EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Alexander, Buck, Fech, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Shea, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Wunder called the meeting to order at 2:40 pm.
No announcements were made.
3.0 SVCAA Edwards and VC Owens
3.1 Committee to Review Introductory Classes
SVCAA Edwards stated that the Transition-to-University Task Force will review the goals and effectiveness of the many programs on campus that are designed to assist first-year students. He noted that the campus wants to recruit students based on academics, but the academic life on campus is not always presented. He stated that the Task Force will consist mainly of faculty members.
Peterson stated that he was impressed with the new student enrollment program when he has participated in it. He stated that it is good to have students meet with faculty members to work out their schedules. SVCAA Edwards stated that the new student enrollment program has made improvements and has included the academic component of student life. He stated that the study will be helpful to the new Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
Wolf asked why a member of the English department was not on the committee when all first year students must take English courses. SVCAA Edwards stated that he has not had a response back from the English professor he asked to serve on the committee.
Miller asked if the idea to review the effectiveness of these programs was identified in the Noel Levitz consulting report. SVCAA Edwards stated that it was and that the report suggested ways to attract quality high school students.
Alexander asked if parents and students are given a survey to fill out after going through the new student enrollment program. SVCAA Edwards stated that he was unsure whether this was done, but thought that it would be a good idea.
3.2 Impact on the Budget of Restoring the Vet Contract, Nebraska
Forest Service and Nebraska State Forester, and Nebraska Statewide
VC Owens reported that the decision to eliminate the Veterinary Student Contract was based on the belief that it would be the least disruptive cut to make to the University and the State of Nebraska. He noted that the legislature has restored $1.4 million of the $1.79 million that was cut.
VC Owens stated that a study will be conducted to see if a more cost effective veterinary education contract can be written. He noted that members of the committee will be composed of people from a wide spectrum of Nebraska and Dean Waller, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, will be chair. He stated that the committee will probably suggest that a smaller program should be developed.
Wunder asked if the contract currently requires students to come back to work in Nebraska. VC Owens stated that this is not currently part of the contract but the committee will look at this issue. He noted that this is a complex issue. Miller asked if there were any data on previous classes. VC Owens stated that 40% of the students return to Nebraska to work. He pointed out that other state subsidized students such as nurses, dentists, and doctors are not asked to stay in Nebraska. He stated that the choice was either to cut the vet contract or to cut faculty members.
Spann asked if the contract was only with Kansas State. VC Owens stated that this was correct but the committee will look at this issue in their study. He pointed out that any decision that will make the program smaller will disproportionately affect females since they represent a substantial portion of the students in the program.
VC Owens noted that most of the support for the Forest Service came from people involved with fire protection in rural communities. He stated that the legislature earmarked $250,000 for the continuation of the program. This includes $50,000 for the two tenured faculty members and $200,000 in new money. He stated that the legislature will conduct a study to determine whether the program should stay with the University or be moved elsewhere in the state. He noted that the program will be much smaller.
Wunder asked if VC Owens considered the Forest Service a program. VC Owens stated yes, that it has been a standalone unit but outside of the traditional units. Wunder asked if the two tenured faculty members with the Forest Service were excluded from the budget cut when it was first proposed for elimination. VC Owens stated that this is correct. Wunder asked what the rationale was behind this decision. VC Owens stated that he did not want to cut tenured faculty members.
VC Owens stated that he recommended the total elimination of support to the arboretum; however, since the Institute does not need to cut as much as previously thought he will re-establish the program. He noted that he has urged the arboretum to become self-supporting. He reported that the staff of the arboretum have been very professional and have understood the reasoning behind cutting the program. Fech asked if the program has been temporarily restored. VC Owens stated that it will depend on the state budget. He noted that the program could be cut again if the university is hit with further budget reductions.
3.3 Long Term Effects of Budget Cuts
Wunder asked the VC what his long term thoughts were on the budget cuts and their effects on the university. VC Owens stated that he is irritated when he hears people say that the University will be a better off after the cuts. He pointed out that there is nothing good, particularly emotionally, about these cuts. He noted that it has been difficult to work on the mission of the University while having to deal with the cuts. He noted that the cuts have been the worst budget crisis that he has ever had to deal with.
