Executive Committee Minutes - October 15, 2003




Present:          Beck, Carlo, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Shea, Spann, Wunder


Absent:           Alexander, Buck, Fech, Miller, Peterson, Whitt


Date:               Wednesday, October 15, 2003


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Wunder called the meeting to order at 3:08 pm.


2.0       Vice Chancellor Paul and Associate Vice Chancellor Crockett

VC Paul thanked the Committee for inviting him to come speak.  He stated that he would like to meet with the Committee periodically.  He stated that he wanted to discuss research compliance and the need for the university to be exemplary in this area.  He noted that research ethics will become an added requirement to research grant applications.  He pointed out that currently the integrity of the data has been the main requirement but research ethics will eventually be mandated.  He noted that his office will need to provide training on this.  He stated that the training will pertain to data collection, record keeping, integrity of the data, and professional conduct. 


Wunder asked if large grants typically have staff members who collect the data and if so, would these people be involved in the research ethics training.  Crockett stated that most grants do have staff and they will need to be included in the training.  She pointed out that the faculty member is still the principal investigator but anyone working for that person will need to follow the research ethics and be trained. 


VC Paul stated that the campus needs to be aware of unethical research.  He stated that is anyone suspects that unethical research is being conducted, then they need to report it to his office.  He reported that a memo will come from himself and the Chancellor on ethical research training. 


Wunder asked if the training will take place before or after the grant is written.  VC Paul stated that it will be conducted before the grant is written.  He noted that certification of the training will be needed on some research grants.  Crockett pointed out that being certified will be helpful in writing the grant.  She stated that the grant application will not be approved by the IRB until the principal investigator and the research team has been certified. 


VC Paul stated that there will be guidelines and rules coming out to cover research on human subjects and that they will be the same for any research dealing with human subjects regardless of where the funding is coming from.  Wunder asked if eventually it will be required that faculty members are certified before a grant goes forward.  Crockett stated that it would be helpful.  She noted that NIH does not require it for submission but if a grant is awarded, certification will have to be shown before the funds are disbursed. 


Wunder asked if this training would be different from training dealing with animal subjects.  Crockett noted that the basic principles will be the same but there are other issues that pertain to the subjects.  For instance, confidentiality is a major issue for human research subjects. 


VC Paul reported that research at UNL is improving.  He stated that high standards are needed in order for UNL to be accredited.  He noted that this is one of the goals of the campus, to become accredited.  He stated that they have applied to the Office of Human Research Protection to be accredited.  Next they want to apply for accreditation in animal care.  He stated that the animal care program here is now decentralized.  He noted that it is usually required by the granting agencies that the programs be centralized although some of them are starting to get away from this.  He pointed out that some grants have been lost because the campus is not accredited. 


Beck asked if they were going to apply to ALEC for accreditation.  VC Paul stated that they would.  Beck pointed out that there are issues with ALEC.  VC Paul stated that he wants to get someone in to speak about these issues and to assess the animal care program.  Crockett suggested that anyone having issues with research grants should email either herself or VC Paul to let them know of the problems. 


VC Paul stated that a major issue will be centralization versus decentralization of the animal care program.  Wunder asked for clarification between the two.  VC Paul stated it is an administrative issue that basically deals with where the animal care staff report to.  He noted that in a centralized program the staff report to the animal care program and in a decentralized program they report to the department or college.  Crockett stated that the research office prefers a decentralized model. 


Spann asked about training modules.  Crockett stated that the training module is different for each area of research.  She noted that training modules are offered three times a year.  VC Paul noted that investing money into research compliance really helps to make sure the university is adhering to federal regulations.  Beck asked if these training modules are on-line.  Crockett stated that it is on-line under the Office of Research website. 


VC Paul stated that the focus of his office is to help faculty be successful in getting research grants.  He stated that while the large research grants are the ones that are publicized, his office emphasizes working with individual faculty members to obtain grants.  He noted that his office held two seminars during the past two years to assist faculty members in grant writing and they have hired additional people to help in this area as well. 


