Transcript General Faculty Meeting
October 9, 2012
Bill Sauser, chair: I’d like to call this meeting to order please. This is the fall semester 2012 meeting of the Auburn University General Faculty. My name is Bill Sauser, I’m chair of the General Faculty and the Auburn University Senate. It’s a privilege to serve you this year. I’d like to begin these meetings by introducing my fellow elected officers, and here we have Larry Crowley, who is your president (chair)-elect; Robin Jaffe, who is your secretary; and Judy Sheppard who is your secretary-elect. They work very hard on your behalf. Also our parliamentarian, Constance Hendricks and Laura Kloberg who does our administrative assistance work. It’s good to see all of you. Not only those of us here in the room are participating in this but all of the information that’s shared here in this meeting is also posted on the Web so that other faculty members can access it as well. And to that regard I would like to ask you a favor and that is if during the presentation with the questions and so forth if you would like to make a question or comment, please do go to the microphones, otherwise we cannot pick the comments up on tape, we do transcribe the meetings so we have a record of what’s going on. So if I ask you please go to the mic, please do so, so we can capture your comments for posterity, how about that.
Our agenda is relatively short, but important. This is the traditional meeting of the general faculty in which we discuss the state of the University. [1:55] We have four key university leaders here who are going to make comments; our president, our provost, executive vice president, and the leader of our campus facilities, Dr. Dan King who’s got some really good information to share with us. I also have a visiting guest that I am going to introduce in just a moment.
So here is our agenda, we’ve called ourselves to order. The minutes of our previous meeting, which was held in spring semester last year, were posted on the Web. Are there any changes that need to be made to those minutes? If not then I’d entertain a motion that the minutes be approved as written. We’ve heard a motion is there a second? All in favor say aye.
Bill Sauser, chair: Opposed, nay. Thank you the motion carries and the minutes are approved.
First on the agenda, I am delighted to introduce a man who I believe has made some dramatic positive change at Auburn University, particularly with respect to shared governance. A champion of shared governance and a wonderful leader and that is our president Jay Gogue. [3:20]
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you Bill. It’s good to be with you all. I don’t have any slides or Powerpoints today, so I know my colleagues that follow me will. I thought about what I may want to talk to you about today and I decided that I am going to tell you some stories about different things that are going on, on campus and throughout our state that Auburn plays a key roll in. [3:51] You’ve heard about them before, you know a little about them but I want you to think about it a bit.
The first one I want to mention is health assessments for kids in the Black Belt. We have a region of our state that has all sorts of issues for many, many years, very limited medical help and support in that area. We have two faculty members, Barbara Wilder and Constance (Hendricks) that are very much involved in going to that area and doing from head-to-toe physical exams. The number is what amazed me, last year they served over 5,000 kids that probably would not have had any sort of health physical exam. So a tremendous impact for those individuals that weren’t very likely to even see a physician during the year.
There are some students in the College of Engineering that developed software that allowed you to track those students and provide that health information to school nurses, to their parents to try to look at health related issues in that area.
We had a report not long ago in which a group went in and screened 200 people in the Gees Bend area, and out of the 200 people of basic health screening 199 had high blood pressure. These were primarily women and children. I know we don’t say thank you enough, Constance, but a lot of people are working doing things that sometimes we don’t read enough about, so I just want to say thank you. [5:33]
I also took a lot of interest in a faculty member team lead by Mario Eagan that was successful in securing its Egar type grant from the National Science Foundation. It involves about 25 of our faculty on campus. This grant allows them to bring 30 doctoral students here fully supported, generously supported, as they work on their doctoral work. As I recall the colleges are COSAM, Engineering, Agriculture, Forestry, and also the Business school. It brings not only recognition to the university but also it’s a tremendous opportunity for those 30 young doctoral students that have the opportunity to have that support.
About 2 weeks ago AT&T came to campus and gave us a large check to the Truman Pierce Institute, over at the College of Education. Cindy Reed is sort of the key person of that program. This is a follow on to what they have done for the last 4 years; they received money from AT&T to go in some very tough and low expectation level school districts and work with kids. They had simple goals, they were; try to improve their grades, but be sure you improve their attendance, and thirdly, reduce the number of referrals for disciplinary reasons. I don’t know what they do in those classrooms, but when you look at it, 4 years after they started, 89% of all those kids are still in school, so that deserves credit when we think about what we do at Auburn.