Wunder asked how the morale is in the Institute. VC Owens stated that it depends on what department a person resides in. He noted that some departments are affected more than others but he reminds people that we are all in this together. He stated that the cuts have been managed well by the units but it is a difficult time for everyone.
Wunder asked what the status is of the Museum faculty members in regards to negotiations. SVCAA Edwards stated that the faculty members are in various stages of negotiations. He noted that he hopes to get full closure on each of the individuals soon.
Wolf stated that the University is facing two problems. He noted that the budget cuts have consumed everyones attention and efforts but at the expense of UNLs Comprehensive Diversity Plan. He stated that the diversity plan has been ignored as indicated by the elimination of the dual career program which is an integral part of the diversity plan. He pointed out that the multi-cultural specialist position that was recently transferred from the Teaching and Learning Center to Academic Affairs has also been cut. Furthermore, he noted that the Teaching and Learning Center was eliminated which was one of the agents that for implementing the diversity plan. He stated that these cuts have affected the ability to carry out the diversity plan. He wondered whether any administrator has recently read the diversity plan which was placed on the Academic Affairs website in September 2000. He noted that the Office of Academic Affairs was periodically to inform the university community regarding how the diversity plan was being implemented. He stated that Academic Affairs was also to award small grants to faculty members or students for projects they developed that would contribute to the diversity plan through the Faculty Liaison Task Force on Diversity, which, like the Teaching and Learning Center, no longer exists. He pointed out that in reality the plan has become mummified and the budget cuts that have accrued have directly affected the Universitys ability to commit to the plan.
Wolf pointed out that with the elimination of the department of Health and Human Performance community health education classes will no longer be offered. He stated that a particular HHP course is required before students can become Student Health Aids or Peer Sex Educators thorugh the University Health Centers Community Health Education office; he noted further that it is Peer Sex Educators who staff the Cornerstone HIV testing site. He questioned how the budget cuts are being made and noted that the administration does not seem to be aware of the long term effects of cutting some of these positions and programs, particularly in regards to how they relate to diversity. He stated that the administration needs to review and recommit to a workable diversity plan since the current one has been abrogated by the budget cuts. He suggested this be done by the end of August.
SVCAA Edwards stated that he is worried about the impact of the budget cuts on diversity in a variety of ways. He noted that valuable faculty members who contribute to diversity on campus have been lost. He pointed out that the plan was written during a different time when the university did not face such overwhelming budget cuts. Wolf noted that he and others have put a great deal of time and effort into developing the diversity plan and that they were told that the plan would be on-going and dynamic. SVCAA Edwards stated that the severe budget cuts have resulted in many cuts to administration. He stated that he agrees to the suggestion that the plan needs to be reviewed and possibly be restructured. He noted that he shares the concern over the diversity issue. He pointed out that the administration is trying to see if the dual career program can be out-sourced.
3.4 Search for Director of Institutional Research and Planning
Wunder asked whether a search was being conducted to replace John Benson. SVCAA Edwards stated that a search is currently in process. He noted that he and VC Owens are co-chairing the search committee. He reported that the advertisements for the position have been out and that they have screened the applicants. He noted that six people have been identified as possible candidates and that reference checks are currently being conducted. VC Owens stated that the pool of candidates is a diverse group. Miller noted that he appointed Past President Bryant to serve on the committee.
Peterson noted that the budget cut announcements indicated that there will be some savings from this position because it will not be filled by a faculty member. VC Owens stated that there are some candidates who have their doctorates and who have a lot of experience in the field. SVCAA Edwards stated that while the position has not been advertised as having a faculty appointment assigned to it, this could not be ruled out.
4.0 Chancellor Perlman
4.1 Budget Cuts
Spann asked how many undergraduate majors are in the Health and Human Peformance program and whether this budget cut will disproportionately affect students of color. Miller stated that he heard 400 undergraduate students identify this unit as their major. SVCAA Edwards stated that he is unsure of these figures but that he will check this out.
Wunder noted that the Centrex lists 13 faculty members in Health and Human Performance but the budget cuts stated that nine will be cut. He asked for clarification on the difference. SVCAA Edwards stated that two faculty members have been moved to other departments. He noted that the departments involved voted and approved the transfer of these faculty members. He pointed out that HHP was going to be merged with the Department of Nutritional Science and Dietetics. Peterson noted that one of the faculty members has left UNL.
