EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: Wednesday, April 9, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:08 pm.
2.1 Wasting Time Committee
Miller announced that the Wasting Time Committee, which will examine time-consuming administrative tasks, will be meeting on Monday, April 14th at 11:00 am. The Executive Committee members noted that some tasks and processes that should be examined include course approvals, annual evaluation of tenured faculty, promotion and tenure files, and the difficulty in getting people nominated for awards.
2.2 Search Committee to Replace John Benson, Director, Institutional
Research and Planning
Miller announced that Miles Bryant will serve on the search committee being formed to replace John Benson who will soon be retiring.
2.3 Letter from Faculty Members of the Physics and Astronomy
Miller read a letter signed by 10 members of the Physics and Astronomy Department. The letter supports the Chancellor and the decision to make vertical cuts and states that horizontal cuts would devastate every department in the university. The committee agreed that a letter responding to their statements should be sent.
3.0 Approval of 4/2/03 Minutes
Wolf moved and Bryant seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
4.0 Discussion of Elimination of Museum Studies Program and Firing Tenured
Miller asked for comments and recommendations regarding the budget cut to Museum Studies and the firing of tenured faculty. Peterson stated that he finds it disturbing that the administration continually claims that the budget cuts selected by them are the best, given the alternatives. He pointed out that faculty members are never shown what those alternatives would be and are therefore prevented from making an independent judgment as to whether the cuts are in fact the best that can be made. He suggested that some of the financial exercises mentioned by the administration could be shared with some faculty members. Griffin suggested that the committee might want to consider asking the Chancellor to present these exercises to them in their next meeting with him.
Wolf stated that the Chancellor had indicated that the Academic Planning Committee would be shown alternatives to his proposed budget cut. Wolf suggested that the Executive Committee should request publicly that the APC be given the alternatives to the cuts. Peterson stated that he is skeptical as to whether the APC will be provided with accurate information on the alternatives. He stated that he believes that the reasoning for some of the budget cuts is an attempt to eliminate tenure. Wolf requested that a statement be drafted and sent to the APC listing various alternatives the Executive Committee has suggested over the past several weeks to the budget cuts announced by the administration.
Bryant stated that it appears that everyone is relying on the Chancellor to make all of the budget cuts. He stated that many departments are acting as if everything is status quo. He pointed out that departments and people need to find ways to cut expenses. He noted that middle management should be doing this.
Spann suggested that the APC and the Executive Committee should both request that the APC be presented with the alternatives. Wolf stated that the alternatives requested should include the Deans plans to deal with a 10% budget reduction.
Whitt pointed out that people have a tendency to think that horizontal cuts mean across the board cut. He pointed out that this is not necessarily true. He noted that taking any open lines is actually a horizontal cut, not a vertical cut.
Wunder moved that the Executive Committee urge the APC to formally request from the Chancellor the budget proposals developed by the deans in order to provide the APC with alternative ways to approach these budget cuts. Whitt seconded the motion. Motion approved.
Wunder stated that the article in the Daily Nebraskan regarding the two extension faculty not receiving a formal letter of reassignment causes concern. He pointed out that the APC recommended that these faculty members not be cut and that the Chancellor agreed with APCs recommendation. Wunder moved that the Executive Committee urge the APC to formally ask for an investigation as to why the Chancellors recommendations regarding the retention of the two extension faculty members was ignored in the execution of the reassignments. Miller stated that the committee needs to investigate whether the Daily Nebraskans facts are correct on the time lapse issue. Siekman stated that he would ask Jim Stack, one of the two extension faculty members, what transpired in regards to this incident. Logan-Peters offered a friendly amendment to use the word explanation instead of investigation and seconded the motion. Motion approved.
Whitt stated that he has concerns about whether the letters of termination given to the Museum faculty members are legal. He pointed out that since the APC had not even begun to meet on the budget cuts, the letters should not have been sent out until that review process had taken place. He pointed out that the date of termination in the letter should be after the APC has met and made their recommendations. Fuller pointed out that the Museum Studies program has already been dismantled before the APC hearings because the program has not been allowed to admit new students for next year. Whitt moved that the Executive Committee seek legal advice from an outside attorney regarding the termination letter given to the Museum faculty members. Wunder seconded the motion. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 ES/IS Review Committee Charge
Wunder stated that he will work on getting a committee together to review the ES/IS courses. He stated that he would like a charge to be written for the committee by the end of the semester. Fuller noted that the charge needs to be clear.