I want to mention that in 2010 we had the BP oil spill. A lot of people are involved in a lot of different facets of that work and Auburn did a tremendous job in responding with data and information. One of the little small areas that sort of caught my eye was a couple of guys in extension, Rick Zapata and Carol Centrallo, selected a narrow niche of about 160 shrimpers in Alabama that had been in the shrimp-ing business for generations. Obviously with the oil spill their livelihood was affected. They were successful with receiving Federal Grant money to go in and sit with those 160 shrimper families and be able to work with them in financial planning and a variety of ways to save about 140 of the shrimpers business, the others transitioned into other walks of life. The economic impact of that work was about 3.5 million dollars to our state. So they deserve a lot of credit.
I wanted to mention we always talk about the importance of international education, the importance of study abroad, a variety of things and I know today we have the Consul General from Ecuador on campus as part of our every week a different country being here.
But one of the things of service learning and health support in Alabama is something in the College of Liberal Arts. I think it’s entitled “Living Democracy.” It’s a service learning program, it’s been covered in The Chronicle of Higher Education, very nice stories, but basically it’s a 10 week program in which students and communities work together both from an academic point of view, but then the student takes one particular issue or concern within a local community and works through that as a part of a service learning experience. That’s being lead by Mark Wilson and Nan Fairley. [9:28] And again this is another example of students being engaged, not only internationally, but also being engaged locally.
I’d also mention, the MRI Center, it’s been mentioned to you several times, is probably the most advanced imaging of its type in the United States, certainly no one has anything better than what we have here. There’s an activity with faculty members and electrical engineering, Jeffrey Katz, no Jeffrey is in psychology and Tom Denney, engineering; working together, working with military particularly focused on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So they’ve been working on that and from what I can tell medical people aren’t sure exactly the cause, so we don’t really know the treatments, so they are really doing some ground breaking work with the 7 teslar as well as the 3 teslar magnets that we have, to try to give some clarity to young men, young women that have served our country. So some of the things like that we don’t talk about enough, but they are certainly important when you think about Auburn.
I do want to mention and I think the Provost is going to talk in depth about the strategic plan that’s coming up. When I came 5 years ago, we spent about 9 months developing a plan trying to have a lot of input and we came up with 59 goals in that plan. They were highly measurable, not measured by me but by another committee, another group, that actually said that we could achieve it or not achieve it. Seventy-one percent of the items on that plan were accomplished. [11:12] I have to tell you, it hasn’t been great financial situations, a bad economy, all kinds of things, so I know people have worked awfully hard for this university to achieve 70% of the top priorities that we had over the last 4 years.
Also I want to thank everybody for their work on the SACS reaffirmation efforts. Drew is here and has done a really great job of leading that effort. We had a presentation the other day on the QEP that will be presented, excellent electronic portfolios which really offer our students and our graduates a leg up certainly in the employment areas, but something that we hope over time businesses will pay much more attention to when they evaluate a student.
The final thing I wanted to share with you is, Bill’s mentioned shared governance, I have to tell you last week at the Senate Meeting Bill went through a whole list of different interactions that he has in meetings. One of the meetings that I enjoy the most is once a month we sit with the Executive Committee of the University Senate and Don and I and the Provost and we always learn a lot. I appreciate everything that each of you do, let’s have a great year. I’d be happy to respond to any questions.
Bill Sauser, chair: You have a question for Dr. Gogue please go to the microphone. Any questions? If not then thank you so much.
Next item on the agenda, we’ll hear from another of our leaders in the academic enterprise and this is our Provost Tim Boosinger. [13:00]
Tim Boosinger, provost: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you this afternoon about a few things that are going on in the Provost’s Office and also give you a perspective of some things to come as we move through strategic planning. I want to talk about 2 or 3 minutes before we get to the slides about issues related to retention and graduation rates because that will most certainly be a part of the discussion in the strategic planning process.
On this first slide, I and the president have approved the Handbook, the portions of the Handbook that require Board approval will be approved at the November meeting so we are nearing completion on that process. We continue to revise and improve the Promotion and Tenure processes and mechanisms and making in more electronic in the last year. I think that’s been an enhancement. We are pleased with during the last year all of the department of tenure and promotion guidelines were finalized and approved and now we are also working through all of these 5 year reviews of administrators. So we’ve had some catching up to do, when we get through this year we should get to an annual cycle of about 6 or 8 per year, right now we are doing about 6 or 8 a semester, but we should be caught up by next fall in that spring cycle. We are pleased with that process those reviews are very constructive, very professional, I think leaders are being reviewed, I appreciate that process very much. Proud of what we are doing to improve Auburn University through those reviews. I thank any of you that are in the room today, that chaired or worked on those reviews, that that is no small task and I greatly appreciate it.
