Greetings from David Zeh, 2012-13 Faculty Senate Chair

June 14, 2012

Dear Faculty,
The Faculty Senate held their scheduled executive board elections at their May 9, 2012 Faculty Senate meeting and we are proud to present the new Faculty Senate Executive Board Members to you:
Chair:                         David Zeh (Biology)
Chair-elect:                Swatee Naik (Mathematics and Statistics)
Parliamentarian:        Chuck Price (Joe Crowley Student Union)
At Large:                    Trish Ellison (CABNR)
                                   Glenn Miller (CABNR)
Ex Officio:                    David Ryfe (Journalism)
Contact information for the new executive board can be found at the link below:

I encourage all faculty to communicate regularly with their Senators to help identify issues of importance that we may consider in the coming year.

The 2012-13 Senators are listed by the unit they represent at the link below:

Below I provide a brief summary of some of the accomplishments of the 2011-2012 Senate, and I outline goals and challenges for the new Senate.


Synopsis of the Activities of the 2011-2012 Senate

The UNR Faculty Senate, in collaboration with faculty, the University Administration and other NSHE institutions, accomplished a great deal over the last year. We reviewed the implementation of curricular review in the College of Education, the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, and the College of Cooperative Extension. We created a University syllabus policy and a new, more coherent policy on S/U and test credit limits. We implemented a University student dismissal policy, and a new policy requiring background checks for academic and administrative faculty. We also assisted in the hiring process for our new President, and held a special Senate meeting to discuss placement of laid off faculty members. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we established the “Commission for the Future of the University of Nevada” (CFUN), a committee of administrative and academic faculty charged with assisting the administration in the development of a strategic vision for UNR as a top-tier residential campus for the 21st century.

I would especially like to thank Chair David Ryfe for his Senate leadership over the last year. David worked tirelessly to make the Senate a more proactive and visionary institution, and was a key player in soon-to-be implemented revisions to NSHE code regarding curricular review.

Under this revised code, a university administration request for curricular review will:

·       Trigger Faculty Senate review of the budget to provide a recommendation to the Board of Regents (BOR) whether or not faculty support the    

     process of curricular review

·      Require the university administration to provide access to all financial data relied upon in developing a curricular review proposal; this will ensure that the process is objective and data-driven

·      Necessitate a decision to accept or reject the declaration of curricular review by the BOR


A key feature of the revised code is that faculty oversight will occur at all four stages of curricular review process:

·      Review of the trigger for curricular review

·      Review of the programs to be affected

·      Review of the reorganization plan

·      Review of the appeal process for faculty threatened with layoffs


The Senate believes that effective communication between administration and faculty will lead to better curricular review outcomes and better faculty morale in the face of adversity.


2012-2013 Senate: Challenges and Opportunities

In the coming year, the University and the Faculty Senate will be confronted with many challenges but also some significant opportunities. The economy is stagnant, NSHE is proposing a new funding formula for higher education that currently favors high enrollment institutions in the southern part of the state, and higher education faces unprecedented challenges provoked by rising tuition costs, increasing student debt, and technology-driven disruptive innovation (e.g., massive open online courses). The Commission is developing strategies to deal with many of these issues. The new funding formula, if adopted, will retain tuition and fees generated by each campus, and will provide the potential for growth and enhancement of university functions. However, we will increasingly be competing with regional institutions for tuition dollars, and this will require clever and strategic decisions to make our university more competitive and attractive to students both within and outside of the state. The new Senate is also working diligently to convince the Chancellor and Legislature that the new funding formula must reward not only numbers of graduates but also excellence in teaching, research and outreach. We are making some progress on this front.

Finally, as the new Senate Chair, I am committed to opening up lines of communication between the administration and faculty. Beginning in the Fall 2012 semester, we will be holding informal, monthly meetings in which the President, the Provost, and the Senate Chair will be available to discuss any issues of concern to the faculty. We will also charge one of our Senate Committees with soliciting suggestions from both administrative and academic faculty to reduce red tape and improve the functioning of the University.

