Executive Committee Minutes - January 19, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Beck, Bolin, Fech, Flowers, Hoffman, Peterson, Scholz, Shea, Stock


Absent:           Bradford, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, January 19, 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       Chancellor Perlman/SVCAA Couture

2.1       Budget

Peterson noted that a presentation was made on the budget at the Board of Regents meeting by Provost Noren.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Legislature will probably not give final approval on the University’s budget until late in the Legislative session.  He stated that there is hope that the revenue forecasting will be stronger in April and this will be a factor in determining the budget and the initiatives including the distinguished professors’ initiative. 


Peterson noted that the Governor’s budget proposal does not provide for any of the initiatives or the Programs of Excellence.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Legislature gives approval for the total budget but the University is not restricted in how it is used.  He pointed out that the proposed budget does not include tuition income.  He doubted that President Milliken would be in favor of any large increase in tuition. 


Peterson asked about salary increases.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the salary increases will ultimately be determined by Varner Hall.  He pointed out that UNL and UNMC salary increases are determined after negotiations have been made with UNO and UNK.  He stated that he will have to wait and see what Varner Hall presents to UNL and UNMC after negotiations have been completed.  He pointed out that state statute mandates that the Board of Regents must provide equal employment benefits between the campuses and anything that is negotiated with the unions related to fringe benefits will impact all four campuses. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that salary structures at UNL in the past have not necessarily been based on what has been negotiated with the unions although they do have some impact.  He noted that theoretically if the unions and the University cannot come to an agreement a mediator would be brought in.  If an agreement can still not be made it would go to the Court of Industrial Relations.  He pointed out that the Court will decide what the peer institutions will be to compare salary figures which could be either a good or bad thing. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that Varner Hall calculates where UNO stands according to its peers in terms of salary and tries to get to the average, if possible.  He pointed out that this usually works the same for UNL.  Peterson asked if UNO was at the average of its peers.  Chancellor Perlman stated that both UNO and UNL are below the average of their peers in terms of salaries. 


2.2       Pepsi Student Events Fund Selection Committee Procedures

Peterson reported that the Senate member on the Committee has not been informed of the procedures used for making decisions on funding student events.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is waiting to hear back from Vice Chancellor Griesen about the procedures.  He pointed out that there are several different Pepsi funds and this one is used only to fund student events.  Consequently, there are many students involved in the decision process. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that this Pepsi Committee might be similar to the Quasi-Endowment Fund in that the funds are used to support continuing programs.  He noted that the Quasi Endowment Fund money is used to support UCARE and Pepsi Scholarships and there is little, if any, money left over to use for new programs. 


2.3       Clarification on University Calendar

Peterson stated that the Dead Week Reform Committee has been meeting and is trying to determine if it must adhere to the calendar because of the University-Wide Calendar Committee’s guidelines.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he cannot issue a decree to the campus to change its calendar.  He pointed out that the University-wide calendar is adopted years in advance.  He stated that some tinkering at the margins of the calendar could possibly be advocated if the faculty were to agree. 


Peterson noted that ASUN is considering revising their proposal on dead week and finals week but it would shorten the semester.  He pointed out that this would create problems and might not pass.  He stated that many universities in the Big 12 have shorter semesters including the University of Texas at Austin which only has 68 days in their semester compared to UNL with 74 days.  He stated that there will probably still be a lot of opposition to any changes but the students want to get the problem with dead week resolved. 


Alexander stated that the Dead Week Reform Committee has discussed the possibility of extending the time finals end in the evening to 10:00 so more finals could be scheduled within a day.  He pointed out that he does not know if the University would allow this.  Another suggestion is to shorten the time allotted for finals.  The exam time would be 1 ½ hours rather than two hours which would again allow more exams to be scheduled in a day.  Peterson noted that this may be the best solution to the problem.  Flowers pointed out that having more exams in a day might lead to greater conflict for students having too many exams in one day.  He stated that he believed most of his colleagues did not give exams that were longer than an hour.  Stock stated that some students like having the additional time for final exams. 


