Executive Committee Minutes - August 11, 2004




Present:          Alexander, Bradford, Flowers, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Signal


Absent:           Beck, Bolin, Buck, Fech, Stock, Wunder (and Griffin)


Date:               Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Location:        420 University Terrace



1.0              <![endif]>Call to Order

Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:31 P.M.


2.0              <![endif]>Teaching Council

Peterson welcomed Associate Vice Chancellor Evelyn Jacobson and Teaching Council Chair Michael James and introduced them to the Executive Committee. He handed out copies of the Teaching Council 2003-2004 Report that was to be presented to the Academic Senate at the April 27, 2004 meeting but was postponed due to time limitations. He also distributed copies of a previous draft of proposed changes in the Teaching Council webpage. Peterson gave a summary of his understanding of the past activities of the Teaching Council and its relationship to the Teaching and Learning Center, which had been eliminated. He indicated that our intent was to follow-up on the March 12 and April 2, 2003 discussions of the Executive Committee and address questions raised at that time and other remaining issues. He indicated that currently there was no syllabus for the Teaching Council and that a syllabus needs to be written and submitted to the Senate for action.


Peterson asked Jacobson and James to describe the activities of the Teaching Council. Jacobson said that the syllabus should be derived from the bylaw that created the Council. She said the previous syllabus makes it seem that activities are limited to those listed in the syllabus, but the bylaws indicate that there are some activities that will change each year based on needs. For instance, this year there will be a seed grant program that will go through the Teaching Council. Peterson said that the Executive Committee would like to post a syllabus that explains what the Teaching Council does. James indicated that the main purpose of the Teaching Council is to support the nurturing of good teachers and good teaching, but there are other activities, such as the Century Club, taking place this year. He also indicated that there is a fairly large collection of materials from the Teaching and Learning Center that could be put on the Blackboard site. He explained that the Teaching Council does not have a budget so they are the mercy of people’s available time. James said he doesn’t know how much more can be taken on without more participation from the faculty. Peterson said that the elimination of the Teaching and Learning Center was a big change and that the loss of that infrastructure created a void. Jacobson indicated that under James’ leadership, the Teaching Council has been rebuilding infrastructure. She said that Academic Affairs has been providing infrastructure assistance.


Peterson said there were questions remaining from previous Executive Committee meetings (March12 and April 2, 2003). One question concerns inclusion of a Graduate Studies representative on the Council. Jacobson said that the Executive Associate Dean of Graduate Studies has her own development person (Laurie Bellows) while the Dean of Undergraduate Studies does not have this infrastructure. Neither Jacobson nor James have any problem with including a Graduate Studies representative on the Council and Jacobson suggested that perhaps Laurie Bellows could be that representative.


Peterson also asked about the Century Club. James indicated that the Century Club originated in the 1980s but their activities were later taken over by the Teaching and Learning Center. The Century Club was originally organized primarily for individuals with large classes. James said that Undergraduate Dean Kean asked that the Century Club return.  He suggested at the time that in addition to periodic group meetings, a Century Club Community of Practice site in Blackboard could act as a locus. He went on to say that the Teaching Council had two meetings this past spring and meetings were being scheduled for this semester. Topics are being solicited from faculty and prioritized. Peterson commented that it would be good to keep a record of Teaching Council activities that were previously within the Teaching and Learning Center.


James commented that he sees the Teaching Council as primarily a facilitator. Jacobson distributed a new brochure, “Support for Teaching at UNL,” which lists all of the teaching resources at UNL. She indicated that Academic Affairs has hired a person (Dave Wilson) to facilitate teaching efforts. Peterson asked if the Teaching and Learning Roundtable still exists and Jacobson said that it is now the Instructional Technical Advisory Committee for which Gail Latta is the contact person. Peterson asked about the composition of the Teaching Council. Jacobson said there has been some confusion about membership and a number of individuals were put on as ex officio members. There are two members leaving the committee that need to be replaced and there are supposed to be four student members but it has been difficult to get students to participate. The current student member is working well. Peterson offered to help identify students for the committee.


Peterson asked if there was enough in the bylaws to cover the syllabus of the Teaching Council. Jacobson said that the Dean of Undergraduate Studies needs to be added. Peterson asked James and Jacobson to summarize the activities of the Teaching Council. James said there were three primary activities: (1) support and nurture good teaching, (2) review nomination packets and make recommendations for awards, and (3) interface with other groups on campus that focus on teaching (listed in the brochure).


Peterson asked James if he would draft appropriate language for the syllabus and e-mail it to him. He indicated that the membership will probably be OK and asked if the ex officio members should be voting members. He said a typical concern is that it is a faculty committee where administrators usually serve as ex officio (non-voting) members, but this committee may be viewed differently. Regardless of what is proposed, it will have to go to the Senate, so specific concerns may arise at that time. Flowers indicated that there were other UNL committees for which administrators were voting members. James commented that voting members are generally more inclined to support a committee. Bradford raised the question of four versus a smaller number of students (perhaps two). He felt that it would not look good to ASUN if the number of student members were decreased from four to two, so his inclination is to leave it at four. Peterson asked that the draft syllabus be sent to the Executive Committee. The Committee will look it over and send it back to James with suggestions/recommendations. The revised draft could then be sent to Herb Howe (Associate to the Chancellor) as Jacobson indicated will be required. Jacobson asked that we operate with the understanding that both undergraduate and graduate representatives will be included on the Council. Peterson agreed.


