are indicating that our peer institutions are receiving salary increases of 3.7%. He stated that this will still leave UNL below its peers, but only by 1.97%. He stated that it may still be possible to make further gains, depending on the final outcome of statistics that still need to be gathered.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the salary guidelines have been sent out. He stated that he is still committed to merit increases over a flat increase but because of the rising cost of benefits, those employees on the lower end of the pay scale will receive either $600 or a 1.5% increase, whichever is greater, for satisfactory performance. He noted that it is becoming exceedingly more difficult to recruit staff and managerial people, particularly with the increases in parking and health care benefits. He pointed out that each salary pool can accommodate the $600 increase and that no money will be taken from any of the salary pools to help accomplish this task.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the distribution of the funds for the salary increases will be 3% for the units, 1% for the Deans, and .56% for the Vice Chancellors. He noted that he eliminated from the guidelines the need for a range of salaries within the units and the requirement of a 6.3% increase for a faculty member to be considered for additional merit increase. He pointed out that the following clause has been inserted into the guidelines: there must be an understandable relationship or translation from annual evaluations to salary increases and this relationship should be explainable by Chairs and Deans to faculty members. He pointed out that the university is committed to having a process in which faculty members understand the rationale behind the amount of increase they were given.
3.2 Budget Cuts
Miller noted that the Academic Planning Committee will be conducting hearings in the next few days regarding the latest round of budget cuts. Peterson pointed out that some units have been hit particularly hard. He asked Chancellor Perlman to keep in mind these areas for future improvement once the economic situation of the university turns around. He noted that the department of Agricultural Economics has taken a 7½ % cut this year after losing 1/3 of its faculty over the past six years, even though the department has 280 undergraduate majors. He stated that the faculty members of the department feel demoralized by the cuts. He pointed out that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to recruit and retain younger faculty members and that it is vital for the department to rebuild in the future given that nearly all of the faculty members in the department are above 45 years of age. Chancellor Perlman noted that he does not know the history of the units on campus. He stated that there are a number of places on campus that can demonstrate significant reductions over the past 10-15 years but not many can show an upturn in resources. He pointed out that it will be important for units to demonstrate what improvements can be made that will make the institution a better place in order for these units to regain funding that was cut.
Whitt asked when the specifics on the Division of Continuing Studies cuts will be made public. Chancellor Perlman stated that Dean Swoboda was scheduled to present his plan on May 6th. He noted that the Academic Planning Committee would be providing input on the DCS cuts. He stated that he is concerned that students already in degree programs through DCS be protected. He noted that students enrolled in DCS programs are in college for a longer period of time than traditional students. He pointed out that DCS does have a sufficient reserve of funds that should help them through this difficult time. Spann asked why DCS was given such a significant cut. Chancellor Perlman noted that DCS has more flexibility with alternative resources than other programs on campus. He stated that resident students have a little higher priority than non-resident and non-traditional students. He pointed out that the cuts were difficult to make and that DCS was one of the last places to cut before he had to start cutting into academic programs.
3.3 Climate Survey
Chancellor Perlman reported that there was a 35% response rate to the climate survey on the first day that it was made available. He stated that the last day to reply to the questionnaire will be May 18th. He reported that he hopes the results of the survey will help to create a process that will allow conversations to occur on campus which will focus on management issues and how the climate can be improved. He noted that once the data have been collected, it will be important to think seriously about how things are managed on campus. He stated that if problems arise this time, they can be resolved the next time the survey is run.
3.4 Quality Indicators
Miller asked what difference the indicators make if they are not considered national level indicators. Chancellor Perlman stated that the indicators are not being used to create an alternative to the US News & World Report. He pointed out that the mandate to create and employ quality indicators comes from the Board of Regents. He pointed out that many of the factors used in the quality indicators are already being used by AAU. He stated that the indicators were not necessarily based on whether they could be compared nationally; however, he noted that some of them do relate to national reputation. He noted that the initial efforts are to improve the reputation of the university. He pointed out that faculty members who are published in significant journals do receive a better national reputation.