Just a reminder that we have intramural funding opportunities being made available by the Vice President’s Office, I encourage you to take advantage of those as they come online during the coming months as we go through this year’s cycle. Also we are going to recognize tomorrow night 13 new professorships from these colleges; College of Business, College of Engineering, School of Nursing, and COSAM as a result of our fundraising initiatives. This is an extension process that started a few years ago, I think in the first year we did 90 and now we are continuing more every year, so we are well past 100.
There’ll be a faculty awards program that you may be familiar with on October 30. That’s when the university stops and recognizes it’s best teachers and researchers and scientists involved in outreach. It’s a great evening if you have not been there.
During the coming year as was mentioned by the President we are going to focus on strategic planning. We are already working to improve many aspects of the advising process, I’d be quick to say, advisors are doing a good job, we are looking for consistency across the university making sure that there are not any gaps that need to be filled. So a lot of that work is already underway.
I’m going to talk to you a little about our retention and graduation rates and where we are compared to our peers and then the SACS campus visit coming up in March 2013.
So in preparation of the strategic planning process, the strategic planning steering committee will meet this Friday morning and we will begin to map out this process that will extend over the next few months and hopefully will be finalized in June of 2013. We are already collecting data, it will come from lots of sources, these are just the examples. There will be focus group sessions there will be 10 off-site at different locations around the state. These 30 on-campus, in addition there’ll be discussions with Provost council, all the deans, there will be meetings with all the associate deans for research and academic affairs, so there will be ample opportunity for all stakeholders that have an interest in our strategic priorities for the next 5 years for everyone to participate.
Dr. Gogue and I are in the process of meeting with the different departments, there are 65 departments across Auburn University, we’ve met with 5, we have 5 more scheduled this week, and will have met with everyone by early February.
I hope you can read that in the back. This is the membership of the strategic planning committee, we’ve asked Dean Emeritus Dick Brinker to come back and help facilitate some of these focus groups, since we’ll be doing at least 40 maybe more during the coming months. We plan to get representation across the university from all the different aspects of our mission, but remember this is not the group that’s going to write the strategic plan, this is a group that’s going to facilitate the process and data collection and bring everything together so that in the spring the president can look at these recommendations with the Board of Trustees and draft our strategic plan for the next 5 years.
So you can see how this is starting in October, the steps we are going to go through, data collection as I mentioned, we’ll brief the Board of Trustees in November at their meeting on how this process will work. They’ll play a roll because they will help host the regional meetings around the state of Alabama. Then we will begin in earnest to bring all these groups together and try to have a preliminary report in mid spring and then final recommendations ready for review in June and hopefully and adoption update a strategic plan also in June of 2013. [20:11]
To shift gears a little bit, there are a number of reasons I wanted to talk to you about retention and graduation rates, talking just about undergraduates, is because I think that needs to be a part of discussion that takes place as we move through the strategic planning. And these two topics, retention and graduation rates are linked to almost anything you can mention. It’s affected by enrollment, it’s affected by our facilities, it’s affected on how well we plan, how smart we are about some of these kinds of things, composition of our classes, in-state and out-of-state, etc. it’s a pretty long list of factors that contribute to this. So just as an example we have some positive trends, I’ll show you in the next slide, we are really not were we need to be compared to our peers.
If you look at the top this is the percentage of the students that return in the fall after their first year. So that’s a good number in 2011, 90% of the students that enrolled for the first year returned in the fall. The challenge is that by 4 years only 42% of our undergraduates have earned a bachelor’s degree, and that’s low compared to our peers. If you look at the red line, from the latest date we have, this cohort starting in 2006, then you can see that our graduation rate is at 68% at 6 years, so while there is a positive trend if you do some comparative analysis here with our peers, comparing first in our group the classification of high research you can see where we are in that group compared to Clemson which is 76% for a 6 year graduation rate and you can look over at the institutions that are classified as very high research going up as high as 93% at the University of Virginia and as low as 58% for Mississippi State. So this is a topic that we don’t have time to get into the details today, but my office is going to be leading the discussion and the debate on how we can improve relative to our peers, why we need to do that, and how best to make that happen. So in a way this is just to get you thinking about one topic within the strategic planning process, that we all need to be thinking about and planning for the future. I think there are a number of things that we can do in the near term, some of them will be in the long term, but in the near term that will significantly improve our 6 year graduation rate, but we shouldn’t focus just on that. We should look at the 4 year graduation rate, 5 years and 6 years, some areas, some majors there’s a reason that it takes more than that. [23:46]
So right now we are focused on academic advising continuing to improve consistency and standardization across the university. We are experimenting with a few things, you may have heard about the Tiger Advisor in the Library, that program was put in place to try to help students that maybe can’t get in to see an advisor when the need to. They can walk in when they are in the Library and get an answer to a quick question. We are assessing that now, it started a little slow but it’s now building, the advisors are seeing more students every day. I think it’s going to be helpful and instructive. [24:19]
Just a reminder, we mentioned before, we also had some software packages Degree Works and SARS. Degree Works will help a student look at where they are academically, ask a question, if you want to change majors, what does that mean?. Also if you haven’t looked at the software it tells them across the top how much progress they are making toward their degree relative to the time they have been at school, so that’s sending them the right signals to think about taking adequate course load. That’s one of the issues we need to talk about. We have a student culture that leans toward taking light loads and we need a culture that all of us support encouraging students to take at least 15 credit hours every semester in order to make 120 credit hour bachelor’s degree achievable.
