December 12, 2013 Vice Chancellor/Provost meeting
Attending: Dan Barmmer, Taffaye Clayton, Jackie Copeland, Tammy Cox, Mari Forbes, Jim Fuller, Christine Greenberg, James Holman, Brenda Malone, Charles Streeter, Carol Tresolini
Brenda Malone called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m., noting that Dr. Taffaye Clayton had agreed to speak about the University’s diversity programs. She noted that a formal search has not begun for the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources position. She noted that the Vice Chancellor for Development and Communications search and the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration search have taken up a great deal of time in recent weeks. She said that the Chancellor is still deciding how to proceed with this search in conjunction with the search for the head of the EEO office. Matt Brody has served effectively as Malone’s deputy and is imminently capable of heading up the Human Resources division, Malone said. She also thought that the University will include a representative of the Forum on the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources search committee. Christine Greenberg said that she was hopeful that this would occur. Malone said that staff will be taken into account. Tammy Cox asked if the Forum will have the same level of engagement with the University administration as before. Malone said that the University now has years of history with the Employee Forum. She said that the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, and Associate and Assistant Vice Chancellors are told about the Forum as a first responsibility. She said that the Forum has history and documentation of being part of the responsibility of Human Resources. She said that Chancellor Folt will strengthen the engagement of the Forum and not change. She said that the Forum will be the Chancellor’s designee to represent staff unless that is not wanted by the Forum. Malone was proud to have reinitiated the monthly meetings between Forum delegates and University administrators as a way to improve communications and solve problems.
Dan Barmmer noted the degree of interest that Forum delegates had in the presentation of NC Staff Senate Ryan Hancock. Malone shared her impression that the NC State Administration does more directing of its staff group than UNC-Chapel Hill does with its Forum. She noted the difference of opinion over Senate Bill 575 as one example. She said that NC State and other System campuses seem to engage more through their Office of Human Resources. Here in Chapel Hill, the relationships seem less formal. She said these differences seem healthy and reflect the environments of the different institutions. At the end of the day, both organizations are integral to the operations of their campuses. Barmmer noted the number of events that NC State does for its veterans. Malone said that nothing stops the Forum from partnering with other organizations. Charles Streeter thought that the Forum could do more to program such partnerships. She said that if the Forum desires to co-sponsor something with Human Resources, staff there will be receptive to ideas. Christine Greenberg commented that perhaps the NC State Staff Senate models itself after the State Government in Raleigh.
Brenda Malone welcomed Vice Provost Taffaye Clayton to speak on the University’s diversity and multicultural programming. She noted that Yvonne Dunlap had brought up the question as to what the University is doing in the diversity piece of campus operations. Charles Streeter said that Dunlap’s issues involved management and its dealings with people. She seemed interested in management training on these questions. Clayton said that she was proud to work with the Facilities Services division education team that had work with the Burmese and Karan population in the context of changes in Housekeeping. She said that this important and time intensive work had led to real progress. She hoped that the effort could scale up trainers, saying that this could perhaps be a subject for next year’s funding cycle. Clayton noted the number of insightful moments that Facilities Services staff and management have experienced as a result of this training.
Taffaye Clayton noted that divisional seminars are part of the Human Resources Management system. She said that it has been the role of supervisors to institute diversity training. She said that Diversity and Multicultural Affairs wanted to find ways to organize collaboratively. Charles Streeter said that the recent campus discussions on sexual assault training need diversity training as part of the overall approach. Clayton said that full education is necessary from an equity point of view. Clayton said that very effective web-based training could be an opportunity to engage with the campus en masse. She did not want to rely too much on this tool, however. She anticipated the establishment of 3-5 modules on-line, but cautioned that face-to-face interaction is most important. Barmmer asked about the nature of web-based training. Clayton said that a module will work to define a concept such as “microaggression,” then portray a series of vignettes appropriate to the adult learning module. At the end of the module, there is usually a review of major concepts. Barmmer asked about mapping this concept to Burmese and Karan culture. Clayton said that Facilities Services takes a customized approach to this question. She said that her office had been able to conduct case-based trainings in Housekeeping. Brenda Malone said that she was not a big fan of web-based training, although it does have its place. She said that Housekeeping had required a deep dive of research and thought to realize plans to tackle diversity questions in a multitude of directions.
Charles Streeter asked what language is the second most spoken on campus. Taffaye Clayton guessed that it was possibly Mandarin or Chinese. Carol Tresolini agreed, noting the number of Chinese people in the Medical School, among other locations at the University.
Taffaye Clayton noted her role as military liaison for the University. Dan Barmmer said that John Heuer, a previous Forum Chair, had brought forward a resolution regarding veterans’ affairs at the University. Brenda Malone noted the University’s federal obligation to hire veterans.
Christine Greenberg asked if the mandatory supervisory training will include the previously mentioned diversity modules. Taffaye Clayton did not know for certain. She mentioned that Derald Wing Sue, an authority on microaggressions, will soon speak at the University. She did not yet know the date when he would appear in Chapel Hill. Clayton thought this would present an opportunity for a strategic partnership with the Forum. Brenda Malone said that the engaged supervisor program will involve classes on harassment, discrimination, and Title XI responsibilities, among others. Jackie Copeland asked how the new training regime will integrate previously taken training classes. Malone said if the already taken classes are similar enough to the new program’s requirements, there will be no need to repeat this part of the training. She commented that the graduation of the ULEAD participants had been a great event, featuring Chancellor Folt.
Jim Fuller asked if future diversity training will become part of the new employee orientation. Brenda Malone said that this training may be required in some form, but perhaps not there. Taffaye Clayton said that she had come from an institution in which training had been conducted over a ten-month period in order to avoid information overload. Christine Greenberg hoped that Clayton could disseminate this idea further throughout the University.
Charles Streeter noted that other UNC System campuses have suffered numerous layoffs in recent months. Brenda Malone said that she was happy to give layoff numbers. She said that UNC-Chapel Hill had relatively small layoff numbers compared to other institutions. She said that 35 employees have been reduced in force and another five have been notified but not separated. Malone said that the University has taken the position that it would try not to lay off employees during this time of year. She said that nine other employees have had layoff plans approved by their departments. In these cases, things may change and the layoffs may not occur. Mari Forbes noted that the University never fires employees instantaneously.
Charles Streeter asked if the University System had closed a loophole allowing UNC-Chapel Hill to raise its minimum wage to $25,000 at Chancellor Thorp’s and Brenda Malone’s urging. Malone recalled that the head of the Office of State Personnel had a strong feeling that UNC-Chapel Hill did not have a right to raise its minimum, but she was able to prevail at the expense of committing not to do this again.
Mari Forbes thought that the new 24 month probationary period will not need to be repeated if an employee moves from one State job to another. If an employee is promoted to a new State job, the probationary period must begin all over again. Gena Carter said she would confirm whether lateral moves will not require a separate new probationary period under the new law.
Brenda Malone made her final remarks to Forum delegates, thanking them for being such a wonderful group. She said that the University is blessed to have the Forum here, as Forum delegates put the University before themselves. She urged the Forum to remain strong and united and noted the different ways to address different situations. She wished all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.
Charles Streeter presented Malone with Forum Resolution 13-05, which designated her an honorary delegate of the Forum as of January 1, 2014. Streeter praised Malone’s candor, tenaciousness, and generosity of spirit on behalf of University employees.
The meeting adjourned at 11:04 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary