Executive Committee Minutes - February 15, 2005




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


Absent:           Alexander, Fech, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Location:        201 Canfield Administration Building


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       SVCAA couture and VC Owens

            2.1       15th Week Policy

Peterson stated that Associate VC Jacobson sent an email message expressing concern with parts of the proposed policy.  He noted that her concerns were mostly with the paragraph dealing with enforcement. 


Peterson stated that the motion will eventually be taken to the Senate for approval.  He pointed out that the language in the policy was drafted by the ad hoc committee that was formed to look at the issue. 


Peterson stated that the normal procedures for problems in the classroom are usually handled at the department level with the student first speaking to the instructor, then the Chair, then the Dean.  He noted that consideration should be made regarding the student’s position in making a complaint about violations of the 15th week policy because it can put the student in a precarious position.  He stated that having a student ombudsman would help in these situations.


SVCAA Couture stated that she has concerns with the enforcement paragraph as well because she thinks that some faculty members may not be aware of the policy.  She pointed out that it could be disturbing for a faculty member to suddenly receive a phone call from Academic Affairs about a violation of the policy when they are not aware of the policy.  She suggested that the student should first inform the faculty member and if the faculty member does not respond within two days the student should then contact the department Chair.  If no response is made within two days from the department Chair then the matter should go to the Dean.  She pointed out that the issue would need to be resolved within a week.  VC Owens agreed and stated that this is how it is handled in IANR.  SVCAA Couture stated that she is reluctant to subscribe to a policy that does not follow normal procedures.  Peterson stated that language could be put into the proposal that would specify the procedures that should be taken.  SVCAA Couture pointed out that a student could mistakenly think a violation was made when in fact it hasn’t. 


Peterson noted that the draft policy can be modified.  He stated that violations of the policy would probably be greatly reduced if it is well publicized.  SVCAA Couture stated that the senior administrative team has been working with Chairs to discuss the dissemination of information on policies such as this.  She stated that the policy could be made available in the workshops being held for the Chairs and it can also be distributed to the Deans.  She suggested that it could be included in the new faculty orientation as well.  She stated that Academic Affairs is considering sending regular communications to the faculty before the end of the semester reminding them of particular policies regarding things like dead week and final exams.  She pointed out that she did not want the faculty to be inundated with messages but just wanted to remind them of some of the existing policies.  Flowers suggested that the reminder should be sent out at the beginning of the semester when faculty members are planning their calendars and working on the course syllabus. 


SVCAA Couture stated that if the policy is adopted by the Senate, she would be happy to have Academic Affairs distribute the notice on the new policy.  Peterson suggested that other things could be included as well.  SVCAA Couture suggested that the Committee should provide Academic Affairs with a short list of policies the faculty should be aware of. 


SVCAA Couture stated that she is checking with Dr. Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records, to see if the recommendation made in regards to the final exam week schedule will cause any problems.  Peterson stated that extending exam hours for two nights during the week will provide the same amount of time for final exams.  SVCAA stated that she wants to hear from Dr. Hawkey before she agrees with the recommendation. 


Peterson pointed out that two separate motions will be made to the Senate.  One motion will be on the 15th week policy and the other will be the recommendation on the final exam week schedule. 


2.2       Update on Teaching Initiative

SVCAA Couture stated that the committee has reviewed the proposals.  She noted that not all proposals will be funded; announcements will be made shortly to the faculty and staff whose proposals will receive funding.  She stated that on March 22nd there will be a ceremony for the winners.  SVCAA Couture stated that the committee was very pleased with the proposals, and were especially pleased with those that incorporated an interdisciplinary focus or brought more than one unit/program together.


SVCAA Couture stated that it was very satisfying to see how many faculty and staff members were interested in wanting to improve the curriculum and teaching on campus.  She noted that 100 proposals were submitted and a little under a quarter of them will be funded.  She pointed out that the Chancellor wants to see how this program enhances teaching and student learning and may consider targeting funds again if the projects are successful. 


Hoffman asked what the committee felt was a good proposal.  SVCAA Couture stated that the best proposals addressed assessment and showed how the proposed project could be evaluated in some way.  She noted that the Chancellor stated that the focus was on student learning and the successful proposals indicated how student learning would be enhanced.  Peterson pointed out that some of the proposals suggested revising a course which could often be done without requiring funds.  SVCAA Couture stated that this was the conclusion of some faculty members on the committee upon reviewing some proposals. 


