Executive Committee Minutes - February 9, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Beck, Bolin, Bradford, Hoffman, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Signal, Stock


Absent:           Fech, Flowers


Date:               Wednesday, February 9, 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 3:04 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            No announcements were made.


3.0       Chancellor Perlman

            3.1       15th Week Policy

Peterson reported that the proposed 15th week policy which would replace the dead week policy came from the ad hoc Dead Week Committee.  He stated that the proposal would go to the Senate as two separate motions.  The first motion will deal with the changes to the existing dead week policy and the second motion will recommend changes to the final exam week schedule.  He noted that the main change in the 15th week policy is the requirement that all projects, papers, and speeches scheduled for completion during this week must be completed no later then the Wednesday of the 15th week. 


Peterson noted that SVCAA Couture and Associate VC Jacobsen have concerns with the Office of Academic Affairs being involved in complaints of violation of the policy.  He stated that the Committee will be meeting with SVCAA Couture on February 16th to discuss the issue further. 


Peterson pointed out that the scheduling change for final exam week calls for exams to run until 10:30 on two nights of the week and all final exams would need to be completed by noon on Friday of final exam week.  He stated that ending exams by noon would give professors enough time to complete grading of exams, particularly for those students graduating the next day. 


Chancellor Perlman wondered how many graduating seniors take exams on the Friday of final exam week.  Beck pointed out that having exams on Friday afternoon can also conflict with faculty members who want to attend the hooding ceremony but have an exam to give. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he does not see anything in the proposed policy that would raise problems.  He noted that he does understand the concerns of the SVCAA and the office of Academic Affairs regarding appeal procedures for violations of the policy.  Peterson reported that Associate VC Jacobsen suggested that the policy should include a set of procedures that students must follow.  The student should be required to contact the professor first, then the chair of the department, and then the dean if the issue is not resolved.  Alexander stated that the committee members felt that the current procedures did not provide enough weight behind them when violations were reported.


Peterson stated that he is concerned that most violations would be reported too late in the semester for anything to be done.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he would expect the course syllabus to include any major assignments and the due date for each assignment.  He pointed out that the syllabus is given early enough in the semester that students should be aware if the 15th week policy will be violated.  He suggested that the Committee should think about recommending that the syllabus should clearly reflect what work needs to be done by the end of the semester.  He pointed out that papers could be given the deadline date of the Wednesday of the 15th week although the topic of the assignment would not need to be given. 


Alexander stated that the ad hoc committee discussed whether language should be included in the “mutually agreeable” section that states that the anonymous method of gathering information should be done in the 12th week of classes.  Bradford suggested that the language could read “by the 12th week”.


Peterson stated that revisions to the proposal will probably be made at next week’s meeting when the Committee meets with SVCAA Couture.  Alexander noted that Earl Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records, has been consulted with regards to the policy and the scheduling of final exams. 


3.2       Update on Child Care

Peterson noted that at the Board of Regents meeting the Gender Equity Report was accepted by the Board and in the report there are a number of recommendations on family friendly policies.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the Board issued a series of recommendations in association with the report.  He noted that the Chief Academic Officers are reviewing the recommendations to see what the campuses need to do.  He stated that UNL is in compliance with many of the recommendations but the campus could do more.  He noted that the Senior Administrative Team is working with chairs to educate them further on UNL policies including family friendly policies.  He stated that President Milliken is directed by the Board to establish a means of holding departments accountable for not reaching diversity goals.. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that a facility is seriously being considered for child care.  He stated that it is the building north of Whittier School.  He stated that Business & Finance has looked at four facilities but the north building has more advantages.  He noted that the building is best located between city and east campus, it can be designed for easy drop off, it is not located on a busy street, and there is space for further development if needed.  He stated that he is more encouraged than ever before that the child care issue may be resolved.  He pointed out that the renovation of the building would cost approximately $1.7 million and would provide 13,000 square feet of space. 


Scholz asked if the child care facility would be self-sustaining.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the operation of the facility would be outsourced.  He noted that the University’s contribution would be to provide the facility.  He stated that bids will need to be made to determine who will provide the services.  He pointed out that decisions will also need to be made regarding the level of service that will be provided.  He noted that it has not been easy to resolve the issue and there is still further work that must be done but he believes that it will be accomplished. 


