President: Shelton Hendricks
August 13, 1999
Nancy Belck, Ph.D.
Chancellor University of Nebraska at Omaha
60th and Dodge Streets, EAB 201
Omaha, Nebraska 68182
Dear Chancellor Belck:
Appended to this letter is my annual report on the 1998-99 activities of the Faculty Senate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. This report is prescribed by our constitution as a duty of the president of the faculty senate as follows:
FACULTY SENATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT OMAHA
ARTICLE IV. ORGANIZATION OF THE SENATE
The president shall make at least one written report annually to the chancellor. This report will be made available to the university faculty in the senate office.
I have organized the report around issues addressed by the senate placing them in the approximate chronological order in which they occurred. Where appropriate, relevant resolutions passed by the senate and forwarded to you are referenced. I have italicized my comments regarding perceptions of the current state of various issues. All resolutions passed by the senate are available at our web site. For your convenience they are appended to this report as well.
It was my great pleasure to serve as faculty senate president for two years. It has been a particular pleasure working with you and your staff.
Shelton Hendricks, Ph.D
1998-99 President of UNOmaha Faculty Senate
1. Faculty Appointments to University and Other Committees
These constitute the most significant number of actions taken by the senate each year. We continued to follow the procedure of seeking relevant expertise and campus-wide representation when making recommendations and appointments to committees. We have also increased our concern to gender and ethnic representation. Length of service at UNOmaha and to the profession is also used as a criterion to assure that both youth and experience are given representation.
Following up on actions from last year, an ad hoc committee with representation from the senate and the administration continued their work on evaluating the function of university committees and the procedures by which recommendations for membership and appointments are obtained.
The work of this ad hoc committee was an excellent first step in addressing what is surely to be a continuing problem. We must all work together to assure that committees are properly staffed in a timely manner, that they discharge their mandates, and that committee work is meaningful and given its due respect.
2. Resolutions of Congratulations and Appreciation
Resolution 2348 expressed appreciation to James Saker for his composition of a new alma mater for UNOmaha.
Resolution 2361 expressed appreciation to the UNO Alumni Association for re-instituting the tradition of First Friday social gatherings.
Resolutions 2376 & 2377 offered expressions of appreciation to members of the 1998-99 Executive Committee and Cabinet.
Resolution 2386 expressed appreciation for faculty and administration efforts in support of Teaching Circles.
3. Senate Processes and Administration
The senate took a number of actions aimed at improving its functions and increasing efficiency as follows:
Resolution 2363 modified the reporting procedures of the UNOmaha Faculty Grievance Committee.
Resolution 2368 established college representation for the 1999-2000 academic year.
4. Reviews and Recommendations Regarding General University Issues and Policies
Resolution 2342 voiced the senates opposition to Initiative 413.
Resolution 2347 urged faculty participation in the efforts to defeat Initiative 413.
Resolution 2343 encouraged initiatives by the administration to reduce the cost to faculty of obtaining academic regalia.
Resolution 2350 requested a committee evaluation issues political speech and academic freedom for faculty in relation to political issues and campaigns.
Resolution 2362 endorsed the proposal for a Women's Study major at UNOmaha.
Resolution 2369 endorsed the concept of allowing extensions of the probationary period for tenure in cases of maternity, paternity, disability, or family/medical leave.
Resolution 2370 endorsed the providing of domestic partner benefits to non-married staff and faculty.
Resolution 2378 endorsed the University's commitment to students with disabilities as a priority group for recruitment for the University Residence Halls, and supported the current, expanded effort to recruit current and prospective students with disabilities to fill those rooms which have been designated as accessible, and encouraged the University to develop a strategy to recruit and retain students with physical disabilities, in which priority for accessible, on-campus housing would be a feature.
The defeat of Initiative 413 was an important recognition of the citizens of Nebraska's commitment to the public sector in general and to education in particular. We need to take every opportunity to demonstrate the quality of our stewardship of the public trust, particularly the public's money, if we are to continue to receive the kind of support evidenced by the vote on Proposition 413.
Partner benefits for unmarried faculty and staff remains an issue that must be addressed favorably if the University of Nebraska is to claim a place among the great institutions of this nation. The kind of discrimination displayed by denying partner benefits is becoming less and less tolerated in both the corporate and university environments. Our current policies label us as backward and intolerant.
5. Faculty Development
The senate spent considerable time and effort studying and considering the opportunities for and mechanisms by which faculty development is encouraged and supported at UNOmaha.
Resolution 2358 endorsed a document titled "White Paper on Faculty Development at UNO."
The issues identified in the white paper need our continuing attention. Particularly critical is appropriate funding for the development of teaching skills and the support of faculty research and creative activity. In an era of scarce resources this might be an area for which we could seek private assistance.
6. Academic Calendar
The senate continued its efforts to deal with problems associated with changes in the academic calendar.
Resolution 2328 voiced faculty concerns regarding the deletion of one class day from each the fall and the spring schedules and called upon the administration to allow all reasonable accommodation to faculty needs in compensating for this reduction in instructional time.
Resolution 2329 encouraged faculty to attend the campus convocation celebrating the 90th anniversary of UNOmaha and encouraged , where feasible, to accommodate student attendance.
We must continue to support actions that minimize the negative consequences of the current academic calendar.
7. Evaluation of Administrators
The review of Vice Chancellor Carrico was completed this year.
As I noted in my report last year, I believe the whole issue of the summative reviews of the chancellor and vice chancellors should be evaluated and modified if appropriate. I hope the senate and administration will work on this issue this year.
8. Post-Tenure Review
Resolution 2337 endorsed the guidelines proposed for a post-tenure review plan for UNOmaha.
This issue appears to be settled for now. It would appear that reasonable procedures are in place to assure appropriate review of tenured faculty.
9. Honorary Degrees
Resolution 2349 modified the procedures to be used by the senate in reviewing candidates for honorary degrees limiting participation to the Executive Committee and Cabinet.
The Executive Committee and Cabinet endorsed several nominations for honorary degrees. These were done without resolutions to assure confidentiality.
The current procedures appear to be working well.
10. Professional Conduct
Resolution 2379 approved the "Issue Resolution and Complaint Procedures for Prohibited Discrimination at the University of Nebraska at Omaha."
This issue is yet to be completely resolve. We await upon the results of the discussions between the administration and the UNO AAUP.
11. Strategic Planning
Resolution 2332 requested that the Chair of the senate Committee on Goals and Directions serve as an ex-officio member of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.
Resolutions 2353, 2354, 2355, 2356, 2357, & 2359 provided reactions of the senate to the Division of Academic Affairs Strategic Plan Draft 5.0.
Resolutions 2380, 2381, 2382, 2383, 2384, & 2385 provided senate responses to the Report of the Task Force on University Outreach.
The senate continues its efforts to be an effective participant in the planning process. I believe we are establishing a good working relationship with the other constituents. We hope that some of the procedures will eventually become routine.