Executive Committee Minutes - March 23, 2005




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


Absent:           Shea


Date:               Wednesday, March 23, 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

            Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.


2.0       Earl Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records

Hawkey stated that he looked at the proposed recommendations to change the final exam week schedule and determined five principles for scheduling finals.  These principles are: 

1) Minimize the number of finals scheduled for students on any given day and minimize the number who are scheduled for three or more on any given day.

2) Minimize the number of students scheduled for a late final on Monday or Tuesday and an early morning final the next day.

3) Minimize the number of students scheduled for back to back finals on a given day.

4) Equalize as much as possible (given a 4.5 day schedule) the number of students participating in finals on any particular day (i.e. we don’t want everyone having a final or finals one day and hardly anyone having one the next).

5) The schedule must cycle so that from term to term the same final days and times are not associated with a particular time block each term.


Hawkey stated that the preliminary projects based on current student schedules indicate that there could be a reduction in the number of students who would have two or three finals in one day with the new final exam schedule. 


Peterson asked if there were any significant problems with dropping the Friday afternoon final exams.  Hawkey stated that there are no structural reasons why the changes couldn’t be made. 


Bradford wondered whether more students complain about early morning exams or late exams.  Hawkey stated that the complaints are on many different issues.  He stated that people understand that exams need to start early if they are going to be two hours long.


Peterson noted that the final exam schedules have to deal with exams on both campuses.  He predicted that any debate in the Senate on the recommendations will be about late evening exams.


Peterson asked how the people in Registration and Records feel about the proposed change.  Hawkey stated that the employees in Graduation Services are pleased with it because it will ease the burden on them for trying to get grades processed in time for graduation. 


Stock asked, given Hawkey’s expertise, whether he thought changing the schedule is a good idea.  Hawkey stated that his primary concern is that students do not have three or more finals in any given day or they have an overlap between a late night final and an early morning final.  He pointed out that the projections he made were based on the assumption that everyone gives a final which he pointed out is not true.  He noted that final exam week is a hectic and crazy time for everyone.  Peterson stated that the projections did not seem to discern any real problems with changing the scheduling of exams.  He noted that there are already provisions in place for students if they have three exams scheduled in one day and these provisions would still exist.  Hawkey stated that this is correct.  He noted that if there are any major changes to the schedule of classes then the issue may need to be revisited.


Alexander asked when the changes could be implemented.  Hawkey stated that the fall schedule of classes has already been published so he would not recommend changing it for the fall semester.  He noted that the change could be implemented for the spring semester. 


Peterson stated that the Senate will vote on the recommendations at the April 5th meeting.  He stated that if approved, the recommendations will be sent to SVCAA Couture for approval. 


3.0       Vice Chancellor Paul and Professor Works

            3.1       Academic Rights & Responsibilities Procedures for Professional Conduct – B

Peterson stated that the language in the Academic Rights & Responsibilities for Professional Conduct B (PC-B) must comply with federal regulations.  He noted that PC-B deals with federal misconduct in science regulations and failure to comply with federal regulations could result in the University not receiving federal grants. 


Vice Chancellor Paul stated that the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) routinely assesses university policies for conducting research to see if these policies comply with federal regulations.  He reported that the ORI looked at the current ARRC procedures and found that they were not acceptable and the University needs to address the policies.  He stated that either the current policy can be modified or the University would need to adopt the ORI’s model policy for responding to allegations of scientific misconduct. 


Vice Chancellor Paul noted that luckily the Senate has revised the procedures and the changes approved by the Senate in December comply with the federal requirements.  He pointed out that the new procedures give the Office of Research the ability to make an inquiry in cases of professional misconduct.  He stated that the Office of Research will be adopting the federal government’s model policy and then the University will be in compliance. 


Professor Works stated that the committee that worked on revising the ARRC procedures already knew there were problems with the 1994 versions.  He stated that once the Board of Regents accepts the new procedures the old ones will be replaced.  He noted that the committee is happy to have the Office of Research conduct an investigation if there appears to be allegations of scientific misconduct. 


Peterson suggested that the Office of Research Integrity should be informed that new procedures are waiting for Board approval and are in compliance with federal regulations. 


