UNL Academic Senate Meeting - September 14, 2004



City Campus Union, Auditorium Room

September 14, 2004

Presidents Wes Peterson, Mary Beck Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

            President Peterson called the meeting to order at 2:32 p.m.


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Past President John Wunder

President Peterson reported that Past President Wunder suffered a heart attack a couple of weeks ago.  President Peterson stated that Past President Wunder is now home and doing well and hopes to attend the October Senate meeting.  President Peterson reported that flowers were sent on behalf of the Senate.  He noted that everyone wishes Past President Wunder a speedy recovery.


2.2  Executive Committee Elections

President Peterson announced that there is an opening on the Executive Committee due to the resignation of Professor Buck.  He stated that an election was not being held at this meeting due to the late notification of the resignation.  He asked that any Senators from colleges other than Arts & Sciences and the Institute who are interested in serving on the Executive Committee contact him.  He noted that Arts & Sciences and the Institute have the maximum number of representatives on the Committee.  He stated that there will be an election at the October meeting.


President Peterson stated that Professor Flowers, a member of the Executive Committee, is on leave this semester and a replacement is needed.  He pointed out that the semester appointment can be someone from the College of Arts & Sciences. 


2.3  Visit of AAUP General Secretary Roger Bowen

President Peterson announced that AAUP General Secretary Roger Bowen will be visiting the campus on September 29th.  He noted that the Executive Committee will be meeting with Bowen on the 29th at 4:00.  President Peterson stated that Bowen will be giving a presentation later that evening at the Great Plains Art Collection.


            2.4  Chancellor Perlman

President Peterson reported that Chancellor Perlman apologizes for not being able to attend the meeting today because he is out of town on university business.  President Peterson stated that Chancellor Perlman will not be able to attend the October meeting either because he will be attending a higher education conference in Washington, D.C.   President Peterson stated that SVCAA Couture will be attending and speaking at the October 5th Senate meeting in place of the Chancellor. 


3.0      VC Owens

VC Owens stated that he did not have any comments to make but asked for questions from the Senate.  No questions were asked.


4.0    Approval of 4/27/04 Minutes (Secretary Shea)

Professor Stick, Educational Administration, moved and Professor Stock, English, seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion approved.


5.0    Recruitment and Retention of Women Report (Professors Moeller and Levin)

President Peterson reminded the Senate that Past President Wunder commissioned a report in the spring semester on the Recruitment and Retention of Women and a report on the Recruitment and Retention of Faculty of Color.  President Peterson stated that the report on faculty of color will hopefully be presented at the October Senate meeting.  


President Peterson noted that the Executive Committee met with the Chancellor to discuss the report on recruitment and retention of women.  He stated that the Chancellor has given a copy of the report to the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women for them to consider. 


Professor Moeller, Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education, reported that the members of the Committee were from very diverse fields and had many different opinions.  She stated that the Committee strived to develop a report that provided ideas and identified actions that the university could use in hiring and retaining female faculty members. 


Professor Moeller stated that the Committee first looked at background information on this issue.  She noted that the document A Plan for Increasing Diversity within the Faculty published in 1998 by SVCAA Edwards was reviewed as well as the University-wide Committee on Gender Equity 2003 Report to the Board of Regents. 


Professor Moeller noted that the greatest gain made at UNL between the years 1991-2002 was in the full professor category.  She stated that female full professors rose from 6.3% of the total faculty to 18.3%.  She stated that AAUP data shows that female faculty members make up 23.2% of the total faculty, 13.9% are full professors, 24.4% are associate professors, and 41.4% are assistant professors.  She pointed out that AAUP figures and IPED figures are not the same because they both have their own systems for counting faculty members.  She pointed out that UNL is still below its peers and the national average for the number of female faculty members.


Professor Moeller reported that the Committee examined model programs at institutions and spoke with chairs of departments who had success records in recruiting and retaining women.  She noted that national studies done on the subject were also reviewed.  She pointed out that the Study of New Scholars project based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education was reviewed.  She noted that this study concluded that the “academic workplace at large research universities is neither as inviting to nor as supportive of women as it is of men.”  Women were also found to be dissatisfied in 19 of 28 categories that measure workplace satisfaction. 


