Executive Committee Minutes - April 13, 2005




Present:          Beck, Bradford, Flowers, Hoffman, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Signal, Stock


Absent:           Alexander, Bolin, Fech


Date:               Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace


Note:   These are not verbatim minutes.  They are a summary of the discussions at the Executive Committee meeting as corrected by those participating.


1.0       Call to Order

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Chronicle of Higher Education Articles

Peterson reported that a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education had an article on the work being conducted by Professor Willis in the Anthropology & Geography department at UNL.  Willis raised funds to help get the teeth repaired on young Sudanese refugees.


Peterson reported that there is an article in the Chronicle on Teaching assistants and whether undergraduate students are biased against international teaching assistants.  Students often complain that they cannot understand the international teaching assistants.  The study took the voice of a Midwestern man speaking in English without an accent and used it in conjunction with projected images of a white American and a Chinese man.  The study found that undergraduate students took fewer notes from the Asian teaching assistant than the American teaching assistant even though they were hearing the exact same thing. 


2.2       Meeting with President Milliken

Peterson reported that the Presidents of the Faculty Senates from the four campuses met with President Milliken earlier in the day.  Peterson reported that the President is optimistic about the budget situation for the University.  Hoffman reported that indications are that state revenues are up and that this should help when the Appropriations Committee decides on the University budget.


Peterson stated that President Milliken reported that the State Appropriations Committee is considering a salary increase of about 4% for each year of the biennium.  Peterson pointed out that how the salary will break out at UNL has not been decided.  He stated that the Board of Regents is against increasing tuition rates. 


Peterson stated that President Milliken noted that the University strategic plan will be presented to the Board of Regents in the fall.  Peterson noted that he received a response from Professor O’Hanlon about the Executive Committee’s comments on the strategic plan and it being used for the accreditation process. 


Peterson stated that President Milliken is planning on getting some assistance for David Lechner, Vice President for Business and Finance, and that the University-wide Benefits Committee should be reactivated soon. 


Bradford asked if the President indicated when the salary figures will be coming to the campuses.  Peterson pointed out that the salaries are based on two factors.  One is the state appropriated funds and the other is tuition income.  He noted that the faculty salary increases will be determined when these numbers have been finalized. 


3.0       Approval of 3/30/05 and 4/6/05 Minutes

Flowers moved to approve both the 3/30/05 and 4/6/05 minutes.  Motion seconded by Stock.  Motion approved.


4.0       Report on Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (FCAC) Meeting

Peterson stated that the FCAC decided last fall to meet in mid-April when information on salaries would be available.  He reported that the FCAC met on April 11th.  He noted that another meeting will be held at the end of April and at this meeting the FCAC will hopefully decide how the salary funds will be broken down. 


Peterson stated that the Office of Institutional Research and Planning was very helpful in providing information on salaries.  He reported that UNL is currently 1.9% behind its peers overall although assistant professors are below the peers by 4%.  He pointed out that this could hurt UNL in recruiting new faculty members. 


Peterson noted that he sent the Executive Committee copies of the reports that were provided to the FCAC.  Bradford stated that the Dean of his college had not received the reports.  Peterson stated that one of the chairs on the FCAC had just received the information.  The chair pointed out that the information had been very helpful when he met with the Dean to discuss hiring. 


Peterson noted that he previously mentioned that he and Professors Perrin and Fulginiti met with Dr. Nunez and Lauren Drees of Institutional Research and Planning to work on the gender equity model.  Peterson stated that they will continue working on the model.  He pointed out that overall there does not appear to be much difference between male and female faculty salaries at UNL. 


Peterson stated that the other reports include the Faculty Salary Peer Analysis Summary and the Faculty Salary Percent Differences 2004-05 over 2003-04 for UNL.  He noted that the Faculty Salary Percent Differences report showed 47 cases where female faculty members received larger salary increases than males in a department and 42 cases where males received higher increases.  He pointed out that this is consistent with the findings that there are no real significant differences in salaries for male and female faculty members. 


Bradford noted that the FCAC minutes state that a point was raised that UNL’s faculty salary figures include money from private funding.  He asked if this is true for the other campuses as well.  Peterson stated it is not clear whether the peer institutions all report the salary supplements from private sources.  Peterson stated that only state dollars should be looked at when considering faculty salaries. 


Scholz asked if the salary figures in the reports were adjusted for 9 month and 12 month appointments.  Peterson stated he believed that all 12 month salaries had been converted to their 9-month equivalents. 


Signal referred to the gender equity report and stated that assistant faculty members are not going to stay at UNL if they can get $10,000 more at a peer institution. 


