Executive Committee Minutes - September 29, 2004



Present:          Bolin, Bradford, Fech, Peterson, Shea, Signal, Stock


Absent:           Alexander, Beck, Scholz, Wunder


Date:               Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman/VC Owens

            2.1       Update on Virology Center Funding

Chancellor Perlman reported that efforts to get funding for the virology center are temporarily on hold because the administration is waiting to see what occurs in the U.S. Congress.  He stated that the virology center is only in the design phase at this point. 


2.2       Politicking Policy on Campus

Peterson stated that the topic of an open forum discussion at the September Senate meeting was on the Chancellor’s decision to restrict politicking to only two locations on campus.  He noted that Linda Crump, Assistant to the Chancellor, Equity, Access & Diversity Programs, provided some clarification of the policy but the Committee felt that further clarification was needed. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the policy was developed because of an incident that occurred this past year with a political candidate blocking traffic at the Devaney Center entrances.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the candidate was asked to move off of the Devaney Center property.  Chancellor Perlman stated that General Counsel Wood checked whether or not a policy at the university existed that would restrict politicking in specific areas.  Chancellor Perlman noted that state statute prohibits the Chancellor from authorizing any campus facility for politicking. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that General Counsel Wood drafted a policy which limited distribution of political campaign information to specific areas of the campus.  He noted that a halo policy around the stadium already exists for commercial entities.  He stated that the Wood policy seemed to work and people could do politicking by just moving 100 yards away from the stadium.  He noted that he has backed down on the policy for a variety of reasons.  He pointed out that he can only enforce the stadium halo policy on Saturdays. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the Wood policy has its limits and General Counsel Wood is in the process of drafting a land use policy for the NU system.  He noted that the policy will give some designation of authority to the Chancellors on each of the campuses. 


Peterson stated that there was a comment made at the forum regarding campaign literature having the football schedule and the NU logo on the back side of the handout.  He stated that many faculty members feel that there is a problem with this.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not seen any of the political handouts but this would definitely raise some concerns. 


Shea asked if there will be discussions with the Committee and faculty members regarding the policy that is being drafted.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there will be discussions on it.  Shea noted that he was bothered by the fact that the Senate was unaware of the Chancellor’s decision and that he first heard about it on CNN.  He asked why the Chancellor did not inform the Executive Committee of the decision when they met with him just two days before it became public.  Chancellor Perlman replied that he thought that the decision was innocuous because the policy was already in existence. 


Fech pointed out that many feel that there is an issue of free speech and that there needs to be a balance between this and campus policies.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the real dispute is whether to have an open campus or to have some restricted areas.  He stated that he is in favor of some restrictions because he does not want people campaigning students and faculty members in the hallways of campus buildings. 


Bradford asked if there is a problem in just limiting the policy to politics.  He noted that a policy should cover everyone or no one, not just certain types of communication.  Chancellor Perlman stated he tried to justify the stadium policy by pointing out that people attend the game to see football and allowing political campaigning around the stadium could distract the game atmosphere.  He noted that commercialization that takes place around the stadium is part of the atmosphere because they are selling things relative to the game.  He pointed out that the new policy being drafted for the university system will need to carefully look at the issues involved. 


2.3       Report on the Recruitment and Retention of Faculty of Color

Peterson noted that the report will be presented to the Senate on October 5th.  He pointed out that Signal suggested including the work that Professor Jones is doing in association with the Chancellor’s office but he did not get a response back from the committee that worked on the report. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that it is good to have the Senate involved on the issues of recruiting and retaining women and faculty of color.  He stated that one of his reactions to the report was that the African-American Caucus on campus was not acknowledged in it.  He stated that there may also be a Hispanic Caucus on campus as well. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that there were some good suggestions in the report but he indicated he was unclear about what “information” the report wanted one entity to deal with.


Chancellor Perlman reported that Professor Jones is meeting with the deans of the colleges to inform them of recruiting possibilities for their colleges. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the Gallup survey addressed some of the issues facing faculty of color.  He noted that the engagement score was virtually the same for faculty of color as for other faculty members.  However, there was a difference in the inclusiveness scores with faculty of color feeling less included.


