UNL Academic Senate Meeting - September 9, 2003



East Campus Union, Great Plains Room

September 9, 2003

Presidents John Wunder, Wes Peterson, and Tice Miller


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Welcome Back

President Wunder welcomed the Senators back from the summer break.  He noted that good things have happened on campus but tragedies have occurred with the loss of several students.  Wunder reported that additional budget cuts were made resulting in 15 tenured faculty members scheduled to be terminated.  He pointed out that the number of tenured faculty who received termination letters is now at 23, but this does not include other faculty and staff.  He noted that the Academic Planning Committee will be holding hearings soon on the latest round of cuts.


2.2  Deans and Directors Meeting

Wunder reported that he attended the Chancellor’s Deans and Directors meeting.   He stated that he was asked at the meeting what the Senate would be focusing on this academic year.  He reported at the meeting that the Senate has formed the ES/IS Review Committee to reform these courses, the Time Wasted Committee is looking into procedures and processes that could be changed to create less work for faculty, and a committee has been formed to look into child care problems.  He noted that he hopes to have an informational session for the Senate regarding the bargaining units at UNO and UNK, and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee is investigating the Intercollegiate Athletics Coalition.  Wunder stated that he would like to see an assessment of tenure and where it resides for faculty.  He stated that he wants to engage the Senators in small group discussions during the academic year. 


3.0      Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman welcomed the faculty back and stated that he hoped it would be a more enjoyable year for everyone although he did not know what would transpire during the year.  He reported that he and the Senate Executive Committee have had a number of good conversations over the summer.  He noted that he shares the view that the Senate has the opportunity to address issues that affect the quality of the institution.  He pointed out that we are not done building a great university. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he had nothing new to report to the Senate since the State of the University Address although he wanted to emphasize firmly and irrevocably that he is not interested in succeeding President Smith. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that he and President Wunder have been working on forming the search committee for the position of Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.  He noted that this is a critical position for the campus.  He stated that searches are successful because faculty members who are engaged in the national academic community bring forward names to the search committee for consideration.  He encouraged the faculty members to nominate people they feel would be a good candidate for the position.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he would like faculty members to think about the serious threats that are occurring to faculty workloads and times.  He noted that this is a phenomenon that is happening across the United States and it is not due just to budget cuts.  He pointed out that trends have shown this problem developing for some time now.  He stated that it is important for the UNL campus to have conversations regarding this issue. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that we need to have serious conversations regarding how we teach and conduct research.  He noted that these discussions need to take into consideration how much time is available for faculty members to complete their work.  He pointed out that it is critical that the work needs to be fulfilling for the faculty member as well as the university.  He encouraged faculty members to participate in conversations with people in their department and college about the issue.



Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, stated that the Antelope Valley Project is going to create real parking problems for students.  He pointed out that Lot 10 north of Nebraska Hall will be closed displacing 104 faculty and staff parking spaces.  He asked where people are supposed to go for parking.  Tad McDowell, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, stated that the Lot 10 north of Nebraska Hall will be moved to the lot west of the Reunion building.  He stated that the commuter lot being displaced by the area 10 Lot will be moved to the inside of the loop east of the stadium.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the Avery parking garage is scheduled to be built and that it is going to be larger than originally planned.  He pointed out that the Antelope Valley Project will be creating a number of changes on campus.


Professor Fech, Southeast Research and Extension Center, asked the Chancellor if he could comment on the idea of restructuring the University by decentralizing Varner Hall.  He noted that at many institutions, the Chancellor of the flagship campus is the President of the University system.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the history and tradition of the university is to have a central administration.  He stated that he believes that Varner Hall is critical to the well being of the University.  He noted that President Smith has done a good job of dealing with the budget cuts and distributing funds to the four campuses.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he is not enthusiastic about the proposal and he is certainly not interested in expanding his workload.


4.0      Approval of 4/29/03 Minutes

Professor Moeller, Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education, moved and Professor Flowers, Psychology, seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Fuller noted that the amendment was to include the sentence “President Wunder then ruled that action on the motion at that meeting was not intrinsic to its purpose” to the minutes.


5.0      Unfinished Business

            5.1  Motion on Vote of No Confidence

President Wunder stated that he sent an email message to the Senators in the past week explaining how the vote of no confidence will be handled.  He stated that the motion would be withdrawn because Senator Genoways, Museums, who made the motion, resigned from the Senate and Professor Beck, Animal Science, who seconded the motion, withdrew her second.  Wunder stated that these actions by the Senators made him decide that the motion was no longer valid.  He pointed out that the assembly could overrule his decision if they choose to.  No objections were made.  The motion was then withdrawn.


6.0      Elections

            6.1  Draft of Academic Planning Committee Special Election Ballot

President Wunder reported that there has been a resignation from one of the Biological Sciences representative on the APC and that a special election will need to be held to fill this position.  He noted that two faculty members representing the Biological Sciences are on the ballot.  Wunder asked that this motion be considered an emergency motion.  Professor King, Agricultural Leadership, moved that the draft ballot be approved.  Motion seconded by Whitt.  Motion approved.


6.2  Election of Member of the Senate Executive Committee

Wunder stated that there is a position on the Executive Committee due to the retirement of Professor Wolf, English.  Wunder asked for nominations from the floor explaining that no nominations can come from IANR since they already have the maximum amount of faculty members allowed. 


