EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, Fuller, King, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer,
Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2002
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:04 pm.
2.1 Masters Week
Miller reported that Masters Week will take place the week of November 8th. He noted that various events will be held on campus and he encouraged members to attend.
2.2 Upcoming Executive Committee Meetings
Miller announced that the focus of the December 4th Executive Committee meeting will be undergraduate advising. He noted that the December 11th meeting will focus on undergraduate education.
2.3 Communities of Learning
King reported that faculty members from east and city campus are welcome to attend a faculty development workshop on January 7th focusing on communities of learning. He stated that the workshop will be held on east campus.
2.4 Celebration of Human Rights
Peterson reported that the anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated on November 14th beginning at 3:30 pm on east campus. He noted that several guest speakers will be speaking at sessions after the celebration.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman/VC Owens/SVCAA Edwards
3.1 Response to Administrative Cost Report
Chancellor Perlman stated that the key question raised by the report is whether a reduction in the number of students and faculty members should result in a reduction of administrators. He stated that he disagrees with this thought because there are some administrative functions that do not have anything to do with the student and faculty population. For instance, he stated that that U.S. Patriots Act may require the university to hire two additional managerial/professional administrators in order to see that the university complies with the act.
Chancellor Perlman noted that this issue has been raised due to the budget reductions. He pointed out that it is equally obvious that faculty members cannot do their jobs without support.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the last round of budget reductions has resulted in the following elimination of FTE positions:
14.34 FTE Administrators
36.96 FTE Tenure Track Faculty
20.23 FTE Other Faculty (Senior Lecturers, Lecturers, etc.)
70.07 FTE Managerial/Professional
99.72 FTE - Office/Service
Chancellor Perlman noted that in the first round of budget cuts, tenure track faculty positions were hit hard. He stated that 21 vacant faculty positions were taken. He pointed out that in the second round of cuts, 15 faculty positions were eliminated. He noted that the administration tried to protect faculty positions as much as possible. He stated that there are not many options left at this point. He stated that if the university receives additional budget cuts, some faculty positions will need to be eliminated. He noted that funding from faculty positions has not gone to support administrative positions.
Spann stated that faculty members were better supported 15 years ago than now. He noted that business centers have been created and that faculty members have a more difficult time receiving support from them. Chancellor Perlman stated that more academic support centers may be created because having support staff in each department is not necessarily the most efficient way of doing business. He noted that the SAP system is complex to use and that unless specific functions are done on a regular basis, support staff must spend time relearning the procedure they need to work on. He pointed out that in an academic support center one person could be responsible for working on PAFs, another on purchasing, etc. He stated that if faculty positions are not cut, support staff will be cut, which will result in even less support for the faculty members. He noted that he is having VC Jackson take a look at academic support centers to see what works best. Wunder stated that support centers should work well in areas such as Oldfather Hall where there is a large concentration of faculty. Chancellor Perlman stated that there could be some combination of work efforts as the university moves more towards electronic processing. He noted that purchasing is trying to increase the credit limit on purchase cards from $1000 to $5000.
3.2 Climate Survey
Chancellor Perlman reported that every department chair should have been briefed by now on the survey. Fuller stated that there is concern that the survey is being used as an evaluation measure. Chancellor Perlman stated that in some way it is an evaluation measure. He stated that the purpose of the survey is to initiate discussions on how to improve the climates of the departments. He noted that UNL is an experiment since it is the first university to participate in the survey.
Bryant stated that he is not sure the process is working as intended. He pointed out that departments are feeling pressured to accept the scores and are being forced to work on two particular areas of concern. Chancellor Perlman stated that departments should pick one or two areas where they feel improvements can be made and work on these. He noted that some questions might address problems at the college level rather than the department level. He stated that these issues should then be elevated to the college level. Logan-Peters stated that it is unclear when the survey will be conducted again. Chancellor Perlman stated that it will be done next spring. He noted that he would like to have this done on a yearly basis. Peterson asked if it would be acceptable for a department to address problems it thinks exists without accepting the scores from the survey. Chancellor Perlman stated that he did not care how it is accomplished, he wanted to see improvements made in the climate of departments. He noted that CBA has submitted a grant to the Kellogg Foundation to follow the survey over an extended period of time.
Wolf stated that the process has the effect of insulating the Chancellor from issues that could be addressed sooner rather than having to go through the evaluation process. Chancellor Perlman stated that this is a possibility but he feels that the survey is the only way he can get others to look at the hard issues. Miller noted that the survey has created a process that allows everyone to get involved in solving the problem rather than the solution coming from top down.
Whitt asked if Gallup was willing to allow additional analysis to separate neighborhoods or units if requested. Chancellor Perlman stated that he did not think this would be a problem. He noted that the university, not Gallup, defines the neighborhoods. Sawyer stated that chairs should be included in a separate neighborhood. Chancellor Perlman stated that they are part of the Deans neighborhood. King noted that the size of the neighborhood could have an impact on how effective a chair could be. He questioned what the optimum size would be for a chair to be effective.
3.3 Update on State Budget Situation
Chancellor Perlman reported that estimates of the budget deficit continue to rise. He stated that the university is working on getting the message out to the legislature regarding the university the damage further cuts will cause. He noted that the students are beginning to organize to show support for the university. He stated that all state Senators have been invited to come to campus for a visit. Miller reported that Ron Withem, Associate Vice President for External Affairs, and Michelle Waite, Assistant to the Chancellor for Community Relations, will be meeting with the Executive Committee on November 6th to discuss talking points the faculty may wish to use with the legislature..
