Smith College Staff Council
September 13, 2000 (approved at November 1, 2000 meeting)
Meeting of the full Staff Council was held at 2:00 p.m. in the Mary Maples Dunn room in Pierce Hall. Name cards were distributed to help council members get to know each other's name.
Present: Cristen Sankey Abrams, Chrissie Bell, Cyndee Button, Patti Corjay, Patick Diggins, Lisa Dwinell, Dottie Goulet, Michelle Finley, Honey Gillman, Serena Harris, Patty Hayes, Patty Kimura, Deb Letourneau, Mimi Lempart, Bob Lesko, Clara López, Mary Martineau, Janice McDowell, Pat Rist, Sam Rush, Stephanie Schoen, Bill Sheehan, Joe Stoddart, and Maria Vallejo.
Excused: Sandy Bycenski, Scott Girard, and Kelly Taylor
Minutes from the August and September meetings will be distributed and approved at the October meeting because several council members did not receive the notes via email. The email directory will be corrected and meeting minutes will be brought to all future meetings.
Patty Kimura introduced the two facilitators, Katja Hahn D'Errico and Richard Ford, who will be leading the 6-week Staff Council diversity training series. The training schedule will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, and November 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in Wright Hall Common Room, with the exception of October 17. That training will be 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the College Club.
Katja D'Errico began by telling a little of her background history as a war baby in Germany leading to her personal motivation to raise consciousness on diversity in order to construct a life of higher social justice. She has worked with graduate students and mentioned that Honey Gillman, Scott Girard and Patty Hayes have attended the diversity training series previously offered through Human Resources. Katja believes that we can only change ourselves by gaining greater awareness of diversity. This higher awareness will enable us to change and impact others' behaviors. Diversity training will help us to understand and move beyond the assumptions we make about others. A community may achieve positive changes.
Richard Ford told us about his upbringing in an affluent family. As a child, he saw Martin Luther King on television and wondered what are we doing as a family? In 5th grade, he integrated his school when he became the first black student. He became aware of class issues and their effect on relationships and interactions. His personal understanding of diversity translated into his motivation to raise awareness about diversity and to help others better understand each other.
The facilitators said that the diversity training format would be similar to previous training they had conducted at Smith with the added component of problem solving and how to more effectively address issues. They requested input from the Staff Council members.
Frame training as theoretical, teaching how to step out of one's comfort zone enabling one to look inward.
Train to become responsible leaders in the Smith College community. Diversity skills development will help us to look to each other for support in order to become more supportive to our colleagues.
Become accountable for who we are.
Benefit of training - Staff Council members will connect much more quickly forming a cohesive group that works and understands each other on a deeper level. College may want to consider this training for other committee groups.
Learn about the issue of class - how it is part of the social fabric and how to develop a cohesive staff.
Hope that we can move beyond the issue of class to learn more about racial/diversity issues.
Receive historical perspective on diversity. Teach participants how to move from feeling helpless to enabling them to effect change.
Explore personal issues: we all have different issues at different moments, ex. age, weight, ethnicity issues. Suggestion to outline our own personal frameworks as a starting point before training series. Include our backgrounds, privilege or target groups, personal experiences, etc.
Discussed release time for diversity training. Patty Kimura spoke with Kathy Zieja about RADS employee release time. David Greene will be working up a letter to announce the training and inform supervisors. As an institution, Smith College is committed to this employee training.
Date Change for Next Staff
Since October 4th is the first community forum for Employee Recognition, the next Staff Council meeting will be October 11, 2000.
Patti Corjay reported that the committee met on August 30. All 300 of the Six Flag tickets were sold. Based on the success of these sales, Six Flag season passes will be sold to staff members and families for holiday gifts. Denim Day is October 6th @ contact Patti or Cindy Rucci for pins and information packets. December 9th is the New York City trip. Since the trip always sells out, two busses have been secured. The culinary school bus trip has been postponed until the spring.
Sam Rush reported that the committee is exploring how to get Staff Council information out to underrepresented groups on campus. They are considering the use of the liaison email list and finding volunteers or assigning Staff Council members to represent various groups. The committee is especially interested in how to get information out to RADS employees. Noted that GroupWise is now hooked up to RADS.
Question at meeting came up about the confusion between the Staff Council and the College Council. Patty Hayes offered to include each group's definition in the next issue of the Council Chronicle. Discussed the discount program being taken on by Ann Shanahan's office. Ruth Constantine and Lianne Sullivan have requested a history of the discount program.
Spoke with Addie Cain about Staff Council presence at the annual Benefit Fair. Technology issues will be the focus of the fair this year. Staff Council will be given half of a table and volunteers are needed.
Sam finished with note that the Staff Council web site has been updated. The next communications committee meeting will be Tuesday, September 19, 2000, in Garrison Hall at 2 p.m.
Patty Hayes requested that committee chairs send updates to her as soon as possible for publication in the Council Chronicle. She also mentioned that Sandy Doucett has already submitted a United Way kick-off letter for Chronicle publication.
Jane Sommer has accepted her ACRA nomination. When she has something of interest that she can report on, she will attend a Staff Council meeting.
Personnel Policy Committee
Chrissie Bell reported that she and Lou Bouley met with Brenda Allen. Her suggestion was to form focus groups (instead of distributing a questionnaire) to gather information on workloads in the Smith College community. Consisting of high and low work level employees, these groups would better address the issue of workloads. Brenda Allen has offered her help on how to form these groups.
Earlier this year Lianne Sullivan-Crowley sent tuition benefit surveys to other institutions. The committee will request the results of that survey. Other topics discussed were the process of eliminating an employee position of a Smith staff member, future medical insurance increases, and the paperwork time differences of reclassifying positions. The committee also discussed the wide variation of Smith staff's knowledge of computer skills and would like to see an increase in computer training to all staff.
Patty Kimura is looking for community forum volunteers and ideas for the December program highlighting the Staff Council diversity training. Another idea is educating the Smith staff about the various Smith College groups and committees and giving a sense of what is involved. Please contact her with your ideas.
Due to numerous commitments, Kelly Taylor has resigned from Staff Council.
More van drivers are needed for the Smith tours. Cindy Rucci is the tour guide, along with Bill Sheehan and Scott Girard as drivers. Please contact Patty Kimura if you interested @ tours are one hour (10:30-11:30a.m.) in duration and usually fall on the third Wednesday of each month.
Meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
Cyndee Button, Co-Secretary of Staff Council
September 21, 2000