Cowen Addresses Staff Advisory Council

October 1, 1998

Judith Zwolak

Staff can expect greater university investment in training programs, an evaluation of the Tulane compensation package and a solution to the parking problem on the uptown campus, President Scott Cowen told members of the Staff Advisory Council at their Sept. 10 meeting.

At the meeting, Cowen also described his activities since becoming president July 1, which include beginning a strategic planning process, developing a sense of community on campus, getting to know the alumni and donors and starting a major fundraising effort. In his talk, Cowen covered issues of particular interest to staff members.

He said that the Department of Human Resources (formerly personnel services) is currently undertaking an assessment of the entire compensation package--which includes salary and all fringe benefits--and in the process will address equalizing the faculty and staff retirement packages and bringing those staffers earning below their salary grade up to the minimum.

Cowen also said that he wants to spend more resources on training and development for staff, including building "a fast-track system for really high performers," in which staff members can take on projects outside of their job descriptions to test their skills and perhaps move up in the ranks at the university.

On uptown-campus parking, Cowen said Tony Lorino, senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer, was currently evaluating recommendations from a parking study (see story, p. 2).

"By the end of the year, we'll definitely know what to do about parking," he added. Generating and conserving financial resources is another goal, Cowen said. "We need to be smarter about how we spend money," he said, "This ranges from issues like lunches on university accounts to how many T-shirts we order for an event."

Cowen said he will send a memo to the university community about this issue in the coming weeks. Cowen said he plans to meet with the council twice each year.

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