Chancellor Perlman noted that the report referred to the University of Kansas’ website on strategies to promote diversity and its efforts to alert deans and department heads on recruiting faculty of color.  He noted that UNL is working on its website to provide more information on best practices such as that shown at Kansas.  He noted that his administration is willing to work on the issue of recruiting and retaining faculty of color. [http://www.ku/edu/~equalop/recruitment/diversity_strategy.shtml] 


Chancellor Perlman stated that in 1992 the Board of Regents requested exit interviews be conducted.  He noted that the practice was cancelled this past year because it cost $8 – $12,000 a year and there was only an 11% return which provided little information.  He pointed out that he has asked the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to conduct informal exit interviews and that he will have the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of People of Color (CCSPC) do the same thing.  He stated that Professor Jones has talked informally with faculty members of color who have left UNL and she has an understanding of the reasons why they left. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that efforts are being made to address the issue of hiring and retaining faculty of color.  VC Owens noted that at a recent dean’s retreat there was continued discussion on the issue. 


Shea asked what the next step will be now that the reports have been presented.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he will give the CCSPC copies of the report and will ask them to respond back to him. 


Fech noted that the potential for recruiting faculty of color seems to be more difficult for some colleges given the disciplines within the college.  He asked if the candidate pools are smaller for some colleges and whether some departments and colleges are not doing as much as they could to recruit faculty of color.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there is no uniformity on campus.  He pointed out that some departments are doing very well while others are not regardless of the candidate pool. 


Peterson asked the Chancellor to let him know if there is anything the Senate can do to help address the issues faced by faculty of color.


2.4       Dual Career Program

Peterson reported that he received an email from Bruce Currin, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Human Resources, which included a list of references in Lincoln and Omaha to help in dealing with dual spouse/partner employment opportunities.  Peterson asked if this is going to be the extent of the new dual career program.  Chancellor Perlman stated that his administration is continuing to work on establishing a dual career program but they are having difficulty finding an outside firm that can provide the service.  He stated that the reference list is something to assist department chairs before a formal program can be designed.


2.5       Task Force to Look at Purchasing and Other Administrative Practices

Peterson stated that he received an email message from a faculty member who was upset that he had to purchase a computer through the university when he could have purchased one for less money not going through the university.  Peterson reported that he is still hearing complaints from faculty members about the contract with Travel & Transport.  He stated that Bradford suggested that an ad hoc task force committee be formed to review some administrative practices to see if money could be saved by not having purchasing contracts. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that there are people who review the purchasing practices and they believe that the university is doing fine.  He suggested that the Committee meet with VC Jackson, Business & Finance, to discuss the issue.  He noted that computers probably can be purchased for less money off of campus but the problem arises when the faculty member wants support from Information Services on equipment they have never seen.  Bradford pointed out that the computer in question was from the same vendor that the university purchases from. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the Committee should also speak with VC Jackson regarding the problems with travel as well.  Peterson stated that the Committee will meet with VC Jackson at a future meeting. 


2.6       Enrollment Issues

Chancellor Perlman stated that the enrollment issue is very troubling and something he is trying to address.  He pointed out that right now the faculty members have no real incentives to increase enrollment.  He noted that students feel that the admissions office is a warm and embracing place but the other areas of the campus are less inviting.  He stated that he is considering ways to change the culture that exists whereby faculty members feel that enrollment does not affect them.  He stated that he is considering a system to reward those faculty members and departments who actively recruit students.  He noted that every department should make recruiting students a high priority.  He stated that he does not want to see another 10% decline in enrollment in the entering class and he is thinking of taking action quickly.  He noted that he has asked Institutional Research and Planning to provide information that he will need in order to determine whether he wants to go with an incentive method. 


Peterson stated that he agrees that recruiting students is very important.  He noted that he is worried about incentives.  He pointed out that some colleges like CASNR is seeing decreasing enrollment because fewer people go into the farming industry.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the plan he is working on might be helpful.  He noted that for departments that are facing declining numbers, new strategies are needed in order to make their programs more attractive.  Otherwise, the university will have no choice but to reallocate resources to areas that are attractive to students. 


