UNL Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes - December 2, 2003




City Campus Union, Auditorium

December 2, 2003

Presidents John Wunder, Wes Peterson, and Tice Miller


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

            2.1  Recall Proposal

President Wunder stated that there was some confusion regarding the proposal to recall a senator that he needed to clarify.  He stated that the proposal was presented in good faith to some senators but that it is only a proposal, not a motion.  He reported that he has forwarded the proposal to the Senate Rules and Bylaws Committee to examine. He stated that Professors John Bender, Ann Mari May, and David Jackson were members of the Committee.  He noted that the Committee will report to the Senate sometime during the spring semester on the proposal.  He stated that the Bylaws Committee is also looking into two other matters that they will also report on.


2.2  Follow Up on Research Council Report

President Wunder reported that Professor Ragsdale, Chair of the Research Council, provided more information regarding the categories of grants and how they were divided.  President Wunder stated that the additional information included a definition of interdisciplinary grants.  He noted that the additional information was included in the Senate packet.


3.0      Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman was unable to attend the meeting due to illness.


4.0      Approval of 11/4/03 Minutes

Professor Stick, Educational Administration, moved and Professor Germer, Southeast Research & Extension Center, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


5.0      Honorary Degrees Election

The Senate voted on the two candidates nominated to receive honorary degrees.  Assistant to the Chancellor Howe asked that the nominations be kept confidential because they needed to be approved by the Board of Regents before they are notified.


6.0      Unfinished Business

            6.1  Motion to Revise Syllabus of Campus-Wide Committees

Professor Fowler, Chair of the Committee on Committees, asked that the motion to revise the syllabus be postponed until the January meeting.  He stated that the Committee was still waiting to hear from a department regarding what definition they want to be classified under.  He pointed out that any department can request a change in their classification.  He stated that the department should notify the Committee that they wish to be changed and the Committee would consider the matter and present it to the Senate for approval.


            6.2  Wasted Time Proposal

President Wunder stated that the Executive Committee agreed that the report of the Wasted Time Committee should be accepted and that each individual area of concern identified in the report should be individually reviewed and addressed by various campus committees.  However, he stated that the Executive Committee needed to get a sense of the Senate whether the identified processes should be reviewed for possible changes. 


President Wunder asked Senators to indicate whether they support a review of the graduate curriculum.  The Senate strongly endorsed this proposal. 


President Wunder asked Senators to indicate whether they support a review of the undergraduate curriculum.  Professor Spencer, English, stated that his department has some concerns regarding the proposed changes to the ES/IS programs and that they want the Senate to have a full discussion on it.  President-Elect Peterson noted that the Wasted Time Committee realized that some items in their report were already being worked on.  He stated that the proposal to revise the ES/IS programs will be addressed separately and that the Senate will have full discussion on it. 


Professor Signal, Advertising, stated that she is currently serving on the University Curriculum Committee and that the Committee is beginning to make changes on how requests for new courses or deletion of courses are handled.  She stated that the Colleges of Fine and Performing Arts and Journalism are involved in testing electronic submissions.  She noted that the Curriculum Committee is concerned about what its role will be with some of the proposed changes. 


President Elect Peterson asked what committee should review the changes proposed by the Wasted Time Committee.  President Wunder stated that the University Curriculum Committee would review the changes.  Secretary Fuller noted that Dean of Undergraduate Studies Rita Kean should also be involved in the review.  The Senate strongly endorsed review of the undergraduate curriculum.


President Wunder asked the Senate to consider reviewing the academic review process.  He noted that the Academic Planning Committee would be involved in the review of the process.  Assistant to the Chancellor Howe suggested that the policies of the Coordination Commission on Postsecondary Education should be reviewed to see what it requires for academic program reviews.   President Wunder stated that a form could possibly be devised that accommodated the requirements of the Commission and the Board of Regents on academic reviews.  The Senate strongly endorsed the proposal to review the academic program review process.


