UNL Academic Senate Minutes - January 9, 2007



City Campus Union,

January 9, 2007

Presidents Ali Moeller, Steve Bradford, and Mary Beck Presiding


1.0      Call to Order

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


2.0      Announcements

2.1  Curriculum Committee Report (Professor Casullo)

Professor Casullo reported that the major business of the Committee this year has been to construct a handbook.  He noted that the handbook clarifies the respective roles of the college curriculum committees and the University Curriculum Committee.  He stated that the University Curriculum Committee is asking the Senate to change the syllabus of the Committee by adding language that clarifies the responsibilities of the college curriculum committees and the University Curriculum Committee.  He noted that the basic idea of the proposed additional language is to include guidelines that explain that the college curriculum committees deal with college courses.  The University Curriculum Committee would only look at college courses under extraordinary circumstances.  Furthermore, the Committee would review courses being introduced that are multidisciplinary and cut across the colleges. 


Professor Casullo reported that the handbook was submitted to all of the college deans and asked that the handbook be reviewed by the faculty in the colleges.  He stated that all of the colleges have approved the handbook and the Committee is now asking for the Senate to review the changes and act upon them. 


Professor Chouinard, Mathematics, asked whether the amendments to the Committee’s syllabus are in the right place.  He pointed out that the problem described relates to item number six of the syllabus but the amendments are not being added to item six.  He noted that he agrees with the goal of the additions but is not sure that they are in the correct place. 


Professor Casullo stated that only two items of the syllabus address what the Committee is actually doing.  He stated that the Committee would like to see more guidance given to the responsibilities and feel that this needs to be done in item one.  He pointed out that the amendment to include 1A delineates more clearly what the responsibilities are of the college committees. 


Professor Chouinard pointed out that what the report states is that the Committee is only disapproving courses because of duplication.  He stated that he does not see where the power for the Committee is in item one.  He pointed out that the power for the Committee is in item six and this is where the additional language should be included. 


Professor Casullo stated that he does not believe that item six is the appropriate place to put the proposed language.  He pointed out item six just addresses the role of the Committee to watch out for duplication of courses.  He stated that it is, however, the prerogative of the Senate to modify the syllabus as it sees fit. 


2.2  Senate Elections Announcement

President Moeller stated that Senate elections will be coming up soon and she wants to encourage people to run for election.  She noted that three Executive Committee members will be needed as well as a President-Elect and Secretary.  She encouraged the Senators to approach someone they feel will be a good representatives of the faculty and to take the initiative to contact this person about running for election.  She stated that anyone with questions can email either herself (amoeller2@unl.edu) or Coordinator Griffin (kgriffin2@unl.edu).  She pointed out that serving on the Senate Executive Committee is a great opportunity to make a difference on campus.  She noted that it is a huge responsibility but one that is quite rewarding.


2.3  Draft Diversity Report

President Moeller stated that the Executive Committee is in the process of forming a committee to revise the draft report.  She stated that she will keep the Senate posted on this issue.


3.0    Chancellor Perlman

Chancellor Perlman welcomed back the Senators and stated that he looks forward to this semester and year.  He stated that he believes there are extraordinary opportunities to continue to enhance the university and noted that the campus had a terrific fall semester.  He noted that this does not mean that there aren’t some challenges as well.  He pointed out that the Legislature is back in session and there are 23 new senators, all of whom have ideas about the university but many who have not had a chance to study the in-depth role that the university plays in the state.  He stated that the university will be working hard with the Legislature and the Governor’s office.  He noted that faculty members may be called upon for assistance in communicating with the Legislators.  He pointed out that it might be helpful to remind everyone that the University has two priorities, undergraduate education and research which align with the challenges of keeping people in the state. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that if one looks at the economy of the state, the research efforts of the faculty will be key ingredients to keeping businesses here in Nebraska.  He stated that he is delighted that the Governor has accepted the two priorities as important to Nebraska but the University hopes to convince the Governor that critical investments in the university are important if the Governor wants to achieve his goals. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that looking forward there are two things occurring on campus that relate to the two priorities.  The first is the revision of the general education program.  He pointed out that it is essential that the campus do the right thing in revising the program.   He noted that he originally announced that he wanted a new program in place by the fall 2007 semester but it is important to get it done correctly and he appreciates the seriousness with which the revision has been looked at by the faculty.  He stated that there is an urgency to get the program revised because of the practical implications.  He encouraged the faculty to keep the pressure on to revise the program and hopes that light on the program will be seen by the end of the semester. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that research efforts on campus have gone well but the campus still has a long way to go.  He noted that the campus has been energized with the $104 million in grants, which is great, but it is not so great for where we need to be.  He pointed out that there needs to be broader participation across the university and noted that some areas could be extremely helpful if they get fully involved with research. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that he wants to address the faculty this semester about research.  He noted that there needs to be economic growth in Nebraska and the idea is to have faculty research that generates products of commercial interest.  He pointed out that he does not expect all faculty members to do this.  He stated that we need to pay attention to the potential of what our research can do.  He noted that the university has been overly supportive of commercial products and is working on building an infrastructure to help faculty members do this kind of research although it is a complex process.  He stated that building the infrastructure needs resources and there are a number of initiatives that are being worked on to develop capital and procedures to help build this infrastructure. 


