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Employee Forum Agenda

December 1, 2010

9:15 a.m.—-Meeting: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

I.            Call to Order

II.           Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III.         Special Presentations

    • Chancellor Holden Thorp
    • Dr. McKay Coble, Chair, Faculty Governance
    • Judith Cone, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

IV.          Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.          Approval of November Minutes

VI.       Old Business

VII.         New Business

  • January Meeting to Take Place January 12

VIII.         Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Sarah Poteete
  • Communications and Public Relations: Carrie Goldsmith
  • Compensation & Benefits: Dan Barmmer
  • Education and Career Development:
  • Legislative Action: Danny Nguyen
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Recognition & Awards:  Chris Meinecke
  • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices: James Holman
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:  Chuck Brink
  • Executive Committee: Jackie Overton

IX.       Announcements/Questions

X.        Adjournment


December 1, 2010 Employee Forum Minutes


Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She welcomed Chancellor Holden Thorp to make opening remarks. Thorp thanked the Chair for her leadership in her updates to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee, the housekeeping question, and the Build a Block foundation work. He noted that areas across campus had made contributions to the construction site.

Thorp said that the budget year would be a difficult one. He said that tuition increases would affect students but would also keep money on campus that would otherwise go to another purpose. Thorp said that the State faces a $3.5 billion shortfall, meaning that the University should prepare for at least 10% cuts. Thorp has asked deans, directors, and department heads to submit plans for a 10% cut in accordance with General Administration wishes. He said that his entire tenure as Chancellor had been marked by budget cuts and no raises for line staff. He thanked employees for their continued commitment to the University. Thorp noted that the expiration of the federal stimulus package had left the State in some difficulty.

Thorp said that the University had developed new efficiencies without hurting the classroom through its Carolina Counts program. This program has realized $8.3 million in savings for instruction and student services. He said that tax collections have gone better than expected recently.

Regarding the housekeeping situation, Thorp said that he would try something different by bringing in an outside consultant to deal with the perceptions and realities of poor working conditions. He hoped that identifying this external consultant would be the first step to pulling out of the cycle of problems. A housekeeper asked if her supervisor requires her to use a certain type of equipment that her doctor says that she cannot use, must she see a certain doctor? Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone said that she would discuss this question with the supervisor chain and if there is a physical reason why the equipment cannot be used a doctor would be needed. She offered to work offline with the housekeeper to resolve the question. Chuck Sockell noted that the Legislature had mandated a 6.5% tuition increase. He asked if this figure would rise next year. Thorp said that the Legislature had allowed campuses to add $750 to the tuition increase this past year. He said the campus’ priority is that all monies raised stay in Chapel Hill. He hated to create an additional burden to students. He additionally said that the University must continue its amazing job providing adequate financial aid to students. He cited the Carolina Covenant and the fact that 87% of all students graduate in 5 years as proof of the University’s work in this area.

Odessa Davis asked if housekeepers will play a role in selecting the consultant. Malone said that the Office of Human Resources, ombudsman Wayne Blair, Associate Vice Chancellor Carolyn Elfland, and Associate Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp would be among those playing a role in the consultant’s selection. The process should give everyone a chance to have one on one engagement with the consultants.

Sarah Poteete asked about the use of the State’s rainy day fund to support the University’s community garden effort. Thorp said this fund was mostly tapped out. He offered to look at any proposal the community garden committee generated to raise funding.

James Holman asked if the consultants would be required to know anything about the practice of housekeeping. Malone said that this would be determined once the bid is submitted. However, she said that the creation of a fair and equitable environment, not the content of the work, would be the focus of the consultant’s efforts to create an environmental diagnostic. Thorp said that there is no incentive for this work other than other than to get help for this community and its problems. He said that this experiment is worth trying given possible consultant’s deep expertise in interpersonal dynamics.

The Chair introduced Faculty Council Chair McKay Coble. Coble spoke about her background as a drama professor moving from lecturer to full professor to chair of the Drama department to chair of the faculty. She said that she had been very busy given her teaching and Playmakers commitments along with her Faculty Governance work.

Coble said that she decided to run for faculty chair to assist fixed term faculty who have faced a very tenuous working situation when budget cuts arise. She said that the plan for a third tier of faculty had been noticed in the Daily Tar Heel and the Provost’s Office. She said that the University has a tendency to work in silos of operation apart from one another. She sought to create and expand the sense of community throughout the University. Coble cited her work with the University System’s Faculty Assembly as an aid to understanding the situation of smaller campuses in the University System. She found it somewhat daunting to serve as the role of faculty spokesperson on the range of issues facing the campus. She cited the willingness of faculty to teach more classes as part of the Carolina Way of going above and beyond the call.

