February 11th Staff Council DebriefMarch 5, 2013
Guests: Dr. Reagan Ramsower and Dr. Karla Leeper
University Financial Report & Update on Building Projects
Dr. Ramsower reported to Staff Council that Baylor is strong financially. Baylor exceeded projections for net tuition revenue. The scholarship campaign has been very beneficial and enrollment for fall is stronger than it has been in the past. Applications completed are around 30,000 and 15,000 have been accepted. He explained that those students who apply to Baylor and only Baylor as their number one choice will have an admission decision early if they do not apply to any other college or university. They have also been working this year to increase the percentage of males in the freshman class. The lists that were chosen had more males than females but acceptance was not based on gender.
There is construction taking place every day. East Village is dried-in as well as Marrs McLean Science Building, so the weather will not cause problems for these buildings, unlike the stadium. The stadium is on schedule and within budget. Late summer or early fall construction will begin on the pedestrian bridge. You will be able to go from Baylor to the stadium and not access I-35. Loop 574, Martin Luther King Blvd., will be opened up to LaSalle with four lanes. Study groups in the community are working on parking needs. There are discussions about event planning with the city.
The construction for a new Business School was announced this past week. Major donors came forward and there has been wonderful support. BRIC is coming along so Baylor is set academically for a while. Renovation will be scheduled for South Russell and then North Russell and for other dorms which will take care of student housing complexes. As we enter Pro-Futuris, these projects will culminate a decade of planning.
The Arts District has good plans and lots of excitement. They are looking for a major donor and need a very large commitment that only a few people can make. This is a very different donor base from our other projects. If this happens, it will probably be the second half of the decade project.
Floyd Casey Stadium, opened in 1950, is over 60 years old and is the number one deferred maintenance project. It would cost $80-$85 million to bring it up to code. That is when Baylor looked at alternatives. When you consider the city gift and donor gifts Baylor is actually spending $100 million to have the new stadium. This money is not coming from tuition. Floyd Casey Stadium will probably inevitably be demolished as there has not been any interest in purchasing the complex.
The question was raised regarding ticket prices for the new stadium. Dr. Ramsower stated that the average increase in price for tickets will be about $10 to $15 more per game than what we are paying now.
Proposal for Smoke-Free Campus
Dr. Leeper reported that Judge Starr has been in discussion with the Executive Council to propose making Baylor a tobacco free campus and has been in many conversations regarding this. John Wood came to the university with a grant that asks our campus to have conversations regarding tobacco free campuses. University of Michigan has been a part of an initiative for smoke free campuses. When people begin smoking at a young age, it usually lasts a lifetime. For the most part, any campus that has a medical school has moved to a tobacco free campus. Judge Starr sits on the board for Baylor Health and Scott & White and they are tobacco free. Judge Starr would like to begin conversations with staff, faculty and students about how we might transition to a smoke free campus. We need to think this through seriously and see how long it would take to implement this policy. The University of Texas http://www.utexas.edu/tobaccofree/and the University of Michigan http://www.hr.umich.edu/smokefree/each have a great website regarding this issue. We also need to fully understand that this is an addiction and will take some time to implement.
A nominating committee has been formed to present a slate of nominees to members of Staff Council by mid-March to vote in April for the positions of chair-elect and secretary for 2013-2014 Staff Council.
Rochonda Farmer-Neal, Director of Government Relations at Baylor and Staff Council member, addressed the issue of concealed weapons on college campuses. She is working directly on this subject for the third session. These bills are commonly referred to as "campus carry." The two bills that the NRA has brought forward are SB 182 and House Bill 972. It is expected that SB 182 will move quickly through the Senate. SB 182 does have an "opt out" provision for private and independent colleges but the university must consult with the faculty, staff, and students. It is important to note that you must be 21 years of age to obtain a concealed handgun permit. Tim Kleinschmidt has filed legislation, HB 1077 and 1078. HB 1077 allows you to leave weapons in a private vehicle. HB 1078 allows everyone to have concealed weapons on campus.
Baylor is working with Senator Birdwell and Independent College and Universities of Texas (ICUT). They feel sure the senate bill will be passed in the Senate. It will still need to pass the House. The Executive Council of Baylor does not support guns on campus. There has not, yet, been a survey taken of students, faculty and staff.
