November 21, 2017 Executive Committee minutes
Attending (those who signed in): Bryan Andregg, Tiffany Carver, Clare Counihan, Mariel Eaves, Naquan Hill, Shayna Hill, Arlene Medder, Alan Moran, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Kathy Ramsey, Ricky Roach, Greg Smith, Katie Turner, K.D. Welsh
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 11:29 a.m. She welcomed Amy Kaufmann, Natalie Vizuete, and Kim Vassiliadis to discuss proposed redesign for the UNC.edu website. Kaufmann said that designers want to appeal primarily to an audience of prospective students and students, perhaps reducing the utility of the site to campus employees. She sought to create a storytelling site to portray those at Carolina who represent what we are and what we do. She said a large “hero” image will change periodically. The site will organize information in three primary ways: Discover, Navigate, and Search. A deeper dive into information will be available at the bottom of each page. Kaufmann hopes that the search function will improve on the one available on the current site. She said that the site will incorporate “Carolina People” profiles and tags of events and social media contributions.
Kaufmann said that the footer will be where utility and information such as directory listings will be placed. She said that the Discover section will allow a deep dive into different topics related to innovation and dynamic thinking at the University and their affect on State and campus life. Kaufmann said that there has been a series of tests of accessibility requirements. She noted that the site will work to meet the needs of mobile users, as 80% of current traffic at unc.edu occurs through mobile devices.
Natiaya Neal asked when the new site will roll out. Kaufmann said that preliminary plans were to roll out in September, but plans have been pushed back to mid-January. She said that the need to provide personalized sites for campus leaders has added to the startup time. She wanted to make sure that the entire revision is launched simultaneously.
Kaufmann said that the site will be a living one with continual improvements and change. Katie Turner noted that the footer is not alphabetized. Bryan Andregg asked who will make the final governance decisions as to content and design. Kaufmann said that University Communications will likely make these calls through Natalie Vizuete.
Katie Turner noted her experience working with older faculty members who might be confused by these proposed changes. Kaufmann said that access testing had found that students and prospective students really love the changes and find them intuitive. She granted that there is a learning curve for new website designs. She said that her team is anticipating some pushback. Natalie Vizuete said that the current website is viewed as internally directed and not as attractive to prospective students.
Katie Turner asked about the possibility of doing graphics refreshes for departmental sites to fall in line with the new, graphics emphasis of the redesign. She hoped that the redesign team will provide options for document-heavy departments. Kim Vassiliadis said that these improvements to departmental sites are forthcoming in the spring. Natalie Vizuete said that photographs of beloved campus features such as the Old Well and Polk Place are ways to root departmental sites in graphic details. She said that the campus needs to find more photographers to provide still and video features for campuses.
Clare Counihan asked if departmental URLs will change with the redesign. Vassiliadis said that these errors will occur, but the redesign team will work to allow departments to keep their current addresses. Bryan Andregg said that redirects of redirects can multiply very quickly. Vassiliadis said that the redesign may direct users to a “front door” of pages rather than a particular site. She said that the redesign will offer themes to departments but will not dictate use. She hoped that departments will recognize the need for continuity. Counihan confirmed that the University will help departments with adaptations to the new themes.
Clare Counihan asked how the redesign team will choose the main stories for the “hero” section. Natalie Vizuete said that the site will gear its stories towards the University calendar, featuring events such as University Day and key admissions deadlines, for example. She said that the site will invite the community to submit ideas.
Mariel Eaves asked how much student involvement will become part of the site, asking how can students contact content designers for the new unc.edu. Vizuete said that the events page and e-mail are two ways to contact designers. Eaves noted the number of calendars at the University. Vassiliadis said that users will have the ability to pull calendars to their feeds as a first method to deal with available content. Eaves asked if there is a way to integrate Trello features into departmental pages. Vassiliadis said that this feat is not yet available. She said that the campus community has relied on WordPress and to intervene for both platforms is near impossible given the decentralization of campus departments.
Katie Musgrove asked about the creation of tab to feature public service initiatives. Amy Kaufmann said that users can search the Life at Carolina page for these efforts. Musgrove noted her charge as chair of the Community Service committee to get word out about these efforts. She said that someone interested in volunteering would have no idea where to start to look in the new design. Natalie Vizuete suggested that employees begin on the events calendar. She also noted the Carolina Center for Public Service website as a starting point for these searches. Kaufmann asked about directing users to the Human Resources page for this information. Musgrove did not think that this course would be effective. Kim Vassiliadis said that the current features are more designed as landing pages for prospective students. Musgrove emphasized holding discussions now to make the page accessible for those who do not know where to start with their searches.
Bryan Andregg suggested that the unc.edu site do a better job in clearing old alerts from its feeds. Katie Turner noted that the Human Resources site uses containers for policies, which some of the faculty have found confusing. Kaufmann said that she would take these suggestions under advisement.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the September and October minutes of the committee. She noted that there were grammatical changes to be made on both sets of minutes. Bryan Andregg made this motion, which was approved by acclamation.
Matt Banks was unable to present a budget update as he had just been given training for InfoPorte. He said that he would produce a report for December. The Chair noted that she had submitted a letter to the Chancellor requesting approval for the Forum’s Staff Development fund expenses. She noted that this year is the first year in which these expenses, the Forum’s trust fund expenses, and the Forum’s personnel expenses are all combined into one overall account.
