In a Division the size of ALVSCE (Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences and Cooperative Extension) with more than 1,400 employees there is ample opportunity for instances of miscommunication and things getting lost in translation. The intention of this page is to address rumors, clarify things, and promote transparency. If you have a question, comment, or concern about something within ALVSCE that you would like addressed, please submit it via this webform. We will then route the question, comment, or concern to whomever can best address.
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*** DISCLAIMER ***
We can be open about many things, but cannot post questions or answers on this website about specific personnel issues or unit-level grievances involving specific personnel issues. The people involved, administrators included, have some expectation of privacy, which will be eroded discussing such issues in a public manner. We take every concern very seriously, and even though there are some issues that are not best resolved through this forum, there are other avenues for you to report concerns or ask questions. If you have general personnel concerns you would like to address, please contact your supervisor directly, or you may contact Human Resources employee advising at HRemail@example.com or 520-621-8298. Additionally, for more information about where employees may bring concerns or file complaints about discrimination or harassment, or report suspected ethics and compliance violations, please review this memo:
Surprised to learn that some faculty are teaching more than their assigned FTE (some have been doing this for years) and their unit heads are not being aware or are doing nothing to compensate these faculty and/or adjust their teaching efforts... These are serious equity issues issues and perhaps HR related for abuse/neglect of an employee’s workload...
In the College of Agriculture and Life Science, we do maintain a policy of matching teaching FTE with instructional output. Generally speaking, we expect a full-time (1.0 FTE) instructional position to deliver 18 credit hours of instruction per academic year (equivalent to 6 sections of a 3-credit course). However, there are circumstances where faculty may over-deliver on their instructional FTE in a given year. Sometimes there is a good reason for this – the faculty member may, for example, be voluntarily “swapping” a higher teaching load for a reduced teaching obligation in a subsequent semester. In other cases, the faculty member may agree to an "overload" commitment and receive supplemental compensation for the extra instruction. In all cases, faculty should receive some form of compensation or consideration in exchange for agreeing to teach over and above the amount normally associated with their instructional FTE. If you are aware of faculty who are in the situation of delivering un-compensated instruction in excess of their teaching FTE, please advise them to speak with their Unit Head to consider options. Alternatively, they can contact Asst. Dean for Faculty Advancement Jean McLain to discuss.
It's really great how the College has been able to weather the storm of this past year, and how great things will be on the other end, but can we please not forget that this was accomplished in large part, on the backs of staff and appointed personnel, the largest group of employees in the College, through literally taking money out of their pockets via furloughs and pay reductions? So yeah, that's great that the College has been budgeting and planning for 5-10 years out...when it really mattered the people who show up (either physically or virtually) whether getting paid or not are the ones who got hardest hit and despite how bright the future looks, there is NEVER any discussion or mention of restoring those dollars back to them. Where is the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow? Instead, the thing they're supposed to be ecstatic and so thankful to College leadership is that they have a job next year, when in actuality, isn't that the minimum we should expect for the sacrifice that were made, and continue to be made? Pot of gold? That's just disrespectful. There's no gold here. You know what was taken from me because of the furlough/pay reduction program? Not a postponement of a vacation or a new car. Money that was to be set aside for my children's education. Is that coming back? No. That pot of gold doesn't exist. So yeah, great, go celebrate College leadership accomplishments. We'll just be happy we have jobs for the next year, right? Oh, and if you think I'm putting my name on this and risking retaliation (which exists no matter what people say), there is some oceanfront property in Gila Bend I'd like to sell you.
(Editor's note: Shane's responses are in BOLD font, and comments from original question are in italics)
It's always a challenge to communicate everything as well as I'd like to and, clearly, I didn't here. I do try. One of my favorite quotes is “Do not write so that you can be understood, but so that you cannot be misunderstood.” – Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (ca. 35 – ca. 100). Your well-timed comment provides me a way to communicate better.
It's really great how the College has been able to weather the storm of this past year, and how great things will be on the other end, but can we please not forget that this was accomplished in large part, on the backs of staff and appointed personnel, the largest group of employees in the College, through literally taking money out of their pockets via furloughs and pay reductions?
I agree with you 100% about the work the staff have done. I see it every day. It's true, of course, that so often rhetoric completely misses staff. I often say that in ALVSCE 75% of our employees are staff and not faculty. I encourage everyone reading this response to read this March 8 Chronicle of Higher Education article on microaggressions against staff in academia.
So yeah, that's great that the College has been budgeting and planning for 5-10 years out...when it really mattered the people who show up (either physically or virtually) whether getting paid or not are the ones who got hardest hit and despite how bright the future looks, there is NEVER any discussion or mention of restoring those dollars back to them. Where is the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow?
I have instituted several measures over the past decade toward salary equity and opportunities for salary increases, such as equity pay raises, the AES living wage initiative, national salary benchmarking, annual merit raises, and tying promotion raises to the CPI. None of these measures have been taken by the other colleges – and none could have happened without the hard work of ALVSCE and college leaders and business office staff throughout the division and all those like you on the front lines delivering our missions.
The university furloughs and pay reductions were a financial hardship during a year that was challenging in many ways. In most colleges, however, these financial measures protected jobs from being lost. Beginning last April, I requested all CES, VDL, and YCEDA employees be exempt and that the part of the salaries earned in AES would be. My request was approved. I also requested that CALS employees be exempt. That request was not approved; as CALS is a business unit of UA as a whole, I understand the rationale. I refer you to slides 41-52 from my Semiannual Update of 12/8/2020 where I expressly show that CALS did not need the furlough and pay reductions to pay its costs.
Instead, the thing they're supposed to be ecstatic and so thankful to College leadership is that they have a job next year, when in actuality, isn't that the minimum we should expect for the sacrifice that were made, and continue to be made?
I wouldn't say I expect anyone to be ecstatic, but I hope they can be less stressed.
Pot of gold? That's just disrespectful. There's no gold here.
Fair enough. What was meant to encourage people not to miss the email in their inboxes clearly didn't work and I apologize to you and anyone else for the disrespect you felt. I assure you it was not intended.
You know what was taken from me because of the furlough/pay reduction program? Not a postponement of a vacation or a new car. Money that was to be set aside for my children's education. Is that coming back? No.
Yes, I do know. I appreciate that very much. I am a first-generation college student, and I grew up in a household with the same issues you describe. This is why I focused on doing whatever I could to get as many of our employees as possible exempted from the furloughs and pay reductions – and why I will move money as needed to protect jobs.
That pot of gold doesn't exist. So yeah, great, go celebrate College leadership accomplishments. We'll just be happy we have jobs for the next year, right? Oh, and if you think I'm putting my name on this and risking retaliation (which exists no matter what people say), there is some oceanfront property in Gila Bend I'd like to sell you.
You raise another good point about retaliation, and I promise you I will do all I can to deal with that if and when I am notified about it. I am glad that you used Grapevine to share your thoughts on this topic. The whole point is that you can do so anonymously. Thank you.
I have been successfully remote working since the Pandemic began however, my Department has let go personnel during the Pandemic and are now looking for me to handle in office meeting duties. I have expressed my fear and anxiety of returning the the AES site and was told to go to Disability Resource Center by my Supervisor to get an exemption to continue remote working, which I have done. DRC has told me that I need a Dr's note to continue forward with my request, which I might not be able get. I have attended multiple Zoom Meetings and Briefings held by the President, the College and the Provost that have all acknowledged personnel will have fears and anxiety returning to the office and that we should not be in fear of being forced to return or be retaliated against. How does someone access these resources and support?
Thank you for your question and for explaining your situation. Firstly, I understand your concerns about returning to in-person work. They are shared by many colleagues. University leadership recognizes these concerns and has established mechanisms to assist you and your supervisor balance business needs with individual concerns. The first step, as you’ve already done, is to consult with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to request a reasonable accommodation to in-person work.
If DRC does not find that a qualifying reason exists, please seek advice from the Division of Human Resources’ Life and Work Connections to identify resources available to you and our HR consultant, Eric Kay, to map out your options. Please also discuss your concerns with your supervisor. While each position and business need are unique, and some positions will require in-person work while others can be performed remotely, supervisors have been directed by Vice President Burgess to be as flexible as business needs allow when setting work schedules.
Rest assured that the channels that you have been advised to take are part of all of our commitment to be as flexible as possible for your situation while balancing the duties that must be carried out.
During yesterday's Dial-A-Dean. VP Burgess indicated that ALVSCE was loaning $3 million to the University to bail out those colleges that were struggling financially. Why are we not using that money to pay the people who work for ALVSCE instead of furloughing them? I understand that you want to help out, but if a college is floundering could it be due to poor management or other circumstances that indicated that maybe they a no longer be a viable unit? I know this sounds harsh, but are we really helping or just encouraging mediocrity?
