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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 17, 1974)
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Wednesday, apri! 1 7, 1 974
!incolnf nebraska vol. 97, no. 46
Analysis by Greg Wees
Many state senators will ts" yeu ens
of the best friends higher education has in
Nebraska is the Unicameral. This year,
legislators partially proved that claim-at
least on three of five issues directly
affecting University life and
The most notable senatorial nod of
apprevs! came on budget requests for
NU received the 25 increase in
general fund dollars requested by NU
President D.8. Varner after senators, with
exactly the number of votes needed,
overrode Gov. J. James Exon's budget
veto. The governor also had
recommended a budget boost for the
University, but by only 20.
So NU now receive $12.6 million
more in state tax dollars, then last year's
$51.2 million. UNL will get an increase
from $30.8 million to $37.5 million.
"The most significant product of this
budget is that it will permit the
University to move aggressively towards
completion of Us Aica of Excellence
plan," Varner said. This is the first year
legislators have allocated funds for Areas
of Excellence, a 5-year program that
financially singles out individual
University departments for special
Varner also praised the 7 to 10
faculty pay increase granted by
lawmakers, calling it "a step in the right
direction" towards attracting quality
professors to the University.
A second change could come on the
Board of Regents. According to the bill
passed by the Unicameral, up to three
students will become nonvoting members
of the board if voters accept tne
necessary constitutional amendment in
November's general election.
After sponsor State Sen. Richard
Marvel amended the original bill,
removing the voting power of the student
regent, state senators passed the measure:
Thus, the student .regent cannot be as
fiffsctiva as criqinaily intended, but, as
Marvel said, the student regent enn still be
a valuable adviser to the regents.
Eliminating part of the $51.50 in
student fees that fuil-time students pay
every semester was another measure that,
for the good of the University, was killed
by the Unicameral.
If State Sen. James Dickinson's
measure had passed, a number of campus
organizations (most notably ASUN, the
Daily Nebraskan, the Recreation Dept.
and the Nebraska Union) would have had
to find other sources of funding and
probably would have suffered some
damage , according to a UNL
comptroller's report. Dickinson
contended that if these activities were
essential to University life, students
would be generous enough to give
monetary support voluntarily.
See Analysis, Page 7
-turn 'Ws pijw - s, r wf $f
Dean George takes SUN host,
laments A & S College funding
By Wes Ambers
The College of Arts and Sciences is "on the
verge of being very excellent in a whole gamut
of responsibilities'," according to Dean Melvin
George, who has assumed the leadership of the
State University of Nebraska (SUN).
SUN is a multimedia program offering
University credit without attending class.
But the level of funding received will
determine how -fast that . excsltance can be
achieved, he said Thursday. ' J --'-"- "-"
"I guess' my major 'disappointment & deari
has been the level of funding that has been
available," George sakl. "Faculty salaries have
been low, and we haven't always had the funds
to implement some of the changes' we would
George took over as dean of the college in
summer 1970. Previously, he was at the
University of Missouri where he . taught
mathematics and served two years as associate
dean of the graduate school.
Regarding the SUN program, George said,
"My job is to help in the development of a
curriculum for the SUN program, seeing that
the courses are academically sound," he said.
According to George, the new position
presents problems he did not encounter as a
dean because the educational medium will be
television or newspapers rather than a
"A teacher In a classroom can adjust a
cowrse to th students. With courses prepared
for television or newspaper there is no
opportunity -for shifting gears midway," ha
George is on leave of absence to direct the
SUN program. That expires Dec. 31. George
then plans to return as dean of the college.
George said achieving excellence in the
college may mean focusing programs as well as
expanding them, because "some departments
try to do too much with the programs' they
"We need to turn our attention now to
selectively helping some of the departments
that are close to real excellence get over that
threshold," he said, ,
George said the expansion of course
offering coupled with an "Increased Interest in
and awareness of undergraduates" is perhaps
the major accomplishment in the college since
he became dean.
George said other changes since his arrival
have been a revision of group, requirements and
the creation of the School of Life Sciences out
of the Microbiology, Biology and Zoology
"This is an active, vibrant college," he said.
"The faculty is willing to try new things. It's a
college trratwill never get stagnant."
George said the size of the college presented
him problems at first, along with his lack of
experience as a collega dean. The College of
Arts and Sciences is UNL's largest college,
"No other college here has the variety of
programs we have," he said. "I just try to avoid
applying the same kind of judgments to
programs that are very different."
George said deans also have the problem of
mediating differences between students, faculty
"We have to try to reconcile and mediate
conflicting interests," he said. "Sometimes it
turns out the interests only appear to be -conflicting."
5-year plan on
NU Is making progress under its present 5-year
plan despite increasing inflation and lower than
projected enrollment, according to NU President D.
"The plan is pointing the direction for steady
Jmprcvcmcrit," h? riy last week. "I have been
pleased at the campuses' response to it,"
Varner first announced the plan, "Toward
Excellence ' in February 1972. The Board of Regsnts
approved it in January 1973.
The plan outlines basic operating assumptions and
goals for the University from 1972 through 1977.
Born amid concern that NU's national academic
ranking was falling, the 5-year plan's short run goal is
to restore NU to the top ranks academically in the
Big 8, VarrAr said.
"The Legislature suggested that our problem was
not having any long range set of goals for the
University," he said. "We developed this plan to
outline wh?t we want to accomplish in the next five
The plan's major goals include improving teaching,
strengthening graduate education, beginning
curricular and organizational review and developing
off campus programs along with non traditional
Varner said present committee studies, when
completed, will represent concrete steps towards
coordination of ofi wm.; prcrsrr.:, r?;,,r'n ql
educational opportunities, developing fntercampus
dosed circuit television and improving Instruction.
Committees are developing proposals for achieving
these goals or already have submitted proposals to the
regents for consideration, he said,
Varner also pointed to the State University of
Nebraska (SUN), the proposed Ufa Sciences Building
and the proposed Performing Arts Center at steps
towards meeting the plan's goals.
A feasibility study has been conducted for the
Performing Arts Center, and appropriations have been
made for construction of the Life Sciences Building.
SUN, a multimedia educational project allowing
college credit to be earned at home, plans to offer its
firit courses for next fall, according to SUN provost
"There are still a lot of uncertainties," George
said last Thursday. "The funding is uncertain and we
have yet to find out what kinds of people will be
interested, but I'm optimistic"
Regent Ed Schwartzkopf of Lincoln also said the
5-year plan was moving ahead.
"We may not be moving as fast as we would like,
tut zz hr.2 s w'n moving ahead I'm enthused," he
Varner said, "This plan probably won't get us all
the way to the top cf the Big 8 bet it will move us
toward that. How well we do depends on what other
Institutions are doing."
According to Varner, the plan may not reach some
of its goals if Inflation continues to Increase.
"I can't say for sure what goals would suffer. The
hottest priority, howtver, wiSI be given to insuring
that professors' salaries will be unaffected," he said.
Given the present inflation rale and enrollment
trends, annuel increases in general fund operating
appropriations may have to bo as high as 15 to 18
just to maintain present programs, Varner said,
, Sea Plan, Page 3
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