Executive Committee Minutes - May 19, 2004




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


Absent:           Bolin, Buck


Date:               Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:31 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Next Board of Regents Meeting

Peterson announced that the next Board of Regents meeting will be held June 4th and June 5th at UNMC.  He noted that either Beck or Shea will attend the meeting since he will be out of town. 


2.2       Withdrawal by Candidate for President of the University

Peterson reported that Admiral Ellis withdrew this afternoon from the pool of remaining candidates for President.  The committee briefly discussed the implications of this withdrawal. 


3.0       Approval of 5/5/04 Minutes

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


4.0       Report on Meeting with President Smith

            4.1       Biennial Budget

Peterson reported that he and the Senate Presidents from the other campuses met with President Smith for their quarterly meeting.  Peterson stated that the 2005-07 biennial budget was discussed.  He noted that the proposed budget will be presented to the Board of Regents at the June 5th meeting.  He stated that the 2005-07 biennium budget calls for a final appropriation of $418 million in the first year of the biennium and $438.6 million in the second year of the biennium.  He pointed out that the requested $418 million represents a 14 % decrease if the figures are to be adjusted for inflation. 


Peterson pointed out that the total requested amount does not include any salary increase.  He noted that each percentage of increase for salaries would add another $4.4 million to the budget.  He stated that union negotiations for UNK and UNO have to be conducted before salary figures could be included in the budget.  He reported that UNO will not decide how much of a salary increase to request until they have done a comparison of salaries with their peer institutions. 


Peterson stated that he has still not received the salary comparison report from Dr. Nunez, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, on UNL’s peer institutions.  Peterson stated that he will contact Nunez again to get a copy of the report. 


Peterson stated that the 2005-07 biennial budget includes an increase of $3 million for the programs of excellence bringing the total amount to $12 million.  Alexander wondered whether some of the money going towards the programs of excellence is funded out of the Nebraska Research Initiative money.  The committee agreed to ask Chancellor Perlman about this at their next meeting with him. 


Scholz asked if President Smith gave any sense of the overall budget picture for the state.  Peterson stated that no information or indication was given.


5.0       New Administrative Hires

The Committee discussed the search for a new president and their impressions they had of the four candidates who visited the campus.  Wunder suggested that the Committee should send a welcome message to whoever becomes the new president.


Peterson noted that Dr. Barbara Couture has been named the new Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  He stated that the officers of the Executive Committee have invited her to lunch when she comes to campus.  Peterson stated that Dr. Couture sent an email message stating that she is looking forward to meeting them.  He noted that Dr. Couture will be meeting with the entire Executive Committee in late August. 


6.0       Strategic Planning

6.1       ES/IS Strategy

Peterson noted that most of the colleges, except for Arts & Sciences, believe that the ES/IS proposal is okay but the Colleges of Engineering and Technology and Business Administration object to the amendment on prerequisites that was added.  He noted that CBA uses the current ES list more broadly than most colleges because the College requires that half of the student’s coursework must be done outside of CBA.  He stated that if the list of courses were to change, than CBA would have to make up their own list of required courses. Wunder noted that students would still be required to take the prerequisites for courses. 


Peterson stated that the College of Engineering and Technology is concerned with some of the math courses.  Alexander stated that the faculty members he has spoken with in the College are in favor of the proposal.  Peterson stated that both of the issues are manageable. 


Beck stated that she reviewed the matrix and found that there are approximately 140 courses that are accepted by all colleges.  She suggested using only these courses for the list of accepted courses.  Peterson stated that the ES/IS Review Committee looked at doing this but decided against it. 


Wunder noted that Arts & Sciences is reluctant to approve the proposal because they want to ensure that they have control over their curriculum.  He stated that some faculty members want the university ES requirements to be the same as the Arts & Sciences’ requirements.  He noted that Arts & Sciences requires more writing courses than any of the other colleges and there is concern that eliminating courses from the ES list will make it more difficult for students to complete this requirement. 


Peterson stated that Arts & Sciences appears to be split on the proposal.  He noted that some senators reported that their departments were in favor of the proposal.  Wunder stated that some people feel that the changes could result in less credit hour production for the college which could affect funding.  He suggested that one way to insure that credit hour production remains high is to require that all students must take English 150 or some other course.    


Stock stated that the English departments had more anxiety over the possible loss of IS courses and the lack of oversight for these courses.  He stated that there seems to be a lot of uncertainty and confusion concerning the proposal.  Flowers stated that there is some anxiety in his department over the possible loss of credit hours.  


Peterson suggested that the consulting group should arrange a meeting with Dean Hoffman to see what he would like to see in the proposal. 


Wunder pointed out that the new proposal eliminates the speech requirement but puts more pressure on the writing requirement.  Peterson noted that every college requires two courses in communication.  Flowers suggested that one strategy to get the proposal approved would be to compare the different college requirements to show how close they really are.  Wunder stated that it might be helpful to show how the matrix will look in the bulletin if the proposal is approved.  Peterson stated that work on the proposal will continue in the fall.


