Smith College Staff Council
April 4, 2001 (APPROVED at the May 2, 2001)
A lively meeting of the full Staff Council was held on April 4, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. in the Mary Maples Dunn Room at Pierce Hall.
Attending: Cristen Abrams, Chrissie Bell, Sandy Bycenski, Cyndee Button, Mary Clayton, Patrick Diggins, Lisa Dwinell, Dottie Goulet, Michelle Finley, Scott Girard, Honey Gillman, Serena Harris, Patty Hayes, Patty Kimura, Mimi Lempart, Mary Martineau, Janice McDowell, Patty Rist, Sam Rush, Stephanie Schoen, and Bill Sheehan. Guest: Naomi Curtis Sturtevant.
Excused: Patti Corjay, Bob Lesko, Deb Letourneau, Steve Monteiro, Joe Stoddart, and Maria Vallejo.
Patty Kimura called the meeting to order at 2:07 p.m. A greeting card was circulated among council members to send our thoughts and well wishes to Patti Corjay.
Minutes of the February and March 2001 meetings were approved by an unanimous vote.
AD HOC COMMITTEES
Spelling Bee Update:
Mimi Lempart reported that a practice session was held last week with another session planned for tomorrow. The Spelling Bee is on April 11 at JFK Middle School, Bridge Road, Florence, MA. The pizza social and silent auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the spelling bee at 6:30 p.m. Thirty-three teams are participating and costumes are encouraged (Patty K. is looking for pom poms to cheer the teams on). Fun for all, please come support your fellow employees. Mimi was interviewed on WRSI to advertise the event. It was agreed that the consolation gifts of chocolate bees and magnets sent to non-selected spelling bee volunteers were an excellent idea.
Lunch & Learn
Due to a scheduling conflict at Neilson Browsing Room, the new location for the first presentation, "How to Direct a Play in Ten Days Without Losing Your Mind" is in Wright Hall Common Room. Sam is hopeful that someone will volunteer to present the next Lunch & Learn series.
4. DIVERSITY PROPOSAL FOR
Serena Harris has been in contact with the Cornell Troupe who performed at the last Community Forum. They can tailor programs to the council's needs and offer many options to increase team building and diversity awareness. Since the problem of release time was significant for many Staff Council members, an intensive one-day training (vs. a six-session training) might be a more optimum way to address realistic situations concerning diversity. The one-day session would be intense in a different way, less expensive and more accessible to employees. If interested in forming an ad hoc committee, please contact Patty Kimura.
Staff Art Show (ad hoc committee) @ Patty Hayes (thank you)
Patty Kimura thanked Patty Hayes for heading up the Staff Art Show for the past seven years. The Council gave a round of applause for her dedicated work. Patty Hayes explained that it was time to "pass the baton" and was stepping down from the committee, as is Amy Holich. Both are willing to work with the new committee to insure a smooth transition. Mimi Lempart volunteered to head the ad hoc committee and Dick Fish has offered his help. The first agenda item is to reserve space for the show. Brenda Bolduc is the contact person for McConnell Hall and Sam Rush mentioned that the Theatre Building might also be a great space to explore.
Presentation By Naomi Sturtevant
Naomi Sturtevant is looking for ideas about how to recognize part-time employees or non-benefited workers such as sub contractors, contractors, temp workers, or workshop instructors, who are not eligible for the Employee Excellence Awards. Patty Kimura explained that benefited part-time workers are eligible but non-benefited workers are not. The idea was discussed that Staff Council write letters of recognition, but the Council reconsidered sensitive to the competitive undercurrents between employees of the college and private contractors. It was agreed that it is a good idea to write individual notes of thanks to people or find other ways within departments to appreciate the hard work of temporary workers. Patty Kimura will discuss this matter with SAMS.
At the March 7, 2001 meeting, Patty Kimura asked if there was interest in having Staff Council co-sponsor CCWG with no financial obligations. The Council agreed, motion made and approved to co-sponsor the CCWG.
Chrissie Bell reported that the committee met with Lianne Sullivan-Crowley on March 9 followed by an April 2nd meeting with only committee members. As of this time, the campus focus groups on workload issues have been put on hold. The $20,000 cost of the study now may be directly used to provide solutions. The next step being considered is a pilot study of workload issues in the Admissions Office to be approved by the Dean of the College. When asked about a cap on FTEs at the college, Lianne said, "There is no cap on FTEs since I have been at Smith."
Lianne reported that there was a poor return on the childcare surveys, therefore the committee is determining what the next step should be.
The committee recommended that public recognition of perfect attendance should be discontinued at the Employee Recognition Ceremony.
Human Resources is beginning to look at the concept of investigating a short-term disability plan to replace the current sick leave plan. Currently, there is a disparity between administrative support staff who initially receive 12 sick days per year and administrative staff who initially receive three months of sick leave per year.
Dental benefits are being researched to determine if a more comprehensive plan could be offered to employees and also if dental benefits could be extended to retirees at the group rate. Lianne will survey other institutions and report back to the committee.
Mandatory diversity training for all employees was discussed. Lianne suggested writing a letter to President Simmons. Brenda Allen did not like the idea of mandatory training. The committee is seeking ideas on which direction to head.
Martin Luther King day and why it is not a college holiday was brought up. Most full-time employees receive four personal days-one day may be used for MLK day.
When asked about increasing the tuition benefit that applies to Smith employees who take courses at other institutions, Lianne said that the increase will be implemented this year. The increase will reflect the market, based on HR's survey of other institutions.
Bill Sheehan reported that the committee has been working on a new improved ballot using multiple ballot sheets instead of one ballot this year. He asked that committee members talk up the coming election that consists of roughly 10 new seats. The election will be held April 23 through May 4. Call Bill if you would like to volunteer to help with the election.
Sam Rush reported that van tour suggestions are being received from Sandy Bycenski's email request. Sam will be meeting with Cindy Rucci to discuss the revision of the van tour to incorporate the new ideas suggested by the college community.
The updated liaison list has been sent out and should be used for spreading the word about the upcoming election, distributing Staff Council minutes, etc.
The next meeting is Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 3:00 p.m. in Garrison Hall.
Patty Hayes reported that the Council Chronicle's cover story will be on Ruth Simmons.
Janice McDowell reported that the paperback exchange will be April 25 from 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Foxwood trip went well with one full bus.
Bronx Zoo trip-working on fee rate.
Six Flags-single passes along with season passes are now being sold.
Food Drive was very successful raising much more than the previous year.
The Staff Council meeting was adjourned at 3:13 p.m.
Cyndee Button, Co-Secretary