Again we’re working, we meet regularly with admissions and recruiting talking to them about what our goals will be for next year. We’ve agreed that for fall 2013, 3,900 new freshmen is a reasonable number based on our current capacity, however enrollment I think overall will be a topic of discussion as we go through the strategic planning process. [25:55] Discussion and debate could include, stay the same, get bigger or reduce the size of our undergraduate population, all those things are possible and some might [26:05] be better strategies than others. That remains to be determined.
I want you to start thinking about…we have looked at all 140 of our degree programs and what’s happened that I want you to start thinking about is that when we converted from quarters to semesters in 2000, we held the line pretty firmly at 120 hours in order to earn a bachelor’s degree in a degree program. We have had a significant amount of drift. We have over 40 of those 140 courses that have drifted upward, some of them into the 130s, so we will revisit that. The way we are going to do that is at my Office we are going to meet with the leadership and the faculty of the colleges and schools (we’ll start with the ones that have the most drift) and see how to best address those problems. My view, it’s unreasonable if we are going to ask students to reach a bachelor’s degree in 4 years, it’s reasonable to expect them to take 15 hours per semester, 30 hours a year to make satisfactory progress, but in recent years we raised the bar so some degree programs it’s not reasonable any more to expect them to get a 4 year degree if we’ve raised the bar to 135 or 138 hours. So we will start to have those discussions.
Then finally, later this fall we’ll be looking at some of the review and comments we get back on SACS on the off-site review and Dr. Gogue mentioned that there will be an on-campus review in March of 2013. We won’t know immediately what the results are. I think we get a final indication of our accreditation status in December of 2013 so it promises to be a very interesting year. I think it will be a productive year. I’d like to thank all of you, all the faculty that work so hard on all of these different projects that I just touched on and helping us move forward. So with that I will take any questions you might have.
I want to leave enough time for all of Don’s PowerPoints. (pause) I look forward to meeting with the different departments, I think that’s been helpful. Sometime I think that Dr. Gogue and I get more out of those meetings than the faculty but it’s good for all of us, we’re all in this together. Thank you.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you very much Tim, I appreciate that.
It was about 1984 or 1985, I was a little younger man than I am now and I was living in Montgomery and working on the Montgomery campus as head of the management department at that time. One of my fellow department heads introduced me to a friend of his named Gordon Stone. Well, I was impressed with this fellow, I thought wow, a lot of charisma, a lot of dedication, a lot of interest in public service in the state of Alabama and I thought: wouldn’t it be wonderful to have somebody like Gordon as a spokesperson for higher education throughout the state? I was impressed with you then Gordon.
Some of you know my friend Gordon Stone as the mayor of Pike Road, and he does hold that distinction, in fact there’s a meeting that he needs to get to tonight. But I invited him to share greetings with us this afternoon. This is Gordon Stone who is the executive director of the Higher Education Partnership for Alabama. Auburn University is a charter organizational member, I suspect many of you in the group are individual members. We’ve invited Gordon to share some comments about what the Partnership is up to these days, after it’s stunning success. Come on in Gordon.
Gordon Stone, executive director of the Higher Education Partnership for Alabama: Thank you, I’ll be very brief. [30:42] the Higher Education Partnership, if you don’t know who we are, we are the combined voice for the constituency of Higher Education when it comes to public policy discussion in Alabama. Meaning, students, faculty, alums, staff, others who are of the support group of higher education, we give that constituency of all 13 of the public universities a place to come together and advocate from a position of strength.