Professor Moeller stated that the Committee looked at UNL and our peer institutions to identify departments that were successful in recruiting and retaining women.  She stated that successful departments were contacted to see what practices they were doing which enabled them to be successful.   She pointed out that the Ohio State project stated that one successful practice is to establish a community of individuals beyond the department for new individual faculty members to contact. 


Professor Moeller reported that the Committee looked at concrete strategies but pointed out that these strategies need to occur at different levels of the campus in order for the university to be successful in recruiting and retaining female faculty members. 


Professor Levin, History, stated that chairs of successful departments at UNL were contacted to get concrete ideas on what practices work best.  She noted that at the department level, ten ideas were identified.  Citing the report, she stated that one of the important strategies at the department level is to establish a departmental hiring plan identifying the percentage of number of lines to recruit and hire women.  She stated it is also important to:  secure a group of male faculty members committed to hiring more women, define jobs in areas where one knows that women will be well-represented, create a culture in the department where women and men and individuals of all racial/ethnic backgrounds are treated equally and equally respected, and offer women salaries and benefits equivalent to male faculty members.  She stated that at the college/university level it is important to pay people as well as possible and not totally rely on an outside model for salaries for female faculty members.  She stated that other identified practices are having uniform policies in place on maternity leave and tenure clocks and to interview women and minority faculty members who are not fully promoted after a reasonable time in the associate professor rank to determine roadblocks to their progress.  She pointed out that clear sexual harassment policies need to be developed and providing child care is a very important issue for female faculty members.  She stated that the visibility of women should be advanced at all levels in academia and that cluster hires should be considered at both the junior and senior level professors who do research around a shared theme, led by senior faculty members, providing an institutional framework for collaboration.


Professor Stick, asked if the ideas presented in the report might be seen as reverse discrimination.  Professors Moeller and Levin did not feel that the ideas support reverse discrimination and asked why Professor Stick thought the ideas could be interpreted this way.  Professor Stick stated that the suggestion of pledging new slots to hire women could be seen as reverse discrimination.  He asked if the plan could be destructive rather than construction in the long run.  Professor Moeller pointed out that the idea is to pledge a number of the lines.  It is not a policy requiring that women must be hired in order to fill these lines. 



Professor Ledder, Mathematics, asked if there is any information from women who have left or turned down offers from UNL.  Professor Moeller stated that the Chancellor has asked the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women to interview women to try to establish why they left.   Professor Ledder stated that his department lost three female hires because their spouses were unable to find employment.  Professor Moeller stated that sometimes the decision not to come to UNL is based on very personal decisions. 


Professor McQuillan, Sociology, stated that she was surprised that the issue of dual hires did not come up in the report.  Professor Moeller stated that UNL used to have a dual career program but that was eliminated with the budget cuts.  Associate to the Chancellor Howe stated that the Chancellor is looking into a dual career program that will be more effective than the previous one.    He noted that the new dual career program might be done by an outside firm.


Professor Ledder suggested that the report should include information on how many job offers are made to women and how many of these women reject the offers.  He pointed out that departments have no control over hiring women if the candidate turns down the offer. 


Assoc. to the Chancellor Howe stated that people assume that a spouse of a potential candidate often wants a position within the university.  He pointed out that many of the spouses are business professionals who are seeking employment outside the university.  He stated that the university cannot be effective in hiring in these kinds of situations. 


Professor Harbison, Chemistry, stated that the report avoids discrimination.  He stated that the issue of having a certain percentage of candidates as women is problematical for some disciplines because the number or female candidates in these fields is limited.  Professor Moeller stated that the Committee debated this issue. 


