Executive Committee Minutes - November 12, 2003




Present:          Beck, Buck, Carlo, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Peterson, Spann, Whitt, and Wunder


Absent:           Alexander, Fech, Miller, Shea


Date:               Wednesday, November 12, 2003


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


1.0       Call to Order

            Wunder called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

No announcements were made.


3.0       Approval of 11/5/03 Minutes

Peterson moved, and Whitt seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


4.0       Unfinished Business

            4.1       Motion on President’s Salary

The Committee reviewed a draft resolution urging the Board of Regents to keep the President’s salary comparable to our peer institutions.  Revisions were made to the motion.  Peterson moved that the revised motion be presented to the Senate at the December meeting.  Beck seconded the motion.  Motion approved.


            4.2       Resolution to Support UAAD and UNOPA

Wunder reported that in meetings with UAAD and UNOPA, they voiced concern that they did not have any representation on the Academic Planning Committee when budget cuts were being discussed.   He pointed out that in the pre-1992 procedures to deal with budget cuts, both groups had representation.  He stated that this was eliminated when the procedures were changed in 1992. 


Wunder reported that both UAAD and UNOPA passed a resolution calling for representation on the APC.  He stated that both groups sent a letter to the Chancellor stating their resolution.  Wunder reported that the Chancellor’s response was that the responsibilities of the APC are beyond the scope of the managerial/professional and office/service staff.  Wunder noted that the APC has faculty, student, and administrative representatives but no representatives from the staff. 


Logan-Peters wondered how many managerial/professional and office/service people have lost their jobs as a result of the budget cuts.  She stated that these groups have lost more jobs than faculty members.  Spann pointed out that 136 office/service staff members have lost jobs, of these 51 have been rehired into other positions.


Wunder noted that the resolutions suggest that there are fundamental problems with representation and the changes to the previous procedures, including the lack of a real definition of an academic program.  He stated that he would like to reactivate last year’s committee to review the procedures that are used in dealing with budget cuts.  He noted that the committee had worked on identifying the major changes that were made to the procedures.  He pointed out that to change the procedures will require both Senate and ASUN approval.  He stated that he would like to give UNOPA and UAAD representation in budget cutting procedures and he would like to see a better definition of an academic program developed. 


Carlo noted that the university is likely to sustain further budget cuts.  He suggested that the faculty need to be proactive and that the committee to review the procedures should be reactivated soon. 


Fuller stated that the Committee should make some kind of public statement supporting UNOPA and UAAD.  She pointed out that she and Wunder and Peterson encouraged UNOPA and UAAD to make a resolution during their discussions since these two groups voiced concern over not having representation. 


Spann asked if the committee to review the procedures wanted to bring back the pre-1992 procedures.  Wunder stated that this is not the intent but changes need to be made to the current procedures to allow representation of all employees. 


Carlo asked if the Senate would approve a resolution that called for a UAAD and UNOPA member to be on the APC.  Fuller stated that they should be on the APC when reduction of forces is being considered.  Spann stated that they do not need to be included in the academic work of the APC.  Wunder pointed out that there are a number of administrators on the APC who are not involved in teaching.  Peterson noted that the support staff members in his department were involved with the Academic Program Review process.  Wunder stated that the previous procedures called for a much larger group, outside of the APC, to review budget cuts.  He stated that this group included both faculty, managerial, and office personnel. 


Peterson stated that he would draft a motion to support UNOPA and UAAD.  He stated that he would present it to the Committee at the next meeting.


            4.3       Faculty Representative to Alliance for Athletic Reform

Wunder reported that he received an email message from Professor Roch Gaussoin stating that the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee wanted Professor Jo Potuto to represent UNL at the Alliance for Intercollegiate Athletic Reform.  Wunder stated that he plans to have a member of the IAC serve as the representative but he believes it should be a person who is responsible to the Senate. 


Logan-Peters pointed out that the NCAA has many rules and policies and that it would be helpful to have someone with this knowledge.  Fuller noted that Professor Potuto is the Chancellor’s representative to the NCAA.  She stated that appointing Potuto to the Alliance could put her in a position of having to split her allegiance.  Griffin suggested that Professor Potuto could be a resource person to the President’s appointee.


Peterson asked if UNL can only have one representative.  Wunder stated that there would be one representative but as a Chancellor’s representative to the NCAA, he believed Professor Potuto could attend the meetings as well.  Peterson noted that it is important to get other people involved so the knowledge and information does not rest with just one person. 


Carlo stated that the appointee should meet regularly with the Executive Committee so that he or she keeps the faculty perspective.  The appointee would also keep the Committee apprised of what the Alliance is doing.


5.0              <![endif]>Unfinished Business

5.1       Committee on Committees Motion to Revise Campus-Wide Syllabus

The Committee felt that departments that could fit under a different discipline should be contacted to see if they wish to remain where they are currently classified or if they want to be moved to another discipline.  Griffin stated that she would report this to the Committee on Committees.


