Faculty Senate Meeting Summary June 7, 2007
The senate is looking at the revisions to the Conflict of Interest Policy approved by the senate in 2004. Senators were asked to look over the policy and share it with their constituents for comments. Senators would then forward these comments and suggestions to the faculty senate executive board. The policy would hopefully be finalized and approved this fall to be forwarded to the regents for final approval and be in place for the January annual disclosure notice for conflicts of interest. The campus has really stepped forward with the Summer Scholars Program. The University Press will have enough books available for the incoming freshmen and the University is looking for a donor to fund the purchase of the books. A study guide for the discussion groups is being created by Ann Ronald who wrote the introduction to the book by Robert Laxalt , Sweet Promised Land.
There has been an excellent number of responses to the Committee Preference Survey, which will close on June 30. The executive board will be meeting with Mike Collopy, Director of the Academy for the Environment regarding the expansion of the existing Energy and the Environment Committee. The senate would like to see more efforts in environmental issues. Congratulations to Cary Groth and University Athletics for winning the 2006-07 Commissioner's Cup as the top athletic program in the Western Athletic Conference.
Congratulations to Jannet Vreeland for her appointment to interim executive vice president and provost, and congratulations to John Frederick for his new position with NASULGC!
Nominees to Search Committee for Executive Vice President and Provost
The senate elected 10 faculty members whose names were forwarded to President Glick for the search committee for the executive vice president and provost position. Elected were: Jamie Anderson, Denise Baclawski, Scott Casper, Christine Cheney, Larry Engstrom, Bill Follette, Guy Hoelzer, Hans Peter Plag, Steve Rock and Jeanne Wendel. Of those 10 faculty the president will select at least five to serve on the search committee.
Effort Reporting Draft Policy Update
Tammy Freeman from the Office of Sponsored Projects Office will be conducting training sessions for faculty once the policy is finalized. The goal of the policy is to allow the University to be compliant with the regulations, yet not cost the faculty research dollars. Senators still had concerns with the policy in regards to the ability to write other proposals, do institutional activities, and publish while they are grant funded.
Access to Policy Documents
Jannet Vreeland said that the Administrative Manual Committee was trying to make the administrative manual accessible and searchable, and user friendly, a one-stop shopping area, in regard to the policies and how you follow through the policies. For example, any restrictions would be listed. If faculty would like to have bylaws become policies and procedures, then faculty need to move it forward. The Administrative Manual Committee was also looking at a different name for the manual
Robert Dickens, director of Government Relations, reported on the legislative session. The legislative session was very challenging. The biggest challenge facing higher education was the operating budget, as our funding formula was primarily enrollment driven, and our estimate was greater than the actual figures. We had to fight to minimize the reduction from $28 million for the system and ended up with only a reduction of $7 million. The University was able to retain the $12 million of hold harmless funds. Merit pool funds have been retained at 2.5%. The active employee contribution has increased. The new changes to GASB caused the state to look at unfunded liabilities and established a trust fund to address the issue. COLA was awarded, 2% first year of biennium and 4% in the second year. Funding for the construction budget was $90 million to health science system, $49 million for renovation in the space of the Savitt Building and Cain Hall. Some of the funds went to the south for a building. A senator asked about county employees that were dumped into the state pool. The legislation that authorized that was to help the smaller counties who needed employee benefits and that allowed them to put those employees under the state umbrella, but in the '90's the larger counties, like Clark, would dump the older employees into the state pool. The rule now is either all in or all out.