Dr. Burgess responded directly to your questions during the August 14 Dial-the-Dean program so that any listeners with questions on the same topic could also hear his response. The recording of this program is posted here and his response to your question begins at 17:23. (If you have not listened to a Dial-the-Dean or other recording in Panopto before, please select "UA NetID" to log in using those credentials. To access auto-generated captions, open the recording, then click "Captions" in the left panel.)
I am concerned about the fact that Cooperative Extension employees are being encouraged to travel out of county to receive a COVID test specifically for UA. Why would this be encouraged when:
1. Each employee must travel alone due to social distancing 2. Mileage reimbursement or vehicle expense of some kind will be incurred 3. Budget cuts are about to occur 4. Free testing for everyone is available in county.
5. If the test is done let's say 08/17/2020 but the employee's office does not open for another 2 weeks or longer, alot could change.and a negative test may no longer be valid. Will there be retesting prior to an office being opened?
Thank you for your consideration of these questions.
Jeffrey C. Silvertooth
Director for Extension and Economic Development
12 August 2020
Response to Question
I am concerned about the fact that Cooperative Extension employees are being encouraged to travel out of county to receive a COVID test specifically for UA. Why would this be encouraged when:
1. Each employee must travel alone due to social distancing 2. Mileage reimbursement or vehicle expense of some kind will be incurred 3. Budget cuts are about to occur 4. Free testing for everyone is available in county.
5. If the test is done let's say 08/17/2020 but the employee's office does not open for another 2 weeks or longer, alot could change.and a negative test may no longer be valid. Will there be retesting prior to an office being opened?
Thank you for your consideration of these questions.
This is a good question and I appreciate the author providing it and the opportunity to respond.
For University of Arizona Cooperative Extension (UACE) employees working in counties that do not have direct local access to the UA testing system, your points are well-taken. First of all, the University of Arizona (UA) is working hard in an effort to provide the appropriate testing for all UACE personnel. Our ability to secure the UA preferred procedure of testing in every county was not feasible. However, they have been able to cover every region of the state with appropriate testing locations. Nevertheless, the UA group leading this effort recognizes the problem and they are still working to resolve these difficulties.
Secondly, all testing is voluntary.
In the cases where UACE personnel are working in a county or area where the UA testing site requires the travel, as you described, and appropriate COVID-19 tests are being provided by other agencies in your county, it seems most practical for individuals in these cases to utilize the local services if possible.
It is my understanding that later testing dates will be provided by the UA systems.
Thank you very much for the good questions and for providing this opportunity to address them.
I am reaching out to other employees within the University who have programs whose audience is adults with autism or who have accommodated classes or events for adults with autism. As I continue my education, I would like to learn more and professionally develop myself to specialize in this target audience. While I am aware that the Disability Resource Center provides assistance, I wanted to speak with someone who has actually worked with the DRC and the target audience and can give me their experience and knowledge.
We do have a program at the Pima County office that provides parenting classes for children with Autism.
The contacts are Diane Mazini firstname.lastname@example.org or Frances Holguin email@example.com
Is CALS going to make a statement of solidarity with the Black Community? I understand the president made his statement, however, there are multiple colleges who have released strong statements of support. As this institution is predominantly white, the Black students, staff, and faculty express feelings of isolation and lack of support. As CALS is the oldest college at this institution they should also strive to be a leader in diversity and inclusion. The silence coming from CALS is very upsetting.
Thank you for sharing this: “As this institution is predominantly white, the Black students, staff, and faculty express feelings of isolation and lack of support”. I appreciate it; it is important to hear.
I agree with you that “As CALS is the oldest college at this institution they should also strive to be a leader in diversity and inclusion”. You are 100% correct. As dean, I have striven to make changes so that CALS is more diverse, more inclusive and more equitable for all those who are part of this college community. There may be times I do not live up to my expectations and as I have not lived up to yours here, this is one of those times. Please accept my apology. And please know--when I do not meet a bar that needs to be set, it is not willful. I have many frustrations in this area of the entire enterprise I am responsible for as UA’s VP for Agriculture, Life & Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, as well as the dean of CALS.
I apologize for my inability to communicate that led to you writing that “The silence coming from CALS is very upsetting”. I want to clarify that as a college, The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the summation of all its departments, schools, and employees and so the college per se (as a collective) has not made a statement. As dean, I have made a number of public statements on racism and discrimination not only very recently, but over the almost decade I have been here. I have made specific public statements on the latest abominable situation of George Floyd’s death in police custody. Every person will interpret what I have said through their lens and I am always open to hearing anyone’s perspective--directly and (usually) in person. As we cannot currently meet in person, I invite you to contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can set up a Zoom call.
What is the response to this employee who is angry about the university's response to #covid19. I can assure you her feelings are shared widely.
Specifically address the academic solidarity statement linked in the article.
"No Sir, I Will Not ‘Bear Down’ Because I Can No Longer ‘Bear It’ by No I Will Not Bear Down" a scathing response to @uarizona pandemic policy being driven by @UArizonaPres from an anonymous employee author @greboycje6
Please see this response to your inquiry from Vice President Burgess.
This is not an specific question but just a reaction to the town hall with President Robbins, Provost Faulk and CFO Rulney. It is also a collective comment from many faculty members and staff from CALS . It was very frustrating to see that many of the questions being posted were not asked and that the answers given were so general and did not shed much light into the serious concerns we all have. It also left a sense of a lot of work being done and that many things are not yet figured out. Not even the essential and time sensitive ones such as consideration of time instructors will have to invest during the summer reshaping courses. It was quite upsetting to witness vague responses and the same "political blah, blah, blah" that was basically meaningless. Telling instructors that OIA will provide support is ridiculous.. because their staff is limited as well and although they may give tips or advice, each individual instructor will have to invest his/her time (a significant amount!) for reshaping the courses for delivery in the fall whatever options they choose. There were questions being asked on how we would be supported for this extra work in the summer but these questions were never brought to the speakers... Honestly speaking, it was a waste of our time! We did not learn anything news, neither got answers to any of our concerns... We had high homes for real answers and instead we wasted one hour of our valuable time...The intention was good but the outcomes were not...
CALS faculty, along with their colleagues across campus, are anxious for guidance from the university regarding what class delivery will look like in Fall 2020. What we know at this point is that the university plans to re-open and offer in-person classes next semester. This does not mean that every class will be face-to-face. We should expect each department to offer a mix of face-to-face, hybrid and online (iCourse) options for students. The exact mix will likely depend on the nature of the courses scheduled for the Fall, the extent to which iCourse versions already exist, and the age/risk profile of the instructor of record. Preliminary reports from the various task forces that address campus re-opening indicate that extraordinary cleansing and distancing measures are planned to ensure faculty, staff and students can all re-engage with the university safely. Faculty and academic department heads will be having conversations through the summer to determine the best course delivery modality for each instructor.
If I may offer a bit of commentary, I believe the COVID-19 pandemic will push the UA (and all of higher education) along an evolutionary, but not revolutionary path. Much good will come of this in terms of improvements to instructional delivery. It will undoubtedly raise the bar for what will be considered “excellence in instruction” as large numbers of both faculty and students become aware of how technology can enhance the classroom experience, whether face-to-face or online. Instructional design experts have been telling us for a decade how to improve our in-person classrooms by adopting innovations such as the flipped classroom approach, “small teaching” techniques, greater reliance on collaborative learning, and the like. I am convinced that the efforts of our faculty over the summer to adopt “hybrid” delivery techniques will not be just a band-aid for the current pandemic, but will yield lasting benefits to the quality of their teaching over time. Yes, it will require an investment this summer by every faculty member scheduled to teach in the fall. But, I believe the long-run dividends will be huge.
Now, some specifics of what CALS is doing to support instructional delivery:
1. Jim Hunt has prepared a Quick Reference Guide for CALS faculty to OIA and ODL resources and tutorials. We distributed this to all CALS faculty via email on May 11. I strongly recommend that every faculty member scheduled to teach in the fall take an afternoon and click through the links in the Quick Reference Guide to get familiar with what is available, with a goal of finding a starting point that works for you and your level of experience with online or hybrid delivery.
2. A CALS Faculty Learning Community for online and digital delivery is being created and led by Kayle Skorupski (NSC) and Arin Haverland (ENVS). This FLC will connect faculty who are already knowledgeable about online delivery with online beginners to advise and engage as they gear up for and through Fall 2020. You will likely hear from them shortly, if you haven’t already.
3. CALS is putting together a hiring package (and requesting from the Provost a waiver from the hiring slowdown) to hire a team of instructional designers and course support specialists (4 or 5 people). The purpose would be to help our academic units get over the hump in creating/converting courses to online delivery to satisfy our obligations and opportunities with AZ Online, UA Global and, in some cases, our Distance campuses. While we intend to hire quickly, the production of courses (obviously working in partnership with the faculty members who teach them) would unfold over the next couple of years.
