2007-2008 Faculty Senate
Excused: N. Bacon, Chundi, Edick, Mordaunt
Absent: Novikov, Stanton, Windler
II. The minutes of the September 12, 2007, meeting were approved.
III. Officers' Reports
A. President's Report: Senator Tarry reported
1. The 12-Month Concept Task Force has met for the first time to establish what the issues are: What can be done? The parameters: policy or regulation? Is Federal Aid involved? What problems need to be addressed? He asked that any questions be given to him or Senator Sollars to bring to the Task Force.
2. Executive Committee and Administration Meeting was held September 19, 2007. The primary focus of the meetings was the 12-month operational concept. A task force drawn from various campus constituencies will be convened for the first time on October 3. Faculty representatives include Scott Tarry (Faculty Senate President), Suzanne Sollars (Chair, Senate Academic and Curricular Affairs Committee), Bill Pratt, and Ann Antlfinger (AAUP). The task force will receive its formal charge from the Chancellor at the October 3rd meeting. The expectation at this time is that the task force will identify and define the issues and offer recommendations for specific action in January. The task force will seek input from the broader campus community throughout this process. In order to better prepare the campus community for these discussions, I've asked the Chancellor to hold forums to better explain both the university budget processes and the tuition model that currently drives many administrative decisions. I believe that an informed discussion of a 12-month concept will not be possible without clear understanding of these two important issues. The Chancellor reiterated his desire to have a candid conversation about the 12-month concept. Search committees for various administrative openings are beginning to meet. Faculty representatives on the search committee for the Senior Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs are Amy Rodie (CBA), Steve Bullock (CAS), Nancy Edick (CoE), and Scott Tarry (CPACS). As of Monday, October 1, there were 27 applications for the position. Thirty to forty are anticipated. The next meeting, to make a short list of candidates, is November 2. Progress on the various construction projects around campus continues. The CPACS building is on schedule for an August '08 move in. Units involved in the move are beginning to plan for their transitions from current locations. While a number of current locations will not be available after they are evacuated, some offices will be "back-filled" once the moves into CPACS begin. Associate Vice Chancellor Smith-Howell is in charge of the "back-filling" process. One of the new residence halls will be completed soon and available as a demonstrator for recruitment purposes. Progress on the parking structure means that traffic flows will soon be disrupted as trucks bring pre-cast concrete structures to the job site.
3. When Parking at the Alumni Center is closed to UNO parking, due to a function there, overflow guests are allowed to park in the faculty lots on the west side of campus. Senator Boyer, a member of the Parking Committee, has put in some calls to Campus Security about it. Other answers she will be looking for are: How many spaces will be lost compared to how many new spaces will be created? And also how decisions are made, and how parking is allocated. The Faculty Senate is looking into the UNO Parking Committee having more meetings and doing more than advising.
4. Bake Sales/Potlucks on Campus: Senator Tarry spoke with Student Regent/President Alex Williams and noted the Gateway articles. The Student Government and Gateway are upset about the ban. It does not seem as if the Administration is engaged in a process of discussion with students on what students do. UNK and UNL Administrators did not feel bake sales are a problem and are still allowing them. The issues of supporting continued student involvement in university organizations which relied on bake sales, and improvement of policy development by involvement of campus constituencies were referred to the Committee on Goals and Directions.
5. Chancellor's Council was held on September 27, 2007. No one from the Senate was available to attend this meeting. Health Risk Appraisal was discussed.
6. President Milliken and Four NU Faculty Senate Presidents met October 5, 2007. One of the first issues discussed was UNO's exploration of the 12-month operational plan for its campus. A number of issues were raised including concerns that whatever is done must adhere to regental policies, the collective bargaining agreement, and system wide policies. These are all issues that the 12-month task force is considering. The president applauded efforts to increase efficiencies on the campus, increase retention rates, and decrease time to completion for our students. He is sensitive to the impact changes might have on faculty. The issue of medical benefits was also discussed. Milliken reported that the University Wide Fringe Benefits Committee was scheduled to meet this week and was considering recommendations regarding wellness plans and incentives for such things as smoking cessation programs. The president offered some initial thoughts on efforts the university could take to control health care costs and provide good coverage to faculty and other employees. Also discussed were efforts to address the out-of-state tuition issue, especially as it relates to students in the Iowa portion of the Omaha metropolitan area. It was strongly suggested that both Regents and Legislators be contacted about this. Electronic ballots for faculty and senate elections were also brought up.
