UNL Academic Senate Meeting - February 3, 2004


City Campus Union, Auditorium

February 3, 2004

Presidents John Wunder, Wes Peterson, and Tice Miller


1.0      Call to Order

            President Wunder called the meeting to order at 2:38 p.m.


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Faculty Leadership Summit

President Wunder announced that there will be a Faculty Leadership Summit in late February for faculty members to discuss important campus issues.  Contrary to what was reported in the Daily Nebraskan, the summit will be by invitation.  President Wunder explained that the Senate did not have enough money to invite all faculty members.  He asked Senators to let him know if they are interested in attending the summit.


3.0      Election of Executive Committee Member

Professor Bradford, Law, was elected to the Executive Committee to replace Professor Carlo, Psychology.


4.0      Chancellor Perlman

President Wunder announced that Chancellor Perlman was unable to attend the meeting because he was testifying at the legislature.


5.0      Approval of 1/13/04 Minutes (Secretary Fuller)

Professor Harbison, Chemistry, stated that corrections needed to be made in section 3.0 regarding figures presented by the Chancellor.  Secretary Fuller stated that the notes and tape from the meeting would be checked for clarification.  Harbison moved that the minutes be approved as amended.  Professor Prochaska-Cue, Family & Consumer Sciences, seconded the motion.  Motion approved.


6.0    Academic Senate Redistribution Report

Secretary Fuller presented the Academic Senate Redistribution Report.  She noted that letters were sent to department chairs in October asking for verification of the roster for each department.  She asked that Senators review the report carefully, particularly since departments have been eliminated and others merged.  She stated that the report will be voted on at the March meeting.


7.0    Unfinished Business

          7.1    Motion to Revise Syllabus of Campus-Wide Committees

President-Elect Peterson reminded the Senate that the changes to the syllabus include adding lecturers and senior lecturers to the membership and the changes in the classification of disciplines because of the elimination of departments and the mergers of units.  Motion approved.


          7.2    Motion on ES/IS Proposal

Professor Keith, Entomology, reported that the senators from IANR met earlier and discussed the ES/IS proposal.  He stated that the senators wanted to thank the ES/IS review committee for bringing up the problems with the ES/IS programs but they felt that further discussions were needed before a vote could be taken on the proposal. 


Professor Wunder stated that one of the big questions is what happens if any one of the colleges rejects the proposal.  President-Elect Peterson stated that this is a question that has yet to be answered.  He pointed out that it is possible that if one college rejects the proposal no changes will be made and the current ES/IS programs will prevail or it is possible that some colleges will have different ES/IS programs.  He pointed out that this is something that the Senate needs to address. 


Professor Stock, English, stated that his department has some central concerns.  The first is the oversight issue of the courses.  He pointed out that the University Curriculum Committee is not interested in overseeing these courses.  He stated that his department is unclear about the implications of the proposed changes. 


Professor Spencer, English, stated that it is unclear how the proposals came about in the first place.  He noted that a letter from the Vice-President of the Arts & Sciences Student Advisory Board indicates that students do not feel there is a lot of confusion regarding the ES/IS courses.  He stated that the letter recommends improved clarity about the IS courses and they are particularly concerned with the issue of diversity.  Spencer points out that the proposal eliminates the diversity component of the ES/IS programs.


President Wunder stated that parts of the letter mentioned by Professor Spencer were inaccurate.  He stated that students have been involved in the review of the ES/IS programs.  He stated that there seems to be a general misunderstanding of the IS courses.  He noted that many students state that they have non-IS courses being taught like IS courses and vice versa.  He stated that the diversity aspect can be added back into the proposal.


Professor King, Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, asked if other groups, such as the office of Academic Affairs were looking into the ES/IS programs.  President-Elect Peterson stated that no one else is willing to get involved in reviewing the programs.  President Wunder stated that the Transition to Universities Report makes references to the ES/IS programs. 