3.3       Academic Dishonesty on Campus

Peterson reported that the Committee met with Dr. Hecker, Director of Student Judicial Affairs, to discuss academic dishonesty on campus.  From that conversation three ideas were generated.  The first is that students do not seem to know or understand plagiarism.  The suggestion was made that when the general studies program is revised that students should receive training in some of these early courses about plagiarism.  The second idea is to make sure that faculty members understand their responsibility when cases of academic dishonesty are encountered.  Peterson suggested that the Senate could have a discussion on this topic.  The third idea is to create a task force composed of faculty members, administrators, and students to figure out how academic dishonesty should be dealt with. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he agrees that this is an issue that the campus needs to address.  He noted that he has received several suggestions that a statement should be included in the core values on academic dishonesty.  He stated that he has also received suggestions of moving the campus to an honor code system that students agree to.  He noted that this would require some obligations from the students.  He stated that a group should be formalized to discuss how the issue can be brought into the core values and how the problem can be dealt with. 


Shea questioned whether a task force is needed.  He pointed out that the campus is aware of the existence of academic dishonesty and creating a task force could delay actions to deal with it.  Bradford stated that it would be a good idea though to get student input on the issue. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that it is an issue that the institution needs to be concerned with.  He noted that he did not know if the problem is more prevalent here than at any other institutions but it needs to be addressed.  He stated that he does not necessarily want to add more for the faculty to do right now since so many projects are currently going on.


3.4       Issues on the Horizon

Hoffman asked what the status is of the Tommy Lee reality TV show.  Chancellor Perlman reported that David Fitzgibbon, Manager of the Office of University Communications, was in L.A. to see some of the episodes of the show.  Chancellor Perlman stated that Fitzgibbon viewed five episodes and was pleased and relieved with what he saw.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is now being told that the program will probably air sometime during the summer. 


Hoffman noted that the Chancellor has been visiting various departments.  Hoffman asked if the Chancellor wants to discuss any particular item(s) with the departments.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he just wants to hear comments from the faculty members.  He stated that the meetings have been interesting and he has learned some things that he was not aware of before.  He noted that in particular he has heard of the problems that are associated with managing joint appointments.  As a result, the administration is going to look at joint appointments and the difficulties that can arise with them. 


Peterson reported that the Committee is reviewing an academic integrity document created by the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA).  He noted that the COIA want the Senates of member institutions to vote on the document.  Peterson stated that Professor Potuto of the Law College has reviewed and commented on the document and the Committee is reviewing her comments.  Peterson noted that the Senate could decide to abstain from the vote since some things in the document are problematical. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he and Professor Potuto will be having a joint article on issues similar to those raised in the document.  He noted that many of the reforms suggested by the COIA assume that there is an integration of athletics into academics.  He stated that he disagrees with the suggestion of moving the athletics academic advising program out of athletics.  He stated that he wants the Athletic Director to be responsible for the academic success of student athletes.  He stated that otherwise the only responsibility the Athletic Director and Coaches would have is to win.  He noted that the academic performance this year of the student athletes is very striking and he hopes we get good publicity for this progress. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the NCAA is implementing reforms to put pressure on Athletic Directors and Coaches to be responsible for the academic success of athletes.  He stated that all student athletes have to make progress towards getting their degree and only degree counting courses are counted.  He pointed out that athletic teams at UNL must exceed the academic baseline or otherwise scholarships will be lost. 


Peterson noted that the athletic academic advising program is successful here.  Chancellor Perlman noted that it works well here but there are problems at some other institutions.  He noted that having an oversight committee such as UNL’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee helps to keep an eye on athletics. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he appreciates the Committee taking a hard look at the COIA document and working with Professor Potuto. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that there has been discussion with the Deans about improving academic advising for all students. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the strategic planning process is moving along.  He noted that the plans will eventually be on Blackboard which will enable the administration to generate some data.  He noted that the Deans’ presentations have been scheduled.


Peterson asked if all of the department plans will go to the Deans.  Chancellor Perlman stated that they will go to the Deans.  He stated that there has been some discussion with what to do with the departments’ plans.  He noted that he would like to see the departments’ plans but he does not want to micromanage the Deans. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the faculty members reviewing the proposals for the Teaching Initiative have reviewed the proposals and made recommendations.  He stated that an announcement will be made shortly regarding who will be funded.  He noted that overall he was pleased with the proposals submitted and stated that many people were engaged.  Peterson stated that he was on the committee to review the proposals and he found many of them very interesting.