Peterson stated that the students are more concerned with dead week and all of the work that is required of them during this week.


2.4       Assessing Physical Space

Peterson asked the Chancellor to elaborate on the comments he made at the December meeting regarding assessment of the physical space on campus.  Chancellor Perlman stated that space is an issue on campus.  He stated that not only does the campus need an accurate inventory on the amount and type of space and how it is being used, but Varner Hall is requiring that the campus master plan be done over because a number of events have occurred that have changed the original plan.  Also, departments have been asked to look at their space as part of their strategic plan. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that a consultant was brought in to discuss the physical space on campus.  He noted that the consultant had a list of criteria about needs for space and the campus is considering possibly using these. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that Dr. Nunez realized that we do not have a good inventory of space and what kind of condition the space is in.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that in order to do effective space planning a good inventory is needed and Dr. Nunez believes that the inventory can be conducted by University personnel.  Chancellor Perlman stated that a team of people will survey all of the space in a pilot building.  He stated that a database will be created which will contain information on what technology is available in a classroom, how many seats the room holds, the condition of the room, etc. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he is working with Dr. Nunez to develop a policy for allocating space.  He noted that he will share a draft of the policy with the Executive Committee when it is ready.  He pointed out that space is a critical resource which can be allocated or reallocated.  He stated that space is not owned by departments, colleges, or programs. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the consultant pointed out that the biggest unused resource on campus is department allocated classrooms, especially since the campus is critically short on space.  He stated that we need to manage the space we have more effectively.  He stated that he has had some discussion on how to give departments financial incentives if they give up some space but he is just tinkering with the idea at this point. 


Peterson suggested that more students and classes should be held on East Campus.  He noted that there is unused classroom space on East Campus that could be used.  Chancellor Perlman agreed and stated that there have been discussions with departments suggesting that they could be more resourceful by using classrooms either in other buildings or on East Campus.  He pointed out that the life sciences curriculum committee is stating that significant improvements are needed in life science teaching laboratories.  He noted that there is lab space on East Campus that could be reconfigured and used if Keim Hall is part of a new deferred maintenance bond issue.


Alexander asked who is responsible for modernizing classrooms.  He pointed out that it is very confusing because people do not know who has this responsibility.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the current view is that if the department is allocated classroom space then the department is responsible.  If it is a general purpose classroom then Academic Affairs is responsible.  SVCAA Couture stated that the General Purpose Classroom Advisory Committee is developing a set of standards for general purpose classrooms and that some funds are being dedicated for improvement of these classrooms.  She stated that some funds from the “Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence” will be used for the improvements.  She pointed out that academic unit’s responses to the templates to be submitted as part of their strategic plans will provide information on the classrooms and what rooms need improvement.  She stated that we hope to be able to improve a number of classrooms later this year.


Peterson asked who controls the schedules on the classrooms.  Chancellor Perlman stated that department allocated classrooms are scheduled by the department.  General purpose classrooms are scheduled through Registration and Records. 


Hoffman noted that in the Engineering College department allocated classrooms are scheduled by the departments.  If the department does not use all of the time, the classroom scheduling is turned over to the college.  He pointed out that departments pay for the renovation of these classrooms and the minimum that is spent on them is $20,000.  SVCAA Couture stated that they are looking at some classrooms that need $100,000 in renovation.  Alexander asked if there was an inventory of these classrooms.  SVCAA Couture stated that an inventory of all physical space is being conducted this year; Academic Affairs and other university offices will review classrooms and look at strategic plans before decisions are made about what rooms will be renovated.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that one of the downsides of owning a space is that the department is responsible for maintaining it. 


Alexander asked if Academic Affairs would be willing to take over classrooms that have previously been designated as department allocations.  SVCAA Couture stated that this is possible.  She noted that the intention of a department to give up a classroom space should be provided in the department’s strategic plan. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that Dr. Nunez’s office is gearing up for the survey and that the pilot buildings should be surveyed soon.  SVCAA Couture stated that $1.3 million has been identified in needed classroom renovations. 