VC Paul stated that they want to work with junior faculty members to get them started with their research program.  Crockett noted that next summer there will be a grant writing institute for junior faculty members.  VC Paul stated that the goal is to have these junior faculty members develop a proposal that can be submitted.


VC Paul stated that networking with granting agencies plays a very big role in obtaining grants and he wants to be aggressive in taking faculty members to Washington D.C. to develop these networks.  He stated that the research fair recently held was very helpful and that it is helping to put the university into the national arena. 


Beck stated that in doing applied research grants, which often come from industries, overhead costs are oftentimes not paid.  VC Paul stated that his office gets very little state money to provide the infrastructure that is needed to process the research proposals.  He stated that the indirect costs are the source of funding to drive the infrastructure.  He noted that industries need to understand that indirect costs are real costs.  If they were to conduct the research themselves they would find that it would cost them greatly.  Beck stated that there needs to be a balance.  She noted that research is valid.   VC Paul stated that all research is very critical.  He pointed out that only 10% of indirect costs are being recovered whereas our peer institutions are getting 25%. Crockett stated that she is finding that some faculty members are not presenting indirect costs when applying for grants in the private sector.  She stated that faculty members should talk to the research office before they speak with outside company.  She pointed out that oftentimes a company wants to hear of only one cost. 


VC Paul stated that there is going to be an open house in November for the new Office of Research located in the Alexander building.  He noted that they now have all of the people for the office located in one building and that there will be a conference room for large research teams to use. 


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Chancellor’s Response to APC Recommendations on the Budget Cuts

Wunder reported that the Chancellor will present his response to the APC’s recommendations on the budget cuts on Thursday, October 16th at 10:30 in the City Campus Union.  He urged committee members to attend if possible.


3.2       Board of Regents Meeting

Wunder reported that the Board of Regents is meeting on Friday, October 17th.  He stated that the major issue on the agenda will be the gender equity report.


3.3       UNO and UNK Presentations to the UNL Academic Senate on Collective Bargaining

Wunder reported that members of the collective bargaining units from UNO and UNK will give an informational presentation to the Senate at the November 4th meeting.  Carlo suggested that the entire faculty should be notified of the meeting since it is open to the public. 


3.4       Honors Convocation Committee

Wunder reported that the Honors Convocation Committee is proposing changes to the requirements for attaining honors recognition.  He stated that the “committee approved setting a standard for recognition that honored students in the top 10% of their college class.”  Wunder noted that the reason for this change is because colleges are awarding so many students with honors recognition these days that students with true academic distinction are not being recognized.  Logan-Peters asked if the 10% would be from a department or from the entire college.  Wunder stated that it would be at the college level.  He stated that the new recognition standards will go into effect in the fall semester of 2004 and apply to students making their first college matriculation in August 2004.  He stated that students whose first college matriculation at UNL occurred before August 2004 will be recognized on the basis of the current recognition standards. 


3.5       UNL Employees Benefit Committee

Wunder reported that he received an email message from the outgoing chair of the committee about UNL faculty representation on the University-wide Fringe Benefits Committee.  He noted that the syllabus of the UNL Employee Benefits Committee states that the representative to the University-wide Committee should be a member of the UNL Committee or the chair of the committee.  Wunder stated that the current member on the University-wide Committee is a former chair of the UNL Committee but she has not served on it for several years.  Since the appointment to the U-wide Committee is made by the Chancellor, Wunder emailed Chancellor Perlman asking if he would be willing to change the member in accordance with the syllabus.  Wunder stated that the Chancellor not only agreed to make the change but wants to include an additional member. 


Wunder stated that the UNL Committee wants to know if the Executive Committee wants them to work on any specific benefits.  Carlo suggested that parking should be looked into.  He stated that the cost of parking, especially for staff employees who are greatly underpaid, is too high.  He stated that employees should at least be given some kind of discount for parking.  He noted that not only is the cost high for parking, but parking is not available on football Saturdays for employees.


