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This month in the senates: January

This is a brief summary of the monthly meetings of Ohio University’s employee senates.

Classified Senate
Committee A members said their two one-hour Jan. 19 information sessions were well attended. They consisted of a representative of Anthem, the OHIO healthcare provider, answering questions from employees. They will host two one-hour informational sessions on the third Wednesday of each month.

Committee B introduced December Employee of the Month Anne Ward from Parking Services. Classified Senator Amy Meeks said she nominated her for her outstanding customer service and professionalism. 

Doctoral student David Fried distributed the results from his August Phased Retirement survey. Phased retirement consists of employees switching to part-time work for a period of time before completing their retirement requirements. Under this system, employees would be given time to adjust to retirement and it would give the employees more time to train their successors.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding said a campus-wide committee that is researching how other schools operate between Christmas and New Year’s Day is working on the Holiday Closure Proposal. He said the closure policy could become official in July if the process is not delayed.

Golding also added that the budget information probably will not be ready until around March 15, when state budget will likely be revealed. Two sets of public forums will be scheduled, one set in late February and one set in late March.

Golding also announced that a director of engagement and real estate management is being sought to work under him. The position would handle OHIO’s real estate portfolio and build economic engagement relationships with local and regional agencies.

Administrative Senate

President Roderick J. McDavis was the first to speak at the meeting. His remarks covered the University’s budget, the searches for various staff members that are currently being conducted and a discussion of activities within the Inter-University Council (IUC).

With the budget, McDavis explained that Golding would go into more detail during the following talk. He also assured the senate that everything dealing with the upcoming budget is speculation until more is understood.

The IUC is currently conducting a shared services study to see what different services could be obtained more efficiently and at less expense through the council sharing the services.

Golding then approached Administrative Senate and discussed the possibility that the University close between Christmas and New Year’s. Classified Senate initially proposed this, and Golding’s office is currently looking into it.

Director of the Allen Student Help Center and Bobcat Student Orientation Jenny Klein then spoke about orientation scheduling for the next academic years and the challenges and opportunities presented by the University’s quarters to semesters transition.

Faculty Senate
Before the meeting, Bradley Evans from Student Senate spoke to the Faculty Senate to encourage participation in Campus Beautification Day on April 16. They hope to attract 500 volunteers this year.

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit spoke briefly to Faculty Senate about four topics:

  • It is no longer necessary for employees to submit personal credit card statements for reimbursements.
  • There is now a MasterCard P card offered in addition to the existing American Express P card.
  • There have been concerns raised that departments and schools are not receiving as much prospective student data as in the past.
  • The Inter-University Council Provosts Committee will respond to the recent op-ed by Ron Stoll in the Columbus Dispatch. The goal is primarily to educate legislators about tenure.
Golding also presented at this senate meeting. He provided a detailed PowerPoint presentation that put the cuts the University was about face into context.

Golding outlined four principles that are guiding the current budget discussion:  
  • All units must participate
  • We must "right size" the university so we have a sustainable budget
  • We must take a multi-year approach, particularly because RCB takes several years to phase in
  • We must diversify and increase our revenue streams in order to reduce our dependence on the SSI.
Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin said that Budget discussions like those at the meeting would continue for months. The senate will host informal Wednesday lunches from noon to 1 p.m. in the Maggie Davis room in the Baker University Center West 82 food court for the remainder of the quarter. The Senate invited all faculty members to join them for an informal discussion of budget issues, rumors and strategies

Senators Joseph Slade and Phyllis Bernt spoke about the Faculty Technology Advisory Group (FTAG). FTAG is the voice for faculty in the many technology initiatives occurring across campus.

Slade spoke about centralization and access; Greg Kessler spoke on Blackboard; David Alexander addressed the Exchange transition.

There were several first readings of resolutions, but none were put to a vote.