Professor Stock stated that a concern raised by a colleague in his department is that the proposal is mandating a shorter list of courses for students to choose from.  He noted that this restricts the students’ choices. 


Past President Miller stated that the issue of changing the ES/IS programs started with meetings in December 2002.  He noted that at these meetings were representatives from both city and east campus and all agreed that there was a problem with the complexity of the programs.   He pointed out that the goals of the ES/IS review committee are admirable.  He stated that there has been a lot of dissatisfaction with the current programs across the campus. 


Professor Flowers, Psychology, stated that the programs are complex and unwieldy.  He noted that other institutions use the ES/IS program as an example of why the prospective student should not come to UNL.  He stated that his department supports the universal acceptance of the ES program but feels that some departments would have difficulty with creating IS courses. 


Professor Cohn, Mathematics, stated that he has not seen much improvement in the writing abilities of some students who have had IS courses.  He noted that the size and the complexity of the programs are bound to make them eventually break down. 


Professor Gallagher, English, stated that the present system is too complicated.  He pointed out that what is needed is something simpler on paper.  He stated that there are still major concerns for large programs and how the proposed changes will impact these programs.  Professor Hoistad, member of the ES/IS review committee, stated that he did not think the changes would have any significant impact on the ES courses.  President Wunder pointed out that the only real change would be in Area A which would also require a written communication course. 


Professor May, Economics, stated that the College of Business Administration considers the system broken but is unsure that the proposed changes are the right fix.  She noted that former SVCAA Leitzel introduced the programs and they have produced a significant change in the curriculum of the university.  She pointed out that the increased emphasis on diversity has benefited students.  She stated that she does have some concerns in having the departments be responsible for the IS courses.  She noted that there is some comfort in there being some university oversight of the courses.  She stated that a cause of concern was how the changes could impact resources.  She stated that some of the good things of the ES/IS programs should be maintained. 


Professor Keith stated that many of the ES courses are similar to IS courses in the way they are taught.  Professor Archer stated that the writing requirements in IS courses is a source of arranged opportunity for students.  President Wunder pointed out that in a study conducted on IS courses, 60% of the instructors were not aware that they were teaching an IS course.  Past President Miller stated that the problem needed to be dealt with now.  He pointed out that many of the goals of IS are admirable but action needs to be taken soon to preserve the good of the ES/IS programs.


Amendment I:  Students are required to take one course in each of nine subject matter areas for a total of nine courses altogether.


President Wunder stated that the first amendment to the proposal requires students to take nine courses instead of the eight proposed.  President-Elect Peterson stated that the reason for decreasing the number of courses to eight is to allow certain colleges more flexibility.  He stated that the review committee did not accept the proposed amendment.  He noted that each college can have additional requirements if they wish to do so.  Professor Crawford, Classics & Religious Studies, asked if a new ES course list would need to be developed.  President Wunder stated that another proposed amendment states that the current lists would remain although some departments may wish to increase the list.  President-Elect Peterson pointed out that there is another form of communication that is not included as a category.  He stated that this is a visual form of communication which applies to many courses in Fine Arts.  He noted that the ES program will require everyone to do a course involving written communication.  If colleges want additional communication requirements, then they can require them. 


Motion on amendment number 1 defeated:  15 for and 27 opposed.


Amendment II:  The lists of courses for each subject matter area will be retained, subject to the following rules:

          A.    No course may count for the General Education Requirements for undergraduate programs that are taught at the 300- or 400- levels.  Only 100-and 200- level courses of instruction may be listed for a GER area requirement.

          B.    No course may count for the GER lists that require a prerequisite course already on a list in that same category.

          C.    The current lists for Area A will be split between Area A and the new Area B appropriately with those courses applying to Written Communications forming Area A and those courses applying to Oral Communications forming Area B.

          D.    Departments and programs are encouraged to develop appropriate level courses for inclusion on the GER area lists, subject to the approval of the College Curriculum Committee and the University Curriculum Committee.


