December 14, 2001

Minutes of the Pleasantville/Briarcliff
Administrative Staff Council Meeting on December 14, 2001
Butcher Suite, Campus Center, Pleasantville

The meeting was called to order at 3:10 when Marie Petrocelli, co-chair welcomed those in attendance.

Introductions were made.

Featured Speakers
Angelo Spillo and James Eyring
Environmental Center
Special Guests: Abby and Dell

Angelo began by giving a brief history of the Environmental Center. In 1970, the center was falling apart and some students decided they would like to volunteer to refurbish the center. President Mortola gave them the funds but all work was done by volunteers. The "new" center was completed in 1971. Programs at that time focused on Children's programs such as school groups and holiday programs. The Equine program was also a part of the center.

During the 1980's, the Environmental Center programs were chaired by several different departments. In the summer of 1999, the programs were split. The Equine program became a part of Athletics under Joe O'Donnell and the Environmental programs became part of Dyson. Currently the Environmental Center reports to Dr. Roberts from the Biology department.

The programs for the Environmental Canter now include advisment to the Environment Club, working with High School and Pace interns, Lecture series, some children's programs, and the Ecoquest teen camp. Staff at the center coordinated an Environment University Day in which 160 high school students visited last and this year to learn more about the programs available.

The Center also works hand in hand with Dr. Chapman and the Enviromental Studies program. The Center houses the Environmental Clinic providing Pace students with a resource to research and work on group projects.

Another focus this year will be Earth Week from April 15th to 19th. There will be panelists, lectures, outdoor events, and a film series.

Angelo was asked about the impact of the construction on the center. He explained that some of the meadow area and trails were lost. There was less of an impact than previously planned because the Center and the planners worked out a compromise.

James Eyring began by telling us that the farmhouse where the Environmental Center is located was built in 1749. He said the floors are a little warped and there are many drafts but all that matters is he does what he loves. He has been at Pace for 20 years and environmental education is his passion.

He has taught over 100,000 children while working at Pace. The new program Ecoquest is a summer camp for 11 to 14 year olds. They have many hands on activities and James uses many means to get their attention and to get the ideas across. James also works with the birds of prey at the Environmental Center which include several hawks and an owl. James' father was a professional dog trainer. James started working with animals at 5 years old.

Dell, a 5 1/2 year old border collie, was purchased by the University as a geese control agent. When she was brought on staff, there were approximately 257 geese on the property. One goose goes to the bathroom every seven minutes while it is awake. Canada geese want to come back to roost where they were born. They now recognize James' truck. The University was losing students because of the problem.

Dell understands many commands and has been 100% successful in controlling the geese. She has never touched a goose in all her work. When he began working with Dell, James had to learn how to signal commands using body language. Dell already knew what to do. She was purchased from the Geese Police in North Carolina. Rewards are all by voice or petting, not food. The dogs don't bark, but will nip the sheep if needed. They must be able to show the sheep who is boss.

The dogs have a 12 to 15 year life expectancy. They will probably develop arthritis due to the work they perform. When working, they have their tail between their legs. Border collies are from the Border of England and Wales. They are breed to be black and white so they are easier to see. Winston's Cap is the father of all border collies, who was the first dog to use body language when herding sheep.

The two dogs live with James. Abby, a 2 1/2 year old border collie, was purchased by James after Dell was injured. Both dogs need to work at least an hour a day. They work with either the geese or the sheep. The sheep will give the dogs a better workout because they can't fly away.

A question was asked about the algae on the pond. It is Duck weed and is healthy for the pond. Since the pond is man made and very shallow, the algae will continue to grow until the pond is dredged. A estimate several years ago was for about $100,000 and the Town of Mt. Pleasant needs to approve the permits as the University is zoned as a residential area. The water has been tested and the pond is stocked with bass and sunfish. James caught a 7 1/2 pound bass and returned it to the pond.

James, Dell and Abby finished with a brief demonstration.


The minutes from the November Meeting were approved and accepted.

Committee Reports:

Benefits Committee - Maxine Sugarman (Barbara McCarthy submitted a report)
The Benefits Committee met on Monday, December 10th.