Professor Radcliffe, Mathematics, stated that the suggestion to establish a departmental hiring plan identifying the percentage of number of lines to recruit and hire women is completely inconceivable in mathematics.  He stated that there are just not enough women in the field to accomplish this goal.  Professor Moeller stated that the Committee understands this and is suggesting that departments need to set objective goals.  Professor Levin stated that the departmental plans vary by department because of the lack of availability of female applicants.  Professor Radcliffe stated that many of the suggestions in the report are good but this particular one cannot be done in good faith.  He stated that his department has been trying to hire women but has not been successful.   Professor Ledder pointed out that the mathematics department has the largest percentage of female graduate students.  He noted that the department didn’t have a specific goal in mind but they recruited good female undergraduate students who they thought had potential for graduate school. 


Professor Stick asked if it is permissible to hire your own graduate students into faculty lines.  Professor Moeller stated that this does not seem to work.  She noted that the former graduate student now turned Assistant Professor does not seem to get the respect that an outside hire would get.  Professor Levin stated that the person is often still seen as a graduate student by many in the department and it winds up working against the climate in the department. 


Professor Moeller noted that the Committee also recommends hiring women at the administrative level as well.  She stated that the Committee believes that female faculty members should be encouraged to go into administrative positions. 


President Peterson stated that VC Owens is familiar with a program in New Mexico where financial support is given to a student to attend graduate school elsewhere with the agreement that the student will return back to New Mexico to become a faculty member.  VC Owens stated that this program will be discussed at the deans’ retreat.  He noted that SVCAA Couture will address the issue.  He stated that he supports the program because it has been successful in New Mexico.  Professor Hoffman, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering, stated that one of the problems with this program is the availability of open lines.  He asked how a department could hold a line open for the length of time needed for a student to obtain a doctorate.


5.0    Committee Reports

          5.1    Teaching Council (Professor James)

President Peterson apologized to Professor James for being unable to give the report on the Teaching Council at the April 27th Senate meeting when it was originally scheduled.  Professor James noted that the report summarizes the activities of the Teaching Council.  He stated that for this academic year the Council will reflect on what has been going on in regards to support for teaching.  He stated that the Council will also review seed grant applications for funding.  Professor James reported that the Century Club has been revived.  He stated that the Club is comprised of faculty members who teach large section classes.  


President Peterson noted that the Executive Committee is working with Professor James and Assoc. VC Jacobson on revising the UNL Bylaws and syllabus for the Teaching Council.  He stated that the revisions address some inaccuracies due to the elimination of the Teaching and Learning Center.  He stated that he hopes the revised documents can be presented at the October Senate meeting and will be voted on at the November meeting.


5.2    Commencement Committee (Professor Stick)

Professor Stick reported that one of the continuing issues the Committee deals with is the lack of participation of the faculty at commencement ceremonies.  He stated that the Committee is considering having the names of doctoral students read during the commencement ceremony. 


President Peterson noted that going through commencement is often considered a major event in a student’s life.  He stated that the Executive Committee has discussed on numerous occasions how to get more faculty members to attend the commencement ceremonies.  He stated that he would be happy to discuss it with the Senate and anyone who has suggestions should contact him.


5.3    Executive Committee Summer Report (President Peterson)

President Peterson noted that the Senators received a copy of the report in their packet.  He asked for questions.  He pointed out that this summer was much less turbulent than the previous summer but the Committee did discuss a number of issues.


5.4    Update on Faculty Compensation Advisory Committee (President Peterson)

President Peterson reported that the current setup of the FCAC does not work well because the President Elect serves as chair of the Committee yet the person has no experience on the committee.  He stated that he will be co-chairing the Committee with President Elect Beck this year to assist. 


President Peterson noted that the FCAC was unable to give its full report to the Senate in the spring because information from Institutional Research and Planning on the salaries of our peer institutions was not available.  He stated that this information became available during the summer and the FCAC corresponded by email on the report.  He noted that the Board of Regents wanted salaries at UNL to be at the mid-point of their peers.  President Peterson reported that in July 2001 we were 1.9% below the average of our peers.  In July 2002, we were 1.4% below the average of our peers.  In July 2003, faculty salaries at UNL did not changed because of the deferred increase.  As a result, the initial report shows the UNL faculty 4.4% behind our peers but once the $600 given in the beginning of 2004 was factored in, UNL salaries were 2.6% below the average of their peers.  President Peterson noted that UNL fell behind considerably in attaining the Regents goal.  He pointed out that all of the peer institutions were experiencing budget problems similar to UNL but they were able to pull further away in terms of salaries. 


