April 22, 2014

Summary: Emily Neese, associate vice president for strategy and operations, presented a detailed update on the Strategic Resource Initiative (SRI), Wanda Duncan of the Graduate School made a presentation on the return of the part-time MALS program available to staff, Kevin Cox presented highlights of the most recent Faculty Senate meeting, and Karen Frekko made a presentation on the Finance Advisory Committee.

Associate Vice President Emily Neese, who chairs the SRI Working Committee, made a presentation to update the SAC on the SRI’s progress since it was launched last year.   Select highlights:

  • In its first year, the SRI has resulted in savings totaling $6.2 million.
  • Those savings came from procurement, $1 million; business processes, $3.3 million; fringe benefits, $600,000 to $900,000; and technology, $1 million.
  • Going into the second year, it was somewhat harder to find savings, but potential revenue opportunities are being identified. Short-term, mid-term and long-term opportunities are being considered.  Generally, the opportunities revolve around academics.
  • Short-term:  summer school classes will be offered in Charlotte, the College Summer School is planning to offer a small number of online classes next year, and the University’s Online Education Committee recently recommended three faculty proposals to receive funding for course development for summer 2015.
  • Mid-term:  such efforts may require two to three years of research and development. Possibilities include community programs in W-S and Charlotte;  programs for retirees and alumni; expansion of the School of Business’ professional executive education programs; and new joint degree offerings.
  • Long-term:  such efforts may require three or more years and considerable investment to bring to fruition.  Various ideas are generally under consideration, ranging from development of a retirement community of some sort to pursuing actively to be a location or TV and film productions.  None of these mentioned ideas are approved, at this point.
  • Much attention is being spent on considering how to automate many processes regarding personnel and making them more universal on campus.  Initial efforts in this regard are expected for several more months.
  • The Working Group continues to welcome recommendations for items to consider as the SRI process continues in the years ahead.  Suggestions may be sent to sri@nullwfu.edu.  All suggestions will remain anonymous.

More about the meeting:

Wanda Duncan, program coordinator for the Graduate School, made a presentation promoting the newly returned part-time Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program.  In the past couple of years, the Graduate School had ceased accepting new applications for the program, but that hiatus has ended.  Duncan encourages staff to consult with Human Resources to gather information on how they may qualify for a tuition concession to enroll in the MALS program.  The classes are taught in the evenings.

Kevin Cox, SAC representative to the Faculty Senate, presented his report on the 4/16 Senate meeting.  Highlights:

  • The Senate voted in favor of a resolution calling for the Senate, with administration cooperation, to “re-visit” recent changes to the tuition concession for dependents of new faculty and staff hires.  It’s to be addressed before Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Representing the Collegiate Senators, Senator Ed Allen made a presentation regarding two reports—one addressing College Enrollment increases and another addressing teaching professionals and tenure.  Final versions of the reports will be completed, drawing on recommendations made at the Senate meeting.
  • Senate President Hank Kennedy spoke at length about the University’s endowment performance, saying that the endowment is underperforming, not performing as well as some universities that would be considered peers.  Other senators spoke out in response, expressing support for the cautious approach being taken by trustees and the University’s investment office.
  • Senator Peter Siavelis, chair of the Senate’s Fringe Benefits Committee, prepared a report read by Kennedy.  In that report, Siavelis contended that the Senate was successful in influencing the University to stem major cuts to benefits for 2014-15.  He also expressed concern that about any potential moves by the administration in the future to further adjust fringe benefits.  No future changes or plans for them have been announced, beyond the recent announcement regarding next fiscal year.
  • As chair of the SAC Communications Committee, Cox briefly mentioned that the electronic SAC newsletter continues to attract more readers as more staff register to receive it monthly.

SAC Vice President Karen Frekko made a presentation on a recent University Finance Advisory Committee meeting.  Highlights:

  • The Finance Advisory Committee met on March 31 and discussed the 2014-15 budget.  The Finance Advisory Committee is comprised of the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration and Chief Financial Officer (co-chair), the Provost (co-chair), five members of the Faculty Senate (the President, President Ex Officio, Chair of the Resources Committee, a representative of the College and Graduate School, and a representative of the professional schools), two staff members from the Staff Advisory Council and two students from the Student Government Association (the President and the Treasurer).   James Shore presented the FY 2014-15 Unrestricted Operating Budget Proposal and Proposed Capital Projects Budget.  A tuition increase of 3.25% was announced and several capital projects were discussed.

The next meeting of the SAC will be held June 3 at 9:30 a.m. at Benson University Center, Room 401.

Category: Minutes