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.
When submitting a question, comment, or concern, please be as descriptive as possible. While the email field is optional, it is strongly encouraged. Providing your email allows the web administrators to contact you should further clarification be needed, and for the purpose of following up with you directly with an answer/response/resolution. If you do not provide your email address, you should check back after a while to see if your question/comment/concern has been addressed.
*** 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:
- Admissions & Recruitment
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.
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.
The Arizona Experiment Station falls under the division, not the college now. There are four pillars to our division: CALS, College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Cooperative Extension Systems, and Arizona Experiment Station. You can click here to see our division's organization chart that shows this.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
- Admissions & Recruitment
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.