The Staff Senate met April 11 in Chao Auditorium, with Chair Angela Lewis-Klein presiding.
To open, senators approved minutes from the March 14, 2016 meeting.
Sandy Russell, the Staff Grievance Officer, provided an annual report that included 37 grievances filed since October 2014. Of those filing, 25 were female and 12 were male. Six were termination appeals.
Russell said there have been no problems with the performance evaluations, which indicates that training has been effective. The biggest issue with evaluations and grievances, she said, is communication between supervisors and their staff.
UofL CFO Harlan Sands gave an update on Shared Services, noting that he will lead two town hall meetings in April on the topic. He also announced the university’s new dining partner, Aramark.
“We will use the partnership with intent and it will transform the way we provide dining. This agreement is going to give us top-grade dining options across campus,” he said.
The agreement applies to both Belknap and HSC and features more variety, options and availability (e.g. open on weekends) than before, he said.
Sands also said a new bookstore partner will be finalized soon.
Other initiatives include lighting enhancements under the I-65 overpass. UofL is doing a “night audit” to gauge dark spots with a goal of making the area safer.
Interim Provost Neville Pinto provided an update on the three academic dean searches taking place. An offer has been extended to a Kent School of Social Work candidate and an announcement is coming soon.
The College of Business is down to two finalists, while the School of Dentistry is down to five semifinalists.
For the budget discussion, Provost Pinto said there is no decision from the Governor at this point, but there will likely be cuts. Deans have been tasked to find 5 percent cuts in their respective units.
UofL is also on a “soft hiring freeze,” holding off hiring for positions that haven’t been posted yet.
Provost Pinto also discussed enrollment goals, using The Ohio State University as a model to emulate.
“Ohio State grew in both rankings and size at the same time. They have shown it can be done,” he said. “We have to be disciplined about why we’re here. We should be creative with these difficulties we’re facing and disciplined around our strategic priorities. You have to invest, otherwise you’re giving up. The path to the bottom is found when all you’re doing is managing cuts.”
To complement enrollment goals, the university will be focused on student success, including through advising and technology.
“When our students are more successful, we benefit as a whole,” Pinto said.
Lee Smith, AVP for Performance Improvement and Business Analytics, provided a report on what UofL is doing to protect its employees’/students’ sensitive data. That includes encryption and redaction.
Both the Faculty Senate and the Student Government provided reports from their respective meetings, including their approaches to a possible no-confidence vote for President Ramsey. Both governing bodies continue to glean information from their constituents.
Standing Committees reported, including the Staff Morale & Community Outreach committee, which provided an overview of the Second Annual Day of Service. About 60 people participated. It was suggested the day not be held during JCPS’ spring break, as many employees were unable to participate.
Finally, Melissa Long Shuter offered an update on officer elections. Nominees will have 3 minutes to introduce themselves during the May meeting and will have 3 minutes to speak at the June meeting followed by a Q&A of the candidates before voting. Absentee voting is also an option this year for the first time.
The Staff Senate is part of UofL’s shared governance system, which also includes the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association. Senators are elected by their peers. The Senate will meet again May 9 in Ekstrom Library, Chao Auditorium.
Prepared for the Staff Senate by Alicia Kelso, UofL Today editor, communications specialist, UofL Office of Communications and Marketing.