Skip to main content

Employee Forum Agenda

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

I. Call to Order—Chair Jackie Overton

II. Welcome Guests & Members of the Press

III. Special Presentations

  • Chancellor Holden Thorp
  • UNC Track & Cross-Country Coach Harlis Meaders

IV. Human Resources Update—Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone

V.  Approval of December minutes

VII. Old Business

VIII. New Business

IX. Forum Committee Reports

  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
  • Communications and Public Relations: Alia Wegner
  • Education and Career Development: Charles Streeter
  • Membership & Assignments: Myra Quick
  • Personnel Issues: James Holman
  • Recognition & Awards: Chris Meinecke
  • UNC System Staff Assembly:  Danny Nguyen/John Gullo
  • Executive Committee: Dan Barmmer

X. Announcements/Questions

XI. Adjournment


January 9, 2013 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Dan Barmmer, Deborah Bush, Tiffany Carver, Marilyn Couch, Tammy Cox, Jill Crowder, Kenneth Davis, James Gusler, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Matthew McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Jillian Molee,, Danny Nguyen, Jessica O’Hara, Jackie Overton, Myra Quick, Koyah Rivera, Patricia Robinson, Anna Schwab, David Schwartz, Charles Streeter

Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m.  She was pleased to be present for the meeting, saying that recovering from surgery had been a challenge.  She was also pleased to introduce her friend, Chancellor Holden Thorp, to address the Forum.  She recalled that Thorp and his wife Patti had been very attentive to her during her recovery.  The Chair thanked Thorp personally as chair of the Forum for being a true champion of the organization, offering unprecedented access to the Forum’s leadership.

Thorp thanked the Chair for her kind words.  He noted that in his other life he was busy working on a drug to help others in the hospital.  He thanked everyone present for the hard work that they do for Carolina.  He was glad that the Chair was feeling better.  He noted that the University was undergoing Chancellor, Provost, and Chief Information Officer searches all at the same time.  He noted that UNC-Chapel Hill was once again named the number one best value in public education by Kiplinger for the tenth time in a row.  Thorp said that undergraduate applications at the University were rising as well as research funding.  All in all, Thorp said that the health of these fundamental indicators means that the University will easily get through this phase of turnover.

Thorp acknowledged the December report from Governor Jim Martin.  He said that this report represented an important milestone for the University.  He also said that the national media seemed to have accepted the Martin report, although local newspapers will remain interested in the story for a long time.  He was pleased that no faculty members other than those found involved were implicated in the report.  The Martin report studied over 170,000 classes.  David Schwartz asked how these classes were studied.  Thorp said that the University transferred classroom data to an external server which culled data by faculty teaching extra classes and classes enrolling extra athletes.  This process filtered the classroom number down to several hundred, with report authors interviewing faculty members back to 1994.  He said that the University and the administration should take credit for a startlingly positive finding.  Thorp also recalled Governor Martin’s tribute to the Department of African and African-American Studies, which studies a subject of incredible importance to the University.

Regarding the State budget, Thorp thought that the University would not undergo a large cut this year.  However, he did not think that there would be extra money available for salary increases either.  He said that the University might see some funds available from tuition increases.  He deferred to UNC-Chapel Hill’s Director of State Relations Jennifer Willis for further information on the State budget process.  Thorp noted that the federal government provides more of the University’s budget than any other single source, toping $880 million this past year.  He noted that the fiscal cliff discussions this past New Year were very important to the budget of the University.  He was relieved that the sequestration was put off another two months.  Thorp praised former UNC President Erskine Bowles for his efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit.  He praised the Simpson-Bowles plan to perhaps raise the eligibility age for Medicare or Social Surgery while increasing taxes and reducing entitlements for those who could most afford these changes.  He said that these changes could provide the country the prosperity that all involved long for.

