EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MINUTES
Present: Beck, Buck, Fech, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Peterson, Shea, Spann, Whitt, Wolf, Wunder
Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2003
1.0 Call to Order
Wunder called the meeting to order at 2:34 pm.
2.1 Replacement of Steve DiMagno
Wunder reported that Dennis Alexander, Electrical Engineering, has agreed to serve on the Executive Committee as a replacement for Steve DiMagno, Chemistry, who recently resigned.
2.2 Summer Appointments to Academic Planning Committee
Wunder reported that Professor Eckhardt, Chair of the Academic Planning Committee, requested that he appoint substitutes, who have previously served on the APC, for the summer. Wunder stated that according to established procedures, he has appointed Professors Nancy Stara, School of Accountancy, Betsy Gabb, Architecture, Nancy Betts, Nutritional Science and Dietetics, and Jim Lewis, Mathematics and Statistics, as substitutes. He noted that each of the substitutes represents a particular discipline as required by the APC.
2.3 Meeting with Members of ASUN
Wunder reported that he and other members of the Executive Committee met with members of the ASUN. He stated that the meeting went well and that a number of topics were discussed. These included the dead week policy, faculty advisers to university organizations, educating students about tenure and the tenure process. Fech asked if the students do not understand tenure. Fuller stated that they understand it to a limited extent and they felt they should have a say in the decision to grant tenure. Wunder pointed out that students already have a say in the process with their student evaluations. He noted that the students did not realize that their evaluations were taken seriously and were a part of the tenure file.
2.4 Senate Coordinator to Receive Regents Kudos Award
Wunder reported that Karen Griffin, Coordinator of the Academic Senate, will receive the Regents Kudos Award on June 7th. He encouraged as many of the Executive Committee members as possible to attend the ceremony.
2.5 Meeting with UNOPA and UAAD
Wunder stated that he is scheduling a meeting with officers of UNOPA and UAAD so all can become more acquainted and to see if the groups can work together on similar issues. He noted that he received a letter from UNOPA that included a resolution from them supporting the Chancellor.
2.6 Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board
Wunder reported that he and President-Elect Peterson will be meeting with members of the Lincoln Star editorial board in the near future.
2.7 Email Message to Senators
Wunder stated that he will be emailing the Senators to see if anyone is interested in working on a committee that will look into day care on campus. He stated that he will also be sending an email to Senators asking them for feedback on the Blue Skies committee report.
3.0 Chancellor Perlman
3.1 Update on Budget Reductions
Chancellor Perlman reported that the legislature has completed the state budget and that the cuts to the University will probably be 4.6%, although the exact figures are not yet known. He noted that included with the cuts is the partial restoration of the Vet school contract and the Forestry Service.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the Board of Regents will determine how the universitys budget will be divided at their June 7th meeting. He stated that the Board will also consider raising tuition rates for both years of the biennium. He pointed out that our increases are substantially below those of our peers. Chancellor Perlman reported that there are a number of mandatory fixed costs that must be covered by the budget and that much of the tuition increase would probably go towards these fixed costs. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the legislature has waived the requirement that the University pay the 2% deferred maintenance on buildings. He noted that this will amount to some budget savings.
Chancellor Perlman reported that the proposed budget for UNL calls for a 3.5% increase over the course of the biennium. He pointed out that this is not final until the Board has made its decision. The campuses may have discretion as to how to implement the increase as long as the 3.5% is awarded by the end of the biennium.
Chancellor Perlman stated that all four Faculty Senates, as well as the Academic Planning Committee, sent resolutions to the Board recommending the freezing of the funds for programs of excellence. However, he noted that it is likely that in the budget proposed for Regential approval, $1 million will go to programs of excellence but diversity shall be cut by $500,000. He stated that an increase of $2 million will be made towards need based scholarships.
Chancellor Perlman stated that the budget for the second year of the biennium will be similar to the first year but further budget cuts would not be required if the economy does not worsen. He pointed out that the proposed budget allows for some flexibility in the second year of the biennium. He stated that UNL will probably still need to cut $2.5 million from the budget for next year.
Wunder stated that he is concerned about the resignation of three African American professors and the possibility of more faculty of color leaving from the college of Arts & Sciences. He asked whether there was concern over these resignations and whether any special attention was being given to this issue. Chancellor Perlman stated that the administration is clearly concerned with the loss of these professors. He noted that he tried to match the offer made by a university to one of the professors but he was not successful in retaining the professor. He pointed out that some good faculty members have recently been hired.
Wolf asked if there was any discussion about using some of the federal money being given to the state for the university. Chancellor Perlman stated that Senator Beutler tried to get $50 million for higher education in the state through a bill but it was defeated. Chancellor Perlman stated that it would be helpful if the money were to be put into a cash reserve fund to help ward off future budget cuts.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the final amount of the budget cuts to the campus will not be known until Central Administration has decided on the budget. He stated that he hopes to make an announcement on June 17th regarding additional budget cuts. He noted that he would also be responding to the APCs recommendations on the current round of budget cuts.