4. Graduate student summer boot camp for course design: The UA Office of Digital Learning (ODL) is organizing a CALS-specific boot camp (series of three, sequential 5-week programs) to train grad students to be course support specialists. Once the students have completed the training they will be available within their academic units to help faculty create online content or convert their courses to online delivery. The first bootcamp will start at the end of May.
I have just finished carefully reviewing the current version of the re-opening plan for Cooperative Extension. I would like to know if I do not wish to participate in testing or wear a mask will I be let go from my position? If clientele do not wish to be tested or wear a mask will we refuse to serve them?
No, the individual will not be fired and the clientele will still be served, but both will have to make some adjustments on how each interact during meetings and the work day.
The guidelines and policies for reopening all facets of the University of Arizona (UA) are currently being developed, including a specific section in regards to the unique characteristics of Cooperative Extension.
The University Re-Open plans are being established. The university level guidelines will establish further parameters all employees will be expected to follow in coordination with all UA Human Resources policy.
The Cooperative Extension plan aims to provide safety in the workplace for our employees and clientele while delivering excellent programming to all Arizona citizens. Reasonable accommodations to avoid testing and social distancing measures have been provided for individuals who are unable to meet the necessary and prescribed social distancing.
If concerns remain on how the plan is currently listed specific feedback can be provided to the Cooperative Extension administration.
An update to the furlough program was released this morning, and while I appreciate the furloughs originally being distributed across all pay levels, I can't help but notice now that it's really not equally distributed, especially when you look at most of the increments being within a $500 range except for $50,000 to $75,000 and $81,000 to $150,000. I'm sure these large ranges are where the greatest number of employees sit in the salary ranges but, to truly be equitable, the ranges and associated number of days should be consistent increments. How will this be addressed?
I am unable to answer your question, but I can share that the revised furlough schedule released by President Robbins on May 1, 2020 incorporated feedback from faculty and staff. The math behind the new schedule had multiple constraints: avoid hardship on colleagues earning below $44,500, avoid increasing furlough days to any employee compared to the original schedule, generate the necessary furlough savings, and address other concerns identified with the original schedule.
UA Human Resources has created an FAQ website and are responding to questions about COVID-19 via a dedicated COVID-19 questions email address. Please be sure to utilize those resources for additional information and answers to your question(s). HR Furlough and Pay Reduction Program FAQ's: https://hr.arizona.edu/content/furlough-program-faqs HR Pandemic email address: HR-COVID19-Questions@email.arizona.edu
I was made aware a furlough exemption was being sought for Extension. I know Dean Burgess is the person who has to ask this of the Provost and President Robbins, when will I know if I will be exempted?
We have been asked repeatedly if the Extension funding from the state and Smith-Lever would be subject to the UA financial mitigation program (FMP). I have told them that we have submitted a request for an exemption. Also, in response to their queries I have told them repeatedly that I believe we have a legitimate case.
The same questions come to us from many lines that include questions regarding the status of county funds in the FMP that each of our county Extension units receive. Is the university going to take county funding from positions in county units that have no connection to tuition revenues?
Similarly, capacity grant funds, such as SNAP-Ed and EFNEP, are external federal grants but we need clarity on whether the positions supported from these funds are exempt from the furlough and salary reduction program.
In all cases, we have responded honestly by saying that we are checking for clarification and we are hopeful that we can gain approval and support for our requests that we believe are reasonable in the context of the universities problems with a loss of revenue from tuition.
We are being told by leadership in Cooperative Extension that there is still uncertainty about whether or not employees covered 100% by grants are affected by furloughs. At our unit meeting on Friday, April 24, we were told that everyone, including those paid 100% by grants, should plan to take furlough time until further notice. However, the very first question on the FAQs posted on the HR web site states explicitly that there is an exception for "anyone whose position is 100% grant funded." This impacts a large percentage of employees in Extension. Why is leadership in Extension perpetuating a sense of uncertainty about this matter and causing unnecessary anxiety over this issue when the question has been asked and answered? There are certainly unknowns and uncertainties, but when there is a clear answer, let's share it and move on.
We are operating with the best information we have available from the UA administration. When we have new or updated information, we are providing that as soon as possible.
This is what we have been stating and have had posted on our Extension FAQs/Parking Lot in the Knowledgebase. It’s not saying anything different than what we’ve been communicating nor is it in contrast to UA HR.
I have communicated this directly to CEDs and posted it in the Tuesday Morning Notes and Friday Extension Notes. Academic unit heads have access to all of this as well. We update this FAQ site regularly: https://public.confluence.arizona.edu/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=93160013
The following is what one finds in the Extension FAQs/Parking Lot in the Knowledgebase. By simply clicking on questions 1-9 the answers are provided.
Financial Mitigation Plan (FMP)
• Created by Rodriguez, Dominic J - (drodriguez1), last modified on Apr 24, 2020
In response to President Robbins' recently-proposed financial mitigation plan (FMP) of enacting furloughs to help offset the financial strain of the COVID-19 issue, we've developed a separate page to house frequently-asked questions (FAQs). You can still enter additional questions in the comments section below and they will be added to the list to obtain responses.
- Are sponsored-funded employees required to take a furlough?
- Will the furloughs apply to fully grant-supported positions like grad students and postdocs? How does this apply to T32 postdocs and other contract workers (non-employees)?
- Summer supplements for many faculty are paid out of grant dollars. How will salaries paid from grants, in light of the fiscal responsibilities to funding agencies including project progress, be impacted
- How will furlough affect our relationships with sponsors?
- Are start-up funds for faculty being viewed like grant funds (i.e., if faculty pay their personnel off start up, are those people also exempt from furlough)? What about people who are state-funded who 100% support the activity of research faculty?
- How will it work for those faculty whose salary is above the NIH cap and the UA pays cost share?
- As faculty who receive extramural funding will be converted from salary reduction to furlough, there will be no effect on the NIH cap. Total compensation remains the same, the faculty member will just need to take their furlough time commensurate with the effort devoted to sponsored awards (see question #1 above).
- Are staff whose salaries are part of a cost sharing commitment exempt from furlough or pay cuts?
- If someone is on the salary cusp, can they take a salary reduction to bring them down to a lower furlough percentage?
In addition, the below questions have yet to be answered. When they are, we will post them above with the rest of the FAQs.
• Do the furloughs include hourly employees?
• Since Cooperative Extension has a separate state line item from the University and it does not receive income from tuition or any student / campus driven auxiliary services are they included in the furlough and if so, why?
• How will the furlough impact 9 month employees versus 12 month employees? The straight day calculation for those under $150K represents a MUCH higher percentage for 9 month employees.
• Will supplemental compensation be considered in the salary ranges and how they relate to the number of furlough days?
• How do the measures we are taking, such furloughs and layoffs compare to our peer institutions, both in state and around the nation?
• Is the salary range for furlough including stipends from Other Professional Services that are outside our base appointment/contract?
• We are being deluged with questions from our physician faculty. Are they exempted from furloughs? if not, how does this work for them? furloughed only on the UA source and not the Banner source? what salary? academic only? clinical rate ? blended total salary? Thank you!
• How does furlough work for faculty? Faculty do not report time like staff do. Additionally, will workload be reduced then or are faculty expected to do 5 days of work in 4 days?
• Will furloughs apply to individuals funded on auxiliary (recharge) accounts?
• Are faculty also subject to furlough? They are paid by contract so I assume they aren't subjected to this new policy
• Are endowed positions safe from furloughs?
• Can faculty take unpaid leave?
As faculty, we are have been asked to change our mentality on how we do research ad teaching under COVID 19 and beyond. We are embracing the change by making drastic changes in our teaching, research and extension and looking at the future. What is the college thinking or planning for CALSS and the inevitable future? Is the college structure going to remain the same? Are we still going to go with the old fashioned unit model or keep units separated that do not contribute equality for our mission? There are at least 4 units that should be merged given their small faculty numbers and contributions.
This could have happened many years ago and it did not for various (and perhaps justified) reasons. But in our opinion we believe this should happen now and should be the initiative and leadership of our dean. As our leader he should take the reins and take action on this. It would definitely save a lot of ones that could be redirected for other profitable actions.
Thank you for your question.
First, thank you for all the work, stress, strain and frustration with all you have had to change in our workplace so quickly. As I am sure you are aware, the same is true for our staff.
I hear your underlying message that the more efficient and effective we can be to save money and increase revenues, the more jobs we can save or even create during this unprecedented crisis. Of course, looking into doing this isn’t something we should not put off until convenient or when a financial crisis happens. We should always be thinking this way. And I am.
