Smith College Staff Council
December 6, 2000 (approved at January 10, 2001 meeting)
A meeting of the full Staff Council was held on December 6, 2000 at 2 p.m. in the Mary Maples Dunn Room at Pierce Hall.
Present: Cristen Abrams, Chrissie Bell, Cyndee Button, Sandy Bycenski, Mary Clayton, Patti Corjay, Lisa Dwinell, Michelle Finley, Honey Gillman, Scott Girard, Dottie Goulet, Serena Harris, Patty Hayes, Patty Kimura, Mimi Lempart, Deb Letourneau, Janice McDowell, Steve Montiero, Sam Rush, Bill Sheehan, Stephanie Schoen and Joe Stoddart
Excused: Mary Martineau and Patty Rist
Absent: Patrick Diggins, Bob Lesko and Maria Vallejo
Patty Kimura called the meeting to order at 2:10 p.m. and welcomed Steve Montiero, who replaces Clara Lopez, as the new presidential appointee for Staff Council.
November meeting minutes were approved to include correction in the Personnel Policy Committee notes.
Report from Steering
The draft of the article for The Council Chronicle on our Diversity/Problem-Solving training
Patty Kimura expressed her concern about including specific quotes in the article since it had been agreed at the diversity training that all discussion would be confidential. Please contact her if a quote should not be used in the article. Any comments/edits should be emailed to Patty by December 15 - the Chronicle's deadline for publication.
Diversity Workshop Sidebar for Council Chronicle received one comment about the use of the word "scenarios." Patty Hayes will research further.
Action Plans/Stepping Up to the Challenge
A. A look at New Employee
Reflecting on the e-mail attachment that Katja Hahn d'Errico and Richard Ford forwarded to Staff Council members, P. Kimura said that she enjoyed revisiting the diversity training series through reading Staff Council members' comments. She asked, "Now what is Staff Council going to do to keep the momentum of diversity commitment?" One idea for exploration is the area of new employees' orientation. Staff Council members would have the opportunity to connect with new employees and let them know what it means to be a member of the Smith community. Patty presented two ideas: 1. Staff Councilors as mentors/lunch buddies and 2. Van Tours. Presently the van tours are a historical tour but could present a unique opportunity for council members to talk about the Smith community.
P. Kimura suggested that the Communications Committee consider taking on the van tours. Sam Rush will bring the question up at the next meeting. Scott Girard brought up that previously Staff Council thought that van tours should be the responsibility of Human Resources. Discussion ensued, moving to a MOTION by P. Kimura for Staff Council to sanction the van tours viewing them as an opportunity for Staff Council to reach out to new employees. Motion seconded by Sandy Bycenski and approved.
Questions came up about Staff Council liability for van tours and the Communications Committee's commitment to this undertaking. Everyone is welcomed to take a van tour (usually the 3rd Wednesday of each month). The next tour is December 20, 2000 at 10:30 a.m. at 30 Belmont Avenue.
beyond your comfort zone to reach out)
At the Campus Climate Working Group meeting P. Kimura spoke with Alan Bloomgarden about improving staff connections. About two years ago he tried to start an informal brown bag lunch to link diverse groups of people on campus. Wondered if there was interest in forming a sub group @ Sam Rush said this idea interested him.
Walkabouts to Housekeepers
Sullivan-Crowley (facilitating dialogue, reaching out to build
Last year Staff Council members met with kitchen workers but missed the housekeepers because of visit times. This year members will visit houses at 7:30 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. in order to meet with housekeepers before Staff Council elections.
D. Council Reps to various departmental staff meetings to talk about Staff Council
E. Co-sponsoring the
Troupe for a February Community Forum
The Cornell Troupe would tailor three diversity issue skits including input from Staff Council, faculty and SAMS to fit into a community forum format sponsored by Staff Council. The college, and not Staff Council, would pay for the presentation. A MOTION was put forward to use the Cornell Troupe for the next Community Forum on diversity issues. Motion seconded and approved.
Suggestion: At the end of the diversity community forum, council could present different activity ideas such as lunch time gatherings, diversity training workshops, and/or joining Staff Council as a way to continue learning about diversity.
Patti Corjay reported that the Activities Committee met on November 16.
- Cooking Class was not well attended with 30 people attending (hoping for 45). The comments were good, but lost money on class. Considering Barbecue lessons in June.
New York City trip on December 9 @ 3 seats available.
Bright Nights on December 15 @ 2 seats opened up, but there is a waiting list.
Six Flags season passes are selling for $52.50. Info distributed through liaison list and available through Staff Council phone message.
