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Thursday, December 28, 2017

CLA Shattering Expectations campaign update

The Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch and the Center for German and European Studies received a combined $5 million gift from the estate of Hella Mears (read about the gift and about Hella Mears). Hella was a delightful and funny person who was passionate about her interests in German and European studies. I was saddened by her passing but am pleased that her legacy will have such transformative impact. A salute to former Dean Jim Parente, Department Chairs Rick McCormick and Charlotte Melin, and CLA Principal Gifts Officer Mary Hicks for building a wonderful relationship with Hella that led to earlier gifts and to this estate commitment.

CLA Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop full and mini grants announced

Recently I announced the projects funded by the first wave of full CLA Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop (ICW) grants and the second wave of ICW mini grants. I encourage you to read about these exciting projects at the ICW webpage, which also includes team members involved with the projects. This initiative is an outgrowth of the recommendations from the CLA Roadmap Research and Creative Excellence Goal Team, chaired by McKnight Presidential Professor of Psychology Mark Snyder. This year’s ICWs are supported by the Joan Aldous Innovation Fund, which last year supported diversity and engagement initiatives.

Talle Faculty Research Awards announced, 2017-18

One of our CLA Roadmap initiatives to boost CLA’s research and creative excellence is the Talle Faculty Research Award fund. The Talle awards support projects of faculty who are within the first four years of promotion to associate professor. Profiles of the 2017-18 cohort are now online.

Upcoming campus discussions on sabbatical revisions

Many of you have heard me mention in department visits or elsewhere that the campus discussion on revising and improving the sabbatical system will be back on the University’s agenda this spring. The goal is to move the campus closer to a standard model at nearly all if not all of our peers: one semester at 100% of salary or a full year at 50% of salary. There will be some issues to sort through: the amount and kind of variation to allow across colleges (e.g., could a college choose to provide a full year at 65%?); the status of the single-semester leave program for tenure-track and tenured faculty, which has been an alternative to a fully-funded single semester sabbatical for tenured faculty; the sabbatical supplement system; and so on. When the sabbatical revision was being discussed prior to the collective bargaining maintenance of status quo order, the thinking was that In order to support fully-funded sabbatical semesters, single semester leaves (at least for tenured faculty) and sabbatical supplements would be discontinued. The logic was that those programs emerged in part because our current sabbatical system is unusual and that financing these programs along with fully-funded sabbaticals would be difficult. I encourage you to stay tuned for information and feedback opportunities in the spring semester.

Upcoming campus discussions on parental leave

The University is moving toward a new parental leave policy. In basic outline, the policy will provide six weeks of paid leave for parents across all employee groups for benefits-eligible employees. You will be hearing soon about information and feedback sessions for the proposed new policy, and I encourage you to attend those to learn more. The new policy is a move in the right direction. At this point, the intent is to have the new policy in place by April 1, 2018. Please note that a separate policy, which provides for modified duties for tenure-track faculty who are becoming parents, has recently been implemented to the U's tenure code and is now part of official university policy.

New multi-year contract availability for P&A staff

In mid-December we announced that CLA was introducing the possibility of multi-year appointments for P&A staff. Such appointments have been a long-sought goal of our P&A staff and many individuals along the way provided great leadership in moving us forward on the issue. The P&A Board and CLA Human Resources Director Lisa Bachman devoted significant time to the issue over the years as well. Those P&A staff with 67% or higher appointments will hear more from the P&A Board about this new program. Learn more about the multi-year program.