Students walking around campus during the fall.
Students walking around campus during the fall.

Staff Senate met Nov. 11 in Chao Auditorium, where President Neeli Bendapudi provided an update on a number of topics, including the Nov. 1 acquisition of KentuckyOne Health.

Prior to her report, with the meeting taking place on Veterans Day, Staff Senate chair John Smith recognized Timothy Dill for his service in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.

Following the approval of minutes, Professor Reginald Bruce shared that two new academic programs have been reviewed and discussed, while three prior academic program proposals were passed:

  1. Certificate in LGBTQ Health Studies. The program provides undergraduates with certification in knowledge about the unique healthcare needs of LGBTQ populations. An advantage of this program is it would use many resources that are already in place at UofL. It would also be the first undergraduate program of this kind in the country.
  2. Certificate in Organizational Change in Higher Education. It is aimed at preparing postsecondary instructors and faculty members for professional practice related to understanding and managing organizational change within their institutions and units.
  3. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management, chaired by Dr. Carl Maertz. It has intended date of implementation in fall 2020. The major provides targeted courses in management, requiring functional knowledge of business disciplines and an internship experience in management.

Gary Becker, director of university parking and transportation services, discussed a construction project set to begin on campus that will affect parking. Construction on New Residence Hall 1, which features approximately 450 traditional-style spaces, will start at the end of the 2019-20 academic year, with an anticipated fall 2021 completion date. It will be located between Miller Hall and the Student Activities Center, the current location of the visitor parking lot for the SAC. The reserved lot behind the Red Barn will be closed to allow for the parking of construction trailers and to provide construction vehicles access to the site.

Upon completion of that building, Threlkeld Hall will be razed at the end of the 2021 academic year. New Residence Hall 2, which also features approximately 450 traditional-style spaces, is set for a fall 2022 completion date, and Miller Hall will be razed at the end of that academic year.

President Bendapudi said the acquisition of the KentuckyOne Health Louisville assets is complete. UofL is trying to respect the legacy of these facilities by keeping part of their names; for example, UofL Health – Peace Hospital, and UofL Health – Mary & Elizabeth Hospital. More information about the new names is available online.

“We are trying to be sensitive to the communities we serve,” she said. “We feel good about turning things around.”

Bendapudi noted that Jewish Hospital was losing about $50 million a year. UofL will receive $33 million a year in funding just for being an academic health institution. UofL is also depending on a $50 million loan from the state to help kick the turnaround plan in place.

“The loan is critical to the success of this turnaround. It will provide long-term stability and continued service,” she said.

Bendapudi added that the risks of not acquiring this system would have been significant. Jewish Hospital, for example, gets about 3,000 emergency visits per month. Further, UofL’s renowned transplant program would have to close, about 1,900 jobs would be lost, equating to about $100 million annually in wages, 60 residents would have to be relocated, and there are additional ramifications.

Several hundred employees participated in the inaugural Cards Come Together event, held during Homecoming Week in October. Bendapudi said she hopes this becomes an annual event.

Raise Some L, also held during Homecoming Week, raised a record amount of money – more than $900,000. This compares to the about $300,000 raised last year.

Finally, Bendapudi said the Strategic Plan is in the implementation phase. There are three committees each under the Learn, Work and Invest focus areas, and two additional committees tasked with identifying our thematic charges (e.g. aging) and how to best implement our CARDINAL principles.

Mary Elizabeth Miles, interim associate vice president for human resources, spoke with the group about programs HR has implemented, including HRtalks and HRlistens, focusing on increasing two-way communication with employees. As part of the 2019-22 Strategic Plan, the initiatives focus on personal growth and professional development to become a “Great Place to Work.”

Miles said there was a decision made regarding hourly, non-exempt employees that have to work during winter break and how the university will compensate them. She said HR is working with a consultant to study job titles and roles of staff to determine how positions at UofL align with those at parallel institutions.

Other reports:

Jason Beare provided a report on employee benefits, which is online, regarding future topics being discussed.

The Student Government Association noted that 1,800 pounds of food have been collected for the food pantry. It also was mentioned that students staying on campus during break should email Lydia Burns. SGA worked on an initiative about bike safety with UofL’s Police Department.

Smith spoke about the opening of Chick-fil-A on the HSC campus and informed senators about the university’s settlement with John Schnatter for naming rights to Cardinal Stadium, which athletics paid. The rest of his report is online.

Vice chair Andrew Grubb spoke about his involvement with the UofL Athletics Association and reviewing fees both for 300-level College of Business courses as well as online/distance learning classes.

More reports are available online. The next Staff Senate meeting is Dec. 9 in Chao Auditorium.