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Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

2006-2007 Faculty Senate


Wednesday,February 14 , 2007, 2 p.m., MBSC Dodge Rooms

Attendees: Barnes, Bernstein, Boucher, Brown, Bullock, Gascoigne, Hewins-Maroney, Holley, Huq, Mei, Noble, Ottemann, Parnell, Randall, Reames, Reilly, Shaw, Skreija, Smith, Sollars, Stanichar, Tarry, Thorp, Winter, Wolcott

Excused: Arbelaez, Betanabhatla, Chundi, Corcoran, Edick, Miller, Mordaunt, Tilton-Weaver, Wetig

Absent: Lahue, Lin, Roland

Presentation: Linda Mannering, Director of Institutional Research, gave a presentation on UNO Surveys. She will send two surveys, an "Alumni Survey", and "Your First Year at UNO Survey", to Faculty Senators so they can have input in their construction.

I. The meeting was called to order at 2:20 p.m.

II. The January 10, 2007, minutes were approved as submitted.

III. Officers' Reports

A. President's Report: Senator Shaw reported

  1. Biennial Budget: The governor's budget showed only a 1.1% the first year and 2.2% increase for the university in his budget request. The Legislative Appropriations Committee met and recommended a 4.2% increase for both years. The Faculty Senate Budget Advisory Committee is planning to do a projection on the NU System Budget Director Chris Kabourek's recent PowerPoint update on 2008-2009 budget situation.
  2. Executive Committee and Administration met January 17, 2007. Interim-Chancellor Christensen began by addressing Governor Heineman's budget proposal for the NU System. The Legislature is very early in its deliberations, and the University has a strong case to make for a larger appropriation. Dr. Christensen has already met several new Senators, and he reported that he sensed a well of support for the University. Dr. Christensen cautioned against entertaining doom-and-gloom scenarios. Julie Totten, Interim-Vice-Chancellor for Administration, reported on UNO's new proposal for Student Housing and Parking. The Board of Regents approved a plan last year, but the submitted bids departed from specifications and/or came in at too high a cost. In recent months, UNO has developed a proposal to construct residence halls and a parking garage at the southwest corner of the Dodge Street campus, or just west of University Village. The new buildings would offer up to 400 beds, and a nearby parking garage would have up to 900 spaces. Resident students would receive parking permits limiting them to the garage or the lower surface parking at University Village, which would relieve some competition in other surface lots. Rents in the new apartment-style residence halls (beginning in Fall 2008) would be about $450 per month per resident. Total project cost would be about $16.5 million, and UNO would manage the finances on its own as opposed to contracting out the project. Sheri Rogers, Interim-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, reviewed information about tuition, fees, and graduation rates. UNO has witnessed some significant improvements in graduation rates and now falls in the middle of its peer institutions. Tuition and fees also remain reasonable within the context of the peer institutions. It appears the last discussion of the " Extended Benefits" issue occurred last spring or early summer. "Extended benefits" would, to one degree or another, add flexibility to an employee's choice of dependents for the purpose of fringe benefits. The Faculty Senate approved a resolution sending a name forward last Fall, but it appears that the resolution was somehow waylaid during the disruptions of August and September. Dr. Christensen asked that the Faculty Senate send him two or three names again, and he promised to choose a representative expeditiously. I also asked for more information about the proposed renovations of the HPER building and faculty fees associated with them. Dr. Christensen noted that the initial proposal is just that, and that no program statement has been written. Neither has the Board of Regents been asked to approve anything. The initial proposal does posit a faculty fee of about $350 per academic year, up from the current $90 per academic year. A number of Senators would like more information about the proposal, and Wade Robinson, Associate-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, suggested that I invite Dr. Daniel Blanke (Director, HPER) and Mr. Joseph Kaminski (Director, Campus Recreation) to visit the Faculty Senate. They will speak at the March 14, 2007, Faculty Senate meeting.
  3. Board of Regents met January 19, 2007. Julie Totten, Interim Vice-Chancellor for Administration, presented UNO's revised plans for the construction of new residence halls on the Dodge Street campus. The plans include apartment-style buildings with space for 400 beds and a parking garage with 900 stalls. The construction will occur west of University Village, thus devoting the entire southwest corner of the Dodge Street campus to student residents and their vehicles. Dr. Totten noted that their parking permits will be restricted to the garage and the 70 spaces on the lower level of University Village, and this should relieve some pressure on parking in other lots. Bond funds will be used for construction, and the debt will be repaid by residents' rents and parking fees. Dr. Totten said that UNO will manage the facilities rather than contracting with a third party. Local management represents a departure from earlier plans, but Dr. Totten sees benefits in both financial concerns and in matters concerning liability. The Regents approved the plans during their afternoon business meeting, and they will now go to the Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education and then to the legislature, which must approve the bond authority. The time-line for the project is aggressive, with construction intended to start in June 2007 and completion in time for the Fall 2008 semester. Governor Heineman's budget director, Mr. Gerry Oligmueller, addressed the Regents to explain the Governor's rationale for proposing that the University of Nebraska be limited to budget increases of 1.1% and 2.2% over the next biennium. His main points were that K-12 education and Medicaid both present rapidly rising expenses. He also presented data showing that the overall tax burden in Nebraska has been increasing relative to other states in the region. Chris Kabourek, Budget Director for the NU System, then presented his analysis of Governor Heineman's proposal. He noted that the university's share of the state budget has steadily eroded since 1989 and that the Governor's proposal for 2007-2008 would be the third lowest percentage increase in 40 years. Mr. Kabourek stated that the university's budget -- without considering any tuition or salary increases -- would face a shortfall of $24.2 million in 2007-2008 and $33.3 million in 2008-2009. The Regents approved the revised Constitution of the College of Arts and Sciences, and they approved the revised procedures for the UNO Faculty Grievance Committee.
  4. Senate Election Results for 2007-2010:
  • A&S (4): Meredith Bacon, Nora Bacon, Harmon Maher, Harmon Maher, Tatyana Novikov
  • CBA (0): N/A = All Positions Full
  • ED (1): Yvonne Tixier y Vigil
  • CFAM (3): Karen Dwyer (2007-09)*, Teresa Lamsam, Doug Paterson
  • IS&T (1): Theresa Stanton
  • Library (1): Jan Boyer
  • CPACS (2): Debra Anderson, Henry D'Souza
  • External NU Faculty (1): George Morcous

