EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Buck, Fech, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Absent: Beck, DiMagno, Shea
Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Wunder called the meeting to order at 2:35 pm.
2.1 Faculty Salary Increase Clarification
Wunder reported that he received an email message from Executive Vice President Noren clarifying information regarding the proposed faculty salary increase. In the email, Noren stated that the proposed increase is 1.75%, not 1.5% as stated by Wunder in his email messages to Senators. The 1.75% percent salary increase with benefits amounts to approximately $2.4 million. The combined faculty and staff salary increases plus benefits would total $3.7 million for the UNL campus. Wunder stated that the Board of Regents will be considering the increase at their June meeting.
2.2 Proposed Changes to Academic Senate Rules
Wunder reported that Senator Jackson, Food Science and Technology, sent a thoughtful email message with suggested changes to the rules of the Senate in dealing with emergency motions. He stated that the Senate Rules & Bylaw Committee should be reactivated to consider these changes as well as any others the committee feels are necessary. Griffin noted that any changes to the Senate rules or bylaws will need to be voted upon by the academic assembly.
2.3 Resignation of Professor DiMagno
Wunder announced that he received an email message from Professor DiMagno stating that he was resigning from the Executive Committee. Wunder noted that DiMagno would be going on leave during the spring semester and would have needed to be replaced at that time. Wunder pointed out that the rules of the Senate indicated that he can appoint someone to fill the vacancy since DiMagnos term was to end in 2004. He stated that he would like to have someone from the physical sciences to replace DiMagno.
3.0 SVCAA Edwards
3.1 Follow Up on Memo Regarding the Inclusion of Student Evaluation
Statistics in Promotion & Tenure Files
SVCAA Edwards distributed a set of instructions and forms that are needed for promotion and tenure files. He pointed out that document folder two includes information on student evaluations. He noted that a form is included which lists the courses a faculty member teaches, the number of students enrolled, evaluation average, and departmental average. He pointed out that only those departments that have departmental averages need to use them. SVCAA Edwards stated that the April 14, 2003 memo from Associate VC Jacobson discusses what is needed for student evaluations.
Wunder asked if it is possible that some Deans may be adhering to the instructions in stricter ways than intended. SVCAA Edwards stated that this is a possibility and that colleges are free to do so if they wish.
Spann stated that the faculty members from the Journalism College are concerned over the lack of definitions in the set of instructions. He pointed out that the February 6, 2003 memo from Associate VC Jacobson concerning this issue did not include any documentation. He asked why the enrollment number was the only factor in looking at the scores. SVCAA Edwards stated that it is just a list of courses. He noted that enrollment figures indicate difference among courses. He pointed out that the form was created to provide information on the teaching history of an instructor. Spann stated that it would be helpful to have some clarification regarding the form. He stated that there are many questions on how the form should be answered. He noted that it is difficult to try to quantify the performance of an instructor.
SVCAA Edwards stated that his office probably needs to communicate better with the departments. He noted that departments may have their own way of dealing with student evaluations. He stated that a department should use information on departmental averages for teaching evaluations if they are available, and this information should be provided each year a promotion and tenure file is submitted. He stated that the main purpose of including the teaching evaluations is to encourage departments to evaluate the quality of teaching. Wunder noted that some faculty members, especially those who teach ES courses, have a tougher teaching load. He stated that the department needs to take note of this. SVCAA Edwards agreed that departments can assess courses in determining departmental averages.
Miller stated that he did not understand why document folder two was needed at all. He pointed out that information on teaching is usually provided in the letter by the department chair. SVCAA Edwards stated that it is important for teaching to be taken as seriously as research when considering promotion and tenure files. He pointed out that document folder two provides supplemental material for documentation. Fuller pointed out that for some faculty members, teaching is a larger portion of their assignment.
3.2 Issues on the Horizon
SVCAA Edwards stated that everyone is watching to see what will happen with the budget cuts. He noted that many things on campus will be determined by the cuts.
SVCAA Edwards stated that the Deans recently participated in a retreat at Mead. He stated that one of the sessions focused on being parsimonious in dealing with faculty time. He stated that support is building for looking into ways of reducing processes and procedures that take up faculty members time. He noted that another session focused on how to make departments committed to student success.
Peterson reported that the ES/IS Review Committee met for the first time this afternoon. He stated that the meeting went well and that good conversations have already been started. He noted that Dean of Undergraduate Studies Kean and he will be gathering information from other universities on how they handle these kinds of courses.
Fuller thanked SVCAA Edwards for his support of the UCARE program. She stated that the program contributes significantly to undergraduate education. Logan-Peters asked if more students are becoming involved each year with the program. SVCAA Edwards stated that the program receives $400,000 from the Pepsi Endowment Fund and $200,000 from the Programs of Excellence fund. Fuller stated that the number of students involved in the program has increased. SVCAA Edwards noted that a list of faculty members who have participated in the UCARE program was recently compiled. He stated that the list shows large participation by professors.
Peterson asked if there is a selection process to determine which students will receive funding from the program. SVCAA Edwards stated that they have been able to cover all of the students participating in the program but they are reaching a limit. He pointed out that the student serves as a research assistant in the first year of the program. He noted that both the student and the professor benefits from this arrangement.
Spann asked if there is an evaluation process that determines if the student is benefiting from the program. Fuller stated that each student must submit a report at the end of the year. She noted that not much information is available on the program and its participants at this time because the program has not been in place for very long.
