SKIP navigation
Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

2007-2008 Faculty Senate


Wednesday, September 12 , 2007, 2 p.m., MBSC Dodge Rooms

Members: N. Bacon, Barnes, Betanabhatla, Boucher, Boyer, Chundi, D'Souza, Dwyer, Edick, Elder, Gershovich, Heidel, Hewins-Maroney, Holley, Lamsam, Mei, Miller, Morcous, Mordaunt, Noble, Novikov, Ottemann, Parnell, Paterson, Reames, Reilly, Shaw, Smith, Sollars, Tarry, Thorp, Tixier y Vigil, White, Windler, Winter

Excused: M. Bacon, Huq

Absent: Stanton

Presentation: Steve Shorb, Dean, Criss Library, gave an update on the library construction, publications, and other services available. The meeting began immediately after the presentation.
I. The meeting was called to order at 2:20 p.m.

II. The August 22, 2007, minutes were approved as submitted.

III. Officers' Reports

A. President's Report: Senator Tarry reported

  1. The Chancellor's Council met August 23, 2007. Chancellor Christensen reported on his work as chair of the Providing Academic Support and Career Awareness Task Force for the Building Bright Futures Initiative. He encourages interested faculty to contribute to his or one of the other task forces. The 12-month campus concept remains a focal point of the Chancellor's agenda. Citing the needs to evaluate options in the context of meeting the needs of UNO's diverse student body, the Chancellor is seeking input from faculty and other members of the campus community. Senators Gershovich and Dwyer have volunteered to be on this task force. The Collegiate Learning Assessment was administered to 260 entering first year students. These students will be reassessed at the end of their sophomore year. Plans include senior level benchmarking assessments as well. While the opportunity exists to use the results of the CLA for intervention and advising purposes, the decision was made not use the assessment process in this manner. The Holland Super Computing Center located on South Campus will be available for use by UNO faculty researchers needing use of the facility's capabilities. No details about costs and other logistical issues are available at this time, but additional information on the Center will be announced soon. Step Up Awards will be given again this year to recognize faculty and staff who have gone beyond the call of duty in support of their units and the university. These awards were initiated last year and will be awarded in conjunction with the strategic planning awards. Look for the call for nominations in October.
  2. The Board of Regents met September 6, 2007. The Board heard two presentations on the Strategic Framework. The first presentation presented data on Gender/Minority Faculty Equity. The previous accountability measure for this issue called for an increase in the percentage of total NU faculty who are women or persons of color over Fall 2006 figures. The accountability measure for the coming year is two-fold: 1) meet or exceed the average of peers in the proportion of faculty who are women or persons of color; and 2) report on other measures of success including the net change in number of faculty who are women or persons of color and the relative rate of change in faculty composition as compared to peers. UNO is the only campus in the NU system that meets both elements of the new measure. In 2006 our peer average for percentage of women faculty was 37.06% and UNO's percentage was 40.2%. In 2006 our peer average for percentage of faculty of color was 17.21% and UNO's percentage was 19.1%. The second presentation focused on Assessing Student Outcomes. Provost Pratt presented selected data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which is now administered on all three undergraduate campuses. Data on professional exams was also presented in response to the accountability measure for student learning and success. The Board remains concerned about tuition increases. An interesting development was the substantial change in the accountability measure the Board uses to monitor this issue. The previous year's metric set the limit for tuition increases at 9%, which was met with the 6% increase approved for this year. The metric for next year states that a tuition increase cannot be greater than a 5% + 1% LB 605 assessment. This new lower limit promises to be especially problematic given the level of state support in the second year of the biennium and the projected shortfall in the university's budget. The final presentation of the day came from David Shulenberger, Vice President for Academic Affairs for the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC), which has 600 institutional members that account for approximately 70% of undergraduate degrees in the US. His presentation on the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) highlighted the substantial concerns in the university community that the federal government will impose a "No Child Left Behind" style regime on higher education unless the community can develop a credible alternative approach that addresses the concerns raised by parents and other stakeholders regarding the relative lack of information available to the public regarding costs, quality, and student success rates. The Voluntary System of Accountability appears to have a critical mass of support, but it is not the only model or approach being considered. UNO's Linda Mannering has been involved in the development of the VSA model and she will be invited to visit with the Senate in the coming months.

