Executive Committee Minutes - April 27, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Beck, Bolin, Flowers, Hoffman, Moeller, Peterson, Rapkin, Scholz, Shea, Signal, Stock


Absent:           Fech


Date:               Wednesday, April 27, 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

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


2.0       ASUN (Omaid Zabih, Meghan Lyons)

The Committee welcomed the new ASUN officers.  Lyons stated that one of their goals is to get to know the various student groups on campus and to enhance communication with them.  She stated that the ASUN wants to develop better communication with various state and city organizations as well. 


Zabih stated that with the passing of the 15th week policy, ASUN would like to see a syllabus policy created.  He noted that he would like to work with the Senate on this issue.  He pointed out that, to his knowledge, there is no policy that requires faculty members to have a syllabus for their course. 


Zabih stated that another issue that the ASUN would like to work on is providing more access for students to speak at the Academic Senate meetings.  He suggested that there be an open forum allowing students to voice their opinions on issues pertaining to them.


Zabih reported that another ASUN issue is the campus master plan.  He noted that currently the proposed plan calls for placing research facilities on the new turf fields that were just recently replaced.  He stated that student fees of $300 - $400,000 were used in building the new fields.  He pointed out that these are the only recreation fields close to campus. 


Zabih stated that the ASUN has concerns with the heavy traffic that will be created along Vine Street when the Antelope Valley Project is completed.  He noted that the Vine Street Mall proposed in the plan will create problems for students when moving in and out of dorms.  Lyons stated that the campus master plan’s modification of the streets exacerbates this problem.  She noted that the ASUN is working on solidifying their concerns now so they can be considered. 


Zabih noted that the Textron property has been mentioned as a possible site for the recreation fields but a lot of the land is contaminated.  Peterson stated that the Chancellor was aware of the contamination and knows that the land will have to be cleaned up before it can be used.  Peterson pointed out that the contamination enabled the University to purchase the land at a lower price. 


Zabih stated that he would like to see something done with the Whittier building.  He suggested that it possibly could be used for a day care facility.  Peterson stated that the University has been working on trying to develop a plan on how to use that building.  Beck noted that the last time the Committee spoke with the Chancellor about child care the Chancellor mentioned that the north side of the Whittier building was being considered as a site for the child care facility.  Moeller stated that she is on the committee that is working on the child care issue.  She noted that the cost that was submitted for renovating the building is high and the committee is now looking at a facility downtown.  Hoffman pointed out that $135 per square foot renovation fee is high and that a new building could be constructed for less.  Shea noted that the Chancellor had indicated some start up money for the child care facility but this might not be available with the budget shortfall. 


Moeller pointed out that the child care issue is complex.  She stated that the committee working on the issue has been discussing the concept of a sliding scale fee, the need for emergency day care, easy access to the facility, and other issues. 


Zabih stated that a space for a new culture center has been found just east of the City Campus Union but funds will be needed to construct the facility.  He stated that approximately $8 million will be needed to build the facility.  Lyons pointed out that a coalition was formed to bring awareness to the need for a new culture center. 


Peterson stated that he received an email message from a student who is a member of the student organization called No Sweat.  Peterson noted that the group is concerned with the Athletics contract with Adidas because of Adidas’ business practice.  Zabih stated that he has not heard anything about the group or their concerns.  Peterson stated that the group will be meeting with the Athletics department to discuss the Adidas contract.


Signal asked if ASUN plans to address the concerns raised over the elections and the low voter turn out.  Zabih stated that ASUN will be working on the issue.  He noted that they are speaking with the Deans of the different colleges to see if there is any space for ASUN senators to use to hold office hours.  He stated that ASUN also hopes to create a brochure that will outline what ASUN does.  He noted that he will be writing an article on the ASUN for the Daily Nebraskan and hopes to write one regularly. 


Zabih stated that the ASUN web site will be changed.  He noted that he hopes to have an open forum on the web site that will allow students to communicate their ideas.  He stated that he hopes to put a face to ASUN and he hopes to get more people to run for the offices. 


Beck asked how students vote.  Zabih stated that there are certain spots on campus where students can vote. 


