Executive Committee Minutes - February 4, 2004




Present:          Beck, Buck, fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Shea, Spann, Whitt, Wunder


Absent:           Alexander, Fech


Date:               Wednesday, February 4, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Wunder called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

2.1       University Tag Line

Wunder reported that Executive Memorandum #28 has been issued declaring that the new university tagline is “Pioneering New Frontiers.”  The memorandum states that the “tagline shall be used to the exclusion of any other tagline by individual departments, programs, colleges and campuses.  Any exception must be approved by the University-wide Identity Committee and the President.”  Wunder noted that the Board of Regents approved the tagline.  He noted that the people involved in creating the tagline did not research the historical meaning of “pioneers.”  Historically, and especially in Nebraska, the term pioneer usually refers to one particular race.  He stated that he has received numerous phone calls from Native American students and faculty who feel that the statement is exclusive.  Shea stated that if the decision to use the tagline was made exclusive of faculty consideration, it shows no respect for the faculty and students and is not a good way of conducting business.


Wunder reported that he and President-Elect Peterson will be meeting with President Smith on Friday, February 6th and will discuss the issue with him.  Wunder stated that he would like to hear the opinions of students and faculty on the matter. 


3.0       Approval of 1/28/04 Minutes

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


4.0       Unfinished Business

            4.1       Parking Fee Suggestions

Shea reminded the Committee that he suggested to Tad McDowell, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, that the Parking Advisory Committee should look into a parking fee structure that is based on a percentage of a person’s salary.  He suggested that other fees, such as health care costs, could be structured the same way.  He stated that it only seemed reasonable since the university has not been able to do much with salaries. 


Logan-Peters stated that she believed the Parking Advisory Committee has looked into the fee structure in the past.  She stated that the Committee reported that it could not be done.  Griffin stated that the Parking Advisory Committee reported that the bulk of permit holders are in the lower salary range and that decreasing the fees for this group would have adverse impacts on the budget of parking and transportation services.  Wunder suggested that one way to handle this which could achieve differentiated fees would be to stipulate that any further increases for a period of years would not be charged to lower paid employees. 


Peterson noted that the period of time for plugging on-campus meters is going to be extended.  Fuller pointed out that people who use these meters usually do not have university parking permits. 


Wunder stated that the issue of the fee structure should be raised when the Parking Advisory Committee reports to the Senate in March.  He noted that the Committee should be contacted and made aware that this issue will be discussed.


4.2       Continuing to Gather Information on Unionized Land Grant Universities

Wunder asked whether the senators should be contacted to see if they are still interested in obtaining information on unionized land grant universities.  Fuller stated that many senators indicated that they would like to continue to receive information.  Wunder suggested that a video conference with faculty members from Rutgers University and the University of Connecticut could be set up for the April 6th Senate meeting.  He stated that he will check with these institutions to see if it can be arranged. 


5.0       New Business

            5.1       Reflections on Senate Meeting

Wunder reported that part of the proposed amendments to the ES/IS proposal were approved.  He stated that Peterson and Griffin will work on incorporating the approved amendments into the proposal. 


Beck stated that faculty members in IANR have concerns with the proposal and want to discuss the issue further.  She asked what is wrong with the current program.  Wunder stated that there are three fundamental problems with the current system:  1) there is no reciprocity between colleges because they have not agreed on what ES courses will be accepted; 2) IS courses do not seem to be working and there is no monitoring of these courses; 3) the list of courses is so long that it requires 16 pages in the undergraduate bulletin. 


Peterson noted that a problem with some of the IS courses is that the person who created the course has retired or left the university and new persons teaching the course may not want to teach it in the manner that was originally proposed.  Beck pointed out that the National Student Engagement Survey indicated that UNL students had more positive responses than students at other institutions on questions that might reflect the impact of IS courses.  She stated that the IS program should not be eliminated.  Wunder pointed out that the program is not being eliminated it is being given back to the departments to handle. 


Logan-Peters noted that Professor Bergstrom stated that the committee that created the ES/IS program strongly recommended that an individual be hired to oversee the courses.  Logan-Peters noted that this was never done and that the programs have become unwieldy. 


Peterson noted that the removal of the college grid from the documentation in the undergraduate bulletin on the ES/IS programs will help reduce the number of pages that are required to explain the programs.  Spann stated that it is comforting to have a long list of available courses because it gives flexibility to the students. 