B. Treasurer's Report: Senator Sollars submitted the September 2007 budget report.
IV. Standing Committee Reports
A. Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs: Senator Sollars reported the meeting was held September 26. In attendance: Edick, Gershovich, Morcous, Mordant, Reames and Sollars. Senator Sollars reported on a September 14 meeting initiated by Lanyce Keel, Director of Outreach and Distance Education within ITS, in response to the reported perception by faculty that plagiarism is increasing in student work. SafeAssign, a plagiarism detection tool embedded within Blackboard was described. SafeAssign is currently the University's preferred plagiarism detection tool since it is a component of Blackboard and will not require additional finances. However, UNO faculty have not yet tested the program. UNL is currently using the program and will report to the committee in the future. In addition, faculty from UNO (primarily the Psychology Department) will be piloting the software this semester and additional Departments may pilot the software next semester. The program will be available to all faculty as soon as it is activated (projected activation date October 8, 2007), but ITS is discouraging faculty from using the program at this time. In addition to the pilot program, ITS and the SafeAssign Committee want time to consider any ethical or legal issues associated with the use of the program. A&CA would like to hear the results on UNL faculty perception of the SafeAssign program. Although A&CA will not pursue the plagiarism issue in depth at this time, Senator Sollars will keep the Committee apprised of details from the SafeAssign Committee meetings and the pilot testing. A&CA would like to encourage individual Departments to standardize the definition of plagiarism and determine standardized sanctions that will be imposed following instances of plagiarism by students.
B. Committee on Educational Resources and Services: Senator Boucher reported the committee met on September 26, 2007. Members present: Boucher, Boyer, Juliette Parnell, Stanton, Thorp. Members absent: Ottemann. The Paul Beck Scholarship was discussed, and, in light of the possibility of a significant decline in funds, they are considering a call for faculty/staff donations to the fund. Any other decisions regarding the scholarship will be determined at a later date when the committee has a better idea of the amount of funds that will be available. Senator Parnell provided an update regarding the third meeting of the Course Evaluation Faculty Task Force on September 21. The committee is developing eight common questions for every college. They have a December deadline for completing a common form. Lanyce Keel will be invited to the A&CA October meeting for an update regarding computer and technology services.
C. Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare: Senator Hewins-Maroney reported the meeting was held September 26, 2007. Members in Attendance: M. Bacon, Dwyer, Elder, Hewins-Maroney, Heidel, and White. The group reviewed the charge to the committee and the goals that were established at the August retreat. The committee began developing an action plan to address each of the goals. As a follow up to the climate survey, the committee will develop a short summary and electronically disseminate it to the faculty, providing a link to the survey results. The climate survey indicated a need for mentoring of pre-tenured and non-tenured faculty. Mechanisms to encourage mentoring will be further explored. The members also discussed the dissemination of information to faculty from the administration and the proposal to change the configuration of the academic year. These items will receive closer examination during the course of the year. Assoc. V.C. Smith-Howell informed the committee that Dr. Pickering will work with tenure track faculty to be mentored. Senators noted that there is also a need for non-tenure track faculty to be mentored. The Senate wishes to be sure that UNO is doing enough to professionally develop our younger colleagues.
D. Committee on Goals and Directions: Senator Reilly reported those present at the September committee meeting were Paterson, Smith and Reilly. They are working on a resolution asking that any future architectural design on campus include a focus on an efficient use of energy, for example, use of natural light and a willingness to consider alternative energy sources like fuel cells and geothermal energy. Earlier in today's Senate meeting President Tarry tasked this committee with researching the ban on bake sales and potlucks.
E. Committee on Professional Development: Senator Noble reported the committee met September 26, 2007. Senators Present: Noble, Lamsam, Novikov, Tixier y Vigil. Senators Absent: Mei, Winter. Regarding Research and Grant Expectations/Tenure Requirements the committee has created a rough draft for a faculty survey attempting to identify perceptions in requirements for obtaining tenure/promotion. At the September meeting there was discussion regarding the questions created and the ultimate goal of this tool. This development is ongoing. Senator Noble will discuss potential collaborations on the faculty survey with Senator Hewins-Maroney and the Committee on Personnel & Welfare. The "Dialogue" grant (from the Ford Foundation) that was discussed is probably not attainable for the use that we were pursuing. Regarding Course Evaluations/Teaching Effectiveness the committee had some initial discussion with Assoc. V.C. Smith-Howell and she seems receptive to having her office host a workshop to inform attendees on effectively assessing a teaching portfolio. These discussions will continue.
F. Committee on Rules: Senator Miller reported the meeting was held September 26, 2007. Present: Barnes, Bacon, Chundi, Miller, Windler. Absent: Holley. The committee discussed a request from a senator to change a committee assignment. All Rules committee members agreed to the change. Senator Miller will contact the senators involved and report results at the next meeting. The committee counted and certified ballots electing two representatives to serve on the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. 496 Ballots were sent to UNO faculty, 274 were returned, 257 were counted (not counted were four unsigned ballots and thirteen delivered after the deadline). Senator Miller moved the following resolutions on behalf of the committee, all passed:
1. Resolution 2884, 9/12/07 completed on 10/10/07: Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee
BE IT RESOLVED, that in accordance with section 6.1 of the Faculty Senate Bylaws the following nominees for the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee are brought forward by the Rules Committee for senate nomination. The ballot will be presented to the UNO faculty. Two tenured faculty members will be elected from the following four nominees to serve three-year terms from October 16, 2007, through October 15, 2010, to replace Joan Latchaw, and Linda Parker, whose terms are expiring:
- Michael O'Hara (tenured faculty) ELECTED
- Joe Bertinetti (tenured faculty)
- Robert W. Smith (tenured faculty)
- Bonnie O'Connell (tenured faculty). ELECTED
One non-tenured faculty member will be elected from the following two nominees to serve a three-year term from October 16, 2007, through October 15, 2010, to replace Mark Scherer, whose term is expiring:
- Iulia Podariu (non-tenured faculty)
- William Torrence (non-tenured faculty). ELECTED
2. Resolution 2890, 10/10/07: Student Publications Board
BE IT RESOLVED that the following names constitute the approved list of nominees to the Student Publications Board from which the Chancellor is to select one for three-year appointment from 07/01/07 through 06/30/10 as specified in the By-Laws of the Board of Regents:
- Karen Weber,
- Lisa German,
- Dori Richards.
