Belknap South Entrance
Belknap South Entrance

The Staff Senate’s final meeting of the year was Monday, with Chair John Smith opening the meeting noting that the University of Louisville Foundation’s S&P outlook rating has been upgraded from negative to stable.

The S&P recognized the numerous changes made in the past year, including governance reform to include three non-constituency representatives on the ULF board – Faculty Senate, Staff Senate and Student Government Association. The S&P also recognized ULF’s restructuring and improved transparency.

Smith also announced that UofL employees will have free access to Louisville area YMCAs from Dec. 17 to Jan. 2. Smith’s entire report is online

Marian Vasser provided a brief vice chair’s report, ensuring senators that the buyout money to replace UofL’s football coach came from a designated endowment fund, not the academic budget.

Rhonda Gilliland, secretary-treasurer, noted that there were no expenditures in the past month to report.

The remainder of the meeting moved to a format that included a broad overview of all 30 committees available for senators to join to help facilitate change on campus.

Some highlighted information about some of those committees is included below:

  • Credentials and Nominations: There are currently 10 vacancies on committees.
  • Policies and Economic Development: Advises on salary and compensation issues, insurance, staff development and more.
  • Services and Facilities: The committee is currently looking into a safety issue on the pedestrian bridge behind the SAC.
  • University Planning, Design and Construction: Looks at renovation plans on all three campuses; currently there are about 60 different projects in the works.
  • Staff Grievance Committee: There has only been one meeting this year, which “says a lot about the university,” according to Donna Bottorff, committee chair. The committee reviews grievances and makes recommendations.
  • Staff Help and Relief Effort (SHARE): Employees who are in crisis situations can apply for financial help ($500), as approved by this committee.
  • Staff Morale and Community Outreach: A discussion was brought up as to whether or not this committee needs to revisit community outreach efforts.
  • Bookstore Advisory Committee: A new Bookstore Advisory Council is being formed to replace the old committee (which had been inactive).
  • Awards and Designations: This committee reviews requests for building and program name changes, such as the recently-named Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute.
  • Student Government: A Staff Senate member serves as an ex-officio member of this group.
  • Legislative Monitoring: The Legislative Monitoring and Action Committee is active but only meets when the legislature is active. There is a 30-day session starting in February.
  • CODRE: The Commission for Diversity and Racial Equality works on efforts to recruit, retain and promote underrepresented employees.
  • COSW: The Commission on the Status of Women works on friendly policies, such as ensuring feminine products are accessible across campus. It also works to train women on advancement and self-recognition techniques, among other topics.
  • Faculty Senate Academic Programs: This committee reviews program, degree and certificate proposals that are put up for a vote during Faculty Senate meetings.
  • Faculty Senate Planning and Budget: This committee participates in long-range planning and budgeting and makes recommendations on priorities.
  • HRAC: Human Resources Advisory Committee works with HR on HR initiatives, from pharmacy costs to FSLA implementation.
  • Day of Service: This is a new group created to revisit UofL’s Day of Service, which has historically included more than 1,000 employees and students working on various service projects throughout the community. There are three focus areas – fundraising, logistics and communications. 
  • EVPHA Search: Has not yet met
  • EVPRI Search: Has not yet met
  • Health and Welfare Benefits: This committee analyzes a wide breadth of topics. The report is online
  • HR Staff Compensation: It is recognized that there are inconsistencies in UofL’s compensation policies and HR is working toward streamlining those processes. The committee’s full report is online

The Staff Senate does not meet in January. The next meeting is Feb. 11 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at a location to be determined.

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.