B. Treasurer's Report: Senator Tarry submitted the January 2007 budget report.

IV. Executive Committee Report: Senator Randall

A. On behalf of the Executive Committee and Cabinet, moved to amend Resolution 2840, previously adopted, by striking the text up to "Dr. David Corbin" and inserting the following (italics) before Dr. Corbin's name. The amendment passed.

Resolution 2840, 9/13/06, Amended 1/14/07: University-Wide Fringe Benefits Committee

BE IT RESOLVED, that the following faculty member replace Kim Sosin, who has retired from the University, as the UNO faculty representative on the University-Wide Fringe Benefits Committee:

WHEREAS it is the responsibility of the UNO Faculty Senate to forward faculty nominees to the Chancellor for selection of faculty representatives to university-wide committees, and

WHEREAS the retirement of Kim Sosin has left a vacancy on the University-Wide Fringe Benefits Committee,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following nominees be presented to Interim Chancellor Christensen to represent UNO on this committee:

Dr. Robert Darcy
Dr. David Corbin.

B. The Executive Committee accepted Senator Paul Williams resignation on February 7, 2007. Juliette Parnell will be his permanent replacement and complete his term through May 8, 2008.

V. Standing Committee Reports

A. Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs: Senator Tarry reported the committee met on January 31. Tarry, Gascoigne, Edick, Sollars, and Reames were present. Steve Bullock was a guest and reported on UNO's Dual Enrollment Program. Dr. Bullock provided data and details on the program similar to those he previously shared with the Board of Regents, which has offered unanimous support for the program. The dual enrollment program was established to allow Omaha high school students in Advanced Placement (AP) courses to register for and also receive college credits for successfully completed courses. Students pay $200 per course, $80 of which can be applied to the cost of the AP test if the student takes the exam. The courses and instructors are approved by the relevant UNO departments. For the most part, instructors are required to have at least a Masters Degree and at least some graduate training in the discipline from which the course is being offered. The program has proven to be popular with students and parents alike and has grown to include Millard, Westside, and Omaha Public Schools. UNO departments participating in the program have a favorable impression of its development thus far and have found that dual enrollment courses have allowed UNO faculty the opportunity to directly engage the area's top high school students through guest lectures and other interaction. While it may be too early to discern the direct impact of the dual enrollment program on recruitment, it appears that the program is beginning to have a positive return on investment as the number of AP students from area high schools enrolling at UNO increases each year. The A&CA Committee is especially interested in accessibility and diversity issues as they relate to the dual enrollment program. One challenge is to bring more dual enrollment opportunities to high schools where AP offerings are slim. This is especially apparent in the disparity of AP offerings within Omaha Public Schools, where some high schools such as Central and Burke, have extensive and growing opportunities for AP and dual enrollment, but others such as Benson, South, and Northwest seem to lag behind. A potential positive result of the dual enrollment program's initial success is that it may provide additional motivation and incentive for the expansion of AP opportunities at these high schools and allow UNO to reach a broader population of college bound students from around the metro area. Another challenge for which there is no easy answer is that even with expanded AP offerings, many students, especially those from educationally disadvantaged situations, are unlikely to be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities these advanced programs offer because they are not tracking towards these courses in middle school. While it is beyond the scope of the dual enrollment program to address this broader problem, the university's involvement with area high schools may give UNO the opportunity to work with the school districts to support and develop programs that will begin to identify and prepare talented students of all backgrounds to take advantage of dual enrollment and AP. The committee will continue to monitor the program.

