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Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

2008-2009 Faculty Senate


Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 2 p.m.,MBSC Chancellors Room

Members:    M. Bacon, N. Bacon, Bartle, Boucher,Boyer, D'Souza, Dwyer, Elder, Erickson, Holley, Huq, Johanningsmeier, Kercher, Laquer, Mei, Miller, Mitchell, Morcous,  Noble, O'Connell, Paterson, Ritzman, Sollars, Tisko, Wileman

Excused:      Anderson, Bernstein, Gershovich, Lamsam, Proulx, White

Absent:        Chundi, Haworth, Lin, Marx, Reames, Tixier Y Vigil


Before the meeting Steve Bullock, Interim Asst. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs gave a short presentation on System Portfolio Feedback, and answered Senators' questions.


I.          The meeting was called to order at 2:16 p.m.

II.        The March 11, 2009, minutes were approved as written.

III.       Officers' Reports

A.    President's Report:  Senator Sollars reported

1.      Executive Committee and Administration (EC&Admin.) meeting was held March 23, 2009.  Those present were Senators Sollars, Bacon, M., Miller, Boucher, Noble, Elder; Chancellor Christensen and Vice Chancellors Hynes and Conley.

      Chancellor Christensen thanked the Senate for its endorsement of and participation in the Seven Days of Service which have had many positive repercussions for the University. He also thanked the Senate for its resolution of condolence for Prof. June Mecham.

      The Chancellor cautioned the Senate and all other interested parties not to overly optimistically interpret preliminary admissions data to indicate tremendous enrollment increases for the fall. Admissions do not mean enrollments.  Having said that, he noted that both undergraduate and graduate admissions were up as were Iowa admissions. There are already indicators that students in good standing are sitting out semesters for economic reasons. He urged all faculty to attend Honors Week events.

      Senator Sollars brought up the multiple line phone charges that the Senate had discovered. Vice Chancellor Conley promised to look into the possibility that such unneeded multiple line charges were an issue for other campus offices.

      There followed a long discussion of the Senate resolutions chart available on the Senate's website. The Chancellor, while saying the chart would help, said he had been under the impression that resolutions had to be actionable to take action on them. Many Senate resolutions are not actionable by the administration.  Senator Sollars mentioned that those resolutions are presented as items of information to the administration and there is a place on the chart for actions needed by the Senate. Vice Chancellor Hynes still questioned what the resolutions are supposed to do. What does the Senate expect to happen? The Chancellor took note that any resolution with budgetary implications in the current climate will not be acted upon other than being acknowledged as received. He wants to avoid the impression of gridlock. He also suggested column title clarifications.

      The wording on Civil Leave policies is being refined in consultation with University counsel.

Vice Chancellor Hynes noted that in the second whereas clause of Resolution 2960, the term "priority programs" was used. The University no longer uses the term and correction in the resolution would be clarifying.

      Chancellor Christensen noted that he did not know the magnitude of the budget reductions the University of Nebraska would have to make. The Legislature's Appropriations Committee had not yet made its recommendations. He also noted that federal "stimulus dollars" will have only an indirect impact on the University budget by reducing pressure to fund other mandated programs, such as K-12 state aid.

2.      The Board of Regents meeting was held March 6, 2009.  A Strategic Framework item on grant activity at the campuses indicated that UNO had a 3-year cumulative increase in grant funding of 20.4%. The recommendation for UNO is to continue at a growth rate of 7%, leading to a doubling of awards by FY 2015-2016. (starting point of FY 2006).

      UNO, UNK and UNL presented information on their 6-year graduation outcomes and efforts to improve those outcomes. Chancellor Christensen reported UNO has been making good advancements in graduation rates. Some of those outcomes can be attributed to three strategies: 1) "Smart Recruiting" – providing ‘college-like' experiences for high school students, dual enrollment programs, higher standards in minimum requirements. 2) "First Year Retention" – First Year Experience classes, learning centers, learning communities, advising. 3) "Progress Toward Graduation" – campus housing, advising, mentoring, undergraduate honors program, service learning.

      The budget update was standard, given the current climate conditions: hoping for 1.5% increase, but unknown outcome at this point. The final budget recommendation by the Appropriations Committee will be in April, the Governor/Legislature enact the biennial budget in May. The Board will approve tuition rates and budget in June.

