Executive Committee Minutes - July 6, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Beck, Fech, Hoffman, Moeller, Peterson, Signal


Absent:           Bolin, Flowers, Rapkin, Scholz, Shea, Stock


Date:               Wednesday, July 6, 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              <![endif]>Call to Order

Beck called the meeting to order at 2:38 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman/SVCAA Couture

            2.1       Update on Budget

Chancellor Perlman reported that he has not yet had any formal conversations with the Deans regarding the budget.  He noted that the 2004-05 fiscal year shortfall in tuition revenue is $6.2 million.  He stated that $3.2 million will need to be found in order to cover the entire budget deficit for UNL.  He stated that he hopes that he will be able to cover this shortfall without troubling too many people although he pointed out that some services may not be provided. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that currently Central Administration has a system where all funds go to a single pot but this will change with the next biennium.  The change will eventually result in each campus receiving and being responsible for its tuition revenue.  He noted that President Milliken, with the support of the Chancellors, has devised a phase in process where some risks of having a tuition shortfall will be shared across the campuses but in the second year of the biennium each campus will be on their own regarding tuition revenue.  He noted that some tuition remission programs will continue to be shared within the system because these programs are dictated by the Board of Regents. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the bottom line for next year is that there will be a base budget shortfall, assuming that predictions of enrollment are accurate.  He noted as a result there will need to be a base budget reduction. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the next question is how to address the base budget.  He stated that he is seeking the advice of the Executive Committee on how to accomplish this reduction.  He noted that reinitiating the previous budget reduction process would be disruptive and more difficult to do this time.  He pointed out that he is still very reluctant to do an across the board cut because he believes that it hurts the progress of the University. 


Chanceller Perlman noted that the budget situation is different than the last time.  He pointed out that hopefully this will be the last reduction for some time.  With the previous budget cuts the University knew there would be additional cuts to deal with.  He stated that we are also in a situation where we have the potential of having more control over the scope and scale of the cuts.  Previously, the Legislature controlled more of the budget cuts.  He noted that the budget cuts this time are based on tuition and enrollment which the University will hopefully be able to improve over a short period of time. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he would like an assessment of the budget ideas from the Executive Committee.  He noted that if the across the board cuts were made rebuilding units would be in accordance with the strategic plan and would heavily involve the Academic Planning Committee. 


Beck stated that on the surface the across the board cuts seems to be a better way to go.  She stated the reallocation would tie more into activities that the campus is more actively engaged in and would help the campus to build on its strengths.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he does not want to minimize the difficulty of the situation.  Beck stated that the across the boards cut and reallocation appears to be a more deliberative way of addressing the situation.   She pointed out that regardless of where the revenue enhancement comes from, it would be distributed differently.  Chancellor Perlman stated that where the tuition revenue is earned would be a factor in where it is distributed but there are some units that are a high campus priority that do not have any students. 


Signal asked what the enrollment projections are for the upcoming academic year.  Chancellor Perlman reported that freshmen enrollment is up from last year although not as high as two years ago.  He noted that the decline in international graduate students is still a problem for the campus. 


Beck stated that the Executive Committee will discuss the enrollment and recruiting issue as well as the budget cutting process issue at its retreat on August 17th.  She noted that the Committee will also discuss having greater interaction with student affairs and admissions. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that he is forming a task force to take a hard look at admissions and remission policies.  He noted that some of the people will be Associate Deans of colleges.  He wants them to look at things like stacking college based scholarships on top of significant university-wide scholarships.  He noted that the task force will be looking at things in the graduate student area as well.  He pointed out that there would be savings if graduate research assistantships were grant funded.  He stated that there could be a more centralized system of department remissions. 


Griffin asked if summer session enrollments were down this year.  SVCAA Couture stated that they are about even with last year’s enrollment figures.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that summer sessions is another piece of the tuition revenue.  He stated that the campus needs to look at being more entrepreneurial in some areas such as summer sessions. 


Moeller noted that there are many things happening on campus this summer.  She stated that it is difficult to find classroom space.  She asked if the campus is generating income from the different camps that are taking place here on campus.  Chancellor Perlman reported that the various events provide revenue for housing. 


