UNL Academic Senate Meeting - September 13, 2005




East Campus Union, Great Plains Room

September 13, 2005

Presidents Mary Beck, Ali Moeller, and Wes Peterson Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

            President Beck called the meeting to order at 2:33 p.m.


2.0      Announcements

President Beck welcomed the Senators back to campus and the Senate.  She stated that there is a feeling of optimism on campus and while there are a few issues that the Senate will need to deal with, she is confident that the Senate will handle these issues well.


2.1  Plans for Surveying Faculty

President Beck reported that the Executive Committee has been discussing ways for the Senate to ascertain more clearly the will of the faculty.  She reported that the Committee investigated software that will enable the Senate to survey faculty members.  She noted that the Committee found Zoomerang which is a program that will allow surveys to be conducted easily and quickly and deals with the data efficiently and quickly.  She pointed out that surveys will not be conducted frequently.  She stated that the Executive Committee thinks that surveying the faculty will help the Senate strategize and provide better leadership.  She stated that anyone with questions should feel free to ask them.


2.2  University and Lincoln Public School Calendars

President Beck reported that the academic calendars for the University and the Lincoln Public Schools will schedule breaks simultaneously this year.  She noted that the Lincoln Public Schools has agreed to revise their calendar to parallel the University’s calendar.  She stated that she hopes this works well and helps faculty, staff, and students at UNL.


2.3  Lied Center at 6

President Beck reported that there will be five free events held at the Lied Center this year.  She stated that dates of the events will be announced in the Scarlet and in a variety of other ways.  She noted that these events will be open to the public. The idea is to get wider participation of the community in cultural events at the Lied Center.  In conjunction with the free events, the Senate will be co-sponsoring, along with the Chancellor’s office and Academic Affairs, a Faculty at 5 social hour.  She stated that the social hour will be held either at the Van Brunt Visitors Center or Kimball Hall.  She reported that this will provide the faculty and administration a chance to interact.  Cost of the social hour is $5 per person which includes wine, or soft drinks and snacks.  She noted that the Senate’s role is to help publicize the event and to encourage faculty members to attend. 


President Beck stated that the Senate will also be working with the Chancellor’s office to promote “The Power of Red.”  She reported that this will feature table tents that highlight faculty research, student involvement, and the ways in which teaching and research are linked.  She noted that these table tents will be on tables in the Unions and perhaps elsewhere off campus. 


2.4  Identifying Senators

Secretary Shea asked that Senators identify themselves and what departments they are from when they get up to speak.  He noted that this will help faculty members get to know each other and assists the Coordinator and Secretary in keeping track of who is speaking.


3.0    Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman welcomed everyone back to campus.  He stated that there is a heavy agenda for the campus this year due to the various processes occurring.  He stated that this will be good but it will provide challenges.  He pointed out that there are a number of things that will need to be dealt with such as the accreditation process.  He stated that with everyone’s help everything that needs to get done will be accomplished. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that overriding everything is the issue with the budget.  He noted that while the budget situation is challenging he believes that it is manageable.  He stated that the campus is still on target to have units report their 2% temporary budget reduction for this year.  He noted that a 1.6% permanent budget reduction for departments will go into effect next year.


Chancellor Perlman stated that enrollment is a very positive story although it is not up enough to get us out of the budget problem.  He noted that the number of freshmen students increased this year to bring it back to previous levels.   He pointed out that the small freshmen class last year continues to cause problems for the campus and getting international students is challenging due to homeland security measures.


Chancellor Perlman reported that tuition revenue figures have not been determined yet but credit hour production is up.   He noted that remissions and scholarships have not been calculated yet to get a net figure on the tuition revenue.  He stated that he has a number of individuals working hard on how to adjust the revenue so some of the cuts can be restored.  He noted that some of the policy changes or remissions could make some changes in the culture of the campus and he asked the faculty for their forbearance.  He stated that he will provide further information on the budget when things are finalized. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he is very supportive and excited for the long term implications of the change in the university system regarding tuition income.  He pointed out that each campus is now responsible for its own tuition.  He noted that in the short term this will present some challenges but he believes in the long run that it will be good for the institution. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that during his State of the University address he spoke on a number of issues facing the campus.  He noted that the strategic planning process is moving forward.  He pointed out that departments and colleges must link their priorities with resources. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that even as a Dean he swore that he would never propose curriculum reform to the faculty but he sees no way to escape the compelling need for UNL to review the comprehensive education program.  He noted that the current program is a barrier to our enrollment aspirations, student’s aspiration, and it has lost its core sense.  He pointed out that the Senate tried to adjust the program in the last two years but was unable to accomplish its goal.  He urged the faculty to be helpful in the process of revising the program now.  He stated that he is proposing a general studies degree and he asked the faculty to think seriously about this degree.  He stated that there will need to be campus conversations about this. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the accreditation process is probably the best one we could have.  He noted that the process that is being used allows the campus to focus on something specific and that we want.  He stated that the process is a special emphasis accreditation which allows the accreditation report to be shorter in length but more focused.  He pointed out that the process will allow the visiting accreditation team to come to the campus to help in developing the strategic planning process for the campus. 


