2008-2009 Faculty Senate
Excused: Tixier Y Vigil
Absent: Chundi, O'Connell
I. President Sollars welcomed the new President/Student Regent Neil Bonancci and called the meeting to order at 2:25 p.m.
II. A motion was made to approve the minutes of December 10, 2008. Senator Laquer moved to amend the minutes in order that they correctly reflect the version of Regent Ferlic's remarks published in the Omaha World-Herald, "MORE COMMENTARY," page 7B, Friday, October 17, 2008, Metropolitan Edition, "Midlands Voices," Inviting Ayers to speak at UNL is an unconscionable decision (apparently the December minutes provided a copy of his original remarks as they were supplied to the staff at the Omaha World Herald before editing.) The motion passed without objection. The minutes were approved as corrected without objection.
A. President's Report: Senator Sollars reported
1. Executive Committee and Administration met December 17, 2008. (Minutes by Senator M. Bacon)Attending: Senators Sollars, Boucher, M. Bacon, Miller, Noble and Elder; Chancellor Christensen, Vice Chancellors Hynes and Conley, Wade Robinson and Nancy Castilow.
The meeting was devoted almost entirely to the economic situation and its impact on the University of Nebraska. Chancellor Christensen observed that as yet we don't know where we stand. The states collectively project $100 billion in deficits. So far, Nebraska appears to be in relatively good shape, one of the seven states not having announced such shortfalls. Inevitable economic rethinking will allow us to be creative, the degree to which we will know in stages: on January 15 we will know the Governor's budget, the Economic Forecasting Board will make its projection in late February, the Unicameral's Appropriations Committee will start meeting on the budget in March, followed by the final budget and appropriations in May along with any line-item vetoes the Governor may impose.
Chancellors Hynes and Conley have formed a Budget Advisory Task Force which will hold its first Meeting on December 18. Sen. M. Bacon is the Senate's representative. It will be a clearing house for information and ideas. The four chancellors have met with the University President three times thus far on budget issues. It is projected that a system-wide strategy will emerge. Chancellor Christensen mentioned that there are legal issues being reviewed. Suggestions concerning finding a less expensive workman's compensation pool and a system-wide negotiated medications supplier were discussed. Chancellor Christensen stated his intention to keep the process as transparent and participatory as possible.
The Governor has agreed to allow the University to roll over into next year's revenues unspent sums from this year. Therefore, we are urged to make those savings we can for the rest of this fiscal year. The fate of F&A and distance educations monies has not been determined as yet. There is a system-wide distance education task force which is designing a new business plan. Sen. Elder observed that this time of economic challenges is an ideal time to be in the market for excellent new faculty.
Wade Robinson said that spring 2009 enrollment is up from last year but that we still fall short of our 2008-2009 academic year enrollment goals. There are negative budgetary consequences for such a shortfall in that tuition revenue was down. So far fall 2009 applications and admissions are running far ahead of this year. "Recession enrollments" were discussed. Graduate certificate programs are another source of tuition dollars. Vice Chancellor Hynes praised UNO students who have interned at StratCom's GISC.
Vice Chancellor Conley has a group looking into sustainability issues, including heating and cooling. Improvements are not only green but save money.
Chancellor Christensen noted that Res. 2939 (Concerning the Dis-Invitation of Professor William Ayers) was intended for the University President and Res. 2942 (Concerning Accusatory Remarks by a Member of the Board of Regents [Omaha World Herald October 17, 2008] ) was intended for the Board of Regents.
Accepted by the Chancellor were Resolutions 2936 and 2941. V.C. Hynes asked President Sollars for the final Task Force report for Res. 2937. Res. 2938 was accepted by the Chancellor, but the calendar was adopted by Central Administration the day after the UNO Faculty Senate passed this resolution. The Chancellor accepted Res. 2940 by appointing Kerry Ward to the Student Publications Board.
B. Treasurer's Report: Senator M. Bacon submitted the December 2008 Budget Report.
1. Budget Committee Report: Senator Bartle reported the Faculty Senate Budget Advisory Committee met Dec. 15 and discussed the budgetary issues facing the University. The consensus of the Committee was that at this time the fluidity of the situation made it difficult to anticipate any analysis that would be helpful, but that the Committee should stand ready to react to proposals or changes that might be made. At this time we think the most helpful task would be to educate interested faculty and staff on the budget process. Previous sessions titled "Budgeting 101" and "Budgeting 102A" were well-received, and our question for the Faculty Senate is, should another round of these presentations be scheduled?