President Peterson reported that no statistical difference was shown in salaries between men and women faculty members.  He pointed out that the model being used to determine this is problematic and the administration is looking into using a different model. 


President Peterson reported that the FCAC will meet on September 30th to discuss the report on salaries and will make recommendations.


6.0    Unfinished Business

          6.1    Changes to Academic Senate Rules

Professor Bender, Chair of the Senate Rules and Bylaws Committee, stated that the Committee was asked to look at two issues in the Rules.  The first is in regards to the introduction of motions and clarification on how emergency motions can be made.  He pointed out that normally a motion is made at a meeting and then voted upon at the next monthly meeting.  He stated that the Committee strived to clarify when and how the President should declare a motion as an emergency.  He noted that the Committee also worked to develop a mechanism to challenge the President’s ruling. 


Professor Bender stated that the second issue is in regards to the nomination of Executive Committee members and officers of the Senate.  He stated that the Rules and Bylaws Committee suggest turning over the soliciting of nominations to the Committee on Committees.  He noted that the Committee on Committees would then give the list of nominations to the Senate President.  He reported that the rationale in turning the task over to the Committee on Committees is because it is already an existing committee.  He pointed out that the Committee on Committees is made up of members who broadly represent the campus but are not limited to the Senate.  He stated that the goal is to broaden the list of possible candidates. 


Professor Bradford, Law, stated that he has presented an amendment to change the language “majority or a tie” with the language “two-thirds” in the third and fourth paragraphs of the Senate Rules.  He pointed out that if a motion is really an emergency, it will pass.   He stated that the impetus for presenting the motion is concern for possible manipulation of the process.  The amendment was seconded by Professor Fuller, Art & Art History.


Professor Bender stated that the argument of the Senate Rules Committee is that the President has the initial responsibility to declare an emergency.  He stated that according to Roberts Rules of Order, only a majority vote needed to override the President’s decision.  Professor Bradford pointed out that the existing Senate Rules requires a two-thirds majority vote. 


Professor Reichenbach, Computer Science & Engineering, stated that Roberts Rules of Order do not usually suspend a committee’s own rules.  He pointed out that the Senate might be out of step with  the thinking of the rest of the faculty and time is needed for Senators to discuss with their colleagues how the feel about particular issues.  He stated it there are disagreements in the Senate it is better to err on the side of due consideration of a motion.


Professor Archer, Anthropology and Geography, asked for clarification on the existing rules and how emergency motions are dealt with.  Professor Bender stated that currently if a Senator moves to challenge the President’s declaration of an emergency motion the Senate must vote and a majority vote would be needed to override the President’s decision.  Professor Jackson, Food Science and Technology, pointed out that if the President’s decision is challenged, then a vote is required.  He stated that if a Senator moves to declare a motion as an emergency the Senate must vote on it.  Professor Bradford stated that his amendment would require both cases to have a two-thirds vote. 


The Senate approved that amendment:  44 in favor, 6 against.


The Senate Executive Committee proposed an amendment to the section of the Rules dealing with the nomination process for Executive Committee members and officers.  Professor Fuller, former member of the Executive Committee, stated that the Committee discussed this section of the Rules during the spring semester.  She stated that there were reservations with the Committee on Committees soliciting nominations.  She pointed out that the Committee on Committees already has a large task of nominating people to the various campus committees.  Furthermore, there are a number of members on the Committee on Committees who are not on the Senate and who are not familiar with the various senators.  She noted that there is also an administrator on the Committee who is a voting member and there were concerns with having an administrator involved in the soliciting of nominees for the Executive Committee. 


Professor Fuller stated that she understands that the intent is to hopefully get more nominations for the Executive Committee by having the Committee on Committees solicit senators but she is doubtful that this will happen.   She stated that it is helpful to have a member of the Executive Committee involved in soliciting nominations because that person would have insight into the Senate and Executive Committee. 


