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Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

2007-2008 Faculty Senate


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

Members: M. Bacon, N. Bacon, Barnes, Betanabhatla, Boucher, Boyer, Chundi, D'Souza, Elder, Heidel, Hewins-Maroney, Holley, Huq, Mei, Miller, Morcous, Mordaunt, Noble, Novikov, Paterson, Reames, Smith, Sollars, Stanton, Tarry, Thorp, White, Windler

Excused: Edick, Dwyer, Lamsam, Parnell, Reilly, Shaw

Absent: Gershovich, Ottemann, Tixier y Vigil, Winter

Presentation: Linda Mannering, Director, Institutional Research, gave a presentation about Assessment, Accountability and Related information. A question and answer session followed regarding the survey results. Survey results, in whole or in part, are available to Departments upon request.

I. The meeting was called to order at 2:30 p.m.

II. The October 10, 2007 Minutes were approved as written.

III. Officers' Reports

A. President's Report: Senator Tarry reported

    1. The Chancellor's Council met October 25, 2007. Chancellor Christensen announced that a new tuition model for the three Iowa counties in Omaha's metropolitan area would be announced soon. (It has since been formally announced.) He also encouraged everyone to participate in the health risk assessment survey. In an update on the Athletic Department, the Chancellor reported that meetings with community leaders and athletic boosters have been going well as there are signs of progress in the reorganization of UNO's athletic programs. The Chancellor recently attended the meetings of the Metropolitan University Coalition in Baltimore, MD. The coalition is emphasizing community engagement, which is consistent with UNO's plans. The Chancellor reported that we compare favorably to our peers in terms of community engagement. Search committee updates were also provided. The pool for the Sr. VC for Academic and Student Affairs has 37 candidates, narrowed down to 10. The pool for the VC of Business and Finance has 47 candidates, narrowed down similarly. Phone interviews can begin soon with the goal of bring four candidates for each position to campus in January. The search committees for the deanships of the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Education are collecting applications at this point and hope to begin reviewing applications later in November. The Chancellor raised concerns about the prospect of a political group led by Wade Connerly campaigning to change Nebraska's affirmative action policies. Connerly's group has apparently targeted several Midwestern states as part of a campaign to bring anti-affirmative language to state ballots in 2008. The track record of such campaigns is such that gaining a spot on the ballot virtually assures passage. Questions were raised about the inclusion of emeritus faculty in the UNO directory. There are a number of data management and other concerns that would need to be considered before this could be accomplished, but the administration is willing to consider this change. The Chancellor asked that the Senate consider this issue. (At last week's Executive Committee and Cabinet meeting this subject was delegated to the Senate Faculty Personnel & Welfare Committee.)

    2. Board of Regents met November 9, 2007. The Board heard a number of presentations related to the Strategic Framework. These included reports on enrollment, the goal of attracting more of the state's high school students who rank in the top 25% of their graduating classes, efforts to retain non-resident students, and on-going workforce development strategies. The Board's goal is an increase of 1.5% annually. In the data reported (change from 2006 to 2007), UNO exceeded the goal, but just barely (1.8%) while UNL was much higher (3.8%) and UNK lagged behind (.2%). In the area of attracting top first year students, UNO was similarly in the middle, between UNL which has managed to increase the numbers of these top performers and UNK, which appears to be losing ground. The goal for enrolling such students increases from 42.9% in 2007 to 45.9% in 2008 and then again to 48.9% in 2009. Non-resident retention and workforce development goals are less rigid, but campuses are supposed to demonstrate that active measures are being taken to address these issues. It appears that workforce development will become increasingly important at the system level as excellence or priority money will be directed in these areas. The Board also heard about the on-going cleanup at the former Nebraska Ordnance Plant in Mead, Nebraska, where the university currently owns 9,600 acres which contains some contaminated waste. This waste must be removed by February 18, 2008, or the university faces the possibility of significant penalties from the EPA. A deficit request is being submitted to the legislature to cover the expenses associated with the remainder of the cleanup. This land is UNLs, if they can't bear the cost it will go to Central Administration, who will probably have to "tax" the other campuses to cover the expense. The Student Information System (SIS) upgrade project was also discussed since a deficit request for $16 million is being submitted to provide needed one-time funding. A consulting firm, Collegiate Project Services, has been retained to assist the university as it seeks to select an appropriate system to replace the current SunGard SCT+ system that will no longer be supported after December 31, 2011. The plan calls for releasing the vendor RFP in January 2008 with implementation beginning in August 2008. A successful upgrade is critical for all campus constituencies since so much of the university's operations depend on the information that flows through the system. Jay Noren, Dean of the College of Public Health, presented a progress report to the Board. The CPH is of interest to UNO since a number of units on campus have collaborated closely with colleagues at UNMC to bring the college's various programs on-line. 15 UNO faculty participate in the Master of Public Health degree program and others serve as courtesy faculty and in other capacities. The college's focus on education, policy, and community service seems to provide a natural opportunity for cooperation between the two campuses.