Bradford asked about the outlier report.  Peterson stated that this report has not been distributed to the FCAC.  He noted that he will inquire about it.  He pointed out that the Chancellor has stated that Chairs and Deans are supposed to explain outliers. 


Peterson stated that the Institutional Research & Planning Office has a lot of data and it may be possible to do an analysis on student retention.  He noted that characteristics would need to be identified to run the analysis but it would be helpful information if it could be done. 


Peterson reported that the Institutional Research & Planning Office is an extremely busy office.  He suggested that the Office could use graduate students with a strong statistical background to help conduct some of the studies.  He noted that a graduate student could possibly do a department salary evolution study. 


Shea stated that it is important to see the salary information.  He stated that he is disappointed that there is not a strong outcry from faculty members about the disparities in salaries.  He noted that it seems that most UNL administrators are not concerned and faculty members accept being underpaid.  Signal pointed out that most faculty members do not know that the information on salaries is available.  Shea stated that the information should be sent to all faculty members.  Bradford suggested that the reports be put on the Senate website for faculty members to see.  Peterson stated that he will make this suggestion to the FCAC.  Beck noted that faculty salaries are considered public information and they can be found on the Board of Regents website.  Peterson stated that at the minimum, the outlier report, gender equity report, and peer salary reports should be given to the Deans and Vice Chancellors.  He noted that the peer comparison report will be put on the Institutional Research and Planning’s website.


Shea noted that the Chancellor has indicated in the past that there will be more disparity among faculty salaries in order for the University to capture star researchers.  Peterson pointed out that the market for faculty salaries keeps on escalating.  He stated that one thing professors can do is to go out on the market for another job.  He stated that UNL may make a counter offer in order to keep the faculty member.  He noted that Professor Lewis had pointed out to him in an earlier conversation that there is not much of a market for full professors.  Bradford stated that it would be a hollow threat to look for another job if there is not a significant increase in the salary.  Peterson pointed out that in the next ten years there will probably be a massive number of professors retiring around the country.  He noted that this will create intense competition for young faculty members.  Stock stated that most faculty members are unaware of the salaries at peer institutions.


Peterson stated that at the next FCAC meeting he will probably recommend some restructuring of the committee.  He stated that it was suggested that all three officers of the Senate should serve on the committee and the Past President of the Senate would act as chair.  Griffin asked if they are suggesting increasing the size of the committee.  Beck stated that this is correct.  Griffin reminded the Committee that the FCAC is a very difficult committee to schedule meetings for because there are so many administrators and faculty members on it.  Adding more members to the committee would make it even more difficult.  Peterson noted that the FCAC is a bifurcated committee with five voting faculty members and five voting administrators on it as well as a number on non-voting members. 


Scholz asked if the Appropriations Committee has earmarked the salary increases money.  Bradford stated that it has been earmarked.


Peterson reported that UNMC would need a 6.8% increase in order to catch up to its peers.  Beck reported that there was discussion at the meeting about salaries being distributed unevenly between the colleges. 


Shea reminded the Committee of the $6 million shortfall and pointed out that the funds will need to come from somewhere and budget cuts will be made.  Peterson noted that the Chancellor has stated that he did not think the cuts would require the Reduction in Force Procedures to be invoked.  Bradford pointed out that open positions will help with the shortfall because the administration can take the funds from those open lines.  Hoffman questioned why the Chancellor had indicated that he was considering capturing all funds from open lines.  Hoffman wondered what has stopped the Chancellor from doing that in the past.  Peterson noted that there may not be a statutory reason for not doing it before but there could be political reasons for it. 


Shea stated that the budget situation will need to be discussed in conjunction with the strategic plan because some reallocations will need to be made.  He pointed out that if the faculty members agree to the strategic plan then they will have to accept the reallocation of funds at some time. 


Shea stated that he has concerns for interdisciplinary units.  He noted that these units often do not have a large student base and he questioned whether they could be penalized because of this.  Griffin pointed out that the Chancellor had stated at the Senate meeting that there would not be a standard formula in calculating student credit hour production and department budgets.  The Chancellor had noted that there are many units that are primarily research based. 


Peterson stated that it will be important to ask the Chancellor about whether increasing enrollment means increasing the number of majors in your department or increasing the number of student credit hours produced.  He pointed out that there are some units, such as English, that have a service component to their courses because most students need these courses to fulfill their requirements. 


Shea stated that enrollment needs to be increased but faculty members are not going to put much effort into recruiting students if they are not going to see some kind of reward for the department in doing so.  Hoffman pointed out that some departments, such as those in Engineering, might consider teaching their own required courses such as math.  He stated that there are many engineering colleges that already teach these courses themselves. 