      Strategic Framework Accountability Measures on the alignment of UN programs with workforce needs was presented. FY 2009-2010 Accountability Measure is: "1) Align university programs to address workforce needs. 2) Provide distance education programs consistent with the university's curriculum to prepare Nebraskans for quality jobs and self-employment opportunities." For FY 2010-2011 the measures are to: "Index and analyze faculty research that may contribute to new workforce opportunities." This year, UNO reported: "UNO programs are aligned with 125 Omaha occupations requiring a 4-year degree. UNO preparing students for 90% of the new jobs in Omaha requiring a 4-year degree or higher." Number of new jobs from 2007-2012 was projected as: "K-12 Educators = 2,500; Computer software engineers = 1,100; Postsecondary Teachers = 850; Accountants and Auditors = 830." Economic Marketing Specialists, Inc. projects the following areas of high potential workforce growth: "Education and Health Services = 19%; Professional and Business Services = 17%; Financial Activities = 14%; Leisure and Hospitality = 13%."

      Expenditures of $257,000 for parking facility repairs and $526,000 for Milo Bail Student Center improvements (update Ballroom and replace upholstered furniture) were approved. These funds are from a source designated for facilities repair and improvement only (Sixth Series Replacement Fund).

      (The Stem Cell issue also was brought up during the Board of Regents' Public Comment period.  Senator Sollars reported that other NU Faculty Senates have looked at this issue.  President Milliken and the Board of Regents later decided that nothing would happen with this issue and funding until NIH comes out with their guidelines sometime this summer.  The Board of Regents can then make a decision.  Senator Sollars asked to let her know if interested in serving on an Ad Hoc committee researching this issue and its outcome.)

3.      Resolution Action Table:






Admin Accept

Sent for Senate Action



In Progress

Final Action/Resolved



Change Name of 4 Degrees Offered by School of Criminology & Criminal Justice







BS in Neuroscience in College of A&S







Shared Governance



Sent letters*


Acknowledged & Concur



Condolence for Dr. June L. Mecham (History)




Acknowledged & Concur

*2958 President Sollars sent letters with copies of this resolution to the Board of Regents and NU President Milliken

4. The senate was reminded that election of officers will be held at May Meeting.  Committee Chairpersons will also be elected at that meeting.

(2:33 p.m:  President Sollars asked the Senate for a recess to select a new senator from the College of Arts and Sciences. Without Objection the Senate recessed. The meeting resumed at 2:35 p.m. The results of the caucus were announced under New Business.)

B.     Treasurer's Report:  Senator M. Bacon submitted the March 2009 budget report.

1.      Budget Advisory Task Force:  Senator M. Bacon reported that the next meeting will be April 9, 2009.  She expects no particulars to be decided at the meeting, but to have general outlines of what will happen.

IV.             Standing Committee Reports

A.    Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs:  Senator Mitchell reported the A&CA committee met on Wednesday, March 25, 2009.  Present:  John Bartle, Moshe Gershovich (Chair), Charles Johanningsmeier, George Morcous, Jeanne Reames Excused: Carol Mitchell. Guest:  Hesham Ali, Dean College of Information Science and Technology.

      The meeting was devoted to a discussion of a proposed "School of Interdisciplinary Informatics" at the College of IS&T.  The proposed school will supplement the college's two existing departments:  Computer Science and Management Information Systems (MIS).  It will include a number of existing and planned BS and MS degrees such as Information Assurance, Education Informatics, Bioinformatic, and IT Innovation.  The proposed school will provide an organizational structure for innovative new programming and allow for innovative partnerships between the IS&T College, other academic units at UNO and UNMC, as well the broader Omaha community, including local businesses. 

      Dr. Ali addressed various concerns regarding the proposed school and agreed to revise the initial proposal and resubmit it to the committee.   Upon receipt of the revised proposal, the committee will draft a resolution in support of the new school and submit it for the approval of the EC&C.

B.     Committee on Educational Resources and Services:  Senator Boyer reported the committee met on March 25, 2009.  Members present:  Boucher, Boyer, Kercher, Laquer, Wileman.  Member absent:  Ritzman.  Dr. James Carroll was a guest.

1.   SIS Implementation – Dr. Carroll was appointed more than a year ago to be the UNO Faculty representative on the SIS Implementation Team.  Dr. Carroll provided the committee with some updates on how the implementation is progressing.  There are a number of issues that must be determined.  Since the system includes all of the NU campuses, the method of identifying semesters must be standardized.  UNMC has always had a very different calendar than other campuses.  UN-L, UNO, and UNK have different summer schedules.  Admissions must decide if they will share information. A method of numbering courses still needs to be worked out.  Conversion of current SIS data into the new system is a concern. 

      The implementation is on schedule.  Admissions will begin using the new system for students admitted for the Fall 2010.  Faculty will be trained in January 2010 to do advising.  The training has not yet been developed.  The portal will open in March 2010.  Financials should be ready in April or May 2010.   