President Wunder stated that the Wasted Time Committee recommended that reviews of tenured faculty members be conducted every two years instead of every year.  He noted that the Committee suggested that there should be a provision for faculty who want to be reviewed in an off year.  Professor Bauer, Northeast Research & Extension Center, suggested that fully promoted faculty members without tenure should be included in the proposal.  Professor Harbison, Chemistry, stated that he did not believe that annual reviews were a major waste of time.  Professor Stock, English, stated that in some departments the process is a major waste of time.  He stated that his department is in favor of opting out of the annual reviews.    Professor Cohn, Mathematics, stated that his department already conducts annual reviews every other year and that the form they use is available on the web.  He pointed out that the review process is working well in his department.  The Senate gave strong support for the review of the need to conduct annual evaluations on tenured faculty members.


President Wunder noted that the amount of documentation submitted for promotion and tenure reviews is in excess of what is necessary.  Professor Harbison asked what documentation should be left out.  Past President Miller noted that some information in the files is helpful at the department level but that it doesn’t need to go to the college level.  President Wunder pointed out that there is tremendous disparity among the colleges as to what is required in the files.  The Senate strongly endorsed the review of the documentation needed for promotion and tenure review. 


President Wunder stated that the Committee suggested that the process of obtaining administrative approval of external funding requests could be simplified.  He noted that Vice Chancellor Paul is reviewing the possibility of obtaining these approvals electronically.  Professor Carlo, Psychology, suggested that the approval process for IRB’s should also be streamlined.  President Wunder noted that this was not in the report but that it is something that could be discussed.  He pointed out that federal regulations might have certain requirements that need to be considered.  Professor Flowers, Psychology, stated that there have been some significant delay problems with the IRB process but some action may be taking place to streamline the process.  He stated that the Senate’s encouragement to streamline the IRB process would be helpful.  The Senate strongly endorsed reviewing the administrative approval of external funding requests.


7.0      New Business

7.1  Motion on President’s Salary

President Wunder stated that the Executive Committee presented a motion urging the Board of Regents to set a salary that is commensurate with the duties and responsibilities of the President of the University.  President Elect Peterson noted that the motion would be voted on at the January meeting. 


Professor Barnes, Music, asked if the Executive Committee knew what the average salary is of presidents at our peer institutions.  He asked if the president’s salary is being funded by private entities.  President Wunder stated that the current salary of the president is listed in the base budget but additional funds would not be listed.  He reported that the current salary of the NU president is within the framework of the average salary of our peer institutions.  He noted that the President received an increase in his salary last year to bring him up to the average of our peers. 


Assistant to the Chancellor Howe suggested that the Committee should look at the Chronicle of Higher Education, particularly at the recent incident that occurred at the University of Georgia.  He stated that the motion is needed.  President Wunder reported that the President of the University of Georgia fired a popular Athletic Director which made the Board of Regents at the university unhappy.  As a result, the foundation decided to remove additional funds that the President received.


Professor DiMagno, Chemistry, stated that the word average should not be used.  He pointed out that word median salary should be used instead of average.   President Wunder pointed out that any amendments to the motion should be made at the January meeting.


Professor Moeller, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, stated that $600,000 is more money than the President of the United States makes.  That is an awful lot of money in a place like Nebraska, especially when you try to evaluate the President of a University.  She noted that the indicators that are used in evaluating a President are so ambiguous it is difficult to determine if they are doing a good job.  Traditionally the barometers they use, such as those in the U.S. World & News Report are lacking in validity.  According to a report she recently read on why Presidents become Presidents of Universities, salary has little to do with why a President chooses that profession.  The report indicated that it has more to do with the person’s commitment to the institution and wanting to do a good job.  She stated that a $200-$300,000 salary in a time of financial exigency is a reasonable amount of money.  She pointed out that to set a precedent to give a salary of $600,000 in a time when the rest of us are only getting a $300 increase, and our raises are based on performance indicates, seems to be a basically unjust thing to do. 


Professor Archer, Anthropology and Geography, asked why there should be any supplemental income at all.  Assistant to the Chancellor Howe pointed out that the base salary is stipulated by the State.  He noted that any additional perks are marginal items such as the use of a car.    President Elect Peterson pointed out that they need to be careful with the motion on the issue of supplemental income because there are chaired professors who receive supplemental funding.


            7.2  Motion on ES/IS Proposal

President Elect Peterson stated that the committee to review the ES/IS programs met about twelve times.  He noted that a complete list of the members was included in the report.  He stated that the proposal is a result of deliberations the committee had regarding the programs.  He stated that a motion would be made today but that the Senate would not vote on it until January. 