For many people, unit mergers become top of mind in hard financial times as an “easy and obvious option”. However, not only can I not do it unilaterally, but it is not easy or quick at UA (see: Guidelines for Reorganizations and Mergers of Academic Units). Furthermore, the direct, indirect and opportunity costs of mergers can be very large.
I am always open to doing anything that effectively and efficiently improves our situation. Like many other things we can do now, I have considered it. There are two questions I must ask first: Why is this the best thing to do now? Why is this the least bad thing we can do now?
I am guided by the principles in my April 20 message, our strategic intents, missions, and share of the task UA requires of us strategically or immediately, during this crisis. I don’t make decisions without analyzing subjective and objective data first—doing so would be arbitrary and capricious.
The smallest units are Agricultural Education, Technology and Innovation; Agricultural and Resource Economics; Entomology; and Biosystems Engineering. I know the faculty in these units, and I know they clearly and cogently demonstrate that they contribute at least “equally to our mission”. From a mission output and outcome perspective, only the Department of Nutritional Sciences contributes equally in all three of our mission areas.
One of the small departments is the #1 ranked program in the world for its research (and has been for at least a decade). 20% of its faculty are above the 90th college percentile for MTDC earned, 87% are above the 50th college percentile, and none are in the bottom third. By contrast, all our large units have faculty with the same research FTE in the bottom third. No unit has a higher MTDC mean, and the CALS faculty member with highest H-index is in that unit.
One of the small units you’ve referenced also has one of our three Regents’ Professors.
In terms of cost savings, I know of no unit merger that actually created savings. We already use shared business functions in all but one of the small units, and I will investigate why this shouldn’t happen in this unit from a financial perspective. We already have centralized college-wide teaching and research support.
Looking at the financial data everyone has had access to for almost a decade:
- RCM revenue above investment from total RCM-revenue, i.e. a straightforward financial return on investment (ROI) as in the for-profit private sector: Two of the four small units have positive RCM-revenue ROIs. Two of our large schools and our largest department have negative RCM-revenue ROIs. This means that two of the smallest units are financially subsidizing three of the largest units.
- Positive financial contribution by individual faculty: Is not biased towards the larger units but the smaller.
- Non-RCM revenue ROI: Two of the small units are among the top four units in CALS.
Regarding redirecting money for other profitable actions: Under current market conditions, simply merging smaller units with larger ones wouldn’t just not improve our immediate situation, it would come at a very high faculty time and opportunity cost, create disruption, distract from other things, and increase our immediate, and possibly long-term, costs. It may not even save any money at all as unit head stipends would likely be needed for associate director stipends within an expanded school with even greater differences in disciplines and cultures.
No matter the economic conditions, no entity has ever only cut its way to financial sustainability. We must cut and invest for revenue. Merging or disbanding units has been and always will remain an option. The fastest way to save the most money is to cut costs in the three large units that have the most negative ROIs. Reorganization within units, especially those running deficits in some areas (almost all units), will yield significant amounts of money. Increasing revenue by investing in innovative things that generate more revenue than costs—such as participating in UA Online and UA Global can help only if they are ready to go right now. We must do these things now.
Years ago, I tasked all division appointed administrators to always be working to increase mission delivery and cut costs. I have always been constantly reassessing all aspects of our situation and this includes our organizational chart. If circumstances change so the option of reorganizing or merging academic units improves our situation, and it could very well do so very quickly, then we should move to do it very quickly.
Are we taking the mental health crisis on campus seriously? Doesn't seem like it. https://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2019/12/i-caps
Actually, the UA is directing resources to the growing mental wellness problem with which so many of our students are grappling. As part of the UA Strategic Plan Wildcat Journey pillar (pillar 1), CALS will be one of several colleges receiving central funding for a full-time professional Life Management Counselor (LMC). Our new CALS LMC is Ryan Daily. He will have an office in Forbes and will start on February 24. A broad announcement will be forthcoming soon.
This new position marks an exciting expansion of services we can offer to CALS students. To build on this opportunity, Dean Burgess has asked my office, Career and Academic Services, to organize a Working Group on Student Resiliency that will develop new tools and programs to help CALS students to de-stress and cope with whatever life challenges they encounter. Some of these tools will likely be web-based, and some will expand the sense of community that we have been working hard to create over the last several years so that students view their CALS colleagues (faculty, staff and fellow students) as family. Ryan Daily's professional input will be integral to the Working Group. So, stay tuned through the coming months as we work to scale up our services.
I appreciate the efforts of the UA to attract the most qualified candidates and conduct recruitments in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and policies. Unfortunately, in reality many of us have encountered the issue raised above. Just to be clear, I am not talking about a tenure track position, but other temporary and part time positions. Here are the tell-tale signs of a position slated for a particular individual:
- minimal time between open and review start date
- often no cover letter requested, only CV
- despite short hiring timeframe, long delays in getting a response from the contact person to general questions on the position (or no response at all)
- attempts by the contact person to to dissuade the interested candidate by suggesting that the position is not desirable to them ("I am not sure you would want this position", "are you aware that this position is just temporary/part time")
- if these attempts fail, emphasis on very concrete skills that would be expected If I encounter these tell-tale signs I proceed to asking directly whether the hiring person already has a particular candidate in mind for this position. I have gotten quite a few yes answers.
Given that the reality does not always correspond with the ideal practices laid out in the response by UA Human Resources, how do you recommend that a job seeker proceed? Apply anyway? Write a cover letter detailing one's experience, even though none is requested (this would be the only way to detail one's relevant skills, give pertinent examples etc. and get on a more equal footing when going up against a person who is already known to the hiring person)? Would that CV even have to be considered when not requested?
Is there somebody else, other than the hiring person, who looks at the documents of applicants? What mechanisms are in place from the side of HR to avoid "pre-determined" openings?
I would appreciate an open discussion about this topic. I know that many have encountered practices that are not in line with the official HR answer, and we feel largely powerless.
First, I am appreciative that you have sent me this information regarding employment practices with the University of Arizona and more specifically in the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. I value your feedback and will work on clarifying some of the concerns you have posed as it relates to our recruitment practices.
What I gather from your message is that you are an external candidate looking for temporary and/or part-time work within our Division. You have been faithfully applying but have come across some common trends that seem to cause some pause on your end, as well as from individuals you have consulted with regarding applying at the University of Arizona. In addition, it is my understanding from the content of your inquiry, that UA contact individuals have been not only discouraging, but also not communicative with notifying you on the status of your application. Lastly, you bring up points to consider when it comes to our hiring practices and application review.
Although I cannot speak to every department within the Division but from those I do know, we are required to adhere to equal opportunity practices to attract talent into our Division. I will be working with my Human Resources Professionals to provide coaching opportunities. If you would be so kind as to provide me with the department name you most recently encountered this issue with, I will take swift action in consulting with them regarding our hiring practices.
If you do not feel comfortable in providing me with this information, I will move forward in providing a Division-wide training program to ensure all applicants receive the same treatment regardless of how long a posting is available and/or what opportunities we have. What I will say is that departments and hiring authorities are given the liberty in selecting what application materials are required for each posting, and it is not standard practice to require/request one document over another.
In the end of your message you ask what you can do to increase your chances of being hired at the University of Arizona. Unfortunately, we do not have a talent pipeline where one can send in their resume/ cover letter/ CV and be placed in a pool of eligible applicants. What I can suggest is that you continue to seek opportunities that meet your own career goals and experience. The University is a large institution and competition is high, but it is never out of reach. I applied for almost two years before I was hired, if that is any consolation.
Thank you again for your valuable feedback.
Division Business Services
Office of Human Resources
I am currently a DCC at the University of Arizona and am seeking employment here. I scan UACareers daily to see what new job offers are out there. Unfortunately, I come across quite a few positions where it is pretty clear that the outcome is already predetermined. While I do apply to those as well, if they seem a good fit, my suspicion is often confirmed. It is a shame that such positions have to be advertised on UAcareers, where they wreck the confidence of serious job seekers in their professional abilities (for being turned down or simply ignored again and again) and put the hiring person in the awkward position of having to play a game and not being honest with the interested candidate. And, it's just sad when people spend time on a futile application. Would it be possible to do away with this, in my view hurtful, practice? The argument that could be made for it is that the hiring person would get to see the quality of the applicant pool (even if he or she isn't really considering them). This, however, could also be achieved with a call for applications for a "talent pool" - where the applicant knows that this doesn't lead to an immediate job offer. It would be a more honest way.
Response provided by UA Human Resources:
Thank you for sharing your concerns. The UA actively seeks a qualified and diverse workforce. All recruitments must be conducted in accordance with applicable University, state, and federal laws, regulations, and policies concerning equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. Conducting a competitive recruitment for “pre-determined” openings is not in alignment with our commitment to attracting the most qualified candidates. All competitive recruitments require search committees to fairly evaluate candidates in an effort to identify the most qualified candidate.