Thorp noted that Dean of the School of Nursing Kristen Swanson will lead the Provost search.  He recalled that the University had carried out its Chancellor and Provost searches simultaneously back in 2001 when it hired Chancellor James Moeser and Provost Robert Shelton.  He said that conducting the searches back-to-back could cost the University an extra year.  Thorp noted that Chief Information Officer had accepted a similar position at the University of California at Berkeley.  Thorp praised Conrad’s work advancing the University’s mission, noting the importance of information technology in higher education.  He noted that the Resource Planning (ERP) process has become somewhat painful but was vital for the University’s future.  Now, the University’s information systems are not good enough to provide needed data.  With the PeopleSoft implementation, administrators will be able to receive needed reports in a few hours.  Thorp said that PeopleSoft had been implemented on the student side, providing up-to-date information on class attendance and other factors.  He was pleased that Chris Kielt will accept the vice chancellor and interim chief information officer position in Conrad’s place.  Thorp said that the University was very fortunate to have someone on campus readily available to serve in this position.  The incoming Provost will determine the parameters of the permanent chief information officer search.

Thorp reminded listeners of the C. Knox Massey nomination process.  Award winners receive $7500 and a great luncheon.  Thorp thanked the Forum for its work and patience on the housekeeping situation.  He thanked Winston Crisp, Ann Wu, Darius Dixon, Laurie Mesibov and Wayne Blair for their work in this area among many others.  He said that the University had dealt more forthrightly with problems in this area and had improved the situation beyond any measure during the time he had been on campus.  He was most proud of getting this work done.

Tammy Cox asked about campus safety in light of the recent shooting at University Square.  Thorp recalled campus drills the University had undergone two years ago to increase preparedness.  He said it was probably time to conduct these drills again.  He said that the incident mentioned was within the jurisdiction of the Chapel Hill Police Department, meaning that the University will follow them in timing.  Thorp said that the incident could have been drastically different if it occurred during the school year.  He said that calling a general alert could lead to the evacuation of thousands of cars from the area in a matter of minutes.  He said that campus administrators think long and hard before issuing such an alert.  Cox asked about the existence of a tip line for such situations.  Thorp asked Gary Moss of the University Gazette to do a story on this subject.

Koyah Rivera asked if the University planned to change its policy on grades.  Thorp said that these changes were already underway.  He said that the University was looking to reduce risk factors and he wished that the media would pay more attention to these initiatives.  Thorp commented that the University had never looked for someone who taught too much before.  David Schwartz asked about departments hiring more lecturers and wondered if the University was moving to a two-tiered faculty system.  Thorp responded that this was a hot topic in higher education.  He said that this problem mainly faces public universities, as private universities generally do not use many lecturers.  Thorp noted that the University has 30,000 students and only around 800 tenure-track faculty.  Thus, the University must employ lecturers.  He said that many University departments develop collaborative relationships between lecturers and tenured faculty.  He said that lacking a major infusion of funds, this arrangement will remain at the University.  Joe Templeton noted that Chair of the Faculty Jan Boxill is a non-tenured faculty member.  Thorp thanked the Forum and its delegates for all they do for the University.

