Warren Wilson College News

May-June 2007 Report to Campus

By: Sandy Pfeiffer

This will be my last report to you for the academic year because I’m planning some time off later in June. I’ll cover events of May and mention a couple items about the month ahead. In that this report includes some important announcements, I’ll provide a "table of contents" and headings for ease of locating items.

1. VPAA Search Committee
2. Marketing Changes
3. Farm Management Changes
4. Human Resources Reporting Change
5. Smoking Policy Decision
6. Review of Administrative Council
7. Asheville Sustainability Partnership
8. Partners Insurance


Later this summer we’ll begin our search process for a regular Vice President for Academic Affairs. The following individuals have agreed to serve on the search committee: Paul Bartels, Carol Howard, Cathy Kramer, Sharon Lytle, David Moore, Ed Raiola, Ian Robertson, Gretchen Whipple (chair), and Marion Yeager. The student member has not yet been selected. I’ll distribute a final job description soon and convene the committee for an initial meeting later in the summer.


Starting July 1, John Bowers will join Ben Anderson, Morgan Davis, and Richard Blomgren in the marketing area of the College. While he will continue with all his current responsibilities to, and projects in, the areas of Advancement, Student Life, and Academic Affairs, his direct reporting supervisor will be Richard Blomgren. Also, starting July 1 the Small Marketing Group will be reshaped with the addition of the new Vice President for Advancement (not yet announced) as a key member, with Richard continuing to chair the group. The Big Marketing Group will maintain its current charge and make-up. Finally, John Bowers’ title will change from Campus Communications Director to Communications Director, and Ben Anderson’s title will change from Public Information Director to Media Relations Director.


After eleven years of dedicated service, John Pilson has resigned as manager of the Warren Wilson Farm. Effective June 1, Chase Hubbard will become Interim Farm Manager until such time as on a regular full-time manager is selected.


Effective June 1 and for an as-yet undetermined length of time, our Director of Human Resources, Gail Baylor, will be reporting to me. I made this change so that I could work directly with HR in overseeing several initiatives in the coming year–for example, the revisions of policies and procedures.


With a few revisions, the Administrative Council and I have accepted the compromise smoking restriction policy that was submitted by the combined student, faculty, and staff committee. It will be implemented Fall 2007, and I’ll distribute this smoking/smokeless tobacco policy later in the summer. By the end of summer, we’ll have one permanent smoking shelter in place and some temporary ones (to be replaced by permanent shelters as soon as possible). The fall semester will be considered our transition phase, during which time we will educate the campus about the change and direct smokers to the designated smoking locations. On January 1, we’ll begin sanctions related to the policy.


You have received notice of your opportunity to evaluate the Administrative Council member who leads the division in which you work. Let me remind you that the evaluations need to be completed by June 8, so that they can be considered in my own individual evaluations of the Administrative Council.


The Asheville City Council has endorsed a partnership with Warren Wilson College, subject to final approval by the City’s Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and the Environment. It will focus on our shared commitment to climate protection. We look forward to working closely with the City to serve as (a) a demo site for best energy conservation practices and (b) a resource for research and student internships to support public education and greenhouse gas emissions tracking and modeling.


Recently the Administrative Council and I received a letter from some faculty and staff members concerning medical insurance for same-sex partners. I am pleased to report that we were able to provide the following response: "The Administrative Council met to discuss the April 20 proposal about partner insurance. We agreed Warren Wilson College will continue to make its best efforts to seek health care benefits from providers who will insure same sex partners on the group plan as if they were married. The following proviso applies only if we are unable to select a group provider that includes such coverage: the College will provide funding for comparable coverage for same sex partners through an outside carrier at the same percentage as it does for married partners on the group plan."

Looking ahead to June and July, the Administrative Council will begin discussing the update of the Strategic Plan that I mentioned in a recent Staff Forum meeting. My hope is that we’ll have a preliminary draft for your discussion and review early in the fall. If you have any suggestions for items that the Administrative Council should place on its summer agenda, please send them my way. In the meantime, I wish you an enjoyable summer.

William S. Pfeiffer, Ph.D. President


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