President-Elect Peterson nominated Professor May, Economics.  Professor May was not present to accept the nomination.  Professor Gay, Physics & Astronomy, nominated Professor Harbison, Chemistry.  President-Elect Peterson withdrew his nomination of Professor May since she was not present to accept it. 


Professor Spann, Broadcasting, stated that he has been on the Executive Committee for the past two years.  He noted that those who criticize the Executive Committee should take this opportunity as a chance to participate in faculty governance.  He urged the senators to serve on the Committee.


Professor Harbison, Chemistry, had to withdraw from the nomination due to a class conflict with the scheduled Executive Committee meetings. 


Professor Flowers, Psychology, nominated Professor Carlo, Psychology department.  Professor Carlo accepted the nomination.    Past President Miller moved that the nominations be closed.  Professor Gay moved that the election be made by acclamation.  Motion approved.  Professor Carlo was elected by acclamation to the Executive Committee for a two year term.


7.0      Committee Reports

            7.1  Commencement Committee (Professor Isernhagen)

Professor Isernhagen stated that the Committee would like to express its appreciation of Professor McShane’s service.  She noted that McShane’s term has expired and that a replacement will need to be made to the Committee to replace him.  She reported that one of the Committee’s main concerns is the lack of faculty members participating in the graduation ceremonies.  She reported that 96% of faculty advisors to graduate students receiving their doctoral degree participated in the hooding ceremony.  She stated that the Committee would like to see the same percentage of faculty attending the graduation ceremonies.  She noted that less than 40 faculty members come to the graduation ceremonies. 


President Wunder asked if the Committee has considered making the hooding ceremony the commencement ceremony for graduate students.  Professor Isernhagen stated that the Committee did look into this.  She noted that it was the administration’s idea to create the hooding ceremony but the plan was to make it a less formal ceremony so that the families of the graduating student could participate.  She pointed out that the graduation dates are the only ones set by the Board of Regents.  She stated that there is not a lot of support for having a separate ceremony for graduate students.  Associate to the Chancellor Howe stated that faculty were opposed and wanted to keep one commencement ceremony. 


Professor Isernhagen stated that the committee has been discussing ways in which they could get better participation from the faculty members.  She asked that anyone with an idea should contact either herself or another member of the committee. 


            7.2  Executive Committee Summer Report (President Wunder)

President Wunder stated that the report was in the Senator’s packet.   He asked for questions.  It was pointed out that the report should read “Industrial Systems Technology” not “Information Systems Technology.


7.3  Wasted Time Committee (Past President Miller)

Past President Miller reported that the Committee began work before the end of the spring semester.  He stated that it was Professor Wolf, English, who raised the subject of unnecessary processes and procedures that waste faculty members’ time during an Executive Committee meeting which started the formation of the Committee.


Past  President Miller stated that he would like to bring proposals to the Senate at the October meeting.  He noted that some of the things being looked at were simplifying the review process for new courses, simplifying the process for an Academic Program Review, reducing the amount of information contained in tenure and promotion files, and reviewing whether faculty annual reviews should be conducted each year. 


Past President Miller stated that Executive Associate Dean Weissinger should be thanked for all of the work she has been doing on the committee.  He noted that the committee wants to simplify the bureaucratic processes that are currently in place.  He noted that this is a joint faculty and administrative effort.  He stated that faculty support will be needed in order for the committee to move forward.


Professor Whitt, Sociology, asked if the committee would cease to exist once the proposals have been made in October to the Senate.  Miller stated that the committee is an ad hoc committee and that he hopes to have the work completed shortly after October.  He noted that this is an important issue that needs to be looked at.


Past President Miller stated that President Elect Peterson will be chairing the ESI/IS committee which is reviewing the ES/IS courses for possible revisions.


8.0      New Business

8.1  Bus Permits

Professor Cohn, Mathematics, stated that he was surprised to see that he had to pay for a bus permit since he did not have a University parking permit.  He stated that it would be fairer to those at the University to reverse the policy and to keep it as it has always been.  He noted that everyone should pay the same price.  President Elect Peterson stated that the Executive Committee spoke with Vice Chancellor Jackson about the bus permit.  He noted that the policy is the same for students.  He stated that there should be further discussion on this issue.


8.2  Decentralizing Varner Hall

President Wunder noted that the issue of whether the University should be restructured by eliminating central administration is timely.  He stated that Varner Hall’s budget is nearly $44 million.  Professor Beck stated that she felt this was an issue that should be discussed given the budget situation.  She pointed out that not having a central administration works well for universities in other states.  Professor Harbison suggested that the Executive Committee should obtain a list of what people do in Varner Hall.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that a large portion of the $44 million is distributed to the four campuses.  He noted that the administrative costs for Central Administration are approximately $4½ to $5 million. 


Professor Hoffman asked if there was a committee that could address this issue and what the process is for selecting a new President.  Chancellor Perlman stated that a national search is required to fill the position.  He stated that the members of the search committee will be appointed by the Board of Regents.  He noted that the search committee will be chaired by one of the members of the Board of Regents and one external member of the search committee.  Associate to the Chancellor Howe stated that the faculty positions on the search committee are apportioned across the four campuses so that each campus will have a faculty representative.  Wunder pointed out that since UNL receives 50% of the budget and consequently 50% of the budget cuts, we should have 50% of the representatives on the search committee.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:35 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, October 7, at 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Shelley Fuller, Secretary.