President Bendapudi shares highlights from 2021-22 budget Wednesday, Jun 30 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi shared some high points from the recently approved 2021-22 budget on June 29. The budget was approved at the June 24 Board of Trustees meeting and projects an operating budget of $1.3 billion.

“Despite dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that changed our university and our world in many ways, I am pleased that our trustees and our administration remain committed to advancing programming and enhancements that will benefit our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

For students, the budget includes a tuition increase of $104 per semester, which Bendapudi says will be covered by funding from the CARES Act. Each returning student will receive a minimum grant of $400 per semester through this funding and high need students could receive up to $1,500 per semester.

Housing, dining, and parking prices will not increase for students this year and the university will provide laptops for 700 first-year students with high financial needs.

Faculty and staff will receive a 1% base salary increase beginning August 1 with the possibility for another increase in January 2022. The university will also restore contributions to retirement plans to where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Employee retirement benefits, reduced as part of cost-reduction efforts in 2020, will be fully restored on July 1 to an automatic university contribution of 7.5% for eligible employees, with an additional 2.5% match for employee contributions,” Bendapudi said.

There will be no parking increase, health insurance cost increase or change in employment tuition remission for faculty and staff.

Bendapudi concluded the email by showing appreciation towards the Office of Finance and Administration for their work handling the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also gave her thanks to the entire U of L community.

“I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Finance and Administration and the many faculty, staff and administrators who took great care of their unit finances during the past year. Together, we are making decisions that will promote the long-term health of our university,” Bendapudi said.

“Most importantly, I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to the University of Louisville. You are the reason we exist. And you are the reason we will thrive now and in the future.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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BRIEF: U of L board approves plans for a hotel and urban Target near campus Friday, Jun 25 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved a letter of intent on June 24 to proceed with plans to construct a Marriott Hotel near campus. The property plans include up to 200 rooms, a conference center, an urban Target, a parking structure and a restaurant.

This property will be placed between Fourth Street and Third Street along Cardinal Boulevard. This space is currently occupied by Cardinal Mart, Insomnia Cookies, Maira Mediterranean Grill and Laundry and Tan Connection.

The project will be financed by Provident Resources Group Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation and U of L will not be financially responsible for the project.

In the agenda of the June 24 board meeting, the purposes of the project are listed as education and economic development.

“The mission being served is to academically engage students through diverse learning opportunities with an emphasis on experiential learning. This approach specifically targets the development of professional competencies in the areas of: (1) foundational knowledge, (2) program leadership, (3) administrative and management functions, and (4) professional skills and behavior,” the agenda stated.

It also stated in the agenda that the primary function of the project is not to generate profits, however, the University will receive surplus net revenues from the project.

The letter of intent that the Board of Trustees passed is non-binding and the project is still in its preliminary stages.

Photo Courtesy//The University of Louisville

 

 

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Vice Provost and Executive Director of Delphi Center Gale Rhodes sets last day for June 30 Wednesday, Jun 23 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville Provost Lori Gonzalez announced on June 11 that Gale Rhodes, vice provost and executive director of the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning, is retiring. Her last day will be June 30 and a search for her replacement will begin during the fall 2021 semester.

“Gale has provided distinguished service to the University of Louisville since 1986 when she was named coordinator of Freshman Orientation courses. Since then, she has served in many roles ranging from director of academic services to director of distance and continuing education to her current role,” Gonzalez said in the email announcement.

Rhodes said that she is grateful for her time at the university and has enjoyed seeing the university grow and strive to become a great place for students.

“Louisville has been a great place for me to work, because I’ve grown so much and I’ve had lots of opportunities through the years and being able to make a difference, certainly in the lives of our faculty, but particularly for our students in the varied positions that I’ve had has made my career one that I’m really proud of,” Rhodes said. “So, I’m grateful to the university for the opportunities that they have provided me and also for the opportunities to make a difference.”

Marie Brown, associate director for teaching, learning and innovation at the Delphi Center, and Kristen Brown, associate director for online learning will serve as co-interim vice provosts until a long-term replacement can be found.

Rhodes stresses that whoever is chosen as her replacement will have a strong support system and they should take advantage of that help while they learn ways they can make their own mark on the Delphi Center.

“Whoever walks into this position next will have a very well-oiled machine of people who work very diligently and have so much to contribute to the institution. So what I would say to that person is trust your staff. They are really smart, they already know ways in which we can make a difference.”

An open house will be held in Rhodes’ honor on June 23 at the University Club.

Photo courtesy// The University of Louisville

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U of L plans to observe Juneteenth as a holiday Tuesday, Jun 1 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on May 25 that, starting this year, Juneteenth will now be recognized as a university-wide holiday. Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19 as a commemoration of the last enslaved people in the United States to learn of and receive emancipation.

“Juneteenth, short for June Nineteenth, marks the day in 1865 when the enslaved persons in Texas and other southern states were finally freed – more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation,” President Neeli Bendapudi said in the email announcement.

