University of Virginia General Faculty Council (GFC)
Minutes: May 14, 2001 12:30-2:00 p.m. Room 481 Newcomb Hall
Members Present: Mary Abouzeid, Jan Balmer, Frank Butros, Chuck Callaghan, Rosie Dunn, Jim Freeman, Joe Gieck, Bill Keene, Aaron Laushway, Maurice Lipper, Lotta Lofgren, Barbara Millar, Max Salinas, Lynda White, Ellie Wilson
Members Absent: Donal Day, Carol Hunter, Jan Redick
Others Present: John Casteen, Patricia Foley, Doug Hurd, Hoke Perkins, Kathy Reed, and Leonard Sandridge.
The meeting was opened by Frank Butros, Chair, who suspended the agenda so that President Casteen could speak to the questions the General Faculty Council had invited him to address. The meeting began at 12:40.
President Casteen began by discussing the budget impasse at the state level. His explanation included historical background to the current budget stalemate and implications for the University.
- He said basically "…all parties have lost more than they can recoup…" in the budget battle in Richmond. He said he felt there was no explicit intention to "get" higher education but that rather our delegates were more intent on getting each other.
- A decade ago, when redistricting took place with the 1990 census, the party in control (Democrats) worked to forestall their opposition's place in decision making. After a decade of being on the outside, today the Republicans are in control of decision making. The recent redistricting has been accomplished to counteract the 1990 changes. The result is that every single delegate has to face re-election this fall in newly-designed districts. Basically, everyone is afraid of facing re-election IF he/she had opposed the governor's car tax bill. On the other hand, no one in the Senate faces this challenge. It would seem that the Senate's situation would be a "plus" for the budget impasse, except that the governor has a poor relationship with the Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Chichester.
- The path of budget bills in the Commonwealth is as follows: the Governor prepares a budget and sends it to the House of Delegates. The House traditionally holds the bill until the very last minute. As a result, the Senate builds its own budget. When the two meet toward the end of the budget preparation cycle, we have the battles.
- The revenue shortfall in the Commonwealth is the problem. There is just not enough money to fund the Governor's promised car tax remission. The variable is outside everyone's control. There is a very small fund to tap--either car tax or salaries have to come from that fund--there is not enough to fully fund both. Currently, salaries are frozen but the hope is that there will be a "Caboose" Bill" in the 2002 session which could address salary increases retroactively to November 2001 time frame.
- What will be effected at the University? Right now, capital spending is being effected. Several projects are on hold (the Special Collections Library, the Studio Art building, for example). In both situations, there is University money available but the state's allocation has been frozen. It's debatable whether the University should put its own money out before the state's is available. There is some indication that an Emergency Authorization from the state is forthcoming (although "emergency" usually means "natural disaster") and that some aspects of capital spending/building will go ahead.
- Next, President Casteen discussed the state's APPENDIX M--its formula to run colleges. Appendix M was suspended in 1990 and has not been run since. What this means is that we have been experiencing eleven years with basically no planning for higher education. For the University, according to recent studies, this means a 17/18 .5 million dollar shortfall in budget allocations a year (200 million for the entire state higher education budget). The current Governor is not addressing this issue; the Senate came up with a 4-year plan; the House plan was not workable. The issue is a commitment to restoring the money for higher education.
- At this point a question was asked about our own capital campaign. President Casteen responded that we do not use annual giving money for salary increases; that the University can use the 200 million unrestricted money to supplement operating expenses; but that most of the capital giving is restricted. He commented that we are fairly new to the whole fundraising scene and it will take another 20 years before we have substantial amounts of unrestricted funds.
- Another Question was asked about the state retirement fund. He responded that VRS was still on the negotiation table but that TIAA was not. He pointed out that the state has a trust fund to support VRS and it has made great gains in the past few years of economic growth.
- A question was posed about the general economy of Virginia. Casteen responded that the cycle of "boom" or "bust" since the mid 20th century has occurred on a later decade years BOOM cycle and an early in the decade years BUST cycle. We and other states' universities have been facing these economic conditions. University of Michigan, for example, in response to that state's economy, began actively building their endowment which is very strong.
The next topic on his agenda was the role of General Faculty in the state view.
- He began by saying that the concept of "General Faculty" is very confused at the state level. In the late 1980's, there was some attempt to determine a definition. The existing definition is that anyone in three reporting grades from a vice-president can be considered General faculty. In 1988, there were 413 General Faculty positions at UVA; in 2001, there are 731 (the increase includes conversions of positions from classified to General Faculty and does not include research assistants, etc.) The state, he added, sees General faculty positions related to the specialized training needed to hold them (counselors, coaches, librarians). But the formulae for setting salaries are all over the map--and without funding, there are inequities in salaries (between instructional faculty, administrative faculty, and administrative staff). After briefly reviewing the range of salary differentials between 1990 and today (differences between academic faculty--tenured and tenure-track and General Faculty), he pointed out that the state was over-elaborating its budget, trying desperately to save money rather than dealing with needs (especially its institutions' needs). He said a new base-budget model would take care of all of this.
