Executive Committee Minutes - May 4, 2005




Present:          Alexander, Bolin, Flowers, Hoffman, Moeller, Peterson, Rapkin, Scholz, Shea, Stock


Absent:           Beck, Fech, Signal


Date:               Wednesday, May 4, 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

            Moeller called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.


2.0       Chancellor Perlman, VC Owens, SVCAA Couture

2.1       Plans for Dealing with Budget Shortfall

Moeller asked Chancellor Perlman if he has any ideas about how he will deal with the budget shortfall.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is still working on it.  He noted that it is unclear what the scope of the problem is at this time and therefore it is difficult to determine a strategy.  He stated that he will not be able to develop a strategy until the Legislature determines the University’s budget and more precise information is provided on the tuition revenue. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that there are many things going on at the State Legislature right now.  Peterson asked when the Legislature will make a decision on the state budget.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the last day the Legislature is to meet is on June 3rd so the decision on the budget will probably not be made until the end of May. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the budget situation is enrollment driven.  Moeller asked how enrollment is looking for the fall semester.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is the first year that an enrollment deposit is required and current figures are showing that enrollment for the freshmen class next year is up 300 students from last year.  He reported that figures for non-resident students, Omaha students, and minority students are all up.  He pointed out that the overall enrollment will still be down because there is a large senior class graduating in May and the current freshmen class is below normal levels of enrollment. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that two programs that are impacting the budget are the legacy program and the employee tuition remission program.  He noted that the figures for these programs have been escalating each year and cannot be controlled. 

Peterson asked when the Board of Regents will decide whether to increase tuition.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Board meets on June 10th and may make a decision at that time. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that the Board will also need to decide on salary increases.  He stated that a 3.95% increase for faculty members is being recommended but it is not clear when this increase would be effective.  He pointed out that the staff will receive a 3% increase which will need to be processed in June.  He stated that there is the possibility that increases for administrators and faculty members won’t be processed until later.  He noted that faculty members on 12 month appointments won’t receive their increases until August. 


2.2       Update on Child Care Facility

Moeller asked for an update on plans for a child care facility.  Chancellor Perlman stated that from his perspective the north side of the Whittier building is probably the best location for the child care facility. He noted that the university was presented with another opportunity to have a facility in the downtown area but it would not be as convenient, particularly for dropping children off.  He stated that he needs to hear from the campus what the preference is for the facility. 


Peterson asked if there is a lot of renovation work that must be done on the north Whittier building.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there is a small asbestos problem that needs to be dealt with along with some reconstruction and a new heating and air conditioning system needs to be installed.


Scholz asked about funding for the facility.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the funding will come from money that was donated from an estate.  He pointed out that this donation was made without a designation on what the money could be used for which allows him to use it for the child care facility.  He noted that this is one time funding that cannot be used toward the operating funds. 


2.3       Strategic Planning – The Next Step

Moeller asked what the next step will be in the planning process since the Deans and Directors have made their presentations.  She asked the administrators what they thought about the plans.   SVCAA Couture noted that the Deans and Directors gave a presentation of their plans over a two-day period.  She stated that the administrators were pleased with the presentations.  She reported that the Deans and Directors found collaboration across some of the units and they discussed how they could work together.  She pointed out that the written plans are more detailed than the presentations.


SVCAA Couture stated that the senior administrative team will look at each college plan and will respond back to each one over the summer.  She stated that the administrators will discuss how to get the rest of the campus involved in the next steps of the strategic planning process at their retreat in June.  She noted that once the Deans have received the responses from the administrators they will be able to rewrite their strategic priorities if necessary.  She stated that the strategic planning web page will eventually have the college priorities listed on it.


SVCAA Couture stated that Chancellor Perlman will address the strategic planning in his State of the University address in September.  She noted that there will be another retreat in October to work further on the plan.


SVCAA Couture reported that people have stated that they felt the planning process to be informative and they can see the value in an iterative planning process.  She noted that some of the iterative planning will be repetitive but overall it will hopefully be helpful.  She stated that they liked the idea of being able to link the plan with other planning projects.  She noted that the campus will be linking the NCA accreditation process to the strategic planning process and will be doing part of the self-study on the strategic plan if the process achieves some of the goals which are the core values.


