Sunday, May 16, 2010

And these notes from the last Board meeting

So I thought I would give you loyal readers an update on the recent Board of Trustees meeting. Unlike the last twelve hour marathon event, this session of committee meetings and full board meeting was more reasonably managed. During the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting, five faculty were recommended for tenure and subsequently awarded tenure by the full BOT later in the day. Congratulations to Professors Gaytan, Kimble, Mardis, Nkansah, and Green on their achievement. There were also some concerns voiced about the dual enrollment scheme being pursued with Kennedy-King College and Chicago State University.
During the Finance Committee meeting several interesting items were discussed. First, the bookstore contract is being negotiated. Unfortunately no faculty or students were involved in the contract negotiation. I see this as problematic because as the primary users of the service, we would be the ones with the most knowledge about how the bookstore contract should be structured. It is another example of the lip service given by the administration to the practice of shared governance. Second, the much maligned Ghana Book Project has been resurrected under new leadership. A Certified Public Accountant has been hired to provide financial oversight and hopefully protect the university from negative publicity. Third, the Chief Information Officer reported that the university will be upgrading all of its servers, (email, web, Banner etc.) and replacing the network switches campus wide. After years of us being told we can’t lease equipment, the university will be leasing equipment so that we are not saddled with equipment at the end of its life. I was assured by the CIO that faculty will be informed of changes as they progress so that we can all attend the necessary training that will accompany these upgrades. And finally, good news from the Audit front. The final audit report for FY 2009 has been posted to the Auditor General’s website. We had seven fewer audit findings in FY 09 than FY 08. As the BOT chair remarked last year, the credit for this improvement goes to our former Interim President Frank Pogue, who even though was prevented by the aforementioned BOT chairman, from hiring a Vice President for Finance did manage to oversee a 35% decline in audit findings.
The Facilities Committee meeting was equally enlightening. The Director of Physical Plant informed the committee that the master clock controller can no longer be repaired and must be replaced. When I suggested that maybe it would be cheaper to place battery operated clocks in the classrooms I was told that $10 clocks with replaceable batteries would be impossible. Go figure. Finally, the committee was told that a contract was given to a vendor to conduct a feasibility study for the construction of a new 1,000 bed dormitory. The value of the contract would probably have only saved one or two jobs of recently fired employees. At least the university has its priorities in order.
At the full BOT meeting the date for the annual gala was announced. I imagined that since this was the only mention of university fund raising that there will be none until September. The Board was also informed of the glaring absence of emergency planning, specifically the absence of a Continuity of Operations Plan. (COOP) Every office, division or department should have a COOP so that if they are unable to conduct business as usual every individual knows where to go and what to do to continue functioning close to normal. I would hope that the administration would be aware enough of the current situation to know that the institution is no where near to being prepared for any emergency.

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