UNL Academic Senate Meeting - November 5, 2002



East Campus Union, Great Plains Rooms

November 5, 2002

Presidents Tice Miller, John Wunder, and Miles Bryant, Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Appreciation of Division of Continuing Studies

President Miller recognized the Division of Continuing Studies for its service to Nebraska, the United States and to the International community as well.  He noted that 125,000 people were served each year by the Division.  He thanked all of the employees of the Division for their many years of dedication and service.  He pointed out that it is hard to see how the quality of the university can be enhanced with all of the budget cuts the university is receiving.


3.0      Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman echoed President Miller’s comments regarding the Division of Continuing Studies.  He noted that the Division has served Nebraska well and that there are many very talented and loyal people working there.  He noted that more budget cuts will mean that more people will be affected.   He noted that the University is not better off in anyway with the loss of the Division and other units in the university.


Budget Cuts:

Chancellor Perlman reported that the announcement of the budget cuts will not be made on November 11th because the Academic Planning Committee asked for an additional week so that they could review the hearings and work on their recommendations.  He stated that he wants to consult with the APC before making a public announcement of the cuts.  He stated that the cuts should be finalized and made public the week of November 18th.  He noted that the final approval of the cuts will need to be made by the Board of Regents.


Chancellor Perlman reported that the biennial budget request will be more difficult to make as the state deficit continues to increase.  He noted that most public universities across the country are experiencing the same difficulties.  He stated that it is important for people to contact the Governor and State Senators to let them know the consequences that further budget cuts will have on the university.


Gallup Climate Survey:

Chancellor Perlman stated that the Gallup survey is an important process.  He noted that talented faculty can reach their full potential only in an engaged climate.  He pointed out that some climates need improvement at the university.  He noted that the survey can be ignored if departments hold discussions on how to improve the climate for its employees. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that he has been asked numerous times if the survey will be used to evaluate chairs of departments.  He noted that administrators are, in part, responsible for what happens in their units.  He stated that chairs are responsible for programs and the climate within their units.  He pointed out that it is fair to hold chairs accountable for the climate in their departments should no improvements be made; however, he noted that no one will be fired strictly on the basis of the climate survey.  He stated that he does expect the Deans to ask chairs what was done in departments in response to the survey.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he believes that the scores from the survey will improve over time. 


Recruiting and Retention Report:

Chancellor Perlman noted that Associate VC Kean and Dean Cerveny will be reporting on the results of the evaluation study conducted by Noel-Levitz.  He stated that he is pleased with the results and stressed that faculty involvement was a critical element in recruiting students.  He noted that faculty can sell the academic side of the university better than anyone else on campus.  He noted that the change in the admission standards  has resulted in enrollment of high caliber students.  He pointed out that all of the students admitted can succeed and that the faculty should have a strong economic interest, as well as an academic interest,  in keeping students in school. 




Professor Negahban, Engineering Mechanics, stated that his department has met several times on the climate survey.  He reported that the department is concerned that there were no questions on the survey addressing the different levels of administration.  He asked if these questions will be addressed at a later time.  Chancellor Perlman stated that this is a challenging issue.  He noted that some questions may not apply to some departments.  He pointed out that the Gallup survey has the ability to deal with fairness and to raise issues to the next elevation, if appropriate.   He stated that the Gallup survey asks each department to select two questions to discuss.  He stated that some of the questions may pertain to the department level while some may be at a higher level.  He stated that he would discuss with Gallup how to make the survey clearer for the next time it is conducted.  Professor Negahban pointed out that the original survey mixed issues together.  He suggested that issues should be separated so they can be addressed accordingly.  Chancellor Perlman noted that if the department discussions indicate that issues pertain to a higher elevation, then the department should elevate them to the appropriate level.


4.0      Approval of 10/1/02 Minutes

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


5.0      Associate Vice Chancellor Kean and Dean Cerveny – Recruiting and Admissions Report

Dean Cerveny stated that the Noel-Levitz report was conducted to assess recruiting and retention at UNL.  He reported that they recommended that UNL should acquire new technologies to assist in recruiting since the system that was being used was 15 years old.  He reported that a new prospective tracking system and a new admissions system were installed which allowed for greater resources and flexibility in recruiting.  He stated that the admissions web site was expanded and updated. 


Dean Cerveny reported that Noel-Levitz recommended improving the campus visits of prospective students.  He noted that the campus visit is one of the most important aspects of recruiting.  He stated that in response to the recommendation, the admissions office staff has been restructured to attend to visitors’ services and for receiving phone calls.  He noted that there is now more of a focus on the academic life at UNL and the staff is working with the Deans on how college programs should be presented.  Dean Cerveny reported that the new visitors center should be opening in the spring semester.  He stated that there is now an undergraduate student recruiting board with student members representing each college.  He stated that they are making sure that the latest information on each college is available for prospective students. 


Dean Cerveny reported that other recommendations include maximizing the value of scholarships, reviewing recruiting strategies, and increasing direct mail contacts.  He noted that changes have occurred in regards to each of these areas, such as scholarships being awarded earlier, restructuring the admissions staff approach to recruiting, and increasing mail contacts. 


