UNL Academic Senate Meeting - April 26, 2005



City Campus Union, Auditorium

April 26, 2005

Presidents Wes Peterson and Mary Beck, Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Senate Reception

President Peterson stated that he felt that his year as President has been a very good experience for him.  He noted that there has been good cooperation with the administration, particularly with Chancellor Perlman who kept the Executive Committee apprised of various issues.  President Peterson pointed out that this past year has been less contentious because there have been no budget battles.  He stated that he believes that the administrators have gone out of their way to work with the Senate.


President Peterson stated that he has met with President Milliken a few times and he felt the President has made efforts to be available to address the concerns of the Senate. 


3.0    President J. B. Milliken

President Milliken stated that he appreciated the chance to meet with the Senate.  He reported that when he arrived on campus in August he spent time traveling across the state meeting with people to talk about the university.  He noted that in the fall he began working with the administrators to develop a strategic framework for the university.  He pointed out that it is important for the framework to reflect the work that is being done here.  He stated that he hopes each campus strategic plan is a bottom up planning process and that each campus will set its own goals.   He stated that he hopes there will be some consistency in the campuses’ goals which will allow the university to focus on a set of goals.


President Milliken stated that the strategic planning framework document that was distributed at the meeting is a draft document which can be improved.  He noted that this document was presented at a recent Board of Regents meeting.  He pointed out that the document frames a major set of goals and objectives for the university.  He stated that the six major goals of the framework are:


1)       <![endif]>insuring an accessible and affordable education to Nebraskans

2)       <![endif]>enhancing the quality of the university

3)       <![endif]>recruiting and retaining excellent faculty members

4)       <![endif]>pursuing a robust research agenda

5)       <![endif]>engaging with the citizens, businesses, other educational institutions, and rural and urban communities and region

6)       <![endif]>being accountable to the citizens of the state by making strategic choices about investments.


President Milliken stated that the quality of the faculty must be considered a high priority.  He noted that supporting the agenda of the framework will bring benefits to the state.  He pointed out that the university needs to find new ways to engage the people of Nebraska. 


President Milliken stated that providing affordable access to higher education will help increase the workforce of the state.  He pointed out that it will be important to increase the talent pool in Nebraska by bringing in out-of-state students and efforts must be made to increase the number of Nebraskans who attend the university.  He stated that efforts must be made to increase the graduation rates of each of the campuses.  He reported that the State of Nebraska needs to reverse the net out migration of students to other universities and increase the number of out-of-state students.  He pointed out that research shows that students usually remain in the vicinity of where they obtained their last degree.


President Milliken stated that a land grant university has the tradition of engaging with the people of the state.  He noted that it is this engagement between land grant universities and the citizens that has been responsible for the prominence of the United States in agriculture.  He pointed out that the world we now live in is a global economy and the university and the state must have the ability to innovate in order to remain an active part of


the global economy.  He stated that because of the global economy the intellectual talent of the university is more important than ever before. 


President Milliken stated that the university must show fiscal responsibility to the citizens of the state.  He stated that the university must report how it is measuring up to the Board of Regents in new and more complete ways.  He noted that the call for accountability of universities is being done nationwide. 


President Milliken stated that the strategic plan needs to have moderate, predictable tuition rates.  He noted that it is a national phenomenon that states are withdrawing support for universities.  He stated that he would like to see the state increase the budget of the university but predictable tuition rates will also be needed.  He noted that the Appropriations Committee agrees with this aspect of the plan. 


President Milliken stated that there needs to be an increase in need-based financial aid.  He noted that in a recent national report the State of Nebraska did not receive good grades because it is not doing an adequate job of providing need based financial aid.  He stated that he is happy to see that some state senators are beginning to pay attention to this issue.


President Milliken stated that the university needs to promote adequate student preparation for attending the university.  He pointed out that only a moderate amount of students who graduate from high school go to the university.  He stated that a challenge for the university in particular will be to recruit Latino students who currently make up 35% of the population nationwide.  He stated that the university needs to significantly increase the number of minority students.  He pointed out that the university needs to get into the high schools early to recruit students.  He stated that essential to the recruiting of minority students will be the university’s ability to recruit and retain minority and female faculty members. 