Chancellor Perlman reported that the Office of Research is considering conducting a retreat for faculty members who are interested in doing research that generates products of commercial interest.  He stated that the retreat will give faculty members a better understanding of what this kind of research entails. 


Chancellor Perlman noted that most people have heard of the 2015 group because of the news stories about moving the state fair.  He wanted to remind people that 2015’s vision is much broader than the state fair.  He reported that the group engages in many ideas that advance the university as well as the city of Lincoln.  He stated that there will be a series of meetings at the end of January where the public can talk and discuss their ideas and be a part of the 2015 discussion.  He encouraged faculty members to attend the meetings to voice their ideas and opinions. 


Chancellor Perlman stated that one development that is moving is our engagement in international programs.   He noted that as an institution we need to broaden our international focus.  He stated that some things are happening in his office and a number of things are occurring around a possible China policy and African policy.  He noted that hard work is being done in these areas to develop what our policies should be and what kinds of engagements we should encourage in these areas. 


Chancellor Perlman pointed out that he alerted everyone in an email message that Associate to the Chancellor Howe is retiring from the university October 15th.    Chancellor Perlman stated that he will be engaging in a search in the near future to fill Howe’s position.  Chancellor Perlman noted that this will be an internal search and a strong institutional memory is needed for the position.   He stated that the position is particularly personal to the Chancellor and in many ways the person is the Chancellor’s alter ego.  Because of this one of the most important qualifications is that there is a working chemistry between the Chancellor and the Associate to the Chancellor.  He stated that he will engage in a process that will seek advice from as many people as possible but he is seeking a process that allows him to make the decision.  He invited the faculty to consider the position.  He noted that he is inclined to lean towards a tenured faculty member for the position.  He stated that the position has some faculty interactions but he does not know how many tenured faculty members would be interested in the position.  He pointed out that the job can be very exciting because you get all the inside information but the down side is that you can’t tell anyone what it is.


President-Elect Bradford asked if the commercial development research will involve a revisiting of the conflict of interest policy or the intellectual property policy.  Chancellor Perlman stated that the university just did the intellectual property policy.  He noted that any policy can be revised but he does not know of anything being considered at this time.  He stated that it is a complicated issue and as we get more experience we will want to address things by developing policies.  He noted that one of the questions is how do you let the research occur but preserve the interest of the university.  He stated that some people may be uneasy about the university engaging with the private sector but he does not think this can be avoided.  He pointed out that there are opportunities for us that cannot be ignored such as the educational program with Gallup.  He stated that these collaborations spread the word about the University of Nebraska.  He noted that he will be heading to Washington DC to make another announcement with Gallup. 


President Moeller thanked the Chancellor and noted that it will be a real challenge to replace Associate to the Chancellor Howe. 


4.0    Outgoing Remarks of Past President Beck

Past President Beck noted that it has been almost three years since she asked for the Senate’s support.  She wanted to thank everyone for giving her the support and for their cooperation and advice while she was President.  She stated that she learned a lot.  She reported that she will be leaving on Saturday to take a position with Clemson University but she will not be riding off into the sunset.  She noted that she will be an emeritus professor and the Senate will be hearing from her from time to time during the semester.  She noted that there are several projects that she has made a commitment to finish here at UNL.  She stated that she wants to say how much she appreciates all of the Senators.  She pointed out that the role of the Senate is very important because it is the first line of defense for academics and it is the connection with shared governance.  She stated that people need to remember this during difficult times and faculty members need to know and realize that they have the right to speak out on matters that affect all of the colleges.


