Union notes from Union / Management Meeting

Present – Michael Abraham, Prince Charles Alexander, Dennis Cecere, Peggy Codding, Beth Denisch, Marti Epstein, Rich Grudzinski, Danny Harrington, Teodros Kiros, Jeff Perry, Wendy Rolfe, Jackson Schultz.  

Management – Larry Simpson, Bill Whitney, Kari Juusela, Jeanine Cowan, Chris Connors, Matt Marvuglio, Mac Hisey.

  1. Jackson opened the meeting. Update on 150 Mass Ave Accessibility Renovation Project, Mac Hisey. There is a big meeting tomorrow to discuss the current plan. The pricing of the project has been an issue; we are having a very comprehensive look at the entire project tomorrow. Next meeting that we have we may even have pictures. It is very valuable to see all possibilities of each component of the project. We are not sure about a completion date. If we look at this in stages, the overall timeline maybe further out but we can get access to part of the building sooner.
  2. Open Enrollment Period - Chris Connors. Several years ago we changed our open enrollment to April 1st to avoid conflicts with finals, etc. The drawback is most spouses’ plans are still on January 1st, no possibility to compare plans. We want to move the date back to Jan 1st but have the sign-up earlier in the semester, right after midterms and not close to finals. 

    The blackout period for the transition of our 403(b) plan is now over. A lot of information is being sent out this week. Feb 14 and Feb 23 are the dates that The Diversified staff will be here on campus, more information will be in a mailing to our homes.
  3. 160 Mass Ave Progress Update - Bill Whitney. There is a design update, the final version will be completed by tomorrow at 5 pm. July 2013 is the targeted date for completion. The steel sheeting has been installed – no more vibration! Next phase is the digging below grade, build the foundation, and then start with the steel framing during the summer. Live link - www.berklee.edu/Berklee160
  4. Class Cancellation before the end of Add/Drop Period – Jeanine. We are now in a 1-week add/drop period. We also changed the check-in time to the Friday before class begins. This year we had 95% of the student population checked in.

    The issue for the union – classes are being dropped from the teacher’s schedule before classes start. Can we wait to cancel classes until the end of add/drop period? Communication with faculty about this needs improvement.

    Larry – we want to be more disciplined about our costs. Our costs are rising faster than our ability to generate revenue. I am sympathetic to the part-time faculty, but we need to be more disciplined about the classes that we are offering, the historical populations, and think about the best time to run these classes – specifically electives.

    Kari – the courses that were close in population we kept open for a few extra days and communicated to faculty. The only courses that we cut were so low there would be no chance to fill. We also moved some populations around a little. Right now we have 1200 course on the books – we need to make sure we are offering the best courses for our students.

    Matt – the courses that are by audition only are held until Thursday of the first week. The only courses were dropped were at 0 or 1. 

    Dennis – Ensembles were held until Friday of the first week. My understating is that 60 ensembles were going to be cut, but at the end of the week only six ensembles were cut. 

    Jeanine – we do have work ahead of us in regards to academic scheduling. 

    Jackson – we want to make sure to minimize the courses that are being dropped.

    Larry – we want a schedule that has the most integrity, classes begin on day one, we want to build a schedule that best fits the needs of our students and then we assign faculty to fit those courses. We cannot guarantee a person a schedule if the students are not there. We have fewer students this spring than this fall but we have seven more faculty than we did, how is this possible? We need to manage this better.

    Beth – some students sign up for more credits to hold spots in their schedule. 

    Jeanine – a student can only sign up for 18 credits.

    Larry – we do have faculty teaching low populated courses, this is a trend that we would like to change. If we let the course happen for a week we need to pay the faculty member, even if it is cancelled.

    Jackson – one thing that is of great importance is communication. We need to keep those lines open and communicate sooner with the faculty member to seek out students for the class. When was the decision to change the class cancellations to be before school begins?

    Matt – if a class pop is at zero and has a history of being cancelled we are cancelling the classes sooner. 

    Jackson - You should know that there is growing concern on campus that the Administration is trying to help address the 2.5 million deficit on the backs of the Part Time Faculty by canceling these classes.

    Jackson – can we have someone come in and show us exactly where this 2.5 million deficit is coming from?

    Larry – yes, no problem.