Comment added by Marilyn McKinney, Staff Council Chair:
If you wish to write a letter to your senator or representative regarding this issue or any other issue, please keep in mind that you may only do so as an individual. Such letters should not be submitted on Baylor letterhead or contain language that may be construed as representing Baylor University.
General and Committee Reports Presented:
Baylor University Staff Endowed Scholarship Fund: The balance as of 01/31/2013 is $28,083 made up of total gifts of $26,419 and outstanding pledges of $1,664. We continue to be very appreciative of members of the Baylor family who support the President's Scholarship Initiative in this manner.
Scholarship Committee: The scholarship committee sent out thank you notes and Torch of Knowledge pins to new donors who cumulatively gave $50.00 or more this past quarter from November 1 - January 31, 2013 to Baylor University Staff Endowed Scholarship. Ten donors received letters and pins.
Service Project Committee: This committee is beginning to work with the Family Abuse Center and the project should take place in April.
STEPP: On Tuesday, February 19th we had our second STEPP luncheon of this academic year. We had 230 people sign up to attend. Kaz Kazadi, Assistant Athletic Director and Head Athletic Performance Coach spoke on the topic: How to Have a Winning Attitude for Life.
Campus Diversity Committee: The committee reviewed 3 grant applications. Diversity Enhancement Grants were awarded to the ABS Black Heritage Banquet, the GC LLC Spring Banquet and Kaleidoscope 2013. The committee reviewed the Cultural Connection Celebration from the evening before and deemed it a success. A request for nominations for the annual Diversity Awards will be sent out soon and will be due by March 31.
Faculty Senate: Dr. Chris Rios, Assistant Dean in the Graduate School, presented the proposal of the "Establishment of a Selection Committee for Outstanding Dissertations and Theses." After much discussion the Senate approved a proposal to ask the graduate school to "run a pilot project and report to the Senate at the end of the year.
The Registrar's Office sent a proposal to change the deadlines for dropped classes and withdrawals from the University. The Senate approved the proposal.
Dr. David Hurtt, Associate Professor of Accounting, provided a handout of other peer institutions final exam schedules. He will forward this information to the Calendar Committee.
Sustainability Committee: Spring Energy Initiatives: Baylor Facility Services plans to hold two Energy Madness competitions this spring, one for residence halls and the other the first academic building competition between Truett Seminary and the Rogers ECS Building. Baylor also continues to move forwardon LEED certification for Truett Seminary, the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, BRIC and Marrs McLean Science Building.
Student Senate Campus Improvements and Affairs Committee: currently surveying students to gauge their interest in a bike share program on campus.
Parking & Transportation Committee: reported a major increase in ridership on the Baylor University Shuttle, which carried 168,000 passengers in the fall, which is more than the entire academic year in 2009 and 2010.
Recycling Committee: Baylor set a new recycling record, finishing with 440.71 tons recycling, an increase of 26.37 tons from last year. The University is participating again in Recycle-mania, an eight-week competition that determines the universities with the best recycling rates as a percentage of total waste. Baylor finished as the Big 12 champion and sixth overall in Texas last year with a diversion rate of 28.6 percent of waste diverted from the landfill. Baylor also will begin a pilot program to recycle glass.
Creation Week is scheduled for April 22-26. Baylor Sustainability will be part of the first creation-themed Chapel on Earth Day, April 22.
Smith Getterman informed the USC that he has been elected to serve on the advisory council for AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). Baylor also will host the Texas Christian Higher Education Sustainability Symposium this summer.
Informed Engagement Group: This committee was formed as a part of Pro Futuris Aspirational Statement three: Baylor University will be a place...where our Christian faith inspires a desire to address systemic problems facing our community, what we do and why we do what we do. What does Baylor do well and not so well and is clearly associated with the Mission of Baylor University. Elizabeth Smith, retired Executive Director of the Cooper Foundation, was guest speaker and informed the committee that there needs to be consistency in relationships and we need to sell Waco to our students and encourage them to stay in Waco and help support local businesses.