Chancellor Perlman announced that a committee has been formed to review all academic titles and faculty status.  He noted that a committee has also been formed to look at our structure for interdisciplinary work and to consider such questions as why some joint appointments work well but some do not. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he is pleased to announce that efforts to have child care on campus are coalescing.  He stated that the north part of the Whittier building will be renovated for the child care facility.  He pointed out that the renovation of Whittier is possible due to a private donation that was made to the University.  He stated that the University will provide the physical space but an outside firm will manage the operation and management of the child care program and support for this will come through those people using the facility. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that there are some people and units that continue to almost purposely disengage themselves from the University by printing and publishing items that do not look like they are associated with the University.  He pointed out that publications need to have the same formatting and style.  He stated that the Office of University Communications has put together a set of guidelines and formats to help people across the campus adhere to the same style.  He pointed out that the number one thing that ties things to the campus is the color red.  He stated that he hopes the faculty will support this effort to give recognition to University publications.  He noted that having different styles and formats on publications dilutes the message of the University. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that after the destruction form Hurricane Katrina three national educational organizations recommended universities accept students from Tulane and other Gulf Coast institutions either by not charging tuition or to charge the same amount of tuition as the school from which they came.  If tuition is charged the universities have been encouraged to send this money to Tulane or the other Gulf Coast institutions.  He noted that some private institutions have accepted these guidelines but most public institutions cannot because of legal considerations.  He noted that most states have laws for public institutions that would not allow them to charge different rates of tuition for students.  He stated that given the constraints the University has decided to accept students from the Gulf Coast and charge them in-state tuition rates.  He noted that individual cases will be reviewed to see if the University can help with the financial situation some of these students are faced with.  He pointed out that most of the students coming here are residents of Nebraska and they did consider UNL for their higher education.  He noted that it would be difficult to treat these students differently from our resident students who choose UNL first.  He stated that he is concerned for those students here who have family in the Gulf Coast region. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the University is working with faculty members from the affected institutions as well.  He stated that it might be possible to hire some of these faculty members as visiting professors.  He noted that there are some resources such as campus resources that the University could make available for these faculty members. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that getting the Lincoln Public School system to change their calendar was accomplished mostly with the help of people on the Senate and other faculty members.  He noted that changing LPS’ calendar is not ideal but they are trying to work with UNL since we are unable to change our schedule due to the University system.  He encouraged faculty members to periodically let the LPS Board know that the changes are helping. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that he is optimistic about this academic year.  He noted that the campus is well positioned to move forward.  He stated that two or three consultants have visited the campus recently and they stated that they were surprised with what they found here.  They stated that the energy and excitement found on campus is encouraging. 


Professor Hoffman, Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, asked if the Chancellor has seen any benefits from the Tommy Lee reality television show.  Chancellor Perlman noted that the September 13th edition of the show was the last episode and no one on campus has seen it in its final form.  He stated that previously the University website was averaging about 1,000 hits a day.  He stated that the number of hits increased to 7,000 after the first episode aired.  He reported that the number of students that have added their names to our mailing list increased by 200 after the first airing.  He stated that he is receiving anecdotal reports and some of the comments made have been amusing.  He noted that he believes the show has not done us any harm and it has the potential to help recruit students. 


Professor Ledder, Mathematics, stated that he does not understand comments made regarding the examining of the curriculum and how the current curriculum is costing us students.  He pointed out that students’ decisions to not come here is not based on the fact that we require a major.  Chancellor Perlman stated that he knows that students’ decision not to attend UNL has sometimes been based on the requirements of our general education program.  He pointed out that the program functions okay if you are a student coming straight from high school.  He stated that it does not work well for transfer students and this is where the program has hurt UNL the most. 


4.0    Approval of 4/26/05 Minutes

Professor Stick, Educational Administration, moved that the minutes be approved.  Motion seconded by Professor Flowers, Psychology.  Motion approved.


5.0    Election of Executive Committee Member

President Beck stated that an election needed to be held to fill an open position on the Executive Committee.  Professor Bender, News-Editorial, moved to elect by acclamation Professor Alloway, Broadcasting.  Motion seconded by Professor Hoffman.  Motion approved.


