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edu, x13170 Nicky Bruckhart, Vice President, email@example.com, x14241 Kate Martin, Treasurer, Kate.Bidstrup.Martin@du.edu, x12247 Kate Johnson, Webmaster, firstname.lastname@example.org, x16515 Saskia Sawyer, Secretary, Saskia.email@example.com, x12704 Members in attendance: Kathy Aliaga, Facilities Ashley Beaudry, The Women¶s College Nicky Bruckhart, Athletics and Recreation Christa Bruning, University Communications Sarah Childs, Human Resources Linda Daubers, Graduate School of Social Work Jan Drobnick, Daniels College of Business Anne Gross, Admissions Cheryl Jackson, Morgridge College of Education Kate Johnson, University Communications Gayle Keahey, Law School William Kiniston, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Mark Kintgen, represented by Nancy Detain, Penrose Library Kate Martin, Student Life Marty Neary, DU Bookstore Samantha Oehlerking, Department of Computer Science, Lynne Reed, University College Bonnie Rodriguez, Facilities Saskia Sawyer, University Advancement The meeting was called to order. 1. Introduction of the Council Members. 2. Announcement: Staff Appreciation picnic is tomorrow, July 15 y 1025 RSVPs y Remind staff to bring canned food to donate to Food Bank of the Rockies 3. Guest speaker ± Chancellor Coombe RE: Staff moral: Chancellor¶s office getting mixed feedback about the status of staff moral across campus. The feedback received differs from Senior Administration¶s feedback, which is more positive. Either leadership is not sensing an issue or there is a communication break-down. This is something that urgently needs to be addressed and will be addressed.
1. Can there be some type of cap on the yearly parking increases for staff? It seems a bit ridiculous that staff have to pay in excess of $300 to park close to where they work? A: Parking revenue is needed to off-set the building costs, this is what determines the parking rates. I will look into the current financial situation / debt situation due to the parking garages. DU is trying to stay beneath what other universities charge. I will push Craig Woody to keep the costs for staff down. A sliding scale could be possible. Linking it to salary does not make sense as the pay range is enormous. 2. Why do employees need to pay for parking? Could that be eliminated to make up for no merit increases in the past? Could employees have a choice between free RTD and free parking to cover the loss of parking revenue? A: Need the revenue stream to pay off debt on the parking structures. We will not give up RTD as DU is trying to push people to use alternative transportation. If less people sign up, the current price we¶ve negotiated with RTD will go up tremendously. 3. Healthcare has increased in the co-pay as well as in prescriptions, and also in the number of months supply for one co-pay. In three different areas the health insurance has increased this year. Was this a deal worked out with Kaiser due to no increases the previous year? This increase seems excessive. A: Kaiser proposed a 20% price increase which we negotiated down, while agreeing to an increase in co-pays. This increase is a result of the new federal law. It is indeed excessive, but we work very hard on keeping the costs down, especially for the bottom half of the salary range. DU still covers the majority of the costs. 4. Why does each department have to pay for their own employees for the picnic if it¶s an overall staff appreciation picnic? Shouldn¶t the University pick up the tab? A: Yes, the University should pick this up. SAC should be asking for a budget next year. 5. For the staff picnic could we look at having a university-wide casual day so employees can truly enjoy the sun and could play volleyball, etc. like a true picnic? A: skipped 6. Would Human Resources consider acknowledging employees¶ years of service in a meaningful way, not just a mass booklet listing, but perhaps a letter or certificate from the Chancellor for 10, 20, 30, years of service? Maybe a pin or something? A: Yes, SAC should push for this. This usually does not come out of the Chancellor¶s office. 7. Does the chancellor have a strategy for retaining staff? Does he worry as the economy improves that people will leave in mass? A: No, I am not worried. The strategy is to look at turn-over rate numbers, which is gathered and analyzed by HR. These numbers are low, relative to other universities and businesses in the region. Action is taken when an occasional glitch occurs. A general retention strategy is: salaries, benefits and general work environment. We are doing a great deal at that level. It is the total package that counts.
