Executive Committee Minutes - January 28, 2004




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


Absent:           Beck, Fuller


Date:               Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Wunder called the meeting to order at 3:09 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

2.1       Ad Hoc Committees

Wunder reported that he has four out of five members appointed to the ad hoc committee on gender.  He noted that Professor Moeller, Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education, will chair the committee.


Wunder reported that he has four out of five members appointed to the ad hoc committee on faculty of color.  He noted that Professor Willis-Esqueda, Psychology, will chair the committee.


Wunder reported that he is working on getting members for the Dead Week Proposal Committee.  He stated that Professor Spann, Broadcasting, will chair the committee. 


Wunder reported that faculty members need to be chosen for the Special Committee to Consider Revisions to the Procedures for Reductions-in-Force.  Since this committee will function beyond this academic year, President Elect Pederson will need to complete the appointments.  He noted that Professor Beck will be a faculty member on the committee. 


3.0       ASUN

            3.1       Dead Week Proposal

Arganbright stated that he has appointed several students for the Dead Week Proposal Committee and that he will forward the names to Wunder.


Wunder asked what the issues are for students with the current dead week policy.  He noted that one of the problems for instructors is having enough time to grade exams before they are due.  Arganbright stated that one of the major concerns is the stress level for students during this time period. 


Wunder stated that one thing that would need to be changed in the proposal is the recommendation to suspend classes for the Monday courses of the 14th week.  He pointed out that Monday classes already meet one less day than courses on other days. 


Buck asked what the scope of the need is to change the current policy.  She suggested that senior level courses could have their exam times scheduled for earlier in the week so professors can have enough time to grade the final exams of graduating seniors.  Wunder stated that the problem not only involves seniors, but faculty members as well.  He pointed out that senior students could be taking other level courses in their final semester so it would be difficult to distinguish what classes would need to be scheduled earlier in the week.  Arganbright noted that the final exam grade can factor into whether a student receives honors at graduation. 


Arganbright stated that there is a lot of confusion about the dead week policy.  He pointed out that many students do not know what the policy is.  He stated that ASUN receives a number of complaints each semester about violation of dead week policies but little action can be done given the short period of time they have to resolve the issue.  Whitt pointed out that there are different versions of the policy on UNL websites. 


Wunder asked if the date for adding a course was too late into the semester.  Campbell stated that it was not.  She pointed out that students will sometimes register for a class and then find out that it is not what they thought it would be and they need to take another class instead.  Logan-Peters stated that students need flexibility with their schedules.  Peterson agreed and stated that students should have the time to check out a class and be allowed to change their schedule if needed. 


Wunder stated that he is concerned that some people may object to changes being made to the dead week policy because they feel it would shorten the length of the semester.  Arganbright pointed out that most of our peer institutions have a 14 week semester.  He noted that students could use the time off to work.  Spann wondered how many student contact hours there must be in order for UNL to maintain accreditation.  Alexander asked why there would be objections to changing the semester to 14 weeks.  Wunder stated that he did not think the Board of Regents or the legislature would approve the change.  Arganbright noted that there could be a cost savings with the shortened semester. 


3.2       ES/IS Proposal

Arganbright stated that the students strongly support the ES/IS proposal.  He suggested that ASUN could pass a resolution supporting the proposal. 


Arganbright stated that ASUN is reviewing the Transition to Universities Report.  He noted that the report has some good suggestions but getting the colleges to coordinate on some on the suggestions will be a challenge. 


3.3       Child Care Issues

Arganbright stated that the Committee for Fees Allocation is concerned that some funds collected from student fees that were suppose to help support the university child care program were not used correctly.  He stated that the Committee is investigating the matter and the funds would be pulled if they are not being used as originally designated.  Arganbright stated that the Committee is debating on whether the students would receive a credit if the funds are pulled.  Buck noted that the university does support some child care through the YWCA. 


Buck reported that the Child Care Committee is looking at three things:  the past work that has been done on campus on this issue; the current status of child care; and future recommendations.  She noted that problems with child care that existed fifteen years ago are still present.  She pointed out that in the past child care has been considered a women’s issue. 


Buck stated that currently the university has a somewhat limited child care program with the YWCA.  She reported that the university does give the YWCA some financial support which mainly helps to cover the cost of benefits and an administrative position.  She pointed out that the program is currently operating at a loss. 


Buck stated that there is some child care through the Ruth Staples Child Development Laboratory but it only operates when the students are available to assist in the laboratory.  She noted that it is closed on holidays and they do not accept children under the age of three. 


Buck reported that the Committee is seeing how other universities deal with child care.  She noted that some of the universities are in partnership with a company called Bright Horizons to provide child care.  She stated that in the partnership the university provides the facility and the company provides the employees.  She pointed out that certified teachers are employed.  She stated that the company provides top quality child care and works with the university to tailor the program to the needs of the campus.  She pointed out that the savings will depend on the amount of support the University provides.  She noted that the limited amount of child care that is provided could be housed in one location.