Beck stated that reciprocity between the colleges is good and needed but she objects to getting rid of the IS courses and this needs to be thoroughly discussed in the departments.  Fuller pointed out that the IS courses creates a real problem for transfer students.  She noted that they often have to increase their length of time at the university to make up the required courses.  Beck stated that IANR prorates the courses and gives waivers for some of these students.  Fuller noted that even with a reduction in the number of required IS courses, students in some departments have difficulty completing their degrees. 


Peterson noted that the Senate will take a vote either way on the proposal.  He pointed out that discussions on the problems of the ES/IS programs started in December of 2002.  He stated that the ES/IS Review Committee has thoroughly discussed the problems associated with the programs. 


Spann asked what happens if a college does not approve the proposal.  He asked if there would not be reciprocity for these colleges.  Peterson stated that if the Senate approves the proposal, it will be sent forward to the colleges’ curriculum committees.  He stated that a question being raised is whether or not the college curriculum committee gets to pick or choose parts of the proposal.  He pointed out that colleges will have veto power on the proposal.  Miller stated that revisions to the programs need to be done soon or otherwise no improvements will be made. 


Logan-Peters asked if every college has a curriculum committee.  Most members of the committee believed that each college has either a curriculum committee or the faculty as a whole vote on the curriculum. 


Wunder stated that the Executive Committee needs to determine what the next steps will be if the Senate approves the proposal.  Peterson suggested that the Committee should reconstruct how it was handled when the ES/IS programs were first presented.  Spann pointed out that the original programs were approved by the colleges because they were assured that they would retain flexibility with the program and the courses. 


Buck asked if pressure from the students will ultimately lead the colleges to vote for a unified proposal.  Wunder pointed out that all of the ASUN senators stated that they feel the ES/IS programs need to be changed. 


The Committee agreed to discuss the procedures of having the colleges’ curriculum committees review the proposal when the Committee meets with Chancellor Perlman.


5.2       University Snow Policy

Wunder pointed out that the university’s snow policy is not coordinated with the Lincoln public or parochial schools.  He stated that this could be interpreted as another example of having an unfriendly child care policy.


Logan-Peters pointed out that the public schools have issues facing their students that are not similar to those of the university.  Fuller noted that having the university open when public and parochial schools are closed for snow days creates a problem for university employees and students who have children. 


Buck pointed out that the conflict does not often occur.  She pointed out that most years it is not much of a problem.  She stated that, as a parent with young children, she would rather handle the snow problem rather than having resentment from other faculty and the public.  Logan-Peters pointed out that people all over Lincoln manage to go to work.  She stated that people are getting tired of hearing the faculty complain about things that other people have to deal with on a regular basis.  Buck and Wunder both pointed out that having a child care facility on campus would greatly help alleviate the problem. 


Beck stated that the university should either close when the public schools are closed or at least have a late start.  Wunder stated that the difference in the schedules between the university and the public school system disrupts communities greatly.  Peterson suggested that the Committee should ask the Chancellor how he makes his decision to close the university and what is the difficulty in getting the semester breaks to coincide with the public school system.


Peterson asked if the Committee should be doing anything on the child care issue.  Buck stated that the Child Care Committee is about ready to give a limited report on the issue.  She noted that what is really needed is strong support to push the idea forward.  Wunder stated that he will raise the issue with President Smith and suggested that it be put on the agenda for the next meeting with the Chancellor. 




5.3       Salary Increases and Quality Indicators

Beck reported that she has heard that salary increases are going to be linked to a department’s quality indicators.  She questioned where this decision is coming from.  She noted that it is not fair to faculty members who may have an excellent evaluation but whose department’s quality indicators are not high. 


Peterson stated that the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee will be meeting in March to review information on our peer institutions regarding salaries.  He pointed out that the FCAC makes recommendations on how the salary increases should be distributed.  Wunder suggested that the FCAC could clearly state that salary increases should not be based on quality indicators. 


            5.4       Academic Rights & Responsibilities Procedures

Beck reported that the committee reviewing and revising the procedures for the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee are essentially done with the ARRC procedures and the grievance procedures.  She stated that the committee would like to have input from some people to see if they are headed in the right direction.  Wunder suggested that the Executive Committee could review the procedures.  Griffin suggested current members of the ARRC and some former members of it could be asked to review the procedures. 


5.5       Reapportionment of Academic Senate

Wunder stated that the reapportionment of the Senate should be looked at carefully.  He noted that some mergers in departments may have occurred that are not indicated in the report.  Griffin stated that she would check to see if the mergers have been approved by the Board of Regents. 


Wunder stated that he will check with Professor Rosson, Chair of the Academic Planning Committee, to see if the APC needs to review the elimination of departments within a college.  He suggested that the Committee should discuss with Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff the status of the departments in the College of Architecture and the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 11 at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.