Welcome to the September edition of the Staff Council Newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to enhance communication with staff members across campus. If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding the content of the newsletter, please use our Web form.
Physical Plant staff can also obtain a paper form from Mary Anderson.
Changes in Staff Council Membership (top)
Staff Council would like to thank the outgoing members of the Council: Ron Roth, Amy Sutter and Mandi Baker.
The Council welcomes its new members: Cheri Armstrong, Jane Baines and Dale Conover.
Staff Position Changes (top)
Staff Council would like to make you aware of several changes across the University. Please be advised:
Terri Knapp - changed from Data Entry Operator, ORL to Human Resource Specialist, April 2010
New Staff Members (top)
Lindsay Smith - Office Associate, Academic Advising, March 2010
Martha Bosquez - Custodian, Physical Plant, April 2010
Cindy Merideth - Custodian, Physical Plant, June 2010
Bryan Duling - Admissions Counselor, Admissions, July 2010
Leslie Betz - Registrar, Registrar's Office, July 2010
Billy Dicken - Assistant Offense Football Coach, Recruiter and Strength Coach, August 2010
Kristen Duncan - Assistant to the Athletic Director/Assistant Volleyball Coach, August 2010
Karyn Groseth - Library Building Aide, Ames Library, September 2010
Self Study Survey (top)
The IWU Self-Study Steering Committee (SSSC) is seeking your personal perceptions concerning the overall strengths and weaknesses of the University, as well as your thoughts concerning the role your department, program or unit plays in the operation of IWU within the context of the accreditation criteria. Staff Council urges ALL faculty AND staff to complete the survey online.
The information you provide will be a significant contribution to the University's self-study and is essential to our evaluation of various University resources and operations. Your responses are confidential and your participation is voluntary. No individual's responses will ever be identified in any report. No questions are mandatory. Please note that this survey administration will close on October 15, 2010. Please access the survey using this link.
Provost Search Committee (top)
Staff Council thanks all staff who nominated themselves to serve on the Provost Search Committee and all who participated in the election. We are pleased to announce that the staff representatives are Trey Short and Tony Heaton.
Rogy's Childcare (top)
Rogy's Learning Place, in cooperation with Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University, will open soon. The childcare facility is currently under construction on the corner of Main and Harris Streets in Normal. A celebratory grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the new center on Thursday, Oct. 7, beginning at 4 p.m. All are invited to attend.
Once opened, the 13,000 square-foot facility will accommodate 180 children ages six weeks old to 12 years old and will offer priority placement to the children of employees, faculty and staff of BroMenn, ISU and IWU. The center will be open Monday thru Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Please visit www.rogys.com and follow the link at the upper left corner of the site's home page for updates and photos. You will also find an electronic form where you can pre-enroll your child or request a follow-up call from Rogy's staff.
The Office of Alumni Relations invites all employees and their families to attend Homecoming 2010 events on October 8, 9 and 10. For more information, visit the website.
Holiday Schedule (top)
You may recall President Wilson providing two extra paid days off in 2009/2010. He has decided these two days will be recurring paid holidays. For 2010/2011, these dates will be March 14, 2011 (the first day of Spring Break) and July 5, 2011.
All Staff Meeting (top)
Staff Council plans to host the third annual All-Staff Meeting in January. While the date is not yet set, we hope you will be able to attend this informational meeting which will include presentations from President Wilson and members of the cabinet.
Peer Mentoring Program (top)
The goal of this program is to offer all new staff members the opportunity to meet regularly, for up to one year, with an experienced staff member on campus to assist in the new employee's transition and acclimation to the University. If you would like to serve as a mentor to an IWU staff member, or if you are a new staff member who would like to request a mentor, please fill out this form. More information can be found on the peer mentoring page.
Upcoming Meeting Representation (top)
Staff will be represented at the upcoming Board of Trustee meetings in October by the Convener of Staff Council. We have also been invited to attend a Cabinet Meeting in February. The Convener and Co-convener will attend that meeting as representatives of Staff Council.