B. The Treasurer's Report for August 2007 was accepted as submitted.

IV. Executive Committee: Senator Barnes reported the Executive Committee accepted Senator Harmon Maher's (A&S) resignation. He is now the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activity. On behalf of the Executive Committee Senator Barnes will moved the following resolution, which passed.

Resolution 2883, 9/12/07: Senate Vacancy

WHEREAS there are no remaining 2007-2008 faculty alternates from the College of Arts and Sciences, and

WHEREAS it was reported to the Executive Committee that a properly formed caucus of the remaining Senators from this college has elected Griff Elder to serve the remainder of Senator Maher's term (5/9/07 -5/14/10,

BE IT RESOLVED, that Griff Elder is now a member of the 2007-2008 Faculty Senate.

V. Standing Committee Reports

A. Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare: Senator Hewins-Maroney reported the committee is sharing information from the Climate Survey. They felt they would like to do some of their own interpreting of the information and go from there.

B. Committee on Goals and Directions: Senator Reilly reported the committee met on August 29, 2007, and all members were present. Senator Henry D'Souza spoke about alternative energy sources, specifically geothermal and fuel cell technologies. He is working on a report to be presented to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee. Senator Hugh Reilly summarized his meeting with Wade Robinson regarding crisis planning at the University. The committee discussed some possible courses of action. It was suggested that a broad representation of faculty would be needed to get a complete picture of potential areas of concern in the event of a catastrophe. It was also suggested that a survey could be sent out to selected faculty to garner some initial information and department responses to specific crisis situations. A survey instrument will be developed.

C. Committee on Professional Development: Senator Noble reported the committee met August 29, 2007. Members present were Noble, Mei, Winter, Lamsam, Novikov. Tixier y Vigil was absent. The committee is in the process of creating a faculty survey attempting to identify discrepancies between things like:

  • Travel dollars provided by the department/college and expectations of conference attendance (proceedings publications)
  • Equipment dollars provided by the department/college and expectations of publications that would stem from research requiring such equipment.
  • Do faculty members specifically know what they have to achieve in order to be successful (towards tenure and promotion)?

    Each committee member will come to the next meeting with a couple of questions to address such issues. The committee is also considering a "Dialogue" grant (from the Ford Foundation) that would ultimately encourage discussion from all parties regarding tenure and promotion decisions. This has been called the "Stop the Silence" approach to open discussion. Finally, Senator Lamsam will meet with Assoc V.C. Deb Smith-Howell to discuss the possibility of UCAT sponsoring a workshop directed toward effective assessment of teaching portfolios

D. Committee on Rules: Senator Miller reported the committee met August 29, 2007. Those present were Miller, Bacon, Chundi, Windler. Barnes was excused and Holley was absent. The committee members presented the nominees that they secured since our last meeting and identified potential nominees to fill the remaining open slots. Senator N. Bacon agreed to contact three tenured faculty members and request that they serve as nominees for the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee. Senator Miller will continue working to find nominees for the Faculty Grievance Committee. Senator Chundi will continue working to find one nominee for the University Technology Resources & Services Committee. Senator Holley will continue working to fill a CPACS representative for the University Committee on Research & Creative Activity. Senator Miller moved the following resolutions on behalf of the committee, all passed:

    1. Resolution 2884, 9/12/07: 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)
    • Joe Bertinetti (tenured faculty)
    • Robert W. Smith (tenured faculty)
    • Bonnie O'Connell (tenured faculty).

    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).

    2. Resolution 2885, 9/12/07: Faculty Grievance Committee (By Faculty Senate ballot vote)

    BE IT RESOLVED, that in accordance with the Faculty Senate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Bylaws, section 6.1, Faculty Grievance Committee, the following faculty members are brought forward by the Rules Committee for ballot election by the senate.

    One full professor will be elected from the following two nominees to replace Dale Krane, for a three-year term from September 16, 2007, through September 15, 2010:

    • Marshall Prisbell, (Full Professor) ELECTED (19 votes)
    • Michael Skau, (Full Professor)

    One assistant professor will be elected from the following two nominees to replace Jeanne Harrington, for a three-year term from September 16, 2007, through September 15, 2010:

    • Rachel Erb , (Assistant Professor)
    • Ed Tisko , (Assistant Professor) ELECTED (19 votes)

    One member of the Faculty Senate Faculty Personnel and Welfare committee will be elected from the following two nominees to replace Stu Bernstein as the Faculty Personnel and Welfare Committee representative for a one-year term from September 16, 2007, through September 15, 2008:

