University of Virginia
General Faculty Council
Minutes: July 20, 1999 meeting


MEMBERS PRESENT:  Susan Andrews – Administration, Donal Day – Arts & Sciences, Tom Dowd – Other Schools, Trish Foley – Medical School, Elizabeth Fortune – Other Schools, Abby Gillette – Other Schools, Brad Holland – Administration, Aaron Laushway – Student Affairs, Joyce Pastors – Medical School, Jane Penner – Libraries, and Jan Redick – Medical School

MEMBERS ABSENT:  Dennis DeSilvey – Medical School, Nancy Garlick – Arts and Sciences, Joe Gieck – Athletics, Mary Smith – Engineering, and Betsy Tucker – Arts & Sciences

ALSO PRESENT:  Philomena Dunkl, Robin Miksad, and Lynda White

Jane Penner chaired the meeting

1. The May GFC minutes were approved with one correction. The word "temporarily" was added to the note that followed the attendance list for the June GFC meeting. That note now reads: "* As of July 1, 1999, as a result of the personnel reorganization in the hospital, GFC representatives Barry Anderson and Ron Berube will no longer be members of the general faculty. This will temporarily drop the number of GFC representatives from the current 18 to 16."

 2. Chair’s Report:

A. In June a letter addressing problems with, and recommending solutions for, university policies and procedures impacting UVa research faculty was sent to Gene Block, Vice President for Research and Public Service. Mr. Block’s office has responded with a request for a meeting at 10 am on August 5th to discuss that letter with GFC representatives. Jane Penner and Elizabeth Fortune will meet with Mr. Block. If it seems useful, Mr. Block will be invited to attend a future GFC meeting to discuss the problems caused by the vagaries in funding cycles for most Research Faculty that may cause temporary breaks in full-time support for salary, benefits, and associated overhead. There have been no responses from the lengthy CC list on the letter sent to Mr. Block in June.

B. Jane Penner has compiled and designed a one double-sided sheet description of the GFC. It includes the GFC mission statement, meeting schedule, officers, members, and means of easy communication with the GFC. Two hundred copies of this informational piece were provided for inclusion in the welcome packets that will be distributed to new faculty.

C. A discussion was had about the best method of staying informed about the work of the six UVa Employee Communication Councils. Susan Andrews volunteered to monitor the minutes of the Executive Committee of the Employees Communication Council. This group, which meets regularly with Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Leonard Sandridge, is comprised of one representative from each of the six employee communication councils. Susan will read the minutes of the Executive Committee of the Employees Communication Council and alert the GFC to information or issues of interest to the general faculty.

D. A handout was distributed from Thomas E. Gausvik, Chief Human Resource Officer, describing new retirement benefits for part-time employees. From July 1, 1999 salaried faculty with a minimum 50% FTE and 6 month appointment will be eligible for the Faculty Retirement Plan including life and disability insurance (Virginia Retirement System benefits are not available). Any questions should be directed to Human Resources at 924-4392 or hrdept@virginia.edu.

3. Brad Holland, GFC representative to the Coordinating Committee for University Wide Groups (CCUWG), reported on a recent CCUWG meeting. In response to employee requests for a "cafeteria plan" for benefits Thomas E. Gausvik, Chief Human Resource Officer, noted that a problem UVa faces in this regard is the fact that many benefits are mandated. The expense of the mandated benefits does not leave much money to use for flexible benefit plans. While the existing mix of benefits will not be altered, he envisions that as new benefits are offered at UVa they will be put into a cafeteria mix.

It was announced that a new benefits program was approved during this past legislative session. The provisions are that the state will match 50% of employees' contributions to a 403(b) plan up to an annual limit of $1200, subject to available funding. The last caveat means the actual match could be less than $1200. VRS is in the process of determining what the match will be for the second half of the fiscal year (January through June 2000) and will make an announcement in the 4th quarter this year. All salaried employees who are eligible to participate in retirement plans will be eligible for this program. The earliest the plan will begin is January 2000. Information will be sent to employee home addresses once final guidance is received from VRS.

The next CCUWG meeting will focus on climate in the workplace.

4. The August 19, 1999 New Faculty/Staff Welcome event from 2-5 pm in the Ballroom of Newcomb Hall was discussed. Joyce Pastors, Nancy Garlick, and Aaron Laushway will cover one-hour shifts at the General Faculty Council table. Joyce will coordinate the handouts and other trappings of the table.

