UNL Academic Senate Minutes - April 25, 2006



Campus Union,

April 25, 2006

Presidents Mary Beck, Ali Moeller, and Wes Peterson Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

            2.1  Recognition of the Nebraska Cooperative Extension Association (NCEA)

President Beck stated that she wanted to recognize and thank the NCEA for their generous support of the Academic Senate.  She noted that the Association once again presented the Senate with a $1000 check. 


2.2  Board of Regents Meeting

President Beck reported that the Senate Presidents from the four campuses recently met with President Milliken and had a very productive and interesting meeting. 


President Beck reported that the Board of Regents discussed the second year of the current biennium budget and looked at a draft for the next biennium budget.  She stated that funding for diversity, the Programs of Excellence, and the libraries is being pushed down to the campus level which could have serious effects for us in the near future.  She reported that the Board did approve a $5 million energy center at UNL to formalize research efforts in renewable energy. 


President Beck stated that the Board is placing more emphasis on student learning and each campus is expected to do so as well.  She noted that the Board feels that student learning assessment equates with faculty teaching competency.  She pointed out that the faculty will need to pay attention to how this issue is addressed on campus.


President Beck reported that a wellness committee is being created by Central Administration in response to recommendations made in the report written by the President’s committee on health care.  She noted that there will be two representatives from UNL on the wellness committee and they will give a report, possibly later this summer. 


President Beck reported that the Chancellor will need to find a faculty representative to the University-wide Fringe Benefits Committee because Professor Bradford has stepped down from the committee.  She stated that anyone interested should contact her.


President Beck reported that the veterinary medicine program with Iowa State was approved by the Board.  She noted that the program will now need approval from the Coordinating Commission for Secondary Education. 


2.3  Post Tenure Review Report

President Beck stated that the Executive Committee received a report from Vice Chancellor Owens and SVCAA Couture on post tenure review.   She stated that 19 faculty members have been notified that a deficiency would have to be corrected in their performance by the next evaluations.  She noted that 3 of the faculty members made this correction, 11 faculty members retired, and 2 underwent formal post tenure review proceedings.  She stated that at question is whether the post tenure review is working and is effective.  She noted that SVCAA Couture reported that the Deans feel that the review is working and has been effective and there appears to be no abuses of it.


3.0  Senate Elections

Senate Elections were held.  Professor Alloway, Journalism, moved and Professor Hope, Psychology, seconded election of Professor Bradford to President Elect.  Motion approved.


Professor Bender, Journalism, moved and Professor Arth seconded election of Professor Alloway to Secretary.  Motion approved.



Professor Stock, English, moved and Professor Bender seconded election of Professors Zimmers, Hachtmann, and Ledder to the Executive Committee.  Motion approved. 


4.0    Approval of 4/4/06 Minutes

Professor Haller, English, moved and Professor Flowers seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.


5.0    Vice Chancellor Owens

Vice Chancellor Owens reported that the Chancellor was out of town attending a meeting of AAU university chancellors. 


Vice Chancellor Owens noted that the Board of Regents approved the veterinary program with Iowa State.  He reported that the first class in the program will begin here in 2007 and they will spend their first two years at UNL and the next two years at Iowa State.  He pointed out that the degree will initially be from Iowa State but the two universities will be working towards a joint degree for the students.  He reported that faculty members are being hired here to teach in the program.  He noted that there are still 3 classes at Kansas State.  He stated that having the joint program with Iowa State is a good thing for both institutions and for the state of Nebraska. 


6.0    Recognition of Outgoing Executive Committee Members

President Beck recognized the service and work of outgoing Executive Committee members:  Professor Peterson, Professor Shea, Professor Hoffman and Professor Fech.


President Beck thanked everyone for all of the hard work they have done.  She stated that it was quite an honor to work with everyone and believes that the Senate has accomplished a lot this past year.  She noted that work will continue on the reduction in force procedures, contract changes for extension educators, increasing uniformity for evaluation of administrators, streamlining committees, and changes to the Senate structure. 


7.0    Recognition of New Senators

President Moeller thanked and paid tribute to President Beck for her thoughtful leadership and hard work. 


President Moeller recognized new Senators:  Professors Harmon, Construction  Management; Professor Cochran, Industrial & Management Systems Engineering; Professor Pedersen, Construction Systems; Professor Sash, Computer & Electronics Engineering; Professor Anderson, School of Music; Professor Levine, School of Music; Professor Schacht, Agronomy & Horticulture; Professor Kearnes, Northeast Research & Extension Center; Professor Hejny, Southeast Research & Extension Center; Professor Volesky, West Central Research & Extension Center; Professor Chouinard, Mathematics; Professor LaCost, Educational Administration.


8.0    Unfinished Business

          8.1    Resolution on Restructuring the Academic Senate

President Moeller stated that the resolution is to rename the Academic Senate to the Faculty Senate to more accurately reflect the current practice because typically the appointed administrative members do not attend the meetings.  She noted that the faculty voice typically goes beyond academics and the Executive Committee felt that changing the name would be best. 


Professor Chouinard stated that he is a former Senator and served on the Senate in the early 1990’s.  He was also on the Executive Committee for a year and served as Parliamentarian for the Senate and drew up the Rules of Order.  He noted that when he saw the proposal to restructure the Senate he was very sad.  He pointed out that the purpose of changing to an Academic Senate was an attempt to reach out and to get more collegiality with the administration.  He stated that if that collegiality has not been forthcoming then the Senate should redouble its efforts to make it so.  He pointed out that there appears to be confusion about the name Academic Senate. He stated that the name does not mean that the Senate can act only on academic matters but it was meant to include administrators as well as faculty members.  He stated that he feels the restructuring is the wrong way to go and is a step backwards.  He stated that he hopes people would vote against the motion.


