Staff Senate Minutes - March 20, 2001
Employee of the Month: Launa Donohoe, Staff Secretary III, Admissions.
Directors -- Livingston
Managerial/Professional -- Danube, McMullen
Office -- Ellingson, Jones, Mitchell
Service -- Hines, Lange, Wilson
Ex Officio -- Lakey
Absent: Kucera, Roggasch, Roth
Guest: Terry Fraley
- Call to Order
- Adoption of Agenda
Agenda Adopted Hines (Jones)
- Minutes and Correspondence
- Minutes of the February 20, 2001 meeting were approved as printed.
- Unfinished Business
- Staff Senate Website
Wilson noted that the Staff Senate website could now be easily accessed by using the quick link search. Livingston asked if it could be accessed by using the A-Z listing. She was told no. She asked that it be done if possible. Wilson passed out an example of the format of the information page for each member. She stated that the minutes are now up-to-date on the website with the exception of the year 2000, which will be completed soon. Most of the Employee of the Month honorees are now listed as well as the SAFE Award winners. However the application for the award is not linked yet. Wilson stated she has not changed the extended term dates for senators but will do that after May 1 when they officially change. Wilson suggested that members look at their individual page to be sure all information is correct. She commented that since Jim Lange does not have computer access, Carol Hines’ e-mail address is given as a means to contact him. Ellingson stated Wilson has done a lot of work for this. Livingston noted Ellingson was helping too and thanked them both.
- Tuition Waivers
Lakey noted that under the UNO-UNK bargaining agreement this year there is a tuition waiver for spouses and dependents which would allow faculty to transfer all or part of the 15 hours to which they are entitled under the Employee Scholarship program to a spouse or dependent. When presented to the Board of Regents in March, the request was made to extend the waiver to all university employees who are eligible (full time). There are some suggested changes, which would have to be approved by the bargaining groups. Suggestions included allowing spouses who would be part-time students to participate and to allow spouses to use hours for graduate classes (currently they can only be used for undergraduate hours). Lakey stated there was a meeting in Lincoln recently; among those attending were representatives from the Financial Aid Offices. Terry Fraley attended from UNK. They suggested for administrative purposes it would be easier for spouses and dependents to be given a fifty percent tuition waiver for up to 30 hours a year instead of the current $1 per credit hour for 15 hours. However in the case of part-time students it would be more expensive that way so there is still some debate about that and nothing is finalized yet. Also if you have couples employed at the university, would they get 30 hours to transfer? These are all issues that have to be resolved. As of right now, it is looking good that there will be some type of spouse/dependent tuition waiver. On this campus there are some individuals who have the grandfathered tuition waiver for spouse/dependent because they were employed here before we joined the university system. These employees will have to make a decision before the plan is implemented (fall semester) as to which plan they want to choose. If an employee has more than one dependent who will be attending college at the same time, they may want to stay with the KSC program because it covers unlimited hours. The advantage to the UNK program is that it covers enrollment at all university campuses, while the KSC program applies to courses taken at UNK only. The Board of Regents will make a decision at their April meeting so all the issues will have to be resolved by then. Livingston stated if they go to covering part-time students and an employee has multiples –like a spouse and daughter –could the hours be split between them? Lakey stated the employee would have to decide each semester how they wanted hours divided. The question was raised about dependents/spouses attending at Lincoln or Omaha. Lakey noted the plan is to be able to use the hours at all four university campuses. However, right now, it only applies to undergraduate hours and UNMC offers limited undergraduate hours. Lakey noted they could decide to make certain exceptions. Each campus will have to pay the other campus when they have spouses/dependents attending classes there. The Med Center is concerned about this since it could mean that they will be paying other campuses and not get any revenue back because they offer only a few undergraduate degrees.