Alexander asked if there has been any discussion about the aging of the faculty and why faculty members are not retiring.  He pointed out that the cost of health care for retired faculty members is keeping many faculty members from retiring.  He noted that this is causing difficulties for departments that need to hire new people.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the issue has not been raised when he has met with departments but the issue has been discussed at other levels.  He noted that President Milliken is insistent that the medical plan for the University will be given a hard review.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that a blue ribbon committee was appointed by President Smith to look at health care but it met only several times.  Chancellor Perlman stated that President Milliken is going to re-energize and maybe appoint new people to a committee that will look at the health care issue. 


Beck asked about the possible vet school contract with Iowa State.  She asked if lecturers will be hired to teach students in the two year program here.  Chancellor Perlman stated that some people may be hired on a short term basis to teach during the transition period of the program but lecturers would not be hired on a long-term basis. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the University currently sends $1.9 million to Kansas State for the vet program.  He stated that a committee was formed to look at other options for the vet program and Iowa State presented two proposals.  He stated that the Iowa State program would be a dual degree program with students taking their first two years of courses at UNL and the last two years at Iowa State.  The student would then get a degree from both institutions and the tuition generated from this program would be split between Iowa State and UNL.  He noted that this contract will give approximately $1 million to $1.4 million back to UNL.  He pointed out that the program will be similar to the one with Kansas State but the Iowa State program has many advantages.  He stated that UNL will have to build the first two years of the program but he believes that UNL can do this and establish a top food animal program.  He pointed out that the proposal will have to go to the Academic Planning Committee, Board of Regents, and the Coordinating Commission on Post-Secondary Education before it could be implemented.  He stated that the contract could set a pattern for some other contracts.  He noted that there has been good cooperation between Iowa State and UNL and UNL faculty members will participate in establishing the curriculum of the program. 


4.0       Approval of 2/2/05 Minutes

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


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       Poser Report

Peterson stated that Professor Poser’s report on the University of California-Berkeley’s efforts to recruit and retain women faculty members highlights the importance of work and family policies.  Peterson noted that UNL does have some family friendly policies in place but Professor Poser strongly suggests that these policies need to be better publicized. 


Peterson noted that some of the recommendations made in the report will not cost much.  He stated that one of the recommendations calls for department chairs to be trained and made aware of the family friendly policies. 


Peterson stated that another recommendation in the report is for the University to coordinate schedules with the Lincoln Public Schools.  Bradford suggested that the University and LPS could better coordinate spring breaks and snow days. 


Peterson noted that the family friendly policies need to be implemented consistently across the campus.  He stated that some of the practices used by UC at Berkeley include granting temporary relief or modified duties after the birth or adoption of a child, tenure-clock stoppage, paid leave granted upon request before, during, and after childbirth, and unpaid leave.  Peterson noted that some of the suggestions have already been implemented here at UNL but other recommendations should be implemented. 


Bradford stated that he thought Poser’s recommendations could have been stronger in some cases.  He recommended that the Committee look at the family-friendly policies Berkeley has in place.


Beck noted that the tenure-clock stoppage is implemented at UNL.  She stated that Associate VC Jacobson oversees this and suggested that Jacobson could be invited to speak to the Senate on this issue.  The Committee discussed whether this was possible to do this semester since there are only three Senate meetings left.  Beck suggested that Jacobson could speak to the Senate in the fall and it would give the Senate an opportunity to see what progress has been made on the recommendations issued by the Board of Regents on family friendly policies. 



5.2       Gender Equity Figures

Beck stated that the Nebraska Legislature passed a law in 1997 requiring the University to reach the mid-point of its peers in terms of the number of female and minority faculty members by the year 2001.  She pointed out that at the time the number of female and minority faculty members was based on AAUP figures which put UNL fourth from the bottom of its peers.  She stated that the following year the figures were fixed because the University decided to use a different data set.  She noted that the AAUP figures were based on instructional faculty members only but the new data set included non-instructional faculty members as well.  She stated that a new list of peer institutions was created when the University decided to combine the figures of the four campuses.  She stated that this changed the relationship of the numbers of the faculty. 