3. Resolution 2891, 10/10/07: University Committee on Research & Creative Activity (UCRCA)
BE IT RESOLVED that the following name go forward to temporarily replace Zhenyuan Wang for Fall 2007, on the UCRCA (University Committee on Research & Creative Activity):
- Linda Parker, LIB (to replace Zhenyuan Wang as At-Large-Member).
V. Non-Senate Committee Reports
A. Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON): Senator Paterson reported that many legislatures are guaranteeing freedom of expression for students in schools, as is AFCON here in Nebraska. AFCON will be awarding, in December, at its annual meeting, its Academic Freedom Award to the Benson High School newspaper and its editor. The award was first offered to the principal of Benson H.S. She declined it because she felt the issue had not been resolved.
B. Academic Planning Council: It was reported the Academic Planning Council met September 6th. Fall program visits are Philosophy, Religion and Computer Science. Women Studies will be reviewed in the spring.
C. A lumni Association, Board of Directors: Professor Carter wrote that the Board of Directors for the UNO Alumni Association met at the Thompson Center on August 14, 2007. The financial report was presented. The 2006 audit was completed and the annual fund revenue was up due to increased donations. The average donation was $65.00 and most graduates don't give to the fund for at least ten years after graduation. This is an issue that will be explored further in an effort to get graduates to give sooner. The financial results for the first six months report rental revenue at $39,168.00 which is $15,708.00 over budget. Total Operating expenses were $14,292.00 which was $2,172.00 under budget. The outstanding construction loan is currently $80,943.00. Outstanding future pledges will be used to first pay off loan and second to pay back operating fund. Alumni President Lee Denker updated the board on the current status with Nelnet. They have had a relationship since 2003 which brought in revenue for scholarships. The association's attorney, Mike Jones, was called in after the association received a subpoena from the New York attorney general's office regarding Nelnet's involvement with university funding. It was reported that there is no longer any involvement with Nelnet which increases the need for future funding efforts for student scholarships. Mr. Denker reported that the association is well represented on the UNO100 Centennial committee which plans to work with the university and Foundation to throw a centennial gala event in February 2009. Other fundraising projects are also being determined. The golf committee has 40 course sponsors at this time equal with the number of sponsors in 2006. The communication committee determined that a third party assessment of our communication material will be conducted this year by RedAnvil of Pullman, Washington. The involvement committee report agreed on two areas of focus this year: Young Alumni and Scholarships. Jean Phillips, from the UNO Scholarship Office, will attend meetings to assist in the scholarship process. The Operations Committee provided Alumni Center statistics including $41,884.00 generated from Weddings and Receptions. University updates reported new freshman student enrollment at 1,700, same as last year. The construction south of Center Street is putting in three new athletic fields and the new soccer field is active this fall. The parking garage will be completed in August 2008. Phase II of the Library will be completed by September 2008. Ticket sales for hockey are up. The student regent update reports that welcome week was geared up for the new school year.
D. Graduate Council: Professor Blair wrote that the Graduate Council met October 8, 2007. Committee B approved three certificates in Computer Science: Software Engineering, Communication Networks, and Artificial Intelligence, and Systems & Architecture. Still to work on is the Strategic Plan for the Graduate College.
E. Strategic Planning Steering Committee: Senator Smith reported the Committee met September 26. Reports were presented on various matters around the university such as the Chancellor's installation and convocation, progress on various construction projects on the north campus, development of the property south of Center Street, and the impact likely from construction of Aksarben Village, a private development project on the former Aksarben property which is adjacent to the University's south campus. Much of the meeting was taken up with a discussion of the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), a new web-based method to provide information to prospective students and parents regarding the assets and quality of state universities and colleges. The University's office of institutional research will be participating in an initial trial program involving seventeen other institutions in which information is provided in three broad areas: students and family information, student experiences and perceptions, and student learning outcomes. Examples of information provided include number of full-time and part-time students, graduation rates, retention rates, admission rates, financial aid, degrees awarded, housing available, and plans of degree recipients. A common template will be used by all participating institutions to facilitate comparisons. Development of this template is a result of work by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. Nominees for Step-Up and Strategic Planning Awards were requested.