Executive Committee Minutes - June 30, 2004



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


Absent:           Alexander, Buck, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, June 30, 2004


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman

            2.1       Graduation Idea – No Diploma

Peterson reported that the Executive Committee presented a proposal to the Senate to rearrange finals week and dead week.  He noted that the proposal tried to resolve the problem associated with the lack of time available for submitting final grades for graduating seniors who have a final exam on Friday afternoon.  Peterson reported that at a meeting with President Smith, Provost Noren stated that the Regents guidelines state that courses must have fifteen meetings for each class day (Monday through Saturday) for fall and spring semesters.  Peterson pointed out that the university is already in violation of these guidelines because of Martin Luther King Day and Labor Day.  He stated that he was informed that in order for the class schedule to be revised, the university-wide calendar committee would need to be convened.  Peterson stated that he was informed at the meeting with President Smith that UNO and UNK do not give out diplomas during the graduation ceremony. 


Chancellor Perlman asked what the arguments were against the proposal.  Peterson stated that the main argument was that the proposal would shorten the semester.  He stated that the science faculty members in particular were concerned with having an equal number of lab courses.  Wunder pointed out that under the existing rules a professor can schedule a final exam during dead week, as many lab classes currently do, if it is stated in the initial course syllabus.


Peterson suggested that the option of not distributing diplomas during graduation should be considered.   Chancellor Perlman noted that issuing the diplomas during graduation creates good feelings for the student and their family members and friends.  He wondered whether the significant legal event that determines that someone is an alumnus of the university is the transcript record, not the diploma. 


Peterson stated that it is his understanding that if a professor gives a passing grade on the early grade roster for graduating seniors but then changes that to an F on the final grade roster, Records and Registration would change the grade back to a C on the student’s permanent transcript.   Chancellor Perlman stated that this is incorrect and that a diploma can be revoked.  He stated that he would like to see other options for resolving this issue.  Peterson asked if starting exams on Saturday after dead week would be an option.  Chancellor Perlman agreed that having finals up to the last minute is not a good practice.  He suggested that another option is to announce that diplomas are contingent.  He stated that students at risk should be notified of their situation.  He stated that they could go through graduation but their diplomas would not become official until Wednesday after they graduate. 


Bradford stated that another problem for students is that they are required to be out of the dorms by 12:00 on Saturday.  He suggested that the deadline for moving be changed to Sunday instead of Saturday.  He pointed out that this would allow students to study more rather than having to deal with a deadline for moving out of the dorms.  Peterson reported that the Head of Housing claims that housing must get into the dorms quickly to clean the rooms because they are rented out to various participants who come to campus for summer conferences or workshops.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he would check to see if the deadline date for moving can be changed. 


On another note, Chancellor Perlman stated that the graduation ceremony takes too long and does not give enough significance to graduating Ph.D. students.  He stated that it might be a good idea to have a separate graduate school commencement ceremony.  He noted that one of the arguments against this is that undergraduate students can be influenced by seeing graduate students receiving their degrees.  He stated that he is willing to see the hooding ceremony made into a graduation ceremony.  Peterson suggested that the Commencement Committee be charged with looking into this possibility. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the Lied Center might not be large enough to accommodate a graduation ceremony for the Graduate College so the hooding and graduation ceremony might need to be moved to the Devaney Center. 


2.2       Virology Center

Beck stated that at the Board of Regents’ meeting the program statement for the virology center was approved but no funding is available for the program.  She asked if the virology center will become an unfunded mandate.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the virology center is not an unfunded mandate.  He pointed out that the Regents merely approved that idea of creating a center.  He stated that he believes the funding can be raised for the center but its creation will be contingent on whether this funding can be obtained.  He noted that something needs to be done because the Beadle Center cannot sustain its current success rate because they do not have adequate space.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he has been discussing possible funding of the virology center with Vice Chancellor Paul.  He stated that they are considering using indirect cost funds if funding cannot be found.  He noted that construction of the first part of the building could be funded through a bond and federal grant money might become available. 




2.3       New Hiring Policy Regarding Advertising Available Positions

Fech stated that the new hiring policy does not allow advertising for open positions in the local newspapers.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it costs approximately $40,000 a year to run job advertisements in the papers.  He stated that the administration is experimenting to see if on-line posting will be just as effective but if it is not, jobs will be advertised once again in the newspapers. 


Fech asked if job announcements could be posted in the newspapers if private funds were used.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the administration wants to run the experiment first before allowing any exceptions. 


Fech noted that Omaha residents will usually check the Creighton, UNO, and UNMC websites and not the UNL website for open positions.  He suggested that job openings be placed on each campus website.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he will raise the point with VC Jackson and see if it is possible to get job announcements posted on the other campus websites.