Past President Beck stated that she appreciates Chancellor Perlman’s willingness to participate in shared governance.  She pointed out that we have gone through some difficult times but it is gratifying to see that the university is moving forward. 


Past President Beck stated that she wanted to publicly express her appreciation for Coordinator Griffin and the work that she does.  She stated that without Coordinator Griffin’s support, no Senate President could function. 


Past President Beck wished everyone well and thanked them again for their support. 


5.0     Approval of 12/5/06 Minutes

Professor Flowers, Psychology, moved and Professor Peterson, Agricultural Economics, seconded approval of the minutes.  Motion approved.                  


6.0    Committee Reports

6.1    Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Report (Professor Logan-Peters)

Professor Logan-Peters reported that the IAC meets monthly and members include seven faculty members, the Athletic Director, the Associate Athletic Director/Senior Women’s Administrator, three students from ASUN, and the NCAA representative from UNL. 


Professor Logan-Peters stated that the committee works through subcommittees, two of which meet frequently.  She reported that the Athletic Department recently went through NCAA re-certification which occurs every 10 years.  She noted that in 1995 the NCAA certification committee recommended that we have a subcommittee that assessed academic certification in the Athletics Department.  She reported that we now have a committee that reviews annually an academic program supported by the Athletics Department.  She noted that this year the subcommittee compared the tutoring services that are available to students-at-large and the tutoring services for student athletes.  She stated that the final report on this study will probably be approved in February.  She pointed out that other reviews on the academic programs of the Athletics Department have been conducted on the study halls provided for student athletes and academic counseling. 



Professor Logan-Peters stated that another subcommittee is the Scheduling Oversight Subcommittee.  She noted that many faculty members receive letters about student athletes missing classes and the Committee appreciates the faculty who work with the student athletes who will miss class due to scheduled games.  She stated that the IAC uses a missed class policy approved by the Senate in 1995.  She stated that each of the athletic schedules is reviewed carefully to insure that they do not violate the policy. 


Professor Logan-Peters stated that other subcommittees deal with scholarships.  She noted that one of the more satisfying aspects of working on the committee is the selection of a student athlete, both male and female, for the year.  She stated that it is a difficult choice because there are many good, student athletes on campus. 


Professor Logan-Peters stated that there are on-going discussions about Title IX and gender oversight and the committee that reviews whether UNL is in compliance with the legislation will probably be reinstated. 


Professor Logan-Peters stated that the NCAA re-certification report was written with the help of former chairs of the IAC.  She noted that the IAC met with the NCAA certification team.  She pointed out that contrary to what many believe, the chair of the IAC does not get free tickets to the bowl games or any other games. 


President Moeller asked if the report comparing tutoring services will be available.  Professor Logan-Peters stated that the reports will go to the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chancellor’s office and she believes that a copy of it will be sent to the Senate Executive Committee as well. 


7.0    Unfinished Business

          7.1    Motion Concerning the University’s Prescription Drug Plan

President Moeller noted that the motion was presented last month and she hopes the Senate had a chance to review it.  She stated that basically the motion calls for the University health care plan to offer some generic brands at the same price that Target and Walmart are offering the drugs.  She noted that we pay $6 more for these same drugs.


Professor Chouinard stated that he believes the motion is well intended but he thinks it is another step on the road to Hades.  He stated that if the University accepts the motion the simple response of Caremark might be to narrow the list of drugstores that they will do business with.  He pointed out that if Caremark were to narrow down their business to just Walmart or Target the university employees will lose access to other pharmacies.  He noted that employees currently have the option of going to Target or Walmart if they want.  He stated that if Caremark restricts the pharmacies with which it will do business, it might cause people to have to travel further in order to get their prescriptions.  He pointed out that Caremark negotiates with the pharmacies and either Caremark will have to pay for the $6 difference or it will eventually be passed on to the employees.  He stated that if Caremark tells the pharmacies they will have to pay the cost, the pharmacies may opt out of working with Caremark. 


