Cabinet Highlights: June 1, 2010

FY 2011 Budget
P. Haeuser noted that the state expenditure authority would be on the next Regents agenda. Tuition is estimated with the new tuition rates. The new differential tuition revenue goes directly to the departments except for the required amount set aside for financial aid. The president noted that this budget did not include the federal stimulus money that is expected to be received in the next week or so. The president also reminded that Cabinet that regardless of the passage of Prop 100, the state budget was still in deficit and we don’t know what actions the legislature will take.

The president also indicated that the Board has recently hired a president of the Board of Regents who will be on equal footing with the university presidents. The new chair of the Board (Regent Mariucci) will be undertaking another redesign of the system.

Cardinals Contract
The president announced that this contract was in the final stages. It will be a three year contract.

Upcoming ABOR MeetingĀ 
The president will be making a presentation on the university’s strategic business plan. In addition the new chair of the Board will make a presentation on Friday June 11, 2010 to outline her plan for the next year.

Senate Bill 1070
This is the immigration reform enforcement proposal. C. Farley summarized the bill. Suits have been filed to challenge the law. The president said he doesn’t know what the impact of this legislation will be on enrollment. J. Kuhn noted that two conferences which had expressed interest in coming to the conference center had said they would no longer consider the center when they realized it was in Arizona. M. Stevenson reported that two conferences some of his departments were trying to host now would not be held here.

Ethnic Studies Issues
The president noted that the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction was not supportive of ethnic studies programs and had had some influence on programs in the public schools. D. Camacho thought it was likely that the legislature would be looking at the universities next. C. Farley said she thought a lot depended on the outcome of the next election.

Honors WEEK Schedule
K. Pugliesi indicated it was time to approve the dates for Honors Week for the next three years. The proposed dates are: April 27 – May 1, 2011, April 22-28, 2012, and April 21-27, 2013. Each of these groups of dates includes Passover and Easter. K. Pugliesi asked for feedback on the proposed dates. She will send them to the Cabinet electronically.

Capital Assets Update
J. Kuhn reviewed the SPEED projects currently under way. Skydome improvements are among the projects. As a result, the Skydome will close right after commencement in December but will not be available for spring commencement 2011.

In addition to the SPEED projects, Capital Assets is doing a lot of work on concrete and asphalt to repair damage from the winter.

D. Bousquet reminded members that this would be the second year of previously approved parking rate increases. He also shared information about changes in parking lot designations designed to reduce traffic flow on campus. He also noted that there are changes coming to the transportation system. Currently there are two bus routes but next year there will be only one route. The addition of new buses will enable more frequent service.

Commencement Planning
The president noted that commencement and the various related activities made it very difficult to get around campus this spring. This increases the challenge as we look at spring 2011 when the Skydome is closed. The president wondered if it would help to hold the commencement for Extended Campuses in Phoenix. F. Hurst and D. Kain said that might be possible but didn’t think it would have that much of an impact on the numbers. They also expressed concern that for some students this was the only time they came of campus and it was another opportunity to make a strong connection. M. McMahon noted that she had J. Kuhn had already put holds on many facilities on campus including the conference center, the Union, Ardrey, Ashurst, DuBois, HCCC, Clifford White Theatre, etc.

A variety of options will be explored including venues off campus. T. Bauer indicated that a group of people would be meeting about this very soon. It is important that the activities and dates are identified soon so that parents can be notified. J. Kuhn noted that the university needed to consider requiring tickets for commencement since the largest facility that would be available only seats 1,400.

Domestic Partner Benefits
D. Verkest reported that her staff were still investigating this issue which is prompted by a change in state statute that eliminates coverage for certain groups that was previously available through state health insurance programs. This is not an easy issue to address. The president noted that some universities had addressed this through their foundation but that was a very risky approach.

D. Camacho noted that one of the two new members of the Board of Regents, Rick Myers, would be on campus
June 28 – 30.

MJ. McMahon said the other new member of the Board, Mark Killian, would be on campus the day before this next Board meeting, June 9. She emphasized that this was an important opportunity to educate the new Regents about the university, who we are, our contributions to the state, and how NAU is different from the other two state universities.

L. Mohrweis reported that faculty are expressing concern about the lack of salary increases. This will be of particular concern in light of the increased rates for parking. The president responded by saying that he would be talking with the Regents about strategic investments in personnel at his review of assignments next week. He said any hint about across-the-board salary increases would be severely frowned upon. He could not predict the outcome of his discussion about strategic investment in personnel.

Master Planning Presentation
A. Gross, from Ayers St. Gross, reported on the latest developments in the campus master plan. The plan shows the further development of the core campus in the next 10, 20, and 30 years. A major focus of the plan is to replace much of the surface parking with parking structures and creating more green space using natural and sustainable plantings. The plan also supports creating a more walkable campus with parking on the perimeter supported by an efficient and effective bus system.