The University Record, April 25, 1994

Evaluations, flexible benefits discussed by Senate Assembly

Editor’s Note: The following is a summary of the April 18 Senate Assembly meeting.

By Mary Jo Frank

Evaluation of deans proceeding

Thirty percent of the 1,549 dean evaluation forms sent in late March to faculty in the School of Business Administration, College of Engineering, LS&A, School of Music and the College of Pharmacy have been returned to the Faculty Senate office. April 15 was the deadline.

Senate Assembly Chair Henry Griffin reported that the 467 responses have been coded and sorted by school and soon will be tabulated.

The evaluation forms were sent to all professors, associate and assistant professors, research scientists, associate and assistant research scientists, and some librarians in the five schools and colleges whose deans are being evaluated.

The response rates for the schools and colleges are:

Business Administration, 34 percent;

Engineering, 43 percent;

LS&A, 24 percent;

Music, 39 percent;

Pharmacy, 18 percent.

Faculty adopt plan to improve communication

The Assembly voted to endorse and implement a proposal to create Unit Governance Committee Groups (UGCG) to improve faculty communication.

The plan calls for each school and college to form a UGCG made up of Senate Assembly representatives and members of the school or college executive committee to enhance communication among faculty. Smaller schools and colleges could form their own governance group or join together with other schools to form a combined governance group.

The USCG, which would meet two to four times per year, would be linked electronically to faculty in the school or college. The USCG would serve as a conduit for getting information to the faculty and for communicating faculty members’ thoughts to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA) and administrators, according to the plan.

Budget Study Committee will tackle capital budgets

The Assembly’s Budget Study Committee’s next project will be to study the University’s capital budgets to determine to what extent the building program is meeting the needs of students, reported Wilfred Kaplan, committee chair.

Kaplan said the committee also plans to look at all the budgets connected with the medical-hospital area, including the profit-making parts of the budget: the hospital, medical service plans and M-CARE.

The committee’s first report, completed in February, looked at the “steady rapid growth in University income and expenses in recent years,” Kaplan said. That report concluded that expanding administrative costs are one reason for the acceleration in costs in constant dollars.

“What is missing, both on the part of the administration and on the part of the faculty leadership,” Kaplan said, “is the recognition that the consequences of the growth are very serious.”

Student Affairs slated for evaluation

Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen A. Hartford briefed Assembly members on an evaluation process that has begun in that division.

Student Affairs is the next vice presidential area scheduled to be evaluated by Senate Assembly.

Noting that Student Affairs has 1,251 full-time employees and 2,000 part-time employees (students who work primarily in Housing and Food Services), Hartford predicted it would take 18–24 months for the faculty to do a detailed review of the total unit.

Other possibilities she suggested Assembly members consider: evaluate one or two units within the division or involve Assembly members in the division’s current internal evaluation, which is based on guidelines drawn up by a student affairs professional organization.

Flexible benefits unlikely to go into effect before January 1996

“It is unlikely a flexible benefits program can be implemented earlier than January 1996,” Griffin told Assembly members. This would allow time to work out the details.

Griffin reported that when SACUA met with a faculty subcommittee studying flexible benefits and representatives of the University’s Flexible Benefits Advisory Committee, SACUA was told that the committee’s recommendations would be coming out shortly and that the committee would likely encourage the University to move toward a program of flexible benefits.