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Faculty Senate

 

The New UNO Senate Review

February 2004

Vol. II - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - No. 3

. never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter and confounds him there,
Sap checked with frost and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'ersnowed and bareness everywhere.

--Shakespeare, Sonnet 5

We shall not soon forget this winter, when Omaha's beauty was completely "o'ersnowed" by record-breaking blasts of winter. For the first time in many years, UNO was closed for two snow days, and professors who meet their once-a-week classes on Monday evenings were left scratching their heads in disbelief. Outside, snow and cold seemed to conquer the barren landscape completely, yet inside UNO's Faculty Senate remained alive and productive.

For one thing, we had lots of informative presentations. I want to remind the faculty that the Senate meetings, held on the second Wednesday of each month, are open to the public. Beyond the usual business items, we often have guest speakers, who address the Senate, starting at 2 p.m., on various important topics. In December, for example, Chancellor Nancy Belck addressed the Senate on a number of current issues, among them campus security. In January, VC Christensen addressed the Senate and reviewed the encouraging results of a recent exit survey of our graduates. Then, in February, the Senate heard a panel of distinguished guests revisit the issue of campus security. Among the guests were VC Jim Buck, Paul Kosel (Asst. Manager of Campus Security), Stan Schleifer (Manager of Support Services), and David Carter (Assistant Professor of Counseling). Carter, for example, spoke of what to do when faced with a potentially violent or disruptive situation in the classroom. Kosel spoke of what one must do when faced with a crisis on campus. The essential message was to call Campus Security as soon as possible (4-2911). Campus Security personnel are trained in first aid and CPR. If you believe that you need to call 911 first, do so, but call Campus Security second. This second call is important because the Campus Security forces need to direct the responding emergency team to the correct location on campus.

Upcoming Senate speakers will include VC Christensen, who will return to our March Senate meeting to discuss the American Democracy Project; Becky Morris, who will address us in April on strategic planning at UNO; and President Dennis Smith, who will address the Senate at our meeting on May 5th. (Please note that our May meeting will be held on the first Wednesday of that month.)

In December, the Senate passed several resolutions. The first, which amended some of the wording of Resolution 2712, kept the essential idea that funding non-tenured, tenure-track faculty be made a priority with respect to limited travel monies currently available at UNO. In the second, Resolution 2716, the Senate decided to become a co-sponsor with the UNO AAUP of two forums on computer privacy to be given by Dr. Martha McCaughey, an expert in thefield. (At 2:30 on March 5, there will be a panel discussion with Dr. McCaughey in the Gallery Room of the MBSC. The keynote presentation will take place in the Chancellor's Room of the MBSC at 6:30 on the same day.) The other resolution was from the Rules Committee and had to do with a committee assignment.

In January, the Senate passed Resolution 2718, in which we praised the fine athletic and scholastic performances of the women's soccer team. A framed copy of the resolution was presented to Coach Don Klosterman and Captain Stephanie Kirby at the February meeting. In February, we passed a resolution in honor of President Dennis Smith, on the occasion of his stepping down from the presidency and returning to the classroom. We also passed a resolution making us co-sponsors of the up-coming breakfast for the Senior Scholars Academy, formerly known as the Emeritus College. The other co-sponsors are Chancellor Belck, VC Christensen, and the Nebraska Foundation. That breakfast will take place at 7:30 of the morning of March 25th. Faculty who are nearing retirement and would like to help plan the Senior Scholars Academy should contact Jerry Cederblom.

Here are other issues and announcements from our standing committees: first, the Academic and Curricular Affairs Committee is studying a change in the process of academic suspension. The suggestion has been made that, for practical reasons, suspensions take place only after the spring semester, not after the fall semester. The Committee on Educational Resources and Services announced that applications for the Paul Beck Scholarship will be due on 2 April 2004. $800 scholarships will be awarded to full-time graduate and undergraduate students; $400 scholarships will go to part-time students. The Committee on Faculty Personnel and Welfare continues its work on the Faculty Handbook and has been investigating complaints about Travel and Transport. Please bring complaints to the attention of Senator Sadlek, who will be passing these stories onto central administration. The Committee on Goals and Directions has been discussing the issue of increased minority recruitment with the administration. The Committee on Professional Development has been discussing faculty mentoring. The committee has also suggested that the UNO Grants Writing Workshop be revived by the Office of Sponsored Projects and the Graduate College. Finally, the Rules Committee continues its very important work of filling open spots on university committees. Full reports from these various committees are available on the Senate's website.

Finally, I would like to report that Senators Sadlek and Bacon met with Deb Thomas and Ronald Withem and the Omaha contingent of the university's Grassroots Supporters on 8 January 2004. While the threat to the university's budget is perhaps not as great as one might have expected, there is still a need for university supporters to keep informed of the legislative decisions regarding the university's budget. To this end, the Grassroots organization will be sponsoring a University Day at the Unicameral on 2 March 2004 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. During that day, university supporters will meet with their senators and their staffs to discuss the university's position in current budget situation. For more information on University Day, please contact Ms. Sue Bishop in the Faculty Senate offices.

The Senate is pleased to welcome back both Raj Dasgupta and Marsha Watson, who took leaves from the Senate in the fall due to scheduling conflicts. We would like to thank Chris Dando and Yong Shi, who very capably handled their responsibilities during that period. We would also like both to welcome John Thorp, who is a spring 2004 replacement for Gary Krause, and to thank Jack Shroder, a long-time supporter of the Senate who, because of a heavy load of other responsibilities, was forced to end his term early.

Finally, if you have not already heard, Wally Bacon was elected President-Elect of the Senate at our December meeting. As you no doubt remember, Wally served a term as President during the 2001-2002 academic year. A political scientist by training, Wally will, thus, bring a rich background of both theory and practice to the position of President when he takes office in May. We are indeed fortunate that he is willing to serve again. Congratulations, Wally!

The election of a new president is a sure sign of renewal, like the return of spring. And after having suffered the trials of a blustery winter, we shall soon see again the return of a green campus. As Shakespeare would say, we eagerly await the end of "Winter, which being full of care, makes summer's welcome thrice more wished."

Greg Sadlek
President