6.2       Dead Week

Peterson reported that he discussed the proposed dead week policy with President Smith.  Peterson stated that a copy of the University-wide Calendar Committee’s policy on class schedules was distributed.  He noted that the policy clearly states that classes must have 15 class meetings on each weekday, Monday through Saturday. 


Peterson stated that UNO and UNK reported not having the same problems that UNL does with dead week and finals week because they do not give out diplomas at graduation.  They also adhere strictly to the dead week policy. 


Peterson stated that Provost Noren stated that the policy could be changed but it will require the University-wide Calendar Committee’s approval.  Peterson pointed out that the university is currently in violation of its own policy because fall break and Martin Luther King Day shorten the class meeting times on Monday by one day each semester.  He stated that a formulated proposal will need to be developed if there is to be a policy change.  He noted that he received an email message about the dead week proposal from a professor who suggested that professors who teach laboratories should be included in reviewing and revising the policy.  Wunder suggested that Peterson meet with the chairs of departments from both campuses who have lab classes to see if there are ways to amend the proposal that would work for them. 


Peterson suggested another solution to the problem might be eliminating the distribution of diplomas at graduation.  Wunder stated that another option is to start finals on Friday of dead week and have finals on the following Saturday. 


Signal asked if the dates students need to move out of the dormitories could be changed to a later time.  Peterson stated that he spoke with the director of housing who noted that people are waiting to get into the dorms shortly after the students vacate them. 


Bradford asked if there was a separate policy regarding the date of commencement.  Peterson stated that he did not believe a separate policy existed about commencement.


Peterson stated that he will try to get in with some of the science department chairs to ask their opinion about the proposal.  Signal suggested that he check with faculty members in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications because they also have lab times for students.  Fech noted that people other than science faculty members were also opposed to the shorter semester. 


Wunder stated that the current rules allow for a final exam to be held in Dead Week provided that it is stated in the syllabus of the class.  Peterson pointed out that ASUN students have stated that Dead Week is the worse week for them because so many course assignments are due during the week.  He stated that there needs to be broader discussion on the topic in the fall.


Scholz asked if Provost Noren indicated that UNL’s class schedule could be different from the other campuses.  Peterson stated that his impression from Provost Noren is that it has to be a university-wide schedule.  Wunder noted that the current policy on class meeting times pre-dates the Martin Luther King holiday.  Flowers pointed out that this policy needs to be updated in order to coincide with what is occurring on the campuses. 


Peterson stated that he inquired about snow days but was not given a response other than that the class meeting times was scheduled.


6.3       Information on Unionized Universities

Fech asked if the Executive Committee is planning to provide further information on unions at other universities.  Peterson questioned whether the Senate is still interested in getting this information.  Signal stated that not enough information has been provided to the Senate and information from other flagship campuses should be presented.  Peterson stated that he will check to see if a Senate meeting could be set up to conduct a video conference. 


Peterson stated that the Executive Committee discussed bringing someone in from Varner Hall who works with the unions to get the administration’s perspective on unions.  He suggested having a faculty member who has worked at a unionized campus speak to the Senate as well. 


Bradford suggested that the information could be provided at a forum for the faculty members rather than just at the Senate.  Flowers stated that this could help start discussion on campus.  Fech noted that it would save time at the Senate meetings by having a forum.  Peterson stated that he will contact some universities to see if a video conference can be arranged for sometime in the fall. 


7.0       Unfinished Business

7.1       Review of Procedures to Be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions

Wunder stated that the ad hoc committee to review the Procedures may suggest revoking the current Procedures and returning to using the previous Procedures.  He noted that the ad hoc committee may decide to revise the former Procedures.  Bradford pointed out that going back to the old procedures might be problematic. 


8.0       New Business

            8.1       Ad Hoc Committee to Review Structure of Committees

Peterson stated that he has been reviewing the various campus committees and wondered if some of them should be consolidated in order to reduce the workload of the faculty and make faculty governance more efficient.  He suggested creating an ad hoc committee to review the committees or charging the Committee on Committees to conduct the review.  Bradford stated that the Committee on Committees’ responsibility is to review the various committees.  Peterson stated that the Committee on Committees could be charged to conduct the review.  He noted that the Executive Committee could possibly help with it. 


Signal asked if the processes identified by the Wasted Time Committee have been revised as suggested.  Wunder noted that one of the major processes identified was the annual faculty evaluation process.  He stated that this should be discussed with the new SCVAA when she arrives on campus.  He noted that letters were sent to the head of the areas identified by the Wasted Time Committee suggesting that the identified processes be revised.  Peterson stated that the Committee should conduct a follow up to see if the processes have been revised.


8.2       Senate Redistribution

Peterson stated that as a result of the recent mergers of colleges and departments he has been looking at the distribution of the Senate and the possible need for changing the criteria for distribution.  He noted that although IANR has only 20% of the faculty on campus, they have 30% of the Senate seats.  Bradford stated that the smaller departments seem to be over represented and the larger departments have less representation.  Wunder stated that there are a group of people on campus who are not represented.  He stated that the curators of the Museum are considered A-line employees yet they are not represented in the Senate.  The Committee agreed to discuss the issue further.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:16 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, June 2, 2004 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.