3.2 Faculty Salary Increases
Chancellor Perlman reported that the Board recommends a 1.75% increase in salaries be given for each of the two years of the biennium. He noted that the legislature recommended a 1.5% increase for the first year and a 2.0% increase in the second year. He stated that the Chancellors have advocated that the campuses be given discretion on how to use the salary increases. He noted that the Board will be asked to require that the salary base budget be increased by 3.5% by the end of the biennium. He pointed out that this will give some flexibility on how the salary increases can be used.
Chancellor Perlman pointed out that there is a cash flow problem that will need to be dealt with although the exact amount is not yet known. He stated that the funds from administrative cuts can be captured in 90 days but that cuts to academic programs will not be realized for a year. He pointed out that the cash flow problem could be dealt with by deferring salary increases. He noted that much of the campus is not yet geared up to award salary increases because it was doubtful whether any money would be available. He stated that one idea is to defer the increase until next year and then give a 3.5% increase next year. He noted that this would solve the cash flow problem which would eliminate the need for units to give up any money that would be available.
Chancellor Perlman stated that there is concern for employees who are at the lower end of the pay scale. He noted that a 1.75% salary increase, plus benefits, would amount to $3.7 million for UNL. He pointed out that the support staff portion of this increase would be $524,000. He stated that possible options would be not to defer the staff increase or to wait until December or January and if the cash flow issue was resolved by then, award all employees a payment of a set amount that would not go into base salary (until the increase was awarded in the second year of the biennium). He noted that this would actually be more beneficial for people at the lower end of the pay scale. He pointed out that another option is to not defer the salary increase and to just distribute it. Chancellor Perlman stated that he would like to discuss the issue again with the Executive Committee after the Board of Regents has met. Fech suggested that the salary adjustment could be made at the end of the fiscal year. He stated that this would allow the Chancellor to capture the salary increase for the time prior to the end of the year but would allow the base salary to be raised before July 1.
3.3 Issues on the Horizon
Chancellor Perlman stated that there will be a number of building improvements on the Regents agenda. He noted that many of these had been postponed but must now be done before conditions worsen. He stated that these include improvements in housing and the renovation of the Selleck dining facility. He noted that all revenue bonding will be against housing revenues. He stated that there is a reserve pool of money from the building of the parking garage at 17th & R Streets that will be used to add an additional floor of parking to the Avery Street garage. Chancellor Perlman stated that other improvements include the renovation of Behlen and the building of a library storage facility.
Spann asked if the Chancellor was able to capture $500,000 due to retirements. Chancellor Perlman pointed out that there are some retirements every year but, in addition, eight or nine faculty members have signed up for option two of the retirement phase-out plan and another twelve are fully retiring. Spann asked if the administration has considered continuing the retirement plan for the next round of cuts. Chancellor Perlman stated he expected that to be possible.
4.0 Approval of 5/14/03 Minutes
Peterson moved and Whitt seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
5.1 Proposed Changes to Senate Rules
Wunder stated that he has received some proposed changes to the Senate rules. He reported that he would reactivate the Senate Rules & Bylaws Committee to review these changes and any others that the committee feels are necessary. Griffin pointed out that changes to the Rules would need to be approved by the Senate and then forwarded to the Academic Assembly for a vote.
5.2 Faculty Reaction to Using the Salary Increases to Offset the Budget Reductions
Wunder reported that he discussed the issue with the Chancellor. He noted that they were trying to assess how the faculty members feel about this. The committee members agreed that there is no consensus amongst the faculty members whether the increase should be used for the budget cuts or not. The committee members agreed that there is no consensus among the faculty over whether the increase should be used to offset the budget cuts.
Spann questioned how UNK and UNO were going to be dealing with their salary increases. Wunder stated that the raises will be distributed as usual. He noted that this will create a cash flow problem with each of these campuses. He pointed out that many part-time instructors will probably be terminated in order to cover the salaries. Logan-Peters suggested that Wunder contact the Presidents of the other Faculty Senates to see what the results will be for covering these increases.
5.3 Problems with Travel & Transport
Wunder stated that he sent a letter to VC Jackson, Business & Finance, expressing the committees wish to discuss with her problems regarding Travel & Transport. He stated that a meeting with VC Jackson will be scheduled.
5.4 Update on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics
Wunder recommended that the item be placed on the agenda for an upcoming meeting.
6.0 New Business
6.1 Op/Ed Piece on Tenure
Spann suggested that an article should be drafted explaining tenure and the tenure process so that it can be placed in the Daily Nebraskan this fall.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:28 pm. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, June 4, 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.