      If the Faculty Senate has questions, Dr. Carroll will try to find answers.

2.   Paul Beck Scholarship -   Announcements about the scholarship have appeared in ENotes.  A few applications have been received.  The deadline is April 10.  The committee will review the applications before the April 29th meeting.  At that meeting Deb Wilcox will discuss the funding process for the scholarship and the recipients will be selected.

3.  Common course evaluation task force – Resolution 2937 originated in Educational Resources & Services so we have request that committee member, Kyle Kercher, serve on the task force.

4.  Google email for students – In January Lanyce Keel discussed with the committee the possibility of using the Google Apps system for student email.  It was recently announced that this would be implemented beginning this fall.  The announcement also indicated that the University of Nebraska was willing to investigate alternatives to Lotus Notes after the implementation of SIS.  This was suggested in Resolution 2928.

C.     Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare:  Senator Elder reported the Faculty Personnel & Welfare Committee met on March 25th. The committee discussed the issues that face the University and its faculty regarding Long-term Disability Insurance and the costs of Medical Insurance.  From our committee: Karen Dwyer, Griff Elder, John Erickson and Patrice Proulx were present; Jay White and Meredith Bacon had excused absences. Additionally, Graham Mitenko was invited to attend.

      Senator Elder moved the following resolutions for the committee.

1.   Resolution 2961, 4/8/09:  Create a Long-Term Disability (LTD) Task Force (Directed to John Christensen, Dean's Council, Bill Conley and Keith Dietze)

WHEREAS University faculty and staff may be placed in a nearly untenable position, should they find it necessary to go on LTD before retirement age, because of the increase in health insurance costs for those that transition from the active pool (faculty & staff) to the non-active pool (retired or disable individuals) coupled with  the loss of income from their disability,

WHEREAS there appear to be long-term policy issues regarding University, faculty and staff retirement planning as related to the overall aging of the faculty and staff, health-care costs and LTD,

WHEREAS the University may be exposed to potential legal liability resulting from the pool split (active and non-active),

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UNO Faculty Senate recommends formation of a task force to study the issues involved.

FURTHERMORE BE IT RESOLVED that such a task force be composed of members from all 4 campuses, including administration, faculty and staff, staff, and also including representatives of the two active bargaining units in the NU system, and also as well as an NU Benefits representative.

Senator N. Bacon moved to amend the last paragraph by striking and also and inserting and also including representatives of the two active bargaining units in the NU system, as well as…. Senator M. Bacon seconded. The amendment passed. After much discussion, Senator Bartle moved, seconded by Senator Laquer, to call the question. The motion passed. Resolution 2961, as amended, passed.

2.   Resolution2962, 4/8/09:  Inform Faculty and Staff of Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance Policy Offsets,  Waiting Periods, and Phase-Out Ages

WHEREAS NU faculty and staff may not be aware of the specific terms of coverage in the LTD insurance policy regarding offsets, waiting periods, and phase-out ages

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the UNO Faculty Senate recommends the following actions:

(1)   Faculty should be explicitly informed (via the Web and other means as appropriate) that they should only consider options [i], [iv], and [v] when buying the LTD policy.

(2)   Faculty and staff should be explicitly informed (via the Web and other means as appropriate) that the LTD plan offsets other income so that the total disability compensation is never more than 66 2/3% of their income, and that it is taxable.

(3)   Faculty and staff should be explicitly informed (via the Web and other means as appropriate) that the LTD pay-out (reduced benefit to the employee) begins phasing out at age 65 and is completely phased out by age 68 (no benefit to employee), so there may not be a need to purchase the LTD insurance at those ages.

(4)   That the NU benefits personnel at the various campuses should be encouraged to be more proactive in explaining these issues to new hires as well as long-time employees.

Senator D'Souza, seconded by Senator Laquer, moved to send the resolution back to committee. The motion failed. Resolution 2962 passed.

C.     Committee on Goals and Directions:  Senator Paterson reported the committee met March 25, 2009.  In attendance:  Senators D'Souza, Huq, Marx, and Paterson (Chair).

      Discussion began with the invitation extended to Assoc. Vice Chancellor Wade Robinson, who will join G&D for its April 29th meeting.  In addition to a list of questions similar to the ones covered with Joe Kaminski in February, discussion included issues of parking, commuter students, the cancellation of the parking garage, maintenance costs, health care benefits, and overall usage.

      Senator Marx, speaking of the Greening Initiative, sent an e.mail to Vice Chancellor Bill Conley about getting on the Sustainability Committee.   Conley agreed.  Marx said he will put the next 6 X 2 Greening resolutions on hold and work with the SC.

