Executive Committee Minutes - May 25, 2005




Present:          Beck, Fech, Flowers, Hoffman, Moeller, Rapkin, Scholz, Shea, Stock


Absent:           Alexander, Bolin, Peterson, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, May 25, 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

            Beck called the meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman

            2.1       Update on Budget

Chancellor Perlman stated that the Legislature approved a good budget for the University.  He noted that Central Administration is now struggling with how to deal with the shortfall in the budget and how much of the Board of Regents’ priorities will be funded.  He stated that a decision will probably be made in approximately two weeks. 


Beck stated that many of the staff members are unhappy that they are receiving only a 3.0% increase while faculty members are scheduled to receive 3.95%.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the 3.0% was determined by the Legislature.  He noted that theoretically if more money was available it could be given to staff salaries but unfortunately the funding is not available. 


Beck asked if the 3.0% increase for staff members is due to the fact that other state employees are receiving this percentage of increase.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the tendency is to give the same increase for all state employees.  He pointed out that part of the decision for the increase is based on the market salaries.  He noted that for staff salaries the market is determined locally, for managerial/professional it is determined regionally, and for faculty and administrators it is determined nationally.  He stated that UNL is below in salary comparisons for all ranks. 


Hoffman asked if the Governor cut scholarships.  Chancellor Perlman stated that part of the financial aid package for the Coordinating Commission was vetoed.  He stated that this might affect the University.


2.2       Student Recruitment and Retention

Beck reported that she attended Vice Chancellor Griesen’s retreat on student recruitment and retention.  She stated that the Council of Student Affairs Directors (CSAD) wants to have discussions in the fall with the faculty about what can be done to help retain and attract students.  She noted that in particular, there is a strong interest in retaining students with ACT scores of 20 – 25. 


Beck stated that the CSAD discussed Project Deep which is a national study of universities that are good at personal interactions between faculty and students.  The study looked at what these best practices are and which ones seem to be the most effective and also discussed early warning signals that students are in trouble.


Beck reported that the directors of Student Affairs are concerned about what warning signals to look for to determine if a student is in trouble.  She stated that students’ life style choices (such as being drunk in class) can get in the way of their succeeding in college.  Another issue that the Office of Student Affairs wants to address is academic dishonesty. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the administration is working on how financial aid is awarded.  He pointed out that it is a complex issue.  He noted that there are a number of students whose scholarship funding exceeds the cost of tuition.  He stated that the number of these students is large enough for him to wonder if things need to be changed so that other students can receive some of the scholarship money.  He pointed out that if changes are to be made it needs to be done quickly because the recruiting materials are published in June.  Beck stated that this topic came up during the retreat.  She noted that it seems that those who get a scholarship wind up getting even more scholarships. 


Rapkin stated that he spoke with a staff person whose daughter decided to go somewhere else to go to college.  He stated that the staff person indicated that UNL lost out because it did not give enough personal attention to the daughter.  He stated that the other schools had repeated contacts with the daughter and identified her specific interests early in the recruiting process.  Chancellor Perlman noted that oftentimes in reviewing the application UNL has made numerous contacts so it can be difficult to determine exactly what the reason is for the student’s choice. 


Beck stated that the Executive Committee will meet with Dean Cerveny further about these issues. 


2.3       Issues on the Horizon

Space Allocation Procedures

Chancellor Perlman distributed a draft of the proposed space allocation procedures.  He asked the Committee for feedback on the draft procedures.  He noted that the Academic Planning Committee approved the procedures in concept.  He pointed out that space is becoming a special resource on campus.


Scholz asked if the advisory committee on space is a standing committee or a new one.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he believes it is an existing committee which advises Institutional Research and Planning. 


Beck asked about the framework for how space is allocated.  She asked if space becomes available within a unit if it will be given back to Institutional Research and Planning.  She asked if anything is being done about the way space is being allocated.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the inventory on space is nearly complete.  He stated that a hard look will be given to department classrooms and other classroom space. 


Hoffman noted that there is a committee in the College of Engineering & Technology that will look at space and how it is allocated.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there will be discussion on how space is to be allocated and he expects faculty will be involved in these discussions. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that one possible option is to have departments/units offer available space for use.  The department will then be paid for the use of this space.  Moeller stated that this has been done at the University of New Hampshire. 


NCAA Accreditation Committee

Chancellor Perlman reported that there will be several committees working on the NCAA Accreditation.  He stated that there will be a Steering Committee, an Academic Integrity Committee, a Governance and Rules Compliance Committee, and an Equity and Student Welfare Committee.  He pointed out that there are a number of faculty members on these committees and many of them have ties to the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee or the Academic Senate. 


Chancellor Perlman asked the Committee for input on any other faculty members that they think should participate in the NCAA accreditation process. 


Compliance with Federal Regulations

Chancellor Perlman reported that the University was put on notice by the Federal Government that its procedures to deal with unprofessional conduct in scientific research projects funded with federal money is not up to standards.  He stated that the University now has a policy to bring the procedures up to standards.  He noted that Vice Chancellor Paul and Professor Works created the document and integrated it with the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Procedures Conduct B document.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the new document works better than the federal policy.  He noted that the Office of Research has hired a research compliance officer.


Chancellor Perlman asked for feedback on the document if anyone has any concerns on it.  Beck stated that Professor Works called and spoke with her about the changes being made to the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Procedures for Conduct B in order to make the document compliant with federal regulations. 


