Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2023
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:


Attending Members

  • Andi Back
  • Andrea Herstowski
  • Anne Patterson
  • Barbara Kerr
  • Ben Chappell
  • Brad Osborn
  • Geraldo Sousa
  • Josh Arpin
  • Kristin Villa
  • Lea Currie
  • Mahasweta Banerjee
  • Maya Stiller
  • Mizuki Azuma
  • Nate Brunsell
  • Patricia Gaston
  • Rafael Acosta
  • Randy Logan
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Sean Seyer
  • Tim Hossler
  • Victor Gonzalez

Barbara Bichelmeyer

Other Attendees

  • Darin Beck
  • Ron Gould
  • Michael Dunlap
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Jean Redeker
  • Caty Movich
  • Suzanne Scales
  • Gina Wyant
  • Patrick Russell
  • Bozenna Pasik-Duncan

Approval of Previous Minutes

Meeting minutes from Feb. 2. Motion to approve by Geraldo Sousa. Seconded by Roberta Schwartz. Motion passed unanimously.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer

Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer joined as guest speaker to update where we are in the Wage and Salary Survey for faculty and staff, interim policy, and COACHE survey. She thanked everyone for all they do for the university. She acknowledged the challenges facing such as the ask in getting ready for accreditation. She said students have challenges themselves. We have faculty who are excellent in research, which has suffered the most in the last couple of year. Market Based Pay. The provost made the following remarks. We are working our way back to a less challenging place, In the meantime, we hope you have heard Provost, Chancellor and CFO say that we need to address the market-based pay. KU has the lowest wages in the AAU. We are not where we need to be in wages. Since the last fiscal cycle, we are embarking on a survey on wages and salaries for staff and faculty. Over the fall semester, we had the market study to compare wages for staff for similar jobs. Then we compared ourselves with 15 peer institutions.  Provost informed they’ve engaged with Donna Ginther, an academic labor economist.  The past semester has been a market analysis. The comparison is employee by employee, and not generalized. We’ve had meetings to get a first look at what the data shows and create a path forward.  This is a multiple year strategy. We will reallocate funds in university or grow. We are watching big purchases to put money towards salaries. We’re spending the restricted funds we have in units.  Staff salaries are easier to do because they are generally 12 months.  We understand the amount of money we need for staff. She discussed faculty salaries. Generally, you look at positions and the 25% and 75% range.  We want to make sure everyone is at the minimum of 25%. The data show that 25 faculty are under the 25%.  We know 25% are over the 75% and 50 that aren’t along a normal curve in the middle.     

Our principles for prioritizing what we need to do, and not completed yet., The priority is to get to faculty who are not at the 25 percentile to that mark.

We are setting aside $7M aside this year, to reallocate the funds that will cover the staff and faculty salaries to 25% minimum. This is a 5-to-7-year process unless we go beyond our expectations of growing enrollment and other F&A and other restricted funds. We have dollars set aside for inflation. The work we do will be sustainable. Faculty salaries come from other sources in addition to 9-month salary, making these calculations difficulty. In the future, this will be automated with systems.

Interim Policy. Provost is fully supportive of the proposed Interim Policy. She collaborated with Ani and Nate on the policy revision. It is a best practice. The timeframe in policy is appropriate. The provost said she appreciates the last line about the exception and the transparency of the why of the exception.

COACHE Survey. She said we have a lot of work to do. A fair amount of that is on senior leadership, wages, and working conditions. There is a need for people to have a voice in this. When we finish that, deadline is April 15, there will be an action report based on commonalities. Surveys will continue soon, on a three-year cycle:  faculty, staff and students.  We are creating a sustainable model for surveys. Provost said they will report at the end of the semester, though the forum is not scheduled yet.

She remarked the many initiatives (financials, Gen Ed, etc.) that we are all tackling, these pieces will all come together and be in place by the Fall 2024, and ready for HLC 2025. We’ll become more competitive with other research institutions in the 4-state area. 

Question (Q) and Answer (A) Session

Q  Sousa. What type of restricted funds are you referring to and what do you mean about the use of the restricted funds?