2.4       Other Issues

2.4.1    Accreditation Process

Chancellor Perlman reported that recently a senior administrative retreat was held.  He stated that discussion at the retreat centered on developing a strategic plan for UNL.  He noted that the campus goes up for re-accreditation in 2006-07.  Peterson asked if the accreditation was for AAU status.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it was accreditation for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that it is difficult to develop a strategic plan before the new Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs arrives.  He noted that there will be a campus review after SVCAA Couture begins work.  He stated that the plan should have priorities and be structured with action steps that can be measured.  He pointed out that the accreditation process will be labor intensive and will take elaborate faculty participation. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the campus will need to address the area of assessment, particularly the assessment of student outcomes.  He noted that he is not sure whether the current assessment of student outcomes will be sufficient for the accreditation.  He stated that many other institutions have done different assessment of student outcomes and these will be explored.  He stated that he will also be talking to universities who recently went through the accreditation process to get further information on the process.


Chancellor Perlman stated that the ES/IS programs will probably be an issue in the accreditation process.  He stated that he hopes the accreditation process will be done in the fall of 2006 because it will allow more time for gathering the required information. 


Peterson asked how the accreditation process will be structured.  Chancellor Perlman stated that SVCAA Couture will orchestrate the process.


2.4.2    Academic Program Review Process

Chancellor Perlman stated that he is interested in thinking through the Academic Program Review Process (APR) because he feels the opportunity for departments to grow from the APR is lost.  He stated that he believes it is important for departments to get a quick response back from administration regarding the APR. 


Wunder stated that many departments fear that they will not have an opportunity to build on the strengths that are identified in the APR.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this oftentimes relates to resources.  He stated that departments need to determine their priorities and to allocate funding accordingly. 


Shea pointed out that some departments feel that the APR is an empty process.  He stated that it is important to have a process that produces results.  Chancellor Perlman stated that no report from the APR should be left unanswered. 


2.4.3.   Budget

Chancellor Perlman stated that the budget cuts appear to be set for the next year.  He noted that there will be some reductions for the campus but they should be less than $1 million.  However, there could be tuition shortfalls that will have a further impact on the budget.  He stated that he sees no reason why administration would need to come back to the academic departments to cover the budget cuts.  He pointed out that this does not mean that the university is flush with money. 


Peterson noted that the report on the state’s economic condition was favorable.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there appears to be four months of higher than predicted income for the state.  He noted that if this trend continues it will be good for the state.


Chancellor Perlman stated that no official amount has been assigned to funding for the program of excellence.  He estimated that it would probably be $1 million for the upcoming year. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that some diversity funding is available.  He noted that these funds will be distributed in the traditional way.


Chancellor Perlman reported that the foundation has given an award to UNL to support enhancing undergraduate education.  He noted that a one time grant of approximately $400,000 will be given to UNL.  He stated that he may ask faculty members to contact him with ideas on how the money should be spent in support of undergraduate education.


2.4.4    Faculty Salary Information

Peterson reported that he received information on the salaries of faculty members at our peer institutions but he has some technical questions that need to be addressed.  He stated that the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee has been corresponding by email but a formal meeting will not be scheduled until the fall. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that a report will need to be written after salary adjustments are made to see how different positions faired. 


2.4.5    Gallup Survey

Chancellor Perlman reported that the Gallup survey information will be distributed in the fall.  He noted that there will be different reports on faculty and staff.  He stated that there are some slight upward trends in some areas but there are still some issues that need to be addressed. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the contract for the on-line sexual harassment course has been signed.  He stated that things are moving forward and that it should be available for use hopefully by September 1.  Fech asked who would be required to take the course.  Chancellor Perlman stated that department chairs and any administrator above chairs will be required to take the test. 


Beck suggested that the Academic Program Reviews might be able to address climate issues in a department.  She questioned whether some department procedures might be a hindrance to climate issues.  She noted that this could compliment the Gallup survey.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is thinking about incorporating the Gallup survey into the APR. 


3.0       Nancy Myers, Director, Employee Assistance Program

Myers reported that the EAP’s program covers three areas:  clinical, consultation, and organizational consultation.  She noted that over 50% of the employees who have come to the EAP have been at UNL less than five years.  She noted that marital/relationship problems have been the main reason for consultation although more career related issues are being discussed. 


Wunder asked why so many are coming in about family problems.  Myer pointed out that many young families who have recently moved to Lincoln are dealing with being relocated and not having a local support system. 


Bolin asked what the primary source of consultation is.  Myers stated that the EAP focuses on individuals more than the department. 


