Cabinet Highlights: April 14, 2009

Dennis Jones Visit
The president reported that he had contacted Dennis Jones and he is able to come to campus this Thursday to meet with the Strategic Planning Council. Cabinet members not part of the Strategic Planning Council are encouraged to attend this meeting. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. Those planning to attend should let the President’s Office know so that appropriate space can be identified.

The president reinforced that the Strategic Planning Council is representative of the broader university. Other Cabinet members encouraged the president to allow for a more broadly-based discussion of the university’s vision for the future.

President’s Cabinet Report
L. Jones reviewed the report which included advancement data, grant and contract services data, and student data. The report also included a general fund appropriation analysis for the university system.

Graduate Fellowships
R. Mellott noted that the intent of the proposed policy is to codify current practice. She also explained that the university does have a number of externally funded fellowships which support the university’s mission and strategic plan. This does not represent a new cost for the university.

ACTION: The president asked M. Neumayr to determine who has the authority to waive tuition. The president believes putting a policy in place is a good idea but needs to understand the parameters for waiving tuition.

Tuition and Fees
P. Haeuser distributed a document prepared for the Board to request a tuition surcharge for fall 2009, an increase in the technology fee, and special program fees for three programs. The president noted that there is no expectation that this revenue would be realized all in one year. The president does not want to impose program fees on students already enrolled in the affected programs.

L. Grobsmith noted that a committee of the Board will be recommending raising the threshold for adding course fees without Board approval from $50 to $100. They also will be recommending more flexibility in how those fees are used. The recommendations require full Board endorsement at the end of the month.

Project Management Fee Increase
J. Kuhn explained that until last August, the project management fee was 5 percent when it was reduced to 2 percent. The fee supports a local account for capital planning. Based on a previous analysis, it was determined that although 5 percent generated more revenue than needed, a 3 percent fee would provide the funding now necessary to support the positions that have been shifted from state accounts. Capital Assets also will be hiring more outside advisors for specific projects rather than increasing permanent staff.

Furlough Guidelines for 2010
D. Verkest announced that the guidelines have been posted on the HR website along as FAQs. The university has been approved for the federal Shared Work Program which is a partial unemployment benefit. This benefit, along with tips for minimizing the impact of furloughs, is being discussed at workshops being offered for staff and supervisors.

Paperless Environment
D. Verkest announced that a subcommittee has been established to look at this topic. F. Estrella distributed a document outlining the elements of a paperless environment. The president indicated that investing in this technology might be a use for any federal stimulus funds the university might receive.

Investment Policy
B. Norton noted that this is not a new policy, merely codifying practice.

ACTION: The president approved the policy.

Lumberjack Alumni Award
D. Bousquet shared with the Cabinet a proposed presidential award to recognize alumni who have made significant contributions to the university and/or their community. A suggestion was made to remove language that restricted commitment to higher education to allow recognition in other professions as well.

ACTION: The president agreed to broadening criteria.

NAU-Yavapai College Partnership
The president reported efforts in the partnership with Yavapai College to evolve beyond the two-plus-two concept and reflect more clearly a four-year educational presence in the Prescott Valley area. A new building is being built in Prescott Valley that houses the county library and will house Northern Arizona University-Yavapai. Signage on the building will clearly indicate the notion of a university presence.  For now the sign will read Northern Arizona University–Yavapai.

Testing Center Transition
D. Bousquet described the elimination of the testing function from the Counseling and Testing Center as a budget-reduction strategy. He noted, however, that the testing function will remain on campus but under the auspices of The Business Center in the Franke College of Business. This will result in continuation of the service to students in an improved testing area. R. Lei raised concern about the lack of faculty involvement in this decision and suggested at least using the Faculty Senate executive committee as a sounding board. M. Neumayr noted that sharing information that would result in layoffs or non-renewal of contracts beyond the parties directly involved is not appropriate or legally defensible and not covered by faculty governance.

ITV Transition
F. Hurst reported that transitioning away from ITV is only one of several strategies for reducing his budget. Other strategies include eliminating four low enrollment sites, suspending and combining some low enrollment programs, and reducing marketing. Transitioning from ITV will save his division $1.5 million a year. The alternative was elimination of degree programs and faculty layoffs. ITV is now a dated technology and the current equipment soon would have to be replaced. In addition to cutting his state budget, he has seen reduced revenue in TRIF. Twenty-three employees have been laid off and ITV will be shut down this summer. Faculty involvement will be important in transitioning ITV courses to other modes of delivery.