March 19, 2013 Executive Committee meeting
Attending (those who signed in): Wayne Blair, Gena Carter, Tammy Cox, Kevin FitzGerald, John Gullo, James Holman, Christina Lebonville, Arlene Medder, Chris Meinecke, Danny Nguyen, Jackie Overton, Myra Quick, David Schwartz, Charles Streeter, Katie Turner
Chair Jackie Overton called the meeting to order at 11:30 a.m. She welcomed Gena Carter back from an extended absence. She also welcomed UNC General Administration Chief of Staff Kevin FitzGerald to discuss the advisory committee on strategic directions. First, the group held a round of introductions. FitzGerald noted that he represents UNC Board of Governors Chair Peter Hans and UNC System President Tom Ross. He had spent 13 years at Carolina in various capacities and was happy to have the chance to return. FitzGerald distributed summaries of the strategic plan’s goals and specifics. He noted that the last five year plan was UNC Tomorrow which was produced under former President Erskine Bowles. The current strategic directions plan was approved by the Board of Governors in February.
The report outlines five critical objectives: educational attainment, academic innovation, service to the State, efficiency, and accessibility. Regarding educational attainment, the goal is to increase the percentage of adults holding undergraduate degrees. FitzGerald noted that North Carolina stands in the middle of the pack nationally by this standard. With regard to academic innovation, FitzGerald said that the report seeks to measure the quality of work through intensive testing. The report also seeks to meet the needs of employers in hard skills and critical thinking. FitzGerald said that this area will require a very important conversation with University faculty. Service to the State involves researching key technologies and connecting with businesses through industry partnerships. Efficiencies involve getting “juice from the squeeze” through shared services and procurement strategies. Accessibility deals with enhancing private giving, securing financial aid, and maintaining low tuition. FitzGerald said that the University System will seek to increase cooperation with community college attendees and the military. The University will seek to become more competitive with private providers offering on-line courses.
FitzGerald said that the report seeks to work with campuses on graduate rates. If graduations increase 1% that adds 500 graduates each year. He said that a 1% reduction in non-academic expenditures would save $26 million. He said that the University’s budget will reflect the strategic directions report. FitzGerald noted that the Governor’s budget will come out soon. He anticipated some reductions for the University System. FitzGerald said that the System believes that the campuses are the best place to manage cuts. FitzGerald noted that UNC System Staff Assembly President Chuck Brink served on the advisory committee on strategic directions. He said that that the committee started its work after Labor Day and finished its report January 1. He said that the committee had tried to be inclusive but had not done as well as it could. He said that the committee worked on implementation of stakeholder involvement. FitzGerald emphasized how critical staff are to the overall operation of the University. He said that the principle of shared governance results in a complex dance among stakeholders. Tammy Cox asked how much leaner Carolina should be expected to be given the $400 million in cuts already undergone. Cox noted a pay for performance standard if the University has already performed. Danny Nguyen asked if the report targeted only academic performance measures, and FitzGerald replied that academic and financial measures will be involved. Nguyen worried that the University will have an incentive to push out students too soon, perhaps leading to grade inflation. FitzGerald said that politics have led to an expectation among some legislators that students will receive an education and get out. The Chair noted the influx of massively open on-line courses (MOOCs). FitzGerald said that all of these organizations want to do business with Carolina.
