Executive Committee Minutes - August 25, 2004



Present:          Alexander, Beck, Bolin, Bradford, Fech, Flowers, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Signal, Stock, Wunder


Absent:           Buck


Date:               Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Meeting with President Milliken

Peterson announced that President Milliken will be meeting with the Executive Committee on September 22nd.  He suggested that the Committee should discuss at some time the agenda items for that meeting. 


2.2       Lunch Meeting with SVCAA Couture

Peterson reported that he, President-Elect Beck, and Secretary Shea met with the new SVCAA.  He stated that the meeting went very well and that they all believed that it will be very good to work with SVCAA Couture.   He noted that the Executive Committee will be meeting with SVCAA Couture on September 1.


2.3       Recruitment and Retention Report on Women

Peterson announced that Professor Moeller has agreed to present the Recruitment and Retention Report on Women at the Senate meeting on September 14th.


3.0       Approval of 8/11/04 Minutes

Bradford moved and Signal seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


4.0       Unfinished Business

            4.1       ARRC Recommendations

Peterson stated that recommendations II and III (Timing of Termination Letters and Instituting Uniform Procedures to Reassign Tenured Faculty) from the ARRC letter should be looked at by the Committee to Review the Budget Cutting Procedures.  The Committee agreed.  Shea noted that Professor Rosson, who has been on the review committee, may need to be replaced since he is now an Associate Dean.  Peterson pointed out that students need to be assigned to the committee.


Peterson noted that the recommendations did not include a particular proposal regarding where tenure should reside.  Wunder stated that good points were raised regarding this issue but no clear recommendations were made.  He pointed out that tenure is not granted until the Board of Regents makes the final decision.  He asked what this means in relation to where tenure resides since the final approval is at the university level.  He noted that having tenure reside at the university level may provide greater security for people who could be fired at the campus level. 


Bradford stated that there needs to be clarification on the definition of a program.  Shea reported that Chancellor Perlman recently met with the faculty of the School of Natural Resources.  He stated that the Chancellor stated that tenure home does not matter, it is the program that matters.  Bradford pointed out that the AAUP guidelines do not define an academic program and they do not deal with the issue of where tenure resides.  He stated that the question is whether a department is considered a program.  He suggested that the issue of defining a program needs to be put forward.  Beck pointed out that President Smith’s Executive Memorandum #24 is what the university uses to define a program.  Wunder stated that the 1992 procedures that were used during the last serious budget cut defined an academic program.  He noted that these procedures, including the definition of a program, were abolished by former Chancellor Spanier.


Shea pointed out that tenure and a program are two very different things and that there is danger in trying to minimize the difference between the two.  He stated that the university administration seems to be saying that academic programs are more important than tenure.  Peterson noted that the issue of defining a program seems to surface more frequently when budget cuts arise. 


Bradford stated that the AAUP guidelines do not clearly address tenure.  He noted that the AAUP seems to be trying to distinguish between firing tenured professors based on academic performance and firing them due to budget cuts.  Shea pointed out that the campus should not just restrict itself to the AAUP guidelines on the issue of tenure and protecting faculty rights. 


Wunder stated that the issue of tenure became particularly important with the first firings of tenured faculty members.  He noted that later on the emphasis was placed on program elimination.  He stated that a problem with putting such emphasis on a program becomes apparent with interdisciplinary fields.  He noted that if a faculty member’s status is hinged on a program, then people may be reluctant to be associated with another program.  Bradford pointed out that having appointments in two different departments could be helpful because these faculty members would be somewhat protected by being associated with two different programs.  If one program is eliminated than the person would need to be retained in the other program.  Wunder noted that the some of the faculty members in the Industrial Systems Technology department where actually tenured in the School of Engineering.  He stated that the School of Engineering was eliminated by the Chancellor which allowed these faculty members to be fired. 


Wunder stated that two faculty members of the South Central Research and Extension Center were terminated even though they had a joint appointment in another department.  He noted that because their program was eliminated, their positions were eliminated yet tenured faculty members of the Forest Service were allowed to go back to their departments when their program was eliminated.  Wunder pointed out that each time there seems to be a different rationale used to deal with different situations.


Beck stated that the AAUP guidelines state that faculty members can be fired for three reasons:  just cause, financial exigency, or program elimination due to a programmatic review.  She pointed out that the programs eliminated at UNL were not eliminated due to a negative academic program review.  She noted that the National Secretary of AAUP will be coming to campus this fall.  Bradford suggested getting him to speak to the Senate if possible.  Beck pointed out that the UN Bylaws closely follow the AAUP guidelines. 


Scholz asked if the Committee should meet with the authors of the recommendations to discuss the issues further.  The Committee agreed.  Peterson stated that a meeting will be arranged.


Wunder pointed out that the procedures to deal with budget cuts in 1992 were much tighter and more restrictive.  He stated that the 1992 procedures gave the Academic Planning Committee the power to abolish existing procedures being used to deal with budget cuts.  He noted that the 1992 procedures protected faculty rights more than the existing procedures.  He urged that the committee to review the procedures look at the 1992 procedures carefully.


