Smith College Staff Council
March 1, 2000
The Staff Council meeting was held at 12a.m. at the Smith Club.
Present: Sandy Bycenski, Ann Finley, Scott Girard, Mary Ann Phoenix, Mary Clayton, Patty Kimura, Chrissie Bell, Jane Sommer, Cyndee Button, Michelle Finley, Pat Rist, Kelly Taylor, Cindy Rucci, Patty Hayes, Marion Abrams, Patti Corjay, Naomi Curtis Sturtevant, Mary Martineau, Bill Sheehan, Sarah Lazare
Excused: Audrey Pomeroy, Stephanie Schoen, Sam Rush, Ay Ling Han
Diversity Round Table Discussion
Representatives from Staff Council attended the Diversity Round Table Discussion planned by Human Resources. Two HR recruiting directors, one from Chase Manhattan Bank and one from Lucent Technologies (both corporations are among the top 15 best companies for Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics), spoke of their experience with diversity issues. They encourage us all to look at ourselves because dealing with diversity is an inward process. They spoke about training issues and how effective documentation and data collection for all staff and faculty can be to help "buy in" on diversity training.
Scott thanked those from Staff Council who were able to attend the Diversity Round Table Discussion. He was encouraged by the Round Table discussion that Staff Council is headed in the right direction. We do have work to do to improve Physical Plant and Faculty attendance at diversity training. It is also to our advantage to get our proposed survey underway as an additional tool to encourage climate change through education and training. To promote the more effective training, we need to recognize both our differences and our commonality in working at Smith.
Noticing the time, Scott asked that we table anything that was not urgent, and proceed directly to Staff Council's own diversity proposals.
Patty Kimura passed out the Draft Proposal for Addressing Campus Climate Issues.
There was a lot of discussion about support for the proposal as a means of becoming active participants in the work of change: Are we ready to work on diversity together and make commitment and take risks to build a more productive, diverse, and inclusive community? The members of Staff Council were in support of this proposal. There was a logistical question about how best to request both funding for this training and release time for the Staff Council members. Patty had earlier discussed the funding for training issues with Lianne Sullivan-Crowley, Director of Human Resources, since Training & Development workshops are normally grouped within HR. Lianne reiterated her strong support of our diversity/problem-solving/leadership training to effect campus climate change. She is quite willing to request monies for our training within the HR budget as part of the HR Training & Development program, but she thought we might request it as part of Staff Council Budget - to take credit for the idea and development of this Staff Council initiative.
On the issue of release time, apparently the policy is that release time for workshops (including all HR Training & Development workshops) is up to the discretion of department heads or supervisors. If needed, Lianne said she was willing write a letter on our behalf to President Simmons asking for her support on release time issue for our proposed diversity/problem-solving/leadership training.
on the Proposal
A motion was made by vice-chair Ann Finley that we vote to accept this Draft Proposal in principle. A second was made and Staff Council voted in favor of the motion. It was suggested that a subcommittee be formed to deal with the particular release time and funding issues as we submit the proposal to the President.
NYC trip is schedules for April 29th. Cooking Demo will be the end of March.
Personnel Policy Committee
The committee still has no chair. Chrissie Bell reported for the committee. There was discussion about the Tuition Assistance benefit for employees and dependants, and an HR survey that is being created to go to other peer institutions regarding options for student entering trade or technical schools (non-traditional college track). Employee health care benefits for their dependents attending college is being ironed out, after some initial confusion with the transfer to Tufts. The cost of drugs is a non-issue, since the cost is, unfortunately, the same all over the country. Letters were mailed out to about 100 grade M and below employees about a market-based adjustment/increase to their salaries.
The Performance Policy Committee agenda consists of:
-Discussion about how a large proportion of temp employees at the college can foster dissension and negative attitudes among some permanent employees. HR has pointed out that only 20 temporary positions at a time exist at the college. Personnel Policy will ask which departments they are currently in.
-What happens after temporary employees in union positions are hired as temps for the maximum 90 days and the permanent position still remains vacant?
-Question to HR about the current inequity between non-academic staff and academic support employees in access to information from departmental supervisors. The Provost office is attempting to bridge this gap by having monthly meeting with academic support staff to provide more timely, complete, and consistent information.
-How to help employees who consistently work more than a normal 35 hour weekly schedule.
-Job reclassification timeline
Staff Council adjourned at 1:10p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Sandy Bycenski & Patty Kimura