David Schwartz noted that faculty are not cranking out widgets in the education of students. He said that some things cannot be accelerated or scaled up. FitzGerald agreed but noted the downturn in the economy and the difficulties that graduates have faced finding employment in their fields. He noted that higher education has outpaced other areas in cost. All of these reasons have prompted a real examination of tenets. He said that the trust in the academy has been shaken a bit. David Schwartz said that there should be accountability but he believed that there have been bad faith arguments made. He hoped that General Administration would stand firm. He thought it was the height of hypocrisy for legislators to decry the lack of student jobs while cutting budgets that supply students jobs. He hoped that General Administration would stand up in this area. FitzGerald said that the Board of Governors would soon experience reapportionment in the next couple of days. He said that there has been a critique of liberal arts education and a dismissiveness of some disciplines. He said that the General Administration and the University President have been pressed on different fronts. FitzGerald said that General Administration is acutely aware of the long tradition of higher education in North Carolina. John Gullo asked about the possibility of closing some University campuses. FitzGerald said that there had been some discussion of active review of low volume, low success campuses. He said that there is a need to respect the integrity of individual campuses representing different parts of the state. He said that there are no proposals on the table. Danny Nguyen asked what support faculty will receive pushing out off campus given all the many responsibilities faculty hold. FitzGerald said that some investment is needed to support faculty more. He said that one area of faculty workload is a budget issue. UNC recognizes intensive research effort. Schwartz said that legislators should understand that when the level of State support for higher education drops, it makes the University more dependent on grants that take faculty out of the classroom. FitzGerald said that State support for Carolina is less than 20% as research dollars have increased substantially more than 30 years ago. He said that State appropriations to Carolina have dipped only in the last couple of years. Most years, there have been increases proportional to the growth of the student body. FitzGerald noted that 60% of current legislators have served one term or less and thus lack the institutional memory of their counterparts. Schwartz asked what the Forum could do for General Administration. FitzGerald said that maintaining communication, particularly with Jennifer Willis, was very important during this huge transition.
Tammy Cox said that she was working with Gretchen McCoy to standardize the Forum’s accounts. She would work with Wilhelmina Steen on transferring salary support funds to Public Safety. The Chair noted a duplication of expenses in different accounts. The Chair appreciated Cox’s efforts to bring the Forum accounts into line with the University.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the minutes of the February meeting. She noted that the Clery Act had been misspelled and the ORBIT system was not capitalized. She also noted the incorrect use of “sue” for “use.” Arlene Medder said that the Sunday gardening time would take place from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday. Gena Carter noted that Noreen Montgomery was incorrectly identified. Chris Meinecke moved to accept the minutes as amended and the motion was approved by acclamation. The Chair noted that as a small group, the Forum did not need to have a second for its motions.
The Chair asked what had occurred with the sexual assault resolution. She asked that Christina Lebonville and the Personnel Issues committee work on revisions for the next full Forum meeting.
Charles Streeter distributed copies of a proposal for Rosetta Stone subscriptions underwritten by the Staff Development fund. Danny Nguyen asked why a pilot program would have 25 subscriptions. He suggested running a survey to determine interest before committing to such a large program. Gena Carter said that pricing for the licenses could be incremental based on the number ordered. Streeter noted that 3-4 members of the Education and Career Development committee have indicated an interest in obtaining subscriptions already. The Chair noted that the Staff Development fund earned around $18,000 in the last year and probably contains around $140,000 altogether. The fund was created as part of the University’s Bicentennial Campaign in 1993. She noted that Human Resources draws on this account for tuition reimbursements. Gena Carter emphasized that Rosetta Stone subscriptions given for non-work-related purposes must not occur during work time. She said that the Facilities Services and Housekeeping subscriptions had a direct relation with users’ work. Streeter noted that the Education & Career Development committee’s proposal was education related but not necessarily work related. David Schwartz thought that this use should be between the employee and their manager. He did not think there should be a blanket prohibition. Carter noted the risk of questions about criteria and consistency if there are different approval processes. Streeter thought that the Forum might make a statement saying that work use of Rosetta Stone is between the employee and their unit based on business needs. He looked forward to working out the administrative details of this project.
The Chair noted the recent controversy over officer recruitment. Charles Streeter moved that the committee enter executive session to discuss this personnel matter. Katie Turner seconded this motion, and the committee went into executive session. (Document: Executive Session: March 19, 2013 Executive Committee)
Coming out of closed session, the Chair said that the Chancellor’s search was coming near an end. She noted that the twelve month rule regarding FLSA-exempt employees serving as adjunct faculty had been suspended. She noted that the Forum’s community meeting will take place May 21. She said that the Executive Committee would need to decide whether to meet in May. The Executive Committee will meet at General Administration on April 15 or 16. She urged members to look for the Governor’s budget. The Chair noted that the University will host a football game the evening of Thursday, October 17. Employees will be encouraged to leave campus early. Finally, University Day will take place on Saturday, October 12, which will be the time of the new Chancellor’s inauguration.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 1:41 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks Secretary