B. Treasurer's Report: Senator Sollars submitted the October 2007 budget report.

IV. Standing Committee Reports

A. Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs: Senator Sollars reported the committee met October 31, 2007. Those present were: Edick, Gershovich, Mordaunt, Reames, Sollars. Absent: Morcous. David Peterson (Dual Enrollment Coordinator, English Dept.) spoke regarding the Dual Enrollment (DE) Program. The English Department has one of the most successful DE Programs at UNO and has clearly documented guidelines and policies. Among the topics of discussion:

  • DE facilitates UNO's mission of Community Involvement
  • DE is starting to reach beyond the Metro Area (e.g., English Department's Program in McCook, NE)
  • DE helps keep UNO competitive by providing High School students exposure to UNO programs and atmosphere of higher education
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Program is moving to allowing only High School teachers with a minimum of a Master's Degree to teach AP courses. AP courses are the foundation of the DE Program. Some of UNO's DE Programs are helping teachers obtain their Master's coursework.
  • DE helps support the PK-16 Initiative
    • Involvement of Metro and non-Metro students
    • Helps High School seniors' transition to First Year Experience at UNO
  • Need to continue to allow Departments discretion to say "no" to districts or teachers
    • Teacher qualification standards
    • Districts may have different standards, texts or course content requirements that do not correspond to UNO's standards
  • Majority of funds from UNO's DE Programs is funneled back into DE system
    • Some to High School Teachers (decided by individual UNO Departments)
    • Supports release time for UNO faculty in some Departments
  • A&CA recommends Departments establish written guidelines for their DE Programs that are approved by vote of the Department's faculty
    • Provides rationale for standards
    • Can take to School Districts if any problems/questions

There was a concern raised at the Senate meeting that Dual Enrollment be administered to benefit equally students of any metropolitan school district, and that difference between districts might make that challenging. Senator Sollars responded that the Committee will continue to monitor Dual Enrollment to address such concerns.

B. Committee on Educational Resources and Services: Senator Boucher reported the committee met October 31, 2007. Members present: Lisa Boucher, Jan Boyer, Theresa Stanton, John Thorp. Members absent: Robert Ottemann, Juliette Parnell. Lanyce Keel was our guest and provided a summary of updates in computer services. Some items most notable:

  • ITS is looking for feedback from faculty regarding upgrades to Blackboard, and may develop a survey to ask faculty about their use of features within Blackboard to help guide them in future upgrade planning.
  • MyMapp is undergoing revisions and is being tested this month. The new version will be available in January 2008.
  • Also ITS needs help in advertising the availability of automated test scanning.
  • We also briefly discussed Safe Assignment, and UNL's policy will be implemented by ITS soon.

Dean Shorb will be invited to our November meeting for an update regarding library services.

C. Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare: Senator Hewins-Maroney reported the committee met October 24, 2007. Members in Attendance: Dr. Meredith Bacon, Dr. Karen Dwyer, Dr. Griff Elder, and Dr. Barbara Hewins-Maroney. To better understand faculty mentoring at the university, the committee will work to identify faculty mentoring programs in progress at UNO. The committee will invite Dr. Barbara Pickering to its November meeting. Dr. Pickering has been asked by the administration to develop a mentoring program for first year faculty. The committee will also ask the deans to provide a description of mentoring initiatives that are functioning within their respective college. In addition, the committee will work with the Committee on Professional Development to query faculty regarding mentoring needs. The committee discussed the importance of communication between the administration and the faculty. The committee will be vigilant in looking for avenues to ensure the continued dissemination of issues and information critical to the welfare of the faculty.