The consensus of the Senate was that the sessions were very informative and to request another round of these presentations.
IV. Executive Committee: Senator Boucher moved the following resolution for the committee, which passed:
A. Resolution 2943, 1/14/09, Returning Faculty Senators
BE IT RESOLVED, that the following be thanked for having served as Senators for Fall 2008, and welcome back to returning Senators:
- Tom Sires served for George Morcous,
- Graham Mitenko served for Shuanglin Lin, and
- Carson Holloway served for Jeanne Reames.
B. Senator Boucher also reported on, and Senate discussion was held regarding, the Proposed Building Temperature Policy & Task Force . President Sollars received the following e-mail on 12/23/08:
Kent & Suzanne,
As I believe I have mentioned to you, I have assembled a group of UNO faculty, staff and management to look at ways to advance sustainability efforts at UNO, Below is a list of the people who I have invited to meet on this task force...most attended our first meeting last week.
One of the first things identified by the group is to establish a building temperature policy. This is a guide to how to set our campus thermostat, so to speak, with an understanding that there are cases where the temperatures will need to be modified and where the facilities cannot adequately maintain the temperature (thus requiring heating assistance...i.e. space heaters). On the topic of space heaters, this policy is meant to ensure the safety of all on campus...so if a space heater is needed, we just want to make sure it is a safe and modern one. Also, we want to make sure that if an area is not heated or cooled properly that faculty/staff contact Facilities Management and Planning to report the issue and that efforts are exhausted to correct the temperature without need for a space heater. Fans are ok.
Attached is the policy. I would welcome your input or suggestions and will try to accommodate as many as possible....with a balance to the recommendations of the task force. We will be finalizing this policy and implementing no later than February 1st...so please provide input as soon as possible.
William E. Conley
Vice Chancellor for Business & Finance
This has been referred to the Personnel and Welfare Committee. President Sollars asked that concerns about this policy be passed on to either herself or Senator Elder.
V. Standing Committee Reports
A. Committee on Professional Development: Senator Noble reported the committee met December 4, 2008.
1. Research Climate Survey from 07-08
a. Data analysis is ongoing and we will discuss the results at a future meeting.
2. UCRCA Resolution for Budget Line
a. Based on our meeting in September with Dana Richter-Egger, current chair of the University Committee on Research and Creative Activity, we decided to develop a resolution requesting a permanent budget line supporting the efforts of UCRCA.
b. Senator Noble also moved the following resolution for the committee.
Resolution 2944, 1/14/09, Permanent Budget Line for UCRCA
WHEREAS the University Committee for Research and Creative Activity (UCRCA) is a valued committee that encourages research and creative activity by UNO faculty, and
WHEREAS, UCRCA needs funding to carry out their stated objectives, and
WHEREAS, without said funding UCRCA is impeded from proceeding in a timely manner,
THEREFORE, let it be resolved, that UNO administration
providereinstate a regular and permanent budget line for UCRCA.
Senator Elder moved, seconded by Senator Paterson, to amend the resolution by striking "provide" and inserting "reinstate" in the 4th paragraph. The amendment passed without objection.
The resolution as amended passed without objection.
3. Update on myMAPP/Digital Measures Transition
a. We discussed a recent phone call that Senator Noble had had with Steve Bullock regarding the transition. The key points from the phone call included:
i. Digital Measures would be available soon and user accounts are being created. myMAPP data is being ported into Digital Measures. User accounts should be available soon. https://webapps.unomaha.edu/uno/auth/index.php?a=1
ii. Some information that exists elsewhere on campus is going to be automatically uploaded to your page. For example, sponsored programs will upload 10 years of grant activity automatically. Thus, you will not have to enter this data on your own. (Faculty Senate committee involvement will also be automatically uploaded.)
iii. looking at their new accounts to preview the process and report back to Steve Bullock and Faculty Senate.
iv. Steve will come to our next meeting in January for an update.
4. Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Proposal for the ethical conduct of research
a. We are waiting more information and if they want us to review the modules we have asked them to provide us with hard copy descriptions of the modules for review.
5. Discussed a carry-over item from last year regarding the development of a workshop on the "Best Practices in the Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness". This will probably be done in partnership with the Center for Faculty Development.
a. This also led to discussion about the new course evaluation forms and what was the status of that implementation.
