GRAND FORKS — Salary increases, campus building plans and future legislative concerns were among the topics discussed by UND faculty and staff during an event at City Hall on Wednesday, 26 april.
The online town hall event is held periodically to give UND employees the opportunity to anonymously ask questions of university administrators. A similar event for students and parents is scheduled to take place on the evening of May 2. Among other concerns on Wednesday, UND employees were curious about how the pay increases would be implemented, as well as administrators’ priorities for the next legislative session.
When asked how salary increases would be handled, Jed Shivers, vice president of finance and operations, said each UND department had received an allocation of money to distribute up to 2% of salary increases, a number largely defined by the legislature. The raises are merit-based, he said.
Chills had a similar response when asked why salary increases are determined by the Legislative Assembly, when only a portion of the university’s budget comes from state coffers. Chills said the state funds about 22% of the university’s overall budget. He said people should wait and see what happens in the next legislative session, to see what steps can be taken to adjust wages to inflation, which has soared in recent months.
“Overall, we are following legislative guidelines,” Shivers said. “We will see what happens in (fiscal year 2024) as we enter the new two-year process.
Chairman Andrew Armacost said inflation is “top of the list” on people’s minds when it comes to asking for legislative support. UND is working to advance a list of its priorities for the legislature, as are other public educational institutions. This list includes adjusting the rate of merit-based salary increases and funding capital improvement projects.
Other legislative priorities include using state Legacy Fund revenues to support research and development to diversify the economy, which Gov. Doug Burgum has prioritized under his Main Street agenda. Initiative.
Joshua Wynne, dean of the school of medicine and health sciences, urged people to submit their ideas for legislative priorities, through their usual chain of command.
Peggy Varberg, associate vice president of human resources, said salary increases will be determined by supervisors in each department and will be broadly enforced. Of around 1,800 people, fewer than five will not receive a raise because they do not meet the minimum standards.
“We have a lot of people doing a really good job, and then we just have a few people that we need to make it happen,” Varberg said. “That’s our plan to do that.”
Remote work was also discussed, as some employees wondered why some could work from home while others had to show up in person. Donna Smith, associate vice president of equal opportunity and Title IX, said the issue is decided on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process between the employee, supervisor and human resources manager facilitating the process. adaptation.
Varberg also said remote work is part of the changing face of higher education. In some cases, it is used as a retention and recruitment tool. Skilled positions may not have a local candidate, and people from out of state who apply may not want to move to North Dakota, she said. In some cases, people in data-driven jobs don’t have a counterpart to interact with face-to-face.
“It’s a shift in higher education in general that we’re seeing,” she said.
Discussion continued on other topics, including parking around Wilkerson Commons. Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities, said the parking lot will not be dismantled after construction of new sleeping quarters in the area is completed.
When asked, Pieper said fundraising to renovate Babcock Hall had been approved, but there was no ongoing effort to do so yet. The apparently unused building has been given a new roof to prevent water damage and is in a “safe holding pattern” for future use.