Stock asked if a mechanism has been established for the winners of the proposals to report back.  SVCAA Couture stated that the proposals are for two year projects and a report will be required at the end.  She noted that there is some concern with proposals that include research on student projects or participation.  She stated that some of these proposals may need to have approval from the IRB in order for the research on student work to be conducted.    


SVCAA Couture stated that next year the administration hopes to form a group that will look at ways to strengthen advising on campus.  She noted that a committee of administrators and faculty members will be formed to look at the issue.  She pointed out that improving advising across the campus is a very complex problem.  She stated that advising as a whole needs to be looked at including how to use resource tools effectively and ways to foster mentoring. 


2.3       Academic Dishonesty and the General Education Program

Peterson stated that the Committee met with Dr. Hecker and discussed academic dishonesty.  He stated that a suggestion was made to have the general education program include course work on academic dishonesty, particularly plagiarism.  He noted that a senior student was caught plagiarizing and did not know that it was wrong because she had been doing all of her papers that way.  He stated that students need to have an understanding about academic dishonesty at the early stages of their college experience.  He suggested that academic dishonesty could be part of the general education goals. 


Peterson noted that last semester the Committee had discussed with the SVCAA the ES/IS program to see if some common ground could be found between the colleges on the program.  He stated that the SVCAA had suggested putting these common grounds into place for a couple of years before the general education program is reviewed. 


Peterson stated that the University Curriculum Committee has made a request from the Senate to revise its charges because they do not reflect what the committee is doing.  He noted that in order for the changes to be made the Senate needs to have a better idea of what is going on with the ES/IS program. 


SVCAA Couture agreed that she has expressed interest in reviewing the General Education program with the possibility of revising it.  She stated that she has spoken with the Chancellor and Deans about what steps will be needed to look at the program.  She stated that a committee of administrators and faculty members will be formed to look at the program and that she would like to see the committee formed by the end of the year.  She noted that she would like some recommendations from the Senate as to who might serve on this committee. 


SVCAA Couture stated that there is an upcoming AACU workshop that will discuss general education.  She noted that Academic Affairs will provide funding for a core group of faculty members to attend the workshop. 


SVCAA Couture stated that the issue of plagiarism is an appropriate issue to address in Academic Affairs and in the Academic Senate.  Peterson pointed out that plagiarism is not the only type of academic dishonesty.  SVCAA Couture noted that the expectations of students today are different than in the past with regard to the integrity of individual work.  She stated that more team work is being done in classes than before.  Peterson noted that faculty members are not always a good role model when it comes to plagiarism.  He pointed out that a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education cited four high profile faculty members at other institutions as being guilty of plagiarism.  SVCAA Couture stated that this raises another issue and suggested that VC Paul be brought in for discussions on it.  She stated that it is important for the University to make clear our policies for addressing academic dishonesty at the faculty level.


Peterson asked if anything has happened with the Senate’s ES/IS proposal.  SVCAA Couture noted that a subcommittee was formed involving Dean Kean, Associate VC Jacobson and others to review the Senate proposal.  SVCAA Couture stated that the subcommittee suggested a list of changes that could be implemented immediately and that has been improved by the Deans; she distributed this list of proposed changes.  She distributed a list of proposed changes that will be presented to the Deans. 


Hoffman asked how long does it take for a course not to be taught before it is deleted off of the ES/IS list.  SVCAA Couture stated that there is no sunset rule on courses.  Beck pointed out that there is no systematic process of removing courses.  SVCAA Couture noted that the master list of courses in the bulletin needs to include courses not being currently taught if these courses had previously met a requirement for a major.  She stated that this master list is used as a check list to see if students have met their requirements regardless of when they first started taking courses at the university. She noted that the list will be moved to the back of the undergraduate bulletin. 