6. One item we'd like to work on this Spring relates to the encouragement and promotion of research efforts on campus. Furthermore, we'd like to see some efforts to recognize some of the excellent research that is currently going on across campus. Topics that were briefly discussed included various workshops, a "Research Day" on campus, and the possibility of inviting Harmon Maher to one of our future meetings.
VI. Non-Senate Committee Reports
A. Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON): Senator Paterson reported
1. The Annual Meeting was held November 15, 2008, in Lincoln. President Comer called the board meeting to order at 12:55 p.m. Minutes for the October 11th meeting were approved.
Treasurer's Report: AFCON's treasury has a balance of $1928.38, as of Nov. 14. AFCON membership includes: 44 paid members, three guest members, 14 organizational paid members, two in-kind organizational members and three organizational members with unpaid dues.
Old Business: The board examined what it should do in light of the Lincoln Journal Star's publication of a letter by Dr. Frank Edler in response to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents not to rescind the decision resulting in the firing of several University of Nebraska faculty members in 1918. Moshman reminded board members that Comer had been authorized at the last board meeting to send a letter to the Board of Regents, an action that was put on hold in the wake of the Bill Ayers controversy (The Board of Regents canceled an appearance by the University of Illinois at Chicago professor, citing "security issues,"). Moshman proposed, with Adair seconding, that Comer write an open letter to the Board of Regents, and offered for publication in local newspapers, that would ask the Board reconsider it's decision not to rescind the 1918 decision and cite the Ayers case as an example that disproves University of Nebraska by-laws on academic freedom are sufficient. Moshman accepted a friendly amendment by Ball that the letter be presented to the monthly Regents board meeting, followed by publication of the letter. The motion passed. Parker suggested the final version be sent to respective organizations who could publish the letter in their newsletters.
New Business: Robert Brooke has volunteered to be webmaster of the AFCON website. Comer appointed Ball, Parker, and Brooke to formulate a policy for use of the website and include a job description for webmaster before finding a new webmaster.
Ball suggested, and Herman seconded, that AFCON not meet in December. Paterson and Comer felt that the Ayres/Edler letter deserved attention that might require meeting in December, as scheduled. After discussion, Moshman moved that if consensus on further action could be reached by e-mail, that the group follow Ball's proposal to postpone the next meeting to Jan.10. Adair seconded and the board approved.
Parker suggested that the Board consider web conference as an (occasional) alternative to monthly board meetings in Lincoln.
2. The meeting was held Saturday, January 10, 2009, at Eisley Library, Lincoln NE.
President Dwayne Ball brought the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. Minutes from the November Annual Meeting were approved as distributed. A former NU student active with AFCON sent greetings from India. President Ball reported that the AFCON Constitution says we need only 4 members for a quorum, though now we get between 12 and 16. "Sentinel" needs material for March edition.
Peggy Adair gave a report on legislation and the legislature. Streaming video of the Unicameral is now available on line. We are looking for Senators to sponsor the Student Free Expression bill.
It was noted that the NE State AAUP might appoint a member to the AFCON Board.
There was considerable discussion of the William Ayers matter.
The State Reading Conference will be Feb. 26-28, 2009.
Some members observe there are academic freedom issues in many high schools in NE. Faculty are afraid to speak up about anything for fear of losing their jobs in the recession/depression economy.
ACLU represented a student at Millard South. She was told she would be suspended if she wore a shirt honoring a slain friend. She wore the shirt anyway, as did 20 more students, and all were suspended. Eventually the school backed down from its position.
Linda Parker reported on archiving AFCON records with the Nebraska Historical Society. We are in the process of signing an agreement and capturing the web site. We need to have material to give to the state archive institute in order to sign an agreement. Tom Mooney is the Curator of Manuscripts at the Nebraska Historical Society.
Nancy Comer sent a letter to Regents regarding 1918 NU professors' trial. The letter was printed in the Lincoln Journal Star.
Robert Brooke has agreed to take on the task of Web Site re-designer/Webmaster for the AFCON site. We will buy a Blue Host web site account. A Motion to make the designation, put up the web site, and pay the monthly fee, with counter and re-direct from old web site, was passed unanimously.