Bradford questioned what would happen if the current procedures were disapproved.  He wondered whether we would be left without any procedures at all and he questioned how this would be protecting faculty rights.  Wunder stated that the current procedures could be disapproved and the 1992 procedures could then be approved for use again.  He noted that both the Academic Senate and ASUN must vote to approve any changes.  Bradford disagreed with Wunder’s understanding of how the current procedures could be removed and what procedures, if any, could be used.


4.2       ES/IS Course Updates

Peteson reported that he contacted SVCAA Couture and Dean Kean regarding the ES/IS proposal.  He stated that he wants to suggest that Academic Affairs request the Deans to meet with their faculty to gather feedback on what they like and dislike about the proposal and to recommend changes that they feel would make the proposal acceptable.  


Peterson reported that SVCAA Couture is very interested in general education.  He stated that she wants to check into accreditation to see what is required for general education before she pushes further with the proposal. 


Griffin distributed updated statistical information on the ES/IS courses.  She noted that there have been some changes to courses in the 2004-05 undergraduate bulletin.  Peterson noted that humanities and ethnic studies seem to have the most courses that are accepted by all of the colleges.  Wunder suggested finding out how many of the courses are accepted by all of the other colleges accept Arts & Sciences.  Griffin stated that she will get that information. 


Peterson stated that the College of Arts & Sciences seems to be the most resistant to the proposal.  Wunder suggested that the colleges might need to approve accepting more courses in other areas.  Shea suggested that colleges might need to get more information on some of the courses, such as the syllabus, before the colleges will accept them.  Beck suggested that the common list might be used as a starting point to negotiate with individual colleges to expand the courses that would be acceptable. 


Peterson stated that he will send the information on the courses along with the Committee’s comments to SVCAA Couture and Dean Kean.  He noted that there is still a proposal in front of the Senate regarding the ES/IS courses that will need to be considered at some point.


Peterson reported that SVCAA Couture feels that the work that has been done in reviewing the ES/IS courses is important.  She wants to thank all of the people who have been involved in taking on this task.


4.3       Revised Teaching Council Syllabus

Peterson reported that Associate VC Jacobson sent a proposal to revise the Teaching Council syllabus and UNL Bylaw pertaining to the Council.  He noted that the revisions include having the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Executive Associate Dean of Graduate Studies serve as members on the Council.  He reported that he sent a message to Jacobson reminding her that the proposed changes have to be presented and voted upon by the Academic Senate before they can go forward. 


Wunder asked who typically holds the position of Chair on the Council.  Peterson stated that a faculty member is usually the chair.  Wunder stated that language regarding membership should include a statement that states that the chair of the Council will be a faculty member. 


Wunder suggested deleting the language that indicates that the list of potential faculty members must come from the Committee on Committees.  He suggested that other faculty members should be considered and recommended and that members appointed to the Council should be full-time faculty members. 


Flowers noted that ASUN appoints four students.  He asked if they are responsible for appointing the graduate student position.  Peterson stated that they do.  He noted that there are graduate student representatives on ASUN.  


Wunder pointed out that the Dean of Undergraduate Studies is serving on the Council but the Executive Associate Dean of Graduate Studies has appointed someone to the Council who is not a full-time faculty member.  He suggested that the Executive Associate Dean should serve on the council and that the language of designee should be deleted after the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Executive Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.  Peterson questioned whether Executive Associate Dean Weissinger was consulted about the appointment.  Shea stated that it is important that graduate studies be represented properly. 


Peterson stated that he will contact Associate VC Jacobson and Associate to the Chancellor Howe regarding the Committee’s suggested revisions.  He stated that if possible they might be able to introduce the proposed changes to the Senate at the September meeting and vote on them at the October meeting.


5.0       New Business

5.1       Gallup Survey Results

Peterson reported that he attended a Deans and Directors meeting where the results of the Gallup survey were presented.  He stated that the speaker from Gallup indicated during the presentation that the results of the data were not important but the process was.  He noted that the results indicate some small improvements in the areas of engagement and inclusiveness but that inclusiveness still remains a low area with the greatest dissatisfaction coming from the staff. 


The Committee discussed the problems associated with the survey instrument that was used.  Peterson noted that the survey may be a vehicle to get discussions started to improve the campus climate but he questioned whether the survey was the best vehicle that could be used.   


Wunder asked if the results will be presented to the departments.  Peterson indicated that this will take place for each department.


5.2       Merger of the College of Architecture

Scholz reported that the faculty members of the College of Architecture have voted to eliminate departments.  He asked how this would impact the college’s representation on the Senate.  Griffin stated that a redistribution of the Senate will not be conducted until next academic year.  She stated that anyone in place as a Senator at the time the next redistribution is conducted will remain on the Senate until their term expires. 


Wunder suggested that the Committee think about reapportioning the Senate.  He stated that there should be a minimum of two representatives from each college.  Peterson stated that he has considered doing this.  Griffin stated that she will review how it was handled the last time and report back to the Committee. 


5.3       Report on the Recruitment and Retention of People of Color

Signal asked if a report has been written on the Recruitment and Retention of People of Color.  She stated that the ad hoc committee met once and then communicated by email.  Peterson stated that he will contact the chair of that committee to see if the report has been written. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:55.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, September 1 at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Pat Shea, Secretary.