At the Senate meeting there was discussion about the elimination of the Chancellor's Commission on Multicultural Affairs. The senators were concerned that the commission was eliminated without consultation or notice, and there are no faculty members in the group asked to look into the original charter. Senator Tarry was to take this to the Chancellor's Council meeting on November 15.

D. Committee on Goals and Directions: Senator D'Souza reported the committee met October 31. Those present were: Doug Paterson, Robert Smith, Henry D' Souza and Hugh Reilly. The committee unanimously voted to send on the bake sale resolution for the approval of the faculty senate. The carbon footprint resolution was also sent on with five positive votes: Reilly, Paterson, Huq, D'Souza and Betanabhatla, and one vote against: Smith.

    1. Resolution 2892, 11/14/2007: Campus Bake Sales

    WHEREAS bake sales have been, historically, the most important and simple source of funds for student organizations, which do not have any other convenient source of needed funds for the operation of their organizations, and

    WHEREAS bake sales are easy to plan, organize, and conduct, which are important considerations for students because of the time demands of their academic pursuits and employment, and

    WHEREAS hundreds of bake sales by many different student organizations have been conducted at this University in the last several decades, which have not, in any of these hundreds of instances, reported an iota of trouble or complaint, and

    WHEREAS health risks associated with bake sales are minimal, and students, staff, and faculty who have severe allergies have taken and do take personal responsibility to avoid them, and

    WHEREAS the students, staff, and faculty who purchase bake-sale items are adults, with fundamental rights to engage in simple acts of commerce as free citizens with all the responsibilities pertaining thereto, and

    WHEREAS prohibition of bake sales at this University is such a trivial reduction in risk within our modern American society, wherein much greater risk (such as crossing a street or riding a bicycle) is ubiquitous and cannot ever be completely eliminated or even marginally reduced by administrative action, therefore

    BE IT RESOLVED, that the Faculty Senate strongly urges the Chancellor of this University to promptly and emphatically reverse the recent action by his administration which prohibited the use of bake sales as a fund-raising mechanism for student organizations.

This resolution passed by voice vote.

    2. Resolution 2893, 11/14/2007: Incorporating Energy Efficiency in New Campus Construction

    WHEREAS global warming and climate change are virtually an established scientific consensus, and

    WHEREAS educational institutions are in a position to make both structural and pedagogical changes so as to respond to global warming and climate change in a positive way, and

    WHEREAS reducing the "carbon footprint" of UNO's campus as a symbol of our university's belief in environmental responsibility, and

    WHEREAS exploring alternative energy sources like fuel cells, geothermal, solar and wind energy could result in substantial saving in energy and utility costs, reducing the need to raise tuition to cover rising utility costs and

    WHEREAS lower utility costs will render more financial assets available for academic programs, particularly in times of reduced legislative support, thereby reducing the need to raise tuition, and

    WHEREAS architectural plans that incorporate energy efficient elements as part of their design, utilizing fundamentals like natural lighting, have proven to be aesthetically pleasing, and

    WHEREAS environmentally friendly policies will garner positive public relations notice from the local community and media, therefore,

    BE IT RESOLVED that we urge the administration to contract with consultants that would help show us ways to incorporate these concepts in any new construction on campus and that preference would be given to architectural firms that would consider these energy efficient elements in their design,

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution be communicated to the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska prior to consideration of any new construction on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

This resolution passed by voice vote.

D. Committee on Professional Development: Senator Noble reported the committee met October 31, 2007. Those present were Noble, Novikov, and Winter. Those absent were Lamsam, Mei, and Tixier y Vigil. They discussed:

    1. Research, Publication, Grant Expectations/Tenure Requirements

    a. Senators present at our meeting had enthusiastic discussion about the questions we have created on the rough draft of a faculty survey to identify perceptions in requirements for obtaining tenure/promotion. Discussion continued regarding the questions created and the ultimate goal of this tool. This development is ongoing. The survey will continue to be fine-tuned during the month of November over e-mail.

    b. Senator Noble will discuss potential collaborations on the faculty survey with Senator Hewins-Maroney and the Committee on Personnel & Welfare.