Hoffman asked who checks student’s records to see that they have met all of the requirements.  SVCAA Couture stated that she believes this varies for student adminssion requirements and graduation requirements.  Some departments do it but in other places the colleges do it.  Peterson stated that the degree audit system will allow an advisor to check a student’s record.  He pointed out that the system should be programmed to notify students if they are lacking requirements when they file for graduation.  SVCAA Couture wondered whether all students know that they can access the system themselves.  Peterson pointed out that the system will not allow students to see what courses they would need if they switch majors.  SVCAA Couture questioned whether it would be worthwhile to put more resources into developing programs or systems that would help students determine whether they have met all of their requirements.  Peterson stated that it depends on one’s philosophy.  He noted that students could bypass seeing advisors if they had more resources but some people would not necessarily think this is a good idea. 


SVCAA Couture stated that at least three advising issues need to be looked at.  The first is how effective is the degree audit system for students and how widely it is being used.  The second issue is whether changes to degree requirements are communicated well so students do not get caught in the middle.  She wondered whether policies for changing requirements and communicating changes are consistently followed.  The third issue is to define the role of faculty in advising students.  She noted that professors are effective at some aspects of advising but not all.  Peterson noted that these are important issues because advising is done very differently around campus. 


SVCAA Couture stated that the big picture on advising needs to be addressed.  She stated that we need to examine our philosophy toward faculty involvement in student advising.   Peterson suggested that it would be good to discuss the issue with the staff of Registration and Records because they have the most contact with the students regarding these issues. 


Stock stated that the English department has gone through different phases of advising.  He stated that at one time they felt that all faculty members should do student advising but they came to the conclusion that it would be handled more effectively if designated faculty members did the advising. 


Peterson stated that he would forward a copy of the proposed changes to the ES/IS courses to the former members of the ES/IS Review Committee. 


2.4       Proposed Vet Program with Iowa State University

Peterson asked for an update on the proposed contract with Iowa State.  VC Owens noted that for 20 years state funding has gone towards the vet program with Kansas State.  He noted that this program allowed approximately 25 students from Nebraska to enroll in the Kansas State vet program with in-state tuition.   He stated that during the recent severe budget cuts it was suggested that the program be terminated.  He pointed out that the only way a new contract could be negotiated was if the contract with Kansas State was cancelled.  He noted that Kansas State was given a year’s notice that the contract would be cancelled. 


VC Owens stated that the University then looked into other vet school programs across the country and even in Canada to see if a new contract could be developed.  He reported that 11 proposals from other universities were received.  He stated that a committee, which included student members, reviewed the proposals and narrowed the proposals down to four.  He noted that out of the remaining four Kansas State and Iowa State presented the best proposals. 


VC Owens reported that the Iowa State contract was the most intriguing because it would award a joint degree with UNL.  He stated that students would attend the first two years of the program at UNL and the remaining two years at Iowa State.  He noted that Iowa State agreed to share the tuition with UNL from the program. 


VC Owens stated that the negotiations have been in good faith and Chancellor Perlman has signed a letter of intent. 


VC Owens reported that Iowa State has offered to accept 25 UNL students for the first two years while UNL gets the program up and running.  He noted that they are now negotiating and working on the finer details of the contract.  He pointed out that the Board of Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee have met to hear the presentations on the program and to ask questions.  He stated that all comments made about the contract have been favorable. 


VC Owens stated that faculty members will need to be added and working out the tuition will take some time but the cost recovery to UNL will be approximately $1.4 million.  He noted that there has been discussion with Iowa State in conducting some of the courses through distance education because there are some experts here that Iowa State does not have and vice versa.  He stated that the departments involved in the program have given conceptual agreement and are working with the faculty at Iowa State.  He stated that it is very likely that they will be able to put together a program by September 2006. 


VC Owens noted that Iowa State was given limited accreditation only because some of their facilities are old and are considered to be inadequate.  He stated that the academic component has not been in question and is accredited. 


Peterson asked if the Animal Science and Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences departments will be involved in the program.  VC Owens stated that this is correct.  Beck pointed out that there needs to be broad discussion on who will be teaching what courses but most of the faculty members in Animal Science are in favor of the program. 


Scholz asked if Iowa State will not be offering the first two years of courses.  VC Owens stated that only Nebraska students would take the first two years of courses here and Iowa State would still be offering those courses to other students.  He pointed out that Iowa State wants to make their vet program the premier program in large animals.  He noted that this fits Nebraska’s needs well. 


