University Senate Meeting Minutes

Meeting Details:

Fiscal Year: FY2023
Time: 3:15 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Jeff DeWitt (Chief Financial Officer)
Minutes Recorded By: Suzanne Scales
Minutes Approved on:


Attending Members

  • Ani Kokobobo
  • Nate Brunsell
  • Rafael Acosta
  • Mizuki Azuma
  • Andi Back
  • Mahasweta Banerjee
  • Betsy Barnhart
  • Samuel Brody
  • Lea Currie
  • Rana Esfandiary
  • Patricia Gaston
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Nils Gore
  • Marike Janzen
  • Barbara Kerr
  • Randy Logan
  • Corey Maley
  • Russell Ostermann
  • Hashim Raza
  • Roberta Schwartz
  • Sean Seyer
  • Jeremy Shellhorn
  • Geraldo Sousa
  • Maya Stiller
  • Kristin Villa
  • Liz Barton
  • Todd Carpenter
  • Teri Chambers
  • Kim Conard
  • Scott Cossel
  • Mary Dykmann
  • Ryan Edmonds
  • Jeremy Mcleod
  • Sarah Wilson Merriman
  • Brian Moss
  • Chris Wallace
  • Nathaniel Garcia
  • Alessia Garcia
  • Carolyn Popper
  • Rosbel Garza
  • Bander Almohammadi
  • Hollie Hall
  • Hara Talasila

Other Attendees

  • Cecilia Zhang
  • Jeff DeWitt
  • Michael Vitevitch
  • Ben Eggleston
  • Katie Hinkle
  • Jessica Chilcoat
  • Michelle Cuttright
  • Chad Lawhorn
  • Gwen Geiger Wolfe
  • Trina Ramirez Stephens
  • Mike Broadwell
  • Emily Shipley
  • Pam Burkhead
  • Jennifer McBee
  • Jeff Chasen
  • Nick Britt
  • Margaret Hair
  • Suzanne Scales

Approval of Previous Minutes

Geraldo Sousa motioned to approve the minutes from September 8.  Hollie Hall seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved by acclamation.

Guest Speaker Presentation

Guest Speaker: Jeff DeWitt (Chief Financial Officer)

Ani Kokobobo, University Senate President, welcomed Jeff DeWitt, CFO, and guest speaker.  He shared a presentation “Financial Status of KU, October 2022”.  He recently shared this same presentation with the Endowment Board, but this has additional 20-day enrollment numbers. He made the following comments.  We still have challenges, yet the recent 5% pay increase and dependent and employee tuition benefits are being implemented.  We don’t have budget cuts this year, 2023.  We hope to continue doing what we need to do, and not have budget cuts, so we can give cost of living increases.  We have a structural deficit. The good news in 2022 is that the $8.4 million we thought we’d be down, we’re close to breakeven.  Yet, we had higher expenses in 2023 for enrollment, advising and other expenses.  DeWitt said we are investing in things to eliminate structural deficits long term.

DeWitt presented the Strategic Initiatives and Financial Plan Impact.

Strategic enrollment management.  There is a slight increase in high school graduates through 2025, though the increase is in students not likely to go to college.  In 2025, it drops off. We’ll be trying to increase enrollment revenues at a time the potential student numbers are decreasing.  We’ll look to online and non-traditional students. We’ll think about workforce education and getting our share of high school graduates. 

Continuous improvement.  It’s a concept where you go out and engage everyone everywhere.  You ask-what you can make better?  It’s a ground up concept to find ways to do things better.  It’s a morale booster.  Everything is considered and the most valuable get resources.  This will roll out soon and spread across campus this year.

Conventions and events.  DeWitt made the following comments on conventions and events.  We have hired a conventions manager.  We are looking to a national market for conferences.  A City of Lawrence study was cited that shows Lawrence is a good market for conferences.  We are partnering with the city in all aspects, not done in other universities.

All Funds Budgeting.  It’s completed.  The last proposals are coming in.  We have non-state funding that has grown 34% over the last years, while we were cutting.  We can use these funds that are “in the bank”. 

All these initiatives are active.  DeWitt is positive that we can do these things and not have budget cuts.  Things are on track with spending and revenue.  They will update these numbers in the next 45 days.  That will set the basis for budget process that begins in November.  DeWitt opened the discussion for questions.

Question.  Debt service situation.  Could you talk about the projected date on that and whether you plan to add more projects to the debt.

Answer.  Debt service is the debt paid out of the general fund.  We have a policy can’t exceed 7% of expenditures.  We don’t want to exceed this.  We need to keep our high credit rating.  There is a campus master plan that will define updates.  We will have to look at priorities over the next five years.  We will be issuing debt in the next 5 years but stay within the 7%.

