“We all came to this great university to help our students succeed and transform their lives for the better and in turn, we transform the communities we serve for the better.”
– Chancellor Reddy
In December’s virtual Town Hall, Chancellor Venkat Reddy and a panel of campus leaders shared thoughts and updates on current campus events.
Take a look at the key takeaways below.
- The UCCS community stepped up in the days following the tragic attack at Club Q to provide support for those who were directly and indirectly affected. Our campus was a place of safety, hope and encouragement for Colorado Springs.
- Our Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, MOSAIC, the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, the Health and Wellness Team, and countless other departments came together to respond to the crisis and offer the necessary resources for the community to take steps toward healing.
- We are still providing resources to those who have been impacted by the attack, as well as to the community as a whole. We should all continue to work hard to make sure our campus is a safe place for everyone and in particular for our LGBTQ+ and other marginalized community members.
- We all process and grieve in our own way, but we don’t have to do it alone. I encourage you to access the care, support and resources available on our campus for yourself and those around you.
- Our 7th annual Giving Tuesday celebration raised more than $90,000 from almost 400 donors. Since 2015, Giving Tuesday has brought in almost $750,000 to support scholarships and programs at UCCS.
- Particularly noteworthy this year is that we doubled the amount raised in support of MOSAIC, showing the value our community places on creating a safe space for everyone at UCCS.
- Our amazing alums Jessica & Richard Fierro hosted the UCCS community at their brewery, Atrevida Brewing Co., for a happy hour in support of MOSAIC on the evening of Giving Tuesday. Richard is the hero who took down the shooter during the Club Q tragedy.
- Atrevida Brewing Co. was filled to capacity the entire evening. In addition to the money raised through beer sales, generous attendees also donated to support MOSAIC. VIPs such as Governor Jared Polis and Mayor Suthers showed up at the brewery to support the cause, and the event received coverage from local, state, and national news sources — which brought extra funds and recognition to the work done by MOSAIC and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at UCCS.
Leadership Position Updates
- Assistant Vice Chancellor for Planning and Facilities: Following a very extensive search, we are in the final stages of negotiating with a finalist for the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Planning and Facilities and hope to have an announcement next week.
- Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources: We have filled the position of Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. Angela Bender will be starting at UCCS on Feb. 1. She is coming to UCCS from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she has served for the last ten years, most recently as the Director of Strategy and Operation.
- Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget: Suzanne Scott has assumed the role of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Budget, in recognition of her leadership to the campus over a long period of time.
- Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance: The search for our next Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance continues. The current plan is for the search firm to identify candidates in December and bring potential candidates to the search committee in January. Once the cabinet reviews the recommended candidates, we hope to bring finalists to campus in February.
- Karl Spiecker, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, will be stepping down from his role effective December 14. Please join me in thanking Karl for joining our UCCS community and providing leadership in this interim role and wishing him all the best in his future endeavors.
- Carlos Garcia, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, has agreed to take on the additional responsibility as acting VCAF until we fill this position permanently.
Return to Work Task Force
- Earlier this year, the Future of Work Taskforce recommended alternative work schedules and we agreed to pilot them through the end of the year. Currently, we have some employees working fully remotely, some working a hybrid schedule and some working in person every day.
- These schedules appear to be working well, so we have decided to continue with our alternative work schedules and re-evaluate them late next year. Please continue to work closely with your supervisors regarding individual roles and work options.
- We will also continue with the Monday morning and Friday afternoon meeting-free times. Remember, there are a few exceptions to this meeting free time, such as search-related meetings, interviews and external meetings that may fall during these times.
Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
- All CU campuses are working to stay in compliance with this act. We recognize the analysis has taken longer than expected.
- UCCS contracted with an outside firm to supplement our staff and accelerate our work. We are currently reviewing the work of the consultant, and any impacts made by salary adjustments, and will work with colleges and divisions in January and February to verify all of the work as a final check.
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI)
- You received an email from Employee Services on the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance, which Colorado voters approved in November 2020. This provides workers a portion of their weekly salary for up to 12 weeks of leave to care for themselves or their families.