Culinary Institute of America and Hyde Park trip in spring, no date set.
Paperback exchange on April 25 at Neilson Library. Details to come.
Food Drive on February 12. Will distribute info and food collection bins.
Sam Rush reported that the Communications Committee met on November 16.
- Staff Council representatives list distributed through the liaison directory. Included message that the Staff Council meetings are open to everyone in the Smith College community.
- RADS mail distribution. Dottie Goulet informed council that problem is worked out at Haven House, in fact the students are fighting over the job of delivering mail!
- Committee members are working on Smith College Committees list and definitions for the Staff Council website.
- Question asked if Smith College organizational flow chart should be linked to website. Noted that chart is out of date.
Employee discount changes on website: Bell Atlantic no longer exists-Stanley Rosko is checking into Verizon plan. Due to many problems, B.J.'s will not be listed and Disney no longer offers a discount.
P. Kimura mentioned that Ford Motor Co. will be offering a deal to Smith employees with new cars Ford, Volvo, Mazda, Mercury, Lincoln, Landrover costing 4% over manufacturer's cost.
- Discussed as new business: how the committee can further the work of diversity training and how Staff Council can serve as allies to the Smith community.
Patty Hayes reported on the upcoming Council Chronicle with many exciting articles, including submissions by Sid Dalby, Pat Skarda and a two-page article on Staff Council diversity training. Patty was contacted by a Union News reporter who is writing an article about flex time and wondering if childless staff feel short changed with flex time opportunities. Please email Patty with ideas and examples of Smith flex times.
Bill Sheehan reported for Nominations and Elections and was happy to report that 40 to 60 names had been submitted for the Presidential Search Committee. He reported that 2 staff openings have been added.
Chrissie Bell reported that the Personnel Policy Committee met with Lianne Sullivan-Crowley on December 4th. Patty Rist and Michelle Finley are on a sub-committee working with Lianne and Brenda Allen on the workload focus groups. A computer will generate a random list of employees to invite to a focus group and a letter will be sent to each invitee's supervisor explaining that the genesis of the focus groups was the self-study plan. Staff will not be in the same session as their supervisor. There will be no more than 10 people in each focus group and a consultant will be hired to conduct the groups. Lianne and Brenda will not attend. The groups should begin in February.
Chrissie wanted to note that she appreciates the college for maintaining the cost of health care coverage. The increase in employee cost was much less than the national average; therefore Smith is subsidizing a much greater amount this year.
Tuition benefits: Through surveys sent to other institutions Lianne found that Smith College's in-house tuition benefits are superior to all other institutions, costing Smith $1.5 million. However, she found Smith's benefit for courses taken outside of the college to be inferior. Presently Smith reimburses $50 per credit for undergraduate courses whereas, other institutions reimburse between $500-$2250 or waive tuition altogether. Lianne will make a recommendation to make this benefit more competitive with other institutions.
New administrative timekeeping reports: In compliance with the law, reports no longer record less than a day out of work. It is the supervisor's responsibility to make sure that the system is not abused.
Childcare committee update: Committee's goal is to find out Smith College's role in providing day care and make recommendations to the President. It has become clear that the provision of childcare affects recruitment and retention of faculty. A survey is being distributed to all Smith staff and Ada Comstock students. Contact Lianne with any questions.
Performance Appraisal Committee
Mary Clayton reported on the Performance Appraisal Committee. The draft of the performance appraisal guidelines has been presented to the Senior Staff but has not been approved yet. The draft proposes four categories for performance rating, including a six-month review that allows employees to regularly check-in with their supervisor to discuss accomplishments or other concerns. This discussion will help staff compare what they are doing to their job description. The committee also suggests mandatory training for all supervisors and educational training for staff. Staff needs to understand that compensation is based on performance. A question came up about addressing diversity on the appraisals-civility and diversity are under the "Factors Influencing Performance section. The committee will meet again in February.
Smith College Council on Community Policy (SCCCP)
Scott Girard reported on the Smith College Council on Community Policy (SCCCP) and expressed his displeasure that currently the committee's main focus seems to be student smoking. He would like to see the committee discuss other things, for instance discrepancies in pension plans. Please contact Scott with feedback. Patty Kimura explained that there are students on the committee and that smoking on campus is a student issue about which many have concerns.
The next Staff Council meeting will be held a week later than usual due to the proximity of the New Year holidays. The meeting will be on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. in the MMD conference room at Pierce Hall. Sandy Bycenski will notify Bob Lesko for the change in date for the room reservation and Bill Sheehan will contact dining services for refreshments.
Cyndee Button, Co-Secretary of Staff Council