EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer,
Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, April 2, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:09 pm.
2.1 Teachers College Celebration
Bryant announced that the Teachers College will be holding its final celebration this Friday. He stated that everyone is welcomed to attend the event.
2.2 Open House Research Collection of the Museum
Fuller announced that there will be an open house of the Museums research collection on Sunday, April 6th.
2.3 Undergraduate Research Conference
SVCAA Edwards announced that the 9th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference will take place on Friday, April 4th in the Nebraska Union, Centennial Room.
3.0 SVCAA Edwards
3.1 Follow Up on Senate Meeting and Budget
SVCAA Edwards distributed a handout which provided information on what a 3% decrease for the University would mean. He noted that a 3% reduction to the university budget would drop the amount to $20.5 million. UNLs portion of the cuts would be $10 million. He pointed out that the Appropriations Committees recommendation includes a salary increase for 2004 and 2005 which makes the 3% reduction not as great a reduction as one would originally think. He noted that another $3 million would still need to be cut from the budget if the 3% reduction for the university is approved.
Fuller asked if the $10 million would cover both years of the biennium or whether additional funds would need to be cut in the second year. SVCAA Edwards stated that another $4 million would need to be cut from the UNL budget in 2005.
Bryant stated that it is important to know how the priority funds will be used since that money is not going to be used to help cover the budget cuts. SVCAA Edwards stated that $3 million of the priority funds comes to the UNL campus. He stated that he can provide information on how that money is being spent.
Sawyer asked if the figures shown include revenue from a tuition increase. SVCAA Edwards stated that the figures do not show a tuition increase or increases on fixed costs. He stated that a tuition increase will probably only cover the fixed costs and need-based scholarships aid. He pointed out that a tuition increase above 12% would be needed in order to help out with the budget cuts.
Wunder asked if the additional $3 million in budget cuts could be done on a horizontal basis and what this would look like. SVCAA Edwards stated that this scenario has not been looked at. He noted that the announcement of the proposed 3% reduction was just made the day before. He stated that the administration is unsure whether this reduction will hold up in the legislature. Fuller stated that an additional 2% tuition increase could cover the additional $3 million. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that for every percent of increase in tuition, the university receives $1.2 million and from that UNL receives about $600,000.
Wunder stated that staff fired due to the cuts should be placed first for any staff position openings within the university. SVCAA Edwards stated that they were able to place almost everyone from the Division of Continuing Studies when that program was eliminated. He noted that it will get harder to place people within the university because there are not as many staff positions available now. He stated that Human Resources does a good job of monitoring open positions and trying to place fired university personnel in these positions.
Spann noted that the Appropriations Committees plan calls for a 1.5% increase in salaries. He stated that the Chancellor had indicated that a reduction in salaries might be needed in order to cover cash flow. SVCAA Edwards stated that once the plan for permanent budget cuts is completed, the administration would need to look at the cash flow situation for next year. He stated that all options on how to cover the cash flow will be open. He stated that it is difficult to make any predictions until the final budget situation is known. Bryant asked when the campus will know about the cash flow problem. SVCAA Edwards stated that it will depend on when the final budget is determined by the legislature. He pointed out it could be as late as June 2nd.
Peterson stated that the Chancellor had indicated that the administration is running exercises to look at various budget scenarios. He stated that if faculty could see and participate in these exercises, their opinion on how the cuts are being handled might be improved.
Wunder stated that how the budget cuts are dealt with on campus is most important. He pointed out that there are currently two professors in the Museums who need to be taken care of right now. He stated that in the next phase of budget cuts he would like to see budget scenarios that spread the debt around rather than isolating it to a few areas.
SVCAA Edwards noted that originally the next announcements of the budget cuts were going to include the elimination of academic programs which would result in the firing of tenured faculty. He stated that he is unsure just what will be announced now with the possibility of a 3% reduction. He pointed out that the time for getting the information out is quickly evaporating. He noted that only about five weeks of school are left and that most faculty members will be gone with the end of the semester. He stated that they would like to make the announcements before the end of the semester so that discussions can be held before faculty leave campus.
Wunder stated that if programs have already been selected to be eliminated, then a process should have started to place the tenured faculty into other positions, if possible. He stated that in other areas such as the honors program, general studies, and the foundation program, faculty are needed. He suggested that alternative solutions to reposition faculty should be explored. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that the bottom line is that the budget needs to be reduced. He noted that there needs to be willing participants on both sides of the table in order for faculty members to be repositioned.
Sawyer asked if the next announcements on the budget cuts will be made on April 15th. SVCAA Edwards stated that this is currently the plan although the suggestion of a 3% reduction could change this.
Bryant stated that the definition of a program is a problem. He stated that it is important for faculty members to understand how their program is defined. DiMagno stated that the problem is that the definition is vague.
