Good afternoon, everyone. This is your regularly scheduled post-Board meeting blog, for the May 8, 2012 meeting. The full agenda with supporting documentation is available at http://www.uky.edu/Trustees/agenda/full/2012/may/welcome.html. This is a long post….
Board’s Human Resources Committee
The morning began with what I believe is a historic event for staff, particularly for our hardworking colleagues in the Staff Senate. The sole agenda item for the HR Committee was a report on the Staff Senate, which was a joint report from Mike Adams, Chair of the Staff Senate, and Terry Olson, who chairs the Staff Issues Committee of the Staff Senate. This was the first time the Staff Senate was formally invited to present to a Board committee and it went very, very well!
Chair Adams shared some information about the history of the Staff Senate and some of the Staff Senate’s accomplishments. Mr. Olson then gave an overview of some of the current issues facing staff employees:
· lack of meaningful salary increases;
· inconsistent processes across campus for performance evaluations;
· salary compression;
· the need for Human Resources (HR) to be given authority to make supervisory training (SuperVision) mandatory for all supervisors; and
· the need for an office/unit to address non-policy workplace issues.
Mr. Olson also explained that the Staff Senate and Staff Issues Committee have partnered with the Human Resources office to develop policies to more clearly define and prohibit bullying and harassment. He also shared information about the very positive working relationship between the Staff Senate and the Office of Work-Life.
Members of the HR Committee asked a few questions. At the end of the meeting, the HR Committee decided that it was valuable to have information on issues that staff employees deal with regularly and suggested that a similar report be given at least annually to the HR Committee! This is a wonderful opportunity to make sure the HR Committee continually stays abreast of issues that are important to us all.
Board’s Athletics Committee
I am a member of the new Athletics Committee; our inaugural meeting was Tuesday. Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart gave an overview of the organizational structure of Athletics and some general facts about UK’s athletic program. UK has the largest number of sports teams in the SEC and four of our teams won conference championships this year: the rifle team, the tennis team, the women’s basketball team and the men’s basketball team. UK and Vanderbilt are the only teams in the SEC that have not been subject to penalties by the NCAA under the Academic Performance Rate (APR) program which measures academic performance for all NCAA institutions.
Next, Executive Associate Athletics Director Sandy Bell explained some of the ins and outs of how the NCAA determines eligibility for student athletes. It was interesting to learn how the academic eligibility system works. Ms. Bell explained that UK began the first academic tutorial center for student athletes in the nation in 1981 and that UK’s student-athlete tutoring program is emulated across the country. Every UK freshman student athlete must participate in individualized tutoring, but can earn their way out of the mandatory tutor with sufficient academic success. There is also a program (initiated in 1992) that offers a way for former student athletes to complete a degree after leaving UK; over 100 post-eligibility student athletes have completed the program and earned a degree.
A lot of additional facts and figures were shared with us, but what I found most refreshing and interesting is that our student athletes are treated as students first, with the “athlete” part coming in second. I’ve heard a number of times from various folks that Athletics needs to contribute more to the educational mission of UK. I don’t feel I know enough at this point to have an educated opinion, though I look forward to learning more.
Board's Finance Committee
The big item on Tuesday’s agenda was the request for the Board to approve the tuition, fees, dining and room rates for 2012-2013. (The budget itself will be reviewed at the June meeting.) Trustees had an opportunity to attend any of three voluntary educational sessions on the tuition, fees, etc. a week or so ago – I attended two of them. Vice President of Financial Operations Angie Martin gave a presentation to the Finance Committee on the proposed increases.
As stated in his email to campus on April 20 and May 8, President Capilouto proposed to the Board a 6% increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state and out-of-state students for the 2012-2013 year. In 2013-2014, the plan is for a 3% increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state students while out-of-state students would see another 6% increase. Along with that, academic units (colleges) will get an across-the-board cut for FY 2012-13 of 3.3%, and administrative units be cut by 5.0%. In FY 2013-14, academic units may be cut by an additional 4.2% and administrative units may be cut by an additional 6.4%. UK will set aside $15.4 million to be used in the future to pay for the debt on $200 million in capital project buildings. Finally, while there will not be any raises in the budget for 2012-2013, $21.2 million is set aside for merit raises in 13-14.
I think President Capilouto is doing the best he can, given what he has to work with. He has a state government that has regularly cut UK’s funding on a regular basis since 2001. He also has a budgeting process that is based on incremental budgeting. Our process is not transparent and encourages units to spend as much of their budget as they can to make sure they can argue for the same budget to be given the following year. Finally, President Capilouto inherited a campus budget process that does not encourage accountability regarding how the money is spent. Without that information, he and his staff cannot drill down into how units are performing, since the budget information currently captured does not lend itself to making decisions based on unit performance toward the University’s goals. The President has opted to move to biennial budgeting, since the state gives us funding (or gives us insufficient funding) for two years at a time. That is a logical idea which UK could have implemented sooner.
I am remain mindful of my responsibility to vote on issues that reflects staff needs, as well as the University’s needs as a whole. Ideologically, votes on tuition and budget are difficult for me. If I voted against the proposed tuition increases, it would mean a vote against a tuition increase which will help fund raises in two years. If I voted for the proposed tuition increases, it would mean a vote for increased tuition that makes it harder for Kentucky’s families to afford a college education. (I must note that President Capilouto has made an effort to increase scholarship monies and I applaud that effort.)
We have some tough times ahead of us and supervisors and administrators have to make some hard decisions. I think UK is moving in the right direction, though, and will be poised to take advantage of a variety of opportunities when they present themselves. Units across campus are in the midst of creating their plans to accommodate. I have been assured that the Board will be provided a summary of the cuts and will receive regular updates throughout the fall and spring.
During the full Board meeting at 1 pm, a number of trustees (myself included) expressed concern about the proposed increases in tuition and what that meant for Kentucky families. In the end, though, there were two abstentions and the remainder voted in favor of the proposed increases.
The last thing the Board heard was a presentation from Robynn Pease, Director of Work-Life. Ms. Pease reported on the results of the 2010 Work-Life survey and highlighted how far UK has come, as well as some current challenges. She briefly mentioned the five committees that were created to address the five biggest issues: 1. Trust, Communication and Value; 2. Career Development; 3. Inclusivity; 4. Burnout; and 5. Childcare and Elder Care. I commented to Board members that although the five committees worked independently, it was exceptionally striking to me that each committee’s report mentioned the same themes of the need for improved respect, shared governance, trust, value, and communication. Much of how President Capilouto has functioned during his first year has, in my opinion, contributed to improvements in all these areas but there is still work to be done. You can review the survey results at http://www.uky.edu/HR/WorkLife/2010_survey_introduction.html, (look at the bar to the right for the details) and the reports from the five committees at http://www.uky.edu/HR/WorkLife/2012_observations_report.html. I believe that changing our workplace culture is necessary and will require some top-down leadership to make lasting change.
Finally, and speaking of culture change, I believe that UK’s Core Values (as outlined in Governing Regulations I) are a good starting point for culture change at our individual, local levels. I printed out the Values a month or so ago and they are taped above my desk. I encourage you to look at these Values periodically – print out page four of GR I and put it in your break room, on a bulletin board, etc. If we all start paying attention to little things in our day-to-day interactions with each other, we can make a big change ourselves.
· Mutual respect and human dignity;
· Diversity and inclusion;
· Academic freedom;
· Personal and institutional responsibility and accountability;
· Shared governance;
· A sense of community;
· Work-life sensitivity;
· Civic engagement; and
· Social responsibility.
I appreciate and welcome your thoughts and comments. You can always reach me on the phone or via email (email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org / 257-5872).