UNL Academic Senate Meeting - April 30, 2002



East Campus Union, Great Plains Rooms

April 30, 2002

Presidents Miles Bryant and Tice Miller


1.0      Call to Order

            President Bryant called the meeting to order at 2:34 p.m.


2.0      Announcements

No announcements were made.


3.0      Academic Senate Elections

            3.1  Election of UNL Academic Senate President Elect

            John Wunder, History, was elected as President-elect.


            3.2  Election of UNL Academic Senate Secretary

            James King, Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, was elected as Secretary.


            3.3  Election of UNL Academic Senate Executive Committee Members

Wes Peterson, Agricultural Economics and George Wolf, English were each elected to the Executive Committee of the UNL Academic Senate for a three year term.


3.4  Election of Committee on Committees Members

Richard Buhman, Industrial Systems Technology, and John Lindquist, Agronomy & Horticulture, were each elected to the Committee on Committees for a three year term.


            3.5  Recognition of New Senators

President Miller recognized and welcomed the newly elected senators.  He then presented President Bryant with an award in appreciation and recognition for his service as President of the Academic Senate.   Plaques recognizing the service of outgoing members of the Executive Committee were then presented to Kathy Prochaska-Cue, Family & Consumer Sciences, George Wolf, English, James King, Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, and Sheila Scheideler, Animal Science. 


4.0      Chancellor Perlman

            3.1  Issues on the Horizon

Chancellor Perlman congratulated and thanked President Bryant and the Executive Committee for their work during the past year.  He pointed out that this was a difficult year and although he and the committee did not always agree on all issues, he stated that there was always open dialogue. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the process of dealing with the latest round of budget reductions was moving forward with the Academic Planning Committee’s hearings this week.  He noted that he is open to recommendations from the APC.  He pointed out that the campus has achieved its goal of preserving the core of the academic institution.  He noted that he has been concerned over the reductions to the Teaching & Learning Center and Division of Continuing Studies.  He stated that part of the agenda for next year will be to find a way to manage without some of these services and to continue teaching.


Chancellor Perlman stated that while it has been a challenging year, it should not be overshadowed by the positive things that have developed on campus.  He noted that the priority programs are moving forward and that the campus will be able to invest in some of these programs in the upcoming academic year.  He stated that the opening of some of the new buildings on campus will have great impact on those programs that will be housed in them.  He noted that research on campus, both for faculty and students receiving grants, has increased this past year. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that improvements are being made in the recruiting rates of students since the admissions office made changes recommended by the consultants.   He noted that these changes should have a direct impact on the retention rates as well. 



Chancellor Perlman pointed out that one positive thing to come out of the budget reductions was to see the number and breadth of support from the legislature and the general public across the state for the university.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he tried to preserve the salary increases as best he could, given the budget situation.  He stated that estimates are indicating that our peer institutions are receiving salary increases of 3.7%.  He stated that this will still leave UNL below its peers, but only by 1.97%.  He stated that it may still be possible to make further gains, depending on the final outcome of statistics that still need to be gathered. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the salary guidelines have been sent out.  He stated that he is still committed to merit increases over a flat increase but because of the rising cost of benefits, those employees on the lower end of the pay scale will receive either $600 or a 1.5% increase, whichever is greater, for satisfactory performance.  He noted that it is becoming exceedingly more difficult to recruit staff and managerial people, particularly with the increases in parking and health care benefits.  He pointed out that each salary pool can accommodate the $600 increase and that no money will be taken from any of the salary pools to help offset the costs in another pool..


Chancellor Perlman reported that the distribution of the funds for the salary increases will be 3% for the units, 1% for the Deans, and .56% for the Vice Chancellors.  He noted that he eliminated from the guidelines the need for a range of salaries within the units and the requirement of a 6.3% increase for a faculty member to be considered for additional merit increase.  He pointed out that the following clause has been inserted into the guidelines:  “there must be an understandable relationship or translation from annual evaluations to salary increases and this relationship should be explainable by Chairs and Deans to faculty members.”  He pointed out that the university is committed to having a process in which faculty members understand the rationale behind the amount of increase they were given. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the quality indicators will more than likely not be completed by the end of the year.  He noted that it is important for the campus to figure out a way to measure whether improvements are being made.  He pointed out that it is understood that everything that matters will not be included in the quality indicators.  He stated that the purpose of the indicators is to measure the institution, and they are not to serve as a substitute for annual evaluations.  He noted that most conversations about the indicators are occurring at the department level where the lists are developed.  He pointed out that the university is a complex institution and that the administration attempted to find indicators that would fit the majority of the units.  He pointed out that the administration is aware that cutting edge journals exist, but there needs to be a limited number of factors that can be measured to determine quality. 