New Business: Annual Meeting in November 2009: What might be speakers for the Program? William Ayers. Budget / cuts. Accountability / No Child / Assessment. Ayers can speak to measurement. Freedom of Expression Bill. Qualitative Research group at UNO Education should be contacted regarding the Ayers situation.
B. Alumni Association, Board of Directors: Professor Barnes submitted the following report:
The UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors met November 25, 2008.
Minutes by Julie Kaminski. Edits and submission to Faculty Senate by Paul Barnes.
A video of UNO Alumni Association 2008 highlights was presented. It featured photos from the following: Alumni Night on The Ice, Young Alumni activities, Shakespeare on the Green, Centennial Homecoming Golden Circle Lunch, Barbecue, and Tailgate, the scholarship Golf Tournament, Teaching Awards, Citations for Alumni Achievement, Holland Publication, Legislation Roundtable, and the 2008 Board of Directors picture. Lee Denker stated that the Alumni Association received two awards for our leadership during Centennial Homecoming Weekend: the Chancellor's Centennial Medallion and the UNO Step Up Award.
Deb McLarney presented the slate of 2009 Officers as follows: Chairman - Mark Grieb; 1st Vice Chairman - Kevin Munro; 2nd Vice Chairman - Laura Kapustka; Secretary - Pat Lamberty; Treasurer - Dan Koraleski; Legal Advisor - Jill Goldstein; Past Chairman - Rod Oberle. A motion was made by Ray Barr to approve the slate, and seconded by EvaJon Sperling.
Mark Grieb stated that overall Annual Fund revenue is up $6,000 over 2007 thanks to strong growth in Century Club giving. Grieb summarized the goal of the Board Challenge: For each board member to raise $1,000 toward Annual Fund by December 31. Grieb praised the board for their good work that has brought in over $5,000 to date. Grieb reminded the board of the "Fast Start" award given at the August board meeting to David Craft as he had raised $1,000.00. Grieb presented the second "Fast Start" award to board member Shirley Spieker for raising $1,000.00.
Kevin Munro stated that the golf tournament was successful with 50 sponsors and a $53,077.00 net profit.
Jamie Herbert gave a summary of the projects of the Involvement Committee. One of the projects was the award of Alumni Scholarships funded by the golf tournament. Herbert explained that the committee had to choose four scholarship winners and that they were present at the meeting. He introduced each recipient by reading a short summary of their high school activities.
Mike Kudlacz summarized the activities of AFROTC during the Centennial Homecoming celebration highlighting the reunion events and the B2 flyover at the football game. Kudlacz stated that the next meeting for AFROTC will be January 23.
Garrett Anderson talked about the UNO Young Alumni Association's Holiday event at the Zoo that was scheduled for December 12.
Bill Conley, Vice Chancellor, Business and Finance presented the University Update for Chancellor John Christensen. Conley said the University will face challenges due to the economic situation with a gap in state revenue. Conley stated that the university has started the process to prepare for budget cuts. Conley said that there is also good news on campus, with the expansion and remodeling projects, and that enrollment was up to just under 15,000.
Laurie Ruge reviewed the October, 2008 financial statements.
Lucas Seiler summarized the projects UNO students have been involved in the past year, one of which is the recycling project. Recycling went campus wide, and to date they have recycled over 120,000 pounds of materials. Seiler introduced his successor, Neal Bonacci, who will be student regent for 2009.
VII. Old Business
A. There was discussion about the manner in which the UNO Administration has been responding to Faculty Senate concerns regarding the video, "Shots Fired - When Lightning Strikes," and Administration's decision put it on the UNO web site, without implementing the suggestions contained in Faculty Senate Resolution 2931, passed at the 11/12/08 Faculty Senate meeting. President Sollars will continue to bring this to the Administration's attention and continue to look for ways to combine education and training components that should be offered with the showing of the video.
VIII. New Business
B. Due to the late closure (after 5 p.m. for a 5 p.m. closure) of the campus on Monday, 1/12/09, there was discussion about policies for closing campus due to weather. It does not seem as there are specific written guidelines on either weather, snow depth, wind speed, etc. There also does not seem to be any written guidelines on a time deadline to cancel classes. In this case, of such late notice, students and faculty had already spent time on the dangerous drive to classes, were already in evening classes and it seemed unsafe to dismiss, etc. President Sollars will look into the policy and see if it needs to go to a standing committee.
IX. The meeting adjourned at 3:15 p.m.