Bradford noted that departments are starting to advertise their courses in the Daily Nebraskan. 


Peterson stated that he will give the Committee a report on the next meeting of the FCAC.


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       Motions from Executive Committee to the Senate

Flowers stated that any motions coming from the Executive Committee should be formally voted on.  He stated that the motions presented at the April 5th meeting were not voted on by the Committee. 


Peterson acknowledged that the motions were not formally voted on.  He stated that he thought it was the consensus of the Committee to approve the motions.  He suggested that the Committee could ratify the motions now or state at the Senate meeting that there was a mistake and the votes would need to have a second from the Senate. 


Flowers moved to ratify the motion on gender equity.  Shea seconded the motion.  Motion approved. 


Hoffman moved to amend the motion by striking the word implementation in section number two and replace it with considering.  Stock seconded the motion.  Motion approved 7 in favor of it and 1 against. 


Flowers stated that he has misgivings about what will happen at the Senate meeting on the Bodvarsson motion.  He noted that he has had discussions with colleagues on the issue and most people feel that it is a very complex issue.  He pointed out that some people felt that the Chancellor has already addressed the issue and apologized publicly at the April 5th Senate meeting.  Flowers stated that trying to force the Chancellor to do more could harm the working relationship between him and the Executive Committee.  Flowers stated that he thinks there would be strong opposition from the Senate.  He stated that he did not want to ratify the motion.


Scholz pointed out that the Committee does not know the particulars personally and most information has been received second or third hand.  He stated that he does not feel comfortable in making a motion about the issue.  Bradford pointed out that the motion acknowledges that there is a disagreement between the parties. 


Peterson stated that he felt conflicted on the motion.  He pointed out that neither the Committee nor the Senate is going to make the Chancellor do something he does not want to do.  Peterson noted that the Chancellor did not admit to any wrongdoing at the Senate meeting.  Peterson pointed out that other people in attendance at the meeting interpreted the Chancellor as apologizing. 


Shea stated that this is a very difficult and complex issue.  He noted that a Chancellor would normally accept at the outset the information the Dean provided him but in this case there may have been some inaccurate information reported.  Shea pointed out that the Chancellor is not going to disagree with the Dean openly but he might be dealing with the situation privately.


Shea stated that it was courteous of the Committee to ask the Chancellor to address the situation because it was more than likely going to be raised at the Senate meeting.  Shea pointed out that the Chancellor acknowledged the possibility that people misinterpreted what he wrote.  Shea stated that the does not feel comfortable going after the Chancellor heavy handed on this issue.  Beck pointed out that the Chancellor and SVCAA defamed Bodvarsson in a public manner and that this was wrong to do and should be noted by the faculty in some way.


Signal stated that she did not believe the Committee should wordsmith the Chancellor’s apology.  Bradford noted that apologizing if people misinterpreted something is not a true apology. 


Peterson stated that the Chancellor never explained why he sent the email message.  Peterson noted that if the Chancellor had left out the paragraph about Bodvarsson and just explained how faculty lines are created and filled there would not have been a problem with the email. 


The Committee discussed how to handle the situation if the motion is not ratified.  Peterson suggested reintroducing the motion as an emergency motion so that it does not carry over the summer.  Flowers stated that he objected to it being declared as an emergency motion because it doesn’t qualify as one.  Beck suggested that Peterson state that a procedural error was made and she would elect to withdraw the motion.  She stated that she does not wish to have the motion carried over the summer. 


Peterson suggested that the committee continue discussion on the motion at its next meeting. 


Shea stated that he has concerns about what is happening in the Economics department and in CBA.  He noted that the Senate should have the prerogative to raise concerns about how departments and colleges function. 


Signal stated that a question that should be raised when colleges restructure is who do junior faculty members voice their concern to.  She pointed out that things are very different for junior faculty members especially in small colleges.  Peterson stated that it leads to the question of who protects individuals at universities.  Signal stated that apathy occurs because people don’t know where to go when there are problems and they don’t have time to deal with the issue.  Peterson stated that the key people that should deal with these problems are the SVCAA and the Chancellor.  He indicated that an ombudsman, as Beck suggested earlier, would be the appropriate position to handle issues of equity or workplace concerns for faculty.  Flowers agreed. 


Signal pointed out that it all relates back to the climate.  She cited an example of the new diversity team that SVCAA Couture mentioned on March 30th.  She asked what has happened to the work of the Colleen Jones and the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of People of Color.  She questioned whether this new team is the end action of all of the reports that have been generated.  The Committee agreed to put this issue on the agenda when it meets with the Chancellor on April 20th.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, April 20th at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be held in 201 Canfield Administration Building.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator and Pat Shea, Secretary.