Faculty Q and A Page

This page may be used by any faculty member to submit a comment or question for the faculty senate executive council. Comments or questions may be submitted anonymously if desired. Your Comment or question will be reviewed and forwarded to the most appropriate person for a response (including administrative officials if appropriate). All submissions not made anonymously will receive a personal response, and any submission may or may not receive a public response on this page.


Recent Comments or Queries and Their Responses

QUESTION: SCHEV allocates funds for faculty salaries to universities on the basis of "appropriated" rather than "actual" salaries. Please explain this distinction. I have heard that there is a significant gap between appropriated and actual salaries at RU, is this true? Does this mean that at one time or another funds appropriated for faculty salaries were used for another purpose? If so, when did this occur? In the event this happened at some time in the past, does the current RU administration plan to allocate funds to reduce or eliminate the gap between appropriated and actual salaries. I apologize if what I have heard is wrong, but thank you for addressing these rumors.
ANSWER: Response: The "appropriated" versus "actual" faculty salary relates to the “Consolidated Salary Authorization for Faculty Positions in Institutions of Higher Education” letter which was last issued by the Secretary of Education in 2001-02. This letter identified the authorized faculty salary average which reflects the appropriated salary average. At the time the letter was last issued in 2001-02, the University’s actual salary average was 2.7 percent below the appropriated average which was within the allowable limit of 3 percent. The annual reporting of this information is currently not requested by the Secretary. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) reports the appropriated faculty salary average and adjusts it as salary increases are authorized. At the present time, IPEDS reporting is the closest comparison to track this data which reflects a snapshot in time of filled positions; however, it does not include budgeted vacant positions. For 2011-12 the actual salary average reported to IPEDS in November 2011 was $65,714 which is 3.2 percent below the appropriated average of $67,916 but again does not include budgeted vacant positions. As a comparison, the budgeted salary average for 2011-12 was $66,909 which is 1.5 percent below the appropriated average of $67,916. Funds appropriated for faculty salaries are used for the intended purpose. The administration is continuously looking for strategic opportunities to move faculty salaries towards the state goal of the 60th percentile of SCHEV peers. (Ans. by Lisa Ridpath, Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mar. 09, 2012)

QUESTION: Where can I find the university budget on the RU website?
ANSWER: In response to your request, below is the link to the annual Financial Overview which is posted on the Office of Budget and Financial Planning’s website. 2011-12 Financial Overview: http://www.radford.edu/content/dam/departments/administrative/budget/Financial-Overview-FY2012.pdf (Ans. by Lisa Ridpath, Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mar. 01, 2012)

QUESTION: It is being said that senior Radford University administrators are receiving raises for the next academic year. The Richmond Times suggests that President Kyle will be receiving a $5,000-6000 raise. Is this true? If it is true, which administrators are receiving raises and for what amounts? (submitted January 19, 2012)
ANSWER: According to an authoritative source in Finance and Administration, there have been no across-the-board raises on the administrative side in the current fiscal year. There were two administrators that received increases associated with position description changes. (Ans. by Dr. Rick Roth, Feb. 2, 2012)

QUESTION (Termination of Enrollments in Anthropology.): When were enrollments in the Anthropology program officially "suspended"? Please provide appropriate documentation. (See recent response from Dean Conniff regarding this program.) (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: Mr. Kirk moved 14 recommendations at Academic Affairs Committee of the BOV on January 27, 2009. Those recommendations were provided to the Faculty Senate along with my notes. Those have been posted to the FS website since that date in January. Although this was moved at this Academic Affairs Committee meeting, a cessation of enrollments can be handled internally as SCHEV does not need notification unless a program is being eliminated, thus the full BOV does not need to act. At this time we are ceasing enrollments, not terminating the program. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost)

QUESTION (Initiation of Expedited Review.): At the recent budget forum, the Provost stated that early in the fall semester he announced that programs failing to meet SCHEV standards wold be rigorously reviewed. Why did he wait until February 19 to invoke Expedited Program Review? By waiting so long, he denied both these programs and the Faculty Senate adequate time to complete this process properly. (Submitted anonymously on 4/4/2009.)

ANSWER: Although I began working with Drs. Templeton and Slavings in determining data elements required for an expedited program review, it was only after the February 4, 2009 BOV meeting that work began in developing the very specific and detailed expedited program review guidelines. The budget still remains at the center of this – not to cover the budget reversion, but beginning in July, we in Academic Affairs will have a $4.85 million reduction in our budget. Some programs will need additional resources and some will need less, and we will have $4.85 million to allocate. It would have been wonderful to have had another year to sort through this before the reversion in our budget, but that is just not the reality of the situation. Program review will help inform resource allocation decisions. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost)

QUESTION (Revision of Program Review.): I understand that the Academic Program Review Committee under the leadership of Dean Grady is working to review its current standards and procedures. Will the Faculty Senate have an opportunity to vote on the changes? (Submitted anonymously on 4/5/2009.)