3.4 Feedback from the State on Budget Cuts
VC Owens reported that he has spoken with business people in rural Nebraska. He stated that the closing of the South Central Research & Extension center is having great impacts, mostly due to the economic loss. He pointed out that additional cuts would have to be made in either the centers or on campus. He noted that some people believe that the university is abandoning rural Nebraska; however, he stated that the statistics do not support this statement.
Sawyer asked if there has been any discussion regarding the tax structure in the state. VC Owens stated that there has been minimal discussion on this subject. He noted that many people feel that the university needs to fire dead wood faculty members. He stated that he is troubled that the faculty members are perceived this way.
Wunder asked what the status is of the two tenure track faculty members scheduled to be eliminated. He stated that there is concern that there may have been problems with due process because notice of termination has occurred before the budget reduction process has been completed. VC Owens stated that he did not like having to make the decision to eliminate these faculty positions but he noted that there is a clear distinction between tenured and untenured faculty members. Fuller stated that she understands the need to provide adequate notice for termination but she questioned how people can be given notice when the final budget cutting decisions have not been made. Chancellor Perlman stated that tenure and tenure track faculty need to be given 12 months notice for termination. He pointed out that faculty members on contract would receive a notice in May stating that their contract would not be renewed. VC Owens stated that all jobs are important and that the eliminations were not based on performance. He stated that there has been a great deal of discussion on how to protect tenure track people. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that a program is not necessarily the tenured home department for a faculty member. VC Owens noted that the decision to eliminate the tenure track faculty is chilling for all untenured faculty members. He pointed out that many people are employed in more than one program. He stated that if one program is eliminated, a tenure track faculty member could be terminated based on the elimination of that one program.
3.5 Update on Search for Undergraduate Dean
Miller noted that SVCAA Edwards was unable to attend the meeting. Chancellor Perlman stated that the search committee is collecting resumes and that the search process is moving along.
3.6 Issues on the Horizon
Chancellor Perlman reported that he initially received a lot of negative feedback regarding the closure of some of the branch libraries. He stated that now he is hearing that some people say that it makes sense to house the science libraries together. He pointed out that the greatest concern is the 24 hour, 7 days a week access to the libraries that the professors now have. He reported that Dean Giesecke is trying to find space for a science library. He noted that she is reluctant to give 24 hour access to professors if the science library is housed in Love library.
No Admittance to Academic Program
Wolf stated that he heard Community and Regional Planning had been told not to admit students to their program for the spring semester. He asked if the four programs identified for possible elimination have been told the same thing. Chancellor Perlman confirmed that Community and Regional Planning have suspended admitting students but suggested that is subject to review. He noted that it is a two-year program and if no students are admitted this spring it would not interrupt any students program. However, he emphasized there has been no decision to close the program. He reported that Physical Education has also stopped admitting students. He stated that he does not know if the other programs have suspended admission.
Budget Hearing Process
Chancellor Perlman reported that the APC is approximately a week behind in the budget cutting process. As a result, the final decisions regarding the cuts will probably not be announced until November 18th.
4.0 Approval of 10/23/02 Minutes
Peterson moved and Logan-Peters seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
6.0 New Business
6.1 Report on IANR Liaison Committee Meeting
Miller stated that he will not be able to attend the next IANR Liaison meeting on November 19th. He asked if Peterson could attend in his place.
6.2 Domestic Partner Benefits
Wolf stated that in a letter dated April 18, 2002, President Smith indicated that a report on domestic partner benefits was given to the Board of Regents. The Regents received the report, but felt that the University did not need to offer the benefits, in part because the majority of our peer institutions did not. Wolf reported that Purdue University just approved this benefit and Colorado State was likely to approve it sometime this year. Wolf noted that Nebraska is now in the minority, rather than the majority, since the University of Colorado-Boulder, Ohio State, and Purdue have all adopted domestic partner benefits since April 2002. He suggested that the issue should be raised again to the Board of Regents. The committee agreed to if the issue could be placed on the December Board of Regents agenda.
Wolf reported that the Committee on Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender Concerns is issuing its own climate survey. Wolf noted that this is a survey of both students and faculty and that its results will be released a week after the elections on November 5th. He pointed out that the issue of domestic partner benefits bears on the surveys results. Peterson reported that he received a letter from Emeritus Professor Bob Brown regarding the history of the issue of the climate survey. He stated that he would distribute a copy of the letter to the committee.
6.3 Administrative Cost Report
The committee agreed to give the Academic Planning Committee a copy of the report and request that they keep it confidential.
6.4 Other Issues
Peterson reported that Professor Stoddard is planning to distribute information to all faculty members regarding the Fulbright awards. Miller suggested that Stoddard should be invited to speak to the Senate regarding this issue.
Miller reported that he received a memo from Professor Pratt, former National President of AAUP, who indicated that tenured and untenured faculty members do not have equal rights under AAUP. She pointed out that untenured faculty have the right to academic freedom, and the right to appeal a decision against reappointment on the basis of three specific points, namely violations of academic freedom, inappropriate discrimination, and inadequate consideration. Miller stated the he then checked with local AAUP President Bob Haller, who confirmed with the national office of AAUP that if the facts as presented to them are correct, they would not investigate or challenge the termination of the two tenure-track extension faculty who are scheduled to be eliminated.
Wunder reported that the subcommittee to study the budget reduction procedures of the Academic Planning Committee will be meeting on Friday, November 1st.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, November 6th at 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.