2.5       N Card

Scholz noted that Senator Beutler is sponsoring a bill that would allow students to use the N card off campus in stores.  He asked why this would need to go to the Legislature.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the University is opposed to the bill.  He pointed out that there are two versions of the N card and it is the choice of the holder as to which version to have.  With one version an agreement is made with Wells Fargo Bank that allows the holder to use it as a debit card.  With the other version the holder can only use the card on campus and the holder is billed at the end of the month by the University.  He stated that the main reason for this second option is to allow students who are waiting for financial aid checks to purchase textbooks at the beginning of the semester.  He noted that this option is being done as a service to the students.  He stated that if the bill should pass the University may discontinue the deferred option for the N card. 


Scholz asked if the Beutler bill would apply to all stores.  Chancellor Perlman stated that businesses like those on campus could use it. 


2.6       Chancellor’s Policy Memorandums

Chancellor Perlman noted that there is no formal way for him to make announcements other than by email and there is a need for him to have some kind of format that announces policies.  As a result his office has created the Chancellor’s Policy Memorandum which will be posted on the Chancellor’s website.  He stated that there are several policies that will be coming out soon.  He pointed out that there is no formal process for approving these policies but he will bring any policy to the Executive Committee if it is needed before it is made public.


Chancellor Perlman stated that one of the policies that is being drafted is in regards to legal defense for a university employee or student in training.  He stated that this came up in regards to the Oklahoma incident involving a football player.  He noted that at the time he thought NCAA prohibited the University from providing legal defense but it turns out that this is not true.  He reported that the Board of Regents Bylaws permit any campus to develop a policy such as this one. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that the Athletics Department wanted to provide legal defense for the player since it was a unique situation and he decided to approve it.  He pointed out that the Athletics Department is paying the legal expenses.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the policy will only pertain to unusual circumstances and a willful or wanton behavior clause is included in the policy.


Chancellor Perlman distributed a draft of a broader policy and hoped the Executive Committee could review it soon.  He noted that there are built in constraints in the policy.  Peterson stated that the Committee will discuss it.


2.7       President Milliken’s Installation

Chancellor Perlman stated that he hopes there will be good turnout for the panel discussion at UNL that will be held as part of President Milliken’s installation.  He noted that many former members of UNL will be attending the installation.   He asked if the Senate could encourage people to attend the panel discussion at Kimball Hall on January 27th.  Peterson stated that he will get a message out to the Senate.


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       UNL Parents Association and Teaching Council Recognition Award

Peterson stated that the ceremony to award professors with the UNL Parents Association and Teaching Council Recognition Award is scheduled for Friday, January 21st at 2:30 p.m.  Stock stated that he will be there and will represent the Executive Committee.


3.2       Martin Luther King Freedom Breakfast

Peterson reported that the MLK Freedom Breakfast was well attended and many of the Executive Committee members were there.  He noted that events were still on-going throughout this week.  SVCAA Couture stated that there will be a banquet on Saturday evening closing the week of events. 


Alexander noted that not many students apply for the scholarships associated with Martin Luther King.  He stated that faculty members should make students aware of this scholarship money.  Hoffman pointed out that the scholarship has many requirements that might restrict some students from applying.  SVCAA Couture wondered whether the requirements are required by the donor.  She stated that Vice Chancellor Griesen’s office should have more information on the scholarship.


3.3       Distribution of Executive Committee and Senate Minutes

Peterson stated that a faculty member suggested distributing the Executive Committee minutes to all faculty members.  Alexander stated that he distributes them to his colleagues and indicates sections of the minutes that they may find particularly interesting or important.  The Committee agreed to remind Senators to distribute the minutes to their constituents.  The Committee also noted that faculty members should be reminded that the minutes are available on the Senate website.  Peterson suggested that Senators should ask their departments to give a report on the Senate at departmental meetings. 


3.4       Next Strategic Planning Forum

Shea asked if the next forum on the strategic planning and core values has been scheduled.  SVCAA Couture stated that it will be held on February 10th and that a message will be distributed shortly on it.  She noted that the message will include comments made at the last forum.  She stated that the next open meeting will be held in the East Campus Union.


