Heard on the Hill: Most KU custodial staff will change to work night shifts in new zone-based system; KU men’s basketball team outperforming rivals in the classroom

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• Thanks to an alert reader who tipped us off to some more changes afoot for custodial staff as part of the ongoing Changing for Excellence plan.

This change involves the time that most custodians will come to work. Under the changes, most custodians will be shifting to a 10:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. shift.

Barry Swanson, associate vice provost for operations, said that the custodians will make the shift after a change occurs to a new zone-based system. It’s an efficiency measure, he said.

“The best time to clean these buildings is when they’re empty,” Swanson told me. “The vast majority of our facilities free up at 10.”

Workers at KU residence halls will be on day shifts, as those buildings are typically at their emptiest during the day, Swanson said.

Swanson said custodial workers had been working all kinds of shifts, some starting at 3 a.m. and some starting later than that.

Swanson said he knew the shifts would be disruptive to some folks’ lives, and that he understood that concern. Still, he said, “it’s the right decision.”

A small number of employees would still be employed during the day to respond to spills and other cleaning situations that may arise, he said.

KU’s facilities employees have submitted their preferences for which zones they would prefer to work in, and Swanson said a decision should be ready to release to workers sometime next week.

• While we know the KU men’s basketball team is doing just fine when it comes to keeping up with NCAA minimum academic standards, some of its competitors aren’t doing nearly as well.

Only Texas, Michigan and Notre Dame matched the KU men’s basketball team’s perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate among the major conferences, according to a graphic from the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required to see the link).

The Chronicle also reported that 15 schools would face penalties for failing to maintain a minimum APR. The Connecticut men’s basketball team, which won the NCAA title in 2011, is among those teams, and will be among those barred from postseason competition in the 2012-13 academic year.

• That’s about it for today, but I’ll leave you with the knowledge that if you ask the creator of “The Simpsons” if he attended KU, he’ll probably say yes. But don’t be fooled.

“I try to confirm all rumors — people say, ‘Oh yeah, my friend says he was your roommate the University of Kansas.’ I never went there, but I usually say, ‘Yeah, that’s right,'” Groening told the blog Zap2it.

But you probably were too smart to fall for that one.

• Whatever shift you’re working these days, I hope you can find time to send me a tip for Heard on the Hill to ahyland@ljworld.com.