Campus stock, Minerva Schneider
Campus stock, Minerva Schneider

President Neeli Bendapudi provided an update on the Strategic Plan for members of the Staff Senate on Monday, Feb. 11. The plan is focused on how to make sure UofL is a great place to learn, work and invest.

For the “learn” component, she said it’s important we focus on the whole student, provide them with a transformative, purpose-driven education and ask them what problem they want to tackle. For the work piece, Bendapudi said it was important to commit to personal growth and professional development.

“We have to have a culture where everybody has to live by our values,” she said.

And, for the invest piece, we have to make a demonstrable impact on the city, the Commonwealth and “beyond.”

The first three years of the strategic planning process will be focused on “making sure our house is strong” financially and structurally. The second three years will be focused on bigger picture/aspirational goals, she said.

Bendapudi said she has created a leadership team that includes everyone who directly reports to her, as well as everyone who reports to them.

“So there are two layers of decision makers. We’ve already met four times to talk about topics such as diversity and the budget,” she said. “It’s important to have this group in place so we aren’t stuck in silos.”  

Bendapudi also said the team is working on a plan to get to the point where employees can expect to get a raise each year. We’re not there yet, but she said we are moving in the right direction.

CFO Dan Durbin piggybacked off that objective with a budget update. He said his biggest objectives – eight months into the job – are to reimagine the budget process, facilitate more engagement and drive efficiencies.

He said we’ve generated $39 million in revenues this year versus $15 million last year, but those numbers – because of allocations or restrictions – actually equate to about $1.2 million more.

“We are not out of the woods yet, but we are gaining strength,” he said. “We just need to keep pushing.” Durbin’s entire presentation is available online

SGA’s Wyatt Harris provided the Student Government report. Elections for next year’s officers will be held next week. He also announced that the ELSB’s food pantry is now open in the SAC. This initiative has been in the works for years. The SGA is also working on a few pedestrian safety initiatives, including new crosswalks and increased signage on the HSC campus.

Students are working with Mark Watkins, AVP for Business Services, to ensure that internship projects available on UofL’s campus prioritize the hiring of UofL students.

Faculty Senate heard a report from Jim Begany, vice provost for strategic enrollment management and student success, about UofL’s strategy to recruit and retain students. Begany said Fall 2018 yielded our highest new student enrollment numbers, as well as our most academically prepared – as measured by ACT scores – and the highest number of out-of-state students. More information about the Faculty Senate meeting is available online

John Smith provided the Staff Senate Chair’s Report, announcing that the response rate for people willing to volunteer on a Strategic Plan committee was “overwhelming.”

“In the past, we’ve had 100 to 150 people sign up. This year, we’ve had over 1,200,” he said.

Smith, Faculty Senate Chair Krista Wallace-Boaz and SGA President Jonathan Fuller will start conducing HSC office hours, including Feb. 18, March 18 and April 15. His entire chair’s report is available online.

Bob Knaster and Gary Becker provided updates on UofL’s parking strategy, including recommendations provided by a third-party consultant to address potential parking shortages. Knaster said 74 campus spaces will be lost to construction this semester alone, and that 3,813 out of about 6,000 spaces at the stadium are currently programmed to produce revenue for athletics. We are No. 1 in the country for reserved spaces; UofL has about 1,300 spaces that are reserved and the average university has about 40 or 50, Becker said.

There are currently no funds dedicated to operational or deferred maintenance. Some task group recommendations include building a maintenance fund and rolling that into the parking budget, charging for all visitor parking, implementing license recognition technology and introducing new services – such as oil changes – for customer service improvement.

The entire report is available online

Other news/reports

Julie Hohmann informed senators that there is a master of arts in higher education administration program available to faculty and staff, and employees may be eligible to complete the program with UofL’s tuition remission benefit. Students must select one of four different concentrations – administration, teaching and learning, policy and equity or sports administration. All courses are offered 100 percent online.

Marian Vasser, vice chair, posted her report online

Secretary/treasurer Rhonda Gilliland reported that there were no monthly expenses in January. Her report is also available online

All other committee meeting reports are available online.

The next Staff Senate meeting is March 11 on the HSC campus.

Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.