Wunder stated that he understood that Richard Wood, Vice President and General Counsel, stating that tenure reside in the department. He asked if all of the faculty members of HHP are tenured in that department. SVCAA Edwards stated that they are all tenured in HHP. Wunder asked if the faculty members who have already been transferred were transferred with tenure. SVCAA Edwards stated that they were. He noted that the transfers were approved at the campus level.
Logan-Peters asked if this department is responsible for providing coaching endorsements. SVCAA Edwards confirmed that it is. Fuller asked where this would leave students who want to get a coaching endorsement. Chancellor Perlman stated that coaching endorsements are not needed for teachers in K-12 schools. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that the endorsement functions as an extra credential.
Miller asked why the HHP department is on the list when it has so many majors. SVCAA Edwards stated that the program is duplicated at both UNK and UNO. He acknowledged that other programs are duplicated as well but these are programs, such as English and Mathematics that need to be at each campus. He stated that UNL is now at a disadvantage with this program because nationally most of these programs have moved in the direction of medical schools. He pointed out that UNL does not have the facilities to accommodate this type of program. He noted that another factor is that HHP does not have the same focus on families and schools that the other departments in the newly merged college have. Miller asked if the students in the HHP department will go to UNK and UNO instead. SVCAA Edwards stated that the administration will work with the students to try to keep them here at UNL.
Wunder asked if the elimination of HHP is considered part of the savings from the merger of the two colleges. SVCAA Edwards stated that it is not. He noted that there will be $300,000 in administrative savings with the merger.
Wunder asked if the Deans of Engineering and Teachers College offered up the departments scheduled for elimination. SVCAA Edwards stated that they did not. He noted that the decision was made by Chancellor Perlman, VC Owens, and himself.
Peterson asked if there were any expectations that the tenured faculty members of HHP will be placed somewhere else. SVCAA Edwards stated that they hope to place the tenured faculty members in other departments. Wunder asked if the same was true for the IST faculty members. Chancellor Perlman stated yes. He noted that the cuts in Engineering were more complicated. He noted that there was an agreement years ago that the Omaha program could not be cut at a higher percentage than the Lincoln Engineering program. He stated that initially these cuts do not reflect the right percentage but that percentage will change if some of the tenured faculty members are rehired. He pointed out that the Omaha engineering program is approximately 28-29% of the colleges budget but they have received 44% of the latest budget cuts. He stated that some adjustments will need to be made between the two campuses when the dust has settled to assure that the budgets retain the same proportion as prior to the cuts.
Spann asked if there was any information on new student enrollment figures. SVCAA Edwards stated that he is cautiously optimistic at this point. He stated that current indications show that we are slightly ahead of last year. He pointed out that it is crucial to get the message out that there are still many terrific programs at UNL. Peterson stated that CASNR, the number of admitted students actually participating in new student enrollment seems to be down this year. Spann stated that the College of Journalism is down by 16% this year. If this trend is widespread, it could indicate that the number of students who will actually enroll in classes this fall will be lower than anticipated, perhaps as a result of the tuition increase. SVCAA Edwards stated that it is possible that there will be a drop in the projected figures.
Wunder asked if it was possible that the abolition of the Museum Studies program would be stayed. Chancellor Perlman stated that they are trying to see if they can locate an academic home department for the program. He pointed out that Professor Genoways made it clear before these reductions were announced that he would no longer be director of the program after next year. Chancellor Perlman stated that it is a good program but that it needs academic leadership and an academic home. He noted that SVCAA Edwards has begun inquiries to see if any department is interested in acquiring the program.
Wunder asked whether the retention of the Museum Studies program will result in the faculty of the research division being retained in that unit. Chancellor Perlman stated that it would not. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that the research division and the Museum Studies program are two separate entities. He noted that some faculty members from the research division taught courses in the program but most of the courses were taught by adjunct professors.
Wunder asked what the plan was for the one remaining tenured faculty member in the Museum. SVCAA Edwards stated that her status will stay the same. Wunder asked if she would retain tenure with the Museum. Chancellor Perlman stated that she would and noted that her position was in a different division of the Museum from the other professors.