At the annual Cooperative Extension conference Dr. Silvertooth showed some great charts that illustrated the distribution of faculty among the main focus areas within Cooperative Extension (Ag & Natural Resources, 4-H, Family & Consumer Sciences, Tribal Lands). It showed that a large majority of Faculty are in the Ag & Natural Resources division. At the same time he showed that the majority of employees within Cooperative Extension are actually staff, with only a small percentage being faculty. I would love to see the same comparison of staff as they are distributed among the 4 focus areas as was shown with faculty. Does staff distribution coincide with faculty distribution? Mirror it? etc.
See this linked file for the response to this question with graphs included.
I recently moved into Shantz and frankly it's a depressing place to be and an embarrassing statement about our department. The building is old with odd smells and black dust falling from the vents. Some labs smell of sewage. One colleague said the chairs in the 'break room' were the same ones when she was an undergraduate decades ago (at first I thought she was joking). I admit I mostly worry about the health of all us occupants and of the students we meet there for office hours or lab work. When is this building due for renovation? I heard it was moved from "next on the list" to "4th on the list".
Response from Shane
Thank you for your question. I share your concern and didn’t have any answers. As we are all merely tenants in these UA buildings, I asked the key people in central administration working on deferred maintenance to answer this inquiry. Chris Kopach is coordinating a meeting with occupants this semester. Please let me know if you have further questions and/or comments and/or concerns after reading these responses.
Response from Bob Smith, VP for University Planning, Design and Operations
“I agree that the Shantz Building is truly in need of a complete deferred maintenance renovation, and it is one of the 10 buildings slated for that renovation with the legislative bond funding authority received in 2018. The renovation of the Veterinary Science Building (Bldg 90) was the first project.
Facilities Management, Risk Management and Safety, and I have completed detailed building assessments for each of the remaining nine buildings and we have a good understanding of the deferred maintenance needs in each one. We are currently determining the amount of additional renovations needed due to programmatic and occupant needs. Our goal is to minimize the disruption to occupants and complete the mechanical and programmatic renovations within each building at the same time.
Once the full scope of needed renovations is determined, we will be looking at an overall strategic approach to getting all of the remaining buildings done as soon as we reasonably can. Please know that the Shantz building has not been de-prioritized and that it is considered to be as important as all remaining buildings.”
Response from Chris Kopach, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management
“A Facility Condition Assessment was completed on ten buildings on campus based on the age of the buildings, number of service request, and overall annual condition assessment Facilities Management conducts on all buildings on campus. The goal has been to be proactive in conducting the detailed assessment and to develop a priority list of Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing/ADA Code Needs upgrades and Environmental Assessment regarding asbestos/mold/lead to be removed.
The second phase was to work with Senior Administration to develop a funding strategy to address these needs and start the process of selecting buildings to have the renovations take place once funding was secured. The funding piece has been successful to date in partnering with our CFO, Provost, Budget Office, State and Joint Committee on Capital Review (JCCR).
To Date we have completed $21 million dollar major upgrades to Building 90 that resulted in a complete gutting/replacements of the building systems and removal of asbestos throughout the building. Facilities Management also completed a number of additional upgrades in terms of lighting, doors, painting, and energy improvements.
In addition to Building 90, two more buildings on the list of 10 in greatest need of renovation are undergoing improvements. Renovations have begun at Steward Observatory and a contractor and engineering firm have been selected to create additional collaborative classroom space in the Old Chemistry building.
Based on changes in key Senior Leadership over the last year the remaining seven buildings have not been scheduled; however, we are looking at presenting a plan to the JCCR Committee in December, 2019 to seek approval and funds to start the next phase of buildings.
Facilities Management Work Control Desk has Bio East and Shantz on an ‘immediate notifications’ status for all requests, allowing us to respond and address occupant concerns more quickly.”
This is a custom that needs top down leadership to end https://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2019/07/committee-members-shouldn-t-e...
Thank you so much for bringing this faculty issue to all of our attention.
That this issue was raised from within our enterprise implies it is occurring within our enterprise. When occurring, it is within the purview of each graduate committee under each major professor’s authority. There is no college-wide policy requiring it but there is also no college-wide policy that it may not happen. As this is a faculty issue, I have asked our Faculty Council (FC) to review, and then advise us all, on what action we should take. I have also asked our Diversity and Inclusion Council to review the issue from their perspective and provide advice to me, our Executive Council and the Faculty Council as they do their work. The faculty graduate committees in each of our schools and departments may of course decide to work independently on this issue.
My personal perspective is that this is something I have only rarely seen myself when serving on U.S. MS and PhD committees, where the major was outside of my discipline areas. I was very uncomfortable with it happening and throughout the examination. This practice is not something I have ever done myself as a major professor and I don’t support it as a faculty member. This is because for me it has enormous cultural implications and raises issues of colonialism, as well as explicit and implicit power dynamics issues (see: http://clearlycultural.com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/power-distance-index/) for many international students and some U.S. minorities. Students have told me they felt “obliged” to do it and that it is denigrating and belittling. One person told me that because of the cost on their tight family budget they couldn’t take their little kids to the movies that week. I have provided snacks and drinks for these exams—it seemed to me a small effort to make everyone more comfortable during a situation that was highly stressful and sometimes didn’t have the outcome the student was hoping for.
I asked our ten academic unit heads to let me know whether this practice occurs within their schools or departments and their opinion of it. They all said there was no expectation that graduate students bring beverages or snacks to any meetings or defenses, but they do see it happening “on occasion.” They also told me that over many years this has become a persistent cultural practice. None said they support it. Some said they actively discourage it.
I asked our ALVSCE Executive Council what their opinion is and no one endorses or encourages this practice; they all recommend against it. There is absolutely no policy or any other requirement or expectation at the CALS’ level for graduate students to provide food or drink for faculty members at meetings or defenses—or any other time for that matter. Any graduate student who feels compelled or obliged to do so, or that they cannot “opt-out” for fear of retaliation or any negative consequences, should contact Kirsten Limesand, Assistant Dean for Graduate Education, immediately: email@example.com, Ph. 520-626-4517.
To our colleague for submitting this to Grapevine: thank you. I hope your submission has brought to the forefront of our collective conscious underlying historical issues that still affect people today and that our society is working through, as well as the existence of unequal power dynamics. Having these conversations is especially important in the university, especially as an example to wider society, and especially today.
- Admissions & Recruitment
Why was there a significant difference in the "red/green" budget for ALVSCE between June 2018 and May 2019? Does this improvement in budget situation for CALS change the urgency to improve our enrollment and course/degree offerings?
Robert Lanza, Chair of the ALVSCE Staff Council, inquired about the significant difference in “red/green” budget for ALVSCE between June 2018 and May 2019. And does this improvement in budget situation for CALS change the urgency to improve our enrollment and course/degree offerings?
What caused the budget improvement in FY19?
A few of the significant factors that caused the swing within ALVSCE FY19 budget are:
- Operational Base Budget or OBB (also known as recurring or perm), $1.5 million improvement
- $600K more RCM payout than the figure UA forecasted
- $500K salary + $150K ERE from faculty attrition exceeding our budgeted projection (RE: baby boomer conversation at the May 3 retreat)
- One Time (also known as temp), $5.6 million improvement
- $1.35 million from temporary savings from OBB changes above
- $2.3 million of salary and ERE savings and IDC rollover from new faculty starting later than expected coupled with delayed startup spending
- $1 million salary and ERE savings due to UA’s January merit plan being less than what ALVSCE had budgeted for
- $1 million mix of budgetary adjustments typical for most fiscal years
Why is the budget so volatile from year-to-year?
Dean Burgess has described the last year as the most extreme budget volatility since he came. In addition to the routine variability, two factors have significantly increased it:
- UA’s three-year review of RCM resulting in changes to taxes assessed to colleges;
- The UA strategic plan is connecting fund sources to institutional goals.
Those of you who attended the January 2019 Semiannual Update meeting will recall the discussion about budget volatility and the impact of FY20 changes to RCM. In this environment, budgeting is analogous to the daily churn of the stock market.
What could cause the ALVSCE budget to worsen?
The forecast for FY20 OBB is a slight deficit, but it is very sensitive to change. Only one of the following will cause a dramatically worsened deficit. Proactive planning and probabilistic budgeting are ways we address risk.
- If the UA mandates ALVSCE pay the full cost of the estimated UCAP adjustments ($2.8 million)
- Decreases in number of faculty retirements due to the transition from majority Baby Boomer to Gen X
- Emergency repairs to aging facilities and replacing aging research equipment
- Authorizing new faculty hires without RCM growth to pay for them
Does the May 2019 budget change the instructional urgency we’ve operated under?
