Executive Committee Minutes - May 5, 2004




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


Absent:           Bolin, Buck, Wunder


Date:               Wednesday, May 5, 2004


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:36 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman

            2.1       President’s Search Update

Chancellor Perlman reported that the Attorney General will render a decision on whether additional candidates’ names will need to be published.  He noted that this refers to the candidates the search committee had informal meetings with in Kansas City.  He stated that holding informal meetings for candidates is not out of the ordinary and is done at other universities.  He stated that the university counsel did not believe the meetings were in violation of Nebraska law. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that there has been some concern from faculty members about the final candidates chosen.  He noted that the search firm used to identify candidates pointed out that this kind of position is not a job that is in high demand and that searches are often difficult. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that there were three to five traditional academic candidates in the top group.  He noted that some of the candidates were not ready in their career path to assume such a high level position.  He stated that two candidates who were good traditional academic candidates withdrew from the search because their names might be disclosed.  He pointed out that if a candidate applies for several positions around the country and their name is disclosed it could have impacts on their current employment. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the final slate of candidates is strong given the difficult responsibilities of the position.  He noted that many high profile universities have hired non-traditional academic leaders. 


Peterson asked for clarification on the interview process.  Chancellor Perlman stated that an email message will be sent to the campus community providing information on the time and day of the campus reception.  He noted that all candidates will come to UNL and he urged people to attend each of the receptions.  He stated that people should ask questions that they have on their minds and to be open minded to each candidate. 


Fech asked what the cost will be to hire a new president.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the salary for this position will not be anywhere near $600,000.  He pointed out that the salary will be greater than the current president’s salary and it will probably cause some controversy but NU pays well below its peer institutions for a president.


Bradford asked if all four candidates can begin work on July 1st.  Chancellor Perlman stated that three of the four can start July 1 and the other candidate can begin September 1st. 


Scholz asked what the total number of applicants was for the position.  Chancellor Perlman stated that approximately 40 – 50 applications were received but some of them did not qualify. 


2.2       Use of Auxiliary Services by Athletics Department

Peterson noted that in designing the stadium expansion some university personnel were used by the athletics department.  He asked if these people were paid by the athletics department for this service or whether they were paid out of state operating funds.  Chancellor Perlman noted that all projects have fees associated with them.  He pointed out that these services have become self supporting since the budget cuts and they must get paid. 


Bradford asked if the athletics department budget includes charges for auxiliary services.  Chancellor Perlman stated that it does and even more so now because they are now being charged for such things as landscape services. 


2.3       SVCAA Candidates

Chancellor Perlman noted that all candidates for SVCAA have come to campus for interviews and that a decision now has to be made.  He stated that he values the input of the Executive Committee members and he urged them to send in their evaluations on each candidate.  He noted that Dr. Schnell has withdrawn his application.  Shea pointed out that it might be wise to go with an external candidate. 


2.4       Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman reported that he has been briefed on the results of the Gallup survey.  He stated that he was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a response rate of 74%.  He noted that one department opted out of participating in the survey but 30% of the employees in that department responded.  He stated that Gallup is working on refining the responses and that there will be a separate response rate determined for faculty and staff. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that some questions were added to the survey.  He stated that preliminary findings show that in some units there have been improvements but in other areas no improvements were made.  He stated that the results will be presented to the administration and then distributed to the broader campus in late August.


Chancellor Perlman reported that the on-line sexual harassment training program is moving forward and that all supervisors will be required to take it.  He noted that faculty members will be offered the opportunity to take the course on a voluntary basis. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the Board of Regents wants an updated strategic plan for UNL.  He noted that he is generally not in favor of doing strategic plans but admitted that some planning is necessary.  He pointed out that in the past the process for developing the strategic plan has been elaborate and he wants to avoid doing that again.  He stated that he may have to discuss the strategic plan with the new President.  He noted that the 20/20 Report and the Blue Skies report as well as various task force reports could be combined to develop a strategic plan.  He stated that the plan will need to be developed over the summer.  He stated that he wants to get broader faculty participation in developing the plan without monopolizing their time. 


Shea stated that it is reasonable to develop a strategic plan and he suggested that it be shared with some faculty members.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he will definitely show the plan to the Executive Committee.  Shea stated that the plan could be an update on where UNL is and where we might want to go.  He pointed out that the strategic plan would not necessarily be a final plan. 