President Beck stated that the change is not due to an adversarial situation.  She noted that in the last four years only one Dean has regularly attended the meetings and no Dean has been appointed recently.  She pointed out that the reasons the administrators do not attend is not because of an adversarial relationship with the Senate but because many Deans are too busy to attend.  She noted that other interactions between the Senate and administration have been more extensive since the Senate was changed to the Academic Senate.  She stated that she does not see the move as a step backwards but a move to change the bylaws to fit the practice.  She


pointed out that there is no opposition with the Deans.  She noted that the Senate meetings typically overlap with the Deans’ meetings. 


Secretary Shea noted that the Executive Committee has had experiences that caused the members to think that there are some administrators who view the purview of the faculty as strictly academics.  He stated that in order to get away from this belief it would be helpful to change the name to Faculty Senate.  He pointed out that most institutions have a Faculty Senate.   President Moeller noted that the other three NU campuses are Faculty Senates.


Motion approved 53 to 1.


          9.0    New Business

          9.1    Resolution to Merge the Commencement, Honorary Degrees, and Honors Convocation


Professor Moeller stated that the purpose of merging the committees is to reduce the faculty work load.  She noted that merging the committees will require less faculty members to serve on committees.  She asked the Senate to read the proposal over the summer so they can vote on it in September.


9.2    Safe Assignment

President Moeller stated that this past semester she learned of the Safe Assignment program which checks to see if papers have been plagiarized.  She noted that the program was able to identify that 71% of a student’s paper was plagiarized.  She decided to have Heath Tuttle, On-Line Learning Project Lead from Information Services, and Professor Beth McNeil, Libraries, to give a presentation on the program. 


Professor McNeil stated that the Safe Assignment program has been catching plagiarism and has worked as a deterrent.  She pointed out that some faculty members have run their own papers through the program.  She stated that the program has been getting a variety of uses.  She noted that the program has been used by 38 different courses last year.  She stated that a report will be given to Dean Giesecke to see if the program should be purchased for the fall semester. 


Tuttle stated that Safe Assignment can be used in several different ways.  He stated that it can be used as a spot check and it can run through an entire paper quickly to provide background information.  He noted that Safe Assignment can be accessed through Blackboard by going to the Tools section and clicking on Safe Assignment. 


Tuttle stated that Safe Assignment can handle dot, text files, and files that have been zipped together in a bunch. He noted that the program does not work for PowerPoint or Excel documents.  He stated that the program usually reports back quickly but if the system is busy it can take 4 or 5 hours to get the results back.  He stated that the report will tell how much of the document matches other documents and will give exact sources and internet sources as well as providing a link to the internet sources. 


Tuttle stated that when a document is scanned it will be stored in a UNL database.  Subsequent papers can be scanned through the database and over time there will be a database of papers from different courses on file. 


Tuttle pointed out that the program can give false positives.  He stated that he checked it out and the false positives are in the reference section of a paper. 


Tuttle noted that students can use the program by submitting their paper prior to submission.  He pointed out that students can use the program to make sure they are not plagiarizing their papers.


Tuttle stated that the program has an assignment management portion that allows students to upload papers.  The program will automatically put the paper in a cue for it to be checked.  The instructor can go into the grade book portion of the program, review the paper and report for the student, and the program will tell the instructor that the paper needs to be graded. 


Tuttle stated that anyone with questions should contact him at htuttle2@unl.edu or call him at 2-2311. 


Professor McNeil stated that the administration will make the final decision about purchasing the program this summer.  She encouraged faculty to use the program and to provide input on it so the administration can make an informed decision on whether it should be purchased. 



10.0  Presentation of the Academic Freedom Award to Professor Dwayne Ball (Professor Lewis and Vice Chancellor Owens)


Professor Lewis stated that the Academic Freedom Award (AFA) was established in 1980 and the first recipient was the late Professor James Lake.  He noted that academic freedom preserves basic freedom for all.   He reported that in its 27 year history, the award has been presented 21 times and recipients have their name placed on a plaque in the Chancellor’s conference room.


Professor Lewis stated that in order to receive the award a person has to be connected with UNL.  Nominations are based on significant and continued actions of support for academic freedom and efforts must extend beyond their own personal work. 


Vice Chancellor Owens stated that it was an honor and a privilege to be here to present the award.  He noted that academic freedom cannot exist if people doing research are afraid to publish their results for fear of backlash.  He stated that all faculty members must be free to explore and discuss important issues of the day and to be able to do so without retribution.  He encouraged faculty members to participate in academic freedom.  He noted that a former recipient of the award, Professor Coyne, once stated that he generally didn’t seek trouble or problems but was asked to get involved in some issues.  While he noted it was disruptive of his work to do service, he felt that doing so is part of being a responsible citizen.    Vice Chancellor Owens pointed out that each of us is called to that responsibility and Professor Dwayne Ball, today’s recipient of the award, has taken on that responsibility.


Vice Chancellor Owens reported that Professor Ball has been a faculty member in the department of Marketing since 1987.  He earned his bachelor’s degree at Rice University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.  His areas of interest are measurement, marketing research, and new product development.  Vice Chancellor Owens noted that Professor Ball has been a strong advocate of academic freedom at UNL, has been a member of the ACLU of Nebraska, and a member of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska serving as President, Secretary, and a Board member over the years. 


Professor Ball accepted the award and gave a speech on the importance of academic freedom (a copy of the speech can be found on the web at http://www.unl.edu/asenate/ballspeech.htm).


The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, September 12th, 2:30 p.m. in the City Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Patrick Shea, Secretary.