UNL Academic Senate Meeting - September 4, 2001





September 4, 2001


Presidents Miles Bryant, Tice Miller, and Sheila Scheideler Presiding


1.0       Call to Order

            President Bryant called the meeting to order at 2:33 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

President Bryant welcomed the Senators to the start of a new academic year.  He stated that the new grading system is in place, although there are some minor problems with it that need to be fixed.  He reported that Information Services and Public Relations are working on a new format for the delivery of all-campus email messages.  He noted that this new format should be implemented sometime in October.  President Bryant reported that the Academic Planning Committee requested that Vice Chancellor Jackson investigate other ways of paying for the second parking garage.  He stated that she would be reporting to the APC sometime in the near future.


President Bryant reported that the Board of Regents approved the Intellectual Property Policy and the revised UNL Bylaws this summer.  He stated that the Executive Committee and the Academic Rights and Responsibilities Committee met this summer to work on the proposed revisions to the ARRC procedures.  He stated that he hoped that a summary of the changes would be presented to the Senate at the October meeting.


3.0       Chancellor Perlman

            3.1       Data on Salary Raises

Chancellor Perlman stated that a key issue being faced by the faculty is to commit the university to merit and quality.  He noted that one of the ways to make this commitment is through the faculty salary adjustments. He reported that he had heard both good and negative responses to the process and standards used in making the adjustments. Chancellor Perlman stated that the Board of Regents had as their number one priority an effort to bring faculty salaries up to the mid-point of our peer institutions.  He noted that the Governor and legislature agreed and strongly supported the university.


Chancellor Perlman reported that it is estimated that our peer institutions received an average 4% increase while UNL received a 6.3% increase.  He stated that a strong commitment to quality and to merit, as the primary basis for salary adjustment, needs to be made if we want to move the university forward.  He noted that significant salary adjustments are essential to keep UNL competitive.  He pointed out that we need to retain the quality faculty that we have and recognize those faculty members who could get offers elsewhere.  He stated that we need to recruit quality faculty and retain them by rewarding them appropriately. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the administration took into account the recommendations made by the Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee.  He noted that while the committee recognized the process that was used, he stated that they did recommend more money be retained at the department level.  He stated that all of the money that was designated for faculty was used strictly for faculty.  He noted this is the first installment that would bring us to the mid-point of our peers by the end of this biennium.  He pointed out that 4% went to the departments, the Deans retained 1.4%, and .9% was retained by the Vice Chancellors.  Satisfactory performance was set at 1.5%.  He stated that Chairs, Heads, and Deans were invited to apply for additional merit increases.  He pointed out that the Deans and Vice Chancellors were asked to make their adjustments in a way that would reinforce merit decisions at lower levels.  He noted that the guidelines stated that departments where the salary increment range is less than 6% should be prepared to justify the narrowness of the differences.  He pointed out that there was no requirement that departments had to reach a 6% differential between its highest increase and its lowest increase. He pointed out that he is certainly willing to work with the Senate to achieve a more consistent salary policy across the university. 


Chancellor Perlman presented information on the salary adjustments for 1,115 full-time, tenured or tenure track faculty, including chairs and heads.  He stated that 51.5% of faculty received at least a 6% increase, 15% of faculty received increases over 10%, and 11% received increases of less then 3%.  He noted that the minimum for satisfactory performance was 1.5%.  He pointed out that the cost of living increase was 3%, and 88% of the faculty received more than the minimum and at least a cost of living increase.  He stated that there is a fairly broad distribution of salary increases overall which indicates that the campus took the merit increases seriously, and tried to do it in the context to reward people who made contributions to the university.  He pointed out that men and women stayed about the same at all levels, although there was a slightly higher percentage of women faculty members who received more than 6%.  He noted that there were no discernable differences between faculty according to race or rank.  He stated that a breakdown of the colleges is available in the handout that was distributed. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he recognizes that consistencies are needed in terms of the process and what is recognized as merit.  He noted that work needs to be done to achieve greater consistency between annual evaluations and salary adjustments.  He stated that there needs to be more candid conversations between faculty and chairs about what a particular adjustment means.  Bryant pointed out that there has been conversation with individual faculty members.  He noted that it is important to insure that the system doesn’t treat some people unfairly.  He pointed out that it is important for faculty to provide input on this issue.


Professor Genoways, Museum, stated that the head of his department interpreted the guidelines as saying that there must be at least a 6% increment between people in order to be able to obtain the additional funding held by the dean or vice chancellor’s level.   He noted that in small units it is difficult to enforce this differential or approach it.  He pointed out that if it were enforced, you would see a bimodal distribution of salaries.  He suggested that data should be collected according to the size of the unit to see if this bimodal distribution of salary exists.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the guidelines were to set a tone and provoke thinking but were not steadfast rules that had to be adhered to.  He noted that there needs to be clearer and more detailed conversations with chairs in order to achieve consistency. 


President-Elect Miller asked if the Chancellor was satisfied with the process overall.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the process was handled differently in various departments.  He stated that there needs to be further conversations regarding the process.