In short, NO. This is because our mission delivery mandate and urgency is not driven by the budget. Our purpose is fixed. Our strategic intents, directions and goals have not changed. They remain aligned with our mission as an important part of Arizona’s Land Grant University. Our strategy is long-range and, for eight consecutive financial years, has proven itself to be above UA budget volatility.
Thank you to Robert for this question, and everyone who attended the May 3 budget retreat. Your engagement in the budget process is an investment and tremendously appreciated.
A colleague sent a link to the Grapevine with an article about a “living wage” effort funded by the State of Colorado at Colorado State University, focusing salary dollars to employees making below $30,000.
While the State of Arizona and the University have not mandated or funded a program such as Colorado, ALVSCE has initiated several programs to support the improvement of salaries for faculty, staff, and APs. Additionally, the State of Arizona has not authorized a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for its employees since prior to the Great Recession in 2008. All adjustments have been merit-based and applied to all employees meeting performance expectations.
Arizona Experiment Station (AES)
In the last 2 years, the AES implemented a special merit-based salary increase to employees with an annual salary less than $40,000. This effort addressed the need to provide a “living wage” to employees, to recognize the value of all employees in meeting our Mission to “Provide a diverse world-class infrastructure essential to generating and disseminating critical knowledge and technologies for Arizona and the world”, and to realize the College’s goal to “be the most sought-after place to be a part of”.
In total, nearly $120,000 was invested in the approximately 50 qualified employees. The result was raises averaging near 10% for employees paid less than $30,000 annually and raises averaging near 6% for employees paid $30,000-40,000 annually.
The normal merit-based raises for all employees were unaffected by these investments to low-salary employees.
CALS & Cooperative Extension
Since 2011, the division instituted an annual merit adjustment process for faculty in addition to the mandated University adjustments. This process has been incrementally improved with the guidance from shared governance. Just this year, the division instituted a separate merit process for staff and AP employees that mirrors the faculty process.
This year the merit process provided salary increases for 181 division employees, 113 of whom were staff and APs. Both faculty and staff/AP merit pools are increased annually by the cost of living (Consumer Price Index or CPI) in an effort to address stagnating salaries, a fundamental tenet of the living wage initiative. Funding for these processes comes from the collective work of faculty, staff and APs returned to the division via Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) for CALS and AES, or out of the base state budget appropriated to Extension.
Within CALS and Cooperative Extension, out of 815 full-time employees there are currently 200 with salaries below $40,000. Half of these are soft-funded employees hired on sponsored research projects. The overwhelming majority are staff positions, and all are within the pay bands established by the UA.
We work in an entrepreneurial and distributed environment with one-third as much state appropriation as the UA had in 2008. There isn’t a single or simple solution for all employees. As the organization works to elevate the salaries for all employees, working with faculty and Principal Investigators (PIs) to accommodate higher direct costs in research budgets will be a unique but necessary challenge. Dean Burgess has asked his Research Advisory Council (DRAC) to review the issue and provide a response to him.
Associate Vice President Ratje raised this issue at the ALVSCE Budget Retreat on May 3 and asked the academic unit heads to rank this item together with 21 other budgetary priorities. See the retreat materials (slides 40 and 41) for this list and the resulting rankings by the unit heads.
A question came to me about updating personal profiles on the compass website and after doing some research I am unsure as to how to do this. View profile provides me with the option to update my email address, photo, and time zone. The employee asking how to update their profile is missing a phone number, how does one add a phone number to their profile or update any of the information found here? Should we be updating information in UAccess, is it pulled from there? We can see that it is not gathered from the Drupal site, since the employee's phone number is listed there. Thank you for your assistance in helping our faculty and staff update their profiles.
Drupal, the content management system that is used for the Compass Employee Resources website, might appear to offer an ability to update profile information. However, updating such profile information is limited to that particular website and does not propagate to any other systems. Further, changing the profile in Compass only changes your user account for the Drupal system, not any of the actual content in Compass within Drupal. What this means in practice is that such changes do not affect sources like the ALVSCE Employee Directory or how your name or contact information might display in other areas of the website.
In order to make changes to your name, phone number, room number, building name, and other such information, you still need to use the usual channel of UAccess Employee and/or your business manager. Doing this ensures that your name and contact information both flow through to almost all other systems at the UA, including the UA phonebook and the ALVSCE Directory. Sometimes the changes do not affect individual pages on websites, so there might be an additional process for those.
For instance, if making the change in UAccess Employee does not update your information in a particular page in Compass, please send a notice to the Grapevine for now, and we’ll make the appropriate edits. We are working on creating a support form in Compass where you can send content suggestions and edits, and we’ll update this Grapevine post when that is available to provide that as an additional resource.
Likewise, if making this change in UAccess Employee does not update your information for another website, contact the administrators/maintainers/editors of that website.
There is a severe and ongoing mental health crisis on college campuses nation wide IMHO the University and College's response to this crisis has been lackluster at best. The most I've seen is a two day brain heath lecture series the Center for Buddhist Studies shared last week. The latest victim? Genevieve Comeau, who had been pursuing a Ph.D. from the Entomology & Insect Science Graduate Interdisciplinary Program was killed in a murder suicide by her partner https://kvoa.com/news/local-news/2019/03/06/police-id-couple-in-apparent...
The question is will the college and university continue to allow this crisis to continue or will they take definitive decisive action to address this crisis?
Thank you, your question is very important to Dean Burgess and he will answer it. First, though, a clarification: Genevieve, was an Entomology PhD candidate and was a homicide victim. The suspected perpetrator was not a UA student. TPD has not indicated that mental health was a factor in this case. After learning this tragic news, Dean Burgess shared info about counseling and support services in a message to all students and employees and provided local and national resources for those dealing with relationship abuse or domestic violence or are concerned about a loved one in this situation.
Assistant Director, Organizational Effectiveness
ALVSCE Division Business Services
From Dean Burgess:
“I appreciate your sentiments and recognize the issues. Regardless of the law, I feel we all share a moral responsibility and a duty of care in addressing mental illness. This is exactly why I brought these issues to everyone’s attention in the most recent CALS Update sent on 2/20 to every employee in the division, including some astounding statistics from UA’s Counseling & Psych Services (CAPS). I urged everyone then, and I reiterate now: reach out to CAPS if you are ever concerned about a student. I also discussed these issues on the 3/26/19 Dial the Dean with Natalynn Masters, UA Student Body President.
Our professional Academic Advisors are on the front-line with students about many issues and especially mental health. Because of this, they all receive training in problem identification and support. Most of our advisors have completed UA’s Question, Persuade, Respond (QPR) training. They make CAPS referrals for students and will even walk students over to Campus Health depending on the situation. Advisors follow up to check-in again with students who have raised mental health issues. They also reach out to students in academic probation (~8% of our undergraduates) and each student’s major advisor, and they meet with these students to understand what led to their current academic status and if they have the necessary resources to rectify the situation. They are developing and piloting data analysis tools to identify students who are at risk of dropping out.
CALS also has a small cohort of remarkable undergraduate students who are Peer Mentors called “CALS PALS.” All CALS PALS are trained by both CAPS and Life & Work Connections (LWC) counselors. They have proven themselves to be exceptional sources of support for other students going through the toughest of times and challenges. They are also advisors to me and other CALS administrators to improve what we do. I meet with CALS PALS routinely and did so just this week.
UA’s Dean of Students Office does wellness checks on students in UA residence halls if there is a concern raised to the Dean of Students Office (perhaps parents mention that their child hasn’t called in a while which is unusual, or advisors mention students are missing meetings, etc.). President Masters mentioned that as a dormitory RA she was trained as we train our professional advisors and CALS PALS.
At the University level, the new Strategic Plan also has initiatives that focus on student mental health including Pillar 1.4 and 4.2.
As you can see, we try to address mental health through many mechanisms currently. We can explore some of the additional specific recommendations from the Nature article you sent a link to such as building in more career development support, training for faculty and administration on identifying mental health needs and making referrals as needed, and training for faculty on mentoring and career development advice for graduate students since this is seen as correlated to better mental health. Heather Roberts-Wrenn will explore these further options to determine feasibility and potential implementation.
I believe that our mental health and that of our friends, loved ones and colleagues – yes, our society as a whole – is a responsibility for all of us. Mental illness is a problem we all must share the responsibility and accountability for identifying and working on. We are “the college and the university” and so as you say in your question, I agree with you that we cannot continue to allow a crisis to continue.
If you have ideas about what you can do and about what we can do, and how we can do these things, please contact me directly.
Less than a year ago, the Confluence Knowledgebase was announced as the website to go to for employee resources. Now that this new Compass program has launched, what will happen to Knowledgebase? Why do we have Compass when we have Knowledgebase?