President Elect Peterson stated that the main proposed changes are:  to change the name “Essential Studies” to “General Education Requirements”; students must take one course in each of eight subject matters for a total of eight courses; two of the eight subject matters would have a name change – “Communications” would be “Written Communications” and “Human Behavior, Culture and Social Organization” would be renamed “Social Sciences”; lists of courses for each subject matter area will be generated by academic units and colleges and only they can add or delete courses from the list.  Peterson noted that the justification for the changes is in section three of the report. 


President Elect Peterson stated that the committee believes that the curriculum for departments and colleges belongs to the faculty; however, the general education requirements should belong to the university.  He stated that the committee agreed that all colleges should accept the courses listed under the general education requirements if the proposal is approved by the college curriculum committees.


President Elect Peterson stated that the committee wanted to retain the objectives of the IS program but they think that the responsibility for these courses should be given back to the departments.  He noted that the goals of the IS program are laudable but the current structure of the program does not allow these goals to be met.  Departments would be charged with developing plans to achieve the original IS objectives and these plans would be part of the department’s annual assessment report as well as periodic academic program reviews. 


President Wunder stated that the discussion and vote on the proposal would take place in January.  He stated that he suspects that there will be amendments to the motion and he suggested that Senators contact either himself or President Elect Peterson so that any proposed amendments can be distributed to other senators. 


President Elect Peterson pointed out that if the curriculum committee of each college approves the proposal it would probably go into the 2005 bulletin.  If the colleges vote the proposed changes down, the current ES/IS programs would be retained. 


Professor Harbison asked that the expression “consideration of diversity” be changed back to the original expression in the IS description which reads “considerations of diversity, where appropriate.”  President Elect Peterson stated that this would be done.


Professor Stock, English, stated that the proposal has generated a lot of excitement in his department and that they want to have a full discussion on it.  He asked if it could be put on the web for faculty members to see.  President Elect Peterson stated that this could be done (ESISproposal.htm).


Professor Cohn, Mathematics, stated that the undergraduate advisor in his department wanted to get clarification regarding uniformity across campus on the programs.  He asked if his department would have to consider a 400 level statistics course taught outside the department as a 400 level course.  He pointed out that his department considers one such course to be equivalent to a 100 level course.  President-Elect Peterson pointed out that the only place where the level of a course is taken into account in the current system is in the IS program, not the ES program which is where the courses in question are currently listed.  The proposed changes include no course-level requirements and no suggestion that a department would be required to count a 400-level course from another department as such if that course were taken by a student.  President Elect Peterson noted that advisors could counsel their students to take particular courses in each category if they felt that those courses, as opposed to others on the list, were more appropriate for their majors.


Professor Crawford, Classics & Religious Studies, asked if the ES/IS programs would be voted on separately.  President Elect Peterson stated that this could happen but the sense of the committee was not to break the proposal into separate sections.  Professor Crawford noted that some people might like the first part of the proposal but not the other part. 


President Elect Peterson moved that the changes outlined in the proposal by the ES/IS Review Committee be accepted and referred to the colleges.  Professor Stick, Educational Administration, seconded the motion.  President Wunder stated that he wanted to specifically thank President Elect Peterson and the members of the committee for all of the hard work they did in dealing with a very complicated issue. 


8.0      Committee Reports

            8.1      University Judicial Board and Appeals Board

Dr. Hecker, Director of Student Judicial Affairs, thanked the Senate for providing him with the opportunity to present the information and introduce himself since he just recently started working at UNL.  He pointed out that his office believes that the education process is pre-eminent and he and his staff are there to support the work of the faculty.  He stated that his goal is to have his office open and available for faculty members to report any kind of student misconduct.  He noted that his office also serves as a resource for faculty members and staff.  He pointed out that most cases brought before the judicial board involved violations of the alcohol policy.  He stated that some students are receptive to the decisions while others need to be more actively engaged before they accept the decision. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, asked if the procedures for dealing with academic dishonesty were adequate or whether they should be changed.  Dr. Hecker stated that most of these cases are handled at the local level, usually by the professor or department.  He stated that it is important that due process be followed in any of these cases.  He did not see any problems with the current procedures. 


President Wunder noted that there was still a faculty vacancy on the Appeals Board.  He asked Senators to let him know if there are any faculty members willing to serve on the Board.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, January 13, at 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Great Plains Room.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.