      The Committee briefly discussed the Goodrich Scholarship Program, senior faculty, and the Thomson scholarship program.

D.    Committee on Professional Development:  Senator Noble reported the committee met March 25, 2009.

1.      Ethical Standards of Research training modules (CITI training)

Discussed the opportunity to assist the administration with making recommendations regarding which modules should be required of UNO faculty/graduate students for training on the ethical standards of research.  We are going to contact Harmon Maher about our ability and interest in helping with this process.

2.      Research Climate Survey from 07-08

The results of the survey have been forwarded to :  Linda Mannering, Harmon Maher, and Deb Smith-Howell.

3.      Workshop on the Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness

We are in contact with Deb Smith-Howell and the office of Academic Affairs on how we might organize a workshop on training participants on how to effectively evaluate teaching performance.  This workshop would be directed towards any faculty or administrator in a role of evaluating teaching and the plan would be to provide ideas on how to look beyond student evaluations.

Senators Present:  Noble, Tisko, Mei.  Senators Absent:  Haworth, Tixier y Vigil, Lamsam.

E.     Committee on Rules:  Senator Miller reported the committee met March 25, 2009.  Present:  Bacon, Bernstein, Chundi, Holley, Lin and Miller.

      Committee members reviewed placement requests from incoming senators and determined standing committee assignments based upon those requests.  These assignments will be sent to the incoming President.

      Rules members discussed the merits of drafting a more comprehensive recusal policy.  The only recusal policy currently in place is limited to the Grievance Committee.  The issue was tabled and will be discussed at a future meeting.

      The Spring 2009 Faculty Recruitment survey had over 100 replies and the email version is not scheduled to be mailed until 3/26/09.  This number of returns is significantly higher than our 2008 survey and committee members were pleased with these results.  Using the data from the committee service preference forms, we began the process of securing 50 faculty members willing to serve on University committees.  Members of the Rules committee volunteered to contact 35 people within the next month.  This process will be continued during our April meeting.

V.                Non-Senate Committee Reports

A.    Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON):  Senator Paterson reported the meeting was held March 14, 2009 at Eiseley Branch Library in Lincoln, NE.  Those present were:  Peggy Adair, legislation liaison; Dwayne Ball, president, representing ACLU Nebraska and the Nebraska Association of Scholars;  Tom Black; Miles Bryant; Karen Buckley, secretary and representing Nebraska Educational Media Association; Nancy Comer, past-president, representing the Nebraska State Reading Association; Bob Haller, representing UNL chapter of the American Association of University Professors; Mark Karpf, representing Nebraska High School Press Association; Clark Kolterman; Cathi McMurtry, AFCON treasurer; Dave Moshman, policy coordinator; Susan Oles, representing Nebraska English Language Arts Council; Linda Parker; Doug Paterson, past president-, representing the Faculty Senate at UNO;  Mary Reiman; Rod Wagner, representing the Nebraska Center for the Book.

      Ball called the board meeting to order at 10:10.  The minutes of the Feb. 14 meeting were approved upon a motion by Moshman and a second by Black.

      Treasurer's Report (McMurtry) AFCON's treasury has a balance of $2002.63, as of Feb. 13, 2000. AFCON has 30 paid and two guest individual members and seven paid and two in-kind organization members current with dues.  The treasurer's report was filed for audit.    

      President's Report: Ball has sent information to the Ewen Center.  Its director has promised to send a small donation to AFCON.

Newsletter: (Black)  The latest issue of the Sentinel has been published in print and online.  The deadline for the June 19 issue is May 25.

Membership Reports:

  • Wagner remarked that planning is underway for the Nebraska Center for the Book's festival to be held in November.
  • Comer said that she and Adiar will be doing a presentation on the Student Expression Bill at the Nebraska Reading Council's summer conference.
  • Kolterman said that the Nebraska English Language Arts Council will hold its annual conference Oct. 3, in conjunction with the Plum Creek Literacy Festival.

      Old Business: Parker is exploring how to archive AFCON web information online.  The Nebraska Historical Society is remodeling at present, but she feels AFCON needs to set dates for submitting archival materials to the society.

New Business:   Kolterman noted that the National Teachers of English Council gives an academic freedom award to a person from each state and a national academic freedom award.  NE/LAC traditionally looks to AFCON for suggestions and/or endorsements.  This year NE/LAC has nominated Cathi McMurtry for the Nebraska award and Peggy Adair for the national award. Upon a motion by Paterson and a second by Moshman, AFCON voted to endorse both nominees.

