Executive Committee Minutes - July 20, 2005




Present:          Beck, Bolin, Fech, Flowers, Hoffman, Moeller, Peterson, Scholz, Shea


Absent:           Alexander, Rapkin, Stock


Date:               Wednesday, July 20, 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 2:31 p.m.


2.0       Brenda Caine, Interim Director, IANR Communication Information Technology

            2.1       Presentation on Zoomerang

Caine reported that Zoomerang is a company that provides on-line survey tools.  She asked what kind of surveys the Senate is trying to do.  Peterson stated that the Senate wants to survey the entire faculty body.  Beck noted that the surveys will be on a variety of topics, some of which are on sensitive issues.  Flowers pointed out that sometimes the survey may be quick and easy while other surveys could be more detailed. 


Caine stated that she has been using Zoomerang for the past two and a half years.  She noted that it is a web based, subscription based program.  She pointed out that for educational institutions the subscription rate for a year is $350 which is relatively inexpensive compared to other survey tools.  She stated that Zoomerang sends updates to its members frequently because they are constantly seeking ways to improve their services. 


Caine stated that features of Zoomerang are that you can either create a survey totally from scratch or you could use one of their many templates.  She noted that there is a specific section of templates for educational institutions.  She stated that templates can be changed to whatever questions the Senate wants to ask.  She pointed out that any type of question whether they are one answer questions, multi-answer questions, or drop-down answers can be inserted into the templates.  She noted that questions with a rating scale can be used as well and any question can be made mandatory.  She stated that questions can be randomized as well and that Zoomerang will automatically randomize the questions for you.


Caine stated that there are several ways the survey can be deployed.  She stated that an email list can be sent to Zoomerang and it will be sent out or an individual can send the survey out through their own email. 


Caine reported that when a survey is created it makes its own URL.  She stated that an alias can be created if needed if a hard copy of the survey needs to be mailed out. 


Caine stated that once responses come back an overview of the responses can be looked at or individual responses can be viewed.  She stated that Zoomerang will cross tabulate responses if requested.  Moeller asked if the responses can be anonymous.  Caine stated that they are anonymous unless identification of the respondent is required.  Peterson asked if there is a mechanism that can control the number of times a person can fill out a survey.  Caine stated that Zoomerang can do this by restricting one survey per computer.  She noted that some kind of identifier could be required on the survey to see if duplicates are sent. 


Caine reported that surveys can be closed at a particular time so no further surveys can be submitted.  She stated that Zoomerang will provide information on how many people visited the survey, how many full responses and how many partial responses were done, and the total number of responses.  She noted that it will do scales and give percentages on the number of responses.  She pointed out that individual responses can be viewed but the identification of the respondent would not be provided unless it is a required response in the survey. 


Moeller asked how long Zoomerang has been around.  Caine stated about 5 or 6 years.  She noted that she uses it continually for customer satisfaction surveys.  She stated that the tool is fun and easy to use and the UNL logo can be uploaded and put on any survey. 


Fech asked if the program can identify bad questions.  Caine stated that the writers of the survey are responsible for the questions but a bad question could be identified if the responses to it point that there is a problem with that particular question. 


Flowers asked if the statistical information provided by Zoomerang can be downloaded into an Excel worksheet.  Caine stated that it can. 


Hoffman asked what the advantage is of Zoomerang over Blackboard for simple surveys.  Caine stated that she is not aware of all of the capabilities of Blackboard but Zoomerang is a very simple and easy survey tool to use.  Caine then demonstrated how to create a survey using a template.  She noted that the survey can be edited as many times as needed before it is launched. 


Fech asked if there is a way to put an incentive or reward into the survey.  Caine stated that she has used incentives and it can be put into the survey.  She noted that if an email message is sent it will contain a link that will take the reader right to the survey. 


Hoffman questioned whether IRB approval would be needed in order to conduct the surveys.  Flowers stated that IRB approval is needed only if the information that is gathered is going to be published. 


Peterson noted that the surveys would be sent out to approximately 1400 faculty members.  He stated that the Senate would like to gather as much information from the faculty as possible so answering the survey needs to be easy.  Caine pointed out that Zoomerang is probably about as easy as it can get.  She noted that a follow up email message can be sent out to get more responses.  She stated that having a deadline date on the survey helps to get a better response. 


Scholz asked if responses to the survey will only be accepted from those on the email list that the survey was sent to.  Caine stated that she believes anyone can respond if they have access to the URL.  She noted that if there is an issue that the Senate wants to get feedback on the survey could be put on the Senate website and a password given for people to get access to it. 


Peterson pointed out that on sensitive issues it will be particularly important to assure respondents that their answers would be anonymous.  Caine stated that Zoomerang will walk you through how to get anonymous answers on surveys.  She stated that a respondent can click on a question to see how other people have responded but no information is given on an individual participant, just an overall report.