Beck asked if the students were working on drafting a syllabus policy.  Zabih stated that they are not but he would like to work with the Senate and SVCAA Couture to create one.  He noted that the policy should be simple but it should require faculty to have one for their courses.  Lyons pointed out that she could not find anything in the Bylaws that required a faculty member having a syllabus for their course.  Rapkin noted that the syllabus is important because it states the mission and goals of the course.  Peterson stated that SVCAA Couture has volunteered to help disseminate the information on the 15th week policy. 


Beck stated that the open forums held this year at the Senate meetings were usually on topics that related more to the faculty.  She noted that if the students are interested in having an open forum on any particular topics they should contact her so it can be scheduled into next year’s meetings. 


Shea suggested that the officers of ASUN and the Executive Committee should meet regularly to discuss issues facing both parties.  Peterson pointed out that the officers can meet separately as well. 


Beck stated that the Committee to Review the Reductions in Force Procedures needs to have two new student members on it.  Zabih stated that he will get two new students. 


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Executive Committee Lunch

Beck noted that traditionally the Executive Committee gets together for lunch after the end of the semester.  Griffin stated that she would send an email message to the Committee to ask for schedules so she can arrange a date for the lunch.


4.0       Approval of 4/20/05 Minutes

            Peterson moved and Stock seconded approval of the minutes as amended.


5.0       Welcome New Executive Committee Members

The Committee welcomed newly elected members Professor Moeller and Professor Rapkin.    


6.0       Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


7.0       New Business

            7.1       Report on Strategic Plans Presentation (Peterson, Beck, Shea)

Peterson reported that all Deans and Directors gave a 10 minute presentation on their strategic plans for their colleges or centers.  He noted that the presentations were held over a two day period.  Shea stated that 17 groups gave presentations. 


Peterson stated that some of the plans that he saw were well organized and succinct.  Shea pointed out that nothing too remarkable stood out from any of the plans.  He noted that most of the plans stated what the priorities were and what the college or center needed in terms of resources.  Few of the plans actually include a plan(s) or proposal(s) for action.


Moeller asked what kind of faculty representation was put into the plans.  Beck stated that it varied among the colleges.  She pointed out that in some colleges faculty members in departments were not given the opportunity to provide input.  Shea noted that the Committee has raised concerns about this issue before but the administration did not provide an adequate response.  Peterson stated that the Committee has repeatedly been told that the plan is an iterative process.  Shea stated his impression from last week’s Executive Committee meeting was that Chancellor Perlman did not feel there was much dissatisfaction from faculty members on the lack of input into the plans. Hoffman noted that the plan used for the College of Engineering and Technology appears to be an older plan that has been revised.  He pointed out that faculty members do not feel that they have the time to invest in creating a new strategic plan.  Shea reported that none of the Deans or Directors said much about the process for developing their plans when the presentations were given. 


Peterson stated that one of the positive aspects of the presentation was that Deans realized that some things in their plans overlapped and that there was the possibility of developing more collaboration between some of the colleges. 


Beck noted that President Milliken was able to present a draft of the University strategic plan at the April 26th Senate meeting.  Peterson stated that the Board of Regents is pushing the campuses and Central Administration to develop these strategic plans.  Beck pointed out that the campus plans will need to fit with the overall University plan.  Hoffman stated that faculty members are interested in seeing President Milliken’s draft plan. 


Moeller asked who is carrying out the campus strategic plan.  She noted that several universities are developing strategic plans with optimal faculty input in order to ensure wide acceptance of the plan.  Peterson stated that the plan is being carried out by the senior administration.  He pointed out that college and department resources will be tied into the strategic plans. 


Shea stated that the Chancellor has commented previously that all plans will receive a response.  At the session with the Deans and Directors the Chancellor stated that the administration will respond to the Deans and Directors and the Deans and Directors will respond to the chairs about department plans.


Moeller asked if all of the plans are tied to the core values.  Peterson stated that some of the plans showed an effort to incorporate the core values.  Shea noted that some of the plans were detailed while others were fairly general.


Hoffman noted that the physical space of his college is being assessed.  He questioned whether this will ultimately be tied into the strategic plan.  Peterson stated that the space assessment being conducted will be tied into the campus master plan that is being worked on. 


Flowers asked if the plans will be disseminated down to the department chairs.  Beck and Shea stated that they were unsure what will happen next.  Hoffman noted that the administration had indicated that they will need to synthesize the plans. 