Professor Chouinard stated that he recently lost his wife due to cancer and when she was battling the disease she had to get compounded drugs that could only be made at a particular pharmacy.  He stated that if the university loses participation with pharmacies like this it could be creating problems for people who are already dealing with a very difficult time.  President Moeller pointed out that the cost of the compounded drugs is not often covered by Caremark.


Professor Chouinard stated that he would not consider approving the motion until the UNL Benefits Committee has had a chance to examine all of the consequences of the motion.


President Elect Bradford stated that, if approved, the motion would go to the University-wide Benefits Committee and they are the ones that negotiate the contract with Caremark.  He stated that he highly doubts that Caremark is going to narrow down the list of pharmacies that will participate in the program.  He pointed out that Caremark is probably getting pressure nationwide to offer the $4 generic price.  He stated that Caremark cannot afford to get rid of the major pharmacies that it does business with.  He noted that the real pressure is from Walmart and Target.  He pointed out that not everyone can go to Walmart and Target and not everyone is covered by this plan. 


President Elect Bradford stated that he does not know who would bear the cost difference.  He pointed out that most of the drugs on the list are fairly generic and not used that widely.  He stated that Caremark will probably have reduced profits which they will probably try to pass on to us.  He pointed out that Caremark can simply say no to the suggestion but it does not hurt to ask.  He noted that the administrators in Central Administration will probably ignore our request but he thinks faculty members should be involved in health care decisions.  He reported that he sent a copy of the resolution to Professor Hope, Psychology, who is the UNL faculty representative to the University-wide Benefits Committee but he has not had a response back from her. 


Professor Chouinard stated that under the circumstances he is concerned if we disdain our committee structure by not running the motion by the UNL Benefits Committee first, then we dissuade faculty members from participating on committees.  He moved that the Senate should run the motion by the UNL Benefits Committee for their consideration and analysis.   Motion seconded by Professor Prochaska Cue, Family & Consumer Sciences. 


President Elect Bradford stated that he is not trying to disuade faculty members from serving on committees however he does disdain the administrators’ response to the University-wide Benefits Committee.  He noted that it is not a faculty committee.  There are four faculty members from the four different campuses, four staff members, and administrators, including a number of non-voting administrators.  He stated that the Committee is simply advisory and he is not sure that we will gain anything by the motion.  He stated that we could ask the UNL faculty representative to present it to the University-wide Benefits Committee. 


Professor Peterson wanted to clarify that there are two benefits committees.  He noted that there is a UNL Employee Benefits Committee but it does not have much power.  He pointed out that decisions on the health care plan are made at the university wide level.  Professor Chouinard pointed out that in truth we do not know how much an impact the campus committee has.  Basically we are asking that the motion be referred to a group that can advise us on it. 


Professor Prochaska Cue stated that she is a past member of the UNL Employee Benefits Committee and she believes the recommendation needs to come from a body that can look at the motion, regardless of whether the committee has power or not. 


President Moeller asked for the vote on the motion to have the UNL Employee Benefits Committee review and analyze the motion.  Motion approved 40 in favor and 7 against. 


Professor Archer, Anthropology & Geography, suggested that there be a time interval of when the information will be given to the Senate by the UNL Employees Benefits Committee.  He stated that it should be available either by the February or March meeting, anything longer than that and the motion should be reconsidered.   Past President Beck agreed.  President Moeller suggested that it be on the agenda for next month’s meeting.   Professor Chouinard pointed out that it might take several meetings to get the needed information.


Professor Arth, Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education, stated that he served on the UNL Employee Benefits Committee for two years and reported that the committee was told that it is not viable and that there was no reason for the committee to meet.  He suggested that the Senators who voted in favor of this motion pay attention to what happens with it. 


7.2    General Education Update

President Moeller reported that several colleges have voted on the proposals and the rest of the colleges will probably vote in February.  She encouraged faculty members to participate in the discussions on general education because it is critical to get faculty input on this faculty driven initiative.  She stated that there are people who will come to your college to help discuss the issue if necessary. 


8.0    New Business

          No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.  The next meeting of the Academic Senate will be held on Tuesday, February 6, 2:30 p.m. in the East Campus Union, Auditorium.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and Richard Alloway, Secretary.