VC Owens stated that the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center is located about two hours away from UNL.  He noted that the facilities include residence halls and that it could possibly be used for the program.  He stated that a possible goal might be to use the center to help make the program more attractive to students and practitioners. 


Scholz asked if students would be required to have a bachelor’s degree to enter the program.  VC Owens stated that it would be preferred but it is not an absolute.  He noted that sometimes students will be in their third year of college and transfer into the vet program.  He noted that the first two years of the program is heavy on the basic sciences and the last two years are more clinical. 


Hoffman stated that he has heard that one of the complaints against the Kansas State program is that it is oriented more towards small animal practice.  VC Owens stated that he too has heard these concerns.  He noted that the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association is looking at trying to raise scholarship money for students with the understanding that they will go into large animal practice here in Nebraska after graduating. 


Peterson noted that there is a Federal budget proposal to eliminate the Hatch program.  He pointed out that the Hatch program is 15% of the Agricultural Research Division (ARD) budget.  He asked if IANR administration is working on getting this defeated.  VC Owens stated that he and President Milliken have been addressing the legislature about this bill.  He noted that he will be taking three private citizens with him to Washington DC to talk to Congressmen about the bill.  He noted that it is vexing to see how quickly the federal government is moving towards making major changes in subsidies to farmers. 


2.5       UNOPA Concerns

Peterson reported that he and Shea met with the officers of UNOPA and ASUN to discuss common concerns.  He stated that during the meeting the UNOPA President expressed concern that staff members are receiving less support for attending their meetings which are typically held over the lunch hour.  He stated that in the past most supervisors have been supportive of these meetings.  He asked if this could be addressed with the Deans.


Shea pointed out that UNOPA is a constructive group that often holds workshops for its members.  He stated that the perspective of the climate on campus is to foster an environment of learning and supporting the members of this group would help foster this climate.  Peterson noted that the meetings are held only once a month.


SVCAA Couture stated that she would talk with the senior administrative team about it.  She noted that the team is interested in addressing the campus climate and this is an issue that relates to it. 


Shea noted that during the meeting with ASUN and UNOPA the issue of child care received a lot of interest.  He noted that UNOPA felt that having a child care facility on campus would be a positive development.  SVCAA Couture stated that faculty members are also very interested in having child care on campus. 





3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Thank you Letter from Jim McShane

Peterson reported that he received a letter from Jim McShane thanking the Senate for the reception honoring him in December and for the gift given to him. 


3.2       Frontier University Dreams

Peterson reported that NETV will be broadcasting a program called “Frontier University Dreams” which will show the history of the University.  It will be narrated by Dick Cavett and over 300 historical pictures will be included in the program. 


3.3       Meeting with Deb Thomas, Director of Special Projects and VP for External Affairs

Peterson announced that the Executive Committee will be meeting with Deb Thomas from Varner Hall on February 23rd.


4.0       Approval of 2/9/05 Minutes

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


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       15th Week Policy

The Committee agreed to finish revising the proposed 15th Week Policy at the next Committee meeting so it can be presented to the Senate at the March 1st meeting.


Flowers noted that the College of Arts & Sciences does not have a policy that no new material can be presented in the last week of classes.  He stated that the College follows the current Dead Week Policy.


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Attendance at Deans’ Presentation on College Strategic Plans

Peterson reported that the Deans will be presenting their college strategic plans on April 25th and April 26th.  He noted that SVCAA Couture has asked for representatives from the Executive Committee to attend the presentations.  Peterson, Shea, and Beck volunteered to attend. 


6.2       March Senate Meeting

Peterson stated that he sent several email messages to Rutgers University faculty members about participating in a teleconference meeting on collective bargaining but has not heard back from any of them.   He noted that at this point it will be logistically difficult to make arrangements for the teleconference because the March 1st Senate meeting is fast approaching.  Shea noted that if people were really interested they would be inquiring about it but he has not heard anything.  He stated that if people become concerned again the Committee could try arranging a teleconference at a later date.


The Committee agreed to have an open forum on the issue of academic dishonesty.


6.3       Advertisement to Support Expansion of N Card

Beck reported that her daughter, who is a student at the University, received a pamphlet in the mail urging support of the expansion of the N Card.  Beck noted that her State Senators’ name is listed on the pamphlet endorsing the legislative bill.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 26th 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.