Minutes of February 22, 2000 Meeting
The meeting convened at 10:06 a.m. in room 817 Cathedral of
UPBC members present were: Carolyn Ban, Mary Ann Barber, Clifford
Brubaker, James Cassing, Jerome Cochran, Richard Colwell, N. John Cooper,
Van Beck Hall, James Maher, Thomas Metzger, Richard Pratt, Debora Rougeux,
Bruce Williams, and Philip Wion. Also present were: Ann Dykstra, Jeffrey
Liebmann, Jeffrey Masnick, and Robert Pack.
UPBC members not present were: Frank Cassell, Nathan Hershey,
Arthur Levine, Linda Marts, Carol Neuner, Jaime Ann Rakow, Arthur
Ramicone, Joan Snyder, Michael Stuckart, Valerie Watzlaf, and Thomas Wolf.
Approval of the Minutes and Report of the Chair
The minutes of the January 6 meeting were approved. Maher stated
that the Medical Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend
acceptance of the UPMC Health Systems bid to provide health insurance for
University employees. Cochran detailed the negotiations, which included
only two responses to the University's request for service proposal. He
indicated that one proposal included significant increases in costs and
numerous conditions that the University could not meet. Cochran indicated
that the UPMC proposal includes continuance of the current range of
product availability (comprehensive, point of service, HMO) and avoided
cost increases in excess of $20 million over the next three years.
In addition, Cochran announced the creation of a new short-term
disability plan for staff, which would provide the same protection
currently available to faculty. The dental and vision coverage currently
supplied through Highmark will continue. The Committee expressed its
gratitude to the Medical Advisory Committee.
Discussion of the Governor's Proposed Commonwealth FY 2001 Budget
Dykstra summarized the Governor's recommended FY 2001 budget,
which includes a 2.5% increase for the University's overall appropriation,
including a 3.3% increase for Educational and General and $3.5 million in
one-time funding for special initiatives. Other state-related
institutions received a similar recommended increase. Other
recommendations included increases of 3.0% for the state system
institutions, 5.0% for community colleges, 3.0% for basic education, and
10% for the PHEAA grant program. While there is some disappointment,
especially given the investments other states are making in higher
education, there is still hope for funding for targeted initiatives in
laboratory and equipment upgrades, Technology Plan initiatives, and
undergraduate curriculum improvements.
Dykstra explained that the budget for the Pennsylvania Investment
Corporation, which funds the Supercomputer Center, would be raised to $15
million in the proposed budget. This is another area where the University
is working to achieve more discretionary funding for large research
grants. She added that the only truly new initiative in this year's
recommendation is a proposed $6 million for all colleges and universities
to encourage high graduation rates. Unfortunately, the criteria included
in the funding make it difficult for public institutions to qualify.
Maher stated that the University is now benefitting from the
forthright treatment of budget issues begun several years ago. He
indicated that the University has met recent funding challenges better
than many other institutions and that relations with Harrisburg are
improved, as indicated by the Commonwealth's support for capital and
special projects. The current quiet phase of the University's capital
campaign, aimed at supporting academic activities, has been very
successful. He noted the progress made in facilities and technology
planning, unit-level priority setting, and developing necessary patience
and discipline in decision making.
Maher listed several issues facing the University in the
establishment of planning parameters for the coming year, including:
-- student life initiatives;
-- academic program funding;
-- new debt service and maintenance;
-- research development funding;
-- the University's Technology Plan; and
-- demands of the Library System.
He noted the confidence expressed in the University's planning processes
by the Board of Trustees.
The meeting adjourned at 11:58 a.m.