EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Sawyer,
Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: King, Siekman
Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Miller called the meeting to order at 3:06 p.m.
2.1 Martin Luther King Observance
Miller reminded the committee that various events were taking place on campus to commemorate Martin Luther Kings birthday. He noted that the Martin Luther King Freedom Breakfast is scheduled for Friday, January 17th at 7:30 a.m. at the Embassy Suites.
3.0 Approval of 12/11/02 Minutes
Bryant moved and DiMagno seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
4.0 Chancellor Perlman
Chancellor Perlman stated that the Governors recommendation to reduce the universitys budget by 10% will create real difficulties. He noted that the final budget cuts to the university will not be known until June. He stated that President Smith indicated in his response to the Governors recommendations that he and the four chancellors will be traveling throughout the state to hear the peoples concerns and to learn what kind of university they want. Chancellor Perlman stated that by mid-March President Smith will probably make more specific announcements regarding the impact of the budget cuts.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he has asked the deans to come up with a 10% reduction in their budgets. He stated that administrators will try to think of creative ways to address the problem. He pointed out that the first year of the biennium there will be a $20 million reduction in UNLs budget. He stated that efforts will be made to preserve the core of the university. He noted that restructuring of the university could occur to help deal with the cuts. He pointed out that if academic programs are cut, efforts will be made to accommodate students, particularly those graduating. He stated that this could mean that teaching loads would need to be increased within departments.
Miller stated that the Academic Senate wants to be proactive and asked what it could do to help. Chancellor Perlman noted that in a poll conducted by Varner Hall, some citizens felt that the University was arrogant. He pointed out that it is important for people to discuss the importance the university has for the students, the economic development of the state and the service the university provides to the state and its citizens.
Sawyer asked how much tuition would have to be raised in order to cover all of the budget cuts. Chancellor Perlman stated that for each percentage of tuition increase, $1.2 million is raised. He noted that it would take a 40% increase in tuition to cover the cuts. Wunder noted that an increase that large would not be out of context with universities in neighboring states. Chancellor Perlman stated that some of the increases at other universities are spread out over a two or three year period. He noted that the Board of Regents would decide the issue of a tuition increase.
Wolf noted that many other states are in the same economic crisis as Nebraska. He pointed out that the federal government plays a role in how much federal money states receive. He stated that it is important for constituents to contact their US Senators as well as contacting their local state senator. Chancellor Perlman noted that Senator Nelson has introduced legislation to direct $31 billion back to the states for Medicare and Medicaid.
DiMagno asked if there is any possibility that the states structure of higher education or the university system is going to change. Chancellor Perlman noted that at this time everything is on the table for cuts.
Sawyer asked what the status is of the retirement phase out plan. Chancellor Perlman stated that the campuses have received copies of the standard contract from central administration. He noted that the Board of Regents have changed the FTE from .3 to .5 for working part time because of benefits.
Wunder noted that Provost Noren indicated in his presentation to the Academic Senate on the US Patriot Act that there will be a cost to upgrade the security of the laboratories on campus. He asked if there has been any discussion on how to do this and whether or not some types of research should be discontinued because of the additional cost and risk factors. Chancellor Perlman stated that there has been no discussion. He pointed out that the list of high risk agents is so broad that it would cover many different areas of research. He noted that getting faculty members to change their habits to be more aware of the possible security risks is probably a greater factor. Miller asked if the federal government will provide money to help cover the cost of upgrading security. Bryant stated that Provost Noren indicated that there might be some money available through grants from the Homeland Security Department.
Wunder asked how the Executive Committee could be helpful in the budget cutting process. Chancellor Perlman stated that being open to creative ideas and keeping the lines of communication open will be helpful. He noted that the cuts will probably be a mixture of both vertical and horizontal cuts. Spann asked if the Chancellor would continue to send email messages to faculty and staff to keep them informed. Chancellor Perlman stated that he will continue with his email messages.
Bryant asked if the university would receive a salary increase similar to the state employees increases. Chancellor Perlman noted that UNK and UNO, the two unionized campuses, are in the process of bargaining with the university on salary increases and there is the strong likelihood that they will receive some increase. He stated that it would be a difficult decision whether UNL would take a salary increase. He pointed out that UNK and UNO will have to pay for their increases out of their own budgets. Sawyer noted that people did not see the negative impacts on UNK and UNOs budgets due to their higher salary increases. Chancellor Perlman stated that the cuts were not as visible but he assured the committee that UNL did not subsidize their budgets in any way.