Professor Flowers stated that amendment two would exclude many 300 level courses which are not currently on the list.  He noted that prerequisites for courses would need to be excluded.  He pointed out that department’s curriculum will require shuffling if this amendment is approved. 


Professor Stock stated that he has concerns for the students.  He noted that 300 level English courses are still strictly undergraduate courses and should be allowed to remain on the list.  President Wunder stated that some departments include graduate level courses with 300 level courses.  Professor Hoistad noted that the ES/IS review committee did not want to make any restrictions on the list of courses because they felt it would complicate matters.  President-Elect Peterson stated that D’Vee Buss, Director of Advising in CBA and a member of the ES/IS review committee, stated that restricting the 300 level courses would create a problem for transfer students and it would create more substitutions and waivers causing more paperwork.  Professor May stated that she did not understand the logic in excluding 300/400 level courses just because graduate students may take the course.  President Wunder stated that the 300 level courses are designed for undergraduate students and should just be for undergraduates.  Professor May stated that this was a separate matter.  She moved to make an amendment to the amendment by striking part A of the amendment.  Professor Harbison seconded the motion.   Professor Radcliffe, Mathematics, pointed out that A. and C. should be removed.  Amendment to the amendment approved:  33 for, 4 opposed.


Motion to approve the amended amendment approved:  25 for, 19 opposed.


Amendment III, Part I:  This proposal includes the following proposition concerning the creation of the university-wide general education course list: 

          The process for revising the existing course lists begins in the academic units which are asked to review their course offerings currently on the essential studies lists and to propose a set of courses that are consistent with the area descriptions for inclusion on the lists.  This proposal also includes a set of guidelines described below.  Academic unit proposals will be compiled and reviewed by the relevant College Curriculum Committee which will then forward them to the University Curriculum Committee.  The UCC will check only to make sure that the courses fall within the general parameters of the list selected and meet the general rules provided in this document.  New course proposals after receiving College Curriculum Committee approval will be expedited by the UCC.  The UCC will then forward the College list to the appropriate administrative office for inclusion on the university-wide list.

          After the initial list is approved, academic units and Colleges are expected to develop methods for periodically reviewing their course offerings and deciding if any courses on the current list should be removed or other courses added.  College Curriculum Committee should inform the UCC of its methods of GER renewal. 


President Wunder stated that this amendment establishes the college curriculum committees to monitor the GER list.  Professor Harbison asked if the IS courses are included in the monitoring.  President Wunder stated they were not. 


Professor Stock stated that many people like cross-listed classes and that the bulletin already states that one course can only count in one area.  Professor May stated that B1 of the amendment is not consistent with Amendment II.  She stated that it sounds as if the programs are being started over and the amendment needs to be reworded.  President Wunder suggested that the paragraph beginning with “The process for revising the existing course lists” be removed and the phrase in the third paragraph “After the initial list is approved” be deleted.  Professor May offered these changes as an amendment to the amendment.  Professor Jackson, Food Science and Technology, seconded the motion. 


Professor Spann, Broadcasting, asked if the University Curriculum Committee would be informed that they will be checking the list of ES courses.  President Wunder stated that this charge will need to be written into the revised charges for the UCC.


Amendment to amendment approved:  23 for, 10 opposed.


Amendment III, Part 2:  Guidelines for general education course listings.  These guidelines are intended to refine the university-wide expectations for courses included on the general education area lists.

          A.    A course will be listed in only one area.  There are no exceptions.  Departments and programs should decide which courses should be listed in which area, and College Curriculum Committees and the UCC should honor that decision.  Areas C, E, and H are particularly in need of careful consideration by the departments and programs involved.  The practice of double counting courses to meet university-wide GER requirements will cease.

          B.    Cross-listed courses should not be listed separately but rather grouped together with the primary home academic unit listed first, e.g., HIST/ETHN 150 rather than separate listings for HIST 150 and ETHN 150.