President Milliken stated that he wants to hear the thoughts and comments of the faculty and he encouraged them to send him an email on their opinion.  He noted that he will be watching what comes of out of the UNL strategic plan.


Professor Stick, Educational Administration, asked if there has been any thought to unifying programs at the four major campuses through the use of technology.  He pointed out that currently the four different campuses are competing for some of the same students.  He asked if it would be more efficient to have a single program based on one of the campuses.  President Milliken stated that this was an interesting idea.  He noted that there has been some discussion but accomplishing this goal could be difficult, especially in determining which campus would physically house the faculty needed to support a single program.  He stated that the university does need to do more with technology, particularly with improving distance education.  He pointed out that distance education is competitive and that the university will need to offer more courses to be able to compete but it is important that the university keeps its quality.  He stated that there are a lot of possibilities with technology that would allow more interaction with other campuses as well as high schools. 


Professor Reichenbach, Computers Science & Engineering, asked President Milliken to comment on the recent hiring of a new President at the Foundation.  President Milliken noted that the Foundation is a separate, private organization from the university with its own bylaws.  He pointed out that the Foundation is not governed by the same hiring procedures that the university must follow.  Consequently the Foundation develops its own process to conduct hiring searches.  He noted that the Foundation is an incredibly effective resource and the Chronicle of Higher Education lists it as number 15 in public institutions with the highest number of donations.  He stated that he is very pleased with the work of the Foundation and feels that it has served the university well. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, noted that two of the goals in the strategic framework deal with building and sustaining academic programs and pursuing excellence in research and scholarly activity.  He pointed out that research particularly helps faculty to get promotion and tenure but if faculty members participate in other goals then they would be considered out of place with their chairs and deans.  He asked how faculty members would be rewarded if they are involved in goals other than research.  President Milliken pointed out that increasing enrollment rates is critical for the university.  He stated that the campus should have discussions with the Chancellor on how budget decisions are made and whether there will be a benefit for departments who increase their enrollment rates.  He pointed out that the administrations need to think about changes in how budgets are determined.  He noted that enrollment growth and the tuition that growth will bring in will be a factor in each campus budget. 



President Milliken stated that enrollment will need to be seen differently.  He pointed out that increasing enrollment will be seen as a great benefit and that there needs to be discussion on ideas of rewarding and recognizing those who contribute to increasing enrollment. 


President-Elect Beck stated that the strategic framework is a great beginning process for planning.  She asked if there was a systematic way for faculty members to contact the President for providing input.  President Milliken encouraged the Senate and the faculty to provide input on the strategic framework.  He suggested that the Executive Committee could volunteer to collect feedback or faculty members could email him at

president@nebraska.edu.  He noted that he has worked with the Chancellors on the framework and he would like to get as much input as possible on it.  He pointed out that the framework needs to be aligned with the campuses although he acknowledged that there may be some disagreements at times with it. 


Professor Haller, English, stated that he thinks the framework is an excellent proposal.  He asked how and who would carry it out.  He asked if there were plans for specific faculty task forces.  President Milliken stated that he viewed the framework as a concept.  He noted that it is an exercise to help the Board of Regents and himself to establish the priorities of the institution but it needs to align with the campuses.  He stated that the implementation stage will be done at the campus level.  He noted that the campuses’ strategic plans will be used as a benchmark although the Board of Regents might stress specific goals.  He stated that he will work with the budgets and priorities to encourage campuses to meet the goals of the framework. 


President Milliken thanked the Senate for its time and asked that the faculty members give serious consideration to the framework and provide feedback to him. 


4.0    Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman thanked President Milliken for coming and speaking to the Senate. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he wanted to take the opportunity to thank outgoing President Peterson and the other Officers and Executive Committee members for their work this year.  He noted that while his working relationship with the Committee and the Senate was not entirely smooth this past year, overall things went well.  He welcomed the new Officers and Senators and stated that he looks forward to working with the Committee and the Senate.