It is difficult to compare ourselves to other schools in the area as there is only Regis that is comparable. 8. I am very interested in pursuing the discussion on the rewards for staff that are here for the long term versus those who accept positions in order to get a quick MBA then move on. A: It is OK to have employees who join DU because of the tuition benefit. It enables us to recruit quality people who otherwise maybe would not have been interested in joining us. When I was Provost, I extended it to 20hrs and added more flexibility to it. It is a great benefit. As for rewards for long-time employees: currently you accrue more vacation time, there probably should be a more enlightened approach to salaries. The salaries do not keep up with the market, which is especially true for faculty. Therefore we see a disadvantage for people who have been here the longest. We will look into salary accrual based on years of service. There will be a 2% merit increase linked to the normal PEDS in February (Deans can add more). After next year it will be back to 3+%. Having no merit increase causes a twofold problem: it is not just the financial part that hurts; it is the feeling of not being appreciated, and not being rewarded for good work that causes the most problems. 9. Why are staff retreats (such as bowling, happy hours) OUTSIDE of the campus to help staff retention, improve moral etc., not supported (aka. reimbursed)? What would the Chancellor¶s suggestion for team building be? A: The policy was put in place as a result of escalating costs and departments abusing the system. We are now in a different financial situation; it might be time to review this policy and give back some flexibility. 10. Would the Chancellor consider the option to buy additional vacation time? This would not cost the university money but would offer more flexibility to employees, especially during school breaks. A: Unfortunately we would run into issues with our insurance policy. We have a fairly flexible vacation policy in my opinion. If you disagree, please let me know (SAC to look into this issue). 11. Could another holiday be added to make up for no merit increase in the past (such as President¶s day, which especially affects employees with children as schools are closed)? A: skipped 12. Would the Chancellor re-consider offering more flexibility during the summer break to staff? The opportunity to leave at noon on the few Fridays in July/August when even the summer classes are finished would have an amazing impact on staff morale. A: The work load in the summer is very uneven across the units, which would make such a policy unfair. Better to look into having casual Fridays campus wide.
13. Morale is at an all time low across campus. What can or will be done to address this in the coming year? a. The staff would certainly forgo appreciation picnics and other less important events in order to keep merit raises and cost of living increases. A: We never had a cost-of-living increase ± we only have merit increases (which means they always range from 0 ± large%) b. Will there be more transparency in the hiring processes at DU, including the deans and heads of centers? A: During our hiring process we do not publish the applicant¶s names until they have been chosen as one of the finalists (to avoid any issues with the current employer of the applicants). We also have offered open meetings with candidates before, but had a hard time finding people to participate in the past. 14. What is DU¶s policy on promoting from within? Is this encouraged? If someone is qualified for a position and applies for it, do they automatically get an interview? A: Yes, it is encouraged to hire from within, but that person is not guaranteed an interview. They interview the best of the applicant pool. If we have a good internal candidate, we can promote from within without a search. This has been done before at the level of deans and chancellors. 15. Why is it so difficult (or impossible) to get into Fisher Early Learning, considering the daycare was originally established for staff? A: Originally it was a childcare for staff. Currently we have a 60/40 policy with a 15% discount for staff. It is probably the best daycare/school in Denver, and the waiting list is especially long for infants. This will and should not change. The question is, what could we do about childcare for staff? We had a taskforce on childcare a year or so ago and the outcome was that there are no good alternatives available; there was no push to look further into the issue. Liability and insurance is an issue. Additionally, if we offered staffed childcare it would only benefit a certain part of the community, which again creates a fairness issue. The current consensus is that we are not in a position to solve or even tackle this issue. 16. A constant request that we have in our unit is to find housing for visiting scholars and visiting professors. Are there any plans in the future to have permanent housing to assist with these frequent requests? A: No, there are no plans to add space and yes, we currently do not have enough space to host visiting professors. 17. There used to be a WWI memorial plaque in the lobby of the Mary Reed Building, but it¶s gone now. (It had the names of DU students who gave their live in the ³Great War,´ as it was known in 1932 when the plaque was dedicated.) What happened to the plaque? Is it now hanging somewhere else? A: It has been moved to the law school as it lists law school grads.
18. What is the status of the candidate searches for the soon-to-be-open vice-chancellor positions in UTS and University Communications? A: We have two open positions: Carol Farnsworth (has been here 16 years) and Ken Stafford (has been here 12 years). They both have been terrific and have contributed an enormous amount to DU. Naturally, this will be a major transition for us. There is no search committee yet as we need to make some strategic decisions first, which can take time. UComm: we hope to recruit a new media strategist who will handle the internal and external communication. The search will start next month formally. We need to get to clarity about what we need and want. Given the high visibility that new media offers, decisions can take on many directions: learning & teaching, operations, communication. 19. What is the status of UTS as a whole? What is the status of the DU Web Team? a. Ken Stafford is leaving, which leaves a power vacuum. b. There are many areas of infighting in regards to the various departments within UTS, and it is also true that many of the departments in UTS do not get along with one another, and there has been little leadership above or among them for some time now. c. Morale is at an all time low. d. The web team has been decimated, so there are no web services to speak of 20. What is the status of the DU Web Team? a. The web team was consumed by University Communications, and there is now no direct web support on campus, unless a department still has their own web expert. b. Will UTS regain anyone to support web related issues across campus? c. If not, will University Communications ever take over the mantel of web support for the campus? d. Will the campus ever see a true branding initiative come to fruition? e. Will the branding and marketing be shared with others around campus, or will it be like years past, where little is shared between University Communications and other school, UTS, etc. where we all have to guess at what they want? A 19 & 20: There was a structural change. UCom has been relying on UTS for many things. We had 2-3 consulting contracts for web development and web design, which came to an end. We outsourced du.edu, as we couldn¶t do it internally. Over the last several months we rebuilt the department, added 4 staff members (web development and web design). Last month we moved that group into UComm to do the web applications as well as web support. TedEx was an enormous hit and on the web. Our brand is clarified and is doing well. 21. What is the status of the acquisition of a new content management system? Will we move forward on that before the new VC of UTS is hired? A: That software ensures that everything put on our website uses licensed logos, etc. The software we currently have is no longer supported. A new Oracle software costs
about $500K; they already own a lot of our systems, so it might be too many single components run by one company. A decision will have to be made this year.
