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Faculty Senate Meeting Overview April 2012

by UofL Today last modified Apr 09, 2012 09:25 AM

The Faculty Senate is part of UofL’s shared governance system, which also includes the Staff Senate and the Student Government Association. Senators are elected by their peers.

The full body met in regular session April 4 in Chao Auditorium at Ekstrom Library. Chair Bob Staat presided. This is what happened:

Reports to the Senate

Shirley Willihnganz, provost.

The “big work” for the next month is the budget, Willihnganz told the senators. She reminded them that the budget development process is collaborative: The finance office starts with basic parameters and assumptions, develops a budget scenario and shares it with faculty, staff and students. As the office receives campus feedback and information from the governor and the Council on Postsecondary Education regarding state funding and tuition, finance reworks the budget scenario and shares it again with campus constituents. The back-and-forth process continues through its development. The budget now is on scenario I and it can go through many versions before it is final.

President James Ramsey.

Ramsey updated senators on happenings in the legislative session that is winding down in Frankfort. He also discussed UofL’s budget and noted that there will be three campus forums in the coming weeks. Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin will have two tuition forums for students. Although it is not finalized, CPE has proposed allowing a tuition increase of 6 percent. Ramsey will have a campus-wide budget forum April 19 at 1 p.m. More details will be in UofL Today.

The budget timeline has the budget going to the Board of Trustees finance committee in May. That committee will forward it to the full board for approval in June. Ramsey drew a comparison between the university and the men’s basketball team.

“It was a challenging year for basketball,” he said. “Our team held in there and played with a lot of heart, character and determination.” In the face of continued state budget cuts that are coming despite the progress UofL is making in research, student education and community engagement, the university as a whole needs to try to be like the basketball team, Ramsey said.

Dana Mayton, senior associate vice president for government relations.

Mayton talked about the role of her office. Government relations, she said, represents UofL’s many interests in Frankfort and tracks legislative bills that could affect the university. Those include not only bills related to higher education, but also those related to employers, insurers, health care providers, public facilities and more.

“We’d rather monitor too many bills than to miss one,” she explained. Government relations tracked 125 bills of the 786 filed this session. In doing so, Mayton and her staff often consulted with faculty and other people on campus to understand the ramifications of the proposed legislation on UofL and to make sure they delivered the correct message to legislators.

Tracy Eells, vice provost for faculty affairs, co-chair of Great Places to Work.

Eells reminded the senators that The Chronicle on Higher Education in March sent a survey to 300 faculty members and urged senators to respond and to remind their colleagues to respond. The survey is part of the Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For program. Eells also noted that UofL’s Great Places to Work initiative is continuing with five subcommittees to address campus climate, family friendly policies, professional development, health and wellness, and total rewards.

The Senate will meet again Wednesday, May 2, in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library.

Prepared by Janene Zaccone, internal communications manager, for the Faculty Senate

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