The Chair asked if the committee wished to carry forward with its decision to discontinue sponsorship of the notary public certification class. Clare Counihan asserted that she would like savings from this cut to go back into the Forum’s Professional Development Grant pool of funds. She noted that the notary public certification classes were taught by Durham Technical Community College instructors. She said that employees could use other means to pay for this instruction.
Naquan Hill said that as Forum Treasurer he should be able to pull expenses by program codes and cost codes. The Chair said that cost codes must be unique and recreated each year. Naquan Hill preferred program codes in InfoPorte as this information typically comes up faster.
Ricky Roach asked how the Forum had not yet confirmed a committed line item for the University’s Blood Drive expenses. He understood that this request had been taken care of previously. Katie Musgrove said that automatically generating this line item would alleviate pressure on Blood Drive organizers. The Chair said that she hoped to resolve this question soon. The Chair said that this question needs to be viewed given the current uncertainty regarding Forum budget issues. Musgrove said that she would work to obtain budget figures from Blood Drive representatives. She would also ask to get a copy of the letter that the Blood Drive sends to the Chancellor requesting funds.
Members discussed the available funding for the 25th anniversary event on Wednesday, December 6th. The committee agreed to arrange for purchase of engraved pens and other items to fall within the budget agreed by the Chancellor for this purpose.
The committee agreed with the recommendation to send out holiday greetings via the Paperless Post application. Clare Counihan asked that the greetings exclude religious references.
The Chair noted a question had arisen related to the continuance of the forum listserv. Matt Banks explained that the forum listserv has existed since 1999 and has been a list open to subscribers, inside and outside the University. He noted that the forum listserv had subsequently become overrun with spam from these outside subscribers, requiring extensive moderation of postings. A compromise was met whereby people who had posted previously on the forum listserv could post without moderation, but all others would require moderation before posting.
In the years following, the Forum has created the eforum and ef-current listservs, in addition to around a dozen committee listservs. The eforum listserv contains current and past Forum delegates, while the ef-current listserv is limited to only current Forum delegates. These other listservs have led to the forum listserv being relegated to a legacy list, posted to by only a few past delegates who used the listserv previously.
Katie Turner said that this listserv still is public record subject to media requests, even if it is only rarely used. The Chair did not want to discourage robust conversation, but she was troubled by the fact that only a few people have de facto posting privileges on the forum listserv. Alan Moran noted that the list could be used to expand Forum conversations beyond current delegates to obtain the insight of past members. He noted the wealth of institutional memory that these past members represent. The Chair noted a difficulty in having retired employees posting on listservs overseen by the Forum and potentially affecting policy. It was noted that retired University staff employees do not have a representative group like UNC alumni.
Clare Counihan confirmed that the forum listserv has not been used outside of one retired UNC employee in the pasty three years. She said that these individuals could contact current Forum delegates to register their opinions on University manners. She moved that the Forum discontinue this listserv. The motion was seconded by Katie Musgrove and approved by the Executive Committee.
Katie Musgrove noted that Ricky Roach, Forum delegate and chair of the Carolina Blood Drive committee, is leaving the University. She noted that Jim Potts or Kathy James could help as acting chair. She thanked Roach for his service. Musgrove noted that the Food 4 All drive had collected over 1900 meals in recent weeks. The Chair also thanked Roach for his work on the Blood Drive, saying that she would be hard-pressed to find anyone so committed and thorough.
It was noted that the Communications and Public Relations committee will receive submissions for the newsletter InTouch until publication at the end of November. The Chair said that the committee has also sent out tweets from the November 18th Forum event at the UNC football game.
The Chair said that the committee needs to vet proposed topics for the November 30th Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting. She noted that James Holman had raised a concern regarding equipment supply and maintenance in Housekeeping.
Ricky Roach asked that the Forum introduce discussion regarding difficulties he experienced with a manager. The Chair asked what Roach suggested the Forum request in the Vice Chancellor representatives’ meeting. Committee members explored the different options available to Roach in this concern. The Chair eventually decided not to include Roach’s concern in the submitted agenda. Roach said that he would not let the issue go but would pursue other avenues.
The Chair noted a concern regarding the elimination of the no-cost health insurance option for employees this year. Katie Turner suggested framing this question in terms of the follow-up on the Forum resolution concerning health insurance benefits. The resolution urged collaboration to mitigate cost increases.
The Chair noted a question regarding the status of the University under adverse weather advisories. Naquan Hill said that the new revisions of the policy were worded very poorly. The Chair noted concerns among staff and students who live in rural areas trying to decide whether to attend work under Condition 2. These people, if they choose not to travel to campus during adverse weather, must subsequently use their personal time to make up their scheduled work hours.
The Chair noted the longstanding request to work on the compensatory time make up issue voiced by Roach and others. Roach said that he has worked a four-day week, ten-hours a shift schedule, but received only eight hours of holiday leave. He said that this shortfall leads to the loss of two full days to make up.
Katie Turner said that regarding the freedom of speech policy, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council had met to discuss the question. That committee will forward final language to the full Faculty Council for consideration in December. The Chair recalled that the timeline for feedback allotted the UNC System Staff Assembly was unrealistic for members to provide feedback. She said that the Forum has not provided comment or recommendations in this area. She granted that University Counsel have likely shared concerns from the Forum’s November meeting, but these informal comments differ from a formal statement.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:42 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks, Recording Secretary