4.2 Faculty Salary Increases
Peterson noted that if the salary increase for the first year of the biennium is deferred to the second year but the base salary is raised, the actual amount of increase in the second year will be 3.53 instead of 3.5. Chancellor Perlman acknowledged that the salary pool will have a compounding effect in the second year of the biennium. He pointed out that promotion increases will need to be taken out of the salary pool. Peterson asked if promotions will go forward this year. Chancellor Perlman stated that they would and that they are already in the process of being made.
Peterson asked if the Chancellor plans to ask the Deans to do the background work for salary increases right away in case the cash flow situation is less constraining and it becomes possible to distribute the first year increase at some point during the first year. Chancellor Perlman stated that he might but if it becomes possible to distribute some of the increase during the first year he is more inclined to give it out as a set amount. He stated that he is looking into whether or not any residual in the salary pool after the cash flow problem is solved, can be given out as a one-time bonus. He noted that this would give the lower paid employees a little more money although it would not increase the base pay rate. He stated that the normal process of evaluations will be conducted next spring for the next round of increases.
4.3 APC Report and Future Hearings
Chancellor Perlman stated that APC hearings on the latest round of cuts will not be held until the fall semester. He noted that he has asked the APC to make its recommendations by October 7 so that the process could be concluded by October 15.
Miller asked if the Chancellor had much feedback on the June 17th budget cut announcements. Chancellor Perlman stated that he has had almost no feedback. Spann asked if the Lincoln Journal Star article on the Wheel Club had any repercussions. The Chancellor reported that he has had some reactions to it.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the national perception of the University can be positive depending on how the internal campus community handles the reductions. He stated that he did not believe that the AAUP will censure the University because of the budget cuts and the elimination of academic programs.
Alexander stated that he is worried about the future of the University. He noted that the cuts have been most devastating in the inability to fill vacant faculty positions. He stated that this has had a definite impact on the size of classes and the number of classes that professors now have to teach. As a result, professors have less time to conduct research. He pointed out that it usually takes about five years for a new faculty member to get his or her research program up and running. He stated that the need to teach all of the undergraduate courses is putting stress on the departments ability to teach 900 level courses. He stated that the administration needs to identify how and when lines will become available again for departments to hire.
Chancellor Perlman stated that he agrees that this is a major concern. He pointed out that there has been no hiring freeze, but Deans, Chairs and departments have been cautioned to be careful in filling vacant lines. He stated that many Deans held vacancies as a hedge against possible budget cuts. He noted that vacant lines are being protected and that we will make a decision on whether it is now time to aggressively begin to hire again. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that in particular, faculty positions in Engineering and Arts & Sciences, needed to be filled. Wunder proposed that six months from now the administration and the faculty should reflect and review the budget process to see what worked well and what didnt.
Wolf asked for clarification re the May 28th Executive Committee minutes regarding the decrease of funds for the priority programs and for diversity for the entire university. He asked if it is correct that only $1 million will go towards the priority programs and the diversity funds were to be cut in half by $500,000. Chancellor Perlman stated that this is correct but not exactly how he would describe the situation. Actually, priority program funds have been reduced by 2/3rds from the normal allocation of $3 million to this year an allocation of $1 million and next year $2 million. Diversity funding was originally $1 million and was reduced by half in the first year and will be restored fully in the second year.
5.0 Approval of Minutes
Peterson moved and Whitt seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
6.0 Unfinished Business
7.0 New Business
7.1 Executive Committee Retreat
The committee discussed possible dates and location for the Executive Committee retreat this August.
7.2 Report on Meeting with UNOPA and UAAD Officers
Wunder reported that he and Peterson had a very good and interesting meeting with officers of UNOPA and UAAD. He noted that they are concerned with some of the same issues as the faculty, such as child care and health benefits. He stated that they feel that horizontal cuts affect them the most. He stated that they will meet again in early August.
7.3 Meeting with Faculty Members from Health and Human Performance and Industrial Systems Technology
The committee agreed that they should invite faculty members of the two departments to attend the next Executive Committee meeting to discuss the proposed budget cuts.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, July 2nd at 2:30 pm. The meeting will be held in City Campus Union. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.