Suggestion/Question Boxes (top)
Staff Council has three suggestion/question boxes located on campus. They are located in the Memorial Center across from the Davidson Room, in Holmes Hall by the Business Office windows and at Physical Plant near the time cards. Please feel free to drop signed or anonymous suggestions or questions into the boxes. Staff Council will review them at each meeting.
Answers to Staff Questions (top)
Question: Why do faculty and staff members need a parking pass (sticker) on their cars in order to park in the lot just east of the Hanson Student Center, but students can park there without a sticker? Many times I have returned to work from lunch to find there are no parking spaces available, but many available in the student parking lot east of this lot. I often part there on those days. I don't mind the walk, just the hypocrisy. Why are students allowed to park in the visitor parking spaces in the same lot? Why are they allowed to park in the 15-minute "circle" lot next to Holmes? Are any of these rules enforced? How? What can be done?
There were other issues related to parking problems the council discussed as well, for example people parking in places that are not designated parking spaces. This question will be sent to Campus Security.
Answer: The Hansen lot presents some unique problems, since the building has a variety of uses including Tommy's, Hattie's and the bookstore. Accommodations must be made for faculty, staff, and visitors, who may also park at Hansen when attending open houses or other programming events. Unregistered cars are not necessarily student cars, but when they are identified as student cars they will be ticketed. The lot adjacent to Holmes also presents problems. The spaces are 15-minute parking, but we find faculty, staff and students who park there for hours. For long-term parking, we urge you park in one of the designated lots and keep these spaces free for visitors or those who only need short-term parking.
Security normally tows 75-125 cars a year. Security takes all of their duties and responsibilities seriously, and parking is only one of these duties. The size of the university compared to the size of security makes it problematic to address all parking issues every day. We do our best to be vigilant but there will be instances when there is not enough time to do everything.
Question: Is there a way to announce to campus staff when positions become open? They are posted on the website, but if others are like me, I can never remember to check the site until we have an announcement about new employees. If the university is interested in retaining staff, since there is no program for promotion, even lateral positions might be of interest to staff. Is there a way to announce all staff who are leaving, and whose positions will be vacant, as opposed to only those staff who are retiring?
Answer: There is now a permanent link in the Campus Weekly which links to IWU's employment website as a reminder to staff to check for job openings at IWU.
Questions: Why can't more current faculty be required to teach May term courses? Perhaps require regular faculty to teach May term on a rotating basis. For example, every other year or every third year each department member is teaching a May term course. This might help cut down on the amount of money spent for instructors outside of the university.
Answer: Faculty have to teach six courses each year no matter what. If they are forced to teach May Term, this simply reduces their course load during the other two semesters, meaning the department would potentially need a visiting faculty member to help fill in the gaps during those times.
Question: When are the positions that have been on hold going to be opened for review? We have some positions that have not been filled for over a year. Are they going to be filled? How do we know if they are on hold or eliminated?
Answer: The Vice President/Dean in charge of his/her area makes the decision to fill, hold or eliminate a position. Please speak to the Vice President/Dean of the area for which you inquire.
Question: First, I would like to suggest "Lunch at Sheean" for summer time. I would like to see faculty/staff (and other people on campus) bring their lunch and eat at tables that have been set up on the lawn near the Sheean steps. Maybe this would be good on Wednesdays, as it would break up the week. It would be fun to have some form of musical entertainment perform while we eat. The time frame could be 11:45 am to 1:15pm. I am sure we could tap into all the talented folks within the community for the entertainment, or even make it open to outside performers.
Answer: The Recognition Committee thought this was a good suggestion and is discussing making this a recurring event, but exploring how best to make it work. As a result of this request, the Recognition Committee held "Lunch on Center Court." This event was held in the Hansen Center on June 9th, 2010, featuring acoustic music from Eric Gordon.
Question: To save trees and money, I strongly recommend that offices on campus are restricted to recycle envelopes for campus mail and also use large "TO/FROM" manila envelopes-they are good for more than 30 deliveries. I do not think mail should be sent using letterhead envelopes; perhaps we should consider making "Campus Mail" labeled ones.
