The University Insider is The Daily’s first faculty and staff-oriented newsletter. This weekly newsletter will give U-M faculty and staff the ability to see the most important issues on campus and in Ann Arbor — particularly those related to administrative decisions — from the perspective of an independent news organization. It will also provide a better understanding of student perspectives.
At their meeting Thursday, which will be held at University of Michigan-Dearborn’s campus, the University’s Board of Regents will discuss a wide range of topics, including Bursley Dining Hall renovations, as well as hear updates from Central Student Government updates and faculty governance requests.
At the meeting, members will vote to approve the Joseph Aldrich and Marguerite Knowlton Bursley Hall Dining Improvements project. Housing resources will fund the estimated $4,350,000 renovation costs, and the construction is expected to be completed in fall 2016.
With approximately 1,270 students living in Bursley, it contains the only residential dining hall on North Campus. However, the current model for the hall differs from other residential dining halls on campus. The project aims to renovate approximately 4,700 gross square feet of the facility to redesign the serving area, allowing for five serving stations with different options to mirror other spaces on campus.
The last dining hall renovation project on campus was in South Quadrangle, which re-opened its doors in fall 2014 after being closed one year for construction. The facility was the main focus of a $60 million project to renovate South Quad — it is now the largest dining hall on Central Campus.
An estimated 15 on-site construction jobs will be created by the Bursley Improvements project, and Stantec Architecture Inc. will design the reconfiguration.
Central Student Government Update
In its March report to the regents, CSG will request additional staff members for the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services program. CSG’s report, released ahead of the meeting, points to other universities’ recent initiatives to increase CAPS funding, such as Ohio State University, which has doubled its budget.
The national standard for counselor to student ratio is 1:1,000, according to the CSG report, and the report cites that an additional 11 staff members would have to be hired to reach this level. Acknowledging the unattainability of such a goal in the immediate future, CSG instead is calling for the University to create a five-year plan to work toward this benchmark.
The report also expresses concern over increasing enrollment numbers, citing a potential increase of 500 students in the 2016 incoming class. CSG will suggest that such a rise in enrollment numbers may overwhelm the current student life programs, including SAPAC, CAPS, residence halls and dining facilities.
To balance the increase in students, CSG will also emphasize the importance of expanding student-life resources as well.
Faculty Governance Update
Silke-Maria Weineck, chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs, sent a letter on February 12 to the regents with the aim of strengthening shared governance. The Regents’ Bylaws allow for the Senate Assembly to establish standing committees that serve to advise the vice presidents of the University with nominations from SACUA.
Weineck’s letter points out, however, that some vice presidents fail to consult with SACUA, resulting in variability, inefficiency and “duplication of effort.” She is proposing a plan to streamline and centralize the process, envisioning the SACUA chair asking the University vice presidents for advisory committee nominations each April. About half the committee would be comprised of these individuals, and SACUA will nominate the remaining members.
She also suggested positioning certain committees under specific offices that are currently not under the leadership of a particular vice president, with the goal of enhancing shared governance and increasing collaboration between administrators and faculty members. One of the letter’s recommendations includes assigning the Senate’s Committee for an Inclusive University to advise the vice provost for Equity, Inclusion and Academic Affairs.