Professor Kathlene, Political Science, stated that she was upset after reading the article on the quality indicators in the Daily Nebraskan because of the systematic journal rankings within her department.  She stated that there is a huge incongruity between what her department lists as top journals and what is considered nationally as top journals.  She pointed out that researchers working in the areas of race and gender do not often get published in some of these leading journals in her field.  She stated that the process of determining top journals in the departments is very ad hoc and that it would be helpful for the administration to require each department to justify the rankings of their journals.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this was a fair comment that he would look into.


Professor Martikainen, South Central Research & Extension, thanked the Chancellor for his work in dealing with the challenge of the budget cuts.   He asked if there were any appropriate ways for the university to thank the entire legislature, as well as the supporters of the university, for the tough budget decisions and hard work they did this year.  Chancellor Perlman stated that there were a number of things that the faculty could do to show their appreciation.  He noted that the Senate can speak as a body, although he pointed out that this could be construed as self serving.  He noted that people can individually thank their legislators.  He suggested that the Senate adopt a resolution thanking the legislature for its support of the university.  He stated that another, indirect way of thanking the legislature is for everyone to work harder to justify the greatness of the university.


5.0      Approval of 4/2/02 Minutes

Professor Logan-Peters, Libraries, moved and Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, seconded approval of the minutes.


6.0      Committee Reports

            6.1  Honors Convocation (Professor Martin)

Professor Martin reported that the Honors Convocation ceremony was split into two separate ceremonies this year.  She stated that the Rising Scholars were honored on April 12th and University Scholars were honored on April 13th.  She noted that other scholars were honored separately at ceremonies hosted by their colleges.  She reported that faculty members receiving awards were honored at either one of the ceremonies.  She stated that the Honors Convocation committee will be reviewing and discussing the ceremonies this year to see if they can make improvements for next year.  She stated that the committee will also be looking at grade inflation.  She pointed out that the number of students receiving honors has grown to an overwhelming number with some colleges having a third of their students receiving honors awards.


            6.2  Teaching Council (Professor Shoemaker)

Professor Shoemaker, School of Accountancy, stated that a copy of the report was sent in the Senator’s packet.  He asked if there were any questions on the report.


6.3  Graduate Council (Dean Lawson)

Dean Lawson reported that the Graduate Council approved two programs:  a Ph.D. degree in Survey Research and Methodology, and Masters of Architectural Engineering.  He state that 8 specializations were approved for existing majors and 1 specialization was approved for an existing minor.  He reported that the Graduate Council approved unanimously to support the change in grading options by adding minus grades.  He noted that no changes have been made to the Scholastic Grade Requirements statement.  He stated that the Council recently removed the 3 year doctoral candidacy period.  He stated that the previous 3 year doctoral candidacy was deemed to be counter productive to graduate students.  President Miller thanked Dean Lawson for his years of service and effort as Dean of the Graduate Council and Dean of International Studies. 


            6.4  Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (President Miller

President Miller reported that the committee met three times this year.  He stated that they provided advice to administration on the distribution of faculty salary increases.  He noted that the distribution percentages were similar to last year’s.  He thanked SVCAA Edwards for his assistance and for removing the range requirements for departments from the guidelines. 


6.5  Executive Committee (President Bryant)

President Bryant gave a slide show interpretation of his life as Academic Senate President.


7.0      Unfinished Business

7.1  Motion to Approve Computing General Privacy Policy

Professor Jackson, Chair of the Computational Services and Facilities Committee, stated that the computing general privacy policy was a collaborative effort between the committee and staff of Information Services.  The motion was approved.


8.0      New Business

No new business was discussed.


9.0      Presentation of the Academic Freedom Award to Professor George E. Wolf (Professor Moshman, SVCAA Edwards)

The Academic Freedom Award was presented to Professor George Wolf, English, for his commitment and service to academic freedom.


10.0    Reception for Professor George E. Wolf

A reception was held in honor of Professor Wolf receiving the James A Lake Academic Freedom Award.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:07 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, September 3, at 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.