October 11, 2017 Vice Chancellor Representatives’ Meeting
Attending: Linc Butler, Clare Counihan, Mary Dahlsten, Jasper Fleming, Naquan Hill, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Angenette McAdoo, Jim Potts, James Stamey, Carol Tresolini, Christine Van Vleek, Felicia Washington, Anna Wu, Tyler Yon
Shayna Hill began the meeting at 3 p.m. by asking about when the Forum deals with controversial issues affecting the University. How involved can the Forum be in these questions? She noted the amount of nervousness among staff at the Center for Civil Rights. She also recalled that a letter supporting the Center had circulated among the faculty. Would the Carolina Women’s Center or Diversity and Multicultural Affairs be next? Clare Counihan asked when it is appropriate for the Forum to make statements on campus on these matters. Also, when are the best moments for the Forum to act? She recalled the Student Stores issue and said that if the Forum had not acted when it did, it likely would have been too late. Counihan said that in other situations the Forum needs time to develop a statement but must not wait until the action is over.
Felicia Washington said that the Student Stores issue seemed an easy one to categorize as it dealt with directly staff and thus needed a Forum voice. She said that the Forum’s charter relates to policy and personnel, concerns directly related to the fear among those staff that they would lose their jobs. She would not advise individuals not to speak on issues, but sometimes she did not see issues as those affecting personnel. She said that the question of when to speak up can become subjective, but said that the Forum must continue to inform itself considering its charter and mission. These documents should guide the Forum’s work, Washington said. Linc Butler added that the Forum is an advisory group to the Chancellor and should consider what it has been charged to do. He said that an issue falling in the category for which the Chancellor seeks advice and awareness is most within the Forum’s consideration. Carol Tresolini said that the Center for Civil Rights situation seems to affect the life of staff on campus less than the Student Stores situation. She agreed with Washington’s motion to return to the Forum’s charter for guidance on these situations.
Shayna Hill recalled a meeting she had with Herb Richmond and James Holman considering the break room at Morrison Dormitory. She thought that there had been strides made in this area as chemicals have been removed from the break room. Hill said that residual issues from previous concerns still linger but thought that there was a great willingness to create a different climate. Anna Wu said that she had heard from employees fine with accommodations made with the break room in Morrison. She noted that these changes were employee driven.
Related to the posting of open positions, Linc Butler said that Darius Dixon and James Stamey had attended the meeting Hill mentioned as well as representatives from Human Resources. He said that attendees studied available data related to what is vacant and posted. He said that Housekeeping is a large organization which runs a 9% vacancy rate. He said that many challenges linger but leadership is committed to filling these positions. Hill relayed a ‘thanks’ from James Holman.
Shayna Hill noted the thorny issue of delegate service and sentiment about speaking openly during Forum meetings. She had a goal that supervisors will approach employees suggesting that they serve as a developmental opportunity. She felt that sometimes employees receive the opposite message from their supervisors.
Hill said that the letters from the Chancellor and from Vice Chancellor Washington make a huge difference in supervisor feelings about Forum service. She asked if attendees had other ideas to raise the visibility of delegate service. She noted a perception that Forum service is mainly a means to get out of primary work. Felicia Washington was uncertain what Hill’s request of the Administration was in this area. She asked if attendees had other ideas beyond the letters.
Linc Butler noted that the Forum’s Communications and Public Relations committee had connected with University Communications to get word out about Forum activities. He suggested that the Forum consult with Communications for outside advice about its marketing strategy. He said it would not hurt to have a more objective outside view. Butler noted the already great work of the Forum’s newsletter InTouch but suggested that Forum look for new ways to market itself. Christine van Vleek recalled that she had done a summary of the previous meeting’s happenings. She proposed sharing the summary.
Butler suggested using website metrics to find areas of employee interest. He suggested that the Forum Office share statistics with the Communications and Public Relations committee. James Staley noted concerns about targeting divisions with the least participation. Hill says that participation varies greatly but she sought numbers to depict exactly what was happening.
