Faculty Council discusses plans for Fall 2022 and awards degrees

Ithaca College’s faculty council met May 3 for its final meeting of spring 2022 to discuss employee benefits, elect the executive committee for the 2022-23 academic year, award degrees, and meet with the President La Jerne Cornish.

Board members were able to share their concerns and questions about the changes to their dental plan that were enacted this year, elected the executive committee and held an executive session of approximately one hour. Members of the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 faculty council were present at the meeting.

Reduction of benefits

Hayley Harris, vice president of the Office of Human Resources and Planning, outlined changes to the college’s dental plan for 2022, which only impacted out-of-network services.

Faculty members who are eligible for benefit coverage include hourly employees who work at least 1,000 hours per fiscal year, salaried staff who are not temporary and who work at least 50% of the time during the fiscal year, and professors who teach at least 14 credit hours per academic year.

The college’s Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee (FSBC), the Harris Benefits Team, and partners such as Etnaa managed healthcare company, and the National Corporation of Financial Partnersan insurance company, consult with the Office of Human Resources on decisions regarding benefits.

the FSBC consists of 12 members of the campus community who have been appointed by the faculty and staff council. Harris said the FSBC meets monthly, but Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, a professor in the Department of Politics, said he’s heard the committee may not meet as often.

“I met a faculty member a few weeks ago who said she was on the committee, and they hadn’t met in a while,” Soyinka-Airewele said.

Harris said in late spring 2021, his team and partners recommended the college cut some coverage for in-network dentists by 10%. Harris’ slide showed that type A off-grid coverage — preventive services such as cleanings and X-rays — has been reduced from 100% to 90%. Type B off-grid coverage — basic services such as deposits and emergency care for dental pain — has been reduced from 80% to 70%. The college also changed the amount it reimbursed employees for out-of-network services to align with the amount it reimbursed for in-network services, resulting in participants seeing a significant change in their reimbursements. .

Harris said while salary makes up the largest portion of the Office of Human Resources budget — at 50% — faculty benefits are second at 15%.

In an email sent to faculty and college staff on March 25 which was obtained by Ithaca, Harris said the previous dental benefit structure was not a good use of college resources.

“Under our previous structure, a dentist could have hypothetically charged $500 for a basic cleaning and the college would still have authorized 85% of that charge — $425 — and reimbursed that 100%,” Harris said in the e- mail.

According to Harris’ presentation, components of the benefits budget include $12.5 million for medical plans; $1.2 million for dental, vision, life, accident and long-term disability insurance; $5 million for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association; $3 million for tuition rebate; and the rest includes benefits like flu shots, unemployment, and workers’ compensation.

“When these recommendations were presented, they seemed entirely reasonable,” Harris said. “We make a lot of decisions every day. It wasn’t something that I thought, at the time, that we needed to look at in general, because 10% is 10%.”

Harris said after making the changes to the dental plan, she learned that reimbursement amounts for out-of-network services matched reimbursements for in-network services. She said what out-of-network dentists charge matters.

“Knowing that, we would have done [dental plan changes] differently, communicated differently, of course,” Harris said. “But that was a year ago and we were making decisions based on the information we had at the time.”

Charis Dimaras, a professor in the Department of Music Performance, said it’s hard for the college to run smoothly on a day-to-day basis if professors are sick with dental issues because they haven’t been able to get the care they need. need.

“If you’re sick, or if you’re reeling, or if you can’t eat and if you can’t teach, then I don’t think you’re very worried about what will happen when you retire in 30 years. “, said Dimaras.

Motion to confer degrees

Faculty Council President Chris McNamara offered to confer degrees, with the college’s legal act officially awarding their degrees to students.

“Faculty Council recommends to the Board of Trustees that all students who have completed their respective degree requirements, as certified by the records of the Registrar’s Office, be awarded the appropriate degree at the beginning of this year and at each of the other approved degrees and graduation dates over the coming year,” McNamara said.

Beginning will be held in two sessions at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on May 22 in the Glazer Arena at the Athletics and Events Center and virtually via live stream.

Executive Committee for the 2022-2023 academic year

The members of the faculty council for the academic year 2022-2023 have elected their executive committee. Ellen Staurowsky, a professor in the Department of Arts, Science and Media Studies, was elected chair; Dimaras as vice-president; Rebecca Lesses, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and coordinator of Jewish studies, was elected secretary; Chrystyna Dail, associate professor in the Department of Theater Arts, was elected as the APC representative; and the two at-large representatives are Laura Kuo, Health Sciences Librarian, and Susan Salahshor, Assistant Professor and Physician Assistant Program Director.

“I’m encouraged that next year’s Council will take us forward and my greatest wish is that you can meet in person,” McNamara said. “And really, that will mean a big positive on so many fronts, that we will be a healthier community.”

Faculty Council also met with La Jerne Cornish for about an hour in a closed session that Ithaca was not allowed to attend.

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