5. Update on the proposed revisions to the Policy on the General Faculty: Jane Penner and Joyce Pastors met with Alex Johnson, Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment, and Kathy Reed, Associate Provost for Management, about the proposed revisions. It was made clear that "ownership" of this policy is the Provost’s. The idea of the GFC seeking legal advice during the revision process was dismissed as unnecessary. The Provost’s Office feels it receives all the legal representation that’s needed during the revision process. It was also made clear that the Provost’s revised Policy on the General Faculty is to be the starting point for serious discussion.

With the ground rules laid, Jane Penner, Joyce Pastors, Vice Provost Alex Johnson, and Associate Provost Kathy Reed worked through the first section of the proposed revisions to the Policy on the General Faculty discussing both the GFC’s and the Provost’s proposed revisions. The rest of the meeting was consumed with working to an agreement on the Introduction section, including the grouping of general faculty positions by category. Kathy Reed emphasized that Professional Research faculty have their own policies (General Faculty Policies - Professional Research Staff (http://www.virginia.edu/~provost/profres.htm) and that even though they are described as "General Faculty" they cannot be included within the category of Teaching and Research General Faculty in the revised policy.

The next meeting with Johnson and Reed on the proposed revisions to the Policy on the General Faculty will take place in late August. Until the process is completed, the governing Policy on the General Faculty is the 1987 policy incorporating the July 1997 change on standards of notice requested by the Provost and approved by the GFC. This policy can be found at: http://www.virginia.edu/~provost/genfac.htm

Following the meeting, Jane and Joyce spent eight hours merging the GFC’s proposed revisions to the Policy on the General Faculty into the document containing the Provost’s proposed revisions to the Policy on the General Faculty. The merged document was then sent to Johnson and Reed. Joyce feels that many of the revisions the GFC is suggesting will not be accepted by the Provost’s Office.

6. A question about holiday leave granted by the Governor was resolved. Kathy Reed confirmed that faculty with a fixed leave allocation can take any holiday granted by the Governor or take an extra day off if they have to work on the holiday. Tom Gausvik agrees that holiday leave is granted to all state employees. This policy will be clearly explained in the memo that Human Resources will issue once it is announced what holiday leave is to be granted this year.

7. A complaint the GFC had received about parking allocation in the HSC was discussed. The GFC decided not to address the complaint. The HSC realizes that there is widespread concern about this issue amongst its employees and a HSC community meeting is being considered to address this concern. The person who raised the issue will be so notified.

8. The question of whether there was a need for a formal family leave/bereavement policy/benefit was addressed. The Provost’s Office, in an e-mail from Kathy Reed, suggests that, while it needs clarification, the existing policy for Temporary Disability Leave (Sick Leave) is flexible enough to cover the need for family/bereavement leave. However, in reality, the flexibility in the application of the Temporary Disability Leave policy depends on how individual managers interpret the policy. This opens the door for inconsistency of application.

The existing policy on Temporary Disability Leave (Sick Leave) in the Policy on General Faculty states:

Temporary Disability Leave (Sick Leave)

Temporary disability leave (sick leave) with salary and fringe benefits is available to members of the general faculty for the period of temporary disability (up to six months) caused by accident, ill health, pregnancy, or childbirth and the recovery therefrom. At the discretion of the supervisor, a physician's verification of temporary disability may be required.

In the ensuing discussion, the GFC decided that at this point the flexibility of the current policy makes it more valuable than the speculative benefits of a more formal, rigid family/bereavement leave policy. It was agreed that it would be valuable to have the Provost’s Office officially clarify that the existing Temporary Disability Leave is flexible enough to cover family/bereavement leave. The GFC will follow the efforts of the Provost’s Office to clarify the policy and will respond as necessary.

9. At the next GFC meeting the GFC By-Laws Committee will report on its work on a proposed revision to the by-laws to establish a procedure for appointing GFC members to serve on other University committees/bodies as needed. At the next GFC meeting there will also be a discussion of filling the two defunct Hospital seats on the GFC, of GFC priorities for 1999-2000, and of the creation of task groups.

10. NEXT MEETING:  Tuesday, September 14, 1999 - 12:30-2:00 pm. at 389 Newcomb Hall

Submitted,
Tom Dowd, Secretary
General Faculty Council