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Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

Faculty Senate

Executive Committee & Cabinet


Wednesday, July 7, 2005, 2:30 p.m., ASH 196
Attendees: Adkins, Anderson, Bacon, Glaser, Shaw, Skreija, Watson

Excused: Corcoran, Randall

I. The meeting was called to order.

II. The minutes of the June 1, 2005, meeting were approved as presented.

III. Officers' Reports:

A. President's Report: Senator Glaser

  1. The Board of Regents met on June 10, 2005. The meeting was highlighted by two initiatives: enrollment and flexible tuition. The student population is decreasing slightly and all of the UN schools have a greater decline than our peers. University and state colleges have all seen a decrease in enrollment in Nebraska. Community colleges and private institutions have seen an increase. Each of the universities gave a presentation on their enrollment strategies. UNO and UNL heavily target the Omaha population. The Regents' want a concerted, unified effort of enrollment from all of the campuses and want faculty more involved in recruiting. There was a discussion about what sells the university. The Chancellors spoke up for quality which was acknowledged. Milliken emphasizes that enrollment is tied to budgeting. The regents approved an expansion in UNO's dual enrollment program. We should anticipate increased efforts by the university administration to expand the dual enrollment program. South High School in Omaha is slated to become involved, which has potential to reach more Hispanic students. NU is instituting flexible tuition as a pilot program. Each campus can experiment as they wish and as approved by Milliken. Then they will report to the board three times a year. There is a variety of ways this could work, including lower level classes being less expensive than higher level classes, off-peak classes being less expensive, rewarding students who take more credits with a tuition break (not a popular option). (Senator Adkins cautioned that efforts to involve faculty in student recruitment will inevitably run up against other faculty commitments. Some discussion ensued concerning tradeoffs and potential incentives for faculty involvement.)
  2. The Chancellor's Council meeting was held June 23, 1005. Undergraduate enrollment for Fall is up 1000 credit hours (though -12 students); Summer undergraduate enrollment is down 100 students; Undergraduate admissions (not acceptance) are up 5-6%; Graduate admissions are up 12-15%; African-American applications and admissions are up 25%; Latino up 28-30%; Native-American has stayed the same; and Asian students are down slightly. There is an e-portfolio center proposal going forward to the board. (Senator Watson has more information for us under New Business below.) People were very concerned about the UNO website, that it is uneven, and difficult to keep updated consistently. There was consensus that there needs to be a way to maintain the entire website. Academic Affairs has put together a faculty development website.
  3. There is a UNO Centennial Celebration being planned for 2008. Initial planning committee is Smith-Howell, Reed, Castilow, Henry, Rogers, Herbster, Leslie, Rosenlof, Gleason, Hinton, Goutierre, Glaser, Sweeney Kraemer. (In discussion there was consensus that more faculty representation and involvement will be necessary.)

B. On June 2, 2005, Nancy Castilow, Asst. to the Chancellor, wrote: The Chancellor acknowledges the resolutions passed June 1 for the purpose of information.

IV Treasurer's Report: Senator Shaw presented the June Budget report.

V Standing Committee Reports:

A. Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs: Senator Anderson reported on recent communications concerning the International Studies curricular review. Questions arose over the Faculty Senate's purview in the matter, but given the Faculty Senate's general portfolio to represent faculty concerns in academic matters, the Committee will proceed with its review.

VI Non-Senate Committee Reports:

A. Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON): Senator Paterson reported the meeting was held on June 11, 2005, at the Gere Library in Lincoln. Subjects covered included: 1) A presentation by Lincoln High School history teacher, Michael Baker on his teaching methods. In the last 4 years Baker began to teach American History (from 1873) beginning in the present day, and going back twenty years each segment. That is, teaching history backwards. His supervisor and the LHS curriculum instruction supervisor has told Mr. Baker that he cannot teach this way. AFCON determined that it was sympathetic to Mr. Baker's concerns, agreed that he needed to meet with certain LHS people next week, but that the AFCON president was available for future meetings. AFCON has voted general support for Mr. Baker's position on the basis of the principle of academic freedom. 2) Discussion of AFCON's Banned Book Week, to be held this year Sept. 24th -October 1st, 2005. The week's activities will include readings of banned books both in Lincoln and in Omaha. The Omaha reading will be at Mic's Bar in Benson on Thurs., Sept. 29th. 3) AFCON's Annual Meeting, to be held Saturday, November 5th, in conjunction with a performance at the Lied Center of the play, The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, Friday, November 4th. The play will highlight the theme of the annual meeting, which is the current clash between the fact of evolution and the religious belief in "intelligent design." AFCON will create a number of panels addressing this theme as well as the themes raised by the Trial play. 4) An update on fundraising suggestions. 5) A report on Peru State's firing of tenured-faculty member Druann Durbin. It appears that the weaknesses in the State College contracts gives little room for academic-freedom agents to successfully argue for Ms. Durbin.

VII Old Business:

A. Commencement Attendance: One item of business at the Faculty Senate Retreat in August will concern deciding which Committee will examine commencement attendance. Faculty attendance is poor, and perhaps incentives could help. President Glaser proposed a faculty sign-in sheet with a drawing for a gift certificate. In discussion it was noted that departmental practices vary across campus; e.g., in the School of Social Work faculty sign up and commit to attending one commencement each year. Other departments do not appear to encourage attendance at all. President Glaser noted that she will try some sort of incentive this Summer or in the Fall.

B. Incentive for Faculty Diversity Training: President Glaser reported on attending diversity training with Sharon Ulmar, and she asked for counsel on encouraging wider faculty participation. Discussion ranged widely, noting the complexity of "diversity" and remarking on lack of satisfaction with previous experiences. Senator Adkins proposed more outreach to departments. The issue is important, especially since creating a supporting environment is important to recruiting and retaining faculty from under represented populations. Senator Watson noted that approaching diversity issues from a pedagogical standpoint (help faculty succeed in teaching diverse classes) would attract faculty attention and promote thought about the issues. The Faculty Senate may not have much capacity to institute diversity programs, but it can set an agenda for campus. The subject of Faculty Diversity was assigned to the Personnel & Welfare Committee.

C. Retreat Planning:

  1. A draft of the Retreat Agenda was attached. After much discussion, the EC&C agreed that the Committee breakout discussions at the Faculty Retreat should be focused on diversity issues. The Committees will need to be provided with questions or a framework to guide the discussions. President Glaser will work more on this as she prepares the agenda for the retreat.
  2. The Faculty Senate retreat will be used to assign issues to various Committees, among them are student recruitment and persistence ; the dual Enrollment program; faculty recruitment, diversity, and development; and incentives to encourage greater faculty involvement in these concerns. The controversy surrounding the Center for Afghanistan Studies will also require attention.
  3. A draft of the Retreat Schedule was attached. Guest speakers in the afternoon will likely require more time than the draft schedule allots. The time for presentations was adjusted to 1.5 hours.

VIII New Business:

A. A proposal to create a Center for ePortfolio-Based Assessment (CeBA) has been approved by the Chancellor's Cabinet and the Dean's council. Senator Watson reported that UNO's progress with ePortfolio's has attracted national attention, and the Center thus becomes an obvious bastion of excellence. The Center consolidates work that has already been done and should prove a nexus for those seeking expert advice. At this point no new resources are being requested though this could change. Senator Watson anticipates that the move toward ePortfolio's will go systemwide. UNO's software will be released as open source, but counsel and support will be fee-based.

IX. The meeting adjourned.