Executive Committee Minutes - April 6, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Bradford, Flowers, Peterson, Shea, Stock


Absent:           Beck, Bolin, Fech, Hoffman, Scholz, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, April 6, 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 3:08 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Meeting with Dr. Nunez and Lauren Drees, Institutional Research and


Peterson reported that he and Professors Perrin and Fulginiti met with Nunez and Drees to look at the gender equity model used by UNL.  Peterson noted that three reports are generated from the model.  These reports are used by the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (FCAC) when recommending faculty salary increases.


Peterson stated that the gender equity model is used to determine if there are significant differences between male and female salaries.  He stated that in recent years there are no significant differences in the salaries.  He pointed out that except for the associate professor rank, female faculty salaries were slightly higher than male salaries but again there are no real significant differences. 


Peterson stated that they played with the model by removing any tainted variables and found that once again there were no significant differences in the salaries. 


Peterson stated that some changes will be made to the model.  He stated that the FCAC will review the reports when it meets on April 11th.  He noted that the Committee will find out at that meeting how far UNL is behind its peers in terms of faculty salaries. 


Peterson pointed out that Nunez and Drees were both very willing to work with the faculty on the model. 


Peterson stated that the FCAC will be discussing the possible restructuring of the Committee.  He pointed out that it does not make sense to have the President Elect of the Senate serve as the Chair because the person is new to the committee.  He stated that he would recommend that the Chair be one of the appointed faculty members who serve a three year term.  He noted that there are five voting faculty members and five voting administrators on the Committee which can cause problems.  In addition there are a number of non-voting administrators on the Committee making it very difficult to schedule meetings. 


3.0       Approval of 3/30/05 Minutes

The Committee could not approve the minutes due to the lack of a quorum.  The minutes will be approved at the 4/13/05 meeting.


4.0       Review of Senate Meeting

Peterson stated that he received an email message from Senator Alloway, Broadcasting, expressing concerns he has with the new 15th week policy.  Alloway stated that one of his class projects is to give a play-by-play description of a University baseball game but this frequently does not take place until finals week.  Peterson pointed out that there will probably be many special cases that will need to be dealt with. 


The Committee was glad that the 15th week policy was passed.  Members felt that it might help relieve some problems for the students.  Peterson stated that he will contact SVCAA Couture and VC Owens to let them know that the Senate approved recommending changes to the finals schedule.  Griffin stated that the 15th week policy will not be posted on the Senate website until this semester is completed so as not to cause confusion with the current policy.


Peterson stated that there was confusion on whether the Executive Committee endorsed the motions presented by Beck at the Senate meeting.  Flowers pointed out in an email message that no formal vote was taken at the Executive Committee meeting on the motions and it was unclear that the Committee endorsed the motions. 


Peterson stated that the question is what to do next.  He stated that Beck could withdraw the motions entirely and reintroduce them as a motion from herself.  Bradford stated that a second is not necessarily needed to carry a motion over to the next meeting.  He noted that Peterson could clarify the mistake and then ask for a second from the Senate on the motions at the April 26th meeting.


The Committee discussed the issues raised during the open forum segment.  Flowers pointed out that compliance issues are a serious matter for a significant percent of faculty members, particularly those in IANR.  He stated that the additional impediments that would be placed on faculty in order to have the University accredited with Association for Assessment Accreditation of Laboratory Animals Committee (AAALAC) could be sufficient to cause a number of faculty members (several who currently have substantial funding from NIH and other agencies) to consider leaving the University.  He noted that ideally compliances try to keep up with federal regulations but AALAC is a private company.


Peterson wondered whether the Committee should meet with Vice Chancellor Paul to discuss this issue.  Flowers stated that Senator Hope’s suggestion of contacting the Research Council should be considered.  He noted that the Research Council might be helpful in resolving some of the problems with the AAALAC accreditation process as it did with the problems with the IRB.


Peterson noted that compliance is a problem in many areas.  He pointed out that another example is the search committee training.  He stated that going through the search committee training does not insure that the process will work correctly or fairly.  Flowers pointed out that faculty members are not allowed to vote on a new hire if they have not gone through the search training.  Peterson questioned where a faculty member would report suspected violations of a search.  Bradford suggested that Linda Crump, Assistant to the Chancellor, Equity, Access & Diversity Programs, would be the person to report concerns to. 