B. Committee on Educational Resources and Services: Senator Wolcott reported the meeting was held Wednesday, January 31, 2007, at 4 p.m., in the Senior Scholars Room, Criss Library. Those present were: John Thorpe, Peter Wolcott, Christopher Stanichar, Lisa Boucher, Lanyce Keel. The committee had two sets of issues to address regarding the Paul Beck Scholarship

  1. Since the actual amount of scholarship money to be awarded in the next fiscal year only is known at the end of the current fiscal year, the ER&S committee only has an estimated award amount to work with. In the past, conservative estimates have been made, and the actual amount available has been greater than the amount awarded. The question is what should be done with the difference between the amount awarded (in May) and the actual amount available to award (known in July)?
  2. What dollar amounts should be advertised this year? What is the due date for applications?

Three options were considered for addressing the estimated/actual amount discrepancy:

  • Skip a year, so that the actual amount available in July is awarded the following May.
  • Advertise an estimated award amount, and increase the actual award to reflect the actual amount available.
  • Advertise and award a specific amount. If the actual amount available is greater, roll the difference over to the next year.

The committee decided on option #2: An estimated award amount would be advertised, and any available amount above the advertised awards would be divided proportionately among the awardees. A conservative estimate of this year's award amount is $2400. This will be divided into the following awards:

  • $800 for a full-time undergraduate student
  • $400 for a part-time undergraduate student
  • $800 for a full-time graduate student
  • $400 for a part-time graduate student

The deadline for applications this year will be Friday, April 6, 2007. Awards will be decided by the ER&S committee at its April meeting, and announced at the Faculty Senate meeting in May.

C. Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare: Senator Skreija reported the committee met in the Redick Room, MBSC, at 2:00PM on Wednesday, January 31, 2007. Present: Stuart Bernstein, Samuel Brown, Barbara Hewins-Maroney, Elaine Lahue, Lauree Tilton-Weaver, Andris Skreija (Chair). The committee discussed the proposed faculty survey. It was agreed to try and distribute it on February 26 and request faculty responses by March 10. Senator Skreija agreed to draft the cover letter to inform faculty of the intent of the survey and request participation. Senator Brown agreed to investigate the needed steps of how the survey might be distributed electronically and what if any costs there might be associated with that.

D. Committee on Goals and Directions: Senator Reilly reported the committee met January 24, 2007. Those present were: Hugh Reilly, Jayaram Betanabhatla, Lyn Holley, Ziaul Huq, Robert Smith, and Saundra Wetig. Senator Reilly shared the results of data collected on UNO's 'Major Community Engagement Initiatives/Partnership Programs' with the committee. Committee members were requested to go back to the colleges/or/sponsoring unit to collect additional information on each initiative/partnership:

  1. length of partnership,
  2. number of faculty, staff, and students involved, and
  3. the number of students directly or indirectly impacted through engagement in the initiative or partnership.

E. Committee on Professional Development: Senator Bullock moved the following resolution on behalf of the committee. The resolution passed.

Resolution 2851, 2/14/07: Equitable Distribution of Workload Within Departments

WHEREAS, the possibility exists for inequities in new faculty workload assignments, especially in the assigned time for teaching, based upon negotiations and faculty members' varying degrees of awareness of university policies and practices at the time of hiring; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate encourages all Deans and Department Chairs/School Directors to be cognizant of workload assignments, especially in the assigned time for teaching, for pre-tenured faculty and ensure an equitable distribution of such be followed as reasonably as possible for pre-tenured faculty within each department.