Chancellor Perlman reported that the last two days the Deans have made presentations on the strategic plans for their colleges.  He stated that the presentations were illuminating and were hard nose evaluations on how to attain the goals of their plans.  He noted that there was good discussion and it was beneficial to have the Deans present their plans to each other.  He stated that discussions on how colleges could collaborate developed as a result of the presentations.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he made a promise to the Deans that no plan will go without a response from the administration.  He noted that every department should get a response from the Dean after the Dean receives the administration’s response.  He stated that the responses should discuss what is acceptable in the plan and what is not. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he wanted to comment on the motion before the Senate regarding the email message on Professor Bodvarsson.  Chancellor Perlman pointed out that there has been disagreement about what happened in regards to an offer being made to Professor Bodvarsson.  Chancellor Perlman stated that his email message did not make any specific comments about Professor Bodvarsson’s qualification.


Chancellor Perlman stated that he acknowledges that work needs to be done on the issues of gender and diversity.  He pointed out that he is committed to working on these issues.  He stated that the statistics can be debated but focusing on negative aspects is not helpful.  He noted that there are many people on campus who are working hard to make improvements in gender and diversity equity.  He pointed out that the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women has given him a list of priorities to improve the campus climate for women.  He stated that Professor Poser, Law, is meeting with the Lincoln Public Schools to see if they can align their academic calendar with the University’s.  He noted that he hopes LPS can make changes to their calendars because UNL is restricted to the University calendar. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he thought the campus had another terrific year with accomplishments being made by both faculty members and students.  He pointed out that there will be some challenges next year due to the low enrollment this year but the faculty and the students seem to be enthused.  He expressed his appreciation to the faculty for all of the work that they do and he wished them a good summer.


5.0    Senate Elections

          5.1    Election of President-Elect

5.2    Election of Secretary

5.3    Election of Executive Committee Members

5.4    Election of Committee on Committee Members

Professor Stick moved that the vote for the Senate elections be by acclamation.  Motion approved.  President-Elect will be Professor Moeller, Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education; Secretary, Professor Shea, School of Natural Resources; Executive Committee Members will be Professor Bolin, Libraries, Professor Flowers, Psychology, and Professor Rapkin, Political Science;  Committee on Committee members will be Professor Konecky, Libraries, and Professor Whitt, Sociology.


6.0    Recognition of Outgoing Executive Committee Members

 President Peterson recognized the outgoing members of the current Executive Committee.  They are Professor Bolin, Libraries; Professor Flowers, Psychology; Professor Bradford, Law;  Professor Shea, School of Natural Resources.  President Peterson thanked the members for all of their hard work and dedication to the university.


7.0    Recognition of New Senators

President Beck welcomed and recognized the new Senators recently elected by the departments. 


8.0    Approval of 4/5/05 Minutes

Professor Stick, moved and Professor Signal, Advertising, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


9.0       <![endif]>Unfinished Business

9.1       <![endif]>Committee on Committees Motion

Professor Fuller, Chair of the Committee on Committees, noted that the motion was presented at the April 5th Senate meeting.  She pointed out that the motion is to correct language remaining in some Senate committee syllabi that refers to a May meeting.  She noted that the Senate does not meet in May and that the substitute language would state the last Senate meeting of the academic year.  Motion approved.


9.2       <![endif]>Gender Equity Motion

President Beck stated that the Executive Committee did not formally vote on the motion before it was presented to the Senate at the April 5th meeting.  She stated that the Executive Committee has since ratified the motion. 


Professor Harbison, Chemistry, stated that there is no precedent for the Executive Committee to ratify a motion that has already been presented to the Senate.  He stated that a motion cannot be retroactively ratified.  Professor Bradford, Law, stated that ratifications can be made at any time and is common practice. 


Past President Peterson noted that the Senate rules state that a motion does not need to be seconded if it is approved by a committee.  He stated that he believed that it was the consensus of the Executive Committee to approve this motion to the Senate but no formal vote was taken.  He stated that there was further discussion at the Executive Committee after the motion was presented to the Senate and the Committee agreed to ratify the motion.  President Beck pointed out that the Executive Committee voted and agreed to ratify the gender equity motion.