Associate VC Kean reported that the percentage of full-time returning students in 1996 was 74.3% and in 2000 it was 80%.  She stated that the Noel-Levitz consultants indicated that certain assets for retaining students, such as the Honors Program, UCARE, and learning communities were already in place, but there is a decentralized advising system which needs to be replaced.  She noted that the consultants indicated the need for UNL to focus on out-of-state and transfer students.  She reported that several groups have been targeted for increased attention.  These are:  sophomores, out-of-state students, general studies students, transfer students, and students of color.  She noted that the 5 year graduation rate is 48% but that UNL hopes to increase this to 55%. 


Associate VC Kean stated that the Noel-Levitz consultants recommended that the campus develop action plans that support the retention goals of the campus.  As a result, nine cross-cutting initiatives are being developed and implemented.  These include career exploration, support for students “at risk”, creating a central referral system, enhancing the campus climate for students of color, improving financial aid and scholarships, and renovating housing for upper students.  She noted that it is planned to have advisors go to where students gather rather than just expecting the students to go to the advising offices. 


Associate VC Kean stated that there will be periodic assessments of the progress of the retention plan and that she hopes to have academic units develop their own action plan for retaining students. 


Professor Grew, Geosciences, asked how it is decided which courses would be considered at risk.  Associate VC Kean stated that the at-risk courses are generally 100 -200 level courses and the decision is based on the grade distribution.  Professor Carlo, Psychology, asked what the plans are for enhancing the climate for students of color.  He suggested that there be outreach programs with the sororities and fraternities, or other student organizations.  Associate VC Kean stated that more faculty involvement is needed and that it is important to determine what the specific needs are for students of color. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, asked if the Talisma computer program is available for graduate students and whether it can be used at the department level.  Dean Cerveny stated that the program is available for graduate students but is not usable by the departments at this time.  He noted that the plan is to make it available for the entire campus. 


Professor Ford, English, stated that UNL has only half the number of foreign students compared to other universities.  He asked if there is a plan to increase the number of foreign students on campus.  Dean Cerveny noted that it is a challenging time for international recruiting due to the government’s new reporting system.  He stated that the university is committed to recruiting international students and that the admissions office is looking at new markets.  He pointed out that it is important to maintain a relationship with mid-eastern countries during this time.  He noted that there is interest in creating an Asian Development plan with Hong Kong.  He stated that the admissions enrollment plan has been shared with the Deans and Vice Chancellors and that he hopes to make it an annual planning process. 


Professor Diffendal, Conservation & Survey Division, asked if there is going to be adequate parking for the visitors center.  Dean Cerveny stated that the parking lot next to the Alexander Building will be strictly for visitors.  Professor Diffendal asked how visitors will know where to park.  Dean Cerveny stated that visitors will receive a pass and map showing the location of the parking lot if they call the admissions office.  He stated that he hopes to have signs indicating the parking area improved. 


Professor Wolf, English, asked if the Noel-Levitz report addresses non-traditional students.  Dean Cerveny stated that the report focused on traditional students.  He noted that previously the administration relied on the Division of Continuing Studies to address non-traditional students, but since it has been eliminated there will need to be discussions regarding these students. 


Professor Patton, English, pointed out that class visitations can be a useful tool in recruiting students.  She asked if the admissions office is involved in arranging class visitations.  Dean Cerveny stated that the admissions office has a large number of requests from prospective students to sit in on a class.  He stated that his office would like to develop a network of faculty that would be interested in participating in class visitations.  President-Elect Wunder suggested that the admissions office should solicit faculty to see who would be interested in letting a prospective student visit their class(es).  He noted that at other universities, department chairs routinely met with prospective students.  He suggested that one of the goals of the admissions office should be to insure that each prospective student gets an academic visit with a faculty member or chair.  Dean Cerveny stated that the campus visit is more influential when more faculty members  are featured.


Professor Hoffman noted that there was not much difference in the eight groups represented in the retention portion of the study.  He asked what the underlying differences were between the groups.  Associate VC Kean stated that the differences were actually small and that the groups had more in common than not. 


A question was asked whether recruiting is being conducted with students from the community colleges.  Dean Cerveny noted that students from the community colleges are heavily recruited by other schools. He noted that UNL hopes to be more involved in recruiting these students.  He stated that he and Associate VC Kean are working on reestablishing the Phi Theta Kappa organization which recognizes the top 10% of students transferring in from the community colleges.  Dean Cerveny noted that there are a number of issues the need to be addressed regarding recruiting transfer students.  He stated that he is currently working on a report to address this issue. 


Professor Martikainen, South Central Research & Extension Center, asked if the report was available on the web and what the best way is for faculty to provide support and input on recruiting and retaining students.  Associate VC Kean stated that the plan is to put the report on the web.  She stated that faculty input is definitely welcomed.  Dean Cerveny noted that everyone is involved in recruiting new students.  He stated that faculty who know of possible prospective students should email him or the admissions office.


6.0      Committee Reports

6.1  Academic Standards Committee (Professor Gregory)

Professor Gregory noted that although the membership on the committee is large, only 3 faculty members meet at a particular time to review academic appeals.  He stated that the appeals are turned around in less than one day.  Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, asked if the 49 students indicated in the report were readmitted.  Professor Gregory stated that they were.


7.0      Unfinished Business

            No unfinished business was discussed.


8.0      New Business

No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:06 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, December 3, at 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Great Plains Room.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.