Deans Council: The "Reporting ISBN's to Students in Higher Education Act" was discussed as it relates to the affordability of textbooks; as of July 10, faculty must post the textbook they are using, the list price, and the ISBN so that students can decide in advance if they can afford to take the class or if they can get text book elsewhere. Executive VP Furmanski reminded everyone of the Senate resolution passed a year ago that no faculty can benefit financially by assigning a textbook they have authored to their own class; if they use their own textbook, they receive no royalties.
Rob Heffernan reported on the "Student Experience at Research Universities (SERU)" survey that is being administered from the University of California, Berkeley; Gaunt will make the handout available to Cabinet members. The Deans wondered if students would complete a 25-30 minute survey. There was some concern that this might interfere with the Libraries' survey being done with students assessing our website.
VP Pazzani discussed the federal stimulus funding to the NIH and NSF and has encouraged our faculty to apply.
There are plans underway to make the faculty promotions packets totally online by the fall of 2009; the faculty survey will be able to generate the data to fill Form 1A. There will be one printed copy for the university's file, and one extra copy to be used by the PRC; it will expedite the process.
The expedited appeals process that was introduced two years ago to provide another avenue for faculty to challenge a negative tenure decision has a success rate of 50% compared to the regular grievance process that has a success rate of 20%. In the expedited appeals process faculty can challenge the decision based on academic judgment and appeal 14 days after the decision directly to the Promotion Review Committee; in the grievance process the appeal is based on a procedural error and the packet is resubmitted correcting the procedural error.
All new job postings for faculty positions must include as statement that we are an NSF advance institution. This relates to support for female faculty. We will get special wording from the Office of Academic Affairs.
This report was prepared by a committee of deans in New Brunswick and offers efficiency options intended to supplement savings plans already identified by other Rutgers departments or to highlight practices that some units have already undertaken that warrant broader consideration across the university. Some areas discussed in the report include:
Purchasing – Boyle noted that our Imaging Services has done a lot of due diligence in the area of copiers and could probably offer expertise to the university. Dent noted that our cost benefit ratio is very good. Fredenburg will ask for a list of approved university vendors to be put on the staff pages. She reminded Cabinet that the university will not reimburse anyone for purchases made outside RIAS, so staff should not be making any purchases for the Libraries and submitting bills for reimbursement. If there are any questions about "best" sources for purchases, please confer with Nancy Hendrickson.
Communications and Information Technology – Some of the things mentioned in the report are not done in the Libraries. Boyle discussed how some universities are saving money by eliminating voice mail and we should investigate; Puniello noted that we should survey phone outlets to ensure that we are not paying for phone numbers that have been discontinued; moving to open source ILS will provide savings; eliminate travel by attending conferences virtually; eliminate single sided copying where possible; reduce print copies where online is viable. Puniello mentioned voice over IP as another possible cost saving service. She will look into what the university may be doing with this, and what it could mean for RUL in terms of adding to Systems' workload.
Sewell mentioned that we should make it known that we have university subscriptions to newspapers and magazines that are being purchased throughout the university; for example, The Chronicle for Higher Education and The Wall Street Journal.
Instructional Efficiencies – There are things specific to the teaching department such as class size and whether certain programs should exist that don't apply to us, but they discuss faculty workload equity and we might examine the same for library faculty. This is something we might want to turn to the Planning and Coordinating Committee to review.
Personnel Hiring and Compensation Matters - Deans were reminded that granting sabbaticals should be based on research merit/academic significance and that requests are not automatically granted; 10% of any unit is the maximum who can be on sabbatical at any time; Denda noted that a discussion of the academic merits of sabbatical proposals should be put on a Planning and Coordinating Committee agenda.
The university is working with the unions concerning the economic situation and how we might work together to ameliorate the ramifications.
Energy Conservation – Gaunt thinks the Libraries are prudent in this area, but it was noted that there are some areas in the Libraries where the lights are constantly on; this is a physical plant issue that we will pursue. We should have a review of the lights to make sure we're being energy efficient.
Boyle noted that one thing the discussion didn't address directly is the culture changes; we should have special training and events to address staff morale. She also noted that we should have a central calendar; Agnew noted that this is on the PC Working Group's list of future projects.
Gaunt suggested that we ask staff and librarians to contribute ideas to cost savings activities, revenue enhancements, or working efficiently in the libraries. Winston noted that as we query faculty and staff, the administrative group is essential in talking about key things such as voice mail and central calendars.
Gaunt informed Cabinet that academic support units would be receiving 7.1% or 7.8% cuts. The Libraries target for next year is 7.1%. Cuts to academic units would be less, and administrative units more. This percentage is predicated on the state not providing for any salary increases next year and plus additional cuts. If the University does provide salary increases it will do so from its own budget and not through additional funds from the state. That is one reason cuts to each unit are so large.
All units need to provide Executive VP Furmanski with a reduction plan by April 27. This plan should show the impact of losses in each category and how users will be affected. While we need to submit the plan at that time, we can still work on it until July 1 when we implement it. There are still some unknowns: Will there be any furloughs or salary increases? Will there be any restoration of funds?
Gaunt discussed a draft scenario on how we might allocate the reductions. We had already planned for a 3.9% reduction, so we can build on that. We had frozen 23 positions and planned to give back 10 of them. We will need to increase that number in order to reach our target. That will mean we need to identify an additional 4-5 positions from the frozen line pool to give back. Cabinet tentatively identified the positions that could be given back.
We will not be able to keep the cut to collections at $300K that was identified as our target when we thought the cut would be 3.9%. We will need to increase that to $700K. Gaunt will allocate $250K next year from unrestricted gifts to collections to ameliorate the cut. We will then need to take $200K from our operating budget to meet the total.
In thinking about the reduction choices several guiding principles were enunciated:
Boyle has been doing some work on revenue enhancement and that's a priority. She noted that the use of credit cards would enhance payments. There are a number of bills for lost books that have not yet been paid. We should investigate university practices when people leave the university or holds on transcripts for fines/bills. We will also establish a task force to provide ideas on efficiencies.
The Councils can also provide advice. Sewell will work with the LRC and the selectors to determine how they are going to meet the additional $400,000.
Fredenburg and Gaunt will be working on fine tuning and looking at the below-the-line budget and making suggestions on where we think we can meet our reduction target. Travel, using computer paper and toner more efficiently, water service, postage and publications, and voucher are some areas.
Cabinet reviewed the status of year end funds and potential uses in renewals of memberships and services.
Golden noted the appointment of Dr. Wendell Pritchett to serve as Chancellor of Rutgers–Camden.
Winston noted the appointment of Dr. William L. Holzemer as Dean of Rutgers College of Nursing.