UNL Academic Senate - February 4, 2003



East Campus Union, Great Plains Rooms

February 4, 2003

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


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Opening of Renovated Sheldon Art Gallery

Janice Driesbach, Director of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, announced the reopening of the gallery will be on February 15th from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.  She encouraged all faculty members to attend the opening.  A slide show and hand out on activities of the gallery was presented.


3.0      SVCAA Edwards

SVCAA Edwards reported for the Chancellor who was out of town.  SVCAA Edwards reported that all three finalists for the Dean of Undergraduate Studies have been interviewed.  He noted that he hopes to meet with the search committee on January 15th and plans on making a decision shortly thereafter.


SVCAA Edwards reported that he will be working with the Senate Executive Committee to review internal processes that consume a great deal of faculty time.  He stated that the goal is to reduce these internal processes. 


SVCAA Edwards announced that the second Gallup survey will not be conducted until the fall semester.  He noted that the reasons for the delay were outlined in the Chancellor’s recent email message to all faculty and staff.


SVCAA Edwards reported that the Board of Regents formally amended and adopted the retirement incentive package.  He stated that the deans now have formal contracts to use.  He noted that faculty members have until April 30th to sign up for the package.  He pointed out that the retirement incentive program does not have the same deadline date as regular retirements.  He stated that anyone having questions regarding the retirement incentive program should speak with their dean, Associate Vice Chancellor Jacobson, Assistant Vice Chancellor Moeller, or Greg Clayton, Director of Risk Management & Benefits.


SVCAA Edwards stated that the apportionment project is nearly completed.  He noted that some colleges did not have a formal contract with faculty members stating their apportionment of duties. 


SVCAA Edwards reported that the administration is already involved in planning for the anticipated budget cuts.  He stated that the deans have been asked to present an initial proposal of their cuts.  He noted that UNL has already lost 8% of its budget.  He stated that if the Governor’s recommendation goes through, the campus will have a total of 16% removed from its budget.  He pointed out that highly valued programs will be eliminated and the cuts will affect the university’s ability to operate.  He stated that the final budget cuts may not be known until June 2nd.   He noted that the new fiscal year begins on July 1, leaving little time for the budget cutting process to take place.  He stated that the members of the Academic Planning Committee have already been notified of the legislative schedule and they are aware that they may have to meet during the summer months. 


SVCAA Edwards stated that Chancellor Perlman would like to make an initial proposal on the cuts by April 1st.  He stated that the Chancellor plans to keep the campus informed during the budget cutting process.  SVCAA Edwards reported that President Smith intends to announce on March 10th what the proposed cuts will do to the university. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, asked if there was any indication how many people would be participating in the retirement incentive program and what would happen if not enough people signed up for it.  SVCAA Edwards stated that $100,000 would need to come from IANR and $400,000 from City Campus in order for the retirement incentive to be considered successful.  He stated that the administration believes that they will be able to make this goal.  He noted that there is more interest in the program since a template of the contract has been distributed to the deans. 


Professor Sherrard, Civil Engineering, asked if there has been a forecast of a tuition increase.  SVCAA Edwards stated that he did not know if there would be a tuition increase.  He noted that universities in states around Nebraska are approving substantial increases in tuition.  He pointed out that our tuition is still one of the lowest of the Big 12 schools. 


4.0      Approval of 1/14/03 Minutes

Professor Logan-Peters, Libraries, moved that the minutes be approved.  Professor Jackson, Food Science & Technology, seconded the motion.  Motion approved.


5.0      Committee Reports

5.1  Convocations Committee (Professor Voeltz)

Professor Voeltz reported that 28 awards were granted this year compared to 25 last year.  He stated that the committee meets twice a year after the deadline dates for submission of applications.  He noted that deadline dates for the awards are published in the Scarlet and Daily Nebraskans and the committee hopes to have notification of the deadlines distributed by email this coming year.  Past President Bryant asked if the committee has considered changing the deadline dates.  Professor Voeltz stated that they would remain with the two deadline dates unless the number of applications increases significantly.


5.2  Curriculum Committee (Professor Skopp)

Professor Skopp reported that the committee dealt with over 400 action items this past year.  He reported that the issue was raised whether the oral component of IS courses could be accomplished by distance classes.  He noted that the committee agreed that it could be accomplished through various methods.  He pointed out that the committee agreed with the guiding principles for IS courses, but felt that it was still the college’s discretion as to how it approached IS proposals.  Professor Skopp reported that the committee is developing guidelines of operation and that they hope to develop a checklist of guidelines for faculty to use.


President Elect Wunder asked how often course proposals are sent back for revision.  Professor Skopp reported that 8 items were tabled this year.  He stated that the biggest problems are with the course descriptions. 