Certainly all of our institutions, Dr. Gogue and the team here in leadership share full (?) and representatives in Montgomery do a great job for Auburn. As an Auburn alum that’s important to me, but at the same time there are issues that the combined voice brings greater attention to and greater clout for and that’s what we represent.
For many years in the Higher Education Partnership was pretty easy, you could join and through payroll deduction you could continue to be a member, but because of the changes with the ethics law a few years ago, we decided as an organization to no longer participate in payroll deduction. So I would encourage you if you think you are a member and you hadn’t checked lately to give us a call. There’s some forms in the back, very simple one page forms to join the Higher Education Partnership.
One of the great things about our organization is that it’s a dollar a month, so it’s not taxing to too many peoples financial package to be a member. We have other tiers of membership, $120 membership, that allows you to have a liability insurance program if you are interested in that.
I am here today just to say hello, to make sure that I’m a familiar face to you in this role with the Higher Education Partnership and say thank you to Auburn for your support of what we do, to remind you that we have a number of key events that you may read about or hear about. Higher Education Day is our biggest most vocal event, but we remind our elected officials that the constituency of Higher Education is not a number on a spreadsheet, but it is real lives and individuals. When you see our percentage of the Education Trust Fund drop from 33% to 26–27% across the board then you know that there have been times when they’ve made decisions that weren’t to our advantage. We are fortunate to have good leadership in the House with local representative Mike Hubbard who is a speaker who understands the value of Higher Ed, we’re fortunate to have a governor who is from Tuscaloosa who understands the value of Higher Education. We need to help them as much as we can by being a position of strength and that’s what we’ll bring to the table.
So let me ask you to consider being a member. If you’d like us to talk more specifically with your department or with your college or school or any of the above we will be glad to facilitate that.
I would say in closing that I am a personal testimony of the things that Dr. Gogue spoke about. When the town of Pike Road first organized and became incorporated, the push that came from our citizens was Public Schools. Do something, create some opportunities for public education. Cindy Reed, of the Truman Pierce Institute, came to us and we worked with them and studied and learned about professional development schools, and to this day that is the model that we are working under. I am also a native of Wilcox County and I understand the challenges of Gees Bend, so I can relate, not only as an Auburn graduate, but also in traveling this state and working with all of the universities what a great difference this institutions makes in the state of Alabama. It’s a privilege to work for you and work with you. Don’t ever hesitate to give us a call. I just say a final thing, I’m glad the amendment passed because that’s one less challenge on the short-term basis in our state. But we’ve got a lot of challenges over the long-term and the best way we can solve them is to be at the table.
So if you’d like your voice…we won’t always agree with everything, all of us collectively, but there are a lot of things we do agree on. And those are the things we represent, so thank you for you time, and War Eagle.
Bill Sauser, chair: Thank you Gordon, thanks for being with us today.
We’d like to have Gordon Stone come visit with us and bring that message and also give us confidence that we, all of us in this room, have a voice in Montgomery, a voice speaking for higher education. Gordon, we thank you and your staff, that’s good staff there, and training programs, all kinds of opportunities for all of us. Thank you.
We are now going to move to the information items. Our first presenter is Don Large who is our executive vice president. [35:27]
Don Large, executive vice president: Okay, we have some slides, but now I decided after listening to the president and others coming over here that I am basically not going to present them so… Of all the things I’m thankful for at Auburn University, I’m most thankful for Marcie Smith, who oversees all of our financial and business areas. She basically had these put together, but there’s a good story here and I’m going to wait an tell it, it’s advisory to the deans and a good bit of information that suggests going forward we do have to be very strategic and the timeliness of the Provost’s message to you on strategic planning is good because the revenue sources that we historically have had and could rely on to move upward, we are very challenged right now. We did just implement, well actually going back to Marcie right now we are working on three years, we’ve got our legislative budget request for 2014 that we’ve got to have done in November, we just implemented the FY 2013 budget nine days ago and we’re just closing out the FY 2012 year and will have the auditors in looking at that and present that to the Board in January or February. So lots going on but just implemented the 2013 budget a billion dollar budget. We’ve been able to get by for 3–4 years probably about the best you could say with all the cuts that we’ve had. We’ve been interestingly to move the university forward by about every measurable assessment that is out there. So the president’s right in congratulating and thanking the faculty and staff and everybody that’s contributed. This year is the first year we actually were able to get a little into the budget for some level of permanent salary increases. And we will be doing some one-time increases or allocations in December, in asking each college in each area to find money in their own budgets to those allocations in salaries and that’s been reasonably successful too. We have been able to make some pretty good progress.