3.2 Teaching Council Responsibilities
Wolf reported that the Committee on Committees forwarded changes to the Teaching Council syllabus for the Executive Committees approval. He stated that the Executive Committee has concerns regarding the Councils responsibilities since the Teaching and Learning Center has been eliminated. He noted that that the Chancellor stated that the Council was to assume some of the responsibilities of the Center and the Executive Committee wanted to clarify what those responsibilities would be.
SVCAA Edwards noted that there are three groups on campus that focus on teaching: the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the Teaching/Learning/Technology Roundtable, and the Teaching Council. He pointed out that the Council is the most generic and broadest in terms of teaching. He stated that the Council can transform itself into a general advocacy and advising committee on teaching. He pointed out that the Council has no budget but that it could sponsor events in conjunction with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or Academic Affairs.
Peterson noted that the current changes to the syllabus suggest that the main function of the Council would be handing out awards which is a very small charge. Bryant asked if the Council is an advisory committee to the Chancellor. He noted that it should be an advocate for teaching on campus.
Fuller pointed out that the Council should cover both undergraduate and graduate teaching. She stated that as currently laid out, it appears that it focuses to undergraduate teaching. She suggested that the Council could be given more responsibilities and made into a stronger committee.
SVCAA Edwards stated that the Executive Committee and Academic Affairs could work together to rewrite the syllabus and charge of the Teaching Council. Miller stated that he would get the process started.
3.3 Student Evaluations Statistics Included in Promotion & Tenure Files
Spann reported that a memo was distributed to the Deans from the Academic Affairs office stating that all files for promotion and tenure must include a new course Listing and Evaluation form listing statistical information based on student evaluations. He noted that many faculty members and some administrators have concerns regarding this issue. SVCAA Edwards stated that he was not aware of the memo and would need to get back to the Committee on this issue.
3.4 Bureaucracy Busting Committee
Miller stated that he has put together a committee of faculty members from various disciplines, along with several administrators, to review and possibly eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic processes. He stated that he will serve as chair and hopes to get a meeting together soon.
Wunder asked if there are special issues for any of the professional schools that might need to be considered when these processes are reviewed. SVCAA Edwards stated that he did not think there should be a problem. He suggested that the committee should review whether faculty evaluations on tenured faculty must be conducted every year, the length of time needed to make curriculum changes, and the amount of time spent on advising and administering general education. He stated that he would like to see an agreement on what is needed in the promotion and tenure files so that the files can be reduced in size.
3.5 Dean of Undergraduate Studies Search
The discussion with SVCAA Edwards about the Dean of Undergraduate Studies Search was off the record due to personnel considerations.
Bryant suggested that if faculty members are going to participate in these searches they would like to get some feedback on how the search is going. Peterson asked if there were any downsides to conducting a national search only to hire internally. He suggested that this could affect the reputation of the university in conducting searches. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that most national searches result in the hiring of someone outside of the university. He cited the examples of the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Dean of the College of Human Resources and Family Sciences.
Spann stated that the candidates for the Dean of Undergraduate Studies did not seem to have a clear sense of the responsibilities of the job. SVCAA Edwards stated that half to two-thirds of the responsibility of that position will be pulled from the Office of Academic Affairs. He stated that the administration needs to decide on whether suggestions made by the Noel Levitz consultants will be followed up. He noted that the Dean of Undergraduate Studies would be the person to focus on issues such as retaining students and creating learning communities. He stated that each candidate seemed to have a clear understanding of the position after he and the Chancellor spoke with them.
5.0 Approval of 3/26/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Whitt seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
6.0 Unfinished Business
6.1 Executive Committee Nominations Update
Griffin reported that there are now six candidates for the three open Executive Committee positions. She noted that biographical information on each of the candidates for the officers positions and the committee members positions will be sent to the Academic Senate two weeks before the April 29th meeting.
7.0 New Business
7.1 Moratorium Resolution
Peterson stated that he was asked by Senator May, Economics, to bring the proposal to call for a moratorium on the firing of tenured faculty members, presented to the Academic Senate on April 1st, to the Executive Committee for them to approve and convey to Chancellor Perlman. Peterson noted that currently the resolution would not be voted upon until the April 29th meeting and further budget cuts will have been announced by that date. Wolf stated that procedural questions might be involved because a motion has already been made to the Senate. Griffin stated that the motion would need to be withdrawn from the Senate. The committee agreed that the motion should be withdrawn from the Senate first.
7.2 Chancellors Listening Session
Fuller recommended that an Executive Committee representative should be at the Chancellors listening sessions on the budget cuts, particularly when faculty members are involved in the cuts. Logan-Peters stated that the committee members should individually commit to attend these sessions.
7.3 Campaigning the Legislature
Miller reported that the Presidents of the Academic and Faculty Senates on each of the four campuses have been asked to put together a campaign to contact the legislature. He stated that the plan is to do a letter-writing, as well as a visiting campaign, to the state legislators in support of the university.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, April 9th at 3:00 pm. The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.