    • Meredith Bacon, from the Committee on Faculty Personnel & Welfare,
    • Jack Heidel, from the Committee on Faculty Personnel & Welfare. ELECTED (17 votes)

    3. Resolution 2886, 9/12/07: UNO Professional Conduct Committee (by Faculty Senate Ballot Vote)

    BE IT RESOLVED, that two representatives must be elected by ballot vote to serve three-year terms from September 16, 2007, through September 15, 2010, to replace outgoing members Lisa Boucher and James Dick. In accordance with Section 1.1 of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Professional Conduct Committee's Rules and Procedures, the following four nominees (all tenured faculty ranked assistant professor or above) are brought forward by the Committee on Rules for ballot election by the full senate as follows:

    • Jeanette Seaberry ELECTED (20 votes)
    • Joe Bertinetti
    • Janice Rech
    • Robert Woody ELECTED (22 votes)

    The newly elected representatives will also serve as alternates for three- years from September 16, 2010, through September 15, 2013.

    Lisa Boucher and James Dick will continue serving as an alternates (replacing Rebecca Morris and Carol Mitchell) for three-years, from September 16, 2007, through September 15, 2010, per Resolution R2755.

    4. Resolution 2887, 9/12/07: Graduate Council

    BE IT RESOLVED, that the senate president appoints the following member of the Graduate Council to be the liaison between the 2007-2008 Faculty Senate and the Graduate Council for a one-year term from 05/9/07, through 05/09/08:

    Robert Blair, (to replace Harmon Maher).

    5. Resolution 2888, 9/12/07: Committees to be filled or completed:

    a. Educational Policy Advisory Committee

    BE IT RESOLVED, that the following names go forward as three-year appointments, from 08/01/2007 through 07/31/2010, to the Educational Policy Advisory Committee to replace:

    • Patti Meglich, CBA (to replace Catherine Co)
    • Richard Stacy, ED, (to replace David Corbin).

    And the following name go forward as a one-year appointment to complete Tracy Bridgeford's term through 07/31/08:

    • Jeffrey Peake, A&S, (to replace Tracy Bridgeford).

    b. Resolution 2866, 5/09/2007: (to complete d. with Laura Dickson)

    d. Judicial Committee (Pool of Names)

    BE IT RESOLVED, that the following names go forward as three-year appointments, from 08/01/2007 through 07/31/2010, to the pool of names for the Judicial Committee:

    • Amanda Randall, (to replace Candice Batton)
    • Lisa Scherer, (to replace Doug Paterson)
    • Andrew Swift, (to replace Shereen Bingham)
    • Laura Dickson (reappoint).

    c. University Committee on Research & Creative Activity:

    BE IT RESOLVED: that, on the University Committee on Research & Creative Activity (UCRCA), the following name go forward to complete the term of Deb Anderson (CPACS), (08/01/06 - 07/31/09):

    • Ann Coyne (CPACS), 08/01/06 - 07/31/09.

    6. Resolution 2889, 9/12/07: Complete Resolution 2867, 5/09/2007: (to be completed with Juan Casas)

    Technology Resources & Services, University Committee on

    BE IT RESOLVED, that the following two names go forward as three-year appointments from 08/01/07 through 07/31/10, to the University Committee on Technology Resources& Services:

    • Rex Cammack, (to replace Kath Henebry)
    • Karen Hein, (reappointed)
    • Juan Casas ,(to replace Andrea Zardetto-Smith)

