University of Virginia General Faculty Council

 

Minutes:  Tuesday, November 12, 2002           

Time:  12:00 -1:30 p.m. 

Place:  Room  376 Newcomb Hall Boardroom

 

Members Present:  Joan Kidding for Mary Abouzeid, Jann Balmer, Rosie Dunn, James Freeman, Phil Gates, Robbie Greenlee, George Hashisaki, Carol Hunter, Lotta Lofgren, Barbara Millar, Chris Milner, Greg Strickland, Lynda White, Ellie Wilson

 

Guests:  Gene Block (Vice President and Provost), Brad Holland, Mair DeVoursney, Ida Lee Wooten.

 

 

 Q&A with Gene Block

 

  1. How might the budget cuts affect General Faculty vis a vis the financial stringency policy?

 

G.B. Response:  The University has not declared a plan for financial stringency and has no plans to do so at this time.  They anticipate that the tuition increase next spring and money from revenue-generating units will help cover our shortfall. They do not think that things will change dramatically next year. The first steps have been to freeze open positions.  The deans have been encouraged to reassign people rather than use layoffs if positions need to be cut.  Any management layoffs would be assessed program by program., but the University does not anticipate layoffs given the present budget situation but is uncertain about the effects of further cuts. There is some concern about centers that have separate budget lines.

 

  1. Are there ways the General Faculty can help the University through these difficult times?

 

G.B. Response:  There several ways the General Faculty can assist the University. 

1. Ensure that information circulated among constituents is accurate. 

2. As the General Faculty sense problems or fears, please contact the appropriate University Administrative office. 

3. Identify strategies to help the University save money during these difficult times.

 

     3.  How can we assist in acquiring benefits, particularly health benefits, for part-time faculty, when funds are available again?

 

G.B. Response:  In the past, part-timers have been seen as a risky group, which insurers charge significantly higher rates to accommodate.  The University has followed state practices, which do not include part-time employee benefits.  Lotta and Carol introduced the research they have done on this issue and reported on their discussion of part-time benefits during the last Benefits Committee meeting.  They found that top SCHEV peer institutions consistently offered part-time benefits to employees—that the University is an outlier on this issue.  Feedback from a recent Council survey sent to General Faculty also indicated that part-time benefits are the primary concern and need.  Providing benefits, particularly health insurance, to part-timers may be doable since there are fewer than 150 .5FTE and above part-time General Faculty members--although all agreed that the issue should be considered for ALL part-time employees who are .5FTE and above, both faculty and classified. Gene indicated that now may be a better time to investigate this due to changed economic conditions; specifically, this may give full-time employees an opportunity to seriously consider partial or phased retirement.  Carol H. mentioned the next Benefits Committee meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002 in Madison Hall.

 

  1.   What is the progress on the General Faculty Policy?  Is there a timeline for completing it?

 

G.B. Response:  Most of the changes from our last meeting in June are acceptable.  Rick Kast, the University Counsel, has been revising the wording largely according to the Policy Committee’s recommendations; Gene believes that it is now a much clearer document.  He and Anda Webb continue to work on the details.  The plan is to send a revised draft within two weeks and to meet with the Policy Committee within a month or so, perhaps completing the document before winter break.  Some concerns remain regarding consulting for General Faculty, non-inclusion of athletic department staff, and the waiver clause.  Gene expressed concern that grants of funding or leave for professional development be either directly related to career advancement within the parameters of the employee’s current job description or approved by the appropriate supervisor.

 

  1. How can we make ourselves heard in the legislature, particularly in regard to equitable salary increases when funds are available again?

 

G.B. Response:  He suggested the General Faculty be careful about approaching the legislature directly.  Richmond perceives us as being in a higher salary bracket already; they also think that national searches are not done for General Faculty positions. The administration is aware of both issues and is working to correct  misconceptions. Gene suggested that we should work with and through the University on the salary equity issue. 

 

  1. How can the University provide equitably for temporary disability leave for professional research faculty?

 

G.B. Response:  Gene advised that we already offer temporary disability leave as required for federal grants. He suggested that perhaps setting aside a portion of each grant as an “insurance” pool might be one solution.  However, this pool would need to be managed either by individual departments or by the University.  This is an area that needs further work.


Open Questions:

 

What are the things you are spending most of your time on? 

 

G.B. Response:  During the past four months, budget meetings have been most time consuming.  Cutting several millions from the budget has been an arduous task.

 

How is our budget affecting our ability to continue searches for top personnel?

 

G.B. Response:  1) Recruitment has been affected severely.  2) Retention in the last two years was difficult.  Some faculty and staff have been recruited by other institutions.  The real problem is that we cannot replace enough  personnel this year or, most likely, next year. There will be few new programs. when the budget reductions are complete next year we will be receiving only approximately  8% of our funding from the state (including the hospital). This may help us build a new relationship with the state where we have more control.

 

How is the Oracle process going?

 

G.B. Response:  The transition has been demoralizing for some staff members.  Oracle is quite different from the old system and demands a good deal of accuracy by all users.  Previously, errors could be corrected downstream without providing feedback to workers.  Now feedback is being given where it is not expected. some new workers seem to not have as much trouble with oracle, perhaps because they do not have to unlearn one system to relearn another.

 

General discussion

 

The University is working on a voluntary retirement program for faculty and classified employees.