6.0       Chancellor Perlman/SVCAA Edwards/VC Owens

6.1       Climate for Women, Students, and Faculty in Computer Science Department

Wunder stated that he has had phone calls from faculty members who are concerned with the climate for women students in the Computer Science Department and the hiring of temporary faculty members.  He noted that when an incident occurred in the Political Science Department a number of years ago, a committee was formed to investigate it.  He asked if anything similar was being done with the Computer Science Department.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the recent incident with the visiting professor does not show evidence of a systematic problem within the department.  He stated that he has alerted all deans and chairs that they must be diligent in reviewing references for visiting professors as well as in hiring new professors.  He stated that the administration is working on fixing this problem.  SVCAA Edwards noted that there has not been any further allegations or suggestions of a more wide spread problem.  He noted that the incident appears to be related to one individual.


Wunder pointed out that a recent article in the newspaper indicated that a different female student had been assaulted by another instructor.  Chancellor Perlman asked if it was a separate offender.  Wunder stated that it was.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Computer Science Department has been put on notice to be more diligent when hiring new or visiting professors.  SVCAA Edwards noted that the administration is relying on the departments to conduct more thorough reference checks although more work might need to be done at other levels as well. 


Peterson suggested that new visiting professors should be invited to new faculty orientation.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that there is a problem of training individuals.  He noted that so much information is given out at the new faculty orientation that it becomes overwhelming for the faculty member.  He stated that clearly established policies must be in place that allows women to come forward if they have been assaulted.  He stated that university policies should be known by all members of the campus community.  He noted that he is having discussions on creating a web based program that can monitor when individuals have reviewed the university policies. 


SVCAA Edwards stated that it can be difficult to get personal reference checks on people, particularly for international candidates. 


6.2       Chancellor’s Nominations to Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of People of Color

The Committee reviewed the list of faculty members suggested by the Chancellor for the Commissions.  Carlo had a concern that one of the selected junior faculty members could be over burdened.  Buck pointed out that the person is an intelligent person who could make their own decision. 


Peterson noted that the Commissions are an advisory group to the Chancellor.  He suggested that the Senate might want to consider supporting committees that are advocacy groups. 


The Committee agreed to ratify the Chancellor’s selections for both Commissions.        


6.3       Clarification of Administrative Lines in Academic Affairs Office

Wunder asked for clarification concerning the Associate Vice Chancellor positions in the Academic Affairs Office.  He noted that the 2002-03 budget books indicated that there were four lines but one of them did not have any FTE.  SVCAA Edwards reported that there have been Associate Vice Chancellor positions in his office.  He stated that one has been shifted for the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  He stated that Associate Vice Chancellor Jacobson is in one of the remaining lines and Professor Gail Latta is an Interim Associate Vice Chancellor in the other line.  He stated that the Director of Financial Affairs position was created by combining a vacant administrative assistant position with the remaining funds from the Associate Vice Chancellor lines.  The net result is that there were four positions in the office previously, and in the future there will be three positions plus the Dean’s position. 


            6.4       Athletic Expansion & Academic Building

Wunder stated that he was called the Wednesday night before the announcement of the academic and athletic expansion by the Omaha World Herald who wanted to get his opinion on the subject and assumed that the Academic Sneate President was informed.  He declined to comment but he pointed out that it is difficult for the President of the Senate to respond when the press gets the information before he does.  Chancellor Perlman apologized for not keeping Wunder more informed.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he was unsure how the information was leaked but he noted that President Smith had alluded to some of the expansion in his State of the University address. 


            6.4.a    Role of APC in Approval of Campus Planning

Wunder asked if the APC has been briefed on the plans to build a virology center and expand the athletics facilities.  Chancellor Perlman stated that traditionally APC is not presented with the plans until the money has been raised to construct the buildings. 


            6.4.b    Political Issues Within and Without the University

Chancellor Perlman stated that the virology center applied for a $4 million grant from NIH several years ago but was unsuccessful in getting the funding.  He noted that faculty members have continued to work on the grant to get funding.  He reported that the publicity for the virology center has been better than he expected. 


Wunder reported that VC Paul stated that a portion of the indirect costs, 10% over a period of years, might be used to help subsidize the building.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this has been a proposal made by VC Paul and he has accepted it pending consultation with various groups on campus.  He noted that 10% of the indirect costs would be used for facilities and purchase of major laboratory equipment.  He pointed out that the 10% would not necessarily be directed towards virology.   He reported that Varner Hall does have some concerns over the bonding capacity of the university and whether or not bonds could be used to help build the virology center.  He pointed out that they are hoping to get private funds to build the facility.  He noted that his office and the Research Office would take the largest decrease in available funds from indirect costs because of this proposal. 


SVCAA Edwards noted that the Beadle Center is already crowded and cannot house anymore people or labs.  He stated that moving virology out to its own building would not only help that program, but the other programs in the Beadle Center as well.  Chancellor Perlman stated that over crowding is a serious issue for all the disciplines.  He stated that one idea is to have someone build a research facility and then let the University lease the building for a specific time.  The building could then be turned over for private use at a later time. 