Alexander stated that there does not seem to be closure on programs and projects that are often identified in strategic plans.  He stated that there is a need to close the loop on these programs.  He pointed out that many programs and projects are started with a considerable amount of money but they are eventually cut off.  He stated that the university needs to do a better job of preserving investments that have been made.  Chancellor Perlman stated that strategic plans are only good if those who develop it stay around to implement it.  He noted that the trick is to see if some of the ideas in the strategic plan can be embedded into the fabric of the institution.


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee

Peterson stated that he has not yet received a copy of the report comparing the faculty salaries of UNL with our peer institutions.  He stated that he will contact Dr. Nunez, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, to obtain a copy of the report.  Peterson noted that the report will be shared with the members of the FCAC.  He pointed out that the information would normally be presented in the FCAC report to the Senate but it was not available at the time the report was presented.  He noted that he will also inquire about getting a copy of the gender equity report.


3.2       Email Message on Warrant Checks

Peterson reported that he received an email message from Professor Reichenbach who suggested that warrant checks issued to university employees should be directly deposited since some checks wind up not getting cashed.  Peterson noted that he sent an email message to Professor Reichenbach thanking him for taking the initiative to look into this issue.


3.3       Future Meetings

Peterson reported that the Executive Committee will be meeting with Associate VC Jacobson and Professor James to discuss the Teaching Council’s new responsibilities and syllabus.  He stated that the meeting will be held sometime during the summer.


Peterson reported that the Executive Committee will be meeting with Nancy Myers, Director of the Employee Assistance Program, on June 30th.


4.0       Approval of 4/28/04 Minutes

Alexander moved and Shea seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


5.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Special Parking Permit for East Campus Faculty & Staff

Bradford noted that in the presentation of the parking scenarios, Tad McDowell, Director of Parking and Transit Services, stated that arrangements for using the parking garages would need to be made for east campus faculty and staff who come to city campus for business.  Bradford stated that he contacted McDowell about this arrangement.  Bradford reported that parking services is creating a list for east campus personnel so that they can obtain a special permit to use the city campus garages. 


Signal asked if the special permit will guarantee parking.  Bradford stated that it cannot guarantee parking but it will allow the permit holder to park in the garage if needed.  Shea asked if garage parking permits will be handled differently.  Peterson stated that the garage permits will cost more than surface lot permits.  Griffin asked if the east campus personnel will be charged more to obtain a special permit.  Bradford stated that there will be no additional cost but he is unsure how the list will be handled.  He suggested that people interested in getting on the list should contact McDowell. 


Stock stated that people who only ride the bus have lost their perk of a free bus permit.  He noted that the present system of giving free bus passes only to those who buy a parking permit seems odd.  He stated that this matter should be brought to the appropriate agency for review.  Flowers stated that several colleagues have raised this issue with him.  Griffin noted that last spring the bus permit issue was presented to the campus and ASUN approved the charges for a bus permit to help offset the cost of transit services. 


6.2       Activating Committee to Review the Procedures for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions

Peterson asked Beck if she would be willing to chair this committee.  Beck agreed.  Peterson suggested that there be discussion on the composition and charge of the review committee.  Alexander noted that the Academic Planning Committee has been used extensively during the budget cuts.  He suggested that a member of the APC be on the review committee.  He questioned whether it was a wise process to start a new committee to review the procedures.


Beck reported that the rules to deal with significant budget cuts were changed with Chancellor Spanier.  She noted that many people feel that there have been significant changes in the procedures which have resulted in the loss of faculty and staff voice in the budget cutting process.  Peterson pointed out that the previous rules required an expanded board to be involved in the budget cuts.  He stated that the charge to the review committee might want to review the problems that the new procedures have created.  He noted that an example is that faculty members receive termination letters before decisions have been formally approved.  He stated that the review committee should seek ways to improve the procedures. 


Shea suggested that the review committee should see how the budget cutting process has been handled and how faculty members want it to be handled.  He stated that we should let administration know that the faculty members want to know more and be more engaged in a timely way in the process. 


Scholz asked if the decision to make the changes to the procedures is unilateral.  Beck pointed out that the Senate and ASUN would need to vote and approve the changes. 