SCHEV seems to have less to do these days.  It may have outlived its usefulness.

 

 

Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign

 

Ida Lee Wooten discussed the CVC program, which is authorized by the Governor of Virginia and is a mechanism for State employees to give to local charities.  This year there are 1,000 charities to select from.  Last year, approximately $3.5 million was given.

 

 

Reports:

 

Elections Committee: 

Ellie handed out the Elections Committee Report (see attached) from their meeting on October 22, 2002.  She suggested that the Council look into the possibility of folding the Nursing School into Medical Center representation and of seeking additional representation for the Medical Center since the Medical Center has the largest General Faculty constituency. The Bylaws Committee will revisit this issue; Council wants to ensure that representation is fairly allotted before the next election in February.

 

Adjourned at 1:35 p.m.

 

Next Meeting:  Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 12-1:30 p.m. 

Newcomb Hall Boardroom - Room 376

 

Recorded by Rosie Dunn, Secretary

 

 

Report of Elections Committee of the General Faculty Council

 

Meeting held on October 22, 2002

 

Present:  Ellie Wilson (Chair), Elaine Attridge, and George Hashisiki

 

A.  The committee discussed the following items: 

 

1)      identification of seats coming up for election in the spring of 2003;

2)      clarification of procedures for elections to be held in the spring of 2003;

3)      the re-allocation of representatives for specific constituency groups based on the Sept. 02 report of the GFC by-laws committee;

4)      the allocation of constituency groups per representative within the Health System cohort;

5)      the issue of strengthening the GFC presence within the University by broadening representation of at-large members;

6)      procedures for the Spring, 2003 election.

 

 

B.  Seats up for re-election in Spring, 2003

 

1)      2 in College of Arts and Sciences

2)      2 in the at-large category

3)      2 in the ‘other schools’ category to be elected, 1 from the group presently constituted as Nursing, Architecture and Commerce, and 1 from Darden and Law

 

C.  Clarification of procedures

 

1)      after looking over the document presently posted on the GFC home page, we feel

there is little to change except perhaps the use of’ major domo’ in the first paragraph

2)      we intend to follow the previous election procedures, noting that we will be

      contacting the entire GFC roster as well as individual constituency rosters where

      needed

 

D.  Re-allocation of representatives:

 

1)      We acknowledge the hard work done by the by-laws committee and understand

      that as of this date no further changes should be made that would affect the 2003

      election.  However, we did have an extensive discussion about the GFC

      representation and would like to suggest further changes to be made in the fall of

      2003.

 

2)      We recommend moving the nursing school  constituency out of the “other schools” category and under the Health System GFC group. We are making this recommendation knowing the size of the “other schools” group of architecture and Commerce will be reduced, but feeling that issues related to overall health care will more effectively be addressed by representation within this group.

 

E .   We recommend one more representative be included in the Health System

       category, increasing this to 5 members, providing a smaller representative ratio

       We recommend that the 4 present representatives from the Health System (Jann,

       George, Elaine and Greg) deliberate to create five constituency groups within this

       GFC group, providing for more direct contact for these members.

 

F.   We also recommend adding an at-large member to the Council in an effort to

       further expand our presence in the University.

 

G.  We continue to support the efforts of all schools to update their GFC lists so that the

      elections process will reach the largest number of accurately identified constituents!

 

H.   To summarize the status of GFC representatives to date:

 

1)      we presently have 18 members

2)      of these 18 members,  6 will be up for re-election in the spring.

3)      these positions include 2  from Arts and Sciences, 2 from Other Schools and 2 at-large members, 1 from Nursing, Architecture and Commerce and 1 from Darden and Law

 

I.  We suggest  (for future deliberation) that the council add two positions, increasing the

     size of the GFC to 20 members.  In the spring of 2004 the following positions will be

     open: 

 

1)      1 position from Administration

2)      1 from Arts and Sciences

3)      1 from the Library

4)      1 position for the Health System

5)      1 from Other (SCPSS) 

 

     Our recommendation would be to amend the by-laws to add 2 more slots on the

     Council, one from the Health System and 1 from the at-large constituency.

 

J.   We also would like to note in closing that we realize the addition of 2 members to the

       GFC will somewhat skew the 3-year cycle of membership in cohorts of 6/election,

       but we think the advantages of increasing representation outweigh the disadvantages

       of possible imbalance in this cycle. If the council agrees to the addition of 2 new

       members, but is concerned about the length of term, we could suggest one election

       for a 2-year term and one for a 3-year term, thus reducing the overall turnover rate on

       the council.

 

Ellie Wilson, Chair

 

 

Report on the Faculty Senate Meeting, October 10, 2002

 

President Casteen spoke for the majority of the time, discussing the budget cuts, and his concern for faculty retention. He expected there to be more cuts when the General Assembly meets although not sure how UVa will fair compared to the other state universities (we're considered "fatter" than other institutions). He said that we have very good relationships established with the general assembly now so he is hopeful. He is also going to ask the General Assembly for a tuition hike that is rather substantial. He mentioned comparing us to U of Michigan and the support/tuition that they have. His number one priority is to keep from laying people off and to do so, some people will be reassigned. Gene Block, provost; and Karin Wittenborg, Director of the University Library System; and someone from the Colonnade Club, gave a state of the union address.

 

Elaine Attridge