ANSWER: Yes, as I said at the last Faculty Senate meeting, when recommendations are sent to me from the APRC for the next cycle of five year reviews, I will send them to the FS for review and comment. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost)

QUESTION (Departments vs. Schools.): Within the past few years, two "schools" have been created, in Communication and the new Environmental and Physical Sciences. What criteria are considered when determining whether something should be a "department" or a "school", and what are the implications of the differences between "department" and "school"? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: The criteria used include the complexity of program activities; the number of and level of instruction of programs offered; the number of faculty; number of locations where instruction is offered; and accreditation requirements; School Directors and Department Chairs are administratively at the same level, i.e., neither is superior to the other. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost)

QUESTION (Anthropology Course Prefixes.): Why was the Department of Sociology and Anthropology required to replace the ANTH course prefix with a SOCY course prefix for all anthropology courses? Even with reorganizations, why would the department not be able to continue teaching anthropology content courses with ANTH prefixes (similar to the Math Department having both MATH and STAT prefixes)? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: After the decision to suspend enrollments in the Anthropology major, I talked several times with Dr. Brush and particularly wanted to encourage the department to develop a unified mission, with cultural anthropology--and the two faculty in this area who were staying in the Department--fully integrated into the Department. Primarily for this reason, I recommended (but did not require) this approach. As a secondary concern, I suggested that this approach would also make it easier for the Department to exceed productivity standards in Sociology. Of course, the anthropologists can still teach ANTH courses--in fact, the new SOCY 121 courses offered this fall are cross listed as SOCY 121 and ANTH 121. (Dr. Brian Conniff, Dean of the College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences)

QUESTION (Grants and Overhead.): Has there been a policy change in regards to overhead in grants? Will grants without overhead such as through Research Corporation still be encouraged and/or supported? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: There has been no policy change. The policy for grants at Radford has been, for the past several years, to recover full indirect costs when possible. In fact, according to state policy, we can only waive full indirect costs in one of two situations: (1) the granting agency does not pay indirect costs, or pays them only at a reduced rate or (2) the grant proposal would not be competitive if indirect costs are included, and the project is of sufficient importance to the institution that we are willing to forego those indirect costs.
     Although the policy is to recover full indirect costs when the granting agency allows it, each grant submission is considered on a case by case basis. In rare circumstances, the institution may decide to forego indirect costs when the grant would not be competitive otherwise, and the benefits to the University of obtaining the grant outweigh the costs of waiving indirect cost recoveries.(Dr. Rick Slavings, Vice Provost, and Anne Pascucci, Executive Director of Sponsored Programs and Grant Management)

QUESTION (Dual Majors and SCHEV.): What is the official policy toward counting dual majors? Specifically toward SCHEV viability and the expedited program review. My understanding is that only the primary major gets credit even though the requirements for each major are completed in full. (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: Only first majors are counted, and those are what are reported to SCHEV and to various agencies such as IPEDS. The focus is on degrees, and only one degree is awarded even though there are two majors associated with that degree. (Dr. Debra Templeton, Assistant Vice Provost)

QUESTION (Faculty Survey Results.): As a a CHBS at-large senator, I am writing on behalf of some of my constituents. My constituents would like to know the results of the survey of faculty attitudes regarding RU as a work-place by the Campus Environment Committee done in spring 2008? I believe that numerical results were distributed in hard-copy format in April 2008. These constituents also want to know if this survey will be repeated this year. Please post these results or distribute them to senators by e-mail. (Submitted Dr. Kay Jordan on 3/25/2009.)

ANSWER: The Campus Environment Committe has prepared a summary report of the written comments to the 2008 survey which supplement the numerical results distributed earlier. This report will be distributed at an upcoming Faculty Senate meeting. Following a motion passed by an earlier session of the Faculty Senate, the survey is to be conducted every year, and it will be conducted again this spring. (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President)

QUESTION (Log-in not required for Q & A submission.): I tried to post a question without logging in to my RU account and the query failed to post. Do I have to log into my account to post a question on this site? (Submitted anonymously on 2/24/2009.)

ANSWER: The form for submitting questions to the Q & A page has no mechanism that authenticates the user. The form will work from any computer anywhere in the world without the user being logged in to the RU network. Although this opens the form to abuse, we have not yet had any instances of abuse, and it was felt that it was more important to preserve the submitter's anonymity. The user who submitted this question may have been under the impression that their question for the administration would appear immediately on this page. However, this is not the case. The question is recorded and forwarded for a response, but questions do not appear on this page until and unless they are publicly answered. (Dr. B. Sidney Smith, Faculty Senate Secretary)

QUESTION (Core A Coordinator Positions.): Were the Core A coordinator positions filled without formal searches? Rumor has it that these individuals are being compensated well above and beyond their faculty salaries, and getting release time as well, all of this during a budget crisis. Is this true? The impression is unavoidable that they constitute an aristocracy. Is the administration aware that rank and file faculty perceive this as elitism? (Submitted anonymously on 2/6/2009.)

ANSWER: The current Core A Coordinator positions were filled without formal searches. Most of those who are now filling these positions are faculty who played a significant role in the creation of the Core A courses and who volunteered to continue their work into the implementation phase. (In two cases, faculty professional development leave has resulted in temporary appointments to the Core A Committee to fill positions this semester.) Searches are underway in the School of Communication and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies to hire faculty who will teach in those units and who will become coordinators for Oral Communication and Critical Thinking.
     No member of the Core A Committee is receiving reassigned time in addition to that he or she already may have had (as a department chair, for example). The Chair of the Core A Committee’s salary was annualized; her work will extend through the summer, so she now has a 12-month instead of a 9-month position. Other members of the Committee are receiving $3,200 stipends for the semester. (This is equivalent to the maximum RU pays adjuncts for teaching a three-hour course.) (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost)

QUESTION (Free Meals for Administrators.): How many free dining hall meals do administrators get each semester? Which administrators get them? Is this a kick back from the contractor? (Submitted anonymously on 1/30/2009.)