The Chair recalled she had attended a meeting with Coach Harlan Meaders and had decided to invite him to talk about his vision for helping Track and Cross –Country succeed.  She recalled that Meaders had spoken about the whole community approach to helping athletes succeed in higher education.  Meaders remembered coming to the University from Monroe, North Carolina in the fall of 1988.  He noted influences on his leadership style came from his pastor, his parents, and his coaches.  He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1992.  He found that great leaders advance dreams and visions and encourage others to want to make these dreams a reality.  Other leaders are pushed into greatness by necessity.  He noted that the skies are Carolina Blue and that “we are Carolina.”  He noted the duty to live up to the expectations of UNC-Chapel Hill.  Marilyn Couch said she has a daughter involved in Durham Striders.  She asked If Meaders would work with that organization to demonstrate what is needed to succeed in college track and field.  Meaders praised the Durham Striders organization as a pillar of the community.  He said that UNC-Chapel Hill had worked with the Striders organization on fully automatic timing (FAT) with its PhD. Students.  UNC-Chapel Hill had created a summer camp program in cooperation with Durham Striders and had organized meetings between 5th and 6th graders and University professors.  Tiffany Carver recalled going to school with Meaders in Monroe and at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Chair presented Vice Chancellor Brenda Malone to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Malone wished the Forum a happy new year.  She urged listeners to take care of themselves, perhaps with the help of the University’s wellness committee.  She welcomed back the Chair from her surgery.  She said that the PeopleSoft implementation will take place with a January 2014 deadline.  She was pleased that Chris Kielt would work with on the ERP implementation in place of Larry Conrad.  She also noted that Human Resources is in the final year of implementation of the Service Delivery Transformation which will change the way the department provides services.  Concerning housekeeping, Malone said that the University is constantly looking for ways to improve working conditions.  She said that many things have changed for the positive since the PRM assessment last year.  In general, she hoped that 2013 would be a fabulous year and she urged listeners to maintain a positive focus in spite of challenges.  Also, she thanked everyone on campus for making UNC-Chapel Hill the largest campaign fundraiser in the State, raising over $892,000 for Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares.  She urged listeners to remain committed, engaged, and passionate about the things that are important to the University.

The Chair thanked Vice Chair Dan Barmmer for his work conducting the December Forum and Executive Committee meetings, and for presenting at the December Board of Trustees meeting.  She called for a motion to approve the minutes of the December meeting.  Arlene Medder noted that she should have been listed as present for the meeting, as were James Holman, John Gullo, Jessica O’Hara, and Christina Lebonville.  Medder also noted one grammatical correction to the minutes in the fourth paragraph.  The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes as amended.  Myra Quick made this motion, seconded by John Gullo.  The motion was approved by acclamation.

Arlene Medder noted that the Carolina Campus Community Garden would meet January 16.  She said that the Garden was producing around 50 pounds of vegetables a week.  Charles Streeter said that the Communications and Public Relations committee had not met in a while but would look to reinvigorate itself in the New Year.  Streeter said that the Education and Career Development committee was working on a survey on possible computer loan use.  Myra Quick said that the Membership and Assignments committee will work with Streeter on electronic voting, as well as setting up voting stations for employees in Divisions 2 and 3 (Service/Maintenance and Skilled Craft).  James Holman said that the Personnel Issues committee will meet again January 29.  It was reported that Chris Meinecke of the Recognition & Awards committee was looking to set a date for the peer recognition awards.  The Chair asked that Forum Assistant Matt Banks contact Meinecke about plans for the Forum’s Community Award (3-Legged Stool).  She noted that John Gullo had been appointed parliamentarian for the UNC System Staff Assembly.  There was no other report from the Staff Assembly.

The Chair noted that the Forum will conduct a basic parliamentary procedure class January 25 with Dr. Fleming Bell.  The UNC System Staff Assembly will conduct its next meeting January 29.  She anticipated the Assembly will spend a half-day discussing its best practices document.  She noted that the General Assembly will begin substantial work in around three weeks.  The Chair noted that the Chancellor’s search is ongoing and will meet Friday to narrow the field down to 10-12 candidates.  She said she had a lot of reading to catch up on in this area.  The search committee will narrow its list down to three candidates around mid-March through a series of airport interviews.

The Chair said that her surgery had led to removal of around nine inches of intestine surrounding her tumor.  She had received several cancer screenings that had thankfully all been negative.  She would meet with her doctors to discuss follow-up procedures in the next few days.  She said that she would work half-days until after Martin Luther King Day.  She would use her 4,000 hours of accumulated sick leave if necessary.  On another topic, she thanked Patricia Robinson for her service to the Forum, noting that this was her last meeting as a member of the group.  The Chair noted comments wishing for her quick return in the University Gazette.  She was glad to be back.

In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 10:28 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary


Comments are closed.