IFO leadership held a meet and confer on October 12 with MinnState leadership. The meeting covered seven topics. Below is a brief recap of each agenda item.
1) Search for Chief Financial Officer
Vice Chancellor (VC) of Finance Laura King has announced her retirement scheduled for July 1, 2019. The IFO inquired on the status of the search for the next VC of Finance. Chancellor Malhotra stated that the process has not begun to move forward yet but he expects to begin a search soon. The goal is to have a new VC of Finance in place prior to VC King’s departure so there is overlap and VC King can work to train the selected candidate.
2) System search process for Vice Chancellor for Human Resources
The IFO expressed concerns about the inadequate notification for faculty to join the candidate screenings. There were also technology difficulties for those faculty who tried to join the screening. The System notified us they are exploring other options for the technologies used in this process. They also took into consideration our request to get the information out timelier, so we can share it with all faculty.
3) FY2020-21 Legislative Biennial Budget Request
VC Laura King presented some details of the proposed 2019 Legislative budget request. The budget request will have a first reading at the October Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting and a final budget request will be adopted at the November BOT meeting. The request currently includes $169M for campus support. This includes a 3% inflationary increase as well as $20M to help ease campus structural deficits. In addition, the proposal asks for $37M in the base budget to pay for the ISRS (NextGen) overhaul. The requested amount is the full estimated cost for the next biennium and would not place any additional burden on campuses to pay toward the project. The System has also proposed two new scholarship programs totaling $25M. The first scholarship is limited to college students and the second scholarship would be for students transferring from a two-year institution into a state university. The last part of the proposal is $15M for program development, community partnership opportunities and initiatives with K-12 partners.
The IFO leaders relayed their appreciation that the system recognized the ongoing structural deficits faced by campuses. There was a discussion of concerns around the limiting of a scholarship to college students only because it may hurt university enrollment, among other issues around curriculum and liberal arts opportunities. The IFO asked the System to consider revising the proposed scholarship program to include students who attend colleges or universities.
The BOT will hear the first reading of the proposed budget legislative request next week. More details of the proposal can be found here.
4) Board of Trustee’s Excellence in Teaching Awards
The IFO brought a concern around the cumbersome process to apply for the system’s Excellence in Teaching Awards. The FA presidents made the case to better align the application process to the IFO’s PDP/PDR process. MinnState will consider changes to the application process for next year’s Awards.
5) Representation on Statewide Committees
The IFO raised a concern about scheduling MinnState workgroups/committees prior to the appointment of faculty to serve on those workgroups/committees. It was agreed that calls for workgroup/committee appointments should be more timely; efforts will be made to make appointments in the spring for the following academic year.
The IFO also asked about the appointment of faculty content area experts who serve on various MinnState workgroups without notification to the campus Faculty Association or IFO. It was clarified that faculty serving as content area experts do not serve as the voice of faculty, unless they are appointed by the IFO as the faculty representative to the group. It is important for us to have the authority to appoint faculty representatives to work groups, committees, etc.
6) Faculty Work on Statewide Committees
The IFO suggested the consideration of compensation for participation on some MinnState committees because requests for faculty to serve on certain statewide committees will require substantial amounts of work, and there is a lack of faculty volunteers in response to the request to serve. There was discussion about how faculty have been compensated in the past and contractual options for compensating such work in the future.
7) NextGen Update
VC Ron Anderson walked through an update on the NextGen project. You can review the update here. We were asked by the System to determine how faculty participation can be best accomplished moving forward.
The IFO leadership will meet with MinnState leadership on Friday, Dec. 7 for the next meet and confer. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to provide feedback.