SVCAA Couture stated that in addition to developing the strategic plan, Deans and Directors were required to fill out a template which addressed particular on-going issues such as climate, diversity, enrollment management, hiring, and space planning.  She noted that these templates will be useful for a number of groups including those looking at the diversity plans and the space committee.  She stated that the Enrollment Management Council will also look at the templates which will enable the campus to set enrollment priorities. 


SVCAA Couture stated that the hiring plans for the campus will be a response to the units’ strategic plan. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he has been reading the plans and he noted that they have met more then his expectations.  He stated that a number of intriguing ideas have surfaced.  He pointed out that the plans have indicated some sources of frustration which he might be able to help with.  Hoffman asked if these sources of frustration were at the college or department level.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the frustrations were expressed at the department level but the sources of these frustrations come from a variety of places. 


SVCAA Couture noted that each college handled the strategic planning process differently.  She stated that some college plans included each department plan while others did not.  Chancellor Perlman noted that there were different levels of detail in the various plans.  He stated that he hopes the process will engage discussion between the administration and Deans and lead to better management.  He pointed out that the self study accreditation process will be controlled but helpful.


VC Owens stated that he believed that the self-study accreditation process is a good process for the campus because it will be very helpful with the strategic planning.  He noted that November 6 – 8, 2006 is when the accreditation team is scheduled to visit the campus. 


VC Owens stated that when he started at UNL he inherited a long tradition of planning in the Institute.  He stated that it will be helpful to have this tradition of planning across the campus because it highlights areas of extreme importance. 


Moeller asked what the role of the faculty will be as the process moves along.  She asked where they can provide help.  SVCAA Couture noted that there were two campus forums held earlier in the semester where anyone on the campus could come and speak about the strategic planning process.  She stated that some of the colleges have been involved in strategic planning and have built on these earlier plans.  She reported that some colleges had their Executive Committees develop the plan while other colleges held open forums with the faculty members.  She stated that faculty members should talk with their chairs about where they feel they should get involved with the process.  She noted that this is the first time the campus has tried this type of format for strategic planning.  She stated that the administrators will discuss faculty input at the retreat and the possibility of having a chair workshop.


Chancellor Perlman stated his instincts are that faculty members should be directly involved in strategic planning although this is not a tradition everywhere.  He noted that he is not sure what process will work best but he and the Vice Chancellors will have a conversation about it.  He stated that if the department plans are more helpful, he may push the colleges to develop their plans to coincide more with the department plans.  He noted that issues do come up with differential faculty participation.  He stated that some plans are highly faculty driven while others are not. 


Chancellor Perlman suggested that the Senate could inquire at the unit level whether faculty members are happy with the level of their participation in faculty governance.  He pointed out that sometimes he only hears from a few people in a department and cannot judge whether the level of dissatisfaction is throughout the department or just amongst a few people.  Shea stated that the Executive Committee has been discussing conducting some kind of survey of the faculty since the Chancellor first suggested it several weeks ago.  He pointed out that it is necessary for the Senate and the Executive Committee to have a better understanding of how the faculty members feel on fundamental issues.  He noted that there are many instances when faculty members want to be engaged and they want to know they have the opportunity to be engaged. 


Moeller stated that she was an ACE fellow with former Chancellor Leitzel at the University of New Hampshire and during this time Chancellor Leitzel created a committee of 28 faculty members to develop a strategic plan.  She noted that there was a level of apathy but at the end of the year a plan was developed that faculty members accepted because so many faculty members had been involved in developing the plan.  She stated that there is the assumption that faculty members want to be involved in faculty governance but if they opt out then this is their choice.


SVCAA Couture stated that she assumed that every unit would develop a plan.  She noted that it is incumbent for units to develop a strategic plan.  She pointed out that most faculty members have said they have spent considerable time in developing a plan.  She noted that only one unit has stated that they have not been involved in creating the department plan.  She stated that the process was to start at the unit level and then work its way up through the administration.


            2.4       Update on Searches for Positions in Academic Affairs

Moeller asked what the status was on the searches for the Associate Vice Chancellor positions in Academic Affairs.  SVCAA Couture stated that she was in the process of making the final decisions and hopes to make an announcement possibly sometime next week. 


2.5       Possible Changes to Classification System of Faculty Positions (Sr. Lecturers, Lecturers)

Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not had much time to think about this issue but it is one that he wants to take a look at.  He stated that it will be a topic of discussion at the senior administrators’ retreat.  He noted that he has received a proposal from the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women about creating a different classification system based on modification of duties.  He stated that some other institutions have this kind of system and it is meant to help out faculty members with families.  He pointed out that he does not know where this will be in the campus priorities but it is something for the senior administrative team to consider. 