Thank you for your question! There are approximately 670 employees inside the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension who don’t work within Cooperative Extension and therefore don’t have access to the Confluence Knowledgebase. We wanted to design an informational resource that would be accessible to everyone. Compass will likely have some overlap with the information posted to Knowledgebase – not unlike the overlap we see in the announcements shared through both Tuesday Morning Notes and the Weekly Bulletin. We also planned for Compass to be a public website so that people interested in applying for a position within the division could learn a little more about our organization as a workplace beforehand. (There are some reports and marketing resources accessible only to those with a NetID.) We’d encourage you to use both sites. Knowledgebase is a great place to have a conversation and has a wealth of information for the Extension community. Please let us know if you have any additional concerns or suggestions.
From: The Compass Project Team
Brian Berrellez, Manager, Business Analytics, Division Business Services
Mary Carroll, Administrative Associate, Division Business Services
Gavin Ng, Analyst, Data Solutions, Division Business Services
Heather Roberts-Wrenn, Assistant Director, Organizational Effectiveness, Division Business Services
Bethany Rutledge, Director of Administration and Communications, Office of the Vice President and Dean
Amy Soper, Specialist, Marketing / Communications, Career and Academic Services
How soon will Civitas be operational and is it worth the wait?
An excellent question which will have a disappointing answer. My understanding is that the UA is well down the road to cutting loose from its Civitas contract. To be replaced by what? Apparently they think they have sufficient internal analytics that they can create similarly helpful dashboards and metrics. I've not seen anything definitive yet.
I knew they were backpedaling from Civitas most of last fall. Indeed, this is probably one reason that Angela Baldasare left the university last spring and became a consultant/employee directly with Civitas. I'm still getting Civitas emails but directly from the company, not from the university (I think). I must be on a distribution list. So, I haven't been entirely sure of the depth of the relationship.
I will find out more.
To the question.... is it worth the wait? What's the alternative? We are plowing forward with our retention strategies, in partnership with the university. I'm not aware that this is holding up anything the academic units wish to do on their own, nor do I think they have an alternative decision-analytic program in mind that has been sitting on the sidelines. In my personal opinion, the Civitas product showed great promise as a signal of retention risk, but needed two things to be fully functional and readily useful for academic advisors: 1) easily accessible (or translatable) signals of when to intervene, and 2) much more development of suggested intervention messages. This may have required a UA-central infrastructure for making the translations and developing the messages because advisors simply don't have the time and bandwidth to master all this and do their regular jobs. If I had to guess, this was where the implementation ball was dropped and the relationship foundered.
a few weeks ago sy sohmer abruptly resigned from a CALS position that paid $135,000. he was employed less than one year. $135,000 is more then double the salary of the nearest staff position of employees he supervised. how does the dean, and how does the college, justify that excessive salary? will the salary for this position be reevaluated in the future? you should consider bringing that egregious salary back down to earth - ideally redistributing some of that excess as overdue raises or merit bonus awards to underpaid employees of this particular division of CALS.
*This question was submitted by an anonymous user to the Classified Staff Anonymous Feedback webform. As there was no way to reply to the question via the original forum used to submit the question, it was decided we would publish the response here.
Thank you for your input. I appreciate you taking the time to ask these questions. We do not have a mechanism to offer bonuses.
I'm sorry, I can't comment specifically on personnel matters. ABOR and UA policies prevent me from doing so.
I recently expressed my concern about the minimum security in Forbes - Doors are not locked until after hours, even during the slow winter break and slower times of the year when students are not on campus. It is during these times we nearly every year, several times a year, experience thieves entering the building, and going through drawers and purses to find wallets. A number of us in my hallway have had their wallets stolen even when well-hidden from sight. These are opportunists who seem to know that our doors are open and that they can likely sneak in and steal items because there are not many people around in the halls who would notice they do not belong. The Dean told me he was looking into locking the doors at least during those slow times of the year. A number of us in the building have been affected in this way over the years, particularly the past five or so, and it seems the perpetrators know that we are good targets, because of this pattern. The headache and time required to put the contents of a wallet back together, is not something anyone should have to contend with because CALS does not update its security during these changing times. Today, except for replacing my UA ID card, which i will do Monday, i have finally replaced all my credit cards, medical cards, driver's license, opened new checking and savings account purchased new checks, received credit/debtit/ATM card replacements, etc. and have called all the companies to whom i have direct withdrawal for paying bills, autopay for prescriptions, subscriptions, and the like. It has been nearly 3 weeks since my wallet was stolen (Jan 2). I could have finished my APROL by now in the amount of time spent on this needless exercise. Many of us would like the Dean to address the new security plan for the building. Please thank him for his time, on my behalf and that of the folks in my lab, many who have been victims. One possibility would be to lock the south door/ground floor all of the time, because it is this door that leads directly to the floors/end of the building where most of the crimes have been committed, probably because of easy access to entry, low visibility, and easy escape.
The other door that would be a good candidate is the door on the second floor leading to the quad. The elevator is in this hallway too, so there are many escape routes. The rooms targeted have tended to be at that end of the hall - seriously, no one leaves their purses or wallets or anything of value in the open, except laptops, and we close the doors when we are not in the rooms.
Still this has not stopped these crimes. thanks for sharing this request to the Dean.
We are aware that many units in CALS distribute Hatch funding to their faculty on a regular basis but in our unit, faculty do not receive these funds. Our unit head has told us that Hatch monies are spent in salaries only. but we know that some of these funds are equally distributed in other units and are used to support attendance to Multistate Projects meetings, research or in other faculty expenses. Furthermore, we have no idea what our teaching budget for our unit is. Or unit head does not offer funding for teaching either. We feel there is no transparency in our unit's finances. We have never seen a budget report. Yet, we are aware other HODs disclose the unit's annual budget. It would be great if CALS could standardize these procedures, making sure HODs provide an annual summary of the unit's budget and allocate funding for teaching and Hatch that is available to faculty in an equitable manner.
There is much confusion among faculty and staff about how federal capacity funds are used to support CALS and our research programs. This is understandable given both how convoluted this has become from the federal government down and how few (perhaps no) land grant universities communicate this well; regardless this is one of the reasons this question is so important.
The direct answer to this question is that Hatch funds are not distributed to faculty in any unit on a regular basis. USDA-NIFA capacity grant funding (colloquially referred to as Hatch funding) is provided to CALS due to our 1862 Land Grant institution affiliation. There are four research and four Extension programs, with approximately $2.5M allocated to research and $1.7M to Extension. These funds can only be distributed through approved federal capacity research projects, which is why we ask all CALS faculty to be part of a project.
For the $2.5M allocated to research, projects are developed in consultation with Unit Heads and submitted to the Office of the Associate Dean for Research, where they are finalized and submitted electronically to USDA NIFA. Alma Enciso in the CALS Research Office oversees all federal capacity research projects, with overall supervision by Sangita Pawar. Because large numbers of projects increase paperwork and time investment by everyone, with no extra benefit of return, over the past two years the CALS Research Office has worked with unit heads to reduce the total number of projects from 185 to approximately 80 today. Our ultimate goal is to have no more than 45 projects across CALS by 2019. This will reduce the work load by at least four-fold and save us on administrative costs so we can keep more money working in the academic units.
Using federal capacity funds is challenging because they must be matched with an equal amount of state funds. Faculty salary is the most effective and efficient way to meet the match. Faculty salary freed up through this offset reverts to the College budget where it is used to strategically fund faculty hires and startup costs. A small percentage (less than 5%) of the federal capacity funds are used for capital, operational, and faculty travel expenses if 1) approved by the Associate Dean for Research, 2) allowed under the different rules for one of the four research and four Extension program grants, and 3) an expense match is possible.
Additionally, ~$0.5M of the Federal Capacity funds received annually for research is retained by the Associate Dean for Research for strategic investment in faculty via startup packages, bridge funding, and equipment supporting our research mission.
So, not only are CALS units heads not distributing Hatch funds to their faculty on a regular basis, doing so is not actually possible because for the most part federal capacity funds are centrally controlled and distributed. There is one exception: the Animal Health program Hatch funds, provided currently to the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences to cover costs related to the additional costs of maintaining production research animals.
The perception that federal capacity funds are distributed to faculty may have arisen because historically the School of Plant Sciences director chose to allocate $2,000 to every faculty member who was named on a federal capacity project. It is important to emphasize that School funds, and not the federal capacity (Hatch) funds, are distributed. To ensure full transparency, Plant Sciences will create a written policy and document it on their website. It’s possible that a similar voluntary distribution is happening in other units. Please ask your unit head what is happening in your unit.