VC Owens stated that Nebraska is not facing a more difficult situation than other agricultural states.  He pointed out that the agricultural field is changing to be more scientifically and technology driven.  He noted that the golf management program recently developed has a lot of potential to attract students and other unique programs are spring boarding up.  He stated that there are approximately 300 CASNR students who are embedded in other programs across the campus. 


VC Owens stated that other majors, such as Food Science and Technology, have great potential.  He pointed out that some of these majors have a rigorous science requirement and this causes some difficulty in recruiting but the programs still have possibilities. 


Fech stated that the incentives tied to enrollment are a good way to get attention but he questioned whether they may be disheartening to those individuals who actively recruit but may be in a department that doesn’t recruit as well.  He asked if the incentives could be given on an individual basis.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he didn’t think the incentives could be done individually.  He pointed out that department chairs will recognize and reward those individual faculty members if enrollment becomes financially important. 


Bradford pointed out that some students take courses at community colleges because they are easier than the university courses.  He noted that the university has to accept transfers.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he doesn’t want to lose additional students but there are a lot of issues that need to be looked at.  He pointed out that higher education is becoming more challenging.  He stated that some students try to get dual credit for courses.


Peterson asked if transfer students take the advanced placement test.  Chancellor Perlman stated that UNO is making an effort to get students to take advanced placement tests by offering them $25. 


2.7       Parking Experiment

VC Owens stated that he is working with Parking & Transit to change parking arrangements after 5:00 on East Campus.  He stated that visitors attending a conference on East Campus in the evening were upset when they received tickets for parking on campus.  He noted that the East Campus parking situation is quite different from city campus especially in the evenings. 


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Martin Luther King Breakfast

Peterson reported that he received an application form for purchasing tickets for the Martin Luther King Breakfast which will be held on Friday, January 14, 2005.  He stated that the Senate usually sponsors a table and asked if the Senate should do so again.  The Committee agreed to be a sponsor for the breakfast.




3.2       Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics

Peterson stated that the current UNL representative to the Coalition needs to be replaced.  He stated that he has asked a professor to be the representative but he has not heard back from that individual yet. 


3.3       Collective Bargaining Units at Land Grant Institutions

Peterson stated that he has identified individuals to contact at several land grant, AAU institutions that have collective bargaining units.  He noted that the Senate had indicated interest in getting information about collective bargaining units from different perspectives.  He stated that he hopes to arrange a time when the Senate can teleconference with these individuals during one of our monthly meetings.


4.0       Approval of 9/22/04 Minutes

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


5.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed. 


6.0       New Business

6.1       Roger Bowen, General Secretary, AAUP

The Committee met and discussed with Dr. Bowen the work of the AAUP.  In particular, the discussion centered on the AAUP and its lack of action during the firing of tenured faculty members at UNL in the last two years.  Dr. Bowen pointed out that there was a great deal of communication between UNL and the AAUP during this time with frequent letters being sent between Chancellor Perlman and the AAUP.  Dr. Bowen noted that the AAUP urged the Chancellor to show restraint in firing tenured faculty members.  Dr. Bowen stated that while there was evidence that clearly showed the side stepping of shared governance at UNL during the budget crisis, the officers of AAUP at that time did not feel that UNL should be censured.  He noted that UNL attempted to accommodate the fired faculty members and this is why there was no censure.  Dr. Bowen and the Committee also discussed the straw poll vote and the events that led to it.  


The issue of whether academic due process was followed in the elimination of academic programs was discussed.  Concern was raised as to whether these programs were eliminated for a “bona fide discontinuance of a program”.  Dr. Bowen questioned whether the appropriate Senate body was consulted with before the departments were identified.  Peterson stated that the Academic Planning Committee was consulted after the programs were identified.


Discussion followed concerning where tenure lies within a university and the AAUP’s position on this issue.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, October 6 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 Pat Shea, Secretary.