Peterson asked if the company and facility are subject to inspection.  Buck stated that they are.  She noted that there needs to be a high ratio of adults to one infant. She stated that preschool aged children are where the money is made for the day care center.


Peterson asked if a facility were to become available through donations, would the cost of child care be the same as it is in the private sector.  Buck stated that it would be equivalent to high quality day care.  Peterson noted that there would be the advantage that the children would be on campus.  Buck stated that this would be a big advantage for faculty, staff, and students. 


Wunder asked what would be the costs associated with the program.  Buck stated that it would depend on the scale of the contract with the university and what the university wants to do.  She noted that once a facility is identified, the cost to the university is not that great. 


Wunder asked ASUN if there were statistics on the number of students with children.  Hanson stated that there are no statistics but a lot of graduate students have voiced interest in a child care program.  Arganbright stated that there were some statistics but they were limited.  Buck pointed out that many day care facilities require that the children be full-time.  She noted that this does not work for students who might need day care for only a few hours. 


Fech pointed out that a day care center would be open each day during the week thereby eliminating the worry for parents that day care would not be available if their provider was ill or on vacation.  Buck noted that the child care issue is a major concern for many new hires. 


Hanson asked if children would have to be enrolled for full-time care or would they be able to come for a few hours.  Buck stated that the program could be set up to take some children part-time but the ratio of full-time and part-time children would need to be maintained.  She noted that the company could tailor the needs of the program to the university. 


Spann asked if the company has any programs in operation near Lincoln.  Buck stated that some companies in Omaha have the program and Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln is looking into the program.  She stated that the closest university would be Purdue University. 


Wunder suggested that the ASUN could make a resolution calling for the next university biennial budget to include allocation of funds for a child care facility.  Arganbright stated that he would bring the matter up to the ASUN committees.


Alexander suggested that the Child Care Committee look at Southeast Community College’s child care program.  Spann suggested that a joint program between the university and local businesses should be considered.  Buck noted that some universities do work with local businesses to provide child care


Miller asked if the issue of child care was a problem resurfacing.  Buck stated that a lot of people are very passionate about the issue.  She suggested that day care could be included in a complete package of benefits where the employee gets to choose what benefits they would like to receive.  She noted that the issue of child care does not affect everyone.  Spann pointed out that a lot of faculty members will be retiring in the near future and that the composition of the faculty body will change.  He stated that day care will probably be an important issue for new faculty members. 


Peterson suggested that the foundation could possibly raise funds for the facility.  Logan-Peters suggested that the Committee should look into the campus recreation center which provides a summer day care program. 


3.4       Review of Student Code of Conduct

Arganbright reported that ASUN wants to review the Student Code of Conduct.  He stated that he is looking for student and faculty members who could participate in the review. 


3.5       Issues on the Horizon

Arganbright reported that ASUN is exploring the possibilities of establishing a late night bus program.  He stated that the program would possibly partner with Wesleyan University. 


Arganbright reported that the readership program is currently over budget.  He stated that ASUN is trying to come up with different options to help cover the costs.  He stated that they are exploring whether to raise the fees, to limit the number of receptacles, or to subscribe to one or more less papers.  Peterson stated that some faculty or staff members might want to subscribe to the program which would help cover some costs.  Wunder stated that the ASUN might want to make a proposal to the Senate regarding this suggestion.


Arganbright noted that new N cards will be distributed this summer.  He stated that ASUN is working with two banks, USA Bank and Wells Fargo, to see if the cards can be used at ATMs. 


4.0       Approval of 1/21/04 Minutes

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


5.0              <![endif]>Unfinished Business

5.1       ES/IS Proposal

Wunder reported that he met with Dean Hoffman of Arts & Sciences to discuss his concerns with the ES/IS proposal.  Wunder stated that the biggest concern he is hearing from faculty members is that there is no mechanism in place to limit or check the new ES course list.  Peterson stated that he is hearing some concern over the IS courses.  He pointed out that Professor Hoistad and Pinnell will be attending the Senate meeting to help answer questions on the proposal. 




5.2       Continuing Discussion on Collective Bargaining Units

Shea asked if there will be further discussions at the Senate regarding bargaining units.  He noted that it was suggested in the fall that other land grant institutions that are unionized should be invited to address the Senate.  Wunder stated that he will ask the Senate whether or not they want to pursue the issue further.  Peterson noted that there was also the discussion of bringing someone in from Varner Hall who works with the unionized campuses to speak to the Senate.


6.0       New Business

6.1       Reorganization of Colleges  

Spann stated that with the elimination of departments in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the College of Architecture, there is concern with where tenure resides.  He noted that many faculty members believe that tenure resides at the department level but this cannot be the case for colleges with no departments.  Spann stated that this is a topic of discussion that needs to be held.


Wunder wondered whether the APC needs to approve the elimination of departments.  He stated that he would check with Professor Rosson, Chair of the APC to see if this is part of the responsibilities of the committee.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:52 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 4, 2004 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.