ANSWER: The administrators listed below have approved business justifications to receive $400 per semester which equates to about 50 meals. RU’s contract with Chartwells includes an annual in-kind contribution which covers the cost of these meals, so there is no cost to RU.

  • President
  • Provost
  • Vice Provost, Academic Enhancement
  • Vice Provost, Academic Administration
  • Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Vice President of Information Technology
  • Vice President for University Advancement
  • Special Assistant to the President
  • Dean of Students
  • Executive Director of University Services
  • Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

In addition to the meal plans for administrators, the Dining Services Committee also receives meals through the in-kind contribution. Committee members receive $200 per semesters (excluding Executive Director of University Services and two contract reps). The committee members must prepare written evaluations on various Dining Services locations each semester. The evaluations are discussed during the committee meetings to make recommendations to the contractor for enhancements/improvements. Following is the committee makeup:

  • Executive Director of University Services (non-voting)
  • Faculty representative
  • Support Staff representative
  • AP Faculty representative
  • Student-RHA representative
  • 3 additional student representatives
  • 2 contractor representatives

(Lisa Ridpath, University Budget Director)

QUESTION (Faculty/Staff lockers/showers at Dedmon Center pool.): In reference to the Dedmon Center pool. Will faculty/staff have access to the locker rooms for showering and changing? Can we have our own locker again? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: There is a men’s locker room and a women’s locker room available for use by faculty and staff, but there are no showers for either. (Robert Lineburg, Director of Athletics.)

QUESTION (Dept. Chair compensation.): How are department chairs compensated (reassigned time, stipend, summer pay, etc.)? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: The 2005 Memorandum on Compensation for Chairs and School Directors was approved by the Board of Visitors in February, 2006, and we have followed the recommendations in the memorandum since that time. (Follow the link to review that document.) (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Pay raises for promotion.): Given that salaries have been frozen, will those of us who are lucky enough to be promoted receive the increment which should accompany promotion? (Submitted anonymously on 1/23/2009.)

ANSWER: Yes, faculty being promoted will receive the same salary increment as approved by the BOV in February 2006:

  • Faculty promoted from Instructor to Assistant Professor should receive an increment of $2,500.
  • Faculty promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor should receive an increment of $3,500.
  • Faculty promoted from Associate to Full Professor should receive an increment of $5,000.

(Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (14 week semester.): This is not a complaint! In reference to our current 14 week semester; is it correct that we reduced the number of contact weeks to be within the standards of other Virginia institutions? If so, what other institutions in Virginia use a 14 week semester? If it was peer institutions (rather than Virginia universities), could you provide the name of those institutions that use a 14 week semester? (Submitted anonymously on 12/24/2008.)

ANSWER: As the Calendar Committee debated calendars for RU we checked on the published calendars for major Virginia schools. We also checked with SCHEV and with SACS regarding days and hours of contact for classes to be sure we were not going below requirements. Below is a summary table comparing selected Virginia universities with RU. I used class days rather than weeks of instruction because that is a clearer and more direct comparison. Partial weeks, breaks, and holidays make weekly comparison difficult and are not as meaningful as using class days. The table shows the number of class days, excluding exams, for spring and fall. Exams are often considered within the instructional time and would add 2 hours of instructional time for each school.

Note that RU matches exactly or closely with UVA and W&M. (Dr. Eugene Carson.)

QUESTION (Future focus of RU.): It strikes me that the discussion yesterday had more to do with the future of RU than with cost-savings, and that the future in question is one which we will emphasize a vision of RU as a university of environmental, technical and health sciences. I didn't hear anything about the importance of the arts and humanities in this future. Please tell me I'm wrong. (Submitted anonymously on 12/23/2008.)

ANSWER: It is true that the discussion yesterday focused more on the future than on cost savings; as I mentioned, budget-cutting strategies are still under consideration and discussion. It is also true that a good number of the restructuring initiatives will affect the Colleges of Science and Technology and the College of Health and Human Services. However, I also recommended the creation of a School of Theatre and Dance in the CVPA.
     Moreover, splitting the former College of Arts and Sciences in 2007 was designed to allow both CHBS and CSAT to position themselves for the future. The significant role that CHBS will continue to play in the development and offering of the new Core Curriculum, I would argue, by itself gives CHBS a place of critical importance in the University’s future. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (E-books and course packets.): I don't think e-books and course packets serve all disciplines equally. Yes, textbooks are expensive, but there is real value to using books and the decision to use a book you can hold in your hands as opposed to an e-book should not be based on cost but on the teaching decisions and made by instructor. (Submitted anonymously on 12/23/2008.)

ANSWER: I agree that there is no one best way for providing students with the information needed for a class. Certainly cost is one consideration, the breath of information available in electronic form is another, but I too often prefer to have “a book you can hold in your hands.” (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Reassigned time for grants.): I'm troubled by something sent in email, but not discussed at yesterday's senate meeting -- what seems to be an elimination of leave for people who receive research money or grants. (Submitted anonymously on 12/23/2008.)