The $1.7M of Federal Capacity Funds allocated to Extension is distributed as follows:
- Most fed funds for Extension are used to pay segments of faculty salaries.
- In the past, Extension funds were distributed as some operational funds, which was a mix of state and fed monies, among academic units in a general formula fashion of $X/FTE.
- The units had the discretion of how those funds were distributed and the funds were not always transferred directly to the faculty member.
- Units had variable transfer "formulas" or mechanisms.
- Most academic units in CALS returned a lot of this funding to the college through the process of budged reductions that were occurring every year from 2002-2012, with major cuts taking place ~ 2008-2012.
- Specific questions regarding the management of funds within academic units should be addressed to the unit heads.
Fundamentally this question is, of course, related to the principle of unit budget transparency, which is the Dean’s expectation college-wide. Unit heads must share full financial information regularly and routinely.
Since the spring of 2013, units have been required to prepare all fund budgets on a quarterly basis. These budgets are posted to the CALS Business Services website. The college “red-green” budget is shared twice annually at the state of the college presentations.
Accessing quarterly reports:
- From this website, click the link Historical All Funds.
- Select Departmental Quarterly All Funds. Then select Continue.
- You will be prompted to enter your UA NetID and password.
- Select the fiscal year, quarter, and unit you want to look at.
I'm curious if there are efforts in place to strive for consistency in evaluations across CALS departments, such as faculty from various units could be on annual evaluation committees in other units?
- Admissions & Recruitment
Wondering why there doesn't appear to be a CALS strategic marketing and media plan in place - if there is one, why haven't the units seen it? We would like to know where advertising dollars are being spent and how we could collaborate and promote our majors. You seem to have this huge new staff, including designers, writers, brand, marketers, recruiters, admins, but we don't see a plan being rolled out. For example, Nutrition made a buy at the Rec Center to promote their major - we were solicited as well, but wouldn't it make more sense to learn if CALS was participating with an ad so we could promote all majors, thus save money. As it sits, we have no idea what the strategic marketing efforts are, besides a brochure, which we have had for years. So, what exactly are the marketing/recruiting/media goals, vision, including numbers and persons responsible, and how does this tie back to data. Who are we as a college/unit targeting. What is the media plan and where? Where are areas we could collaborate on? What is the mission statement/vision/swot/strategies/content marketing calendar/tracking/what events, for example, who is attending the Meet Your Major Fair? What's the budget?
Thank you for your interest in marketing. Last week the CALS marketing team met with the unit Heads and Directors to share the marketing and communications plans for the 2017/2018 recruitment cycle. While we are not going to make our marketing plan publically available on the website where it could be viewed by other institutions that are competing for the same students, we have shared all the documents with the unit heads and directors and those most closely involved with recruiting students in each unit. If you need access to these documents, please feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding budget and overall strategy, you are also invited to email Michael Staten, Bart Cardon Associate Dean for Academic Programs, at email@example.com.
Unfortunately, at this point we have limited historical data to use in the planning process. One of the goals for this year is to be vigilant about collecting data about outreach efforts for future planning. Brian Berrellez is in the process of building a dashboard for CALS that will pull more detailed information from the UA database to help us make better decisions about the types of students and geographic locations to target with our recruitment efforts. Camille Anderson is also helping us by pulling together data from different systems into one location in order to help us identify trends. Finally, we are also working more closely with UA Enrollment Management on predictive modeling.
With the recent departures of Frank Santiago and Allison Scherer, the recruitment team will be moving under the umbrella of marketing in order to ensure that we have cohesive messaging in all our communications, as well as to provide the recruiters with more support. We are in the process of hiring these positions, and we look forward to having a full team in place before mid-October.
With the rapidly increasing costs of out-of-state tuition, we are not receiving as many applicants from out-of-state students as we did in the past, and the yield rate is significantly lower than it was 5 years ago. As a result, we believe there will be a better return on investment if we focus our efforts on Arizona students. To this end, we will be basing one of the new recruiters in Phoenix and one in Tucson.
Currently, the branding and marketing department consists of three people: myself, executive director of branding and marketing; Susan McGinley, media relations; and Amy Soper marketing communications specialist.
We appreciate your interest in marketing and look forward to working collaboratively with all of the units to increase enrollment in CALS programs.
I heard CALS recently purchased a veterinary clinic in Douglas, AZ. Is this true?
There appears to be a concerted effort to improve communication between the Dean and the faculty/staff. I am curious as to why there isn't a weekly (or bi-monthly) written communication (email) effort that comes from the Dean's office to help this effort?
Thanks very much for your question! Dean Burgess has always tried to keep from sending the college too many emails --- so that when he does have something important or time-sensitive to share it doesn't get overlooked. He did send out a number of messages during the spring semester and in June (you can catch up on all of these at https://cals.arizona.edu/about/dean/communications-dean) but these only go to personnel. Are you CALS personnel, and, if so, are you getting the Weekly Bulletin each Thursday afternoon? If not, please let me know - firstname.lastname@example.org. The dean sometimes uses the Weekly Bulletin to send out a note between letters.
This summer, the associate deans have been sending out updates on our progress toward the college strategic goals. Associate Dean Ratje's letter went out in May, Associate Dean Silvertooth's in June, and Associate Dean Staten's in July - his will be the first of several letters about our progress toward our goal to “produce employable graduates, who can do jobs that do not yet exist and create new jobs.” There is more to come in this series, so stay tuned.
The first week of classes, we’ll be launching a quarterly e-newsletter on Teaching & Research Updates from the dean and associate deans. The Faculty Council will also be hosting a “town hall” with the dean and associate deans on September 22, but they’ll likely wait until classes have started before publicizing that event. Hope you’ll be able to join us for this event and for the next Dial-the-Dean on September 5.
I thought our career conversations were already due a while back. Myself and others have not had theirs. Was there a deadline?
We asked all unit leaders to track and ensure that the benefits eligible (.5 FTE+) employees that fall under their responsibility had an annual performance review/career conversation within the last year (so any evaluation done between 7/1/16 - 6/30/17 would count toward this year's annual evaluation).
The deadline for unit leaders to report those results to us for documentation was June 30th. Due to some scheduling conflicts and other circumstances, we have been made aware that a small set of employees have not quite yet had their evaluations completed, but their supervisors have assured us that they are getting scheduled. If you still have a concern about your/your peers' evaluations not being completed, please feel free to reach out to me (Heather Roberts-Wrenn) at email@example.com, and we can work together to sort it out.
I heard that travel policy was changing and that we will only be paid for 75% of meals, instead of the 100% reimbursement? The FSO travel website has no info on this? Is it true? What is the new policy and when are employees going to be notified?
The new travel policy will reimburse for meals up to 75% of the rate of the destination city on travel days. If Tucson is the returning destination (duty post), then 75% of Tucson rates will be used for the return travel day. Other business days during the trip will still use the 100% rates of the city where business is being conducted. If a meal is provided on a travel day, the full cost of the individual meal will be reduced from the 75% reduced per the State of AZ guidelines. More information can be found hereat https://gao.az.gov/sites/default/files/5025%20Meals%20and%20Incidentals%.... Additional information and policies regarding the meals and lodging index can be found here at http://policy.fso.arizona.edu/fsm/1400/1471.
Per Denise Blum of FSO "... the policy updates should be published on the FSO website by the end of this month. However, as the state policies are currently linked to the existing 14.13 Meals and Per Diem policy, I encourage the department to start using the updated state policies now to coincide with the new Fiscal Year. [However], the previous policies are still official and the choice is up the department until the formal campus announcement is published. The AP expense reimbursement team is prepared to review and approve accordingly"
When FSO publishes the updated policies, they will send a campus wide announcement. They will also offer training classes focused on the new policies. The information for those classes will be included in the campus wide announcement.
Is it true that you must have a master's degree in order to be promoted to a program coordinator position, regardless of experience in the field?
In short, no, it is not true that you must have a Master's degree to be a candidate for a Program Coordinator per the ABOR minimum qualifications in the job description.
However, a department may list preferred qualifications for a Master’s degree, which may have bearing on who is selected. Additionally, a department may specify the type of degree or experience that is required (e.g. while ABOR minimum qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree, the department may specify that an Educational/Agricultural degree or related field is required.)
Please note, there is also a Program Coordinator, Senior job title.
Bachelor's degree in field appropriate to area of assignment AND two years administrative/coordinative program experience; OR, Six years of progressively responsible administrative coordinative program experience; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience, training and/or education approved by Human Resources.
Bachelor’s degree in a field appropriate to the area of assignment AND four years administrative/coordinative program experience; OR, Master’s degree in field appropriate to area of assignment AND three years administrative/coordinative program experience; OR, Eight years of progressively responsible administrative/coordinative program experience; OR, Any equivalent combination of experience, training and/or education approved by Human Resources.