6.0    Committee Reports

          6.1    Teaching Council (Past President Peterson)

Past President Peterson stated that he was giving the report in place of Professor King, Chair of the Teaching Council, who was unable to make the meeting.  Past President Peterson stated that any questions should be directed to the Teaching Council.  He noted that the Executive Committee is going to charge the Council to work on the issue of academic dishonesty.  President Beck stated that the Executive Committee was charging the Council so it can coordinate campus wide discussions to see how the campus wants to address academic dishonesty.  She pointed out that discussions will be with faculty members as well as with students.  She noted that the Council will be working in conjunction with Dr. Hecker, Director of Student Judicial Affairs, Associate Vice Chancellor Wilson, Dean Kean, and the Senate. 


6.2       <![endif]>Commencement Committee (Professor Stick)

Professor Stick, Chair of the Commencement Committee, stated that a copy of the report was included in the Senate packet.  He stated that he wanted to draw attention to point number 2A which discusses faculty participation in graduation ceremonies.  He noted that attendance of the faculty at graduation is very low.  He stated that the committee is open to suggestions to improve the attendance and asked anyone with ideas to let him know. 


Professor Stick stated that the Commencement Committee is working on making security measures at graduation more visible.  He stated that anyone with suggestions should contact him.


President Elect Moeller asked why an out of state photographer is being used at the graduation ceremonies.  Professor Stick stated that the Regents require the University to ask for outside bids and the photographer selected gave the best outside bid.


Professor Alloway moved and Professor Flowers seconded to accept the report.  Motion approved. 


7.3    Executive Committee Summer Report (President Beck)

President Beck noted that a copy of the report was included in the Senate packet.  She stated that she would entertain questions about the report or if clarification was needed. 


7.0    Unfinished Business

No unfinished business was discussed.


8.0    New Business

          8.1    Executive Committee Goals

President Beck stated that the Executive Committee met on August 17th and drafted the goals.  She noted that some of the goals are continued from last year and some are new.  She pointed out that the Committee tried to present the goals in a way that progress on the goals could be determined throughout the year.  She asked for questions or comments. 


Professor Bradford, Law, asked if the ad hoc committee to look at procedures for reduction in force has written a draft of proposed changes to the existing policy and whether the Senate could get access to this draft.  President Beck reported that the ad hoc committee has not completed the draft yet but it should be done soon.  She stated that the ad hoc committee will want to get a lot of feedback on the proposed document. 


8.2    Clarifications on 15th Week Policy

President Beck stated that editorial changes are being made to the 15th Week Policy to clarify the language in the third paragraph.  She noted that these changes come as a result of questions that were raised by faculty members.  She noted that the changes are not substantive.  She stated that the Executive Committee felt that the changes should be presented to the Senate and technically a vote should be taken to approve the changes.  She pointed out that the intent of the policy has not been changed.  She noted that the 15th Week Policy will not go into effect until the spring semester.


Professor Ledder moved to accept the changes to the policy.  Motion seconded by Professor Stock, English.   Motion approved. 


8.3    Motions to Change Senate Rules and Bylaws

President Beck stated that the Executive Committee is presenting a motion to change the Senate Rules and Bylaws.  She noted that these changes were recommended by an ad hoc committee that reviewed the Senate Rules and Bylaws.  She pointed out that the changes call for including language that would allow voting to take place by email. 


President Beck stated that the other substantial change to the Rules and Bylaws is in regards to the Senate districts.  She noted that the Executive Committee looked at several recommendations made by the ad hoc committee but decided in the end to go with the one listed in the Bylaws.  She stated that these changes would be that each department, regardless of size, would have at least one representative and colleges without departments would have a minimum of two.  If the college has more than 50 faculty members it would have three representatives. 


Professor Fech, Southeast Research & Extension Center, stated that in section 3.3.10 extension agents needed to be changed to extension educators. 


Professor Bradford noted that the ad hoc committee could not reach a majority decision on how to redistribute the Senate districts.  He pointed out that the recommendation made by the Executive Committee did not come from the ad hoc committee.


Professor Prochaska Cue, Family & Consumer Sciences, noted that in some units some faculty members are considered IANR faculty members and others fall under Academic Affairs.  She asked how these faculty members are counted in districting.  President Beck stated that they would be in the district in which they have the greater percentage of FTE.  Professor Reichenbach, Computer Science and Engineering, pointed out that everyone is designated to have a lead college. 