ANSWER: Only internally funded grants that would provide reassigned time, like Faculty Professional Development Leave, have been suspended as we deal with the budget crisis. (Faculty who applied for and received FPDL in fall 2008 are not affected by this suspension.)
     If the terms of external grants or research funding include monies to “backfill” using adjuncts who will cover classes for faculty who receive the grants, there will be no prohibition against the recipients taking reassigned time as stipulated in the grant. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Review of reassigned time.): By what process will reassigned time be reviewed? Some programs, such as the English graduate teaching fellowship program, for example, depend upon faculty having reassigned time in order to mentor their GTFs. In the last budget crisis, we lost 3 mentors and drasticaly reduced the number of GTFs. A similar hit would effectively close the program. So my question is, how will reassigned time be considered? Is all reassigned time considered the same? (Submitted anonymously on 12/22/2008.)

ANSWER: Not all reassigned time will be treated the same:

For department chairs and school directors, we will continue to use the level of complexity to determine appropriate levels of reassigned time. The total reassigned time for the responsibilities in a given department/school will be based on the levels of responsibilities and complexity for the academic year. The standard reduction in teaching load for a department/school chair/director will be 50% with adjustments for extremes within the range of 25% to 75%. Increments such as three courses per year, four courses per year, or five courses per year reassigned time will be used to appropriately equate reassigned time for administrative responsibilities to the size and complexity of the department/school. The reassigned time given to others for assisting in administrative responsibilities (such as graduate program coordinators), as well as the reassigned time given to the chair/director, will be considered in allocating the overall reassigned time for a department/school. Each dean will make an initial recommendation about the reassigned time for each department or school in his/her college. After this is done, the Council of Deans will discuss these preliminary assessments and make appropriate adjustments so that there is consistency across colleges. The Provost will then make the final determination.

For other college/school faculty reassigned time, a similar process will be followed. Chairs/Directors will recommend to the appropriate dean the individuals or duties for which reassigned time is requested. Each chair/director must clearly document and provide evidence that supports each request. Each dean will make an initial recommendation about the reassigned time requested in his/her college. After this is done, the Council of Deans will discuss these preliminary assessments and make appropriate adjustments so that there is consistency across colleges. The Provost will then make the final determination. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (New Fitness Center Status): What is the status of the proposed new campus fitness center? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: Radford University has received from the legislature “permission” to construct a fitness and wellness center at some point in the future (no specified timetable). The university is permitted to borrow in its own name up to $32 million for constructing and equipping the facility. We can add additional cash to the project if we want to enhance the building or equipment, but we must raise these additional funds ourselves from private sources. We envision that any campus constituent will be able to use this facility for a fee. For example, the students’ use of the facility will be included in the student fees that they pay each semester. Faculty and staff will be able to “join” the fitness and wellness center for a fee also. Planning for the fitness and wellness center is just beginning. The first new construction priority is the academic building for the College of Business and Economics. Once that project is underway, we can begin to focus on the construction of the fitness and wellness center. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Dedmon Facilities Restrictions): Is it really true that faculty and students will no longer be able to use facilities inside the Dedmon Center, with the exception of the pool? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: This is correct. With the exception of the pool area, as described in the Q & A following this one, the use of the Dedmon Center will be reserved to Radford University student-athletes.
       However, there are a number of facilities that are open to the campus community. These include the fitness center in Peters Hall, the fitness center in Muse Hall, the gymnasium in Peters Hall, the climbing wall in Peters Hall, and aerobics classes in Peters Hall. Further information about these facilities, including their hours of operation, is available online from http://www.radford.edu/~peters/ (links to each are available under the heading "Recreation" on the left-hand side of the page). (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President.)

QUESTION (Dedmon Center Pool Opening ): When can we expect the pool to reopen to the university community? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: The Dedmon Center Pool will reopen to students, faculty, and staff on December 8th. A complete update from Athletic Director Robert Lineburg was emailed to faculty on December 2nd, and a copy of that communication may be viewed at this link. A schedule of pool hours is at this link. (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President.)

QUESTION (Student Fee Increases vs. Tuition Increases): Student fees are the primary source of funding for athletics. Increasing dollars spent by students to fund atheletics are dollars that can't be spent to improve the quality of their education. Wouldn't our students be better served by increasing tuition to provide better instruction rather than by increasing fees to increasing spending on sports. Have student's been asked what they would prefer? (Submitted anonymously on 12/5/2008.)

ANSWER: Early in the spring semester, the Faculty Senate Executive Council will work with the University leadership to prepare an informational report on the structure of the University's budget. Included within this report will be a discussion of the role of tuition and fees as revenue sources. The question posed above is important, and it will best be answered within the context of this report, due to the complexities of some of the issues that are involved. We will provide an announcement to the faculty when this informational report is available. (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President.)

QUESTION (Faculty Salary Increases for Promotion): Where is information listed that tells how much a raise a person gets for getting tenure and promotion (both for Associate Prof level and full Prof level)? I have looked in the Faculty handbook and cannot find, but am not sure I am looking in the correct document. Thanks! (Submitted anonymously on 12/4/2008.)