    2. Course Evaluations/Teaching Effectiveness

      a. Discussion continued with Deb Smith-Howell and her office on this issue.

F. Committee on Rules: Senator Miller had no report as there was no meeting in October. But she did ask for two Faculty Senate volunteers to serve on the Wellness Stampede Advisory Committee. She will have a resolution for this next month.

V. Non-Senate Committee Reports

A. Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON): Senator Paterson

The AFCON Board Meeting was held October 13, 2007, in Lincoln, NE. Those Present: Peggy Adair, legislative liaison Dwayne Ball, representing ACLU Nebraska and the Nebraska Association of Scholars Karen Buckley, secretary, representing Nebraska Educational Media Association Nancy Comer, President-elect, representing Nebraska State Reading Association Bob Haller, past president Susan Helmink, representing the Nebraska High School Press Association Dick Herman, representing Nebraska Press Association Mel Krutz, representing the Nebraska Center for the Book Cathi McMurtry, treasurer Dave Moshman, policy coordinator Susan Oles, representing Nebraska English Language Arts Council Doug Paterson, president, representing UNO Faculty Senate

McMurtry distributed copies of the treasurer's report, showing a balance of $1426.67 with 40 individuals and 13 organizations current with dues. Benson High School Principal Lisa Dale regretfully declined accepting this year's Academic Freedom Award but was pleased to have that honor bestowed on Jerred Zegelis, Benson High newspaper advisor and Sarah Swift, last year's editor of the Benson student newspaper. The two nominees will receive their awards at the AFCON annual meeting. Attention was also called to the recent controversy surrounding the invitation and rescinding of that invitation for Desmond Tutu to speak at St. Thomas University. In regard to an earlier e-mail regarding AFCON participation in a non-profit summit, it was felt that the conference was more suited to non-profit organizations engaged in fundraising and did not warrant attendance by an AFCON representative. The NSEA Voice magazine contained an article of the Nebraska Professional Practices Commission. From reading the article, one could realize why that commission was unable to intercede for the Conestoga math teacher, who felt she was wrongfully terminated. Comer also brought up the Nov. 2 performance of "Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers" at the Lied. Daniel Ellsberg will also give two public lectures Nov. 1. The Annual Meeting will take place December 1. There will be the presentation of the Academic Freedom Awards and a response by the honorees, followed by Bob Haller on civics education and Peggy Adair on the student free expression bill. A panel, consisting of AFCON's original members (Moshman, Krutz, McMurtry, Haller, Gerry Cox and Kathy Stofer), will speak on the founding of AFCON. The Newsletter will be published December 21. Regarding Banned Books Week, the presentation by Mark Twain impersonator Wally Seiler at Lee Booksellers was well attended. There was a panel discussion on "The Freedom to Read Freely" at the UNL Auditorium of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. In the legislation report it was felt that the Civics Educational Advisory Council was sympathetic to the need for a student free expression bill. Adair and Paterson met with Sen. Tom White and his legislative aide, and found them to be supportive. White plans to look into past constitutional cases and will take on this bill if he feels it might be successful. Haller has also addressed the State Board of Education on the proposed student free expression bill and felt the final statement from the chair was positive. Joe Higgins offered to testify if the bill is presented. The AFCON board approved a motion to award one year AFCON memberships to members of the panel for Banned Books Week. Another was approved to allow AFCON to pay fees for the annual meeting attendance for up to 10 officially invited guests. (Senator Paterson repeated his prior appeal for a Senator with an interest in academic freedom to attend the annual meeting and perhaps become the next UNO Faculty Senate representative to AFCON.)