Moeller stated that all but four of the local national scholar merit winners are coming to campus.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is great but they do cost the University a lot of money to have them here.  Beck pointed out that there are a lot of stellar students that fall just below the national scholar winners that are being overlooked.  She stated that the campus should consider recruiting these students more heavily.   Chancellor Perlman agreed and noted that there is a shortfall of students in the 20-24 ACT range. 


Alexander asked if reducing the required minimum ACT score would help in recruiting students.  He noted that it could open up enrollment.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there has been no discussion about reducing the required minimum.  He pointed out that lowering the standard would not help with long-term recruiting and would hurt the campus more than help it.  Moeller stated that the ACT score is not the best predictor of a successful student.  Rather the GPA is a better predictor.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that some colleges would not let students in if they do not meet the standards.


Moeller asked if the enrollment figures are showing that more students are transferring in from the community colleges.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is correct.  SVCAA Couture stated that the campus is planning on recruiting more of these students but there is not a big influx of them yet.  She pointed out that the campus needs to do a better job of communicating who we are.  She noted that addressing peoples’ perception of college costs is also something that the campus needs to address.  Beck stated that engaging students is also very important.  SVCAA Couture reported that the Office of Undergraduate Studies is doing a better job of this.  She noted that there has been an overwhelming response from students that were shown attention on how they were doing academically.  She stated that this attention needs to be more accessible to students and they need to know the services that are available through the Office of Undergraduate Studies. 


            2.2       Update on Strategic Planning

SVCAA Couture reported that the Administrators are pleased with the accomplishments of the colleges with regard to their strategic plans.  She stated that round two of the planning process will be conducted this coming academic year.  She noted that there will be conversations with the Senior Administrative Team about round two.


SCVAA Couture noted that last year everyone was asked to report on the core values and filled out templates on their plans for diversity, physical space needs, hiring, enrollment management, and climate.  She pointed out that the same timeline will be used.  Departments are to respond by January 15th, colleges are to respond by March 15th.  She stated that the second round will be for departments and colleges to update their plans but no statement on core values will need to be written.  She stated that the administration will discuss revising the list of core values based on the feedback obtained from the colleges and the two open forums.  She noted that the revised list will then be distributed and discussed with the campus sometime this fall. 


SVCAA Couture stated that round two of the strategic planning process will not ask for a diversity plan.  She noted that instead the Chancellor’s committee that is looking at revising the diversity plan will review all of the responses given by the departments and colleges and will work on revising the campus diversity plan. 


SVCAA Couture stated that round two will ask for a definitive response regarding strategic priorities.  She noted that colleges will be asked to revise and then post their strategic plans for public consumption in early fall.  She pointed out that the colleges will need to develop a means for displaying how they know they have achieved their objectives as stated in their strategic priorities. 


SVCAA Couture reported that colleges and units will also be asked how they involved their constituents when they developed their strategic plans.  She noted that constituents involve faculty and other stake holders, possibly including students as well. 


SVCAA Couture stated that colleges and units will be asked for a more definitive response to enrollment.  She reported that a retreat will be held August 5th for administrators to discuss the overall university enrollment goals and college and department goals.  She stated that at the retreat they will be looking to see where efforts can be coordinated to improve enrollment. 


SVCAA Couture reported that the administration is not asking for another strategic plan on space issues.  She stated that the Office of Institutional Research & Planning will look at the information that has been provided by the colleges and departments.  She noted that the Office will provide feedback to units about their space plans, and ask for further clarification. 


SVCAA Couture stated that the second round of the strategic planning process will focus on building on the plan that was created this past year.  She noted that she will be asking for definitions and more specific achievements in comparison to the first round of the process. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the administration is still trying to determine how the planning process works best.  He noted that efforts will continue to be made to finding out what the best process is for the campus.  He stated that it has been an education for him to see what this campus is thinking in terms of strategic planning.  He noted that the systematic process has been very helpful and has opened up many ideas.  He pointed out that some cultural shifts still need to be made because some units still seem to think that economic resources will flow to them rather than thinking how income can be raised within departments. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that UNL is close to reaching an agreement with NCA to conduct the self-study focus accreditation.  He noted that the agreement is coming together in a way that will be very helpful to the campus.  SVCAA Couture stated that the self-study process will enable the campus to bring in experts on strategic planning that will be able to help UNL create a better strategic planning process. 