3.2       Potential of Special Session of the Legislature

Chancellor Perlman reported that the state revenue shortfall could have implications for the university, although it is too early to tell what may be the full impacts.  He pointed out that while the university needs to acknowledge that it should take its fair share of the budget cutbacks, we need to articulate how a fair share is to be appropriated.  He stated that the university will present to the legislature the current budget which is built on a partnership between the government and the university, how the current budget is largely committed, and that this would be an inopportune time to make serious cuts since this is the first time in awhile that we can see substantial progress in the quality of the campus.  He pointed out that the university could assist in the economic recovery of the state.  He stated that we need to continue to act and to be a great university.  He noted that the administration is going forward with the prioritization process.  He stated that Senior Vice Chancellor Edwards and Vice Chancellor Owens would soon be releasing a document outlining how these priority programs should apply for additional funding. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that the Board of Regents would discuss quality and how it is measured at their next three meetings.  He noted that conversations will need to be held to discuss measures of quality.  He stated that the campuses would provide a list of measures to the Board for their October meeting.


4.0       Election of Executive Committee members

Joe Luther, Community and Regional Planning, and Mac Sawyer, Curriculum and Instruction, were elected to the Executive Committee.


5.0       Approval of 4/24/01 Minutes

Professor Diffendal, Conservation and Survey, moved and Professor Logan -Peters, Libraries seconded approval of the minutes.  Minutes approved.


6.0       Dr. Susanna Finnell, Director of Admissions

Dr. Finnell reported that the campus did well in recruiting even though we received fewer applications than in previous years.  She noted that the retention rate for freshmen has been increasing.  She pointed out that recruiting in state students is becoming more difficult as many seem to be going to community colleges.  She stated that all of the surrounding states, except for Colorado, will be seeing a decrease in the number of graduating high school students.  She reported that a survey of students indicated that they had a higher perception of Kansas, Kansas State, Creighton, and Iowa State universities.  Dr. Finnell stated that it is imperative that we improve the recruitment of out of state students.  She noted that the university has the lowest number of out of state students compared to our peer institutions.   She pointed out that the campus needs to work together to recruit students. She stated that students who have quality encounters with professors have a higher rate of enrollment.  She reported that several new positions have been created to assist in the recruiting effort.  She noted that her office is rewriting the Nexus program to assist in entering applications more quickly into the computer system.  She stated that the Office of Admissions has conducted a self-study that is being sent to outside professionals for review.  She stated the university has hired a consulting firm to assist in the areas of recruitment, financial aid impact, retention, and enrollment management.  She reported that Chancellor Perlman has formed Enrollment Management Council.


Professor Martikainen, South Central Research & Extension, asked for clarification on the students who were surveyed regarding the perception of Nebraska.  Dr. Finnell stated that the survey was conducted on 3000 students who applied to the university.  She stated that on all of the surveys, UNL’s academic reputation was lower.  Professor Martikainen, asked if there was information regarding how we rank with other institutions in regards to out-of-state tuition.  Dr. Finnell stated that it depends on the states that we are being compared to.  Professor Martikainen stated that it would be helpful to make this data available to extension personnel for them to use in recruiting students. 


 President-Elect Miller asked why this is such a history of the university doing poorly in recruiting students from Sarpy and Douglas county.  Dr. Finnell stated that UNO is now more popular and many students from these counties go out of state for higher education.  She pointed out that Nebraska high school students are good students being highly sought after by other schools around the nation.


Professor Ford, English, stated that the percentage of foreign students at UNL are half compared to our peer institutions.  He stated that both the presentation today and the Chancellor’s state of the university address, did not mention recruiting foreign students.  Dr. Finnell stated that they do have a position for recruiting international students.  She pointed out that most international students are transfer students and that there are very few scholarships at the undergraduate level for foreign students.  She noted that foreign students must pay the full tuition. 


It was pointed out that many of the small colleges are using media such as radio and television to advertise their colleges, yet UNL is not.  Dr. Finnell stated that they are doing some radio advertisements in the Omaha area and that IANR is embarking on a radio campaign. 


7.0       Committee Reports

            7.1       Commencement Committee (Professor Swanson)

Professor Swanson stated that the May 5th commencement ceremony was notable for being the largest graduating class since 1979 and for one undergraduate student earning three degrees.  She stated that HuskerVision has been used to produce a live video feed of the proceedings that were displayed on the Devaney Center big screens.  She noted that at the May proceedings, a newly installed mobility-impaired seating area in Devaney was used.  She reported that UNL is now an institutional member of the newly formed North American Association of Commencement Officers.  


7.2       Executive Committee Summer Report (President Bryant)

President Bryant asked for any questions regarding the report.  Professor van Roojen, Philosophy, stated that the Executive Committee minutes are often received too late for faculty to provide input on various issues.  He asked if a draft of the minutes could be sent out earlier.  President Bryant explained that the Executive committee meets every other week during the summer rather than every week and that was cause for the delay in minutes being distributed.  Griffin, Coordinator of the Senate, pointed out that, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, the minutes are considered the legal document for the organization and should therefore be approved before being distributed.


8.0       Unfinished Business

8.1       Motion to Approve Changes to the Syllabi of the University Judicial Board and Appeals Board

President Bryant stated that a motion was on the floor from the Committee on Committees to approve the recommended changes to the syllabi of the University Judicial Board and the University Appeals Board.  Professor Schaefer, Law, made the amendment to include in the syllabus of the Appeals Board, the following language “the Chancellor shall fill each faculty opening on the Board by selecting one person from the two nominations provided.”  Amendment seconded by Professor Prochaska-Cue, Family & Consumer Sciences.  Motion to approve the amendment passed.  Motion to approve the changes to the syllabi was approved.


9.0       New Business

            No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:28 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, October 2nd, in the City Campus, Auditorium.  Respectfully submitted, Karen Griffin, Coordinator and James King, Secretary.