ANSWER: You asked a good question, and one for which an answer is not easily found. Other faculty probably have this question, so I need to get the policy posted to our office's web site so others can more easily find the answer.
       In February 2006, the Radford University Board of Visitors approved the following increases in salary following a faculty receiving promotion in rank.

  • Faculty promoted from Instructor to Assistant Professor should receive an increment of $2,500.
  • Faculty promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor should receive an increment of $3,500.
  • Faculty promoted from Associate to Full Professor should receive an increment of $5,000.

(Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Provost's Salary): Why was Provost Stanton’s salary increased this fall? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: After a thorough review of provost compensation at other public universities in Virginia, the RU Board of Visitors determined that the RU provost was not being compensated at a competitive level. The RU Board of Visitors recognizes that the core mission of this university is the education of our students, and the Board wants to ensure that this university attracts and retains the best academic leadership possible in order to achieve the goals set forth in the university’s strategic plan, 7-17,  which include becoming one of the top 50 masters institutions in the country. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Varsity Football Program): Is there a plan for Radford to have a varsity football program, and if there is not a plan at present, do you foresee the developing of a plan for Radford to have a varsity football program? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: There is no plan for RU to have a Division I football program. Establishing and then maintaining a football program at the Division I level would cost millions of dollars. Spending our limited financial resources on an initiative such as this is not recommended by the RU administration nor the RU Board of Visitors. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Spending on Sports): How can increased spending on sports (as reported in the Roanoke Times) be justified in a time of budget reversions and reductions, and when the university is seeking to grow its academic graduate programs? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: The dollars spent on athletics at RU do not come from state-appropriated money. These activities are supported by auxiliary funds and by private funds, not by state general funds. In fact, over the last seven years the athletic department has spent below its funded level, leaving it a reserve of almost $1.7 million as of June 30, 2008.
       Bottom line: We are not spending money on athletics that could be spent on academics, nor are we overspending when compared to the other institutions in our athletic conference. In fact, right now, we are simply trying to catch up with the other programs. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (RU Foundation Accounting): When will the University Foundation office give a full accounting of the resources they have at their disposal, and how those resources are used in support of RU? We used to get reports of Foundation activities. Transparency in this area would be appreciated. (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: Again, since this is a RU Foundation question, I have asked Catherine Greenberg to respond:
       “A full accounting of the Foundation can be found via the attached copy of the 06/30/08 audit of the Foundation’s revenue and expenses. The Foundation's financial statements are audited annually by an independent accounting firm which then prepares the official audited financial statement for the fiscal year. As part of the annual audit, the firm reviews not only the Foundation's financial statement, but internal controls, policies and procedures, etc.
       “In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, the Foundation expended almost $2 million to support student scholarships, faculty and staff development, and university program support. If any faculty or staff members are interested in more information about the Foundation, I encourage them to contact me.”
       An excerpt of the financial statements for the RU Foundation for 2007 and 2008 is available at this link. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Elimination of Administrative Positions): In response to the dwindling financial resources at RU, and the likelihood of additional significant budget reversions, are any administrative positions being eliminated to "share the pain" with other university divisions? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: Yes. Since 76.3 percent of the Educational & General budget is tied to personnel costs – and the state funds 51.3 percent of that amount – any state-mandated budget reduction impacts staffing levels. Under the Governor's mandated 5 percent reduction, $822,975 in savings will be realized from organizational restructuring, eliminating positions, and delaying the filling of some positions.
       As I stated at the Nov. 20 meeting of Faculty Senate, I have already eliminated one of the vice president positions that reported to me, the Vice President of University Relations. It is entirely possible that additional administrative positions will be cut to absorb future budget reversions. (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Accreditation of Departments): The Strategic Plan promises to accredit departments. The main obstacle for some departments at this point is staffing levels. What specific measures does RU intend to take to permit their accreditation - in other words, what if the Base Budget Adequacy Model staffing indicators are less than those required by the accrediting body? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: I asked Provost Stanton to respond to this question:
       “Radford University has a commitment to achieve accreditation for all programs eligible. To date, Provost Stanton has approved all requests to begin exploring program accreditation. The rubric used in Base Budget Adequacy Modeling (BBA-M) is a guide to resource allocation; it is not an absolute rule. BBA-M has not deterred us from seeking reaffirmation of existing accredited programs, nor has it deterred us from pursuing initial accreditation for eligible programs.
       “During the next few years, the uncertain fiscal landscape may require us to begin pursuing accreditation of additional programs in a staggered fashion, spread over a slightly longer time horizon. In addition to the fiscal environment, the decision about timing will depend on such things as program demand and growth in demand, existing program resources, additional resources needed to achieve accreditation, and other accrediting agency requirements.
       “Even in these tough economic times, the University remains firmly committed to having every eligible program attain accreditation.” (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Plans for Sale Selu): What are RU’s plans for Selu Conservancy, and which specific groups are forming these plans? (Submitted anonymously to President Kyle through the faculty senate executive council.)

ANSWER: Since Selu is owned by the RU Foundation and is not a Radford University property, I sent this question to Catherine Greenberg, the RU Foundation executive director. This is her response: “The Foundation expects all Foundation property to be self-sustaining or to provide a revenue stream. To that end, all foundation properties are being analyzed to determine their long-term viability and sustainability. A combination of the people from the Selu Steering Committee, the RU Foundation, RU’s Office of Advancement and the RU administration will undertake a study of Selu, its revenue streams -- both existing and potential -- and its expenses and will recommend a course of action to the Foundation.” (Penelope Kyle, University President.)