Professor Archer, Anthropology and Geography, asked why the same criteria for departments and the number of representatives they have is not the same for colleges without departments.  He asked why these colleges should be treated differently than the departments.  President Beck stated that one of the rationales is that these colleges did have departments at one time with each having a representative.   She noted that the changes to the colleges were made just recently and the Executive Committee felt that the number of representatives should be somewhat equalized to what they were before the changes were made.  She stated that further discussion on the issue will be conducted at the October meeting when the Senate votes on the motion.


President Beck stated that proposed changes to the Rules of Order of the Senate include language regarding electronic communications and voting. 


8.4    Statement Concerning Regent Elections  

President Beck stated that the statement was being presented by the Executive Committee and will be voted on next month.  She noted that in the spring the Executive Committee considered whether a statement should be made regarding the election of Regent Hergert.  The Committee decided not to pursue it at that time but reconsidered over the summer. 


In writing the statement the Committee thought about the mission of the University and what we expect for achieving goals, both for students and faculty members.  She reported that the Executive Committee felt that not making a statement could say as much as making a statement.  She noted that the Board of Regents has direct effect on the work of faculty members and what we teach students.  She stated that after considering this the Executive Committee felt that a statement should be made.  President Beck reported that some of the impetus to make a statement came from the fact that she was contacted by State Senators, citizens, emeriti faculty members, and the ASUN to make a statement. 


President Beck stated that the Executive Committee felt that they crafted a statement that was not a personal attack on anyone and it does not deal with the legality of the issue.  It is simply a statement that we expect our governing body to abide by similar guidelines that is consistent with the way we expect our students, faculty, and staff to abide by.  She noted that the statement also supports those in the legislature who are investigating the matter.


Professor Reichenbach stated that there have been reports that President Beck met with the Presidents of the Faculty Senates at the other three campuses.  He asked if they were willing to sign the statement.  President Beck stated that she did meet with the other Senate Presidents.  She noted that she spoke with them about the statement but they have opted not to make a statement or join the UNL Senate in making a statement.  She stated that she does not know their reasoning for this decision but they have to do what they feel is best for their respective campuses. 


President Beck stated that she has spoken with Regent Hergert about the issue and informed him that a statement would be presented to the Senate.  She noted that she informed him that the statement was not a personal attack on him.


Professor Radcliffe, Mathematics, stated that he is perturbed about the wording of the statement, particularly with the sentence “The charges embodied in the issue of violation of campaign finance law are inconsistent with the standards on which this university is based.”  He noted that the charges are consistent it is the behavior that is inconsistent.  President Beck suggested that Professor Radcliffe offer a friendly amendment at the October meeting. 


Professor Bradford stated that it is an incredibly weak statement.  He asked if this is a result of the Executive Committee having a variety of views or is the statement a representative of the strength of their views.  Past President Peterson noted that when the statement was originally written it was worded so the other campuses would be comfortable with it.  President Beck stated that the Executive Committee did not want the statement to appear as a personal attack.  She pointed out that if the Executive Committee had known ahead of time that the other campuses were not going to endorse the statement the Committee may have written a strong statement.  She stated that amendments could be entertained next time.  She noted that the ASUN statement is stronger and the emeritus statement will be considerably stronger. 


Professor Bradford suggested that Regent Hergert should be identified in the statement.  Professor Bradford pointed out that the word allegedly should be removed because the charges against Hergert are not alleged since he pleaded guilty to them.  Professor Bradford stated that he would like to see a much stronger statement. 


Professor Leiter, Law, asked if other Regents were convicted should they all be condemned.  He noted that the statement seems wishy washy.  He stated that he does not understand why Regent Hergert is being singled out when there are other Regents who may have broken the law.  President Beck pointed out that Regent Hergert admitted to the crime.  Professor Bradford stated that the problem is not so much that someone has admitted to a crime but the worry over the legitimacy of the election.  He noted that Nebraska has election laws designed to insure that candidates have an equal shot at an election.  He pointed out that the other candidate was not able to get the same finances because of Hergert’s dishonesty.  He stated that everyone should be elected fairly to the Board of Regents.  Professor Leiter noted that his statement was based on the ethics rather than the legitimacy of the election.


8.5       <![endif]>Campus Master Plan (Bill Nunez, Director of Institutional Research and Planning, and Jennifer Dam Shewchuk, Campus Planner)

Dr. Nunez stated that one of the functions of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning is to coordinate the campus master plan.  He noted that the Board of Regents mandated that the campus update its master plan.  He stated that members of his office met with the Executive Committee in the spring to discuss the initial planning process of revising the campus master plan. 


Dr. Nunez reported that the process of updating the plan has been a very good process.  He noted that in January 2006 the Board of Regents will be provided with a comprehensive summary of the plan. 


