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Governance Minutes Archive

March 17, 1994

  Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  Staff Senate


  Minutes of the Regular Meeting

  Thursday, March 17, 1994

  Room 102 - Phase II - Veterinary Medicine



  Senators Present:  Carolyn Alls, Pat Ballard, Joyce Bohr, Joann Craven,

  Judy Davis, Marge Dellers, Patrick Donohoe, Les Fuller, Leslie Graham,

  Betty Greene, Patty Hall, Diane Kaufman, Julia King, Richard Lovegrove,

  Don Massie, Sherilyn McConnell, Bhaba Misra, Margie Murray, Valerie

  Myers, Diane Patty, Mary Pennington, Carlile Price, Rocky Price, Peggy

  Rasnick, Wyatt Sasser, Lynne Schaefermeyer, Chuck Shorter, Elaine

  Southworth, Charlie Stott, Lorrie Sumpter, Sarah Wheeler, Deb Williams.


  Alternates Present:  Netta Eisler for Mary Holliman, Lorena Sowder for

  Widget Shannon, Elizabeth Shifflet, Cindy Harrison.



  Call to Order


  Meeting was called to order at 5:32 PM



  Guest Speaker


  Earving Blythe, Vice President for Information Systems, addressed the

  administration's view of deficiencies and problems with the mainframe

  system.  Many of our information systems are obsolete; the system we

  are using now is based on 1963 technology.  FRS was basically one

  system; it required many hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting

  costs.  It required the involvement of many people in the university.

  It took six years from the beginning of the project to the end.  The

  solution is to come up with some method by which we could parallel all

  of our administrative systems.  The goal has to be to become more

  effective and responsive as an administration.  All these systems

  would be able to talk to each other.  Unfortunately, upgrading the

  system comes with a substantial price and someone needs to be made

  responsible for knowing who uses the system and what their needs are.

  Blythe wants the resources for the upgrade under his control.  There

  has to be a tremendous commitment to training.  Goals are that within

  four years all faculty and students will have access to some reasonable

  technology, that faculty can become literate in computer technology, that

  we develop lab and classroom activities using this system, and that

  faculty members will learn to develop creative technology to improve

  the learning/teaching process.


  Blythe said that within three years we will have a significant number

  of our administrative systems on-line, we will have broken the

  dependency on old technology, and we will be getting a lot more from

  our investment. We will be able to measure development time in hours,

  days, and weeks, not in months and years.  Blythe said it is crucial

  that there can't be any untouchable administrative processes.  We need

  to be placing about 200-250 workstations a year in offices across campus

  and have appropriate training.  About 20 to 25 percent of faculty will

  get help in getting a computer and technology each year.


  President McConnell asked whether the system have generator backup.

  Blythe responded that they are looking at putting in gas generators.


  Senator Ballard asked whether departments or colleges will see any

  monetary relief as a result of the expected savings in the system.

  Blythe said he doubted it, but you will see gains in efficiency. The

  system will replace 25 percent of total distributed computing. The

  administration systems group will be responsible for ongoing maintenance

  and support.  Other maintenance issues are state and federally mandated.




  According to a letter received from Ray Smoot, payroll deduction for

  parking permits will be possible.


  Trice Scholarships are available for up to $700; applications are



  The Montgomery County Chapter of the American Red Cross is seeking

  volunteers in all areas.  Board members are also needed to serve three

  year terms.  If interested, President McConnell has contact names and

  E-mail addresses.


  President McConnell and Vice President Stott will be traveling to

  University of Virginia on April 1 to give a presentation to some of the

  staff and vice presidents.  They are interested in seeing how Virginia

  Tech formed their Staff Senate.



  Approval of Minutes


  The minutes of February 17, 1994 minutes were approved with no




  University Councils, Commissions, Committee Reports


  Communications Committee met; low attendance, nothing to report.


  Nominations and Elections - Staff Senate must have elections by May 1.

  Senator Massie read a list of what positions will become vacant and took

  nominations from the floor.  Balloting will be conducted at the April

  meeting.  Current nominees are: Parliamentarian -- Patty Hall, Bhaba

  Misra; Secretary -- Valerie Myers; Vice President -- Jamie Evans,

  Richard Lovegrove, Wyatt Sasser; President -- Charlie Stott.  Ballots

  will be finalized and a sample of the ballot with bios of nominees will

  be sent to senators soon.