VI. Non-Senate Committee Reports

A. Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON): Senator Paterson reported the meeting was held on September 8, 2007. Three times in the last half year a university faculty member has either lost tenure, not be tenured, or has been threatened with no tenure because of the agitation of people outside the specific university. In each case the faculty member has spoken or written within their field of expertise on questions regarding the seemingly-endless struggle in the Middle East. What was once, and then twice, a possible blimp on the radar is now a discernable pattern. Political forces outside US universities are organizing, as they have apparently never organized before, to "purge" universities of faculty with positions critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian perspectives. If it becomes a regular occurrence for a candidate for tenure to be not only challenged but successfully challenged and thus denied tenure because of their point of view, then Academic Freedom is in serious peril. If those interested in defending Academic Freedom do not speak out now, there may not be many more opportunities. Board member David Moshman has received word of a new play entitled Sedition. It involves a UNL faculty member who taught at UNO from 1908 to 1918 and who was dismissed from the university, along with several other faculty members, for not being sufficiently patriotic during and just after WW I and too lenient in a critique of Germany. The author, David Wiltse, is a grandson of the faculty member, Dr. Andrew Schrag, I am pursuing a copy of the script for possible reading, and even possible production. The next Sentinel, will be out in December. Nancy Comer reported on the Annual Meeting and 20th Year Celebration for AFCON. The event will be held December 1st at the Beacon Hills Restaurant in Lincoln, beginning at 10:00 AM and concluding by 3:00 PM. The Board voted to give its annual Academic Freedom Award to Principal Lisa Dale of Benson High School so as to recognize her strong stand for student academic freedom last academic year. David Moshman reported that the matter of a "gay gene" provoked heated discussion at UNL and even across the country over the summer. A UNL faculty member asserted there was no such gene, and apparently asserted it in such a way as to enflame faculty, students, and members of the GLBTQ community alike. David communicated several times with the faculty member to offer AFCON's support for his academic freedom if he desired it. The issue has since quieted. Banned Books Week will be Sept. 29 - October 6, reported Laurie Lee. Dwayne Ball reported Bob Haller's meeting with the Civics Education Advisory Council was successful. We are hopeful a law supporting student freedom of speech and expression will be passed in the 2008 or 2009 legislative session. Doug Paterson appointed the following people to serve on the AFCON Nominating Committee: Dwayne Ball, Laurie Lee, David Moshman. Because President-Elect Comer and possible President Paterson will not be available to chair the November 10 AFCON meeting, Doug Paterson will check to see if Past-President Bob Haller would be available for the assignment.

B. Academic Planning Council: Senator Edick reported Philosphy, Religion, Computer Science, and Black Studies are slated for review this year.

C. Graduate Council: Professor Blair reported the Graduate Council met, September 10, 2007. The Council approved an MD/Master of Public Health (MPH) dual degree offered jointly by UNMC and UNO School of Public Administration, and a Biostatistics/ Epidemiology Concentration in the MPH program. Dr. Frederic Laquer has been elected chair of Committee A: Committee on Faculty/ Student Affairs and Planning, Dr. Robert Blair, vice chair. An important task of this committee will be to update the 2001 strategic plan for graduate studies. Dr. Alice Schumaker has been elected as chair of Committee B: Committee on courses, programs and evaluation, and Dr. Laura Schulte, vice chair. Dr. Deb Smith-Howell reported on the restructuring of the Graduate College. She will serve as graduate dean as part of her administrative duties, and Dr. Harmon Maher will serve as Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activity. Dr. Smith-Howell chairs the committee that will engage in a national search for a permanent AVCRCA. Several items were discussed in the Dean's Report, including the beginning of electronic submission of thesis, problems with No Reports on independent studies class turning into F's, and the existence of resources for graduate program promotion. Dr. Smith-Howell also reported that unofficial graduate enrollments were up. One of her goals as graduate dean will be to increase faculty input to research activities, including funding, collaboration, and travel. Dr. Smith-Howell also asked for support from all faculty in helping recruit candidates for the many administrative positions now open at UNO. The Graduate Council approved a resolution thanking Dr. Bragg for his service to the Graduate College.

C. Strategic Planning Steering Committee: Senator Smith reported the Strategic Planning Steering Committee met Wednesday, August 29, 2007 in the Chancellor's conference room to plan its activities for the 2007/08 academic year. The focus for the year is to be 1) developing unit strategic plans, 2) integrating said plans with the campus strategic plan, including budgetary allocations, and 3) maximizing resources. An awards ceremony is scheduled for November 15. Three Strategic Planning Awards will be presented to units for work in accomplishing the three principal strategic goals of the university. Approximately ten to fifteen Step-up Awards will also be presented (depending on the number of nominations) to individuals identified for outstanding contributions to the university and its mission. Engagement "links" will be established in a manner analogous with existing teaching circles and research triangles. The links are to facilitate engagement between units or individuals within the university and entities or individuals within the greater Omaha metropolitan area. The Chancellor's investiture is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9 and the convocation for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 10. A strategic planning workshop is tentatively scheduled for spring, in March or April. It is hoped that it will draw a large amount of participation from across the campus communities. A noteworthy speaker is being sought.

VII. The meeting adjourned at 3:10 p.m.