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While students have been enjoying their summer breaks, Cal Poly has been working on the compensation equity program for faculty and staff, updating the school’s Master Plan and contributing to the development of a sustainable financial model for the California State University (CSU) system.

Here’s what you need to know from the university-wide release sent out Friday.

1. Budget changes are happening on the state level

The CSU system has been working on a feasible financial model for the CSU. The Chancellor’s Task Force for a Sustainable Financial Model for the CSU — on which Provost Kathleen Enz Finken was asked to serve — created a draft report that was presented to the statewide Academic Senate last week.

Notable recommendations from the report include:

  • an overhaul of the State University Grant program
  • development of a sustainable, predictable tuition and fee model
  • offering campuses more flexibility to use their resources to meet their operating and capital needs
  • that the CSU system consider allocating state funds based on performance and outcomes of universities, rather than the number of students served
  • that CSU campuses be allowed to propose a tuition for nonresident students that is market-based and specific to each campus

The draft report will be made public Sept. 18.

The California Legislature funded the CSU budget for the first time in many years, according to the release. Though the legislature fully funded the CSU budget request, Cal Poly still receives $35.8 million less than it did during the peak of state investment from 2007-08.

Now, as investment increases, the university can look toward recovering from the cuts.

“This includes a multi-year plan to improve faculty and staff salaries, faculty hires, staffing levels across the university, deferred maintenance, information technology and other support service infrastructure,” the release stated.

2. Cal Poly had one of the most successful fundraising years in school history

The university is in the midst of a $500 million fundraising campaign. The last fiscal year was one of the most successful in Cal Poly’s history, bringing in $71.9 million for university programs and facilities.

Last year, Cal Poly received the largest cash donation in its history from Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer — $20 million. As the release noted, though, 95 percent of the gifts this past fiscal year were less than $2,500, much of which goes toward discretionary funds in departments and units.

3. Budgets are made available online

For those interested, the university has published its base budgets via a spreadsheet tracking where money has been spent over the past year.

4. More funds have been allocated to the salary equity program

The allocation for a local compensation equity program for faculty and staff was originally $2.5 million, but has been increased to $3 million, with the potential for an additional increase of $500,000.

The money will be dispersed in several phases. The first $500,000 has already been implemented, and the second — $1.5 million — is currently being implemented. The third phase of $500,000 will be implemented in the 2016-17 fiscal year, with the final $500,000 the following year. The potential additional $500,000 could be added to either the third or fourth phase.

In Phase 1, the university addressed the lowest paid staff who were below CSU averages for their classification and had a start date of 2012 or earlier, including custodians, warehouse workers and grounds workers. Lecturers were not included because of the raises received through California Faculty Association bargaining.

Phase 2 addresses both faculty and staff, including:

  • tenured and tenure-track faculty taken to minimum salaries based on rank and years in rank
  • other faculty who are below CSU minimums toward those averages
  • faculty and staff affected by compression issues
  • lecturers and temporary faculty, including temporary counselors
  • health personnel, student services personnel, trades workers, clerical staff and technical support services
  • employees with a hire date of 2010 or earlier and whose salaries

The money is dispersed on an individual basis, not a set allocation to each college, Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said.

Between the first two phases, Armstrong said the university will be able to impact 40-50 percent of faculty, a third of staff and almost 100 lecturers.

In spring, Armstrong formed a 12-person advisory committee to provide council regarding salary issues. Though they haven’t met over summer, he shared the results of Phase 1 with the council and consulted with members on Phase 2, especially those leading unions. The council will meet again in October, then monthly throughout the rest of the academic year.

5. Updates to the Master Plan have been released

After receiving feedback from students and community members, the university has released its latest proposed updates to the Master Plan. Administrators will continue to hear comments in fall.

In the release, the university offered information about how public-private partnerships could allow Cal Poly to expand its resources and provide more housing projects, such as the residential neighborhoods for faculty, staff and nontraditional students proposed in the Master Plan update.

With these neighborhoods, Armstrong aims to provide more affordable housing for faculty and staff while increasing salaries and benefits.

6. Increased focus on campus climate and diversity

The Office of University Diversity and Inclusivity, the Inclusive Excellence Council and the Campus Climate Committee have developed two main ways to approach campus climate and diversity:

  • invite members of the campus to create recommendations addressing needs identified in the Campus Climate Survey
  • with the participation of the campus as a whole, move forward with the Diversity Strategic Framework, which is a plan to address these issues

All units on campus will be asked to examine their areas and create plans to support diversity and improve the overall campus climate.

7. Cal Poly will assess and address issues with Information Technology Services

Using the expertise of Bill Britton, on loan from Parsons as the Cal Poly’s visiting interim chief information officer, the university will assess the strengths and weaknesses of Information Technology Services (ITS).

Infrastructure, services, staffing and organization will all be examined during the review, which aims to make lasting and useful investments to the university.

The full release can be read on the Office of the President website. Armstrong will announce additional updates on Monday at Fall Conference.

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