Wunder noted that the category workplace supervisor comprised 14% of the visits.  Myers stated that sometimes the issue can relate to difficulty in dealing with the supervisor but some of the issues are requesting help in developing supervisory skills.  She noted that one of the problems that employees often mention is lack of respect. 


Peterson asked if the Gallup initiative will have an impact on the EAP.  Myers stated that she is not sure how the EAP will become involved with this.  She stated that it is important that confidentiality of the employee is maintained. 


Myers noted that the tragic death of student athlete Jenna Cooper was a very complicated issue that involved many departments and many people.  She noted that the upcoming trial will raise the problems again on campus.  She stated that the EAP works with Student Affairs when such an incident occurs and that there is a crisis team on campus that is in place to respond to these kinds of situations. 


Myers stated that the campus community is involved in a healing process after the turmoil and stress of the budget crisis.  She stated that the EAP did some work with the department mergers.


Myers reported that the employee emergency loan fund is being used.  She noted that most of the people using the fund are those on a contract.  She reported that the Chancellor’s Impact Fund has distributed five or six loans.  She noted that most of these loans are either medical or are used to help people rebuild their home after tornadoes ripped through Hallam and Norris.  She pointed out that the checks go to vendors providing assistance and not to the employees. 


Wunder asked if the EAP is involved in new faculty orientation.  Myers stated that they used to give a presentation during new faculty orientation but they have not been asked to do so in the last few years.  Peterson suggested that the Committee could send a letter on behalf of the EAP suggesting that the EAP be included in the new faculty orientation program. 


Fech asked how employees are informed about the EAP.  Myers stated that a mailing was sent out to all employees.  She noted that there is an 800 calling number for extension personnel to use.  She stated that her staff will also travel in the state to assist employees, particularly those who do not have local access to such help. 


Wunder asked if the EAP would be willing to meet with department directors and chairs.  Myers stated that she would be interested in doing so.  Wunder pointed out that most information is distributed through the chairs and meeting with them could get the word out about the services the EAP has to offer.  He suggested that Myers contact the Deans to formalize meetings with department chairs. 


Scholz asked if employees can be forced to meet with the EAP.  Myers stated that the only time they can be forced is if they are involved with driving for the university and are in violation of driving while under the influence of drugs.  She stated that the majority of people who come to the EAP do so voluntarily.  She noted that peer assessment is often important because colleagues may often be more familiar with someone who is having problems. 


Bolin asked if there is an ombudsman on campus.  Beck stated that there used to be one three or four years ago.  She stated that UNL decided to use an off-campus mediation consulting group instead.   She reported that in a meeting with President Smith he stated that UNL would get an ombudsman but this has never occurred.  Peterson suggested that this be put on the agenda for a future meeting.


Myers reported that the EAP, currently located in the historic Syford House at 700 North 16th Street, could be moved if the lease arrangement between the University and the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation were to be terminated for some reason.


4.0       Announcements

            No announcements were made.


5.0       Approval of 6/2/04 Minutes

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


6.0       Report on Board of Regents Meeting

Beck stated that she attended the meeting in place of Peterson who was out of the country at that time.  She stated that the Regents argued for a considerable length of time over incoming President Milliken being offered tenure in two different departments. 


7.0       Unfinished Business

            7.1       ARRC Case

The Executive Committee discussed a recent ARRC case as required by the Bylaws.  The Committee discussed whether a letter should be sent to President Smith regarding the case and whether faculty governance is being ignored.  Peterson stated that he would draft a letter to President Smith and ask for feedback from the Committee.


7.2       Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee Update

Issue postponed until the next meeting.


7.3       ES Courses Information

Issue postponed until the next meeting. 


8.0       New Business

            8.1       Executive Committee Retreat

Peterson stated that the Committee meets at the end of every summer to discuss goals for the academic year.  He stated that an email will be sent to Committee members to request their schedule so a time for the retreat can be scheduled.


8.2       Report on Meeting with Editorial Board of the Lincoln Journal Star

Peterson reported that he, Beck, and Shea met with members of the editorial board of the Lincoln Journal Star.  He stated that it was a good meeting and that three primary issues were discussed:  comprehensive education, daycare on campus, and streamlining the university.  He reported that other issues discussed involved how the state should split the increasing cost of higher education and the structure of higher education.  He stated that the question the board asked was whether or not UNL will become a place where predominantly junior and senior students go to finish their degrees because students are going elsewhere for their first two years of college.  Shea noted that questions were asked about the freshmen drop out rate and how it has changed. 


Shea stated that discussion also occurred on the recent Presidential search.  He stated that the issue of releasing names and the tension it creates was discussed. 


The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, July 14th at 2:30 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Pat Shea, Secretary.