I going to fast forward to kind of the end of this to talk about some challenges and save you the rest of this for another time. Half of you have seen it anyway. But you remember, somebody was telling me the other day how you record your shows and you fast forward and advertisers are now beginning to figure that out so even as you are fast forwarding you are looking at it and getting some information, well, get ready.
One you might want to know is that about 70% of the cost of main campus goes to salaries and benefits, so if you are ever looking at reducing costs you have to look at personnel, so that’s always your big challenge. Looking out though our challenges have been state appropriations and still are. Really we are looking at possibly increases in FY 2014 we’re told. And our other revenues are challenged as well. Just a reminder on state appropriations and I guess going back to what the president said on what we’ve been able to accomplish even during some of the worst times, or actually the worst times of the state. Looking at our 4 budget divisions, these are continuing dollars too–this is what you would have in your budget as continuing money this goes back to 2008, we are almost down 100 million continuing money. And if you take that same slide of continuing and look at the one-time amounts that we’ve had to cut, your budget cut from the beginning of the year that is planned for and then they come back and say, plan on more (cuts) you’ve got to give up some more to proration, you see that number. If you happen to want to accumulate all of those and if you have the same money that you have in 2008 through 2013 you compute a loss of revenue of almost half a billion dollars so it’s just been our big challenge to try to work our way through it, we’ve made the cuts, we’ve done all the things we can do and that remains our big challenge. We’re still looking at possible decreases for the next year or so.
This is the last slide. The other revenues, maybe we could make it up, investment returns are getting like 1.11 of 1% on an overnight fund, so soon they are going to start charging us keep our money, I told the president I’m going to get a big safe in my office (jokingly stated). Gifts are important, we’ll have a campaign and all but those are important to the quality of the institution and all the things it allows you to do but they are pretty much restricted funds they don’t go into operations, you don’t pay salaries with them, you don’t pay light bills and such. Grants and contracts are great to have and make you better, tough to get. Almost all research costs money, any dollars we get we almost always have to add to it so you need to know that. It’s not like it’s a net revenue, but an important piece of the revenue.
Then tuition is probably our only opportunity in the short term for unrestricted monies that allow you to address salary increases other priorities, increasing state retirement costs, insurance costs; that’s about our only source and there are issues there on how much you can charge. How much more can you go after out-of-state students at 3 times the in-state rate when you’ve got about 40% of your entering freshmen already out-of-state. So opportunity there, but not…there are some limits there.
The one success in that area is we are ratcheting down the scholarship out of the general fund and quite frankly trying to replace those with paying students so that will help us some in revenue in future increases that we have in tuition [43:03] to achieve more net revenue per student. And our cost pressure that you see, and we still have to find ways to continue salary and wage improvement and the other things. And again, I guess my final message is and it would be with the other slides with the Budget Advisory and the Deans, Vice presidents that we work with this year on the budget is that we are going to have to be very, very strategic. Everybody has great lists of things they’d like to do, new projects, but realistically just covering those three things is going to be challenging enough. So the rest of the slides will tell that story in more detail as we build on the budget. That’s where we are, there’s optimism for some slight increases in revenue, but we are going to have to be very careful in how we use it. That’s my main message about the state of our finances, our balance sheet is pretty good. Going forward we are in reasonable shape but we are going to have to be careful. I’m happy to answer questions. [45:26]
Bill Sauser, chair: Questions for Don? Thank you very much Don, we appreciate that. We’ve heard some comments on the overall work of the university and research and instruction, outreach, extension. We heard about academic initiatives, we’ve heard about our financial picture. Our next presenter is Mr. Dan King who is going to talk to us about Facilities. If you look around the campus you can’t help but see there is action; buildings being built, roads being routed. We thought it would be very interesting to the faculty to hear some of Dan’s thoughts about what’s happening around the campus and maybe what some of the plans are for the future. Dan, thank you very much for accepting our invitation to be here. [46:27]
Dan King, Asst. VP of Facilities: Good afternoon, thank you for letting me come talk to you today. I’m one of the challenges that Don just referred to. I think we are on the problem side of his ledger sheet as much as we’re on the solution side. I just have a couple of things, I wanted to give you a quick update on some of the construction things on campus and then talk about 3 major campus initiatives.
