Wright State University Staff Council Minutes

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

 

 

Present: Council Members: Mendy Beverly, Linda Dunbar, Diane Hamilton, Mary Healea, Joyce Howes, Jennifer Rice, Evelyn Roberts, and Daisy Stieger

 

Others: Bill Rickert, Matt Filipic

 

The WSU Staff Council met on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 , at 2:30 p.m. , in Room 267 University Hall.

 

1.    Updates

A.   NCA Visit.  Bill announced that the NCA Accreditation Team Site Visit on May 15-17, 2006 was a complete success, and there were no deficits found. The team was confident that WSU is fully engaged and knows and pursues its mission. Bill acknowledged that the classified and unclassified staff played an enormous part in this success.
 
B.   Bill raised the question about the WSU Mini U. having few openings for infants and especially for older children. Greg Bernhardt, Dean of Education and Human Services, is to develop a questionnaire about Mini U. Bill asked the council for input on the issue of child care and possible questions to be asked in the survey. This topic will be discussed at the June meeting of the council.
 

2.    WSU Budget

 

Matt Filipic, Vice President for Business and Fiscal Affairs, spoke about the WSU budget, beginning with a discussion of how changes in the economy have affected higher education in Ohio . There was prosperity after World War II, instead of depression as was feared. Back then, not many attended college since the pay for a college graduate was similar to the blue-color workers.

 

In the early 70's, the economy changed to a knowledge economy. The US was competing with other countries that only paid their workers half of what the US did. Now we are competing with countries such as China who pay their workers only one-tenth of what a U.S. worker earns.

 

Dr. Filipic had a chart showing the median income for males 25 years and older. It showed that between 1958 and 1973, college graduate males earned similar salary growth as the blue-collar workers. But after 1973, that changed, and a college education was needed to get ahead on the job.

 

Politicians have not emphasized higher education in the state budget. During the last five years, with less support coming from the state, except for need-based aid, WSU's tuition has risen and will go over $7,000 next year.

 

Ohio needs to educate a broader range of people, and WSU was founded, in part, to provide such opportunities. We want to be an attractive, affordable choice. If WSU wasn't here, many would not attain a baccalaureate degree. Many WSU alumni are first-generation college graduates in their families. Also many WSU students come from families earning under $50,000 a year. Over the last 10 years, WSU's tuition has moved from the middle range to the lower range of Ohio 's public universities. WSU is giving many opportunities to those who might not be able to attend college.

 

A year ago at this time, WSU had less expenditures and more revenue, allowing us to grow our reserves. A change in investment strategy has resulted in additional earnings available. WSU is here to stay, so we can invest less conservatively to get the highest return over the long term. Since late 2004, more money has gone to stocks, raising annual earnings substantially.

 

Dr. Filipic announced that the staff will receive a 3.5% pay increase for 2006 (2% merit and 1.5% across the board). Tuition will be increased by 4.6% for part-time undergraduate students, 4.0% for part time graduate students, and 4.6% for full-time students.

 

Dr. Filipic said that the Ohio Constitutional Amendment about Tax and Expenditure Limitations (TEL), which would have posed a serious threat to WSU, is being removed from the November ballot.

 

Bill asked if anyone had questions about the budget:

1.)   Daisy Stieger voiced concern that possibly because of Banner, if a graduate student takes an undergraduate class, he will be charged for it at the graduate rate; and if he is a WSU employee or dependent, the amount will also be taxed.

Dr. Filipic explained that the Executive Steering Committee of Banner concluded there was no way for the Banner system to allow graduate students to register for undergraduate classes at undergraduate fees. Bill Rickert asked Joyce Howes to see if this issue was communicated to students, and if any changes are possible. The Banner system was chosen over PeopleSoft because it was less expensive and less prone to problems, but it still has some negative consequences.

 

2.)  Joyce Howes asked about staffing in academics being more about faculty positions rather than staff positions.

Bill said that each year the administration regularly analyzes faculty and staff positions—how many faculty, classified staff, and unclassified staff per each student and per each credit hour. Since an enrollment peak in the early 90's, and over the past ten years, the staff has increased at a higher rate than faculty. Thus, the number of faculty needs to be increased to ensure a quality ratio of faculty to students.

Matt said there was not a good process for staffing. In the last year, this was aggravated by the extra demands on staff for the implementation of Banner. The Provost approved strategic investment funds to be used for additional positions. Each unit is to determine if these positions will be necessary when they become vacant.

3.)   It was said that WSU is still affordable and has a good value for students.  It may be the most efficient state university in Ohio.  Students leave WSU with significantly less debt than those at other state universities in Ohio.

4.)  Problems with GTA paychecks was brought up. Some of their checks were wrong or were not received at all.

There have been some problems with payroll issues and Banner. Al Boggs and Jeff Ulliman will be working together to improve process issues in Human Resources and in Payroll within the new Banner system.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

 

 

The next meeting of the WSU Staff Council will be held on Wednesday, June 22, 2006 , at 2:30-4:00 pm , in Room 267 University Hall.

 

The agenda for the June 22 Meeting will include WSU Mini U. and a Wrap-up of FY 2005-06.  Also Bill asked the council members to bring agenda item ideas for the 2006-07 schedule of the WSU Staff Council.