  No reports were available from the following: Commission on Classified

  Affairs, Faculty Affairs, Public Service and Extension, Student Affairs,

  University Support, Intellectual Property, and EO/AA.


  The Policies and Issues Committee and the Council of Staff Association

  Officers met jointly.  They had two guest speakers.  Dr. Craig Rogers

  of the Center for Intelligent Materials wants staff members to provide

  as much input as possible on policies for a handbook for restricted



  The other guest speaker was Sherwood Wilson from Physical Plant.  In

  February the officers council discussed snow and ice removal.  This

  group decided that the biggest issue is that Physical Plant does not

  have a lot of time in the morning to clear roads and parking lots before

  people arrive.  When the decisions are being made whether to delay

  opening -- or to close -- the university, Physical Plant is not always

  consulted.  The group decided to put together a subcommittee to prepare

  a recommendation to the administration that Physical Plant be consulted

  when deciding whether to open or close the university or to open late.

  The campus police do play a major part in the decision making process,

  since there are officers on duty 24 hours.


  Senator Murray also stated that the manuals for staff associations are

  still in the works.



  Old Business


  Blue Cross/Blue Shield changes and notification delay - Senator

  Lovegrove put together a draft of two letters, one to Richmond and one

  to personnel.  The purpose of the letters is to ask why notification

  of changes was so late getting out and also why Senator Sutphin had

  such a hard time finding information about the delay.  Senator Lovegrove

  will forward the letters to Senator Sutphin and the Executive Committee.



  College of Education restructuring - Senators Pennington and Craven had

  information available.  Any questions or comments should be directed to

  them by profs; Pennington - MAMIE and Craven - VTED.



  President McConnell received a note from Prisilla Wallace and Sherry

  Lawrence from Virginia Commonwealth University.  They appreciated the

  opportunity to observe our senate meeting.  They were very impressed

  with all the hard work and organization, and also with the area

  associations. They will be preparing a proposal for their own staff

  senate to present to VCU vice presidents.  They have requested some

  additional information that Senator Stott will be sending to them.


  Nine-hour limit on employees taking classes - The Personnel Advisory

  Committee unanimously agreed that the nine-hour limit means nine hours

  covered by a tuition waiver during working hours; what you do after

  working hours, as long as it is not a conflict of interest, is your own

  business.  Both Pat Hyer and Ann Spencer will pursue this further.



  New Business


  Staff Appreciation Day will be May 19.


  Senator Shorter requested an update on the Inclement Weather Policy.

  Senator Sasser stated that it has been revised again.  Basically,

  revision 7 gave the president of the university power to close the

  university; holidays take precedence over inclement weather leave. There

  are three official sources of notification (231-6000, 231-6668, or WVTF

  radio station).  The newest update is on the mainframe under

  Administrative Systems.


  Also being considered is the possibility of putting the information

  on-line.  If you have electricity, you can log onto the mainframe and

  get information. The phone mail administrator could also put the

  official information message on phone mail.


  Concern was expressed that the information was not being made available

  in a timely manner.  Many employees far from campus and must leave for

  work before the weather information is updated. Also raised were the

  issues of when does inclement weather start or stop, partial closings

  and how you address your time.



  University Council Resolutions -- Motion was made, seconded and carried

  that the following resolutions be adopted so that they may be forwarded

  to the Board of Visitors:

  Resolution 1 - Proposing that Membership Lists be Moved from the Body of the

  Constitution to the By-laws,

  Resolution 2 - Proposing a change to Article VII of the University

  Council Constitution, and

  Resolution 3 - Proposed changes to Article IX, Section 1, of the

  University Council Constitution.



  Senator Dellers objected to an anonymous letter, sent to some staff

  members, discussing efforts to switch the status of some employees from

  classified staff to administrative and professional faculty. Dellers

  didn't object so much to the content of the letter as to the fact that

  it was not signed.


  Meeting was adjourned at 7:10 PM.



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