  • Health Plan rates for 2002 have been distributed to all Pace employees.
  • US Health Care Connecticut will be discontinued as of 1/1/02 due to a substantial increase in the cost of the plan. All four employees enrolled in the plan agreed to move to another medical plan.
  • The Employee Assistance Program Proposal was discussed. A subcommittee reviewed proposals submitted by EAP providers. United Behavioral Health has the plan be suited to Pace. This plan would allow for access to skilled counselors through an initial telephone consultation. The counselors will conduct comprehensive interviews and make referrals. These referrals may include substance and alcohol abuse programs, eldercare and child care services, crisis intervention, moving companies, children with disabilities resources, short term counseling, domestic violence programs, and other problem at home situation referrals. The proposal for the plan has been sent to the President. If the plan is adopted, it may begin in the spring.
  • It is important to note that the cost for the EAP plan will be less than the total cost to the university for counselors and assistance that were provided in response to September 11th. There will be no cost to employees for this plan and the plan with work within the confines of your health care provider plan. Managers will be able to refer employees to the program as well.
  • An Educational Savings Plan will be in effect beginning January 2002 in response to a change in Federal legislation. The donations to this plan will be tax-free. Look for announcements from TIAA-CREF about presentations. You are able to donate to these plans as parents or grandparents.
  • The Benefits committee is setting three year objectives in the Spring of 2002. They are interested in input from all groups within the university. Please contact Maxine or Barbara with any suggestions. Barbara Cunningham suggested a Cafeteria plan for employees.

PUAC - Ken Schneck
PUAC met on December 3rd.

  • Cumulative GPA grades will not be posted until the end of summer session. The students have had many things to deal with this semester including three students who passed away from the PLV campus, which has been reflected in their grades. Many financial aid awards are based on the GPA and the University does not want to reduce that award for the spring semester.
  • A new Vice President of Student Services will hopefully be identified at the end of January.
  • The Dean for Students search has been narrowed to 8 or 9 candidates from both within and outside of Pace.
  • The Academic Integrity Code was discussed.
  • All Faculty, Staff and Students must wear their IDs. Students have been stopped by security and asked to show their IDs.
  • The status of LGBT students and allies was discussed. Ken is the advisor to this group and the Pride commission. Out of eleven students, eight will be transferring to the Pace downtown campus for spring semester. The University needs to work towards a common response from all faculty, Staff and Students when approached with a question about personal issues. Possible suggestions include holding awareness and training for Safe Zone programs. There could also be a program for LGBT resource persons within different buildings. LGBT content should also be incorporated into classes. Barbara Cunningham noted that the Diversity Day held a few years ago was very important and should be repeated.

Faculty Council - Reola Clark

  • Frank McDonald outlined the changes in security. The guards are gone from the gates due to money and the approaching cold weather which would require the construction of booths. Patrols have been increased on campus instead.
  • A presentation on the faculty workload and salaries was given by Barbara Pennipede and David Perlman. This showed the differences across faculty, colleges, and schools supporting the faculty claims that things are not equitable.
  • Susan Crawford presented on UNV101. This course in under review and may change with the change in the core curriculum.
  • President Caputo announced the opening of the Center for Downtown New York. He also thanked everyone for their cooperation and help over the fall semester.
  • The Health and Fitness Center progress is ahead of schedule and may be opening in August 2002.
  • Marie Werner discussed the high response to the survey on room scheduling.
  • Discussion of student classroom behavior followed. There may be additions to the student handbook about acceptable behavior in the classroom.

Service Committee
The service committee could not attend the meeting as they were in the process of wrapping all gifts for the Clout Toy Drive.

Communications Committee
The committee has been taking care of meeting announcements.

Picnic Committee
Please consider signing up for the committee. We also need a co-chair for the committee.

Other Business

Karen Lolli announced the the Health Care Unit has received a grant to have a Smoking Cessation Program that will run during each semester. The program will be free. Watch for an announcement for further details.

Ken Schneck mentioned that he attended the Pforzheimer Center Assessment Conference. He heard about the Presidential Assessment Grant and inquired about applying only to be told that he would need a faculty sponsor based on the wording of the grant description. Karen DeSantis attempted to apply for the same grant last year and was turned down. Ken will be meeting with Barbara Pennipede to discuss the grant. Is there anything we can do to help staff in these instances?

Respectfully submitted,
Karen DeSantis
December 18, 2001