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October 25, 2014
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Ithaca College Faculty Council addresses under-enrollment

Members of the Faculty Council met Aug. 26 for their first meeting of the academic year to discuss the budget as impacted by the under-enrolled freshman class, the forming of the provost search committee and the Gender Equity Study conducted by the Office of Human Resources.

Members addressed the $4.6 million issue the college was facing due to the enrollment deficit by 150 student tuitions. John Rosenthal, mathematics professor and council member, said $2 million of the total had been accounted for through workers’ compensation and by taking from contingency funds in the budget, but the administration had not figured out the last half million or so dollars.

The method of addressing the enrollment deficit in the future was a point of concern. Rosenthal said he feared that in subsequent years, workers’ compensation may be at risk again when trying to find money to deal with this issue. Strategic sourcing — streamlining the college’s spending through single-source vendors — was brought up as a possible solution for saving money, but Rosenthal said this would also be used to accommodate the “Under 3 Over 3” plan, which refers to the administration’s effort to limit the tuition increases to 3 percent while bringing pay raises for college employees above 3 percent.

Rosenthal said the enrollment deficit is a four-year problem that could negatively affect the enrollment predictions for upcoming years. Peter Rothbart, professor of music theory, history and composition, and faculty council chair, said he wanted to finalize the list of other budget concerns regarding campus-wide issues by the next meeting on Sept. 2.

The council then discussed the procedure for the provost search committee, which will select a replacement for Linda Petrosino, interim provost and vice president for educational affairs. About 15 people had shown interest in membership on the committee at the time of the meeting, and the council set a goal to have the voting ballots out on Aug. 29.

Rothbart said the provost selection committee will have 11 members, six of whom will be faculty. Using the ballots, all full-time faculty members will have the chance to vote in a general election and choose three faculty representatives, while President Tom Rochon will select the remaining three by Sept. 3. The provost selection process is expected to begin in two weeks in an effort to decide on an appointment by early spring.

During the meeting, Rothbart said he was encouraged by the progress that was made in the communication between the administration and council. He said the Executive Committee of Faculty Council had met with the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. This, he said, was a first for the council, which anticipates more direct contact in the future.

The Faculty Council then discussed the Gender Equity Study that Human Resources provided, looking at the pay of positions of men and women at different levels from all of the schools at Ithaca College. Deborah Rifkin, associate professor of music theory, history and composition, and council member, said the council did not have any standing concerns about the state of pay equity at the college, but the request for the study had been for informational purposes.

When discussing what to do with the contents of the study, council members found they needed more information for clarification purposes before releasing the data. The meeting adjourned after passing a motion requesting more specific numbers, such as the population for each category, in order to understand the data better.