Dr. Nunez stated that the last time the campus master plan was updated was in 1998.  He noted that a lot of assumptions in this plan are still valid but some are not because both the city and east campuses have had many changes. 


Dr. Nunez stated that the job of his office is to balance out where things go and take the feedback they receive from the campus community, assemble the information and project it on to a master plan concept.  He noted that he wants to make sure there is proper campus involvement in the process.  He noted that there will be a detailed working plan available for the campus to see.


Dr. Nunez stated that the steering committee overseeing the updating of the plan conducted over 135 interviews.  These interviews were with Deans, Chairs, Administrators, as well as with groups such as the Senate Executive Committee.  He noted that two workshops were conducted during the spring semester and these were very well attended.  He reported that a survey was sent via email and over 2000 responses were received. 


Dam Shewchuk reported that the revised plan calls for some significant changes.  She noted that the southwest quadrant of city campus will change with the expansion of the Carson Theater and the removal of the 501 building.  She pointed out that the mall east of the stadium will be shortened and there is the possibility that Ferguson Hall might be removed because it is currently in poor condition. 


Dam Shewchuk reported that until the floodway is removed by the Antelope Valley Project the campus will be unable to build on the flood plain.  She noted that the Antelope Valley Project will change the eastern edge of campus but will provide expansion for parking. 


Dam Shewchuk reported that the east campus plan calls for a change in the circulation pattern of traffic.  She stated that there would be fewer entrances from 33rd and Holdrege streets.  She stated that an entrance would


be created on Holdrege street that would align with the east campus mall.  She noted that the plan shows opportunities for new buildings. 


Dr. Nunez stated that the presentation on the campus master plan will be given to the Senior Administrative Team, the Deans Council, and will be presented to the Academic Planning Committee.  He announced that there will be open houses for the campus to see the plans on September 28th, at the City Campus Union, and September 29th at the East Campus Union. 


Dr. Nunez reported that the goal is to have the new plans approved at the end of the fall semester so it can be presented to the Board in January.  He stated that his office wants to get feedback from the Senate.  He noted that the plans will eventually be posted on the web and he will inform the Senate Office when they are posted.


Professor Hoffman noted that there were discussions about city campus and east campus but no discussion about a link between the two campuses.  He asked if there was concern about how people will get between the two campuses.  He stated that the other item is whether there will be a bike path by Vine Street.  Dam Shewchuk pointed out that the university has no control over the public streets so she does not know the status of a bike path by Vine Street.  She stated that the Antelope Valley Project does call for additional bike trails along Vine Street and in other areas.  She noted that the city is working actively to relocate the MOPAC trail and there is talk about connecting 22nd and W Streets with a bridge across Vine Street.


Professor Nickerson, School of Biological Sciences, stated that one of the major questions is whether a new Biological Sciences building is going to be constructed and whether it will be on city or east campus.  Dam Shewchuk stated that a decision to move a department is beyond the realm of the Office of the Institutional Research and Planning.  She pointed out that the master plan will only show where sites are available on campus for growth.  Professor Nickerson pointed out that several departments would be housed in the Biological Sciences building.  Dam Shewchuk noted that the plans only show where building sites could be available.  She noted that there are four sites north of the dental college.  She pointed out that removing the flood plain will take four or five years.  She stated that if there is need to construct a new building before this time it will probably need to be built on east campus. 


Professor Ledder stated that one of the priorities listed for the master plan is to keep green spaces.  He stated that he hoped that this is taken more seriously than when Avery Hall was renovated.  He noted that the landscaping and green space around that building has been removed.  He stated that he hopes the commitment to keep green spaces is better in the future than it has been recently. 


Professor Hodges, Agronomy and Horticulture, asked when the plans will be posted on the web.  Dr. Nunez stated that the website has not been created yet.  He noted that they should be on the web when the open houses are held.  He stated that he will inform Griffin so she can notify the Senate. 


Professor Reichenbach asked who can be contacted regarding the loss of the green space around Avery Hall.  Dr. Nunez suggested contacting Eileen Bergt, Director and Campus Architect, Landscape Services.


Professor Reichenbach asked what the plans are for parking rates.  Dam Shewchuk stated that parking rates are up to Parking and Transportation Services.  Professor Reichenbach pointed out that the master plan implicates that there will be new parking spaces.  Dam Shewchuk stated that some parking would be removed and some new spaces available.  Dr. Nunez stated that the issues of green space and parking came up the most in discussions.  He noted that there is a priority on green space but parking is always an issue on campus.  He pointed out that the direct impact on parking rates is difficult to determine in a 10 year plan.



The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, October 4th, 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Patrick Shea, Secretary.