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Faculty Senate
Faculty Senate

The New UNO Senate Review

September 2003

Vol. II - - - - - - - - - - No. 1

 "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more."
-Shakespeare's Henry V

             The summer has passed, and it is once again time for the faculty, like King Harry, to charge back into action. The UNO Faculty Senate sends its warmest welcome to all new and returning faculty.  For those who are new, I would like to introduce the New UNO Senate Review, a periodic electronic publication that will help you keep up-to-date with the activities of your Faculty Senate.  Only highlights of our recent activities will be given here, however.  If at any time you wish to be more fully informed, a quick click on the link at the bottom of this newsletter will put you in contact with our webpage, where you will find detailed Senate agendas, archived minutes, our past resolutions, and information on all Senate and university faculty committees.

            The Senate Executive Committee and Cabinet (EC & C) held meetings on July 2nd and August 6th.   Resolutions were passed to approve the modification of the Juvenile Justice Initiative into the Juvenile Justice Institute, to approve a proposed new B.A. in Latino/Latin American Studies, and to approve the proposed change of the Department of Communication into a School. The leadership also passed important resolutions from the Rules Committee that appointed new members to various faculty committees.  By means of these nominations, the Rules Committee responded directly to expressions of interest generated by the committee's spring faculty survey.  The Senate appreciates the efforts of faculty who participated in the survey and expressed a willingness to serve. Such service is an essential part of shared governance.

UNO's relationship to retirees was considered in two ways.  First, the EC & C charged the Committee on Academic and Curricular Affairs with researching Elderhostel opportunities for UNO faculty, and, second, it charged President Sadlek with creating an ad hoc committee to research the possibility of a new Emeritus College at UNO.

The Senate leadership also heard from guests Martha Bruckner, Sheri Rogers, Shelton Hendricks, and Nora Bacon on the proposed Dual-enrollment Agreement between UNO and the Millard School District.  The leadership considered the strengths and weaknesses of this pilot proposal, which was approved by the Board of Regents on August 9th, and asked the Senate's Academic and Curricular Affairs Committee to evaluate this program carefully over the course of the coming year.

         The Senate held its annual retreat at the Alumni Center on August 20th.  In the morning, the Senators heard presentations by Chancellor Nancy Belck, Interim Vice-Chancellor John Christensen, Budget Committee chairperson John Bartle (with Assistant Vice-Chancellor Julie Totten), ITS representative Joyce Crocket, and Parliamentarian Jim Carroll.

          After lunch, the Senate divided into its various standing committees to work on assigned tasks.  With the university's budget situation looking somewhat better this year, the Senate will turn its attention to other important business.  Our two major projects for the year are (1) to review the concept and implementation of our academic priorities and (2) to create a new, web-based UNO Faculty Handbook, which was last published (as far as anyone can tell) in 1976.

 Much of the material normally covered by faculty handbooks is now, of course, covered in the faculty's collective bargaining contract, which did not exist in 1976.  Much is not covered by the contract, however, and we envision the new faculty handbook as a central clearing house of faculty-related information that complements (and, indeed, is linked to) the contract. Each standing committee was given the task of evaluating a section of the old handbook-Governance of the University, Terms and Conditions of Employment, Rights and Responsibilities of the Professional Staff, Fringe Benefits, University Resources for Teaching and Research, Miscellany-to see what needs to be up-dated, add, or removed.  Their findings will be related to chairperson Henry D'Souza and his Faculty, Personnel & Welfare Committee, which will be in charge of the project.  The handbook will be a work continuously in process, but we hope to have a version of it up and running by the end of the academic year.

UNO will soon have had its academic priorities for three years. Some in the Senate believe that it is time to reevaluate our priorities, but without a permanent Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, it does not seem to be the ideal time to review individual programs. Instead, the Senate has decided to review the idea and the implementation of priorities. To this end, each standing committee was asked to consider the following questions: (1) What should be the general purposes of prioritization? (2) What have been the weaknesses and the strengths of prioritization on the UNO campus? (3) Have the published criteria for prioritization proven adequate for our purposes? (4) In what ways can the procedures for assessing departments and programs be improved? (5) With the coming of a new academic Vice Chancellor, is it time to review our priorities? At the end of the retreat, each committee reported back, and the responses are being compiled. At its September 3rd meeting, the EC & C charged President Sadlek with putting together an ad hoc committee to oversee this process. The committee, which will also work directly with UNO's Strategic Planning Steering Committee, will report back on its findings over the course of this academic year.   You will be hearing more about priorities and the Faculty Handbook as the year progresses.

I leave you with a reminder that the full Senate meets at 2 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. We normally meet in the Dodge Room of the MBSC. Our meetings are open to the public, and interested faculty members are always welcome to attend. Our next meeting will take place on September 10th. Please join us. 

Greg Sadlek