4.0 Approval of 5/7/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Wolf seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Reactions to No Salary Increase
Wunder stated he had received between 10-20 emails from senators who polled their faculty on the salary increase issue and that opinion is mixed but a small majority favor no increase or a postponement. Fuller stated that the majority of the faculty in Art & Art History agreed that they could give up the increase but overall they felt deferring the increase would be better. Fech stated that he had heard from some faculty in his unit and they preferred deferring the increase. Miller pointed out that deferment of the increase could be used for cash flow. He stated that he felt faculty members would be more willing to forgo their increase if they knew UNK and UNO were giving up their salary increases.
Logan-Peters reported that the faculty members in the Libraries were split on the issue. Buck stated that she polled some of the available faculty members in Curriculum & Instruction and their reactions were split. She stated that the newer faculty members she spoke with are very concerned with the impacts of giving up the salary increase. She questioned what the impact would be for future promotions. Spann stated that most faculty members in the College of Journalism assume that there will be no increase this year. Peterson stated that there are some faculty members who oppose giving up the salary increase but that older faculty members are willing to forgo it. He noted that with younger, talented faculty members there is a flight risk associated with lower pay.
Wolf pointed out that many people may be waiting to see what happens next month with the legislature and the budget. Miller stated that the Executive Committee could take a stand either way on the issue. Logan-Peters stated that the Committee should wait to see what happens with the budget. Spann pointed out that last year the Chancellor tried to use the salary increases to offset the budget cuts but President Smith would not allow it. Wunder stated that the Committee should wait to get more feedback on the issue. Peterson pointed out that the faculty needs to do something to improve the publics perception of them.
Miller doubted whether feedback could be gathered this summer on the issue. He moved that the 1.75% faculty salary increase be offered to offset the budget reductions. Peterson seconded the motion. Wolf reminded the committee that during the May 7th meeting with the Chancellor, the Committee pointed out that they have repeatedly made the offer to look at the salary increase. He noted that it was the Chancellor who told the Committee that they should not offer the increases at this time. Wolf stated that they should wait to hear from the Chancellor as to whether this offer should be made.
Buck pointed out that the faculty has become fractured recently. She stated that this is another divisive issue for the faculty and that it should not be considered at this time. Fech asked if this is something that would further anger President Smith. Fuller noted that President Smith stated at the March 4th Senate meeting that faculty members should not offer up their salary increases.
Miller withdrew his motion. Peterson withdrew his second. Wunder stated that the issue should be taken up at a subsequent Executive Committee meeting. He pointed out that there are a number of issues surrounding this topic that need to be considered.
6.0 Graduation/Hooding Ceremony
Wunder reported that the graduating class this year was very large. He noted that the awarding of the Ph.D.s and Masters degrees seemed like an afterthought of the Saturday graduation ceremony. He reported that the hooding ceremony went very well. He suggested that this ceremony could be turned into the actual graduation ceremony for graduate students. He noted that if the Saturday ceremony was just for undergraduates, more attention could be given to the undergraduate students graduating with high distinction. Fuller stated that there is a certain pomp and circumstance that the Saturday ceremony provides. She pointed out that it is good for undergraduate students to see graduate students receiving their degrees.
Wunder stated that not enough faculty members attend graduation. He pointed out that if faculty members are concerned with their relationship with the public they should attend the ceremony because it connects the faculty members with the public. Logan-Peters asked if there were any requirements that colleges and departments need to be represented at the ceremony. Wunder stated that this is an issue that needs to be discussed. Logan-Peters noted that many faculty members may be involved in the separate ceremonies individual colleges are holding for graduating students.
Peterson stated that CASNR holds a breakfast the morning of graduation and many faculty members attend it. However, many do not attend the graduation ceremony. He suggested that the Commencement Committee should look into the matter of getting more faculty members at the graduation ceremony.
Wunder asked how the Committee can get more faculty members to attend the ceremony. Fech asked how much shorter the ceremony would be if the graduate students received their degrees at a separate ceremony. Wunder stated about a third shorter. Fech noted that this could make a difference for faculty members. Spann suggested that faculty members could attend the ceremony but would not be required to sit with all of the other faculty members. He stated that departments should rotate among their faculty members for someone to attend the ceremony each year.
7.0 Unfinished Business
7.1 Update on ES/IS Review Committee (Peterson)
Peterson reported that the committee just met for the first time. He noted that the charge to the committee was distributed and there was lively discussion on the issue. He noted that one of the problems seen with the ES/IS program is the difficulty it creates for transfer students. He reported that Dean Rita Kean will be gathering information over the summer from various universities on how they deal with these courses. He stated that the committee will meet again in the fall to begin working on the review.
7.2 Update on Wasted Time Committee (Miller)
7.3 Email to Senators Regarding Distribution of 4/29 Senate Meeting
Wunder asked the committee whether a draft copy of the minutes from the April 29th Senate meeting should be distributed to the Senators. Fuller stated that she was opposed to distributing minutes of the Senate meeting by email that were not approved. The committee agreed to adhere to the normal procedure of having a copy of the minutes distributed in the Senate packet which is sent one week prior to the scheduled meeting.
8.0 New Business
8.1 Dealing with the Press
Wunder asked for suggestions from the committee regarding how he should deal with the press when being asked questions regarding various issues on campus. Fech stated that he has attended workshops taught by public relation consultants on talking to the press. He noted that there are three points in dealing with the press. The first is that a group needs to have an active spokesperson. The second is that the spokesperson needs to take control of the interview. The third is to develop three or four talking points. He noted that the speaker should stick to these talking points during the interview. He stated that the interview should only be a half hour and it would be best if the message could be delivered within fifteen minutes.
8.2 Summer Schedule of Executive Committee Members
Griffin stated that she will be sending an email message to the committee members asking them for their summer schedule.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:31 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 2:30 pm. The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.