Alexander wondered just how up-to-date our EEO officers are.  He noted that it varies across campus as to who can see information on candidates and when they can see this information.  Peterson noted that how search procedures are defined across the campus creates problems.  Alexander stated that there needs to be uniform procedures across the campus.  Shea noted that faculty involvement in searching and hiring new faculty members varies greatly across the campus.  He pointed out that in some departments the faculty members can only provide evaluations on the candidates and they do not get to vote on candidates.  He stated that the administrators make the decision to hire.  Peterson stated that faculty members have asked to see the ranking of candidates but have been denied access to this information.  He asked if the faculty is to decide who to hire in a department. 


A discussion about the importance of bylaws followed.  Shea questioned why there are department, college, and campus Bylaws if they are not binding and some administrators are ignoring them.


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       NCA Accreditation – Special Emphasis Self-Study Questions

Peterson pointed out that the Committee has been asked to provide feedback on the self-study questions for the special emphasis accreditation process.  He noted that the special emphasis is to be on strategic planning.  Alexander asked if the core values have been refined and published since the open forums.  Shea pointed out that there should have been some faculty involvement at the department level on what the special emphasis should be.  He stated that it was disturbing to hear the senior administrators just accepting from the Deans the college plans knowing that some departments and faculty members were not allowed to provide input. 


Shea stated that although he agrees that the strategic plan is probably the best focus for the special emphasis, he felt that the administrators should have at least discussed with the faculty what the special emphasis should be rather than the administration saying this is what the emphasis will be. 


Alexander pointed out that using the strategic plan as the special emphasis could back fire on the campus.  He stated that if the plan is used the campus will have to show how it has been used when the campus once again goes through the accreditation process.  He noted that departments may be asked if they feel that plan was actually followed and used and whether it is being utilized.  He pointed out that if the campus does not utilize the plan then it will not be taken seriously in future accreditation processes. 


Bradford questioned what would happen if the special emphasis portion of the accreditation process fails but the rest of the accreditation criteria passed.  Peterson stated that the administration needs to provide examples of where there has been successful strategic planning. 


Stock noted that there is a lot of cynicism with faculty members about the strategic planning because it just appears to be used as a boilerplate.  He stated that faculty members are more apt to be involved in the nuts and bolts kind of planning such as the curriculum because they see results from that kind of planning. 


Alexander stated that the administration needs to buy into the strategic plans of departments and colleges if the plan is to be successful.  He questioned whether the administration is going to provide the resources for units and colleges to meet their strategic plans. 


Alexander stated that before the Committee can provide feedback on the self-study questions it needs to see the final strategic plan.  He asked how anyone can endorse something like the strategic plan when they have not even seen it.  Peterson stated that he will compile the comments made at the meeting and forward them to Professor O’Hanlon.  Peterson stated that the Executive Committee members can also submit individual comments to O’Hanlon. 


            5.2       Reapportionment/Senate Rules (Bradford)

Bradford reported that the ad hoc committee on the reapportionment and rules of the Senate has agreed on the issue of electronic communications by the Senate.  He noted that this would allow the Senate to vote by email and would allow the assembly to be polled as well. 


Bradford stated that the committee is still grappling with the apportionment issue.  He noted that four alternate proposals for revising the apportionment of the Senate were discussed.  He stated that the committee will probably forward all four proposals to the Senate but will probably focus in on one of them.  He noted that the committee’s report will probably come to the Senate in the fall semester. 


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Deans Changing Requirements for Promotion & Tenure

Peterson stated that he received an email message from a former Senator who was concerned with a Dean reversing the promotion decision on a faculty member after the department and college promotion and tenure committees approved the promotion.  The email questioned what has happened that faculty members no longer have the ability to determine who in their departments should receive tenure and promotion. 


Shea noted that this is another example of administrators following along with the decisions of Deans without questioning them.  Peterson noted that recently there have been several examples of Deans going against the wishes of the faculty.  Shea pointed out that the Deans appear to be making the decisions rather than the Vice Chancellors. 


Shea pointed out that these issues have a combined detrimental effect on the climate of the campus.  The Committee agreed that this issue needs to be discussed further with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, April 13th 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.