Executive Committee Minutes - March 2, 2005




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


Absent:           Bolin, Bradford, Hoffman, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, March 2, 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 3:05 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

            2.1       Teaching Initiative

Peterson reported that he received a letter from the Office of Academic Affairs stating that 100 proposals were received for funding from the Teaching Initiative.  A committee of faculty members and administrators reviewed the initial proposals and narrowed the selection down to 38.  Eventually a subcommittee selected 23 winners.  Peterson stated that the Scarlet will have a separate section on the winners of the Teaching Initiative in an upcoming issue. 


2.2       Board of Regents Meeting

Peterson stated that the Regents will be meeting March 4th in Kearney and March 5th in Lincoln.  Peterson noted that the Committee reports will be discussed on Friday.  Issues on the agenda are changes to the Classics major and the Honors Program. 


Peterson noted that a report will be presented on the impact of the federal budget.  Shea stated that Dean Nelson of the Agricultural Research Division was interviewed on National Public Radio and he commented that 28 faculty positions will be lost if the Hatch funds are cut.  Beck noted that if Hatch funds are cut it will affect land grant universities nationwide. 


2.3       Poll on the ES/IS Courses in Arts & Sciences

Peterson reported that he had learned that the faculty members of the College of Arts & Sciences are being polled regarding their thoughts on the ES/IS courses. 


Peterson pointed out that some individuals have suggested that their colleges might opt out of the comprehensive education program if the ES/IS program is not revised. 


3.0       Approval of 2/23/05 Minutes

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


4.0       Review of Senate Meeting

Peterson stated that he will draft a message to the Senators regarding the draft policy from the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics Committee that he discussed at the March1st Senate Meeting.  He stated that he will ask Senators for feedback on the document and whether they think the Senate should vote on the document. 


Fech noted that most of the comments regarding the 15th Week Policy were just requests for clarification.  Griffin stated that Frank Opal, the ASUN representative on the Senate, called to express concerns with the changes made to the paragraph on enforcement.  He felt that the current proposal leaves the ASUN out of the process.  Shea pointed out that students may not want to go to an instructor if there is a violation of the policy.  He noted that they may feel more comfortable going outside of the department to express a complaint.


Peterson stated that he expects there to be lively discussion on the policy at the next Senate meeting and possibly some amendments.  Alexander pointed out that it would be very difficult to try to anticipate all of the different situations that can occur with the policy.  Peterson agreed.  Flowers indicated that the original intent of the policy which is to allow study time for students is still intact. 


5.0       Executive Committee Elections

Griffin reported that nominations will be needed for the President-Elect, Secretary, and at least two Executive Committee members.  Peterson stated that he would draft a message to the Senate encouraging members to nominate someone or themselves for running for one of the positions. 


6.0       Unfinished Business

            6.1       Brief Update on Senate Rules Committee (Bradford)

Agenda item postponed.


6.2       Brief Update on RIF Committee (Beck)

Beck reported that the ad hoc Committee Reviewing the Procedures for Reduction in Force is getting closer to completing a draft document.  Shea stated that the process being considered in the document is reasonable and allows for full participation of the faculty and campus.  Beck stated that the Executive Committee will be provided with a copy of the proposal once it is completed. 


7.0       New Business

            7.1       Article on Economics Department

Shea stated that he was concerned when he read the article in the Daily Nebraskan on the problems the Economics department is having.  He suggested that this should be an issue to discuss with the Chancellor and SVCAA.   Peterson pointed out that the Economics department teaches students from many different colleges.  He noted that the department has lost a number of faculty lines which impacts the number of courses they can offer.  The Committee agreed to discuss the issue with the administration.


7.2       Exit Interviews

Beck stated that the Board of Regents mandated that exit interviews be conducted when women and minority faculty members resign from the University.  She pointed out that it is unsure how well these exit interviews are conducted.  She suggested that the interviews should be conducted by the Vice Chancellors and that there should be a faculty member in attendance as a witness to make sure that information is accurately recorded.  Peterson asked how the interviews are currently conducted.  Beck stated that she is not sure whether the Chair of a department or the Dean conducts the interview.  She suggested that the Senate should appoint a person to be the witness.  Flowers stated that he believed the exit interviews are conducted by someone above the college level. 


Peterson pointed out that there has been no summary report on why people have left the university.  He noted that a report could be written that provides information without indicating names or departments.  Scholz stated that the Committee should ask the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors how the information gained from the interviews is used.  Fech stated that more assertive data collection should be measured.  He noted that the information could point out positive things as well as negative things about a department or the University. 


Alexander stated he is concerned with factual information being provided.  He noted that some former faculty members have made negative, inaccurate statements.  He pointed out that gathering factual information would be more accurate and would protect those faculty members still here.  He stated that there should be some form of rebuttal if a person is making false statements. 


Peterson stated that the issue can be put on the agenda with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors.  He noted that it would be useful for administrators and the departments to get information regarding why people have left the University so they can possibly address any problems.  Stock pointed out that a lot of faculty members do not know why some faculty members have left. 


Fech wondered whether department heads get involved in the exit interviews.  Beck stated that it probably varies. 


Shea pointed out that reasons for people leaving can vary and each case is an individual case.  He noted that there may be some individuals who generate more interest in their leaving than others.  He stated that there should be basic guidelines and requirements for how exit interviews are conducted. 


The Committee agreed to discuss the issue with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors.




7.3       Health Insurance and Retirement

Alexander stated that he has been doing some investigating on health insurance for retirees.  He noted that retirees received a much larger increase because they have been put into a different category for insurance purposes.  He pointed out that not many of the retirees were aware of the large increases.  He stated that these people contributed into a pool for many years when they were working for the university and the idea of a pool is to share the cost amongst all of the participants. 


The Committee wondered what is happening with the University-wide Benefits Committee.  Griffin pointed out that President Milliken had indicated in his meeting with the Committee this past fall that the Committee will be reactivated.  Peterson stated that VP Lechner also stated this at the December Senate meeting but the U-wide committee has not met.  The Committee agreed that President Milliken should be asked about this when he addresses the Senate at the April 5th meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, March 9th, 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.