Clare Counihan asked Washington and Butler what they saw as the purpose of these Vice Chancellor representative meetings. Felicia Washington said that the Forum has been part of the effort to redesign the diversity framework at the University. She noted Forum contributions in strategic framework talks, professional development efforts, and learning management systems.
Carol Tresolini said that learning management systems have also been useful for faculty. Washington said that the opportunity to look at the University’s professional development history has been useful. The Office of Human Resources has rolled out suggested and required courses for supervisors. Jasper Fleming said that his area is working to figure out how to pay for learning management systems. He said that doctors and staff need training in this area. Linc Butler said that the R4 information related to the Carolina Budget Model and Shared Services is at the recommendations stage. He invited Fleming to discuss his area in more detail.
Clare Counihan asked how useful the Forum’s discussion on free speech issues related to the recent Board of Governors revisions had been. Washington was not certain how to tell these stories. She also had questions about the avoidance of compliance issues involved in the policy revisions.
Counihan asked if the administration could share what was asked in the recent Board of Governors’ audit of the Diversity and Equal Employment and Opportunity offices at UNC-Chapel Hill. Carol Tresolini said that these questions mainly had to do with spreadsheet metrics. Washington said that questions related to policies and positions on the University’s organization chart involved a lot of work to put together. She said that consolidation seems to be more efficient to some based on the language of the Appropriations Act. She also noted complaints that the University does not have enough transparency to ensure accurate public scrutiny. Washington said that the University is not threatened by these questions of efficiency, given its administrative actions. Tresolini granted that central review of certain centers is very nerve-wracking.
Mary Dahlsten noted the general anxiety related to the Carolina Services project. She asked where this process is going. Washington said that Shared Services is working to design plan for Finance, Human Resources, and Research Administration sections. She said that decisionmakers are working to find how to centralize processes.
Felicia Washington understood that the Shared Services process has led to employee anxiety but the process has not yet done the work involving issues of implementation, design and space. She could not set a specific date to notify affected employees about their status. She said that decisionmakers will work to combine efficiency questions with humanity. Dahlsten said that employees are worried if they will be chosen. Washington said that the Shared Services concept at the University of Michigan had led to an aesthetically pleasing model that was captured on video. She said that work remains to make Shared Services an exciting proposition at UNC. Carol Tresolini said she had asked to be an implementation liaison for the process. She said that these liaisons should help with communications about the process.
Jasper Fleming asked if the Shared Services process will remain in place with the Carolina Health Systems merger. Washington was not aware of the timeline of this merger. Butler said that it should take place over the next twelve months. Fleming noted confusion about how Shared Services will work with these new additions. Naquan Hill related how Relative Value Units have come to govern distribution of pay at the School of Medicine. Washington said that the School of Medicine is in Phase II, not Phase I of the Shared Services implementation process.
Fleming said that the School of Medicine pays its employees based on Relative Value Units independent of partnership. Naquan Hill said that these units have been centralized already. Shayna Hill said that the same has occurred at the School of Dentistry. Washington said that decisionmakers will ask specifically for help on these questions. She appreciated hearing viewpoints from different parts of campus in these meetings.
Shayna Hill asked about adding the Forum to the list of Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares charities. Linc Butler said that an organization must meet certain criteria to be placed on that list. Felicia Washington said that the Forum’s status as a charitable organization might be the issue. She thought that the Carolina Family Scholarship has that status but the Forum as a whole does not. Clare Counihan suggested obtaining 501(c)(3) status for the Forum to enable it to receive charitable contributions. Naquan Hill noted the listing of the Dental Foundation of North Carolina. Carol Tresolini observed that the Carolina Cares/Carolina Shares list seemed shorter this year. Linc Butler said that changes are always being made in the interests of efficiency. Shayna Hill said that the Forum has a year to apply for listing.
In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 4:58 p.m.
Respectfully submitted, Matt Banks, Recording Secretary