Shea stated that a fresh look at the procedures is needed after the recent budget cuts.  He stated that the review of the procedures is a serious issue that needs to be studied and addressed.  Peterson stated that a strategy does not need to be developed yet but the committee should be made active.  He noted that it might be difficult to get student involvement during the summer months.  He suggested that the students can begin participation in the fall semester.  He stated that Professor Eckhardt, former chair of the APC, might be a good person to have on the review committee.  Shea suggested that a small committee be formed to get information on the current and previous procedures.  He noted that the committee could then be expanded once the information is gathered.  Peterson suggested that ASUN should be kept informed of what the committee is doing until the fall semester when the students can become active members. 


The committee agreed to see if Professor Eckhardt would serve on the committee.  Beck, Shea, and Scholz agreed to work on the committee to gather information.  Flowers stated that there should be diversity from the different disciplines on the committee once the initial work is done. 


6.3       Meeting with Regent Wilson

Peterson reported that he, along with Professors Beck, Shea, Janovy, Moeller, May, Moore, Barrett, Lee, and MacGarvey met with Regent Wilson.  He noted that Regent Wilson was very open to hearing the concerns of the faculty members.  He stated that the professors raised concern over the university becoming a corporate entity.  He noted that Regent Wilson stated that a number of Regents are interested in the business model of running an institution. 


Beck agreed that it was a very good meeting and the faculty members expressed their concerns.  The opinion was expressed that the university may have moved too quickly to follow the 20/20 report to become a research one university in addition to remaining a strong liberal arts base.  The infrastructure is not in place to support the sudden increase in research emphasis and the university has overextended itself by not having the faculty members and resources to sustain the teaching effort.  Beck stated that some faculty members believe this is why so many adjunct professors are being hired.


Beck stated that the need for a diverse university community was discussed.  It was pointed out that some strong female students in some programs do not have female faculty members to mentor them in that particular field.  As a result, many of these top female students go to another discipline which may not utilize their abilities as well.


Shea agreed that the meeting was very good and helpful.  He noted that Regent Wilson really seemed to pay attention to what the faculty members were saying.  Shea stated that Regent Wilson appeared to have recognized the concern of the faculty members but was surprised to see how strongly they felt about the issues that were discussed. 


Shea reported that Regent Wilson wanted to know how to evaluate teaching so people can be rewarded and recognized for their work.  Shea pointed out that it is more difficult to evaluate teaching than research.  Peterson suggested that the Committee should discuss this issue. 


Alexander asked if there was any sense where the corporation model emphasis at the university if coming from.  He asked if there is any concrete evidence to show that the corporate model is being used at the university.  Peterson stated that the image of the corporate model is a top-down management style with no real democracy.  He pointed out that this model is not appropriate for a university but it appears that we are heading in the direction of a system of hierarchy.  He noted that this is occurring at other institutions across the country.  He stated that evidence of the corporate model can be found in former Chancellor Moeser’s budget reallocations and the Programs of Excellence.  Flowers stated that there have been top down imposed evaluations such as the quality indicators.  He pointed out that faculty members create evaluations processes as well, particularly in regards to promotion and tenure files.  He stated that faculty members later on begin to realize the cost of management and how it impedes with work that faculty members should be doing. 


Beck stated that the group discussed the quality indicators with Regent Wilson.  She stated that they pointed out to him that if faculty members try to conform to the quality indicators that it can lead to mediocrity.  Shea noted that faculty members felt that the quality indicators are flawed but they had no choice but to create a list of acceptable journals because there was fear that if they did not do it, administrators may not recognize their publications.  He pointed out that faculty members felt that the list of journals in a particular discipline would not be representative if the list was limited to a specific number or created by administrators.  He stated that faculty members should collectively refuse to do some of these things that administrators want.  Scholz asked if the quality indicators are a left over from the Florida Bank project that former SVCAA Edwards was trying to get approved.  The Committee stated that this was correct.


Flowers pointed out that rules which are static are detrimental to higher education.  He noted that while much of the work required by administration is burdensome, some good things have come out of it such as an increase in interdisciplinary research.


The Committee agreed that it would be a good idea to meet with some of the Regents. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 2:30 pm.  The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Pat Shea, Secretary.