2.6       Issues on the Horizon

SVCAA Couture noted that plans to revise the general education program have not gone very far this year.  She reported that a team from UNL, including Past President Peterson will go to a conference on general education this summer.  She stated that a wide variety of institutions will be attending the conference and the main topic will be general education.  She stated that she hopes the team will be able to provide good information on the national trend in general education programs and that it will help revitalize plans to revise the program here.  She noted that this is an issue that she wants to work on.


VC Owens reported on the proposed vet program with Iowa State.  He noted that this is the 125th anniversary of Iowa State’s vet program and he pointed out that it was the first public university to have a vet school.  He reported that a team of UNL faculty members went to Iowa State to meet with faculty members there.  He noted that although it is difficult to get all of the necessary components in place for the program, progress is being made. 


VC Owens reported that the program has not been formally approved yet by the Coordinating Commission on Secondary Education and by the Board of Regents but all indications are that both parties will approve the proposal. 


VC Owens stated that if all goes according to plan the first 25 students in the program with Iowa State will begin in the fall of 2006.  He pointed out that faculty members will be hired in order to get the program up and running.


VC Owens stated that the search committee for the Dean of the Agricultural Research Division is vetting applications.  He noted that 46% of UNL grants and contracts came through the Division.  He pointed out that the search committee is looking for someone with experience in administering grants and contracts. 


Alexander asked if the vet program with Iowa State will enhance the ability to attract more students interested in large animals.  He pointed out that the state is in dire need of vets specializing in large animals.  VC Owens stated that this is a real problem for many agricultural states.  He pointed out that large animal vets often are on the lower end of the pay scale yet they work more hours.  He stated that the faculty has been toiling over the requirements for the large vet program.  He stated that there has been discussion on creating special scholarships and private loan forgiveness programs for students enrolling in the large vet program.  He noted that it is the vision of Iowa State to create the premier large animal vet program in the country in association with UNL.  He pointed out that the Vet Educational Center at Clay Center will provide the opportunity to make the large vet program more attractive. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he wants to get a search committee formed this summer for the position of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.  He noted that it is important that there be a transition period between the person hired to fill this position and outgoing Vice Chancellor Griesen.  Peterson asked if the Executive Committee will be suggesting names for the search committee.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Committee should be thinking of appropriate faculty members to serve on the committee. 


Hoffman noted that some states are linking their state university’s budget to enrollment.  He asked if there has been any discussion of that occurring here in Nebraska.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he has not heard of any discussions on this issue. 


Peterson reported that he met recently with Dr. Nunez and Lauren Drees of Institutional Research and Planning (IRP) to discuss and work on the gender equity model.  Peterson stated that he learned from Drees that the IRP office has a great deal of data that can be used to analyze issues such as student retention.  Peterson pointed out that the IRP office does not have any graduate students to assist in analyzing these data.  He suggested that creating a few graduate research assistantships with this office might be beneficial for both the office and the students. 


3.0       Approval of 4/27/05 Minutes

Shea stated that he would like to see a final draft version of the minutes before the committee approves them.  Griffin pointed out that sometimes she does not receive changes to the minutes until shortly before the meeting.   She noted that most changes are merely grammatical corrections or clarifications of what people say.  She pointed out that if any significant changes are made she sends another draft of the minutes out to the Committee.  Alexander suggested that a printed version of the latest draft of the minutes be brought to the meetings in case anyone wants to review them.  Flowers seconded the motion.  Motion approved. 


Flowers moved to approve the minutes as amended.  Alexander seconded the motion.  Motion approved. 


4.0       Unfinished Business

4.1       Changes to Academic Rights and Responsibilities Professional Conduct B Procedures.

Flowers asked if there is any further information regarding the changes made by the Office of Research to bring these procedures in compliance with federal regulations.  Griffin stated that Beck is going to speak with Professor Works regarding the changes and whether they are acceptable. 


6.0       New Business

            6.1       Executive Committee Summer Schedule

Griffin distributed copies of the summer schedule for the Executive Committee.  She pointed out that the Committee will meet two weeks in a row at the end of May because of the Chancellor’s schedule.  She stated that after May 25th the Committee will not meet with the Chancellor again until July 6th. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:46 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be on Wednesday, May 18th 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.