The Faculty Senate's Administrative Faculty Committee hosted its annual brown bag event Tuesday, March 10, 2020. In the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center Rotunda, nearly 70 attendees engaged in- person and approximately 80 online in "a transparent conversation about change,” which served as the event's theme. The discussion included topics of change such as University of Nevada, Reno leadership, merit, salary, construction, parking and more.
Panelists included University President Marc Johnson, Nevada System of Higher Education Chair Jason Geddes, Faculty Senate Chair Brian Frost, and from Facilities Services, Director of Planning and Construction Services Dean Hitchcock and Director of Parking and Transportation Services Michelle Horton. AFC Chair Natalie Fry moderated the event.
Fry welcomed the event guests and acknowledged NSHE Board of Regents Member Laura Perkins and Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs Jill Heaton. Fry also thanked Teaching and Learning Technologies staff, the Office of Information Technology and the Faculty Senate staff for their assistance in producing the event.
In addition to providing the panelist discussion, the brown bag event also served as the first AFC Peer Connect Session. Future peer-connect networking events will be planned in various formats.
An administrative faculty survey requesting possible topics for this event was conducted last fall. The survey yielded more than 180 submissions and more than 150 questions, many of which were posed to the panelists during the event. Many survey respondents also suggested offering these events in an accessible and remote fashion in order to join via live stream. This option, which was made available for this brown bag event, was commended by President Johnson.
“It is important to stream this event because we have faculty and staff in all 17 of our counties,” President Johnson said.
President Johnson opened the discussion as the first panelist talking about his transition to faculty and transition of leadership.
“We have achieved great things by working together, including excellent work related to the strategic plan and fulfilling our land-grant responsibility,” he said. “Experience is very important to provide this type of leadership. Knowing what a university needs in order to progress has helped with the ability to hire excellent people.”
University presidential candidates were to be announced mid-April and a new president to begin July 1. Since the panel event, due to COVID-19, the presidential search has been delayed.
An attendee then asked about plans to address the recent Campus Climate Survey results.
“A fall forum is being planned to review University responses within the past year since receiving the Climate Survey results,” Johnson said.
NSHE Chair Geddes and Faculty Senate Chair Frost were then introduced and reviewed a number of topics. Geddes gave more insight to the presidential search and other open searches, again, which have since been delayed. Frost discussed merit funding, evaluations and salary compression issues and reviewed the recommendations posed by the Performance Pay Task Force to the Board of Regents. Those recommendations were approved during the March 2020 Regent’s meeting.
The main approved recommendation that affects administrative and academic faculty was to have a minimum of a 1 percent yearly merit pool, to be generated internally by the institutions. This funding mechanism will not require legislative funding. Frost said work still needs to be done to include this in the NSHE handbook and will become effective July 1, 2021.
“Having this new tool to address the merit issue and having the ability to use funding sources outside of the legislature will help us to be competitive,” Frost said. “The NSHE Performance Pay Task Force recommendation that COLA be funded at 80 percent – not 64 percent – will also be helpful.”
Chair Geddes noted that he shares the faculty’s frustration with the legislature’s lack of engagement in this topic, but believes a creative solution to address this issue in the long term will come.
Horton and Hitchcock were introduced as the next panelists and provided up-to-date details about parking and construction on and around the University’s main campus.
“Based on vacancy, headcount and permit sales, it has been determined that at peak times, there are about 600 spaces available in north and east remote areas,” Horton said. That information led to the decision to build the Gateway Parking Complex garage with 814 new spaces, including carpooling and electric car charging spaces and a pedestrian bridge to campus.”
The Gateway garage will be located south of 9th street, between Center and Lake Streets. It will include a 10-foot wide pedestrian bridge going across 9th street and it will land near the flagpole in front of Morrill Hall.
“The project is in the late design stage,” Hitchcock said. “Construction will start in October 2020 and finish in late fall or early winter of 2021.”
Hitchcock also discussed the upcoming Reno Transportation Commission’s Virginia Street Project.
“The most significant component will be a traffic circle north of 15th street,” Hitchcock said. “This will be part of their bus route expansion, allowing the busses to change direction. There will also be several bus stops between 8th street and Lawlor Events Center, and Virginia Street will be one-lane only in both directions.”
Horton and Hitchcock fielded a number of questions and provided information about parking zones and permits, repaving projects, additional lighting and pathway plans, alternative transportation incentives and more.
Exit surveys were collected and identified respondents were placed into a raffle. One lucky administrative faculty member was later selected and won a Wolf Pack swag basket.
Fry thanked everyone for attending and participating in the discussions and invited everyone to stay for the Peer Connect Session.
For the third year, Faculty Senate accepted Administrative Faculty Award nominations for three University Foundation sponsored awards, which were selected in late-March. Award winners – normally celebrated during the annual Honor the Best ceremony in May – will be highlighted during a special faculty recognition program this fall.
This year’s award recipients include:
- University Foundation Administrative Faculty of the Year: Darius Robinson, Coordinator for Student Leadership and Activities, Residential Life and Housing
- University Foundation Innovative Impact Award: Carlos Cardillo, Director Nevada Center for Applied Research
- University Foundation Outstanding Leadership/Supervisor: Carrie Murphey, Director of Advisement, Recruitment, and Retention, College of Education
The Administrative Faculty Committee conducts studies and makes recommendations on personnel policies, procedures and practices that affect the welfare and employment status of administrative faculty.
The committee is open to recommendations for future speakers and topics, and will accept any observations, comments or suggestions for improving future events. Contact Fry at email@example.com, and follow Faculty Senate on Facebook. The next Peer Connect Session will soon be planned and promoted.