- At the University, the budget is allocated from the state to the Provost who in turn allocates it out to the schools and the schools to their faculty; each school can use school discretionary funds to augment salaries.
- Basically, he said the state sees its three big institutions (Virginia, Virginia Tech, and William and Mary) in competition for the national faculty market for some positions and the local market for other positions (General faculty represent local faculty market). He added that the legislators are not in opposition to General Faculty concerns when they are brought forward.
- He reiterated that the relief for our salary situation lies in full funding of the base budget which will probably not happen until we get a new governor.
- A question was asked about the definition of General Faculty on the part of the University's administration. President Casteen responded that it was not even defined. In schools, he said, one cannot distinguish between academic General faculty and tenure track faculty. He said if we get a new budget, we may be able to redefine the differences but we have not been able to up to now.
- Another question was posed related to searches. President Casteen reviewed the University's searches one by one, from dean level searches (Darden, the College of Arts and Sciences), the VP Provost search, the Athletic Director position change, the VP of Finance new appointee, the new Chief of Police, the new CEO of the Medical Center, and the College at Wise chancellor search.
Next, President Casteen discussed the provost/planning office's intent to ask deans to embark on three-year planning with staggered reporting. This will establish a way for schools to begin to account for their resources at the school level. On a practical level, it means that schools will be involved in the budget process and assist the University in being thoughtful about how to best organize our resources.
The council thanked President Casteen, Vice-President Sandridge, and Associate Provost Reed for their thoughtful contributions to our knowledge.
At this point in the meeting, the agenda went back into operation.
- Approval of April's Minutes
Minutes were approved as printed.
- Committee Reports
- Policy. Bill Keene reported on the draft policy that has been under revision for several years. He, Jane Penner, Joyce Pastors, and Trish Foley met with Peter Lowe, Alex Johnson, and Kathy Reed, and the incoming Associate Provost, Anda Webb to discuss changes recommended by Peter Lowe in the latest version of the draft policy . Our major concerns related to four changes proposed by Peter Lowe: 1) Deleting the section describing recourse when an annual review had not been conducted; 2) deleting the definition of the "Expectation of Continued Employment"; 3) adding revised text that was vague with regard to the timing for the expectation of continued employment; and 4) adding revised text which did not specify recourse when the expectation of continued employment review had not been conducted. The group drafted acceptable revisions addressing all the above concerns (this draft was given to the General Faculty Council). Overall, Bill reported that the Provost's office was extremely supportive of the new document and appreciated the considerable effort invested by all who contributed to the effort. Lowe will forward the latest revised draft to Leonard Sandridge for review. Thereafter, the draft will be reviewed by the University’s General Council and Sandridge’s cabinet including Gene Block. Lowe said that a clearly marked draft of the current policy could be circulated to our council and to interested members of the general faculty for review. However, he requested that it not be made public on the web until after completing the formal review and approval process.
- By-laws. Joe Gieck passed around a draft of the proposed revision (originating from a discussion at the April meeting) to the General Faculty By Laws that would change the current officer terms. With a minor change to wording of the description of members elected to fill the chair and co-chair positions (see attached document), the draft was approved unanimously. Professor Gieck agreed to check on the rules for the time needed to enact this revision. The change will be posted on our website.
- Ellie Wilson reported on the afternoon reception set for the garden of Pavilion One, to welcome new General Council members and thank outgoing ones.
- The next item on the agenda, Goals and Objectives for the Gen-Fac Council, was brought forward by incoming chair Frank Butros. He proposed that we as a council be strategic about our work this coming year. He proposed a retreat-style group brainstorming activity for one of our future meetings to identify issues we want to work on. There was some discussion of this process--including using what we learned from our constituents last year in the open meetings around Grounds. There was also a suggestion that we use a facilitator for this brainstorming session. And another suggestion was that we host a University-wide meeting for General Faculty. It was decided that at our next meeting we would review what we learned last year and prioritize what we heard from our constituents.
- Web-site Management. Frank Butros has found a group of students "Student Techies" who have a partnership formed to help people with website construction. Mary Abouzeid volunteered to draw up a budget after speaking to this group.
- Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Mary Abouzeid.
Next Meeting: June 12, 2001, Room 481 Newcomb Hall