Professor Ledder, Mathematics, suggested amending the motion by using the word “considering” in point number two instead of “implementation.”  Secretary Shea seconded the motion.  Motion approved. 


Professor Reichenbach noted that the 2004 Ad Hoc Committee Report on Gender reported that UNL exceeds peer institutions in terms of the number of female full professors and female assistant professors but lags behind peers in female associate professors.  Consequently there appears to be a disagreement in the numbers being presented and he recommends that any controversy over data should be removed from the motion.  Motion seconded by Professor Ledder. 


Professor Rapkin, Political Science, asked if the report reflects new data.  He stated that he has heard that there was not enough adequate data available last year to make any comparisons.  President Beck stated that she did not realize that the data was being contested.  She noted that the new AAUP data shows some slippage by UNL. 


President-Elect Moeller stated that the discrepancy is in how the data were collected and who was included in the data.  She stated that the important point is that the university is interested in creating a good climate for women.  She noted that there should be a transparent view of the data and the motion should be changed to make it more unified for creating a better climate.  President Beck pointed out that the motion was not meant to be contentious. 


Professor Weiss, Clothing, Textiles, & Design, asked why diversity is not included in the motion.  President Beck stated that the latest report on diversity has not yet been released.  She stated that Women’s Faculty Caucus brought the issue to her attention. 


Motion to amend approved. 


Professor Reichenbach suggested amending point three of the motion by removing the language “enforcing the Regents’ directive found” to “working with the President to implement recommendations made”.  Professor Ledder seconded the motion to amend.  Motion approved. 


Professor Harbison stated that point number two needs clarification.  He noted that specific programs and institutions should be included in the language.  President Beck stated that Purdue University has implemented a major program to increase sensitivity.  She noted that Princeton, Harvard, and Duke are all considering developing a program on sensitivity.


Secretary Shea suggested a friendly amendment to remove the language “similar to those undertaken by a number of our peer and other institutions.”  Professor Bradford seconded the amendment.  Friendly amendment approved.


Professor Kiewra, Educational Psychology, stated that he did not see any evidence in the report that gender bias exists.  He noted that he has not seen any evidence indicating that the best candidates are not being hired. 


Professor Wristen, Music, called the question.  Motion on gender equity was approved 28 in favor, 21 opposed, and 4 abstentions. 


9.3       <![endif]>Motion on Email Message Sent by Chancellor Perlman and SVCAA Couture on Dr. Orn Bodvarsson

Past President Peterson stated that the Executive Committee did not conduct a formal vote on whether to present this motion to the Senate.  The Committee decided not to ratify it.  Professor Harbison stated that the motion therefore does not come from the Executive Committee. 


Professor Reichenbach stated that some members of the Executive Committee have put forward their own controversial agenda which appears to be an attempt to conduct a smear campaign against the Chancellor. 


President Beck stated that the motion is not intended to be a smear against the Chancellor.  She noted that a number of professors raised concerns about the email message disseminating personnel information.  She stated that she was approached by faculty members who asked her to intercede in the matter.  She pointed out that no obvious objections were raised by the Executive Committee when it discussed the motion.  She stated that it was her belief and the belief of Past President Peterson that the Committee approved the motion.   She pointed out that she plans to withdraw the motion.


Professor Bradford noted that President Beck described what happened in the Executive Committee accurately.  He stated that he does not believe that there was any attempt to manipulate anyone’s personal agenda.  He pointed out that he personally would have objected to the motion if the Executive Committee had voted on it but since it did not and the Executive Committee decided at a later meeting not to ratify the motion, it is not an Executive Committee motion.


Professor Harbison stated that the Senate Rules & Bylaw Committee should make a revision in the rules that states that motions from the Executive Committee can not be put forward without a vote.  Past President Peterson stated that this is a good point.  He noted that the motion was put forward in error and the Committee tried to correct it.





Professor Stick stated that the degree of hostility and vilification displayed at this meeting, while permitted, is not appreciated.


President Beck withdrew the motion.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, September 13th at 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.