Question.  Conference and events.  Is there publicly available research that shows the numbers on what the likelihood is?

Answer. There is one that I found.  The research shows that there is not much to support events and conferences west of the Mississippi that has a university feel and safe environment.  If you market and do outreach, this is viable. Right now, Lawrence is turning away business.  DeWitt offered to send a link to the 2015, or 2017, study on the validity of Lawrence as a venue and Unique Venue Study.  There is lost opportunity.

Question.  What is the relationship between salary increases and hiring?  Please explain the budgeting process between finance office and College.

Answer.  Academic units were given 5% for salary increases and 5% more for other expenses.  Five percent was the maximum we could do.  There is a pay study going on with HR and consultants to look at competitive pay for each position at KU.  We’ll find out what competitive pay gap is.  It should be out in December and ready in May for KBOR for competitive pay.  You want all to be paid fairly and not loosing ground. 

Question.  Can you speak about All Funds budgeting, restrictions on endowment, and how that is going?

Answer.  There was a $10 million need in the budget.  We set targets for areas: shouldn’t be holding more than 6 months of course fees and we need some of the unrestricted endowment funds they are holding. We’ve made cuts every year in the budget, yet course fees and KUEA funds were growing. Every unit submitted a plan for use of these funds. Units looked at restricted funds and the ways they could be used. 

Question.  Follow up.  As you are analyzing.  If a unit has plans for how they will use it, how are you evaluating this?

Answer.  We opened the door for dialogue about what the funds were being held for.  In some cases, funds were being held for things we have state funding for.  This is a culture change and it’s been difficult.  There’s money growing while we are cutting.  We need to make donors and students aware of how we’re using the money. 

Question.  On Continuous improvement, can you add more?

Answer.  There will be a portal where you can offer suggestions.  You put the idea and resources into the portal.  If your idea is accepted, we’ll give you the time and resources.  This helps find a better way to do things.  Have a place where people are empowered and rewarded.  We are going to roll it out in the admin area. 

Question.  Can you speak about market study and how it fits into plans and timeline?

Answer.  If we have to increase salary and fringe line based on the study, we will have to address how to do this.  We’ll come up with a plan to address it over time or immediately.  The study will be done, and then we will figure out how to put it into the plan.


Student Senate Report

Reporter: Hollie Hall (Graduate Study Body President)

Two resolutions: supporting Indigenous community and Iranian community. When passed, October 19, they will come to University Senate.  If you want to support this.  Ani recommended it go to SenEx so we can support.

Staff Senate Report

Reporter: Jessica Chilcoat (Staff Senate President)

Nothing additional to report.  They finished up interviews for the DEIB position and provided feedback. 

University Senate Report

Reporter: Ani Kokobobo (University Senate President)

She reviewed recent activities: Shared Governance initiative, we’ve had positive meetings on this.  We had a public hearing on undergrad certificate in Holocaust and Genocide. The AP&P committee will meet next week, and they will send a recommendation.  Tuition assistance has been approved.  An administrative associate, senior will start on October 24.  Staff docking survey moving forward.

Unfinished Business

Academic Policies and Procedures Recommendations for Inactive Programs

Ani explained the program discontinuance for inactive programs. AP&P considered 4 inactive program requests.  AP&P met and discussed these.   Ani reviewed the inactive programs recommended for discontinuance.  Hollie Hall made a motion to approve the AP&P recommendations.  Alessia Garcia seconded the motion.  Passed unanimously via Zoom poll.

Propose Change to Code Language for Ombuds

Next, Ani reviewed the recommended changes from SenEx and Ombuds to the Ombuds language in code.  We added more info in 5.1 which summarizes what the office does.  We talked about the experience needed extensively.  We lowered it to 3 years.  We thought tenure was needed because of conflict of interest.  A comment was made that the recommendations were good changes.  The change from 10 years of experience to 3 was a good change. 

Geraldo Sousa made a motion to suspend the rules to discuss an amendment at one meeting and vote on the proposed changes today.  Teri Chambers seconded the motion.  Motion passed unanimously.  Next, Ani will send the changes to campus for a 21-day review. Then it goes to the Provost and Chancellor for approval. 

Ani encouraged everyone to spread the work about what we are all doing.

New Business

Hollie Hall made a comment that students are being asked to do assignments over break.  How do we change this?  How do we hold people accountable?  Ensure proper implementation of this. We can check with calendar committee and see if they want to send a refresher message. Students need certain information and ideas were offered. We can suggest what syllabi should include for student success. It could be a campus resource.  We should publicize our efforts to students.  Information on resources could be in one app for students.

University Senate - Oct. 6, 2022

Member for

1 year 8 months
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