Professor Hoffman asked if the committee preferred getting a large number of proposals at one time or whether they preferred getting a smaller number spread out over a period of time.  Professor Skopp stated that some work is done routinely and that it did not really make a difference.  He noted that departments being merged usually have a large number of changes that need to be reviewed. 


President Elect Wunder reported that the Executive Committee will be meeting with some members of the Curriculum Committee to discuss reforming the ES/IS courses.  He pointed out that it takes a long time for these course proposals to be processed.  He asked if there was a way of streamlining the process.  Professor Skopp stated that the length of time could be a result of specific department and college processes.  He noted that the timing of the submission of the proposal plays a factor as well since proposals submitted in the spring often take longer due to the summer break. 


5.3  Committee on Committees (Professor Mering)

Professor Mering reported that the committee issued a spring call for volunteers.  She reported that the total number of responses for this academic year is approximately 100.  She asked senators to encourage their colleagues to volunteer to serve on campus committees.


5.4  Honorary Degrees Committee

Associate to the Chancellor Howe stated that the nominees for honorary degrees which the Senate voted on in December were approved by the Board of Regents.  He stated that five applications were submitted for the Pound Howard Award. 


6.0      Draft Ballot for Academic Planning Committee, Academic Rights & Responsibilities Committee, and Academic Rights & Responsibility Panel

President Miller noted that a copy of the draft ballot was distributed to the Senators in their packet.  He stated that the ballot will be voted upon in March and any revisions or additions should be presented at the March meeting.




7.0          <![endif]>Pound Howard Award Election

Associate to the Chancellor Howe asked the members of the Senate to vote on the ballot they received at the beginning of the meeting.  He asked that the information on the nominee be kept confidential.


8.0      Unfinished Business

            8.1  Faculty Forums

President Miller announced that, in response to the request made by Senators Beck and May, the Executive Committee will hold two faculty forums to discuss faculty governance issues.  He stated that the meetings will be held on Tuesday, February 25th at 3:00 pm in the East Campus Union, and Wednesday, February 26th at 3:00 pm, in the City Campus Union.  Rooms will be posted. 


9.0      New Business

9.1  Motion on Implementing the New Grading System

Professor Ford, English, proposed the motion that “the principle for implementation of the new grading system at UNL states that no alteration in the grading system at UNL may result in the lowering of standards”.  Professor Ford stated that evidence suggests the implementation of the grading system has gone smoothly and without any unforeseen problems.  He noted that the Grading and Examinations Committee is reviewing the implementation of the new system.  He pointed out that the implementation of a new system does require decisions to be made, including decisions about whether standards will lower or raise. 


Professor Ford stated that a new issue raised in the Daily Nebraskan regarding the requirements for Regents scholars prompted him to write the above motion.  He stated that while some view the worth of grades differently among colleges, the standards should not fall as a result of the new grading system.  Professor Wolf, English, seconded the motion.  The motion will be voted on at the March 4th meeting.


9.2    <![endif]>Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics

President Miller stated that he received an email message from Professor Bradford, Law, stating that the full Senate should decide whether UNL should designate a representative to the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics.  President Miller stated that the Executive Committee has been trying to gather information on the coalition and that he is meeting with the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee to ask them to investigate the coalition further. 


President Elect Wunder clarified that the Executive Committee has not designated a representative to the coalition.  He pointed out that even though 10 of the Big 12 schools have joined the coalition, the committee felt that more information about the coalition’s agenda is needed before any decision can be made.  He noted that the President of the Faculty Senate at Okalahoma State University, Professor Lawry, has volunteered to get information on the coalition to UNL.  President Elect Wunder noted that the intent of the Executive Committee was to ask Professor Lawry to provide information to UNL, not to act as a representative of UNL.  President Elect Wunder stated that the Executive Committee wants to bring more information to the Senate so that they can make the decision on whether or not to have a UNL representative to the coalition.


Professor Carlo, Psychology, stated that he supports getting as much information as possible on the coalition.  He noted that difficult questions need to be asked about athletics on campus.  He pointed out that the university needs to stick to its core mission which is to provide education. 


President Miller stated that the Executive Committee will try to get more information.  He hoped that the issue will be brought to the Senate by the end of the semester.  Professor Fuller, Art & Art History, wanted to make it clear that no one has been selected to represent UNL in the coalition. 


9.3    <![endif]>Poll on Presentation by UNK and UNO Bargaining Representatives

President Miller stated that the response to the poll indicated that senators were overwhelmingly in support of hearing a presentation by the UNK and UNO bargaining representatives.  He stated that he would try to arrange the presentation for the March 4th Senate meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:32 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, March 4, at 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.