Search Committee for Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

Chancellor Perlman stated that he is working on forming a search committee for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.  He noted that he checked the Bylaws which require a plurality of faculty members on the committee. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he hopes to get the committee organized this summer.  He noted that a job description has been written and he hopes to have it advertised by the third week of August.  He stated that if all goes well he hopes the search committee can review applications in the beginning of October. 


3.0       Announcements

            3.1       Student Representatives to Reduction in Force Committee

Beck reported that she has asked ASUN to get two new student representatives on the Reduction in Force Committee.


4.0       Approval of 5/18/05 Minutes

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


5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       Senate Rules Apportionment Report

Hoffman stated that he was on the ad hoc committee that worked on proposals to change the Senate rules and apportionment.  He noted that the committee could not strongly support any of the four recommendations to change the apportionment.  He pointed out that in one proposal colleges and small departments would not be represented well while in another proposal they were represented well. 


Beck asked if the committee looked at a matrix of the Senate apportionment.  Hoffman stated that the committee did look at a matrix.  He stated that the ad hoc committee felt that the Executive Committee should look at the proposals and decide which one of the apportionment proposals would work best for the Senate. 


Scholz stated that the departments in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications were collapsed and made into one unit.  He noted that there has been talk in the College of Architecture of doing the same thing.  He stated that this raises the question of whether there is a movement to dissolve departments or whether this could be a response to the budget cuts.  He pointed out that fewer departments could raise questions for allocating Senators.  Hoffman stated that the College of Engineering was told several years ago to reduce the number of departments in it.  Scholz wondered whether the Senate should have programs represented rather than departments.  The Committee had a brief discussion on whether language should be included that states that colleges without departments should have at least two senators. 


The Committee agreed to discuss the issue further at the June 22nd meeting when they have had a chance to look at the matrix of Senators. 


5.2       Update on Ad Hoc Committee to Develop Survey of Faculty Members on Faculty Governance

Flowers reported that he has had some conversations with some faculty members who work with survey methodology.  He noted that some graduate students could be used in the project as well.  He stated that it will be important for the Committee to develop specific, limited questions in order to get a good response. 


Flowers stated that developing the survey should be fairly easy to do.  He noted that the main issue will be insuring confidentiality.  He pointed out that it will be important to make people feel that they are not pressured and that they will not be identified. 


Shea stated that he is concerned that the Committee will not be able to get a true picture of what is happening in departments or colleges because those people with the most concerns may not respond for fear of being identified.  He asked if the survey will be done by email. 


Beck suggested that a message should be sent out to the faculty ahead of time informing them of what the Executive Committee is trying to do.  Hoffman pointed out that some people will not respond by email for fear of their email being identified.  Flowers suggested that a hard copy should be sent out.  Moeller suggested that the Senators could help by collecting the surveys at a departmental meeting.  Flowers noted that not all departments have Senators.  He pointed out that having Senators collect the surveys could be problematic for politically estranged units. 


The Committee agreed to discuss the issue further at its June 22nd meeting.


5.3       AAUP Report on the Department of Economics and Issues of Faculty Governance

Moeller stated that the Committee discussed what they should do when they receive a report like the one from the local AAUP chapter.  Beck stated that this is a good question.  She noted that members of the department have raised concerns before and the Committee has briefly mentioned it to the Chancellor.  She stated that the Committee does not have jurisdiction to take any formal action.  She pointed out that there are not a lot of options for the concerned faculty members in the department.  She stated that since there is not an ombudsman on campus the faculty members in the department could file a formal grievance through the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee. 


Shea pointed out that the Senate should be the overseer of faculty governance on campus.  If the Committee sees concerns or violations of faculty governance then the Executive Committee and the Senate should be able to act on them. 


Beck suggested that the Committee should think about possible options that can be taken.  She stated that the Committee might want to pursue having a conversation with the Dean of the College.  Scholz suggested meeting with the faculty members of the department to discuss the issue.


Flowers asked if anyone in the department is on the AAUP Executive Committee.  Beck stated that Professor May is on the AAUP Executive Committee but she recused herself from the writing of the report.  Beck noted that the report was distributed  electronically to the CBA faculty by one of the faculty members who complained, without the names of those people who endorsed it.  She stated that she will ask who wrote and endorsed the report. 


Scholz questioned how many of the faculty members in the department participated in the discussions about the problems with faculty governance.  He wondered if the representatives were from all faculty ranks.  Beck stated that she believes slightly less than half of the faculty members in the Economics department are concerned about various governance issues but that they would not necessarily be willing to discuss it.


Flowers suggested that an outside advisory group might help address some of the problems by consulting with the entire department.  Shea suggested that a copy of the report should be sent to each faculty member in the department.  He stated that the faculty members could then be asked to react to the report.  Beck stated that she believes the members of the department received the report. 


Rapkin suggested that the Committee should bring the issue up with the Chancellor.  Moeller stated that the Committee should tell the Chancellor that it is concerned that there could be possible violations of faculty governance in the department.  She asked if the Chancellor has received a copy of the report.


The Committee agreed to invite Professor Lee, author of the report, to meet with the Committee to discuss it.  Beck suggested that the Committee could decide, after its meeting with Professor Lee, whether the Committee wants to meet with Dean Milligan. 


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Grade Rosters

Shea stated that a faculty expressed concern that he is not receiving all of the grade rosters for a cross-listed course.  Moeller stated that the professor should collaborate with the departments that the course is cross-listed with and ask that the rosters be sent to him/her. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:28 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, June 8th at 2:30 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.