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Support Staff Council

President: Barb Hicks
Vice President: Felicity Buell
Treasurer: Katelyn Adams
Secretary: Tia Milburn


"60 Minutes with the President"

Support Staff Council

Friday, October 23 , 2009

The University is ready to move forward.  We have been through a name change and have a new crest giving us a new identity. Our profile for academic study will cause a quality student body to be attracted to UCM.

Changes that are in progress include:

The challenge is to avoid back peddling.  Dr. Podolefsky’s State of the University address focused on the Perfect Storm.  State revenues are down.  In FY11 we should receive the full amount of state funding because of the Federal Government’s stabilization funds.  FY12 is questionable.  The number of Missouri high school graduates is going down.

We must increase retention. Enrollment this year is up but the freshman count is down. Retention is causing growth. RPG – Retain – Persist – Graduate. 

There is a $1.7 million increase in mandatory expenses (1% of the budget), but there is not a lot of discretionary leeway. Do we worry now or worry about it in 2-3 years?  We have reserves that will get us by for 1 or 2 years but we must be frugal with the reserve.

There are areas of mandatory cost increases such as utility costs, health insurance and general insurance.  Anytime we have any suggestions for cost savings we should be sure to send those ideas to our supervisors and to the SPRC.

Dr. Podolefsky said that he is generally committed to not laying anyone off.  Positions have been carefully looked at when an employee retires or leaves.  The idea is to work smarter and work better. By going from 4 VPs to now having 3 VPs, the university has saved approximately $200,000.  Other cost savings have been realized by paying off the TV tower bond 2 years early and by no longer accepting credit cards for tuition payments.

It was stressed that faculty, professional staff, support staff and the administration are 1 team.  We must work together for smart solutions.

Q: Will other buildings be included in the ESCO project?

A: The original assessment of buildings was done to determine the greatest needs, fastest savings and creation of a healthier environment.  Lighting was one of the quickest ways to save on power.  It is not cost effective to go geothermal if a building has a fairly new heating/cooling system.  The next building planned is a new Science building to be located to the west of the JCK Library – projected date unknown.

Q: Is there emergency lighting planned for the stairwells? The most recent power outage revealed the need.

A: Dr. Podolefsky made note to address.  He said they have done table top exercises after the Virginia Tech shootings.  A generator was installed for the Administration building command center.

Q: Why are there so many help wanted listings during this “hiring freeze” and why are so many jobs listed as part-time or temporary? 

A: Currently we are not technically in a hiring freeze.  Aramark is out and we are self organizing maintenance and custodial. Hiring for this major area of employment will be part-time and temporary until the reorganization is complete.  Dr. Podolefsky is all for letting the VPs do their jobs.  He also noted Dr. Roberts is the only VP without an Associate VP.  She is doing a phenomenal job.

Q: Retention is important. What can we, as staff, do to support the effort?

A: Watch for accessibility problems.  How easy is it to access services on campus?  Be open to help others.  Try getting together to document how to help students graduate.  It starts with caring and must pervade the campus.  We must see and understand that everyone is an individual.  We are not looking at one program to do the job.

Dr. Podolefsky suggested having a big concert at the end of school to give students a good feeling upon leaving.  It would give them something to talk up over the summer.  Another possibility would be to invite a big speaker in the fall.  Give the students an event to look forward to when returning in the fall.

Q: How can we reach out to veterans? 

A: $50 per credit hour for veterans.  Online courses are available.  Even if the student is in the residence hall it is another way to learn.  The University experience is necessary but on-line courses have their place. UCM belongs to the Quality Matters program to monitor and improve on-line courses.

Q: Can signage for smoking areas be more properly placed?  Butt cans are put in no smoking areas.

A: Dr. Podolefsky suggested we ask the Board of Governors to review the campus tobacco policy.

A compliment was given that UCM does an excellent job with on-line learning. 

Reply: Some instructors have balked at doing on-line teaching. Sometimes changes have to be pushed, however, you don’t want to beat someone into a teaching method they are not willing to use.

Refreshments for 60 Minutes with the President were provided by Dr. Robert’s Office of Administration and Finance.