Peterson pointed out to the new Committee members that the campus wants to go through a self-study accreditation process which would allow a team from NCA to come in and work with the campus on the emphasis of the self-study.  He noted that the emphasis will be the strategic plan.  He stated that there are some questions about the extent of faculty input into this self-study process. 


7.2       Conflict of Interest Policy

Alexander reported that the campus committee on the Conflict of Interest Policy is scheduled to meet on May 11th.  He noted that the committee has not yet seen a new draft of the policy. 


Peterson reported that the University-wide Benefits Committee is scheduled to meet in May.  He noted that the agenda was limited but Professor Bradford, one of UNL’s representatives on the committee, will try to get other items placed on the agenda. 


7.3       Royalties

Beck stated that there may be a change in the policy regarding royalties and how they are distributed.  She stated that she will get further information on the proposed changes for the May 25th Executive Committee meeting. 


Alexander pointed out that currently all expenses have to be paid for before a faculty member received any portion of the royalties.  He stated that it would be nice if the faculty member was given an account of the expenses.  He noted that the current system makes the accounting unclear.  Scholz asked who controls this information.  He questioned whether this information is considered public records.  Alexander stated that he assumed that the records should be public.  He noted that currently the Office of Research is taking about half of the royalties that are given to the campus in the first distribution.  Scholz suggested that the Research Council might want to look into this issue. 


Hoffman asked what a faculty member’s rights are regarding patents if the university does not want to get a patent.  Alexander stated that a letter turning the pursuit of a patent back to the faculty member is sent.  He stated that faculty members can then try pursuing a patent on their own. 




7.4       Email Message

Beck shared an email message she received from an Economics professor criticizing the Senate for not taking a stance on the Bodvarsson motion.  Shea pointed out that the issue has been discussed at length and there were many different viewpoints on the subject.  He noted that there was no unified opinion about how to deal with the matter.  He stated that he takes offense to the email message because the Executive Committee and the Senate are taking steps to address various issues that arise. 


Peterson pointed out that the Chancellor stated at the April 26th meeting that he would not apologize because he did not feel what he did was wrong.  Peterson pointed out that we need to get more feedback from faculty members at large to see how they feel on issues such as these.


Beck stated that the AAUP Executive Committee on campus wrote a letter to the national AAUP office on the Bodvarsson case. 


The Committee then discussed issues facing Senior Lecturers and Lecturers.  Peterson suggested that the Committee might want to meet with some Senior Lecturers to hear their perspective on their situations. 


Shea noted that the Committee has raised concerns about the lack of uniformity in these positions.  He noted that they are treated as irregular faculty members.  Rapkin pointed out that some tenured and tenure track faculty members realize that their teaching load hinges on the lecturers. 


Beck stated that she thinks there should be some kind of tenure system for extension faculty members.  Bolin pointed out that other land grant institutions have tenured extension faculty members.  Rapkin noted that the national trend in universities is to hire more irregular faculty members. 


Stock stated that these irregular faculty members are treated differently by departments and colleges.  He noted that the English department does not require these people to get publications or perform service work. 


Shea pointed out that the larger issue is tenured faculty positions versus non-tenured faculty positions.  He noted that the tiers of professorships are changing and increasing the number of faculty positions that are becoming non-tenured.  He stated that if this trend continues it will change the whole picture of the University and where we are going as an institution.  Signal pointed out that this would not be consistent with President Milliken’s strategic plan.  She noted that the College of Journalism and Mass Communications relies on the professional experience of many of its non-tenured faculty members.  She stated that having these non-tenured faculty members exposes students to professionals with experience in the field but it can cause problems when there are not enough senior faculty members to mentor younger faculty members. 


Shea stated that he has seen cases where post doctorate positions have suddenly been made into a Research Assistant Professor position.  He noted that this changes the search process and the composition of the faculty. 


Flowers stated that he received a phone call from Alicia Santos, Director, Equity, Access & Diversity Programs, stating that she is interested in working with the Senate on the compliance issues raised in a previous meeting. 


Beck stated that Professor Works has reported that there have been some further problems with the revised Academic Rights & Responsibilities Procedure Conduct B.  She reported that Professor Works is checking on this problem with Vice Chancellor Paul to see if it can be resolved.  She stated that she will check further with Professor Works and will follow-up on it.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:54 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, May 4th 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.