QUESTION (Faculty Interest in Teaching Core Courses): Is there any data indicating levels of faculty and department interest in teaching 200 level core A courses? (Submitted by Vincent Hazelton on 11/3/2008.)

ANSWER: In the process of preparing the University Core A proposal, feedback was sought about faculty interest in teaching the classes. For much of the summer and fall, the University Core A proposal was in a formative stage - first awaiting consensus from the University Core A Committee, then approval from GECAC, then review and comment from the Faculty Senate. As a result, no scientific study was made of departmental and faculty interest, in terms of a poll or survey. Indeed, doing so would have been difficult, as the proposal went through multiple iterations before being finalized. However, some informal inquiries were made, and have indicated that there are indeed faculty interest in teaching the 200-level courses. For instance, University Core A Committee members (representing different academic units) talked informally to other faculty members on campus, who often positively received the idea of teaching the courses, as described in any particular version of the proposal. More systematic inquiries were made by Dean Conniff, who asked College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences department chairs about whether faculty in their academic units would be interested in teaching the courses. By his report, all chairs indicated that they had faculty members who would be interested in doing so. This is not to suggest that CHBS will be the only college teaching the courses, but as the college with the most departments, this was valuable feedback.
       Wil Stanton, Steve Lerch, Rick Slavings, Brian Conniff, and Orion Rogers attended a recent Faculty Senate forum to discuss the resource implications of implementing University Core A. Their estimate, based on an empirical analysis, was that in any given semester, the 200-level courses would require 30-35 faculty teaching two sections of 200-level of course classes each (and two sections of courses in their home departments). This represents less than 10% of the full-time T&R faculty at the University. I offer this as an indication of how many faculty will have to express an interest in, and be available to, teach the courses.
       From here, attention will now turn to a review of the actual CORE-101/102/103/201/202 course proposals, and in the spring, the University Core A Committee plans to begin a dedicated effort to disseminating information about the courses and the opportunities to teach them. Of course, in the coming academic year, the primary courses to be offered will be CORE-101, 102, and 103, which will be covered by the English Department. CORE-201 and 202 will not be implemented on a wide scale until the 2010-2011 academic year (the sections that will be offered for transfer students in the 2009-2010 academic year will primarily be taught by the core coordinators). Faculty who agree to teach the courses (no one will be forced to do so) will be compensated for the time they will spend in training, and the hope is that serving as a core faculty member will carry positive recognition. I am providing this information as an indication that the University is committed to educating the faculty about the nature of these courses, soliciting interest from faculty in teaching the courses, and providing compensated training to prepare faculty for teaching the courses. I have seen no evidence to the contrary of this.
       Taking all of this together, the conclusions that can be drawn are that informal inquiries have expressed faculty interest in teaching the courses, the critical mass required to do so will be only a small percentage of the full-time faculty, and there will be efforts to educate, recruit, and train faculty who are willing to teach in the program. From the conversations I've had, and the meetings I've attended, my perception is that there will be faculty who are willing to teach the courses. (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President.)

QUESTION (RU in the Great Depression): I was wondering if anyone knows how RU weathered the Great Depression. I remember hearing that faculty salaries were cut approximately in half. Anyone have any information on that? (Submitted by Rick Roth on 10/10/2008.)

ANSWER: A full and informative response from Mr. Gene Hyde, University Archivist, may be viewed or downloaded as a PDF file (posted 11/1/2008) by clicking this link: RU Responses to the Great Depression (PDF).

QUESTION (Parking Fees): Why are RU faculty and staff required to pay for a parking permit (as opposed to other institutions, which do not charge)? What factors go into the decision about how much to charge for faculty/staff parking (currently $72), and why has this increased? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: While there may be other institutions that do not charge Faculty and Staff for parking, the reason that we as well as most other public schools do is because the Commonwealth views parking as an auxiliary. Therefore, there is no funding from Richmond for us and we are required to be self-sufficient in this regard. Some time before I came to this position parking was free and the costs were absorbed by the University. However, the number of vehicles coming to campus has continually increased. With increased demand for parking the costs steadily increased and it was no longer feasible for the University to absorb the costs and the determination was made to have Faculty/Staff and Students pay for parking on campus. When I came to the position in 1998 the fees for Faculty/Staff were $45.00 and the next year they went to $50.00. There have been no increases in permit fees since that time until 2008. I cannot explain with any certainty how institutions who do not charge for parking operate and account for these costs, but I do know that of the public institutions in Virginia were remain at the very low end in terms of the prices charged for parking permits.
       The permit fees paid by Faculty/Staff and Students go towards paying for a number of different expenses. They cover the Parking Services operating budget, the Transit budget and the Parking Lot Maintenance budget, just to name a few. The one that has a big impact on the price that is charged for parking permits is the Parking Lot Maintenance budget. This budget pays for all of the physical services required for upkeep of the parking areas, everything from snow removal, re-sealing, re-striping, new signs, sign repair, new gravel and the list goes on. Over the period from 1998 until 2008 the costs of these things continually increased, especially the cost of re-sealing and re-paving which have dramatically jumped, while the revenue to pay for them remained flat. In order to be able to maintain our current facilities and services it was necessary to increase the fees on parking permits to the current price. Depending on a number of factors, cost for supplies and services in addition to future expansion or growth this fee may or may not be sufficient to cover those costs.
       Just some information about where our permit fees are in comparison to other Virginia Schools:

