November 2009 minutes

Westchester Administrative Staff Council meeting
November 4, 2009
Butcher Suite, Kessel Student Center

The meeting was called to order by Pat Carolan, co-chair of the Adminstrative Staff Council.  Introductions were made as there were many people in attendance who have not been regular attendees to the meetings.

Dean Lisa Bardill-Moscaritolo began the meeting with a showing of the Welcome Week video on the Pace U Itunes website:

She also mentioned the following additions to the Pace community.

·         Vidal Lopez, acting as Associate Director for Student Development and Campus Activities since John Agnelli left for a Dean for Students job.

·         Matt Lavery is our new as Associate Director of Residential Life

·         Elizabeth Warner is the new Assistant Director for Greek Life

·         Cornell Craig the new Director for the Office of Campus Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

Thank you for all that you do and for coming to Welcome Week activities and other events on campus. 


Barbara Pennipede, Assistant VP for Planning, Assessment, and Institutional Research
Jason Diffenderfer, Coordinator for Assessment and Planning, School of Education and OPAIR
Joy Tatusko, Administrative Coordinator for the OPAIR office

The OPAIR office works together on assessment and institutional research.  You can contact our office to get any assistance you need in creating assessment plans for your unit.

Barbara, Jason, and Joy presented a brief summary of the 2009 NSSE data through a powerpoint and handouts.  Additional materials are available on the council website at /page.cfm?doc_id=35113


·         Are there more specific explanations of the items included in each of the benchmarks?  Yes, we will add them to the WASC website.

·         How do students get the survey?  Email with customized invitations with followup emails. Done totally online.

·         How long is the survey?  15 to 20 minutes.

·         How do we know these responses are representative? Compare respondents to university-wide demographics for the freshman population and the senior population.

·         Only matriculated students?  Sent out to students who are taking courses for credit who meet critieria for “freshman” and “senior” status.  Not all but most.

·         Do you look at majors so students aren’t leaning towards one school?  All are invited and it depends on who answers.  We also look at individual schools – but in general things reflect the “Pace experience.”  No annual trends – no major differences between the schools.

·         Divided by campus.  Not all items can be compared across campuses.

·         Comparison with Urban institutions – not just an urban campus.  Urban institutions include other multicampus institutions. 

·         Comparisons across years – We have been doing this since 2002 and have looked at historical trends.

·         Level of academic challenge questions.  Would these results reflect that our students may be lower academically?  Looking at CAP vs non-Cap students in these areas. Stronger students who cite substantial level of academic challenge persist; weaker students require more support services to assist their success. Follow-up question:  Does Pace have a higher acceptance rate that admits students with lower SAT scores?  Will send a benchmark report to be posted on the website so we can compare our results to our peers.


Karen Robilotta, Vice President for Human Resources

Appreciate the invitation to speak with this group.  Glad to have an open dialogue.  Key questions:

What happened?  We are living in a time when we can’t predict things financially and how the times will impact us.  Our new students have significantly increased need for financial aid.  Continuing students’ families have need for increased aid.  We had 320 students who had a $0 expected family contribution.  Decrease in international students as financial changes are global. Traditionally, international students provide more net revenue.  Historical strategy is to meet the financial gap for our students.  Got enrollment but the budget gap is due to the unprecedented financial gap from our students needs.

What are we doing?  How will we address the budget gap?  We have to get through this year.  Hiring freeze has been instituted. Severe cut to operating supplies and services budgets.  Interest rates are low so our interest costs will be lower than budgeted.  There will be a nominal salary adjustment for lower paid employees.  Retool our internal controls – will use earlier dates to make financial reports so we can plan better.

What is next?  How do we not lose momentum from convocation and home coming and other positive results of NSSE survey for freshman?  Continue to invest in employee recognition.  Launching professional training program – internal mostly and external parts already paid for.   Renewed focus on Pleasantville with the Westchester Master Plan.  WMP began as a real estate plan but now it has grown into an aggressive plan to create “Pace Pleasantville” so we are competitive as a suburban campus including academic programs.


·         How long do you anticipate hiring freeze lasting?  End of year – all positions that have not already been extended an offer.  President Friedman will approve all new hires.

·         Will students replace some of the open positions?  Federal work study this year has a one year additional program.  Work study student positions are not frozen.

·         Current postings with applicants.  Department supervisor must decide if the job must be filled within the next 8 months.  Need to write a business case for each position.

·         What is the cap of the salary increase employees – will come from President later this week.

·         Have job positions open and was told that the position is currently frozen.  Business case – will the position create revenue or bring students to the program/ increase enrollment.

·         Rumors – hires in critical positions will result in layoffs.  No current plan for layoffs.

·         Financial aid – why did they go over the budgeted allotment?  Why didn’t they realize that they were going over budget?  Don’t identify one area as the cause.  The processes we used this year worked for Pace for a very long time. Given the scope of the economic challenges the country is facing, we have to reexamine things that were tried and true but may no longer work.

·         Why aren’t the VPs which are getting more people while the staff is getting the hit and the hiring freezes?

·         Whatever we have done in the past, will be reexamined before we go forward.  Fix what went wrong with new strategies.

·         Staff morale is down.  How do we write goals for next year in this climate?  It will be HR’s singular focus to maintain morale or increase morale.  What can we do in each department to make things better?  Suggest to Deans and VPs that they have the same conversations with their employees.

·         Results from Great Colleges to Work For survey.  Will share the data when we can.

·         Not transparent – we were told our numbers are up, things are good.  Not told in July that things might not work out.  Administration didn’t know because the reports come in too late.

·         How is the Capital Campaign going?  What are our endowments doing?  Christine Meola has just completed a report that Karen will ask if it can be shared with staff.

·         How does no raise policy affect Faculty? Pace has a contract with the adjunct Faculty to get a 3% raise.

·         One time payment to all staff to make staff feel as if they are worth something.

·         Need more communication about what is being done as far as a onetime FT Faculty retirement packages but nothing on the table for staff at this time.

·         Will any benefits (ie. Tuition remission) be changed?  Not at this time.  Currently looking at complete benefits as all benefits packages come up in July 2010.  Nothing on the table at this time.

Closing thoughts:  Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today.  Thank you for all you do for Pace.

Announcement from Dan Botting:  The Clout Toy Drive is coming up.  Look for an email about it in the near future.

Meeting adjourned at 10:35 am.