22. Why can¶t sick hours be donated to someone in need? One Penrose member has 400 sick hours, and would like to be able to give some of those hours to someone in need. Several Penrose Staff have asked SAC to look into this.
A: This runs into the policy on long/short term disability. This is an HR issue, so SAC will have to raise the issue with HR. 23. I feel strongly that there should be different (i.e. lower) pricing for staff membership in the Richie Center versus faculty based on huge differences in salaries. A: This is the same issue as parking: there is no difference between faculty and staff. Again, a sliding scale could potentially work here. SAC to push if desired. 24. I understand that the University has discontinued it support of the Yellow Ribbon Program for military veterans. Can you please explain the rationale for that decision? It seems that with Bill Daniels background in the military, and the number of fine students who have come out of the Armed Services, the least we could do is participate in this government sponsored program. A: No, we have not discontinued the program. This is a veterans program that is sponsored by the government 1:1. We were the first university that signed up for it and last year was the first year we offered it. There were glitches in the system, which we reported to VA. We have another group this year and have extended it to graduate programs. 25. Last year there were no salary increases for staff. I understand that because the economy was exceptionally bad, but I am wondering about this year. We have heard that enrollments are extremely good for fall, 2010. Can you project a percentage merit raise amount? A: 2% as discussed. 26. Will the employees see bigger raises this year since DU sold the Phipps Mansion? A: Phipps wanted more contribution to endowed student scholarships, especially in Music & Arts. Through the sale we are able to add $10Million to that endowment. We do not use one-time gifts or individual gifts for salaries as these are not reoccurring. Salaries come out of the operational budget, which is funded through tuition revenue. We have a 2.9% tuition increase; therefore we can offer a 2% salary increase. We want to build up our endowment to create budget relief for operating costs. 27. Would you please address the status of the recent gift to the University for the Center on Aging? A: This is a large gift from Betty Knoebel, $17.5M, $10M of that is a 984 acre ranch south of Evergreen, which is probably worth $12-13M. The $10M from the sale of the property will go to the Center on Aging, which will be a wing added to the Engineering building. If we can¶t raise enough money for NSME, we will build a stand-alone building for the Center on Aging.
Mrs. Knoebel additionally made a pledge for $7.5M (endowed, unrestricted) which will rename HRTM. Any additional profit we can make from the sale of the property will go into that endowed fund. 28. DU-owned wind turbine proposed by students A: We started buying carbon energy to reduce our footprint at $140K a couple of years ago. The impact is debatable. We have been looking into developing our own wind energy source now for five years. We have been talking with Regis, CC and School of Mines and have investigated if a capital investment in wind energy would save us money. Currently it would not. When renovating Cherrington hall, we considered adding solar panels there, as well as on every other flat surface on campus. We analyzed those costs and found that if we added solar the savings would only be about 6%, which does not really make sense. Wind energy is better. Our energy consumption has been going up slower than our buildings, which is a good indication that we are making our buildings more energy efficient. We need to keep looking, while keeping DU¶s best interest in mind. Back to staff moral: I really understand that not having praise and a sense of accomplishment hurt each and everyone last year. I want to assure you that the university is very stable. The question is, is it merit, uncertainty, fears that contribute to low morale? What is the impact of the overall instability on our community? I will have a conversation with my senior staff about the budget and suggest adding more flexibility into it again (in regard to outings etc.). Suggestion from SAC: will create a survey to get a better feel for what is causing the low morale, as well as gather feedback on what the staff¶s needs and wants are.
Next meeting: August 11, 2010, 12 ± 1 pm
Respectfully submitted, Saskia Sawyer Secretary
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