University Planning Council
Minutes for Thursday, February 23, 2012
Present: Jeff Brown, Jane Fernandes, Catherine Frank, Eric Gant, Katja Greeson, Bill Haggard, Julie Heinitsh, Gregg Kormanik, Erica Abrams Locklear, Ted Meigs, Kevin Moorhead, Dave Peifer, John Pierce, Anne Ponder, Christine Riley, Robert Straub
Absent: Buffy Bagwell, Keller Berry, Melissa Burchard, Archer Gravely, Patrice Mitchell
Guests: Eric Boyce
Dr. Moorhead convened the meeting at 3:30 pm. He announced that Rob Nelson could not be with us today because of a family emergency, so we will discuss the Campus Master Plan at a future meeting.
1. Chancellor Update -
o Chancellor Ponder provided an update on two topics from the recent UNC Board of Governors[BOG] meeting:
• Tuition & fees. UNC President Ross recommended tuition increases for all campuses that would not exceed 10%. In making a recommendation to the BOG that differed from campus requests, he was balancing the crucial needs of campuses with affordability for NC families. This recommendation, which included a 9.9% tuition increase for UNC Asheville, was approved by the BOG. This means that there will be a $310 tuition increase for full-time, in-state undergraduates in 2012-13 [as opposed to the $500 requested]. Even with this increase, UNC Asheville will still have the lowest tuition of our peer group. The $190 difference was pre-approved for the 2013-14 year, in recognition of the legitimate need that our request represents. These increases will stand unless the Legislature chooses to do something different, as it has done only twice in living memory. There was an unusually broad difference of opinion among the BOG on this topic, and the meeting included a loud and sometimes disruptive student protest.
• 2012-13 Budget. The process for generating and approving the budget for the second half of the 2011-13 biennium will have an accelerated timeline. The BOG delegated authority to the Budget & Finance committee, and the first draft of the budget has already been circulated. This budget’s top priorities include [in this order]:
1. Removing additional budget cuts that were planned for 2012-13 when the 2011-13 budget was developed.
2. Faculty Recruitment & Retention Funds and funding for Distinguished Professorships
3. Special Appropriation for campuses specializing in the arts & sciences. The total appropriation is $5.6 million, and is intended to be shared by NCSSM, UNC School of the Arts and UNC Asheville. Our allocation would be $1.6 million. This is even better than we had understood it to be just a few weeks ago, when it was reported to be $1 million.
o Vice Chancellor for Advancement Search. Of the 71 applicants for this position, the search committee interviewed nine semi-finalists, and brought two highly-qualified candidates to campus for two-day interviews. A special called meeting of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees will be held next week so Chancellor Ponder can recommend a finalist for their approval. The successful conclusion of this search demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investing in resource development. This is a priority outlined in the UPC-generated campus strategy for resource allocation; President Ross has also identified campus-based fundraising as a high priority for all campuses.
o Property Acquisition. We learned today that the purchase by the UNC Asheville Foundation of the former Health Adventure property on Broadway has been successfully completed. This addition of 8.9 acres adjacent to campus across Broadway from the Brumit Pisgah House was the result of a combination purchase/gift from/by TD Bank. It is the culmination of some significant alignment and cooperation that involves the City of Asheville, Riverlink, TD Bank, our Foundation, and the Montford Neighborhood. John Pierce has been the chief architect of this complex transaction.
Immediate plans for the property, which is now being called 525 Broadway, will include site stabilization and improvements. A Community Work Day is planned for Saturday, March 31st, when our university, the neighborhood, bank personnel and others will join together to remove invasive plants, move the fencing further away from the sidewalk, and improve the landscaping around the property.
We will not know what the eventual use of the property will be until the completion of the Campus Master Plan, which could be 2 to 4 years away.
Chancellor Ponder answered several questions from UPC about this transaction and the property.
o Focus on Admissions. Chancellor Ponder and Provost Fernandes recently gathered several dozen members of the campus community to issue a call to action in improving campus involvement in the enrollment process. In our efforts to improve academic quality, recruit more out-of-state students, and increase the diversity of our students, we each need to find a way to do our part. We want to take the best practices from the private colleges in order to improve our yield. The role of faculty are especially important in helping prospective students become excited about coming to UNC Asheville.
o MOU with City of Asheville. Several members of the University community met this week with leaders from the City of Asheville to review our existing MOU, and to report back on the many improvements in collaboration that have occurred in the last year. Two highlights of this work together has included our training together for emergency preparedness and community-based student undergraduate research.
2. Parking Issue –
Chancellor Ponder asked UPC to consider how we might, as a campus community, learn how to undertake community disagreements without hurting each other. She asked if, in our discussion today, we might:
1. Fully understand the parking issues that have distressed several people on campus, as we’ve tried to balance the issues of safety and hospitality, and
2. Identify ways that we might invite discussion, understand the complexity and value of disagreements, improve our own practices, and establish better habits of working through difficult issues.
In addressing #1 above:
o Chief Boyce described the specifics of the issue that appeared to have started the confusion.
o He also described the evolution of the current policy, and the consultation and review processes that were undertaken in its development. He confirmed that the issues that appear to be the primary topic of concern are not new to our campus, and have been part of our campus policy since 1999.
o Chief Boyce answered several questions from UPC members to clarify misunderstandings and confusion [There are no ‘secret databases’ of vehicles; all unregistered cars are of interest to campus police, no group is singled out; crime reported in our area may spark additional interest in unregistered cars on campus; parking enforcement practices are adjusted to accommodate large events and unusual circumstances; people expecting visitors to campus should notify campus police so they can help with both safety and hospitality; all faculty/staff/students who expect to drive a car onto campus should purchase a parking sticker or get a temporary parking pass for a one-time instance; unusual circumstances are routinely accommodated by campus police, etc.]
In addressing #2 above, Chancellor Ponder asked UPC members to suggest things that we might do differently when disagreements/concerns arise in the future. The following suggestions were offered:
o Respect the value of differing opinions, perspectives, ideas, and make room for differing viewpoints. The academy should be a place where issues can be discussed, explored, and challenged; discourse can and should be robust.
o Expect that this can be uncomfortable; we won’t all agree on the ‘what,’ and we should expect not to agree on the ‘how.’
o Follow our own policies. When we don’t, it breeds mistrust. If we don’t think the policy works well for us, we should use the governance process to influence change in the policy.
o Take responsibility for knowing and understanding a policy/issue/practice before publically assailing it.
o Ask ourselves, ‘Would I say this if I were in front of the person I’m addressing?’ Email can feel anonymous and provide a sense of distance from the recipient. Email to the entire campus does not constitute a dialogue; it can become a diatribe.
o Take ownership. Go to the source. Ask your supervisor/chair. Pick up the phone. Get the facts. Separate the facts from assumptions. Don’t subject others [with ‘reply all’] to what may be a minor misunderstanding.
o UPC members have heard that this parking concern is being discussed by faculty in some classes. There was some concern that this may sometimes go beyond instructional example to advocacy by proxy.
o Aspire Higher. What does this public display of crankiness say about us? What might a new faculty member or staff member assume about our campus from such an exchange?
o Compile a list of tips for civil use of email on our campus.
o Gather those who feel differently about the topic and discuss in person how to address the various concerns. UPC could invite such a discussion on this, or any, topic.
UPC will continue this discussion at a future meeting but we agreed that it is important for people to have correct and complete information, for us to create the opportunities for more sensible dialogue with each other, and for us to reject approaches that shut down sensible dialogue by being hurtful, thereby getting in the way of true social sustainability.
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