Executive Committee Minutes - January 21, 2004



Present:          Alexander, Beck, Fech, Logan-Peters, Miller, Peterson, Spann, Whitt, Wunder 


Absent:           Buck, Fuller, Shea


Date:               Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


1.0       Call to Order

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


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Meeting with UNL Representatives to Big 12 Conference on Athletic


Wunder reported that he met with Professors Crawford and Logan-Peters to discuss the Big 12 Conference on Athletic Reform that they attended last week.  He noted that Crawford and Logan-Peters stated that the meeting got off to a good start and that another meeting is being planned in Dallas in April.  Wunder stated that Crawford and Logan-Peters will be invited to an Executive Committee meeting to brief the Committee on the conference and the issues being discussed. 


2.2       Meeting with ASUN

Wunder stated that the officers of ASUN want to meet with the Executive Committee to discuss the dead week proposal, child care concerns, and the ES/IS proposal.  Wunder stated that the Committee will meet with members of ASUN on January 28th.


2.3       EN Thompson Forum Speaker

Peterson announced that Professor Thomas Borstelmann of the History department will be the next guest speaker at the EN Thompson Forum which will take place on January 26.  Peterson stated that the topic of Borstelmann’s presentation will be America’s enemies. 


3.0       Approval of 1/14/04 Minutes

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


4.0       Chancellor Perlman and Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff

            4.1       Budget

Chancellor Perlman stated that there are two budgets that the campus is concerned about this year, the first is the current fiscal year’s budget and the second is the next biennial budget.  He noted that there remains a small part of prior reductions that have not been fully covered due to build backs for tenured faculty members and phased in early retirements.


Chancellor Perlman stated that the final budget cut to the university is unknown because the legislature will not begin discussion on the state budget until late February.  He stated that the university is planning on the basis of the Governor’s recommendation to cut the university budget by $4 million.  He noted that this would mean a $2 million budget cut for UNL.


Spann noted that the Athletic Department contributes money to academics.  He asked if this will continue should donations to the Athletic Department decrease due to the recent events that occurred with the football program.  Chancellor Perlman stated that these payments will continue. 


Peterson asked what the timing will be for the legislature to discuss the budget.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the legislature is in session until April 15th.  He noted that discussion on the budget will probably not occur until the forecasting board has met in late February.  Peterson asked if the $2 million was to come from this year’s budget.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it would be taken out of the next fiscal year budget.  He noted that the next biennium budget will begin in 2005. 


Wunder stated that he has been asked by a number of faculty members how the evaluation process will work this spring.  He noted that last year some departments completed the evaluation process and others did not because the salary increases were withheld.  He asked if the evaluations will be based on a two year period instead of a one year period.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not discussed the issue yet with VC Owens and Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff.  He stated that he personally believes that evaluations should be based over a longer period of time, not just for a year. 


Spann stated that there was a lot of discussion about consolidating work among the four campuses.  He asked if this has occurred.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there has been a lot of consolidation on the business side of the university but not much academically. 


4.2       UNL to Collect AAU Data

Wunder stated that he reported to the Executive Committee the announcement that UNL will be collecting and analyzing data on the AAU institutions.  He noted that the Committee was pleased to learn of this decision.  Chancellor Perlman stated that Dr. Nunez and his staff in Institutional Research & Planning put together a great presentation that resulted in UNL being appointed by the AAU to collect the data.  Chancellor Perlman stated that all of the AAU institutions, except for the University of Chicago, submit data which can then be analyzed and shared with other AAU institutions.  He noted that the data was previously managed at the University of Arizona.  He stated that Rebecca Carr, Research Analyst for Academic Affairs, will be responsible for the project.  Chancellor Perlman noted that AAU will be providing most of the cost.  He pointed out that the actual data will be kept at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the appointment of this project for UNL is very beneficial.  He stated that there are discussions going on in the AAU about expanding the membership or keeping it limited to 63 institutions.  He stated that membership to the AAU is being evaluated.  He noted that some institutions have left the AAU because their mission has changed and they are no longer a research institution.  Wunder asked if it cost to be a member of AAU?  Chancellor Perlman stated he believed there was a cost but he did not know how much it is.  He reported that he has attended two meetings of the AAU since President Smith designated the Chancellor of UNL to be the university’s representative.  He stated that the meetings have been very helpful. 