Bryant asked if it was possible for the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee to get information on the salary increases of UNLs peer institutions in a more timely fashion. Chancellor Perlman noted that correlating salary increases by peer departments can take time.
Wolf asked the Chancellor to explain how the 10% budget cuts would play out over the next two years. The Chancellor stated that there would be a 10% reduction in the base budget in the first year of the biennium and that there would be no decreases in the next year, but there would be zero increase in the base budget. However increased costs each year would result in less of a base budget for the second year.
5.0 SVCAA Edwards
5.1 Faculty Merit Review
Wolf asked if it was worth conducting annual faculty reviews if there is going to be zero salary increase. He stated that a cost/benefit analysis should be done on the amount of time that needs to be spent each year conducting these evaluations. SVCAA Edwards stated that the UNL Bylaws and the Regents Bylaws state that annual faculty evaluations must be done; therefore they will need to be done this year. He stated that he is in favor of changing the bylaws so that annual evaluations fro tenured faculty members are done every other year. He noted that they are a time consuming process and conducting them every other year would allow the faculty to concentrate on other work.
SVCAA Edwards stated that he would like to see other procedures that require a lot of faculty time changed as well. He cited curriculum evaluation of new courses and the graduate faculty status as examples which could perhaps be changed.
Peterson asked what the procedure would be to change the bylaws on faculty evaluations. SVCAA Edwards stated that the committee would need to discuss the issue with the Chancellor. He stated that there should be conversations on campus regarding the issue and he suggested that a committee be created that would formulate a proposal to make the change. He noted that the committee would need to look at a variety of issues regarding annual evaluations. Peterson pointed out that it is not clear that the annual evaluation process is the same across campus. He asked if changing the bylaws would result in the same process being used on both city and east campus. SVCAA Edwards stated that this is an issue the Senate might want to address. Fuller noted that it would help faculty morale to cut out unnecessary work. SVCAA Edwards stated that the incentive for reducing faculty work load is so great that the Senate should seriously considered working on this issue. He stated that he is in favor of the initiative and would help with it.
Bryant stated that the committee needs to discuss the removal of the two-tier Graduate Faculty system. His concern is that some departments might unduly burden new faculty members with graduate committee assignments. Peterson pointed out that the system is archaic and that it is part of the job of newly hired faculty to work with graduate students. SVCAA Edwards stated that he is in favor of the proposal to remove the two-tier system. He pointed out that it is not needed now and that the university has matured to the point that all new hires in graduate programs are qualified to work with graduate students or should not be hired. He noted that individual departments could determine whether new faculty members should be able to serve as graduate committee chairs.
5.2 Reviewing ES/IS courses
Wunder reported that the committee met with advisers and directors to discuss the ES/IS courses. He stated that there is a strong sentiment to simplify and make the ES/IS courses more manageable. SVCAA Edwards agreed that the courses need to be simplified. He stated that he would like his office and the faculty to join forces to improve the program. He pointed out that the faculty members control the curriculum and that this needs to be a faculty initiative. He noted that aspirations were noble when the system was created but its evolution has produced cumbersome results. DiMagno stated that a simple form should be given to students which would show a breadth of courses that could be taken to satisfy the ES/IS requirements.
Peterson asked if the new Dean of Undergraduate Studies would play a role in getting the discussions going on revising these courses. SVCAA Edwards stated that the new dean would play a role but it is the faculty members who own the curriculum.
Wolf asked if the committee was at a point to get the process of change started. Wunder stated that the Senate will need to take the initiative. Bryant suggested that the committee should meet with the Curriculum Committee to discuss the issue.
6.0 Review of Executive Committee Goals
Agenda item postponed.
7.0 Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics
Miller asked committee members if they want to get involved in the coalition being formed by the Big 10 schools. Fuller stated that while she finds it disturbing to see how much money people will donate to athletics, she thought it would be better for the committee to align itself with the donors rather than challenging athletics. Wunder stated that he is leery of the coalition because there is no clear agenda. He pointed out that there are many racial issues involved and that the committee should be careful before deciding to join the coalition. He suggested that the committee should meet with the new athletic director, Steve Pederson, to see what he wants to do with athletics.
Miller noted that the press has focused attention on the coalition and they want to know if UNL will join it. Wolf stated that they should be told that the committee is following further development on the coalition. Spann noted that the committee should respond to the press when it is being represented. He stated that we have an obligation to notify the press when we are being misrepresented.
8.0 New Business
No new business was discussed.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, January 22nd at 2:45 pm. The meeting will be held in 420 University Terrace, Academic Senate Office. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.