Peterson asked if there has been any repercussions from the announcements because of the budget crisis that is affecting the state.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there have been some negative responses both from inside and outside of the university.  He stated that the university needs to take risks and needs to move on.  He pointed out that the athletics expansion was going to happen at some point. 


6.5       Salary Increases

Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not forgotten about a possible mid-year salary increase.  He stated that he is still taking a hard look at it to see if it would be possible to at least provide a small, across-the board, increase for everyone.  He noted that the cash flow situation is creating uncertainty as to whether the increases can be given out.  He pointed out that he is concerned with the people who will be getting a significant increase in health care costs in January.  He stated that the increase would be permanent and part of the 3.5% increase for the biennium mandated by the Board of Regents.


Peterson asked if money needed for promotions would be coming out of the 3.5% increase.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it is too early to tell.  He noted that in past years most of the promotions were covered by retirements.   Peterson asked if the possible mid-year salary adjustment would be considered an increase or a bonus payment.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it would be a permanent salary increase. 


Spann asked how much of an increase would be given.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is unsure but he would like to accommodate the increase in health care costs. 


6.6       Issues on the Horizon

VC Owens noted that 122,000 students in Nebraska participate or have participated in 4H.  He stated that the Nebraska 4H Foundation, a private organization, is planning on donating $75,000 to the State Fair. 


Spann reported that the Chancellor met with the College of Journalism to discuss their restructuring.  He pointed out that the Chancellor indicated that in the future it is possible that the university would not have departments.  He asked the Chancellor to elaborate on this idea.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he did not think universities would be structured the same way in ten or fifteen years.  He stated that he did not think they could afford to continue the present structure.  He stated that universities need to think in broader terms, possibly having general disciplines rather than having department administrative structures.  SVCAA Edwards noted that the intellectual boundaries which once demarcated social sciences departments are beginning to erode.  He stated that faculty members are often tied nationally to their disciplines.  He pointed out that a more open structure would allow faculty members to work in other areas and be more involved in interdisciplinary studies.


Fuller asked if tenure would shift from being in the department to a college or university.  SVCAA Edwards stated that this would be one of the many issues that would need to be discussed.  Chancellor Perlman stated that some universities, such as Rice and Carnegie Mellon, have moved to a more centralized budgeting system and that they are moving the tenure clock up to nine and 10 years.  He noted that with the current structure, interdisciplinary research is more difficult to do.  Peterson pointed out that nothing restricts someone from collaborating with someone else from another department on research.  SVCAA Edwards stated that is correct as long as grants are not involved.  He noted that this is when things can become difficult.  He pointed out that universities of the future would still need to have some kind of local community that faculty members can identify with. 


Wunder asked if they foresee the creation of different colleges with these restructuring changes.  SVCAA Edwards stated that in the past there have been suggestions such as having a Division of Social Sciences, which could provide a more open structure.  He stated that departments could be merged.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the university needs to think about the different levels of structure that currently exist.  He stated that there needs to be discussion on how to administer the different structure, how do you separate administration from teaching and research. 


Carlo stated that the type of restructuring being discussed would have implications on the training of graduate and undergraduate students.  Chancellor Perlman noted that Carnegie Mellon’s Ph.D. program is based on fields, not disciplines.  Spann pointed out that there may be advantages to streamlining but it needs to be looked at carefully because what may seem like a good theory may not work well in reality.  SVCAA Edwards noted that no proposals are on the table to restructure the entire university.


Carlo stated that he was pleased to hear of a joint initiative between academics and athletics.  He thought it ironic that concern would be raised over $500,000 going to an academic program, in this case the JD Edwards Program, while little concern was raised over the announcement of $40 million being needed for the student athletes to have better facilities. 


Wunder stated that he did not understand why the professors of CBA and Computer Science were just not assigned to teach courses in the JD Edwards Program.  SVCAA Edwards stated that CBA and Computer Science are the most highly demanded programs by students.  He noted that assigning professors from these departments to teach courses in the JD Edwards program without corresponding payments to the departments to replace the teaching capacity would make it worse for the remaining faculty in those departments who would have to teach additional courses.  He stated that hiring people for the JD Edwards Program keeps the faculty positions in the departments so they can hire other people to teach.  He pointed out that one of the questions being discussed is how to reallocate funds to areas that have seen chronic growth over a period of years. 


Chancellor Perlman encouraged the Senate to participate in the Alliance for Athletic Reform.  He reported that the University of Missouri is trying to form a similar group for the Big 12.  He stated that it is important for Nebraska to be represented in these organizations. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that while he understands the concern of UAAD and UNOPA, he does not feel that they should be members of the APC because the majority of the work the committee does is with academic issues.  He felt that adding additional members could weaken the faculty voice on the committee.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:13 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, November 19th at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.