Approval expected on dance center

by Nancy Ngo

Like a rerun from the Board of Regents’ February episode, the governing body’s meetings today and Friday are heavy on policy discussion and light on action.
The discussions include a look at research funding, revised hiring practices and models for a Virtual University. Plans for a $4.3 million dance center will likely be approved.
Press releases were printed up and dance department officials were anxious to announce the center’s approval in February, but a vote was halted after the West Bank Community Coalition and the Old Neighborhood Caucus objected. The groups expressed concern over the loss of 23 parking spaces that would be occupied by the building slated for the corner of 21st and Riverside avenues.
Eric Kruse, interim vice president for operations, has been meeting with West Bank community groups throughout the past month.
“We believe we have found a solution acceptable to the community,” he said about the loss of parking spaces. Kruse said he still needed to finalize plans and would give an official report on the agreement at today’s meeting.
“We’re ready to get moving again on this,” said Regent David Metzen. “We needed a month to let the community know what we were doing.”
Lower profile issues on the regents’ docket include:
ù The Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee will begin discussion on a plan to decentralize faculty hiring procedures.
University officials are looking for more flexibility that would decrease the number of steps for academic and professional hiring.
“Right now, there are a lot of levels of approval,” said Carol Carrier, acting vice president for human resources.
One solution is to match selection procedures according to the position being filled. For example, college deans would have more authority in hiring their faculty members.
But this change would place more accountability on deans, and reviews of hiring practices would be implemented, Carrier said.
The proposal would also call for smaller search committees and combine many job application forms into one.
ù The Educational Planning and Policy Committee will hear updates on the state of University research.
In the lengthy presentation, Regent Maureen Reed said she wants to find out where the school stands in the funding area.
ù Regents will also hear more about the proposed Virtual University, a collaboration with a number of state higher education institutions to offer degrees via the World Wide Web.
The topic came up at last month’s meeting, but time constraints cut discussion short.