Professional Advisory Council
Minutes – July 13, 2011
The meeting was convened at 2:30 p.m. by Mr. Pusecker.
Others present: Dr. Patrick Harker, JJ Davis, Jerry Cutler, Maureen Querey, Tom LaPenta, Patty Fogg, Judy Allarey
The May 11, 2011 minutes were approved as written.
Dr. Patrick Harker and JJ Davis attended the meeting.
President Harker expressed his appreciation to everyone for making this year an interesting year. Last year was both a great and a challenging year for the university. Great in the sense that UD was one of only two U.S. universities to claim both a Nobel Prize and a Rhodes Scholar in 2010, the other was MIT. Challenging because this is happening during the time when budget cut backs are real. Support from the state has declined to less than 12% of UD’s operating budget, which brings the university back to 2006 appropriations year.
President Harker talked about Bloom energy’s plan to build its new high-tech manufacturing hub in Delaware which would provide up 1500 new jobs between the company and its suppliers at UD’s Science and Technology Campus.
JJ Davis talked about the Diversity and Equity Commission that the President started last year. The commission came out with a series of recommendations based on the Climate Survey Report administered to faculty, staff and students in the fall of 2009. Additional information on the report was published by UDaily and is available online at: http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2011/may/DEC-recommendations-051011.html.
JJ Davis announced the recent upgrades in the recruitment process which are part of the continuing effort to integrate sustainability in the University operations and to improve efficiency of the recruitment process both for the applicants and the university.
Question and Answer
What is the future of the football stadium? President Harker responded that UD is actively looking for sources of revenue to try to enhance the football field and also to ensure that we provide excellent recreational facilities for our students and staff.
What is the status of Bloom Energy? President Harker said that Bloom is finalizing issues with the State and the Public Service Commission, but we’re ready to go and our contractors are on stand-by to do the stabilization work on the ground.
Regarding the new recruitment website, is it better to upload a resume just to have a current resume on file or should employees focus on applying for specific job postings? JJ Davis responded that it is preferable that people post their resume for specific job postings to avoid clogging the system. In general, the feedback on the new system is positive and people are happy with the ability to upload their resume electronically. Maureen Querey, Manager, Classification and Compensation, added that the HR Recruitment brochure is being updated and people are encouraged to give testimonials on the updated website.
What is the status of the compensation and classification review? JJ Davis stated that benchmarking for people who are below minimum and those who are potentially above the maximum in the new system has been identified. Classification and compensation is now working toward establishing the guidelines and are looking at implementing the system by July 2012.
What is the status of the Aberdeen railway track connection? According to JJ Davis, the state continues to have an interest on the station but not in the short term due to funding issues. Discussion about the rail track is continuing.
An employee had a medical situation where an ambulance was called but it took them a while to get to the employee. Is there anything that we can do to make sure that ambulances arrive in a timely manner? Jerry Cutler, HR Director, stated that they are working with Public Safety on how to improve the system.
Ms. Stanley shared her observation about building signs being parallel to the buildings and added that it would be so much easier to see them if they are oriented in a different direction. According to Facilities & Auxiliary Service, they are the process of undertaking a survey of the signs on campus with an eye toward repairing or replacing those that are in need of help. The survey team is taking note of any signs that don’t seem to be doing their primary job, which is to provide easy access to information. Almost all of the signs on South College are perpendicular to the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, which makes it much easier for interested parties to read and to help in wayfinding.
With regards to infrastructure, facilities and integrated strategic planning where are we on the development of a master plan? President Harker that this will be the next phase, we just have to program the money to do it.
Will there be an architectural style guideline for the Science and Technology campus? JJ Davis said the there are recent drawings that are posted on the website to give to give everyone a first look on the new campus. President Harker added that the new campus will have a different look, it will feel more urban, the buildings will be higher, with more lively streetscape, and restaurants and sidewalk cafés.
Is Academy Street closing? President Harker responded that because of the anticipated amount of activities that will be happening in the next several years, like the new dormitories, new dining hall, the ISE Lab, new bookstore, Academy Street will become much busier, and from a safety and security point of view, it will be critical to try to minimize the car traffic in that area, if only for part of the day.
When the Science and Technology campus is developed, will there be a crosswalk across South College Avenue? President Harker said that they are looking at different alternatives, including building a pedestrian bridge which will be part of the redevelopment of the new train station.
Are the changes in the parking lots working as planned and will there be more changes? JJ Davis responded that as the organization continues to grow and we are making it more walkable, the long term goal is to have fewer cars in the central part of the campus. There will be a long term master plan with a longer term goal from a wellness standpoint of getting people out and walking more.
A constituent is concerned that the proposed parking changes further discriminates against those with handicap permits, by forcing them either to pay more for the parking or park farther away from their work place which can be very difficult for those who have trouble walking. JJ Davis said that cost of parking will invariably go up, but we will always give priority to those who have physical disabilities.
Constituent is complaining about the speed in the parking garages and if there is a possibility of putting speed bumps to prevent people from speeding. This concern will be shared with Public Safety.
What is going to happen to Rodney and Dickinson? They will be vacated once the Gilbert dorm replacements are finished and Harrington is renovated. One will probably be demolished and alternative uses will be explored for the other such as grad student or married couple housing.
A constituent was looking for rental housing for professional staff and could not find an affordable housing. JJ Davis said that UD has 68 houses in rental and we are in 100% capacity. Mr. Pusecker added that rent is reasonable.
A constituent would like to know why she can only use three days of accrued sick time to take care of a sick child, spouse or elderly parents, constituent feels that if she has a child with a disability, that she would need more time to take care of her child. Mr. Cutler stated that they are looking at what our peer institutions are doing in that respect to get a better sense of whether we are in line or off the mark in this issue.
If we are building another ISE Lab, would you built it in the Science Technology Campus or in the in central campus? President Harker responded that the goal to keep the academic precinct tight around the historic core.
Mr. Hendricks inquired about how the on-boarding process may be improved, he cited instances in his own department where it has taken a long time to get students and visiting scholars on-boarded. Mr. Cutler said that departments should contact Human Resources if they have similar issue. Ms. Querey, explained that there is a little bit of transition because HR lost some people and this could be a staffing issue.
Constituent has concern about the new parking rules. Constituent is located in 461 Wyoming Road building where County Cooperative extension office is located. Many programs are being offered to general public and there are many volunteers who work offering workshops, maintaining the grounds, and having meetings. The rules requiring individuals to purchase parking passes would add cost to the program budget, and the idea of passing on the cost to the volunteers would deter volunteerism in the program. Constituent suggest that the parking lot in the building be exempt from the parking charges since all the units in the building are dedicated to outreach efforts and volunteer programs. Concern has been referred to the Parking and Transportation Committee.
A constituent asked if the ZIP Car program has been successful and if the possibility of a bike share program could be investigated. This concern was also referred to the Parking and Transportation Committee.