Bradford asked if the Senate or the Executive Committee need to take further action on the procedures.  Vice Chancellor Paul and Works stated that no further action is needed.  They stated they wanted to inform the Executive Committee what was going on but the Senate will not need to do anything further on the procedures. 


Alexander asked if the ORI policy articulates with the ARRC procedures.  Vice Chancellor Paul stated that they do and he will let everyone know about the ORI policy that his office will adopt.


Vice Chancellor Paul wanted to thank Professor Works and General Counsel Wood for their help in dealing with this matter. 


Peterson stated that the Senate may eventually want a presentation on the ROI policy.  Vice Chancellor Paul noted that a research integrity officer was just hired in his department and this individual could make a presentation to the Senate in the fall. 


Vice Chancellor Paul stated that he hopes the Board of Regents will approve the new ARRC procedures at the April meeting.


4.0       Announcements

            4.1       Teaching Initiative Grants

Peterson reported that 22 proposals for the Teaching Initiative grants were recently awarded.  He noted that 100 proposals were received. 


Alexander asked how the proposals were reviewed.  Peterson stated that an initial committee composed of faculty members was set up.  He noted that the committee was set up so that each proposal was read by three different members on the committee and then rated.  He stated that after this was completed the Office of Academic Affairs reviewed the proposals rated highly by the faculty committee.  He noted that the faculty committee did not get to see the overall ranking of the proposals. 


The Committee decided to ask SVCAA Couture for further clarification on how her office made the decisions on the proposals when they next meet with her.


5.0       Approval of 3/9/05 Minutes

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


6.0       Unfinished Business

            6.1       Amendments to 15th Week Policy

The Committee discussed slightly revising the amendment to the 15th week policy which the ASUN requested.  Peterson stated that he and Griffin would work on drafting a motion to amend the 15th week policy. 


Hoffman asked when the policy would take effect if the Senate approves it.  Peterson stated that if the Senate approves the policy it will take effect in the fall semester.  He stated that the policy will be placed on the Senate webpage and SVCAA Couture stated that her office will assist in letting the campus know about the new policy.


Peterson noted that if the policy does not pass the students will be very disappointed.  He pointed out that ASUN each year has received complaints about violations of the current policy. 


6.2       Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics’ Academic Integrity Document Vote

Peterson reported that he received only one response from the Senate regarding how the Senate should vote on the document.  He noted that the vote needs to be in by the end of March.  He stated that UNL’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee has reviewed the document carefully and they should decide on the vote.  He noted that the IAC will probably vote against the document because they see a number of problems with it.  Bradford stated that the members of the IAC understand the issues better and he believed they would be able to make a more informed decision.  The Executive Committee agreed.  Peterson stated that he would contact Professor Logan-Peters, a member of the IAC and UNL’s representative to the Coalition, and tell her of the Committee’s decision to let the IAC cast the vote. 



7.0       New Business

            7.1       April 26th Senate Meeting

Peterson reported that President Milliken now has a conflict with the April 5th Senate meeting and will be unable to speak to the Senate on that date.  Peterson stated that the April 26th Senate meeting has a busy agenda with elections of Senate officers and Executive Committee Members and presentation of the Academic Freedom Award.  He stated that he felt that having the President speak to the Senate is important.  The Committee agreed to have President Milliken speak at the April 26th meeting.  Peterson noted that there will be a reception at the end of the meeting and he hoped the President could stay to meet and talk with faculty members. 


7.2       Open Forum Discussion for April 5th Senate Meeting

The Committee discussed possible topics of discussion for the open forum.  The Committee decided that the topic would be “How to Strengthen Research and Teaching.”


7.3       Bodvarsson Case

Peterson stated that he has been communicating with Professor Bodvarsson of Economics regarding the recent news articles and emails concerning his not being offered a permanent position at UNL. 


Fech stated that he has the same concerns that Hoffman raised in a recent email message to the Committee regarding whether proper procedures for interviewing and hiring were followed.  Peterson stated that it is not clear whether proper procedures were followed. 


Stock pointed out that the issue is too nebulous for the Committee to get involved.  The Committee agreed that an offer should be made to Bodvarsson to see if he wanted to come and speak with them. 


Bradford suggested that the Chancellor could be asked questions when he addresses the Senate at the April 5th meeting. 



The meeting was adjourned at 4:49 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, March 30th 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.