First as Bill alluded to, there is a lot of things going on on campus. The good news is that there are a lot of critical facilities being built right now, the bad news is, boy, a lot of disruption to campus as we build those. The good news on this slide is by next summer most of that should be over. Six really significant projects are currently underway on various parts of campus. A lot of work on South Donahue corridor if you will, most of that should be done by next summer. So the construction impact will lighten somewhat, not totally, but somewhat. So all those are pretty much on schedule and within budget. So we are doing okay on pretty well all of those and you see a mix of both academic facilities, research facilities, and support facilities for the campus. In 2014 the one big project that will not finish in 2013 is the small animal teaching hospital. Phase one was completed last year, phase two which is really the main hospital reconstruction will be done in the spring of 2014 and then there are a couple of small pieces that will be put off ‘til the fall of 2014, but the small animal teaching hospital is underway, going strong, a lot of work being done there, but won’t be done ‘til 2014. That’s a pretty big project unto itself. And then there is a number of other projects, generally somewhat smaller, we’ll talk about one later the Central Classroom Facility, the anticipated start up as well probably should not have the same level of impact as the ones we just talked about. But there are a number of other projects that we are trying to T-up for the future in the next one, two, or three years.[48:52]
Also want to talk about what’s the longer range plan, what’ a longer range initiative that we are trying to pursue from a facilities standpoint and I think most people have heard that maybe a focus as we look out 10 years will be to try to replace some of the older academic buildings on campus. That’s really a quality initiative, it’s not so much that we’re lacking in square footage for these facilities, although that is generally true as well, but really it’s more of the quality, the quality of the buildings that you see there; Haley, Parker, Allison, and the list goes on are just old buildings not very well built architecturally, they are pretty worn out and we have to spend a lot of money to maintain them, renovate them or we’re going to have to replace them. So we are trying to pursue all that. The first step in the process is really as we try to figure it out would be to build a central classroom facility, which I’m sure some of you may have heard about, and to replace the provost and classroom space [50:02] in Haley Center and Allison. Again to replace that typical 45 person flat classroom, tablet seating academic in Haley which was the norm in 1962, but is not really the way that anyone wants to teach today. So the Central Classroom Facility would do that. We’re making some progress on the Central Classroom Facility. There has been a requirements committee, they’ve been meeting for almost a year, that’s tried to determine what should go in that facility, what kind of classroom space, what kind of technology, what are the pedagogical types of teaching that you want to have in there, so that we build the right kind of facility and put the right kind of classroom space in there.
Then most recently we are working on trying to lock into where the site for that facility should be. It’s a pretty important issue. It will have a lot of impact on where do some of these follow on replacement facilities, for the buildings you see there, where might they go? We have been taking options around campus trying to socialize, we’re trying to be very open with the process. Just had Provost open forum yesterday on that that was reasonably well attended, probably 100 or so folks. So we are starting to get some pretty good input on that I think you’ll see articles in The Plainsman and in the Reporter next issues on that. Again, trying to socialize it across campus as best we can. [51:41] The key issue on all of these is just affordability. As I’ve mentioned, these cost a lot of money to replace. Just that list alone there is somewhere between 200 and 330 million dollars, that’s a lot of money to borrow. That’s a lot of pressure on the debt service of the annual operating budget so it’s an affordability issue. It’s not that the university lacks the desire, not that they don’t care that some of these buildings have some significant issues; the administration does care but how do we pay for it? That’s probably the biggest challenge, we’ve got sequencing issues, sighting issues, all that kind of stuff, but really the main issue is financial. How do we make this an affordable program? So a lot of work has to be done on that.
We’re trying to do a lot of planning on campus. We are doing a comprehensive master plan. We are looking at about a dozen different issues, which we’ve made a pretty good amount of progress lately on the issues listed there. We already talked about the older academic buildings. Land use, I think, is really going to be a critical issue for this master plan update. The campus has really grown to the point where the core has expanded to the south and west, particularly to the south, while other requirements maybe in the south like in the research park are starting to grow north and they are starting to meet in the middle and there is competition for land. Competition for who is going to use what space on campus from a real estate standpoint. So planning smartly for the future, making sure we reserve space for critical functions that we think may happen, reserve space for expansion of certain functions that is really critical, making sure we utilize the land that we have to the maximum extent possible, is going to be very important. So land use is a big deal.
We are trying to include in the plan a sector on campus to plan for a future health science campus. Some of the sighting questions on that are probably helped by the decision a month ago to replace the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine along South Donahue Drive, that will be on Auburn University. So the synergies between the college of osteopathy and our health science campus which might include Pharmacy and Nursing and Clinics, some research facilities related to health science kind of issues, it maybe makes sense to get those together for good synergy probably relative to the Research Park.