“Juneteenth represents freedom for our Black community and is a powerful reminder that racial and social justice are goals that are still to be fully realized. There is great success in our country’s history, and there is also great failure. When we acknowledge both, we can understand our wholeness better and begin to heal the wounds of our past.”

Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, so U of L classes and offices will be closed on June 18 in recognition of the holiday.

In addition to the university closing on June 18, there will also be a variety of events held that week to help educate and bring awareness to the university community. These include a lecture by Vanderbilt University Professor Michael Dyson, a learning café lead by the Employee Success Center with the founder of the Roots 101 African American Museum Lamont Collins, and a talk sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Equity and the Black Faculty/Staff Association with sociologist Oliver Rollins.

All of these events will be held virtually and more information can be found on U of L’s event page.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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BRIEF: U of L lifts mask mandate for fully vaccinated Cardinals Friday, May 21 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on May 20 that masks will no longer be required on campus for individuals that are fully vaccinated. This announcement follows the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to revise COVID-19 masking guidelines and Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order that allows vaccinated Kentuckians to go unmasked in most situations.

“Effective immediately, fully vaccinated Cardinals are not required to mask in any setting on campus,” the email announcement said. “The university strongly encourages all Cardinals to get vaccinated.”

The university defines fully vaccinated as being at least two weeks out from the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two weeks out from the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

The email reminded the U of L community to remain respectful of those who choose to continue to wear masks.

“Please remember that there are multiple reasons why some Cardinals are not getting vaccinated and others will prefer to stay masked and physically distanced on campus despite being fully vaccinated,” the email said. “Cardinals should respect the privacy and space of those who are staying masked and distanced on campus.”

The email went on to announce that U of L will be lifting travel restrictions for both domestic and international travel. There will still be an appeals policy for travel to areas designated as high risk and more details about the new travel policy can be found on U of L’s study abroad page.

The email ended by saying that more information about the Fall 2021 semester will be released later in the summer.

“Remember, this continues to be an evolving situation and our plans may need to change depending on the latest guidance from the CDC and the state,” the email said. “We will continue to keep you frequently updated and we look forward to safely building back our vibrant campus community with you this summer and fall.”

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

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BRIEF: U of L provides update to restrictions on indoor meetings Friday, May 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

The university loosened COVID-19 restrictions in accordance with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Fully vaccinated university members are now allowed to remove their masks when meeting indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals. All individuals within meetings must be fully vaccinated to be able to remove their masks. If a meeting includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, masks are required to be worn by all attendees.

Masks must continue to be worn in indoor common areas of U of L.

“A fully vaccinated status is defined as being vaccinated for at least two weeks since the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks since the single dose of the J&J vaccine,” the university said.

More information about the university’s policies surrounding masks can be found here.

To learn more about getting vaccinated at U of L, click here.

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New and revamped positions contribute to cardinal anti-racism agenda Friday, Apr 16 2021 

By Madelin Shelton —

As part of U of L’s goal of becoming a premier anti-racist institution, the university has detailed its efforts to create new and revamped diversity-focused positions.

The varied positions have a variety of responsibilities, including creating an inclusive culture on campus, improving retention and graduation rates among minority students, recruiting minority faculty, creating better opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to work with the university and more.

These revamped and new positions include the following:

  • Brigitte Burpo, assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, College of Education and Human Development
  • Valerie Clay, coordinator for diversity, equity and inclusion, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
  • Crystal Rae Coel, assistant dean for student affairs and diversity, Brandeis School of Law
  • Cherie Dawson-Edwards, associate dean for diversity, engagement, culture and climate, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Marc D. Ellis, assistant director of procurement diversity and inclusion, Office of Procurement Services
  • Audra French, assistant director of student affairs and diversity equity and inclusion, School of Dentistry
  • Amalia Gomez, Latinx admissions counselor, Office of Admissions
  • Leondra Gully, director of Black and multicultural initiatives, Cultural Center
  • Anna Hinton, assistant dean for administration and diversity, equity and inclusion, School of Dentistry
  • Trinidad Jackson, assistant dean for culture and liberation, School of Public Health & Information Sciences
  • Emma Sterrett-Hong, associate dean of equity and inclusion, Kent School of Social Work
  • Nakia Strickland, associate director for diversity engagement, U of L Alumni Association
  • Morgan West, new student financial aid advisor, Office of Financial Affairs

In addition to the above, the university also said that the Cultural Center will be filling a director position for Hispanic, Latino and Indigenous initiatives, and new positions are being considered in other U of L departments.

When discussing these positions and how they fit into the Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda, U of L President Neeli Bendapudi outlined that anti-racism is about believing that skin color does not confer any inherent inferiority or superiority to anybody else and that these positions help advance that idea.

“Being an anti-racist university means that on the individual level and the structural level, we examine what we are doing to see if we have conditions in place to make it possible for every human that’s here to achieve their full potential and not have their race be a factor in that,” she said.

Bendapudi explained that these new and revamped positions indicate that these ideals aren’t happening in one place, but that every school and every unit are taking it seriously.

For how these positions foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion Bendapudi said that these positions will ensure that U of L is trying to stay diverse. In addition, they will help foster equity by being close to problems and being able to argue and advocate for equity.