Professor May stated that the Rules Committee was asked by Past President Wunder to develop a procedure to deal with nominations because he felt that there were problems with the current process.  She stated that there can be negative costs to having a nominating committee because it can perpetuate dominance on the Executive Committee by soliciting individuals who share the same political viewpoints and beliefs.   She stated that the Committee on Committees should not be making nominations but can receive nominations from anyone. 


Professor Lindquist, Agronomy & Horticulture, and a member of the Committee on Committees stated that the main purpose of the Committee is to solicit nominations for all Senate and various campus committees.  He noted that the Committee does not make appointments.  He stated that there is a problem with the language “shall strive to obtain at least two nominations”.  He pointed out that the Committee on Committees could just as easily create a “good old boy” situation just as easily as a nominating committee.  He stated that he did not believe the Committee should be put into a situation of having to nominate candidates.  Professor Bender stated that the Rules are only asking the Committee on Committees to solicit nominations and forward any names it receives to the President of the Senate. 


Professor Bradford stated that he did not see any problems with having a nominations committee as long as any names that were submitted were put forward for a vote.  He pointed out that not all of the members of the Committee on Committees are on the Senate and they may not be familiar with many of the senators.  He noted that the Committee on Committees deals with broader committees.  He stated that the proposed nominating committee would know the Senate best.  He asked what would be the best way to get nominations. 


Professor May asked how the chair of the Committee on Committees is chosen.  Professor Lindquist stated that the person is elected by the Committee. 


Professor Hoffman asked for clarification on what the Committee on Committees would be doing.  He asked what would happen if the Committee was unable to produce a slate.  Professor Fuller stated that if no one is nominated then the responsibility would fall back onto the Executive Committee. 


President Peterson pointed out that it is important to have the Coordinator of the Senate on the Committee because she is the person who knows the Senate the best and can provide information on attendance records, length of remaining term on the Senate, or if someone is planning to not run for the Senate again. 


The amendment failed:  16 in favor, 31 against.


Professor Bradford called the question on voting for the changes to the Senate Rules.  Professor Ledder questioned whether calling the question needed to have a vote of the Senate and whether further amendments could be presented.  Professor Bender stated that no further discussions or amendments could be taken once the question has been called.  The Senate approved the revisions to the Senate Rules by a majority of votes.


7.0  New Business

7.1      Open Forum Discussion

President Peterson stated that the Executive Committee wanted to try an experiment with the Senate in holding an open forum discussion.  He stated that this will hopefully allow Senate members to get to know each other and to generate discussion in the Senate.  He indicated that the topic for today’s discussion would be the policy decision on politicking in the vicinity of the stadium and politicking on campus in general.  A summary of the discussion follows.


A member of the Executive Committee reported that the Committee had met with the Chancellor two days before the announcement was made yet the Chancellor never mentioned the policy decision to the Committee.  Senators who spoke agreed that the issue of banning politicking on campus should have been brought to the attention of the Senate.     Senators felt that tasteful political debate should be encouraged on campus. 


Discussion occurred over the issue of allowing free speech on campus.  It was noted that students should have the right to bring in guest speakers of their own choice without interference from the administration. 


A senator stated that what he finds disturbing is not the proliferation of political material that is distributed but the fact that information about the university and its events are printed on the back of the material.  It was pointed out that politics are not being divorced from the university when political groups are allowed to use university information this way.  


Brief information was provided about the stadium halo policy which is an existing policy that prohibits the distribution of materials about specific groups or organizations around the stadium.  The question was raised whether the stadium is considered part of the university and whether that property is considered private or public property.  Discussion followed about the stadium and who could have the authority to restrict its use if it is considered public property. 


Concern was raised about the negative image of the university when a policy such as this one makes national news.  It was pointed out that this negative image will contribute to the difficulty in recruiting women and people of color. 


The meeting was adjourned at 4:35 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, October 5, 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Great Plains Room.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Patrick Shea, Secretary.