Peterson asked whether the data provided by the universities was general information.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it was general information such as number of faculty, number of students, etc.  He noted that any member of AAU can request that a comparative report be made based on certain criteria that they are interested in. 


4.3       Initiatives for Hiring Female Faculty and Faculty of Color

Wunder stated that the Executive Committee agreed at its last meeting to get past the numbers regarding the number of female faculty and faculty of color and to begin work on developing initiatives and programs to hire new faculty members.  He noted that the Committee voted to set up two ad hoc committees, one on female faculty members and one on faculty of color, to look at policies and programs at other institutions. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that Karen Lyons, Associate Director of the Honors Program, is chairing the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women.  He stated that a chair has not been elected yet for the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of People of Color. 


Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that the reallocation of funds done several years ago provided money for diversity hires.  He stated those funds were exhausted but enough times has elapsed that the fund has now been regenerated.  He noted that former SVCAA Edwards recently told deans funding was now available that would allow them to re-stimulate the program.  He pointed out that there are two opportunity hires that are currently in process.  Wunder asked if the amount of the funds for the diversity hires was $300,000.  Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that this was correct. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he knows what the issues are and he is trying to decide whether to hire a few senior women in a few areas where we have few women, which would cost more money but would help advance the university, or hire a number of women who are at the entry level.  He stated that he is unsure whether he should focus the resources in areas that are having difficulty in hiring women and faculty of color.  He stated that he does worry about the numbers and the legislature. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that it has been suggested to him that he needs to hire more senior level African Americans in non-traditional areas.  He noted that other faculty members and students need to have a mentor they can go to.  He stated that he would like to do this if possible and that it would be the best strategy for UNL.


Beck stated that the retention issue also needs to be addressed.  She noted that the College of Engineering & Technology has lost 35% of its female faculty members in the last 10 years and that the college has very few senior female professors.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the College of Engineering & Technology is a particularly difficult issue.  He noted that it is a large college and that a significant number of women need to be hired in order to start balancing out the numbers.  He pointed out that there are not a lot of women in the engineering field and as a result, competition for them is greater.  He stated that colleges often go through a struggle in becoming more diverse but at some point they break through.  He noted the College of Law as an example. 


Whitt pointed out that it is an issue of critical mass.  The more women and faculty of color that the university has, the more likely it is that they will be able to attract and retain them. 


Alexander stated that some good female faculty members have left the College of Engineering & Technology.  Some of it was due to bad luck and timing but some of the women felt that there was not much of a future or room for advancement at UNL. 


Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that Associate VC Jacobson is currently working on an NSF grant to look into how an attractive environment can be created in the fields of mathematics and engineering that would assist in the recruiting of female faculty and faculty of color.  He noted that Professor Vidaver is one of the co-investigators on the grant. 


Wunder stated that several years ago there was an initiative to hire associate and full professors.  He asked if that money was still available for use.  Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that the money could be used for new hires. 


Spann pointed out that oftentimes a problem associated with hiring female faculty members is finding employment for the spouse.  He stated that it can be difficult to place the spouse in employment, particularly outside the university.  He asked if the university has an agreement of any kind with outside businesses.  Chancellor Perlman noted that there was a program to help find employment for trailing spouses but it was eliminated because of the budget cuts.  He stated that the program had some success.  He noted that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.  He pointed out that the administration is willing to do whatever it can to help.


Miller asked if there were any new or revitalized initiatives for hiring women and faculty of color.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he has invited the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women (CCSW) to look at female friendly policies at other universities.  He noted that Professor Poser, a member of the CCSW, is currently on leave at the University of California-Berkley and is looking into their policies.  He stated that members of the CCSW are calling women who have left the university to find out the reasons for their departure.  He pointed out that the administration continues to look at the day care issue and is exploring options.  He noted that all of the options for day care would cost money which is not currently available. 


Alexander asked if the Commission will be sharing the information collected on why women leave the university.  Chancellor Perlman stated that exit interviews are conducted on each individual who leaves the university and a report is written every year on the data collected from the interviews.  He noted that people leave for a wide variety of reasons and sometimes people will not say why they are leaving.  He stated that he believes it will be more useful to have the CCSW make direct contact with female faculty members who have left.  He pointed out that the information will be kept confidential and no names will be attached with the data. 