      Members also discussed LB 674, which Adair noted was not a priority bill.  Ball had sent an e-mail alert about looking at this bill and Comer brought Journal Star stories and an op ed piece, written by Jack Gould of Common Cause.  This bill will be discussed at the April agenda, to give members an opportunity to learn more about it.

      Discussion was then held on the student expression bill, including how member organizations could promote the bill and how to contact other organizations who might support such a bill. By May, supporting groups should be identified and groups should be organized by fall.

      Upon a motion by Kolterman and a second by Haller, members voted to purchase an ad in the program for the annual meeting of ACLU Nebraska.

B.     Academic Planning Council (APC):  Senators D'Souza reported the meeting was held March 23, 2009.

      Steve Bullock updated the committee on the benefits of using Digital Measures to generate reports for academic reviews.  Assoc. V.C. Deb Howell-Smith sought suggestions and ideas from the members to develop templates.  There are possibilities for a variety of templates because of the diversity of the departments and programs and how they prepare for academic review.

      Dr. Jeannette Seaberry, who chaired the Women's Studies review internally, updated the committee.  The external reviewer, Dr. Carole Garrison, Eastern Kentucky University, has completed a very positive report and this program is assessed as well-functioning.

      Dr. Chris Allen, who chaired the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice internally, updated the committee.  Being a large program (20 FTE) with undergraduate, graduate, doctoral programs and an institute, the review schedule was quite a hectic one and in spite of the two blizzards at the Chicago airport which delayed the arrival and the departure of the external reviewer, Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri-St. Louis, it went well.  He expects to complete the report by the end of March.

C.    American Association of University Professors (AAUP):  Senator N. Bacon reported:

1.   Collective Bargaining:

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between the AAUP and the NU Regents, covering the period from July of 2009 to June of 2011, was ratified by a vote of the membership on March 24.

      Because salary increases were not determined through negotiations this year (instead, they were referred to a Special Master), they were not subject to ratification.

      In his ruling, the Special Master explained that he found the AAUP's proposed salary increase more reasonable than the Regents' offer because it more nearly addressed the legislative imperative to set UNO faculty salaries at the midpoint of our peers and because the Regents had failed to make a convincing case that the university was unable to pay.  On similar grounds, he found the AAUP's proposed life insurance benefit more reasonable than the Regents' offer.  Nevertheless, the Regents have appealed the ruling to the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR).  It is hoped that the CIR will issue its decision by July.  As a result of the Regents' appeal, budgeting for the next two academic years, already plagued with uncertainties, is more difficult.

      AAUP President Ken Deffenbacher has stressed two points about the current dispute over faculty salaries:

            First, the UNO life insurance benefit that is currently under appeal by the Board of Regents would, according to the Regents' representatives, cost less than $115,000 to implement for UNO faculty.  If the Regents choose to extend this benefit to other campuses, it will cost more, apparently as much as $2,000,000.  There is, however, no legal requirement that they do so. We had not thought that we were negotiating wages, fringe benefits, and working conditions for faculty throughout the NU System. 

          Second, the difference between the UNO AAUP salary figure and that offered by the Regents is a tiny fraction of the university-defined budget shortfall.  These are hard times, but our legally obtained raises are not the largest nor even one of the largest causes of the problem.  Extremely hardworking faculty dedicated to the welfare of our institution do not deserve to be scapegoated merely because we have played by the rules and have made stronger arguments to the Special Master.

      Deffenbacher has encouraged faculty to contact state legislators to urge funding of the University budget.  University telephones or computers should not be used for this purpose.

2.       Elections

      Elections are underway to select the chapter's President-elect, First Vice President, Treasurer, and representatives of the ranks (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Other Bargaining Unit Members).  Ballots sent to AAUP members on April 1 should be returned by April 15.

3.      Spring Dinner

      AAUP members and their guests are invited to the annual Spring Dinner at Castle Barrett (43rd and Leavenworth) on Friday, April 17. 

D.    Strategic Planning Steering Committee:  Senator M. Bacon reported the upcoming Strategic Planning Forum to be held on April 20, 2009.  Faculty are urged to attend.  The topic will be Community Engagement and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

VI.       New Business

Senator M. Bacon moved, and Senator Laquer seconded, the following resolution, which passed.

Resolution 2963, 4/8/09:  Newly Elected A&S Senator (2009-2012)

BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate accept the report of the A&S senators caucus selecting Ana Carballal as the new A&S senator for 2009-2012, replacing Joe Brown who declined to serve.

VII. The meeting adjourned at 3:35 p.m. with announcements.