- Performance Evaluation Training
Lakey stated that before the end of the month, performance evaluations will be going out to supervisors who will need to complete them within the next four weeks. Lakey stated they are going to offer training sessions for both supervisors and employees to help individuals through the process. Lakey noted evaluations are something that both employees and supervisors do not look forward to. Human Resources would like to change this process and make it more a year-round process whereby supervisors and employees sit down together and establish their goals and objectives for the year. Then at evaluation time, there are no unknowns. They can just look at the objectives they set for the year and determine if those objectives have been met. At the training sessions, HR will also talk about how the process works within the university system. Lakey stated he felt it was important that employees understand how salary guidelines are setup and where the money comes from for salary increases. Sessions will include discussion of performance pay, merit pay, cost of living raises, and those kinds of things. They are also going to use this as a process whereby Staff Senate members can come and listen to employees they represent in order to understand what they are thinking. Staff Senate can then pass on these concerns/opinions to the administration. That way when salary guidelines are being determined, the administration has some idea what employees are thinking. This year’s salary guidelines will be decided on Tuesday when the President’s Council meets and Lakey hopes to share these guidelines at the sessions. The supervisor trainings will be on March 28th (3 p.m.) and March 29th (8 a.m.) and in the evening on March 26th (9 p.m.). On April 3rd and 4th, there will be the employee sessions; these will be held at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively in COPH 140. Lakey stated we would need Staff Senate members to attend one or more sessions. Members indicated which sessions they would be attending. All sessions will be covered. Besides being a communication link, Lakey noted it will also help make Staff Senate more visible. Livingston stated she has received several phone calls on the salary issue so she is in hopes the dialogue will continue at the sessions.
- Committee and Search Reports
- Election Committee – no report
- Employee Recognition
Hines stated they have selected the Employee of the Month and the Department of the Month for next month. She noted they always meet on the first Wednesday of the month and select the employee and department awards for the next month.
- Performance Management
Danube noted Lakey covered everything well already. He stated he appreciated everyone being able to attend the upcoming training sessions and thanked the committee for their time reviewing everything yesterday.
- Procedures Committee
McMullen stated they haven’t met this month, but will meet before the next meeting. However McMullen noted he would like to report on the sub-committee that was to explore communication problems. Although the committee hasn’t met, there has been a substantial change in the progress on the issue. He and Brandon Hammond do have a plan of attack. In addition, Facilities has purchased their own server and it has arrived. It is not up and running yet. Also there are some real neat things that will be new technology to this campus which will address these issues. One of these things is a windows terminal. McMullen and Hammond are working with Jeffie Wiggins in Facilities and the plan is to have a couple of these terminals setup in the hall and also to put one in each building so that service employees have access to Lotus Notes. They also will be able to print from some of the terminals. How many terminals they will be able to purchase depends on funding and how much they have to pay for licenses. McMullen felt they will have a solution to most of the problems by this summer since basically most of it is technical items. McMullen stated that whenever there is a development, he will report to Staff Senate during his report on the Procedures Committee.
- Professional Development Committee
Ellingson stated the committee meets tomorrow.
- Office/Service Dependent Scholarship Committee – no report
- Making a Difference Subcommittee – will meet March 22nd
- Mentoring Subcommittee
Ellingson reported that the committee meets on Wednesday, but she reported there are currently seven employees enrolled in the mentoring program. She also reported on the “Honoring Women’s Voices Conference” where UNK’s Mentor Advantage was presented at two sessions. Ellingson stated she felt they (Brenda Jochum, Bonnie Mumm, and herself) represented UNK well. There were a total of 18 people who attended the sessions. She stated she felt that everyone was amazed that this program was developed by staff and implemented by staff. On all the other campuses, this is done through the employee relations/human resource office. So the fact that staff took this on and got something implemented really impressed them. However on most of the other campuses, this is not the route they will take. Most of them have a brief new employee orientation in place. They are looking more for a program that will help individuals advance. So Ellingson was not sure it was something they would take back to their campuses and implement. However she did have four individuals who asked for a copy of our materials. Lakey asked if they heard of any professional development type mentoring on the other campuses. Ellingson said no. She didn’t think they actually had anything going. She stated UNL was included in the presentations/panel, but they had not been able to get much going except forming groups who did things together. Ellingson stated one individual commended us for what we had done, but stated our program was not a true mentoring program where you help individuals advance. We told her that there just were not that many opportunities here for advancement and we developed a program that suited the needs of our campus – to help new hires get acclimated to UNK and to help them become knowledgeable employees which should help with their retention. We did also stress that this is an on-going program that can be improved and/or expanded. So if we want to expand our program to include mentoring for advancement we could. Ellingson also told how the 50-minute sessions were structured and who presented what information. She also passed around a handout that was given to those attending. The handout had an outline of the program and who was responsible for the different stages of the program. It also listed the presenters’ e-mail addresses if attendees want to contact us at a later time. So basically we told them how it got started, how we developed the program, and who is responsible for keeping it going.
Livingston mentioned it would be nice to have the mentoring materials on-line so they could be kept current. Ellingson said it would be nice, but it all takes time. Right now she and Wilson are just trying to get the other Staff Senate materials on-line. Livingston noted she had a couple individuals note that some of the information has changed since printed. Ellingson said the material is updated once a year and will be revised soon. Livingston said she would encourage us to get it on-line and change it as needed. Ellingson said that is a good idea, but it is just a matter of having time to do that.