Hoffman asked if a final report on the survey is mailed out after it is completed.  Flowers asked if we could control or restrict the details of the information that went into a survey report or select who was able to obtain one.  Caine stated that the results can be kept private. 


Caine reported that Zoomerang does not allow too many users per subscription.  She stated that she can create a survey for the Executive Committee if they decide they want to try it out.  Beck asked if there is a sample trial program.  Caine stated that Zoomerang has a free personal demo that can be used. 


Hoffman asked if the Senate would need to approve a survey.  The Executive Committee did not think it needed Senate approval to conduct a survey.  Peterson pointed out that approval from the administration might be needed in order to send it to all faculty members on the list serve.  Griffin noted that the Senate should not be restricted from getting information from the faculty members, especially since it was Chancellor Perlman who suggested that the Executive Committee should try to get more feedback from the faculty.  Beck stated that the Committee should discuss this with the Chancellor when they meet with him on August 24th. 


Peterson stated that the information Caine provided has been very helpful.  He asked if there were other tools available.  Caine stated that there are a number of other programs.  She stated that Survey Monkey is one of them but it is limited to 1000 responses per month.


Hoffman pointed out that spam jam could cause problems for people not receiving email messages about the survey.  Caine stated that if the email message comes from Lotus Notes then it will not get caught in spam jam. 


3.0              <![endif]>Announcements

3.1              <![endif]>Executive Committee Retreat

Griffin reported that the Executive Committee Retreat will be held on the afternoon of August 17th at the Embassy Suites.  She noted that typically the retreat will go from 12:00 – 4:30 or 5:00. 


3.2              <![endif]>First Senate Meeting

Griffin reported that the first Senate meeting of the 2005-06 academic year will be held on Tuesday, September 13th because of the Labor Day holiday.  She stated that a complete schedule of the Senate meetings will be included in the packet sent to Senators for the September meeting.


4.0              <![endif]>Approval of 7/6/05 Minutes

Peterson moved and Hoffman seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       Regent Hergert

Beck reported that she has received phone calls from the general public, not associated with the University, who are dismayed that the faculty have not spoken on the matter concerning Regent Hergert.  She stated that the faculty should be concerned with the conduct of our Regents. 


Beck stated that she has spoken with the President of the Faculty Senate at UNMC who feels that something should be done about the matter but the question is what the campuses want to do.  She asked if we have a responsibility to expect our Regents to adhere to certain responsibilities. 


Beck noted that Senator Chambers is considering impeachment procedures.  Peterson pointed out that he did not think Regent Hergert could be impeached because the incident happened before he was elected.  Beck stated that Senator Chambers reported that there has been precedent where a judge ruled that a person could be impeached for wrongdoing before they were elected. 


The Committee discussed whether a letter could be drafted that would be accepted by the Faculty Senates at all four campuses.  The Committee felt that it would be best if the letter was endorsed by each of the campuses. 


Beck stated that she will speak to the Presidents of the Faculty Senates at UNMC, UNO, and UNK to get a sense of what they are thinking.  She stated that if they are in agreement then she will draft a letter and run it by the Executive Committee. 





6.0        <![endif]>New Business

6.1        <![endif]>School Calendar – Thanksgiving Week (Hoffman)

Hoffman stated that he wanted to ask the question of combining the fall semester break with Thanksgiving week so UNL would be closed for the whole week of Thanksgiving.  He realized later that this would affect the entire University and would have to be a decision made at Central Administration. 


Peterson noted that Thanksgiving comes late in the semester and that it is nice to have a break about mid-semester which occurs in October. 


Moeller stated that the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women has been working with the Lincoln Public Schools to align their calendars.  She reported that Professor Poser, Law, worked with LPS and was finally able to get LPS to change their calendar.  Moeller noted that this year the LPS calendar will coincide with the UNL calendar.  She stated that the CCSW canvassed the campus and found that a large number of people, faculty, staff, and students are affected by the LPS calendar. 


6.2       Nominations for Replacing Professor Signal on Executive Committee

Griffin pointed out that an election will need to be held to replace Professor Signal.  Beck stated that an email message should be sent to the Senators calling for nominations.  The Committee agreed that the election should be declared as an emergency motion at the September meeting so that a replacement can be found for Professor Sloane.


Hoffman stated that the Committee should point out to the Chancellor that one of the Executive Committee’s minority members has left the university to go elsewhere.  Peterson stated that the Committee should ask the Chancellor if he has received a report on Professor Signal’s exit interview. 


6.3       Suggestions

Shea stated that a faculty member suggested that the minutes should reflect the time that administrators leave the meetings.  Moeller pointed out that it is obvious in the minutes when the administrators are no longer quoted that they have left the meeting.


Shea stated that he wants to suggest that Senators identify themselves at the Senate meetings when they speak.  Griffin stated that this is important to reflect who was speaking in the minutes.  Beck stated that she will make an announcement at the September meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:32 p.m..  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, August 24th 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.