Best wishes,

David W. Zeh
Chair, Department of Biology
Chair, Faculty Senate 
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557

Tel: (775) 682 5735 or (775) 784-1648
Fax: (775) 784-1302


Welcome to the 2008-09 Faculty Senate

May 16, 2008

To the new senators, welcome to what I hope will be an interesting and engaging experience at shared faculty governance. To our continuing senators, I hope that you will have found your “sea legs” and will become even more involved in enhancing the functioning of the senate at UNR. Our president, interim provost and incoming provost have all been active members of faculty senates during their careers, and each demonstrates a notable willingness to collaborate with the senate. As chair, I sit on the President’s Council, while the chair-elect, Elliott Parker, sits on the Academic Leadership Council. More than at any other time in my memory, the faculty, though its senate, has access to the administration as the university grows and evolves. As you know, the senate is advisory to the administration. The degree to which that advice is influential is dependent on how thoughtful it is, not necessarily whether our advice is consistent with preexisting ideas the administration may have. I genuinely believe we can influence many important decisions about how our campus functions and matures.

A wide variety of issues will present themselves to the senate this year. Some we can anticipate while others will manifest themselves with little notice. Before you now are the recommendations from the Academic Standards Committee. These recommendations were outlined at the May senate meeting, but action on the recommendations were tabled until the June meeting. These recommendations are crucially important to the academic functioning of the campus. You must thoughtfully consider your position on each of the recommendations. You may accept them in part or whole, reject them in part or whole, or modify them as the senate deems appropriate. Regardless of the senate’s decisions, I want to thank the members of the ASC and the chair, Louis Marvick. The Faculty Senate blog is a reasonable place to “think out loud” with the other senators about these recommendations.

Speaking of the blog, it is in its infancy. It will be up to the senate as to how to best utilize this tool. As chair I have no special interest in keeping the blog closed to only senators or necessarily make it open to all faculty. That is a discussion for the whole senate. Senators can start their own blogs as well. My interest is in helping the senate succeed in its mission. It remains to be seen as to how a blog can best facilitates that goal.
In order to keep this post brief, I will raise only one last issue. As you are probably already hearing, additional budget cuts to higher education are likely. At this point, I believe UNR is already running as leanly as it can. That means that if additional cuts must occur, it is likely they will have serious consequences for the university. The senate will keep as involved in any budget discussions as we can. Last year we participated in a plan that was intended to preserve positions and classes. The administration actively sought our input, and we agreed on strategies the Board of Regents ultimately accepted. We will again be involved in those discussions. By the time we next meet, the Board of Regents will have met, and I will give you an update. In the meantime, you might want to begin discussing this issue with your constituents.

Hello UNR Faculty

May 9, 2008

The purpose for this blog is to elicit ideas and suggestions between Faculty, enhancing the work of the Faculty Senate, while increasing communication among faculty regarding pressing issues at the university and beyond.

Here is a brief information and “HOW TO” lesson.  If there is something else you want to know, just ask:

You can come to the Faculty Senate Blog without logging in.   Simply come to  If you would like to post, you need to obtain a profile, by clicking on
Click on “Get a Blog”.
enter a username (preferably your netid)
enter your unr email address
Click on “Only a profile”
Click on “Submit”
You will receive an email at your UNR email address to validate your profile.
Set up your user profile (Include your personal website link if you have one).
You now have the ability to post responses to the blog’s posts.

If a blog post has comments, you will see a number next to comments at the bottom of the page.  Click on the link to read any comments or to post any comments you would like to leave.  If you are not logged in, you will see a link below the comments, saying, “You must log in to leave comments.”
Please NOTE: Your first post will be moderated.  You will not see them hit the board immediately.  Don’t panic…they exist!  Once approved…all your posts thereafter will show up immediately.

Each Senator has “author” capability, enabling them to write a new discussion topic.   If you log in, using  the site, you are able to start a discussion topic by clicking on the “write” header and then click on “posts”.   A nice feature is that you can write and save a draft to come back to finish later.  At that point, you will find it in the “manage” tab by clicking “edit” on the appropriate entry. 

If you are having trouble navigating this site, feel free to email me with questions you may have.  I want to make your blog a positive experience!  I am here to help.

Thanks and happy blogging!

Michelle Hritz
Faculty Senate Manager