A  We are not talking about things like F&A. The biggest challenge we face at KU is that we have “savings accounts”, and we need to know timing to move to “checking accounts”.  We are talking about two funds: endowment-related funds and student fees. She said there are two sources of general fund: tuition and state appropriations. General funds are unrestricted, and we can spend them how we like, which we need to spend on wages. An example was provided of a unit that was asked to spend student fees, held in excess, for student support. Another example, a unit was asked to spend a part of donor dollars held for distinguished faculty line to cover faculty.

Q  Sousa. I’ve heard concerns of donors about repurposing funds.

A  We will never spend dollars except for the purpose of the donors’ intent. We and Endowment will always adhere to this. Though, sometimes, it’s appropriate to ask the donor if we can change the intent, if it is no longer relevant.  Endowment decides that.

Q.  Banerjee. COACHE session. I though the aggregated data at the school meetings would be available. That did not happen. Why were more specifics not available?

A.  We must run more analysis on the data and pay COACHE for this. It is well worth paying the additional $20,000 for this next time. It was our service agreement.

Q.  Acosta. Can we require donors to leave money a certain percentage for unrestricted funds?

A.  No. Since Dan is new to Endowment, you might benefit to hear his thoughts. He would be helpful answering some of these questions. We can’t require donors to do anything.  In the next campaign, faculty awards and developmental support, where we can pass dollars through to faculty. Every dean is talking about challenges with faculty salaries, retention, and recognition. That is our greatest need.

Q.  Brunsell. Could you give more on the strategy for prioritization for salary increases

A.   What I know now, the first step will possibly be to cover the cost of living.  It will be built into the financial model. Second aspect, some percentage of getting those under the 25% under their bracket up to 25 percentile.  The next to consider is do we see anything as a subgroup around NTTs. We’ll check with peer institutions. The $7 million set aside for this year will go to cost-of-living adjustments and getting up to 25%. One of the things we build towards is merit adjustments. We need to evaluate our faculty annual evaluations. There is a legal justification that needs to be justified with merit.

Q  Sousa. Not a question, but something to put on the radar screen. This happens to be about the new KU webpage. There is a winter picture instead of rotating pictures. It’s not functional and some of the information is hidden.  The Libraries, it took 5 or 6 steps to get there.

A  Thank you for the feedback.


Faculty Senate Report

Reporter: Nate Brunsell (Faculty Senate President)

COACHE We’ll have another forum and make recommendations.  The feedback has been good. They will give recommendations to provost.

RPK. Next, he reported that the Regents is taking up rpk study next week and we are awaiting to see what they will do there.

Gen Ed. Ani and Nate met with Susan and John and had the forum on Tuesday. We have need for exceptions in the realignment of KU Core with KBOR Gen Ed. Timelines are short with the need for exceptions soon, end of March.

Unfinished Business

The Interim Leaders Policy was discussed.

Nate shared “FSSR Section 5. Interim Leaders”.  He said we don’t have a lot of authority to enforce this, hence the nature of the language.  The Provost and Chancellor have approved this language. In the spirit of best practices, this is the best thing to move forward. He opened it for discussion.

Geraldo Sousa made a motion to suspend the rules under University Senate Code 2.5.2(f). Mahasweta Banerjee seconded the motion. A Zoom poll was launched. 20 in favor of motion, none opposed, motion passed. 

Geraldo Sousa made a motion to approve the amendment to the FSSR Section 5. Interim Policy. Roberta Schwartz seconded the motion.

Discussion on policy. Chappell made a comment. He said he doesn’t want to delay it but would like to make a comment.  What’s not in the policy is when an interim can make an administrative decision that is permanent to the University.  It circumvents regular faculty oversight. We saw this in the College with an interim dean over 4 years, ex. Program cuts. A concern is that someone appointed has the full authority to change the nature of the university., This is a question of the authority of the interim, which is concerning.

Nate said part of the logic in doing this is to limit those periods. While an interim is in place, they do have this authority.

Ben Chappell said that though we might vote to pass this, he would like to register that resistance to the idea that faculty should not have any say in whether an interim has the full authority.

A poll was launched to vote on the motion. Results were 20 in favor of motion, 0 opposed. Motion passed.

New Business

Nate asked senators to please send nominees for Faculty Senate.

Meeting adjourned.

Faculty Senate - March 2, 2023

Member for

11 months
Submitted by Caty Movich on Wed, 02/01/2023 - 11:50