Wunder noted that the idea of increasing the tuition remission benefit was raised at the October Senate meeting.  He suggested that the Committee should work on this benefit.  Carlo pointed out that students receive a discount for performances at the Lied Center but faculty and staff members do not.  He stated that attendance at the performances would probably be greater if the faculty and staff received some kind of discount.  Spann suggested that the Committee should look into reducing the cost of membership fees for faculty and staff members who belong to the Rec Center.  Fuller pointed out that reduction in fees would hurt the rec center’s budget.  Shea suggested that the athletic department could be a possible source of funding to cover the reduction in fees.


Beck suggested that the Committee should review the benefits given by our peer institutions.  Spann pointed out that many of our peer universities make a better contribution to retirement programs.  Wunder noted that Past President Bryant worked on creating a legislative bill that would raise the cap on the university’s retirement plan.  He pointed out that the legislation was not introduced last January because of the budget crisis.  It can be introduced next during the long legislative session in 2005.


            3.6       Report on the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics Meeting

Wunder stated that he received a report from Professor Potuto on the meeting held to discuss the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.  He stated that the report will be distributed to the Committee and they would discuss it at the next meeting.


3.7       Meeting with ASUN

Wunder reported that he and Peterson and Fuller met with members of ASUN.  He stated that the dead week issue was discussed.  He noted that ASUN may propose a dead week day instead of week and extending finals week so that exams would not be scheduled so closely together.  He stated that ASUN will make a proposal to the Committee.


3.8       Meeting with Senators

Wunder reported that he has had meetings with several senators.  He reported that issues of concern are:  recent technology activity, cut back in course offerings in departments due to a reduction in teaching staff, and summer sessions cutbacks and the impacts on students. 


4.0       Approval of 10/8/03 Minutes

Shea moved that the minutes of 10/8/03 as amended be approved.  Carlo seconded the motion.  Motion approved.


5.0              <![endif]>Unfinished Business

5.1       Blue Skies Committee Report

Item postponed.  Whitt was unable to attend the meeting to give report.


5.2       Climate Survey – Emeriti Professor Brown’s Comments

Item postponed.  Peterson was unable to attend the meeting to discuss the issue.




6.0       New Business

6.1       Fees Charged by Information Services for Faculty Members (Spann)

Spann stated that faculty members are being encouraged to incorporate more technology in their classrooms but it costs the faculty member to attend training sessions.  He noted that the introductory courses on Blackboard are for free but any classes beyond that cost $10 - $20.  Griffin stated that Information Services started charging a fee because they found that people would sign up and then not attend the training workshops when they were free.  She stated that IS claims they do not receive any funding for these workshops.  She reported that IS will conduct a workshop for free for a unit/department if they request it.  Wunder pointed out that the personnel of IS are paid to do their work and that conducting workshops should be considered part of their jobs.   


6.2       College Restructuring of Architecture and Journalism

Logan-Peters reported that the Chancellor had informed the faculty members of Architecture that the college should consider restructuring to be one unit, similar to the Law College.  She noted that the Dean will assume some of the responsibilities of the chairs such as evaluating faculty members and distributing salary increases.  She pointed out that the College Bylaws and the curriculum will need to be changed as a result of the restructuring.  Fuller noted that this restructuring creates an administrative chair and removes the department chairs. 


Spann stated that the College of Journalism is scheduled next to be restructured.  He noted that so far, no one has discussed what the advantages will be to the college to do this.  He stated that he assumes this will create a better administration by having less layers of bureaucracy.  Logan Peters noted that it makes deans perform functions of department chairs.  Spann pointed out that an additional Assistant Dean will need to be hired in Journalism. 


Wunder pointed out that in very small colleges it is a waste of time administratively to have separate departments.  He noted that professional colleges should be one unit.  He pointed out that the Law College, which is a single unit, did not get hit as hard with budget cuts.  Spann stated that Executive Memorandum #24 allows anything that is considered a program to be cut. 


The Committee then discussed college mergers and the issues stemming from them.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:06 pm.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, October 22nd 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.