4.0       Approval of 1/12/05 Minutes

Flowers moved and Alexander seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


5.0       Unfinished Business

5.1       Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics – Meeting with Professor Logan-Peters

Peterson reported that he met with Professor Logan-Peters who attended the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics conference a couple of weeks ago.  He stated that Logan-Peters indicated that the COIA is working on a series of documents the first one dealing with academic integrity.  He stated that the COIA wants approval from the Senates of member institutions on this document.  He noted that approval could be in support of the general principle behind the document but that approval does not mean that the institution supports the entire document. 


Peterson suggested that Logan-Peters and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee should be allowed to represent the Senate and in discussions pertaining to possible amendments or negotiations about the document.  He pointed out that there is not enough time for the Senate to vote on the document because the COIA wants a decision by February 28.  Beck stated that it makes sense to have Logan-Peters and the IAC as representatives but if they have any sense of issues that need to be considered they should communicate these concerns with the Executive Committee.  Fech pointed out that it is important to have a lot of trust in the representative to the COIA because they will have a significant amount of authority.  Peterson stated that any approval by the representative would be provisional and the person would not be able to say that the Senate approved the document. 


Peterson pointed out that the document mostly suggests non-binding guidelines in handling academic integrity.  He noted that there is nothing terribly troublesome in the document.


The Committee agreed to invite Logan-Peters and Professor Shoemaker, chair of the IAC, to an Executive Committee meeting. 


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Reviewing Executive Committee Goals

Peterson noted that a number of the goals are currently being worked on.  He stated that committees have been formed to review the Dead Week/Finals Week issue, the procedures raised in budget reductions, and the Senate rules. 


Peterson was asked what the status is regarding child care.  Peterson stated that he understands that the administration has once again run into problems.  His understanding is that there is a problem with finding a building.  Shea stated that he heard that problems arose because there were such differences of opinions of what kind of child care should be provided.  Beck noted that child care is a difficult issue logistically but other universities have figured it out.  Shea stated that if the climate is so important for the University and the campus then child care should be provided.  He pointed out that providing child care is a climate issue and has an impact on our ability to recruit and retain faculty members.  He stated that if the University is sincere in wanting to improve the climate then it will do something about providing child care. 


Peterson pointed out that the Gender Equity Report presented and accepted by the Board of Regents has a family friendly policy in it.  He suggested that the Executive Committee should bring this up to President Milliken.  Shea pointed out that with the acceptance of the report the Board has indirectly instructed President Milliken to work on providing a family friendly policy.  He suggested that the Senate might want to pass a resolution on the issue of providing child care.  Peterson stated that we might want to wait and see how our discussion goes with President Milliken.  Shea agreed.


Peterson noted that other Executive Committee goals such as enhancing teaching are being carried out by Academic Affairs.  He stated that the general education program seems to be in limbo right now because of the strategic planning process. 


Further review of the Executive Committee goals will be discussed at the next meeting.


            6.2       Problem with University Bookstore

Peterson stated that an email message was sent to the Senate office regarding a problem a professor is having with the University Bookstore.  The professor has a packet of supplemental material that the student must purchase in the beginning of the semester.  The professor stated that the Bookstore uses the enrollment figures two weeks before the class begins as the number of copies to make of the packet.  The class always increases in size but the Bookstore cannot print up the additional packets for at least two weeks which penalizes the students because they cannot complete assignments without it.  Stock stated that he had something similar happen to him with one of his classes.


Bolin suggested that the supplemental packet could be put on electronic reserves at the Library.  She stated that the readings would just need to be scanned in for those to occur.  Alexander suggested that Blackboard could also be used.  Beck noted that the people connected with Blackboard are very helpful and will work with the professor to get the material manage their courses using the various tools available. 


Griffin stated that she will check with the Bookstore to see if they can resolve the problem and she will contact the professor to suggest alternate ways of providing the students with the material.


Alexander stated that he is amazed at how much money students can save by purchasing their textbooks over the internet.  Flowers stated that this is true but at times there are problems with availability.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:07.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, January 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.