Answer: Printing Services was contacted, but they informed us that they are unable to print on envelopes with clasps. The Business Office does have a place to return envelopes to be reused. All offices are encouraged to reuse envelops for campus mail purposes.
Question: The Council received a letter in response to the announcement by HCAC on their decision to cease recommendations on retiree healthcare issues. HCAC is concerned their statements are viewed as support of recent healthcare decisions. A staff member had many concerns regarding this decision. The council has provided an anonymous copy of the letter to HCAC staff representatives and the convener of the council. We hope to set up a meeting soon to address concerns outlined in the letter. An anonymous copy of the letter is included below.
To members of the Staff Council:
On Monday, March 29, 2010, the Health Care Advocacy Committee report included the following:
4. Members of HCAC have attended presentations by health insurance providers offering alternative plans for retirees. While we appreciate the administration's willingness to update the committee on retiree health issues, the committee has decided, after lengthy deliberation, not to make any further recommendations on retiree health insurance issues to the administration. The reason for the decision is that the committee is very concerned that issuing recommendations could be falsely interpreted by faculty, staff, and retirees as support for the present retiree health plans.
I'm alarmed by the decision of the members of the HCAC to recuse themselves, as a collective, from providing further review and input into the very difficult decisions facing the university regarding retiree health plans. I realize that these conversations, and the decisions they inform are difficult, representing some of the most challenging fiscal and ethical choices that have and have yet to he made in our institutional memory. Recognizing and responding to the gap between institutional aspirations (the benefits we would like to provide) and institutional abilities (the benefits we can afford) is a painful process, but less so than suffering the indeterminate future consequences associated with ignoring our financially unsustainable and dangerous present course. Yet, as an institutionally manageable set of retiree health plan alternatives is identified, the faculty and staff will need continued representation and voice to assist our administrative decision-makers in refining a solution that balances the well-being of the institution and its long-term employees. If the HCAC is opting to abdicate this element of their charge, is there another group of faculty and staff who will be selected to provide this essential input and voice?
Answer: HCAC staff representatives explained what was meant by the statement. The committee is still providing informal feedback to the administration but has determined that at this time it will no longer be providing formal written recommendations as a group to the administration. HCAC members were asked to explain the difference. Formal recommendations are written recommendations given to the President and administration, on behalf of the whole committee. Informal recommendations can be given by individuals or a group to the President and administration, but not necessarily representative of the opinions of the whole committee.
This decision came about because of the varying opinions of some individuals on the committee concerning the charge the group was given last year to evaluate new plans for retiree health insurance. There were varying opinions about what recommendations should be made concerning retiree health insurance so the decision was made to cease submitting formal recommendations agreed upon by the whole committee, and instead allow individuals or groups of individuals to submit feedback as an alternative. The members present wanted to emphasize that the committee is still working on healthcare issues concerning all employees and still working to provide the best representation possible. The change in the recommendation process does not affect the work they do, just how it will be presented to the administration. Representatives commented that while the committee may not always reach a consensus on all issues, this has been a good committee to work on and they feel as if the time and work on the committee has been rewarding and very informative and appreciate the opportunity to serve as staff representatives.
Question: It seems that the same people are selected for volunteer positions on committees when nominated. Does the Staff Council have a protocol for limiting the number of committees individuals can volunteer for, in order to allow more staff with these opportunities? Will a lack of protocol lead to less self-nominating, if staff feel they will not be selected because they are "unknown?"
Answer: While the Staff Council does recognize the possibility of over-representation by well known individuals or individuals from large departments/divisions, we do not feel limiting staff from self-nominating would be a positive step. Any time there is a self-nomination process, there is an opportunity for staff to write a note regarding their reasoning for wanting to offer service to the University. This note hopefully provides the lesser known staff members with a chance to tell staff more about themselves and make the process less about popularity and more about fit with the committee position at hand. We hope that individual staff members would not become over-involved on committees and that staff will continue to self-nominate, in even greater proportion than we currently receive.