“Having all these people visible in each unit is an invitation to others and hopefully makes them feel more included,” Bendapudi said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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BRIEF: Faculty and staff drive-through vaccinations planned for early April Thursday, Mar 18 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville plans to open a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site in the Cardinal Stadium parking lot in early April. U of L faculty and staff who have not gotten the vaccination by then will be first in line, once this new location opens.

“Faculty and staff who have not yet scheduled a vaccination appointment will receive an invitation by the end of March for a dedicated U of L vaccine event at the stadium, which should accommodate 4,000 people per day,” the university said in a March 16 email to faculty and staff.  “Those of you who are over 60 and have already registered at the Brook and Liberty site should keep those appointments.”

The email went onto explain that U of L administration has been working with the state and advocating for their employees. The assured faculty and staff that vaccine distribution throughout the state has been adjusted to help accommodate more populated areas, such as Louisville.

“We will share more detail as it is available. Again, we are pleased that our faculty and staff will be the first to be vaccinated at the new site in early April,” the email concluded.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccination can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Further information on U of L’s vaccination plan can be found on their COVID-19 webpage.

Graphic by Eli Hughes // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L prepares transition for in-person fall semester Monday, Mar 15 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The university announced on March 13 that it plans to make a “return to normal” for fall 2021 by having more in-person courses. The decision comes after six months of planning from the Academic Scenario Planning Committee and the Coordinating Committee.

“In our case, a return to normal means we expect to offer students a robust residential experience with in-person classes and fully staffed student services again,” Executive Vice President and University Provost Beth Boehm said.

Elements of this plan include a fall 2021 schedule with face-to-face and 100% digital course designations and incorporating some online expectation into in-person courses. Most courses will be in person, but some online courses will be available for students that accommodate their learning styles and schedules.

In addition, any combination of in-person and online courses may be taken for the same resident or nonresident full-time rate.

Boehm said in the email that the university will still be prepared to flip some in-person courses to online or hybrid if the pandemic continues into the fall.

However, hybrid courses will not be continuing into the fall. “Because many students and faculty find the hybrid designation confusing, and because we do not expect to be required to physically distance to the same extent as this year, all courses will be marked as either face-to-face or 100% digital,” Boehm said.

“As always, our priority this fall will be to keep faculty, staff and students safe on campus while providing a first-class, in-person education for students,” Boehm said.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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A&S freezes spending amid $1.6 million budget shortfall Sunday, Mar 14 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Owen announced to A&S faculty on March 9 that a temporary spending freeze would take effect from now until June 30. This decision comes after A&S reported a budget shortfall of more than $1.6 million for the current fiscal year due to low enrollment this year.

“Enrollments in A&S fell below budgeted targets in the fall and spring semesters, and we are now projecting a revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year of $1,684,991, while expenditures are trending as budgeted,” Owen said in the email announcement. “I ask for your help to close this gap between revenues and expenditures.”

He went on to say that this shortfall can be addressed by increasing revenues through higher enrollment in late-start spring semester classes and summer classes, as well as by reducing expenditures through general funds spending freeze.

When The Cardinal reached out to Owen for comment he said this spending freeze will only affect non-essential expenditures.

“The spending freeze will not affect students or impact our academic mission. Its purpose is to reduce spending on expenses that are not immediately essential to our academic and research missions and that can be held off until next year,” Owen said.

Owen also said that the spending freeze was only one piece of the plan to address the budget shortfall, “We are striving to increase enrollments by offering more late-start spring courses than in the past and offering a wide-range of summer courses. We had previously set aside a portion of the budget for possible revenue shortfalls, and those funds will be used. Lastly, we will apply some of the funds carried over from last year to close this budget deficit.”

The underlying cause of this decrease in enrollment that led to the shortfall is not certain at this time but Owen attributes many of the problems to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The budget shortfall is due to lower than expected enrollments in A&S, which I expect has multiple causes. Part of this is due to some students choosing to step away from their studies because of the many additional financial, personal, and emotional stresses created by the pandemic, and some may be because some students prefer in-person learning,” Owen said.

In the email, Owen laid out specific guidelines for what expenses the spending freeze would affect:

  • This applies only to general fund accounts.
  • Recurring expenses, expenses already incurred and all invoices received will need to be paid.
  • Does not impact current faculty tenure-line or term searches. Requests for staff hires will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • This will not affect any spending from research grants, RIF accounts and start-up funds.
  • This will not affect spending from endowments and current use gift accounts.
  • For all other general fund expenses, you should work with your UBM-I to request pre-approval.

Owen believes that this spending freeze can help the department address the financial problems it’s facing while still maintaining its academic mission.

“A&S faculty have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible online learning experiences possible during this past year,” Owen said. “Arts & Sciences degrees provide an exceptional value in the 21st century. By learning how to learn, A&S graduates are well-prepared for highly dynamic and unpredictable career paths, and A&S graduates have the knowledge and skills to tackle many of the challenges our communities face.”

Graphic by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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