Alexander asked if feedback will be provided to the colleges on the strategic plans.  SVCAA Couture stated that the Deans will receive feedback on their plans.  Beck asked is the feedback will go to the units as well.  SVCAA Couture stated that the administration needs to consider how colleges will deal with the feedback.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Senior Administrative Team will provide feedback to the colleges.  He noted that it will then be up to him to the Dean whether this information should be further distributed.  He stated that he is debating whether there should be a policy requiring faculty engagement in the planning process at both the college and unit levels.


Beck asked who would be attending the August 5th retreat.  SVCAA Couture noted that members of the Enrollment Management Council, the Deans, and the administration will be at the retreat.  She stated that the Academic Planning Committee will be more directly involved with the strategic planning process this fall as well.  She noted that Professor Keown, current Chair of the Academic Planning Committee, noticed some cross-cutting themes presented by the Deans.  She stated that she wants to invite the APC to discuss what they saw in the college strategic plans.  She noted that the APC should have a more active role in the strategic planning. 


Peterson pointed out that figuratively speaking iteration usually means that things are repeated until they have converged and then procedures stop.  He asked if this will be true for the strategic planning.  Chancellor Perlman noted that true planning never ceases.  He stated that the campus is in the process of trying to figure out what we do best and how to incorporate it in a plan.  He noted that the plan will morph and mutate as time goes on.  Beck asked if his opinion on strategic planning has changed.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he still dislikes the formal part of strategic planning but it has been a helpful process.  He pointed out that the plan is still evolving and the campus is not at a point where the plan can be acted on and put into place. 


2.3              <![endif]>Plans for Revising the General Education Program

Beck stated that the Committee is interested in knowing what the administration is thinking in regards to revising the general education program.  SVCAA Couture noted that the Chancellor will address this issue in his annual state of the university address.  She reported that Past President Peterson is involved in a committee that is working on suggesting ways to involve the campus in rethinking the general education program and the members of this committee recently attended a national conference on general education. 


SVCAA Couture stated that the committee has been charged with coming up with a two-year plan to develop steps needed to revise the program.  She noted that a key component will be to develop criteria a general education program should meet.  She pointed out that the general education program must be built on the outcomes that we want our students to demonstrate.  She noted that the students should be able to understand the objectives of the program and the program should not be a barrier to students graduating.  She stated that colleges may need to think differently about general education.  She pointed out that some students enroll in more than one college during their college career and the requirements for general education across colleges should not be so different that they make it difficult for these students to graduate on time.  She stated that another goal should be to relate the program more clearly to students’ interest in a major.  She noted that the committee has come up with an outline that covers some of these considerations and she will be meeting with them next and others about these issues in the coming months. 


Peterson stated that the conference was an intensive workshop that was helpful to attend.  He noted that one of the thoughts of the committee is that there needs to be a reason to revise the general education program and the reason that they found is that the current program in not working well.  He stated that another reason for revising the program is that if it could be well designed it could be a signature program that would help with recruiting new students.  He noted that making a prominent program would help distinguish UNL. 


SVCAA Couture pointed out that the general education program is the signature experience for most students.  She stated that the general education program demarks what the university education is about.  She pointed out that developing a general education, generally cannot be done in just a year.


Beck stated that it will be important for the faculty to feel invested in revising the program.  Peterson stated that the idea of the process is to get key groups across the campus involved, including the Senate.  He noted that there needs to be broad campus discussion on the program so that there is not the resistance that came up with the last attempt to revise the program.  He pointed out that having the Office of Academic Affairs spearhead the revision will be helpful. 


2.4       Update on Search Committee for Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Chancellor Perlman reported that letters went out this morning to the members of the search committee.  He stated that he hopes the committee will get organized this summer and will advertise the position in late August.  He noted that he hopes the committee will be able to start reviewing applications by October 1st.  He stated that he hopes interviews can be conducted in November.  He stated that this is an attractive position and he believes there will be a good pool of candidates for it. 


Beck stated that some faculty members recently asked her if there is redundancy in the work of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there are linkages between the two positions but he does not see any redundancy.  He noted that the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs covers a much broader range of student issues while Dean of Undergraduate Studies deals particularly with the academic side of student issues. 


