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Provost addresses open forum

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 29 - April 25, 1996

Senior Vice President and Provost Peggy Meszaros was the guest for a recent Faculty and Staff Senate Open Forum.

Meszaros answered questions about pay raises, post-tenure review, distance learning, and other topics.

When asked about inequity in the pay raise recommended for the academic and professional faculty (4 percent) and other faculty members (6 percent), Meszaros said that "a policy decision is yet to be made about that discrepancy." Classified staff salaries are set by the state, she explained, but the university has the option of funding faculty salaries at different levels from those recommended by the state. It is possible that the university may decide to fund the AP faculty at a higher level than the recommended 4 percent, especially in light of the fact that, with the change in pay dates for the coming year, a 4-percent increase would actually result in a net decrease.

On the subject of post-tenure review, Meszaros said that she has scheduled phone meetings with Peg Miller of SCHEV and Bev Sgro, state secretary of education.

In response to a concern about the difficulties of implementing the core curriculum plan, Meszaros said that there is an evaluation process, with a five-year plan for evaluation of the entire curriculum. She added, "I think what we may want to do is look at your concerns and see if the timetable needs to be adjusted."

When asked about Project Enable, Meszaros said it has "gone back to the drawing board to look at the plan and to rethink how we get to the next century with our computing systems." She said that the plan was built on some budget considerations that "were never fully realized." She added that several systems "are well along in their development," but said that the mainframe is so old that we literally cannot buy parts for it. "We're trying to create a new system," she said," but our needs are ahead of the software available, so we're caught in the middle. We have to decide what we're going to do. Are we going to invest in the mainframe or what?"

In response to a question about "job creep," with more and more responsibilities being added to jobs without recognition by the university, Meszaros said she "would disagree a little bit." She said that job titles are being changed to reflect new responsibilities, even if no more money is available. "I think we all need to remember we're human beings, and we won't be able to do everything that's on our plate to do."

Meszaros said she and Ann Spencer have appointed a task force to look at "family-friendly" policies. "My hope is they'll come back with recommendations for further improving our environment," she said.

Meszaros said that distance learning is important for the future of the university. "I think if we don't establish ourselves further and make major strides in the next year we will be left in the dust," she said. She added that distance learning with technology is the "hot topic" at national meetings. "We have an opportunity," she said. "We have the foundation to do some remarkable things."