  • Virginia Tech – uses a flat rate fee - Faculty/Staff permit fee $150.00 per year.
  • JMU- uses a sliding scale Faculty/Staff if you make between $2,500-$19,999 permit fee $108.00 per year.
  • ODU – uses a sliding scale Faculty/Staff <$19,999 permit fee $188.00 per year.
  • VCU – Faculty/Staff, permit fee $29.87 per pay period = approximately $716.88 per year
  • CNU – uses a sliding scale, $15,001to $25,000 permit fee $100.00 per year.
  • RU- uses flat rate – permit fee is $72.00 per year.

I hope this answers your questions. (Mr. James Perkins, Manager, RU Express, Parking, and Transit Services.)

ADDENDUM 11/1/2008. This file also has information on comparative fees in the Virginia higher education system: Parking Rates (PDF).

QUESTION (Anonymity of Q & A Submissions): Submission: I am forwarding a concern expressed by some of my constituents. Essentially this concern is: "I want to ask a question that might disturb my chair, dean or a member of the RU administration. Will my submission truly be anonymous? How can I submit such a question and remain anonymous?" (Submitted by Dr. Kay K. Jordan on 10/14/2008.)

ANSWER: When Kay used the form on the senate's Q & A web page to submit this question, the code behind the Q & A web page opened a text file on the asp.radford.edu server and appended the following text to the end of it:

Date: 10/14/2008 12:00:00 AM

User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; GoogleT5;
.NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30; InfoPath.1;
InfoPath.2; Tablet PC 1.7; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.648)

User Host Address:

User Host Name:

Name: Kay K. Jordan

Email: kjordan@radford.edu

Submission: I am forwarding a concern expressed by some of my constituents.
Essentially this concern is: "I want to ask a question that might disturb 
my chair, dean or a member of the RU administration. Will my submission 
truly be anonymous? How can I submit such a question and remain anonymous?


If Kay had not chosen to include her name and email address, the corresponding lines would be blank. The other technical information relates to the IP address (network address) that Kay was connected through, they type of browser, operating system, and computer she was using, and of course the date of the submission. The technical information is recorded so that in the event we received a material threat against persons or property, or if we received criminal hate speech or libel, the appropriate law enforcement agencies would have information on which to base an investigation. Kay's identity (apart from what she provided) and that of her specific computer were not recorded. This text file is password protected and currently only accessible by the faculty senate president and secretary. When the submission is forwarded to an appropriate person for a response, only the information filled in by the submitter on the Q & A form is sent, not the technical data. Once the response (if any) has been received and posted on the Q & A page, the entire submission is erased from the file, including all the information connected with it.
      So, is it really anonymous? I believe that law enforcement agencies would have the resources in most cases to track down the submitter. I don't believe anyone else, including any of our IT people, would be able to do so, and in any event once responded to the submission is destroyed. (Dr. B. Sidney Smith, Faculty Senate Secretary.)

QUESTION (Environmental Issues): How is Radford University addressing environmental issues? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: Dr. Dennis Grady, Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, chairs the Radford University Sustainability Steering Committee. An agenda from the committee's first meeting and a list of committee members are available on this web site under Current → Reports → Committees. In addition, Radford University has hired Julio Stephens as Sustainability Coordinator. At a future Faculty Senate meeting, Mr. Stephens will share a PowerPoint presentation on RU's current sustainability efforts and future plans, and Dean Grady will share comments about the Sustainability Steering Committee. (Dr. Steve Owen, Faculty Senate President.)

QUESTION (Benefits for Emeriti Faculty): Do faculty emeriti have the same access to recreational facilities (e.g., Peters Hall) and course tuition waivers as full-time faculty? If not, these would be excellent benefits to offer to our retired faculty. It is my belief that faculty emeriti are afforded these same privileges. Is that true? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: Section 1.2.3 of the Handbook (“Emeritus Faculty”) indicates that such faculty have “use of the athletic facilities available to regular faculty.” One would assume that athletic facilities means recreational facilities (e.g., Peters Hall). The HR website indicates that “the following employees of Radford University are eligible for the waiver of tuition program:

  • Full-time, salaried employees
  • Part-time teaching faculty
  • Part-time administrative/professional faculty
  • ‘1,500-hour’ wage employees”