2.5       Issues on the Horizon

SVCAA Couture pointed out that the self-study for the re-accreditation of the campus will be a huge project this fall and spring and will greatly involve the campus. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the athletics certification process is going on and it will consume some resources. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that Vice Chancellor Paul and Professor Charles Wood just came back from Zambia where they were working on a collaborative effort.  Chancellor Perlman noted that significant contacts were made in Zambia that could potentially result in major university collaborations.  He stated that further explorations for these possible collaborations will be made.  


Chancellor Perlman stated that the University is considering making greater focus on the various international activities it is involved in.  He noted that there are opportunities to build on some international efforts.   Moeller stated that it would be nice if the campus could extend the UCARE program to international students.  She stated that there is a program called IRAC that prepares international students for post graduate awards and it would be nice to tie the programs together.


3.0       Announcements

Beck reported that the August 3rd Executive Committee meeting has been cancelled because too many people will be absent.  She stated that the Executive Committee retreat will be held the afternoon of August 17th. 


Beck noted that this is the last meeting for Professor Signal who is leaving UNL to work at Howard University and that the Committee will be meeting for lunch on July 8th to wish Signal well.  Griffin noted that an election to replace Signal will need to be held when the Senate resumes in September. 


4.0       Approval of 6/27/05 Minutes

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


5.0       Unfinished Business

5.1       Ad Hoc Committee on Senate Rules – Language on President and President-Elect

Beck reminded the Committee that it would review the recommendations made by the Ad Hoc Committee regarding inserting language about the President and President-Elect not being from the same assembly constituency.  Peterson suggested that he thinks the language is not necessary.  Moeller questioned whether the concern is that a college could have more power in the Senate.  Peterson stated that he has not heard any complaints about it.  Hoffman pointed out that the language should not make it too restrictive for recruiting individuals to serve on the committee. 


The Committee agreed not to bring a motion to the Senate on including language that would restrict the President and President-Elect from being from the same assembly constituency. 


5.2       Developing Mechanism for Faculty Survey

Griffin noted that Professor Flowers who is chairing the committee to develop the survey was unable to attend the meeting because he is out of the country.  Alexander asked if the Committee has discussed what the main goal of the survey will be.  Moeller stated that rather than developing just a specific survey the Committee agreed that a mechanism should first be developed to survey the faculty when they want to hear what the faculty is thinking on different issues.  She noted that the Senate has been accused in the past of not being in touch with the entire faculty body and a survey mechanism would enable the Senate and the Executive Committee to get input from the entire faculty body.  Peterson stated that originally the idea was to conduct a survey on faculty governance but the Committee decided to set up a general mechanism that could be used for specific surveys when needed. 


Moeller noted that one of the main concerns about the survey is the issue of confidentiality.  Alexander stated that the College of Engineering and Technology has a program that allows a faculty member to voice concerns or complaints to the Dean.  He noted that it can be done confidentially if a faculty member wants to use a different computer.  


Griffin stated that Brenda Caine, Interim Director of Communication Information Technology in IANR, uses a program called Zoomerang that allows people to set up specific surveys and the information received is confidential.  Griffin stated that she could schedule Caine to meet with the Committee to discuss the program. 


Beck stated that it is important that the Committee does not lose the original intent of wanting to gather information from the faculty.  She noted that the Committee should work on trying to get a mechanism in place first and then set up a specific survey.


6.0              <![endif]>New Business

6.1              <![endif]>Letter from Emeritus Professor Concerning Regent Herget

Beck reported that the Senate office received a letter from Emeritus Professor Wallace Peterson who felt that the Senate should express its concern over Regent Hergert serving on the Board of Regents.  Beck noted that the Committee decided at the June 8th meeting not to write a letter to the Board because the Committee felt that the matter was out of its jurisdiction and that the Legislature was looking into it.  Peterson noted that State Attorney General Bruning is now going to investigate the situation. 




6.2              <![endif]>Differential Tuition Rates

Fech asked for the latest information regarding differential tuition rates.  Moeller noted that the press is raising concerns about this.  She stated that creating differential tuition rates is setting a precedent for courses to be categorized differently. 


Peterson stated that this is an issue that the Committee needs to keep an eye on.  He stated that developing differential tuition rates is price discrimination.  He noted that some proposals that have been floated could definitely cause concerns.  Fech stated that having a different tuition rate for courses could cause many problems.


Alexander noted that having differential tuition rates is part of the College of Engineering & Technology’s strategic plan. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:23 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, July 20th 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.