Fuller noted that the list of journals is just one of a number of factors being used, but due to the focus on the list, the journals are being viewed as the only indicator. Chancellor Perlman stated that it is a more controversial issue in the social sciences and humanities due to the number of sub-disciplines within these fields. He stated the departments need to figure out how to accommodate the sub-disciplines.
Chancellor Perlman stated that some of the Deans have imposed higher standards for the indicators than he might have done. He suggested that departments might want to define quality, as well as listing high ranking journals. Fuller asked if interdisciplinary research fits. Chancellor Perlman stated that it definitely does and departments should also be inclusive of this kind of research.
Chancellor Perlman noted that there is a sense of fear on campus that the objective of the quality indicators includes using them on a local level to evaluate the department and faculty members. He suggested that it should be made clear that the indicators and evaluations of departments and faculty members are two separate processes.
Bryant stated that there is a strong push for the university to become a tier 1 research institute. He noted that there is concern that there will be 3 or 4 top researchers in a department and teaching will be done by senior lecturers and adjunct professors. Chancellor Perlman stated that he recognizes that some departments are more geared towards teaching than research. He noted that these departments should have discussions with their administrator to list teaching as a quality indicator. Fuller pointed out that the process of using quality indicators as a measure of UNLs overall quality runs the risk of decreased funding by the legislature or central administration. Chancellor Perlman noted that this is a risk but that it could also be beneficial by showing that the university has become a better institution, thus generating more support and funding.
Miller pointed out that the 20/20 Report has led people to believe that UNL is focused more on research than undergraduate education. He pointed out that the campus needs to serve undergraduate students. Chancellor Perlman stated that the 20/20 Report does acknowledge the importance of undergraduate education. He stated that a document is currently being worked on that deals specifically with teaching. He noted that this document will parallel the 20/20 Report. He stated that he is trying to engage the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and University Professors in moving the university forward.
4.0 Approval of 4/27/02 Minutes
Fuller moved and Whitt seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Pepsi Fund
Miller reported that he has received no information regarding the use of the Pepsi Fund. He stated that he will follow up with VC Jackson on it.
5.2 Evaluation of Administrators
Logan-Peters reported that the committee has not had time to meet recently. She stated that a description of what needs to be done in order to create the evaluation process should be written. She pointed out that the Executive Committee will need a considerable amount of time to discuss the issue. The committee agreed to discuss this at the May 29th meeting.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Long Term Issues
Bryant stated that the composition of the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee needs to be reviewed. He suggested that Miller start conversations with Chancellor Perlman regarding this issue. Fuller pointed out that the committee needs more faculty representation on it.
Wolf suggested that the committee might want to discuss with the Parking Advisory Committee the decision to charge for bus passes. The committee agreed to have Tad McDowell, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, come to the meeting. Wolf suggested that members of ASUN should attend the meeting with McDowell.
The committee agreed that they would like to have Gallup come to speak to them about the climate survey.
Logan-Peters stated that Dean Giesecke, Libraries, would like to speak to the committee regarding library materials.
6.2 Executive Committee Retreat
Miller stated that the Executive Committee holds a retreat each summer to discuss issues for the upcoming year and to develop a strategic plan. The committee agreed to hold the Executive Committee Retreat on August 21st.
6.3 Executive Committee Members
Fuller suggested that the current members of the committee should begin to recruit women and people of color to run for election to the committee next April. She noted that the committee will become less diverse with the completion of some of the members terms next year.
Fuller stated that the committee should go on record thanking those senators who supported the university during the recent budget cutting process. The senators are: Beutler, Bourne, Brashear, Bromm, Byars, Chambers, Cudabeck, Engel, Hartnett, Janssen, Kremer, Kristensen, Kruse, Landis, Dwight Pedersen, Don Pederson, Price, Raikes, Schrock, Stuhr, Vrtiska, Wehbrein, Wichersham. She suggested that people associated with the university should send a personal letter of thanks to these senators.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m. The next meeting of the Academic Senate Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, May 15th, at 2:30 p.m. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.