Thus, faculty emeriti are not currently eligible for the tuition waiver program. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Closure on Labor Day): I’d like RU to be closed on Labor Day. It is a national holiday when schools and day cares and government offices are closed. Has this been discussed? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: There have been no discussions recently, but there is no reason why this could not be discussed. We have traditionally not closed on Labor Day because it is so close to the opening of school (this year, for the first time in recent memory, it fell on the first day of classes). More typically, Labor Day will fall after students will have been here for just a week, and a three-day weekend that soon in the semester may not be advisable. In addition, classes that meet only one day a week (on Monday) would lose that meeting. However, the advisability of closing on Labor Day can be re-examined. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Faculty Salary Increases): How are faculty raises allocated? Who decides the percentage allocated, and whether it’s merit or across-the-board? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: The average faculty raise each year is determined by the General Assembly, based in part on recommendations from SCHEV that are intended to help move an institution’s average faculty salary to the 60th percentile of peer institutions. There is an excellent description of the process for recommending salary increases that can be found in a SCHEV Council Agenda Book: (Council Agenda Book, Agenda Item #6.c.2., Amendment Items: Faculty Salaries, http://www.schev.edu/SCHEV/AgendaBooks/2008Sept/AgendaBook0908.pdf) September 9, 2008, pages 14-16.
       Usually, each institution determines how to allocate the appropriated raises internally. In recent years, faculty raises have been based on merit rather than administered across-the-board. In addition to the funds appropriated for faculty salary increases, RU has several times provided funds to address salary compression and inversion. However, adding significantly to the appropriated salary funds for a majority of the faculty can impact future recommended increases by moving the institution closer to the 60th percentile on the appropriated salary average. Faculty are also provided with salary increases when promoted through the academic ranks in addition to the average increases. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (14-Week Semester): Why was the semester shortened from 15 weeks to 14 weeks? Who was consulted prior to this decision being made? (Not submitted online.)

ANSWER: President Kyle convened an ad hoc committee during the summer of 2007 to examine a variety of different aspects of the University calendar and to make recommendations to her about possible revisions. That committee included representatives from the various University divisions, the faculty, and Dr. Lollar, then-President of the Senate, was kept informed. The recommendation and decision to shorten the calendar from 15 weeks to 14 (plus one week of exams) brought the RU calendar in line with those of most other Virginia public institutions. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Core Curriculum Funding): I have heard that in the budget-cutting process, a particular goal is to be sure to fund the new Core courses. Why? Are we so sure that these courses, which do not even exist yet, will have greater value than what we'll have to cut? If so, then how are we so sure? On what assessment of measurable objectives is this based? (Submitted by Dr. Steve Corwin, Dept. of Mathematics, on 9/30/2008.)

ANSWER: As I mentioned in my remarks to the Faculty Senate recently, I am committed to providing adequate funding to ensure the timely implementation of the Core Curriculum, but I am also committed to ensuring, to the extent possible, that all instruction and instructional support are protected from budget reversions. Investing in the Core Curriculum and its implementation should, in fact, result in long-term cost savings that can be reallocated to other instructional areas of need. (Dr. Wilbur Stanton, Provost.)

QUESTION (Schedule M): Where does Schedule M come from -- the document that is used in FTE faculty calculations? Is the document available online or where can one get a copy? (Submitted anonymously on 10/1/2008.)

ANSWER: While many people still use the term “Schedule M,” the terminology currently used regarding this process is the “Base Budget Adequacy” metric. The metric is included in the Final Report and Recommendations to the Joint Subcommittee on Higher Education Funding Policies submitted by MGT of America to the Joint Subcommittee on Higher Education Funding Policies of the Virginia General Assembly. A copy of that report (titled “MGT Report”) and an excerpt from a recent SCHEV agenda book in which the methodology is discussed (titled “Base Budget Adequacy Metrics”) are now available on this web site under Links → Commonwealth of Virginia.
       In brief, the base budget adequacy metric uses credit hour production by discipline, and by course level (lower and upper division undergraduate and graduate) to determine the number of full time faculty needed at an institution given the assumption that 80% of instruction would be provided by full-time faculty and 20% by part-time faculty. Then, using an appropriated faculty salary average, the funding to provide those faculty is computed, and percentage add-ons are included for other institutional costs to compute base-budget adequacy needs for the institution. Related to this process is the goal of eventually moving the appropriated salary average to the 60th percentile of RU’s peer institutions. (Dr. Rick Slavings, Vice Provost for Academic Administration.)

QUESTION (Child Care): There has been discussion in the past regarding this issue — but can we somehow have a childcare center re-opened for faculty and staff children? This is a problem that many have asked me about. There has been such a decline in the available daycare/childcare in this area. (Submitted anonymously on 9/30/2008.)

ANSWER: The Faculty Senate’s Campus Environment Committee will be investigating the issue of childcare. The committee will work on the following objective over the course of the year: “Liaise with the University Committee on Childcare regarding the implementation and results of the Childcare Survey, and report to the Senate.” The information that the Campus Environment Committee gathers will then be able to inform subsequent discussions of the issue. (Dr. Steve Owen, President of the Faculty Senate.)

QUESTION (Degree Programs): Can an RU organization not working under the umbrella of an RU Department, and not under the umbrella of an RU College, but with an AP Faculty Director, offer a degree program, either Minor or Major? The mission statement of the organization does not mention it being a degree granting organization. (Submitted anonymously on 9/28/2008.)

ANSWER: The response must be prefaced with the comment that a minor is not a “degree program.” Degree implies the level of a program and its category, such as Bachelor of Arts. Instituting degree programs (e.g., a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture) requires a level of approval beyond the University.
       Lesser academic recognitions (minors, certificates, etc.) theoretically could be offered under the auspices of “an RU organization not working under the umbrella of an RU Department, and not under the umbrella of an RU College, but with an AP Faculty Director.” Before something like this could be done, however, approvals would have to be obtained through departments offering courses, all colleges in which the courses were offered, the UGCCRC, and the Provost, just as is the case with all curriculum changes. (Dr. Steve Lerch, Vice Provost for Academic Programs.)