The Chair introduced Judith Cone of Innovate Carolina. Cone recognized staff liaison Danny Nguyen. She noted that her background began as a learning disability teacher. She later began her own company and was asked to come to Carolina by Chancellor Thorp. She praised Thorp as an amazing young leader. She said that Thorp wants innovations focusing on outcomes that can be collected. Innovation is defined as the successful implementation of unique and valuable work, beyond creativity alone. This process requires entrepreneurial thinking, which leads one to question everything, conduct analysis, take purposeful action, engage partners, try alternate solutions, learn from failures, make meaning, and persevere. She cited the example of the discovery of penicillin and the delay in bringing this miracle drug to hospitals as examples of the need to persevere.

Entrepreneurial thinkers ask whether better ways exist to do what has always been done. She said that clarity and alignment of goals with one’s values, resources, and processes must take place or the effort will create cynicism. She offered to work with campus entities to help generate catalysts for innovation.

Malone gave the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. She noted that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares campaign has extended its deadline through December 16. She also said that the University would sit with an open ear and heart to discuss the housekeeping situation. She thanked all who have played a leadership role in discussions to this point. She introduced Brian Usischon to brief the Forum on a change in vacation accruals. He noted that the State Personnel Commission had approved the use of sick leave for non-family members limited to five days, with an employee limited to giving 20 days per year. Usischon also discussed the addition of incentive leave, a 20 day bucket of leave intended for executives, managers, and middle managers. Usischon noted that the University’s 12 th annual winter blood drive would take place December 14 in the Woolen Gym.

Danny Nguyen asked if outsourcing would be part of the environmental diagnostic discussed by the housekeeping consultants. Malone said that it would not be on the table as UNC will not consider outsourcing this department.

Vicki Bradley spoke on the implementation of Connect Carolina, noting that this system would replace the multiple human resources and payroll systems the University uses. This process will involve a vanilla, plain implementation in partnership with NC State University on the functional side. Matt Brody will chair a human resources/payroll stakeholders’ committee. This group will make recommendations to the Provost, and Vice Chancellors Dick Mann and Brenda Malone. Chuck Brink asked whether other campuses will use the University’s software. Bradley said that just NC State uses this software as other campuses use Banner. Myra Quick praised the Carolina Connect process as changing every aspect of her job positively.

Malone announced that Usischon would soon leave the University to take on the position of Associate Vice President of Human Resources with General Administration.

The Chair raffled off tickets to two UNC basketball games, one occurring December 21 against William & Mary and the other occurring January 2 against St. Francis (PA). The Chair praised Usischon for his work on behalf of the University, particularly his contributions to the recent Employee Appreciation event.

Regarding new business, the Chair announced that the January Forum meeting would be rescheduled until January 12.

Sarah Poteete said that the Community Garden Advisory committee had met November 10. She said that the committee had worked on grant applications and plans for the next cycle. She thanked James Holman for serving as liaison between Facilities Services and the committee. Dan Barmmer said that the Compensation & Benefits committee had nothing to present. Regarding the Communications committee, the Chair said that there had been several things that were inaccurate or not within the spirit of the Employee Forum in the last issue of InTouch. She said that a gentlemen’s agreement existed to refer to the Facilities Services policy in question as the unauthorized breaks policy. She took total responsibility for this situation and said that she intends to honor things agreed to between the Administration and the Forum. The Education and Career Development committee still needs a chair. Danny Nguyen reported that the Legislative Action committee had met November 26 to discuss a tuition waiver restoration resolution. The Membership and Assignments committee will begin its work again in the spring. The Recognition & Awards committee will begin meeting again shortly. James Holman reported that the Staff Relations, Policies, and Practices committee met to discuss events in the Housekeeping department.

Chuck Brink reported that the Board of Governors had met the first week of November. UNC System Staff Assembly President Kelley Eaves-Boykin had attended committee meetings on the budget and the Legislature indicating possible program elimination of duplication. Brink reminded the Forum about the System-wide food drive to take place in February. He urged all faculty, staff, and students to participate in a shared governance of the University.

The Chair shared a design for the Forum t-shirt, with the motto “Serving Since 1992” inscribed. The Chair said that the Executive Committee would consider Forum bylaws revisions at its December 21 meeting. The basketball tickets were won by Wayne Blair and Peggy Cotton.

The Chair noted that EmPowerment will host Chancellor Thorp and Interim Provost of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Terri Houston at the Top of the Hill restaurant Tuesday December 7 from 6-8 p.m.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:22 a.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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