Beck reported that in 2001 it was clear that UNL was not going to meet the goal required in the state statute so the deadline was extended to 2005.  She pointed out that if AAUP data are used, UNL is now at the bottom of the list of its peers.  She stated that UNL is down 14 female faculty members.  She noted that the Faculty Women’s Caucus is asking that the same data set be used as that used in 1996-97 when the statute was first passed.  She pointed out that relative to our peers UNL has lost ground, not gained. 


Peterson agreed that the same data sets should be used but he felt that it would be wiser to focus on getting the recommendations made in the Gender Equity Report implemented rather then to emphasize the figures.  He noted that AAUP figures indicate that proportion of female faculty members at UNL has increased on average by 5 percentage points each year although the last three years the percentage has decreased.  He pointed out that some years numbers went up while other years the numbers have gone down.  He stated that the number of male faculty members has shown a downward trend. 


Bradford stated that the figures for the number of assistant professors hired shows an improvement in the number of female faculty members hired.   Peterson noted that last year 97 new faculty members were hired, 39% were women and 61% were men.  Beck questioned how many of the positions were tenure track.  Peterson stated that he did not know the answer to that question but the AAUP figures show that 44% of Assistant Professors at UNL are women.


Beck noted that UNL has received $11 million over a period of time to help in the hiring of female faculty members.  She suggested that the Committee needs to ask the administration how this money was used. 


Shea stated that there appears to be a problem with the way the data are being used.  He pointed out that questions need to be asked to those people who put together the data.  Beck stated that the Faculty Women’s Caucus tried to discuss the matter with President Smith but to no avail.  She suggested that the issue should be raised with President Milliken. 


Bolin stated that she agrees that the same data sets should be used for comparisons of figures although she wished librarians were included in the AAUP data set.  She noted that academic librarianship at other institutions is not as heavily dominated by females as it is here at UNL. 


Hoffman stated that he has headed two search committees in Engineering.  He noted that only 17% of Ph.D. candidates coming from the Engineering discipline are female and these are all heavily recruited by other institutions.  He pointed out that his college has lost female faculty members to other universities where the benefits are better.  He stated that the issue of hiring more female and minority faculty members needs to be kept up front.


Beck suggested that the Committee should ask President Milliken to use the same data set for comparisons.  Peterson suggested that the Faculty Women’s Caucus should do a parallel report.  Beck stated that they have done this in the past and the Legislature has actually requested the report.


5.3       Revisions to 15th Week Policy

Peterson suggested that some minor revisions should be made to the policy before the Committee meets with SVCAA Couture next week.  Alexander suggested including language that specifies procedural steps students must take when a violation of the policy has been made.  He stated that the student should try to get the problem resolved at the local level.  Peterson wondered whether there was a student ombudsperson to help resolve violations. 


Shea stated that there should be a clear avenue of procedures for students outside of the department.  He stated that Academic Affairs should be more involved with campus-wide issues.  Scholz pointed out that having an administrative office involved in the process would provide information on how widespread a problem violations are.  Beck suggested that the student should notify the chair who must report it to Academic Affairs so a record is kept on the number of violations and whether a particular faculty member frequently violates the policy. 


Peterson stated that he is concerned that students can file a grievance with the Academic Rights & Responsibilities Committee for a violation of the policy.  Beck pointed out that the ARRC would not hold an investigation for a one time incident.  She noted that the ARRC would probably need to see a history of violations before a grievance would be accepted.  Alexander stated that there needs to be some consequences if a faculty member frequently violates the policy.  He pointed out faculty members need to follow guidelines.  Hoffman suggested that another option for handling complaints is for a college committee to deal with violations. 


5.4       Update on Senate Bylaws and Rules

Peterson reported that work is being done on the documents to incorporate the approved changes to the Senate Rules and Bylaws.  He stated that a request will go to the Chancellor’s office to have the changes placed on the Board of Regents agenda for their approval.


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Executive Committee Membership Terms

Griffin reported that elections will need to be held for the President-Elect, Secretary, and two, possibly three, Executive Committee Members.  Peterson stated that an email message needs to be sent to the Senate calling for nominations. 


The meeting was adjourned at 5:02 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, February 16th 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.