Scholz asked if the Teaching Council has a designated budget. Jacobson said that there were several awards but that there is no fixed budget. Academic Affairs supports some activities of the Teaching Council. Peterson said that when he served on the Teaching Council they tried to garner additional funds by approaching the University Foundation and suggested that this effort should continue.


Peterson thanked James and Jacobson for coming to the meeting. After James and Jacobson left, Alexander commented that the whole area of teaching support at UNL is very confusing. He recommended that it all be made more efficient. Signal said that better coordination and communication are needed (especially for new faculty). Flowers agreed that more organizational structure is needed. Alexander said we need to step back and look at the teaching support activities more globally. Peterson suggested that the Executive Committee discuss this concern with Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Couture, who begins her position August 15.


3.0              <![endif]>Announcements (Peterson)

3.1. Reduction in Force (RIF) Committee. Peterson indicated that Mary Beck (RIF chair) reported that the initial committee (Beck, Scholz, Shea) met with Academic Planning Committee (APC) chair Jeff Keown in July. Shea and Scholz briefly summarized the July meeting discussion as focusing on: (1) differences in the 1993 (current) and pre-1993 procedures, (2) the need to determine what procedures are used at other institutions, (3) the need to understand how the 1993 change in procedures came about, and (4) the need to review the current charge to the APC. The Committee will meet again shortly after the start of the semester. A student will be added to the committee.


3.2. Domestic Partner Benefits

Peterson commented on the recent article in the Journal-Star, which largely concerned questions to Chancellor Perlman, who indicated that most of the issues require action by the Regents. Peterson indicated that former Senate President Miles Bryant suggested that the term “domestic partner” could be avoided by taking a “cafeteria” approach to add individuals for which benefits could be extended.


4.0.            <![endif]>Approval of 7/28/04 Minutes

There were no additional corrections to the July 28 minutes. Flowers moved and Bradford seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.


5.0       Board of Regents Meeting

Peterson gave a brief report on the August meeting of the Board of Regents.


5.1. Impact of the budget on Summer Sessions

Despite budget cuts and constraints, Summer Sessions faired well but there were larger classes and greater enforcement of minimum class size requirements.


5.2. Increase in infrastructure to support outreach

Peterson has information about this if anyone would like it.


5.3. Rural initiative

An initiative led by IANR for a host of activities to support rural Nebraska.


5.4. Pilot project on dual enrollment

The Regents approved a pilot project between UNO and Millard public schools on dual enrollment (giving both high school and college credit). A question concerned whether we have to accept these credits. Peterson indicated that students must pass an advanced placement exam. The Regents also approved an expansion of this program to include UNL and UNK. Alexander asked what the plan is at UNL. Currently, the UNL plan is unclear. Bradford asked if faculty in the subject areas will be teaching in those areas and Peterson said they would be. Scholz asked if the students pay the university fee for these courses. Peterson was not sure but did not think students paid university fees for these classes because they are also high school classes.


6.0       ARRC Policy Recommendations

Flowers needed to leave the meeting (loss of quorum), so those remaining had an open discussion of the recommendations of the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee (ARRC). Peterson referred to the recommendations submitted to the Executive Committee by Mary McGarvey. He said the involvement or plan of the Academic Planning Committee in this is uncertain. He also indicated that the specific recommendations of the ARRC are not very clear. Based on the communication from McGarvey, there appear to be three recommendations: (1) that tenure be defined and that the University clarify its responsibility to a tenured faculty member whose position is eliminated for reasons other than adequate cause, (2) that timing of termination letters and signing of early retirement contracts are such that the faculty member is not denied his or her right to bring a complaint to the ARRC, and (3) that the Senate develop uniform procedures for the reassignment of tenured faculty from a program that is eliminated to another department within the University. Bradford asked whether the latter two recommendations should be addressed by the RIF Committee.


Additional open discussion followed. Bradford asked how the elimination of a program is related to a tenure “home.” He further commented that the AAUP guidelines only require a good faith effort to place faculty whose programs are eliminated. Peterson said he doesn’t know whether the bylaws indicate where tenure lies. He referred to Regents policy in section 4.3.1, “Policies for Granting of Tenure” (Peterson has copies available). Peterson said he had most interest in recommendation areas 2 and 3 as issues that the senate could take action on, although he felt that 3 was unclear in the communication from McGarvey. Peterson asked if 2 and 3 could be addressed by the RIF Committee. Scholz and Shea said it seemed reasonable. Shea indicated that a separate discussion would likely be needed to address recommendation area 1 (the meaning of tenure). A general discussion of the meaning of tenure followed. Peterson said that further discussion of the ARRC recommendations will continue at the August 25 Executive Committee meeting.


7.0              <![endif]>Unfinished Business

7.1. Executive Committee Retreat

Peterson indicated that discussion topics are needed for the September 3 retreat. He asked that ideas be submitted to Peterson, Shea, or Griffin.


8.0              <![endif]>New Business

No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:36 P.M. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, August 25 at 3:00 PM. The meeting will be held in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Pat Shea, Secretary and Karen Griffin, Coordinator.