B. Academic Planning Council: The Thursday, November 8, 2007, meeting was canceled.

C. American Association of University Professors (AAUP): Senator D'Souza reported excerpts from October 23, 2007 AAUP Electronic newsletter carried the following information and a graph: The term "contingent faculty" itself reflects our awareness that several groups of teachers--including part-timers, full-timers off the tenure-track, and graduate employees who teach well beyond the needs of their own training -- endure overlapping forms of exploitation and present comparable risks to higher education. We have warned repeatedly that the excessive employment of faculty without job security would eventually undermine both academic freedom and shared governance. That time has arrived. When most faculty are at risk of summary dismissal, the freedom for faculty to speak forthrightly is diminished. And faculty control over the curriculum is also undercut. Here is a link to the recommended institutional regulations and procedures for part-time faculty appointments:

D. Graduate Council: Professor Blair wrote that the Graduate Council met November 12, 2007. Graduate Dean Deb Smith-Howell, discussed the impact of the Metropolitan Advantage Program (150% tuition rate for Council Bluffs area students) on graduate studies, a marketing campaign directed to graduate students, the development of the new Graduate Studies website, and the wide use of graduate student recruitment grants. The Dean also reported on a recent meeting regarding the revitalization of the system-wide Executive Graduate Council by University of Nebraska Provost Linda Pratt who wants to improve communication and collaboration among the graduate programs on the 4 campuses. Several issues relating to inter-campus graduate program collaboration were discussed. A Graduate Faculty meeting will be held November 26 at 2:30. All UNO graduate faculty are encouraged to attend. Prospective graduating students of the Graduate College for the Fall 2007 were approved by the Council. The Graduate Office will continue to ensure that all of the applicants meet course and program requirements. Committee A is working on revising the Graduate College Strategic Plan.

E. Strategic Planning Steering Committee: Senator Smith reported the committee met October 24. Dr. B. J. Reed presided.. It was announced that the operation of Chancellor's Commission on Multicultural Affairs has been suspended. The Chancellor wants a new committee to replace it, though the exact size, composition, and mission are still to be determined. The Chancellor desires to limit committee membership to six to eight persons and to focus on "inclusivity." The Twelve-month Task Force has met twice since the last report and will continue to meet twice a month at least through this year to examine issues related to a proposed twelve-month operating cycle. It is currently in "listening mode" and has heard testimony related to contractual obligations, financial aid, federal regulations, budgeting, and other issues. The fall campus awards presentation is scheduled for November 15 at 3:00 p.m. in the MBSC ballroom. A strategic planning forum event is scheduled for February 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in MBSC. The UNO Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) web site was planned to stand up Saturday, November 10. UNO is one of 18 institutional web sites that will participate in this initial posting. The VSA web posting will contain information on a common template related to college costs, academics, enrollments, undergraduate success rate, etc.

VI. Old Business

A. 14th Annual Bell Tower Challenge held on October 17, 2007, sponsored by Eta Sigma Gamma (a health education honorary organization), raised 2756 pounds of food for the Omaha Food Bank, for a fourteen year total to just under 40,000 pounds (20 tons). The winners of this year's contest in the student category are: Air Force ROTC "Wolfpack" (a perennial winner) for the most cans stacked during the tolling of the noon bells. The UNO concert choir who appeared in their choir robes, singing throughout the contest, won the most enthusiastic category. The most creative category in the student division was won by CRAB (Campus Recreation Advisory Board). MATS (Maverick Athletic Training Students) finished second in the number of cans stacked category. In the faculty staff division the Faculty Senate, fielding a team of Josie Metal-Corbin, John Noble, and Jim Shaw, won the most cans stacked and the most creative. The team called Canfight at the O'Can Corral won the most enthusiast category. The judges were: Nancy Lee from the Omaha Food Bank, Jim Adams from University Television and Shandy Ramet, President of Eta Sigma Gamma. The other teams that participated were: National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), Pre-Health Professionals Club, Circle K, and a team from a UNO death & dying course. All of the teams contributed food cans for the event.

VII. New Business

A. Waiting List for Students was introduced at the Senate meeting. The Educational Resources and Services Committee was charged with researching the new program of "Waiting List" for students on the waiting list for a course. A trial of the program was held in CBA and it was decided that problems with the system need to be worked out before it could be offered to the entire campus. Senators asked if there would be an opt out function for individual classes, and if caps could still be put on enrollment in individual classes.

B. Faculty Senate President-Elect nomination(s) and election will be held at the next Faculty Senate meeting, December 12. A list of eligible senators was attached to the agenda.

VIII. The meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.