- The measure is funded by employers and employees in a 50/50 split. Colorado employers and employees will begin paying premiums next month. Faculty and University Staff will begin paying .45% contribution in January. Classified staff employees will not contribute in 2023.
- If you have questions, please refer to the December 7 email from Employee Services, which has FAQs along with a premium calculator to estimate your payment.
- Eligible faculty and staff will see their merit increases in their January paychecks. As a reminder, classified staff received their merit increase in July.
System Initiative Monies
- The CU system provided an update in the December 8 edition of CU Connections titled “Market downturn forces adjustments to strategic plan acceleration” regarding the status of one-time funds in support of accelerating the CU system strategic plan.
- Almost exactly one year ago, President Todd Saliman shared with the Board of Regents that he and the chancellors had built a plan to capitalize on the strong financial markets that would allow the university to accelerate some facets of its systemwide strategic plan using one-time funds.
- While strong investment returns in fiscal year 2020-21 made some funds available for strategic planning projects across the system, recent markets saw significant declines. The result is less funding, leading to changes, delays and reevaluation for many of the efforts that had been planned.
- Here is what it means for our campus…
- We are working with the system office to understand the full scope of funds that remain available to our campus to support initiatives intended to accelerate implementation of the strategic plan.
- We had a number of exciting projects planned, but some projects may not be funded to the full extent and some may have to be stopped completely.
- We need to reevaluate our funding allocations and prioritize what we can do based on the limited funding we may be receiving. Chancellor Reddy will continue to work with the system office to make a case for supporting as many initiatives as possible.
- This will not affect operating budgets or affect day to day operations.
- As we get more information, we will engage with you as we make decisions about how we prioritize the available funding and how that impacts specific initiatives.
- In the last Town Hall, Chancellor Reddy shared the need to do a course correction and redesign of the budget model. We created a budget redesign taskforce to help accomplish this under the leadership of Provost Nancy Marchand-Martella.
- The chancellor discussed the budget process, explained more about campus revenues and expenses, and went over the system’s initiative funding. With all the changes to the budget process, he stated, it is important to know that the budget process itself does not generate revenue for the campus, it is the increase in enrollment and retention numbers that will help in increasing available funding.
- It is also important to remember that we receive most of our funds from two primary sources for sustaining our operations: tuition and state funding. The State of Colorado is ranked 45 in the nation for higher education funding. We receive about 13% of our funding from the State, which means tuition makes up the majority of our budget.
- Financial stability for our campus will depend very much on our enrollment and retention numbers. For that very reason, we reconfigured the VC for Strategic Initiatives into the VC for Enrollment Management. We brought in a proven leader, Jose Cantu, to lead the enrollment efforts on our campus. Increasing our resources in order to continue fulfilling our mission is critical for setting up our campus for future success.
- With our revenue sources being challenged, we are also seeing some difficulties with our expenses. People are our number one asset and the cost to compensate everyone fairly continues to be a challenge. It is important to support our hardworking faculty and staff, however, we have to ensure that we are also generating sufficient resources to fund the compensation pool.
- In addition to the merit pool, we continue to work through Equal Pay Act, compression, and market pressures. We also have to absorb the increase in the hourly minimum wage and promotion monies also need to be included in our budget estimates. And it’s not just the cost of salaries – benefits are also a significant part of our budget. With the new FAMLI Leave Act and increased health, life, and dental costs, this adds to the challenge.
- Please join us at the Broadmoor World Arena next Friday as we celebrate more than 1,000 graduates, with almost 600 who are planning to participate in person. Of those 600 who plan to be there, 483 are receiving a Bachelor’s degree, 110 are receiving their Master’s degree, 5 Ph.Ds. and 1 DNP.
“We know how hard everyone has worked and the sacrifices being made on a regular basis by our faculty, staff and students,” Chancellor Reddy said in closing. “We are doing everything we can to support you.”
“We all came to this great university to help our students succeed and transform their lives for the better,” he continued, “and in turn, we transform the communities we serve for the better.”