We’ve taken a look at, and having work on it for the past year, and objective model that tries to determine how much space do the colleges and schools need based on things like, how many credit hours do they teach, how many FTEs do they have on staff or professors and things like that. Not just a wish list of hey I want this and I want that, but a little bit more objective. We’ve gone through that and met with the colleges and schools, every department frankly, several times over the last year. The results of that are coming out pretty much like we might think. We have a shortage of laboratory space on campus, there’s a number of different colleges and schools that need more space of one kind or another. So all of that will be captured in the Master Plan and documented. Not that we are going to go out and fix all those tomorrow, the priorities will remain the older academic buildings, but as we might move forward or opportunities exist for renovation or projects like that, that would certainly help inform us where we might go and what we might do in the future.
We’ll probably plan for space not that we’ll execute the plan anytime in the foreseeable future. What if the university wants to grow student housing to be able to house all freshmen on campus? No desire to that today,[56:12] but from a master planning standpoint we should really reserve space to do that in the future, should the desire be to do that.
In traffic and parking just started on, always a hot button topic, I think if we took a pole 99% of everyone on Auburn’s campus, faculty, staff, students would all say we don’t have enough, so we will try to quantify that and figure out what are the priorities if we were to add parking where would be the right place to add it, so a lot of work on the master plan. We hope to wrap it up in the spring and get it approved by the Board of Trustees sometime in the spring of 2013.
And last but not least we have also embarked on the first ever landscape master plan for Auburn University’s campus. We have a very nice looking campus, we get a lot of complements on how well it looks and how nice it looks from a facility overall standpoint including landscape and all that was done with no coherent coordinated plan for how we should make the campus look or what should be planted. How to tie the campus together with green space and physical space like walkways, how do you connect all that with the right kind of plantings so it seems coherent. So we are about to embark on that. We’ve picked a world class landscape master plan consultant their first visit begins tomorrow. They will talk to different stakeholders and will make a series of visits over the next several months. As we work on that we have a landscape master plan committee who will help advise them and a lot of stakeholders are involved so a lot of interest in landscaping on campus.
As an additional project they will also work up for us some ideas and concepts on how Toomer’s corner might be reconfigured. It’s not their job to determine whether the trees are ready to stay or ready to go, but we feel from a facilities standpoint it’s prudent to have a plan for when the trees do go we know what to do. We need to start working on that now so that will also be a collaborative process and there will be some open forums and design charettes on that. We will include people, the public will be invited, the campus family as well as folks in town. So that will probably happen later October on into November. We’re hoping that the landscape master plan will again pay great dividends over the long run. It won’t change anything tomorrow necessarily, we’re not going to plow up the campus and redo all the plantings because of the expense but if we get a good one and we apply it over 5, 10, 20 years it will make a significant difference on campus. We think we can make the campus prettier even than it is today. So that’s my presentation. I’m happy to take any questions. [59:24]
Bill Daniels, Fisheries: Not seeing Swingle Hall on your radar, ever since the change over to the centralized heating and cooling system on campus our building has been a disaster. Is there any opportunity to fix the heating and cooling in our building where we are not freezing 24/7, 365?
Dan King, Asst. VP facilities: I guess I would have to check into what exactly the issues are at Swingle. In addition to list of buildings to be replaced we also have a list of building that really need renovation as well and those would include Comer Hall, Mary Martin, Textiles, Dudley Hall, Greene Hall…I don’t know that Swingle is not on the list we could certainly take a look at that. Across the street from you at M. White Smith, probably a building of similar age, we had a major water leak 13 months ago and really made a heck of a mess all over the building, a major flood all over the place and you look at the piping and it looks like the artery of a 90 year old person that has a lot of cholesterol. So not too surprised, we can take a look at that and see short of a full renovation if there is something that can be done. So are you saying that Swingle is on the hot water/chill water system?
Bill Daniels, Fisheries: Yes.
Dan King, Asst. VP facilities: And do you know if you have a two pipe system, we’re probably getting into details that we don’t need to hear about.. Two pipe means heats on or cooling’s on nothing in between
Bill Daniels, Fisheries: Correct.
Dan King, Asst. VP facilities: Okay you are on a two pipe system. We have a lot of buildings like that on campus and they are fairly problematic. We can take a look at that. Thank you. Any other questions or comments?
Bill Sauser, chair: Dan King will be back with us at a later meeting to talk about some of the sighting possibilities for the Central Classroom Facility and some of the ideas of what it might look like, so some exciting things to look forward to.
Following our agenda it’s now time for me to call for any unfinished business. Is there any unfinished business to come before the faculty? Hearing none, is there any new business to come before the faculty? Hearing none I then declare the meeting adjourned. Thank you. [1:02:22]