January 2011 Faculty Senate Overview
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 Jan. 12 at Ekstrom Library, Chair Bob Staat presiding. Here is what happened:
Reports to the Senate
From guest Vice President for Finance Mike Curtin: Curtin gave a presentation on the UofL Foundation, which holds, invests and distributes funds for the benefit of UofL. The foundation’s assets account for 10 percent of the university’s $1.2 billion budget. It is one of seven ways that President James Ramsey identified to keep the university moving despite UofL having had 10 budget cuts in 10 years. Such companies as Nucleus, Cardinal Station, and UofL Development Co., are under the foundation. They exist to help maximize UofL’s resources by developing under-achieving assets into revenue producers (ShelbyHurst Office and Research Park being developed around Shelby Campus is one of these projects; development of a downtown research park on the old Haymarket property is another).
About 65 percent of the foundation’s endowment goes to support UofL’s colleges and schools.
From Provost Shirley Willihnganz: Willihnganz told the senate that she wanted to reassure them in the face of rumors that benefits were going to be cut to balance the budget. In fact, the provost’s budget committee is exploring several ideas that came up in a brainstorming process. Those ideas include taking some money from the university’s retirement contribution for employees and putting it in salaries, extending the vesting period to come into UofL’s retirement system and cutting health insurance benefits to retirees. Another suggestion the committee will explore is capping the number of hours for which children of employees can use tuition remission so that it remains viable for helping to attain a baccalaureate degree, but doesn’t pay for excessive hours beyond that. No decision has been made on any of these ideas. Any changes would pertain to future faculty and staff, she said, and she doesn’t see significant benefit changes for current employees.
From President James Ramsey: Ramsey gave a brief report in which he reminded the senate about the March 21-22 Phi Beta Kappa visit and talked about Weekend College, an alumni program for which one or two professors join him on a development trip. It allows alumni to get to know faculty and what they’re doing and become more engaged with the university. He also mentioned the UofL budgeting process and said that he’d hopes the budget can have a 3 percent pool for faculty and staff raises. “Next year will be a tough budget,” he said. Getting to that point will require “hard decisions” and “tradeoffs.” UofL will see its 11th state budget cut in 11 years with the 2011-12 fiscal year, starting July 1.