Beck pointed out that people may not want to divulge why they left because they have concerns that it could have negative impact nationally within their fields.  She stated that she has talked with a lot of women who have left the university and a number of them have stated that climate issues in the units they were in was a problem for them.  She pointed out that there are a few units that have had perpetual problems of bad behavior which has been made apparent to administrators yet nothing seems to be done to correct the situation.  She asked what kind of encouragement or pressure the administration applies to lower administrators to correct the problem.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is aware that some units have continual problems.  He noted that discussions down the chain of command occur but that it is a tricky problem because enough information is needed before definite action can be taken against a unit.


Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that pressuring or reprimanding a unit is oftentimes the least effective way to produce change in a department.  He stated that creating critical mass is a more effective way of instituting change.  He pointed out that the focus needs to be on building critical mass and building support groups for people.  Whitt noted that the entire culture of the Sociology department has changed since he first came and that the department now has considerable diversity although he acknowledged that it is difficult to retain African Americans.  Peterson pointed out that sociologists may be more apt to self generate cultural shifts than other areas. 


Beck pointed out that departments should have to give a legitimate explanation why women are not being offered a position when the woman is clearly a strong candidate. 


4.4       Academic Planning Committee and Athletic Department Construction Plans

Wunder asked if the athletic department’s construction plans went to the Academic Planning Committee for approval.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the plans did not go to the APC.  He stated that he is not clear whether the athletic department must go through the APC for approval on such matters.  Wunder pointed out that when he was on the APC the athletic department had to get approval for the construction of the sky boxes.  He noted that the charge of the APC states that they must review all plans for construction or renovation of buildings on campus. 


Interim SVCAA Brinkerhoff stated that years ago there was a Capital Construction Committee which later merged with the APC.  He stated that he did not know if all construction on campus or just construction relating to academics needed to go through the APC.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he would check into the matter. 


4.5       Chancellor’s Response to the GLBT Bulletin Board

Wunder stated that he has heard many positive responses from faculty members on the Chancellor’s quick and personal response to the destruction of the GLBT bulletin board in Andrews Hall. 


5.0              <![endif]>Unfinished Business

No unfinished business was discussed.


6.0       New Business

6.1       Report on Regents Meeting (Peterson and Fuller)

Peterson stated that Friday’s meeting was a site visit to the UNO campus where the Board and those in attendance where shown highlights of the work that is being done at UNO.  He noted that Regent Don Blank was elected chair of the Board. 


Peterson reported that Provost Noren made a presentation on the programs of excellence at the university.  Peterson reported that the water initiative was listed as one of the programs of excellence.  Beck stated that the APC recently approved the water initiative for the priority programs.  Peterson stated that the Provost then proceeded to break down how the money was being spent on each campus.  Peterson stated that a Board member asked if there were any morale problems on campus as a result of funding the programs of excellence.  Peterson reported that Chancellor Christensen of UNK stated that the funding of these programs did not sit well with many faculty members in light of the budget cuts. 


Peterson stated that the Board of Regents Planning Committee reviewed a report from the legislature on the brain drain that is occurring in Nebraska.  Peterson stated that the emphasis of the report was how to keep Nebraska students from leaving the state.  He reported that there was some discussion on the possibility of lowering out of state tuition costs in the hope of getting more students from outside Nebraska


Miller asked whether the university has some kind of regional contract with other states on tuition for students.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the university was part of the Midwest Commission on Higher Education.  He noted that this is an exchange program with Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.  He stated that preliminary figures indicate that Nebraska lost more students than it gained with this program.  He stated that Missouri was the state getting the most students.  He noted that one of the reasons for this could be the way the academic programs are listed in the contract.  He stated that the administration is looking into being more specific about the academic programs at UNL.


Chancellor Perlman stated that information, particularly the impact on the revenue enhancement, should be clearly reviewed before any decisions are made regarding the lowering of out of state tuition.  He noted that tuition rates should be considered only after a careful study has been conducted and the impacts fully disclosed.


Peterson reported that the Information Technology Committee announced that Varner Hall has hired an information securities officer who will work on providing security protection for the University’s computer systems. 


Wunder noted that the Board of Regents approved the $50 million construction plan of the athletic department without the approval of the APC.  Logan-Peters noted that the construction plans increased by $10 million from when it was first presented to the public.  Wunder stated that this is due to the expansion of the athletic director’s office area. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, January 28 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.