- Information Technology
Livingston stated much of the focus of the last meeting centered around the change in UNK’s home page and whether people liked it or not.
- Strategic Planning
Livingston stated they had a guest speaker, John Kundel from Admissions, who talked about the plan that is in place to augment what is being done in Admissions to try and increase numbers in that particular area. Members also discussed the prioritization process.
- Learning Center
Since Mitchell had to leave early, Livingston reported Mitchell said they are still trying to finalize the report for the Chancellor and expect to have it completed this Thursday. Danube asked if Staff Senate would be making any kind of recommendation on the Learning Center. Livingston noted we had not been asked to do so. However we did provide a representative on the committee.
- Search – Vice Chancellor Student Life
The report from Bargen stated that the final candidate list of four individuals has been approved by the Chancellor and candidates will be on campus later this month or early April.
- Search – Dean Business and Technology
Livingston reported three candidates were selected for campus interviews. Two have already been here and the last one will be here tomorrow.
- New Business
- Kurt Siedschlaw - Ombudsperson.
Livingston introduced Siedschlaw who wanted to visit with the group about his Ombudsperson position. He provided members with a pamphlet. Siedschlaw stated he has held the position for the last year and a half and stated that the structure of the position has changed. He noted he would like to visit with the group about what he is trying to accomplish. He wants to let people know what the office is about since most people don’t know. Basically the ombuds office is a neutral, confidential, and voluntary source of assessment and information and feedback on issues that any member of the university community might have. It doesn’t matter if it is a faculty member, staff member, or student who has an issue that they don’t know where to go for help; his job is to be there as a resource. Siedschlaw noted the office is under utilized. Individuals may not understand that when they bring an issue/concern to him, it stays with him and is not forwarded to anyone unless he has the individual’s permission to talk to someone else about the problem. Although the Ombudsperson is neutral, his job is to provide an objective and informed assessment for the individual. In some cases, that may include reviewing university policies and procedures, Senate policies and procedures, Board of Regents policies and procedures, or it could be a departmental issue, etc. He noted in the last year and a half, there has been a full range. Members of Faculty Senate wanted to know what his record keeping was; Siedschlaw stated he does not keep records. He noted he answers only to the Chancellor, but even then it is not about individual situations. He may track the number of contacts and if they are from students, staff, faculty or administration. When contacted, it is Siedschlaw’s job to be able to provide individuals with options of how to handle the problem and then the choice is theirs. It works like a safety valve for the individual and sometimes for the university. He noted when he is talking to someone, that is the person he is working for. However he is not an advocate. If the individual needs an advocate, he will help find one. He stated he needs to get out and let people know what the office is about and let them know it is a confidential source. He noted he has dealt with interpersonal disputes, departmental issues, student complaints, and even family complaints about grades, etc. Siedschlaw noted he belongs to the University and College Ombudsman Association. A faculty member as the Ombudsperson is one of the preferred structures because if he should address an issue that upsets someone, he can be removed as Ombudsperson, but can’t be fired as a faculty member. This works as insulation for him. He stated in the past he has had a variety of jobs – manufacturing management, parole officer, and he is a licensed attorney. As Ombudsperson, his job is to help clarify issues. At the end of the year he gives a numerical report to the Chancellor and does a summary of general issues and policy concerns that may need to be addressed. Livingston asked if he was available to meet with other groups. Siedschlaw noted he was.
- Next Meeting – April 17, 2001
- President Smith’s Visit
– April 9, 2001, 3:30 p.m., Copeland Hall 142
Livingston stated she had been working with Elsie Cafferty, president of Faculty Senate. They talked about the desirability of having President Smith come to campus and talk to the groups jointly. Livingston encouraged all members to attend the meeting on April 9th. Thus far they have not asked the Senates to prepare anything or have any questions ready for President Smith, so they do not know if he is going to just speak about something or if he wants those present to ask him questions. She again stressed members need to be present since we are trying to increase the visibility of Staff Senate on campus. She noted Faculty Senate was very gracious about letting Staff Senate be included in the invitation. However this will not be for only Faculty Senate and Staff Senate, it will be open to the campus.
- Evaluation Training for Supervisors – March 26, 28, 29
- Evaluation Training for Employees – April 3 and 4
The meeting was adjourned Hines (Lange) at 11:25 a.m.