Cabinet Highlights: March 24, 2009

Personnel Action Processes 
C. Chilcoat reviewed the process establishing a draft furlough plan. The proposed plan calls for staff making less than $40,000 to take two furlough days during FY10. Employees making more than $40,000 would be responsible for taking seven furlough days (56 hours per FTE). The plan prohibits units from closing due to furlough. A change from the earlier proposal allows employees to take furlough time in one-hour increments. Employees who are exempt from FLSA become non-exempt when furlough time is taken meaning no extra hours can be worked that week.

M. Neumayr reminded the Cabinet that the Board would not be approving these policies until next month so there still could be some changes.

Concern was expressed about the paperwork required to track furlough time as well as how it would apply to faculty. D. Verkest will explore options to streamline the process.

A request was made to inform employees how the furloughs will impact benefits. D. Verkest indicated that this information will be available through FAQs. Because each situation is different, it will be difficult to develop any language that would apply to everyone. A suggestion was made to include furlough information with faculty contracts.

D. Verkest distributed draft language for a 6 + 6 contract option for administrators and/or service professionals. Due to the continued uncertainty about the budget, contracts will be issued in mid-June rather than May. Another strategy is to issue contracts for administrators and service professionals that would include two appointment periods. Contract language would include a statement that if notice of non-renewal is not received by December 31, the secondary appointment period will become effective. Anyone receiving a non-renewal notice on December 31, would then have 90 days of employment. The intent is to preserve some flexibility until more is known about the budget.

Communication Plan for Personnel Decisions
L. Nelson noted that the goal is to keep the campus informed. One communication will describe the budget cuts that will get the university through this fiscal year. The plan for the academic division will be finalized the first week in April. The president is scheduling a leadership day on April third and the week of April sixth will be targeted to schedule an all-campus meeting.

There are many groups with whom it is important to communicate—off campus as well as on. The president plans a meeting Thursday morning, March 26 at 8:15 to inform the Cabinet, and the executive committees of the Faculty Senate and the Academic Chairs Council about the budget.

Investment Policies
B. Norton described a policy for short-term university investments. The policy is in accordance with Board policy. Copies will be sent to the Cabinet.

Budget Update
The president indicated that the total cut is $21 million. Thirteen million dollars have been identified for permanent cuts. The remaining $8 million is still in question. Various options will be presented at Leadership Day. It’s possible that the university’s budget will be cut again in FY09 and a cut is fully expected for FY10. Another uncertainty is how any stimulus funds will be available or used.

Tuition and Fee Increases
The university presidents are taking very different approaches to tuition increases. The presidents’ recommendations are due out by April 13. There is some pressure from the Board for all three universities operate alike but this will not be to this university’s advantage.

SPEED Update and Financing Options
J. Kuhn reported that the last three SPEED projects (Skydome, Liberal Arts, HRM) have received final approval.
This summer we will be moving forward with actions to prepare for the Wellness Center. Campus Safety will be moved and the Recreation Center will move its activities to the Fieldhouse and adjacent areas in the Union.
B. Norton discussed the financing plans. Approval has been granted to sell revenue bonds when the appropriate time is identified.

Recovery Investment Act Update
R. Bowen distributed information about the sources of funds from this act. He reported the challenges faced by those who receive these monies; reporting requirements will be significant.

L. Huenneke noted there are a variety of opportunities available for collaboration with the city, county, and other institutions. She noted that the university’s research web page includes links to the governmental information. Things are moving very fast and some grant deadlines have already passed. She is working to encourage faculty and staff to be aware of the opportunities that are coming available. She is particularly interested right now in facilities grants. Her office is anxious to help as many people as possible take advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible.

ABOR Meeting Report
The president indicated that the Board decided to move ahead with tuition hearings. The Board will be having a study session on research. The Board is intensely interested in accountability and cost-benefit analysis. There was an active discussion related to the AIMS scholarship but there was no resolution to the discussion.

ABOR’s System Architecture
The president indicated that there was a study session on this topic. Subsequently the president of the Board communicated to the university presidents, that they were now expected work together to meet the needs of the state and not compete with each other. This is a national agenda, not just a state agenda. On the national level there is an interest in reducing the cost to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Employee Fundraising Campaign
M. Gerety noted that this campaign has been totally revamped. He is very interested in increasing participation rates. The campaign will launch April 6 and will be run very much like the United Way campaign. There will not be a lot of paper; will focus on electronic communication.

New Foundation Fee Policy
M. Gerety distributed a revised reinvestment fee policy for the Foundation.

Information Item on Subsidiaries of the NAU Foundation
M. Gerety informed the Cabinet of the formation of two subsidiaries, one to hold real estate for the university and one for intellectual property.

Proposed Program Fees
L. Grobsmith distributed some proposed program fees in those areas where starting salaries for graduates are likely to be substantial. This is a new approach for the university and she hopes the Board will allow the university to go forward with these at this time. Faculty should begin talking with students to get their reaction since the Board often asks for this information.

The president asked that the information about furloughs be shared around campus.
A new building will be dedicated in Yuma this Thursday and Friday (March 26-27). It will be named after Senator Carruthers who was instrumental in getting the funding for the building.
J. Kuhn announced that the Conference Center will be having a Mother’s Day/Graduation brunch. Reservations are being taken. Students will be allowed to use any remaining Dining Dollars for the brunch.
D. Kain reminded the Cabinet that the NCATE team will be here starting this Saturday.
J. Kuhn announced the Conference Center is coming up on its first anniversary.