EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: DiMagno, King
Date: Wednesday, February 12, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:06 p.m.
Griffin announced that the two faculty forums dealing with faculty governance issues will be held on Tuesday, February 25th, at 3:00 in the East Campus Union, and Wednesday, February 26th, at 3:00 in the City Campus Union.
3.0 ES/IS Courses Members of the Curriculum Committee: Professor Tuck, News-Editorial; Professor Skopp, School of Natural Resource Sciences; Professor Fuess, Economics; Professor Partridge, Plant Pathology
Tuck reported that the Curriculum Committee is seeing a great deal of interest from departments in the ES/IS courses. He stated that the committee is interested in hearing the concerns of the Senate. He pointed out that the concept of the ES/IS requirement is good in that it forces a different kind of rigor on the students.
Miller stated that the Executive Committee has met with Professors Bergstrom, Berger, Gregory, Schulte, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor Kean, and Anne Kopera, Director of Advising for Arts & Sciences, to discuss the issue of ES/IS courses. Miller reported that while the general feelings about the courses are positive, there is an agreement that they need to be simplified and made more manageable. Wunder pointed out that in comparison to other universities, the ES/IS requirements are very confusing. He questioned whether some of the courses that were approved as ES/IS courses are still viable. He stated that the general conclusion from the committees discussions is that the courses are out of control; however, people feel that the basic fundamentals of the courses should be retained. He noted that students are having problems, particularly between colleges, in having ES/IS courses accepted.
Peterson stated that the problem is the complexity of the list of courses. He noted that when he sees an advisee early, there are usually no problems. He stated that he likes students having the flexibility to take a number of different courses, but agrees that the list could be shorter. He reported that he received an email message from a student who stated that the ES courses are relevant and should be kept, but IS courses should be dropped. Peterson stated that he polled the students in his class and they voiced the same opinion. He noted that IS courses are indistinguishable today and that very few are being taught by those professors who first created them.
Skopp stated that the Curriculum Committee reviews and approves these courses but has not addressed the issues being raised. Tuck noted that some consistent issues regarding ES/IS courses are surfacing during the committees meetings. Fuess pointed out that the Curriculum Committee does review and approve ES/IS courses but it does not reexamine them at a later date. He pointed out that courses listed as IS often have such a high enrollment that the professor can no longer teach them as IS courses. He noted that some professors teach courses as IS but they are not recognized as such.
Skopp noted that departments can sometimes create a problem with these courses by constructing a major without incorporating ES/IS courses. Fuller pointed out that some majors do not lend themselves to ES/IS courses. Sawyer wondered how many substitutions are made to accommodate students.
Partridge pointed out that the ES/IS courses present two separate issues. He noted that the workload is a major concern with IS courses. He stated that IS courses emphasize pedagogy and that there is no recognition that these courses require more work for the instructor.
Wunder noted that one of the problems with the courses is that colleges cannot agree on what they accept as ES/IS courses. He pointed out that colleges need to agree on these courses so that students can graduate in a timely fashion. Whitt stated that this is a particular problem for students who change colleges. Peterson noted that these courses are supposed to embody a comprehensive program for the campus but the colleges prevent this from occurring. He noted that there should be one set of courses that is accepted by all of the colleges, although he does like the concept of students having an option among these courses.
Fuess stated that ES courses are based on subject matter while IS courses are based on a delivery system of teaching. He stated that colleges would discuss these courses if the distinction between them was clearly made. Fuller stated that some content issues are involved and that IS courses are more than the delivery method involved. Fuess noted that the Curriculum Committee spends the most time reviewing the delivery methods of proposed new IS courses.
Peterson asked how the courses could be restructured and what reforms could be made to them. He asked who would do this work. Tuck stated that the Executive Committee and the Senate can make the suggestion for these courses to be reviewed. Wunder suggested that a blue ribbon committee be formed to examine these courses. Miller asked if some of the members of the Curriculum Committee would be willing to be on this committee. Tuck stated that members of the Curriculum Committee could be involved.
Spann noted that there are twice as many courses approved as there are removed. He asked if this is due to an increase in the number of faculty. Partridge pointed out that some departments do not want to go through the effort of removing courses that are no longer taught. Tuck stated that some of the new courses are only taught every few years. He noted that probably more courses will be removed due to the budget cuts.
Spann asked if there is a mechanism in place that would indicate duplication of courses across the campus. Skopp stated that the Curriculum Committee should be responsible. Fuess pointed out that there is no master list of courses that would help the committee with this task.
4.0 Approval of 2/5/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Fuller seconded approval of the minutes. Motion approved.
5.0 Report on Meeting with President Smith
Wunder reported that salaries were discussed with President Smith. He stated that President Smith indicated that a 1.75% increase in salaries for UNL was possible. He noted that this is the level that UNK negotiated. Wunder stated that UNO was currently in arbitration and that they would get either a 1.75 or 3.0 percent increase.
Wunder stated that the Graduate Colleges proposal to create a one-tier graduate college has met with general approval in Varner Hall and is likely to be approved if proposed.
Wunder reported that UNOs resolution on the priority funds was discussed. He stated that UNK presented a motion at its Faculty Senate meeting calling for the amount of funds for the programs of excellence to remain at the 2002 level during the 2003-05 biennium. Miller stated that it is believed that the Board of Regents will not change their decision regarding the priority funds and that $3 million will be distributed amongst the campuses each year. Bryant stated that if there is a choice between firing tenured faculty members or getting rid of the priority money, he recommends getting rid of the priority funds.
Miller reported that President Smith will announce on March 10th many of the cuts that the university will have to make in order to comply with the 10% reduction. Wunder stated that Central Administration has discussed not receiving a salary increase for this year.
Wunder noted that the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (FCAC) met on Tuesday, February 11th. He stated that various scenarios were presented on how salary increases should be used. He pointed out that it is ludicrous to think of salary raises when academic programs may be cut.
Miller noted that there has been some discussion regarding tuition increases. He stated that a 10-12% tuition increase will only cover increases for fixed costs.
6.0 Unfinished Business
6.1 Special Senate Meeting on Budget Cuts
Wolf stated that all of the Senates concerns about faculty governance are fundamentally about insuring the academic quality of the university. He noted that what the Academic Planning Committee wants from the faculty are general guidelines in addressing the academic impacts of whatever budget cutting proposals come before them. He pointed out that it is the Senates responsibility to articulate what sort of university we want to emerge from this process of program cuts, departmental and college mergers, staff reductions, hiring freezes, reduction of resources, including library resources, retirement incentives, and the like, and how such measures might best be achieved, not merely to react, after the fact, to decisions administrators have made for us, in an atmosphere of inevitability.
Wolf moved that the Academic Senate President appoint a Special Senate Subcommittee of distinguished faculty members experienced in faculty governance and recognized for their thoughtfulness about the role and purpose of a university, to offer the Senate, at a special meeting, possibly in March after spring break, a report outlining the guidelines its members believe the faculty ought to convey to the APC as it resumes its budget reduction tasks. Fuller seconded the motion. Motion approved.
Fuller asked if the guidelines were to be specific or philosophical in nature. The committee agreed that they should be specific. The committee recommended various faculty members to serve on the subcommittee.
7.0 New Business
No new business was discussed.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:14 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 19th 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.