Wolf stated that he is concerned that the university is going to a factory model of teaching with large classes. He noted that the idea for having IS courses is to attempt to preserve a form of teaching that involves active learning. He pointed out that many classes are designated as IS courses but in reality they are not. He stated that there needs to be rigorous enforcement at the department level in monitoring these courses. Spann suggested that the review committee could look at the IS courses to see if they are still being taught as IS courses.
Bryant stated that there are not enough resources to conduct ES/IS courses the way they should be conducted. He stated that he would like to see the review committee develop a mechanism to work with the faculty members on these classes.
Peterson asked if the review committee should change the comprehensive program entirely or consider simply revising it. He suggested that references to ES/IS should be left out of the charge in order to leave open the possibility of retiring that terminology. Wunder noted that the committee should decide whether the IS courses should be eliminated or retained. He pointed out that the number of ES/IS courses needs to be reduced and the program made more manageable. He stated that this review need to be looked at strategically.
5.2 Academic Senate Service Award
Griffin reported that the Schwartzkopf foundation fund can be used to provide an award for faculty members. Bryant stated that he wants to develop a service award that is strictly handled by the faculty. Wunder suggested that a committee of three be appointed to work on developing the award. He stated that the idea of an award could be presented at the September meeting. Fuller pointed out that the procedures for nominating someone should not be too elaborate. Miller suggested that the Executive Committee could be responsible for determining the award. Wunder stated that the award committee could be composed of three members of the Executive Committee and Griffin as an ex-officio member. Griffin pointed out that the committee may not be aware of all of the faculty members who have provided exceptional service. She stated that a process and criteria for selection of the award needs to be developed.
Bryant stated that the Senate should give its approval for creating this award. He noted that going through the Senate would give the award stature. He suggested that the award could be given during a public ceremony such as the Honors Convocation. Wunder pointed out that the Senate would be a good place to present the award. He noted that it is an award given by the Senate and that those who attend the Senate meetings are predominantly faculty.
Wunder stated that a motion should be presented to the Senate at the April 29th meeting to establish this service award. He noted that it would then be voted upon during the September meeting. The committee agreed that a motion should be made and that the development of the award would be done during the next year.
Wolf asked if the award should be based on service to faculty governance since it is the Academic Senate that is giving the award. He noted that it could be made comparable to the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Meeting with Chancellor Perlman
Miller reported that he and President-Elect Wunder met with Chancellor Perlman. He stated that no new information was available concerning the budget cuts.
Wunder stated that they discussed the insufficient execution of trying to reassign people who are scheduled to be fired due to the budget cuts. He pointed out that it has been one month since the Museum faculty members were notified that they were to be terminated and some of these people have not heard anything about being reassigned to another department. He stated that the Chancellor stated that efforts to reassign faculty members were not taking place as promptly as they should. The Chancellor promised that he would work on this. Wunder pointed out that vertical budget cuts can be made, but the university needs to take care of everyone being cut.
Wunder noted that not one of the four Museum faculty members who the administration claims has been reassigned has received a formal letter verifying that this has occurred. Whitt asked how the faculty members were contacted regarding reassignment. Wunder stated that VC Paul was initiating the reassignment. Wunder noted that he is very concerned with the time that lower administrators are taking in trying to reassign these people. Whitt stated that if he were to be terminated, he would contact other departments himself. Fuller pointed out that the faculty members are caught in a double bind because technically their program has not yet been eliminated.
Miller stated that it would help if the Chancellor spoke with the Museum faculty members individually. He stated that he would email the Chancellor to suggest that he do this. Wunder agreed and suggested that the Chancellor should be informed that there is a disconnection between what the Chancellor hears what is happening to these faculty members and what is actually occurring with them.
6.2 Post Tenure Review Procedures
Wunder stated that he has concerns if the APC does not recommend the firing of tenured faculty members, but the Chancellor decides to go ahead with the terminations. He stated that it will cause another crisis that will need to be dealt with. He pointed out that if everyone is reassigned, then it would not create a problem. He noted two issues. First, a reading of AAUP procedures suggests that a requirement exists for a faculty committee to approve the termination of tenured faculty if a university is to avoid AAUP investigation and sanction. And second, the lack of placing tenured faculty, in essence the firing of those faculty members after a program is abolished, subverts the post-tenure review procedures. In what amounts to constructive post-tenure review tenured faculty members could be judged as not being worthy without going through proper procedures of the university.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:01 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, April 16th 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.