                    C.    Courses proposed for inclusion on the university list should be offered on a regular basis, and there should be an expectation that they will continue to be offered on a regular basis for the indefinite future.

                    D.    Academic units and Colleges are encouraged to reflect seriously about which courses make the most sense for a particular list.

                    E.     General education requirements should be decoupled from major requirements in the sense that all courses on the lists will satisfy general education requirements; however, some courses that satisfy general education requirements may not satisfy major requirements.  The use of general education courses to satisfy major requirements is completely at the discretion of the degree program that ministers the major.


Professor Crawford asked if the UCC would be approving methods or just informed once the initial list of courses has been approved.  President Wunder stated that the UCC will need to review the courses. 


President-Elect Peterson stated that the ES/IS committee thinks there should be guidelines for the course listings.  He pointed out that some of the courses are currently listed in two sections of the ES course list.  Professor Harbison noted that cross-listing gives students some flexibility.  Professor Stock reminded the Senate that the bulletin already states that courses cannot be counted twice. 


Professor Harbison moved that sections A. and D. should be deleted.  Professor Beck, Animal Science, seconded the motion.  Amendment to the amendment approved.


Motion to approve the amendment approved:  20 for, 13 opposed.


Amendment IV:  Amendment states that C3 should be renumbered as C4 and C4 should be renumbered as C5.  There is no change of language.   Insert language in C3 that states:  All majors will include a required seminar that demonstrates competency in the following skills:  written communication, oral expression, and critical thinking. 


President Wunder noted that this amendment pertains to Section C of the proposal that deals with the elimination of the list of IS courses.  He noted that the language referring to diversity could be added where appropriate.  Professor May moved to include the language on diversity.  Motion seconded by Professor Spencer. 


Professor Spencer stated that there is concern with the ratification of the proposal.  He pointed out that students who double major or change majors could be put in a complex situation, because the capstone course they took in their first major may not be accepted by the department of the second major.  President Wunder stated that it is not a problem for students who change majors early in their academic career and students who change their major late know what is required of them.   President-Elect Peterson noted that the ES/IS committee did not want to stipulate that departments had to develop a capstone course.  He stated that another consideration is that there are departments where an accumulative experience is not a capstone course.  It may be in the form of an exhibition or performance.  The committee decided to leave it up to the departments to make the decision.    Professor Flowers stated that the IS goals that are being implemented now are more flexible. 


Professor Jackson stated that the diversity motion needed to be voted on before discussion on the capstone courses.   Motion to include the language “and consideration of diversity” approved:  25 for, 1 opposed.


Professor May stated that she could not envision a capstone course for all departments.  Professor Jackson noted that his department already has a seminar or capstone course but his concern was the wording of the amendment. 


Professor Flowers questioned who would decide whether a department has met the requirements for creating a plan to provide courses that meet the goals of the IS program.  President-Elect Peterson stated that the intent of the proposal is to have the unit assessed by the college curriculum committee. 


Professor May offered an amendment to the amendment that departments should strive to provide competency through a variety of courses.  Professor Haribson seconded the motion.  Motion defeated:  7 for, 19 opposed.


Professor Rapkin, Political Science, suggested that all majors would include at least one required course, such as a capstone or seminar course that demonstrates competency. 


Motion on amendment IV defeated:   13 for, 17 opposed.


Professor Keith moved to postpone voting on the revised proposal until the March meeting.  Professor Beck seconded the motion.  Motion approved.


8.0    Committee Reports

          8.1    University Curriculum Committee (Professor Fuess)

Professor Fuess, Chair of the UCC, stated that the Committee wants the Senate to clarify the charges of the Committee.  He noted that typically the UCC does work that is not stipulated in the committee syllabus.  He suggested that the charges need to be revised to more accurately reflect the work of the committee which typically deals with course approvals and changes to existing courses.  He urged the Senate to think about what work it wants the UCC to do.


