End of Semester Update - Coastal Carolina University
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Message - President BensonOffice of the President


Message from President Michael T. Benson

End of Semester Update

May 11, 2021

Dear Campus Colleagues,

Congratulations to each of you on the successful completion of a very challenging academic year. Well done indeed!

The graduation events of the past few days reminded me, yet again, of what a difference our faculty and staff make in the lives of our students. Thank you for your continued commitment.

Speaking of graduation, we will continue to refine the graduation ceremonies in terms of time and place, but this year—with distancing and capacity requirements—we were obligated to follow protocols that made the timing of each ceremony a bit problematic. Our commencement planning team will continue to solicit input about how we can do things better and more efficiently. However, I was especially pleased by the Friday and Saturday evening ceremonies and the chance that individual colleges had to make each program their “own.” We look forward to how these proceedings will continue to evolve in the future. I would like to extend thanks to all individuals involved in the planning and implementation of our commencement programs.

As we wrap up the year, turn in grades, prepare for the months ahead, and adopt our summer operation schedule, I wanted to update you on several items. The organizational chart effective June 1, 2021, can be found here.

Board of Trustees Actions

Our CCU Board of Trustees met all day Thursday and approved several significant items, including our 2021-22 budget and not increasing our tuition and fees. A summary of other actions can be found here.

Part of the approved budget included nearly $2 million in recurring funds to address faculty and staff compression. Provost Ennis covered the process of how we addressed compression amounts and the timeline in last week’s faculty senate meeting. The same will be done for the staff senate this week.

Legislative Actions

The South Carolina General Assembly will adjourn sine die in a few days. The current state budget (which will undoubtedly be revised in the coming weeks) has a recurring appropriation for CCU of $2 million for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for every employee. We are also scheduled to receive additional Federal funds under the American Rescue Plan. Half of these funds will be awarded in grants to students and the other half will used for institutional needs related to the pandemic.

We are obligated by state human resource rules to implement these salary increases in a specific order.  When a legislatively mandated COLA increase is awarded, it must be applied before any other salary increase if multiple increases are awarded at that same time. To comply with that requirement and to provide the most favorable and practical benefit to the University’s employees, the approved increases will be applied in the following order:

  1. The COLA increase will be applied for all full-time employees.
  2. The decompression increase will be applied to eligible staff and faculty employees in the amount calculated during the salary studies conducted this spring. Those salary adjustment amounts will not be impacted by the COLA or any other increase.
  3. Promotion increases (for staff and faculty) and tenure increases (for faculty) will be applied to eligible staff and faculty employees.

New Campus Dress Policies

Below are newly-adopted dress policies passed by Executive Council, effective immediately.

SUMMARY:

Coastal Carolina University strives to create an inclusive and enjoyable work environment where all employees feel comfortable to show up as themselves in order to provide exceptional education and service to students. These guidelines apply to all faculty, staff, and student employees at Coastal Carolina University.

I. Dress Guideline

A. Dress for the job you have. Departmental expectations about workplace attire should be developed based on the specific tasks, roles, and functions of each of their units. These should be developed with employee input and reviewed and approved by directors and their Executive Council member.

II. Uniform and Safety

A. Certain departments and roles may require a specific uniform. In these cases, each department will supply employees with the necessary uniform to do their job. When making decisions on uniforms, it is essential that directors consider all employee safety regulations and guidelines. For all questions or clarification on safety guidelines, directors should work directly with Environmental Health and Safety.

III. Accountability

A. Individual supervisors are responsible for the implementation and enforcement of these guidelines. Supervisors are empowered to have conversations with employees centered on what attire is required for their specific job task, role, and function. For coaching and support on having employee conversations, please utilize the Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity as well as professional development training departments on campus.

IV. Exceptions and Seasonal

A. During the summer, a more casual and informal work dress guideline is acceptable. The summer casual dress timeframe follows the same schedule as the modified summer work hours.

B. There may be times during the course of an academic year where an event requires specific dress. The university will make note of what form of dress is required in the invitation or announcement. For all questions or clarification, supervisors should work directly with their Executive Council member.

Enrollment

We are looking at positive trends in enrollment for Fall 2021. With applications up 9.8% and deposits up even more, we anticipate welcoming close to 3,000 new freshman and transfer students to campus this fall. This growing class, coupled with continued improvements in our retention rate, will help us recover from the lower enrollments of the last two years.

My thanks again to all our faculty and staff for not only getting through an unprecedented year fraught with never-before-seen challenges, but also doing so in a way that has placed the university in very good stead moving forward. Our enrollment is strong, every day brings us closer to the end of the global pandemic, our finances are more solid than they’ve ever been, we’ve been able to tackle compression issues more aggressively than ever before, and the reputation of Coastal Carolina University continues its upward trajectory. The coming fall semester promises to usher in even greater opportunities for our entire campus community.

Yours sincerely,

Michael T. Benson