December 3 2010 minutes

December 3, 2010

Westchester Administrative Staff Council minutes


The meeting was called to order by Pat Carolan. A moment of silence was held for Luke Arneson the student who passed away on December 1.


Panel Presentations

Interim Provost Harriet Feldman

“You are valued members of Pace and the lifeblood.  You build our sense of community.”

The provost’s office is the head of the academic part of the university.  This umbrella covers the dean for students, grants office, centers for excellence, associate provosts, assessment, CAE, Honors program, OSA, student success but structures change over time.  It is the provost’s job to make sure that all academic parts of the Pace community run smoothly.  She thinks of it as a Grand Dean position so her past experience as both Dean of Lienhard and Acting Dean of the School of Education are applicable.   Nurse for many years, involved in national organizations and lobbying for nursing professionals.

Questions: Are you interested in applying for provost?  Considering it but haven’t made a decision at this time.

Mark Poistel will begin as Associate Provost for Student Success in January.  His initial charge will be to develop a university wide retention plan and then work on the international programs.

The University will be announcing a new position similar to the Vice President for Students soon.

Feedback from faculty has been positive so far and she wants to have more direct contact with the faculty.  There are faculty issues with trusting the administration.  The faculty handbook revision is now with the administration.  Salary issues are a concern as academia is not paid on the same scale as outside of academia.  Faculty turnover and enrichment is another area that needs to be addressed.

Contract with adjunct faculty needs to be renewed and negotiations are beginning.


Robina Schepp, Vice President for Enrollment Management

Enrollment for Fall 2010: Significant gain in new undergraduate enrollment for this year.  2192 enrolled this fall.  Retention initiatives are working.  Graduate numbers were short of goal for new students but it is still higher than in the past.  Overall we are anticipating a revenue surplus this year.  Merit increases will be in January paychecks.  Four years of enrollment success.  FTE is 1200 higher than three years ago.  Still working on targets for 2011 based on several different variables. The University started admitting students on December 1 for the Fall 2011 semester. 

Explanation of tuition discount rate – includes financial aid and merit scholarships.  Federal, State awards are applied to student’s record as well as expected family contribution numbers based on FAFSA forms.  Once all other awards are in the record, the university can look at the gap to see what institution can contribute to the tuition.  The merit scholarship award continues yearly based on meeting specific requirements.  Financial Aid is based on the expected family contributions so it doesn’t change unless the family contributions change.

Customer service training and a new ticketing system are some of the changes coming up.

New viewbooks and acceptance packets that focus on the Pleasantville campus are now available.


Bob Almon, Interim CFO

Comes from business perspective and was asked to take the position on an interim basis of 18 months.  Worked for GM and then for Solomon and Lehman Brothers.  Ernst & Young to create strategy consulting and informing the accountants of what to look out for that is business specific.  Retired to begin a hedge fund business that didn’t work out during the economic crisis and then got a call from President Friedman.

Last year the University lost 2.5 million dollars.  Everyone contributed through no salary increases to help the university.

Retention was better and is cheapest way to increase enrollment.  Financial Aid packets stay the same but the students pay for the tuition increases so there is additional revenue. 

The University should make approximately $6 million this year which will be added to the unrestricted net assets to build it up from the $2 million of our current level.

The University lost approximately $50 million dollars over the past eight years. 

We are a tuition driven university rather than having endowments and large alumni giving.  This needs to be managed well – keep students happy, offer the right programs, solve problems as quickly as possible, how to do things more efficiently.  Must prioritize to attract students and keep them.  Happy faculty make for happy students.  Facilities are also important – need correct laboratory facilities to be able to provide programs.

Questions:  Are we offering too much financial aid or hitting a ceiling since the students now expect the discounted tuition?  Net tuition revenue – salary and benefits is 75 to 80% of that revenue.  Difficulty is that we are high priced but the value perception is not aligned.  To align the perception we need to give that discount in tuition.  To change that significantly improves the perception of the quality of the experience.

How does your department have an effect on the staff positions?  Layoffs are not a part of the budget process.  Efficiency should come from the staff – if processes can be done better, then other staff can be opened up to do different jobs that need to be done.

Robina mentioned that job requirements change and if another type of professional is needed, it must be done in a budget neutral way.

Approximately 5% of endowment is used for operating expenses which is fairly common with our benchmark universities.


New Business

There was a lengthy discussion on how the recent restructuring of 4 positions within one department was handled and how much of a negative impact it has had on morale.  Betsy Garti noted that at this time there is no official plan for additional restructurings.



Approval of November Meeting Minutes


Treasurer’s Report.  No Report.  Money for Coffee has been allocated.  All additional funds will be spent on the picnic.


Committee Reports:

·         Benefits (Fran O’Gara)

·         Faculty Council (Karen DeSantis) – Meeting is this afternoon.   Notes are attached here.

·         Service Committee: Clout toy drive has begun.   Deadline to hand in gifts is December 14.

·         Picnic Committee - no report.  Please think about joining or chairing the picnic committee.