F. Committee on Rules: Senator Barnes reported the committee met on January 31st. In attendance were: Maria Arbelaez, Paul Barnes, and Holly Miller. Members discussed the need to update and distribute a campus-wide survey that allows faculty and instructors to indicate their interest in future service on campus committees. The updated survey should be circulated in March, 2007. The information collected from the survey will be helpful to the Rules Committee as they fill committee assignments for the 2007-08 academic year. In response to a request from the Chancellor's office, the committee agreed to forward two names as nominees to represent UNO faculty on the University-Wide Fringe Benefits Committee. The resolution was passed earlier in the meeting in the Executive Committee report.

VI. Non-Senate Committee Reports

A. Academic Planning Council: Senator Reilly reported there are two reviews in March (History is March 6-9, 2007), two in April, and one in May,

B. American Association of University Professors (AAUP): Senator Shaw reported the Special Master decided the AAUP figure was closer to its Peer Group and faculty salary raises will be 4.3% for the next two years. There will be an AAUP meeting to ratify the contract on February 22, 2007.

C. Strategic Planning Steering Committee: Senator Holley reported the meeting was held January 24, 2007. Presiding: BJ Reed and Deb Smith-Howell.

Interim Chancellor John Christensen attended the meeting and remarked:

  1. New residences and parking spaces approved by Board of Regents must next be approved by the Legislature and the Postsecondary Education Commission. These residences will be built and managed by UNO. The package proposing renovation of HPER is in late stages of preparation for presentation to the Board of Regents. He has met with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and discussed their concern about large increase in faculty/staff fees to use a renovated HPER, and noted that a range of increases is being considered.
  2. Information and statistics depicting the impacts of different UNO budgets on state economic development are being prepared and will be presented to President Milliken. The President is in communication with the Legislature on the topic of the budget. Interim VC Christensen will keep faculty and staff informed of developments as the story unfolds.
  3. Recruitment of an Athletics Director for UNO will proceed (waiting for appointment of a Chancellor would delay the process by about 18 months). Interim VC Christensen has asked the search committee to "narrow" applications down to the best 15 persons who will be interviewed by telephone, and then to 5 who will be brought in for campus interviews. Negotiations for UNO entry into the MIAA Conference (Division II, focused on Kansas/Missouri) are proceeding. Next year will be UNO's last year in the NCC Conference, and the NCC Conference's last year of existence.

    Sign Up for a General Education Review Session Feb 2 - Feb 28: Deb Smith Howell and Shelton Hendricks are leading the UNO General Education Review. This Review will be conducted in a series of computer-assisted, facilitated brainstorming sessions (about 20) that will be held beginning Friday, Feb 2 through Wednesday, Feb 28 in the MBSC. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate. The Review will define what we want students to know and do when they leave UNO. Subsequently, those definitions will be recast as goals and objectives, and linked with curriculum mapping and assessment.

    Focus Groups with Students: Information generated by the six student focus groups led by Bill Swanson and his Environmental Issues and Strategies committee is so impressive that it will not only be further explored during the faculty/staff/community focus groups during the Spring Strategic Planning Event, but it suggests that it would be productive for UNO to conduct student focus groups on a regular basis. Additional focus groups with faculty and staff will be help before the Strategic Planning Event.

    Emphasis on Strategic Planning: Interim Chancellor Christensen and BJ Reed remarked that the State Board of Regents has a strategic plan that is continuously and prominently used as a point of reference. UNO's strategic plan meshes well with it, and the UNO web site has been equipped to demonstrate the relationship between the UNO plan and the Board of Regents plan. UNO unit level strategic plans should be reviewed for consistency with these larger frames.

    Spring 2007 Strategic Planning Event: Friday, March 2, 2007 at the Alumni House - morning until noon. Theme: Focusing on Students and Community Engagement. Program will include a presentation on unit level strategic planning, and faculty/staff/community focus groups. Poster session will be focused on student centeredness and community engagement, and limited to about 20 posters due to limits on space and time.

VII. Old Business

A. Task Force for UNO Common Basic Course Evaluation Form: Senators Wolcott and Shaw will meet next week on a charge for the committee. List of Volunteers:

  • A&S: Jenny Farrar, John A. Grigg, Wayne Harrison
  • CBA: Laura Ilcisin
  • ED: Melodee Landis, Franklin Thompson
  • CFAM: Erica Neidlinger, Elaine Bylund
  • IS&T: Bill Mahoney
  • LIB: Jim Shaw
  • CPACS: Nancy Kelley-Gillespie , Jeanette Harder

VIII. There being no new business, the meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m. with announcements.