Professor Fuess reported that the UCC is working with the Office of Undergraduate Studies to develop an on-line course proposal system.  He stated that the UCC hopes that the on-line process will expedite the process for approving courses.  He noted that the system is being piloted with the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and the Hixson-Lied College of Performing Arts.  He pointed out that the on-line process may result in needing fewer meetings of the UCC. 


Professor Fuess stated that revisions to the charges for the UCC will need to be made if the ES/IS proposal is approved, especially if the Senate wants the UCC to be involved.  He pointed out that if the UCC is merely to rubber stamp approval of ES/IS courses then it is questionable why the committee should even exist.  He noted that if the UCC is to be a judicator in approving these courses, then it should be explicitly stated in a revised charge to the committee.  He pointed out that if the UCC is given authority to approve or disapprove ES/IS courses, faculty members from outside a discipline would be involved in making judgment on the course proposals. 


Professor Archer, Anthropology & Geography, asked who requests changes to courses.  Professor Fuess stated that a faculty member initiates the change.  It is then approved at the department level, then at the college curriculum committee level and finally by the faculty of the college.  He noted that the process is the same for new courses.  Professor Morris, School of Biological Sciences, asked if any course proposals are ever denied.  Professor Fuess stated that there are some that are denied, although not many.  He noted that most of the time


the proposals need further clarification.  He pointed out that the major concern is whether a new course is a duplicate of an existing course.  He stated that IS courses are tabled more frequently. 


Professor Fuess stated that the length of term for faculty members is for three years.  He suggested that having more continuity on the UCC would be helpful. 


8.2    Committee on Committees Report (Professor Fowler)

Due to lack of time the report was not presented.  Senators having questions on the report should contact Professor David Fowler (dfowler1@unl.ed), Chair of Committee.


8.3    Academic Planning Committee Report (Professor Rosson)

Professor Rosson, Chair of APC, reported that the committee met 39 times last year.  He noted that most of the meetings dealt with the budget reductions.  He reported that the committee has formed subcommittees to accomplish all of the work that they have.  He noted that eight Academic Program Reviews were conducted last year.  He stated that the subcommittees have dealt with the department and college mergers that occurred on campus. 


Professor Rosson stated that project initiation requests come before the APC.  He noted that many of the new projects on campus come from donations made to the university. 


Professor Rosson reported that Professor Keown, Animal Science, is chairing a subcommittee that is working on a long term academic plan.  He stated that this subcommittee is working on the issue of where tenure resides.  He noted that the subcommittee has contacted UNL’s peer institutions to see where tenure resides at these universities.  He noted that the APC is working on forming a task force to develop a policy on where tenure should reside.  He stated that the task force will look at the pros and cons of having tenure at the department, college, or system level.  He noted that it will be important for the Senate to have full discussion on this issue. 


Professor Rosson stated that in response to the Wasted Time Committee Report the APC is looking into Academic Program Reviews to see if they can be reduced.  He noted that in some areas the review has become a very large process. 


Secretary Fuller asked if the APC reviewed the remodeling of the athletics facility, addition to the stadium and the new indoor practice field.  Professor Rosson stated that the Committee reviewed the original remodeling but did not know about the additional changes that have recently been made to the project initiation request. 


            8.4  Convocations Committee Report

Due to lack of time the report was not presented.  Senators having questions on the report should contact Professor Alicia Davis (adavis1@unl.edu), Chair of the Convocations Committee.


9.0      New Business

            9.1  Draft Ballot for APC, Academic Rights & Responsibilities Committee, and Academic Rights & Responsibilities Panel Elections

Coordinator Griffin noted that the ballot will need to be approved at the March meeting.  She stated that a correction will be made to the ballot and that the Senators will be notified of the correction via email and a new draft ballot will be provided in the March Senate packet.


            9.2  Proposal to Provide Tuition Remission Benefits to Part-time Employees

            Item postponed until the March meeting due to lack of time.



The meeting was adjourned at 4:43 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, March 2, 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.