Faculty Senate gets report from administration
The Faculty Senate is part of UofL's shared governance system, which also includes the Staff Senate and Student Government Association.
Senators are elected by their peers. The full body met in regular session Nov. 3 at Ekstrom Library. Here is an overview of what happened, including synopses of reports from administration:
The Senate had the first reading of the personnel documents for the Speed School and the Kent School. There will be a second reading and vote on the documents in December.
It also had second readings of the School of Music and University Libraries personnel documents. Both passed the Senate.
SGA reported that it is starting a project to research and report to students the cheapest way to buy textbooks. After the report, Provost Shirley Willihnganz asked senators to get their book orders in early because that saves students a lot of money.
New Ombuds Tony Belak introduced himself and told the senate that his office will be offering skills building and mediation training. He will work with existing services, such as EAP and on campus groups, to promote respect, improve dialogue and teach faculty and staff how to better handle conflict. A story about Belak is at louisville.edu/uofltoday/campus-news/new-ombuds-to-focus-on-atmosphere-education
Dean of Students Mike Mardis and Kent School professor Eli Karam reported on the Student Care program, a new service that started about 3 years ago to identify and help students in distress. The team uses a comprehensive approach to in threat assessment and behavioral intervention. A guide for faculty and staff to know when a student is in distress and what to do is at louisville.edu/dos/resources-for-faculty-and-staff/studentsindistress.pdf.
Senator Elaine Wise reported on the UofL Athletics Association Committee on Academic Performance review of Academic Counseling and Advising Resources and Services, Tutoring Services, Academic Progress monitoring and Reporting, Assistance for Student Athletes with Special Academic Needs, Assistance for At-Risk Student Athletes, Academic Support Service Facilities, Academic Evaluation of Prospective Student Athletes, Student Athlete Degree Selection. The yearlong review resulted in one or more recommendations in all areas, some of which already have been implemented. Recommendations spanned a broad range of areas, from taking steps to more consistently identify at-risk students, to surveying students to determine whether their sport participation allows them to major in the academic area they choose, to finding ways to feature the academic success of student athletes beyond the annual Red and Black banquet.
Provost Shirley Willihnganz reported for the president as well as giving her own report. The Office of Finance has begun to put together next year's budget and that it is starting in better shape than in recent years. After plugging in assumptions that may or may not change, the starting deficit is less than it has been. The university's number one priority is to give faculty and staff a salary increase. This, however, is not guaranteed as the legislature and CPE still have to weigh in on the state appropriations.
The provost talked briefly about the new health care plan administrator. She indicated that the UofL administration worked up to the last minute to get an agreement with Humana to continue as plan administrator, but they could not reach a common ground relative to the participation of the UofL doctors in the Humana network. The United Healthcare network does include UofL doctors and going with that company as UofL's plan administrator resulted in roughly $4 million in savings over the term of the contract.
The provost is putting together a committee to look at space options, which could include finding cheap rental property off campus for things that can happen off campus. That would free up space on campus for classes.
Searches continue for several deans and other administrative posts. Candidates for the dean of libraries will be on campus starting next week. (Note: The first one to be announced is Robert Fox, who will talk about how he would approach the role, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 10-11 a.m. in the Chao Auditorium. The entire university is invited.)
The provost pre-empted her own university wide announcement by telling senators that faculty and staff will receive a half day off the day before Thanksgiving and a half day off the day before winter break. She has asked Sam Connally, vice president for human resources, to compare UofL's vacation days to benchmarks and other universities as part of the total benefits package.