Smith College Staff Council
October 2, 2002 (Approved at the November 6, 2002 meeting)
The October monthly meeting of Staff Council was held on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 at 2:15 p.m. in the Board Room of the Alumnae House.
Attending: Cristen Abrams, Kim Allen, Stacey Anasazi, Sandy Bycenski, Cyndee Button, Connie Dragon, Susan Hollingsworth, Patty Kimura, Anne-Marie LaFosse, Karen LeHouiller, Merrilyn Lewis, Laura Matta, Ann Mayo, Steve Monteiro, Janine Nye, Sam Rush, and Tara Zidonik.
Excused: Lakisha Coppedge, Chris Carr Hill, Gary Duffy, Alicia Guidotti, Serena Harris, Janice McDowell, Dianne Mikucki, Angela Musiak, Laura Rauscher, Patricia Swan, and Michael Washut.
Guest: Monique Spyke
Patty Kimura called the meeting to order at 2:20 p.m.
The minutes of the September 11th Staff Council meeting were approved.
UPDATE ON DIVERSITY DEVELOPMENT
The diversity ad hoc committee met to discuss how to begin implementing our ideas regarding diversity. The committee discussed our continued commitment to required comprehensive diversity training for staff and how we believe the "mandatory training" piece will fit in with the President's ideas. An opportunity for staff contribution and leadership remains in creating diversity options that are specifically geared to staff. Many of the diversity presentations welcome staff but are not necessarily geared to the staff. The President is in strong support of many aspects of our diversity proposal including our belief that programs and opportunities should be offered that reflect varied and diverse learning styles; and she has been vocal about this in various public arenas. We will use the community forums to implement diversity themes and increase multi-cultural fluency throughout the campus in a variety of ways that will attract a broad audience. The first community forum, the employee recognition ceremony will be Wednesday, October 9. Ideas for upcoming forums are as follows:
Tim Wise. Tim Wise recently spoke at Smith on September 30th, his topic, "Membership has its Privilege: Reflections on Acknowledging and Challenging Whiteness." Tim, a social justice activist, is considered to be one of the most prominent white anti-racist voices in the United States.
Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble (CITE). The ensemble designs workshops combining theatre and audience participation to explore how people might work together more effectively and appropriately in the workplace.
"Spinning into Butter." Have a reading or some sort of production that brings to life Rebecca Gilman's play, Spinning into Butter. This play focuses on a quiet college campus in New England that is disrupted by a series of racist acts against one minority student, leading the faculty and student body in becoming entangled in a debate over identity and cultural significance. Sam Rush is currently reading the play to determine how it can be utilized at Smith as an educational experience in diversity.
Comedian, humorous presentation
Another idea that the committee has been discussing is the use of study circles. What is a study circle? A study circle is a group of 8-12 people from different backgrounds and
view points who meet several times to talk about an issue. In a study circle, everyone has an equal voice, and people try to understand each other's views. They do not have to agree with each other. The idea is to share concerns and look for ways to make things better. A facilitator helps the group focus on different views and makes sure the discussion goes well. At the end of the round of study circles, people from all the study circles come together in a large community meeting to work together on the action ideas that came out of the study circles (excerpt from website: http://www.studycircles.org). The ad hoc committee asked for support from staff council to go forward with the concept of study circles. As there were concerns expressed by members in terms of time commitment, practical application, cost, etc.; the ad hoc committee will pursue more information and perhaps organize a demonstration of how the study circles would work.
Any members who have ideas for Community Forums should forward their ideas to the Diversity ad hoc committee.
Volunteers will be collecting donations for Denim Day until October 4th at the College Club and various campus locations. Agenda of activities for the rest of the year:
10/31/02 Halloween Potluck Lunch (Point person-Susan Hollingsworth)
11/2/02 Bus trip to Mohegan Sun, $20 per person (Point person-Lou Ann Krawczynski)
11/30/02 Bus trip to NYC, $25 per person (Point person-Lou Ann Krawczynski)
12/11/02 Bus trip through Bright Nights, $4 per person
12/16/02 Holiday Cookie Swap and Bag Lunch Gathering
All events will be publicized on the web and through flyers. There will be a Staff Council table at the Human Resources Fair (November 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to promote upcoming activities and staff council. Volunteers are needed to staff the table.
The Activities Committee will be putting a survey together to get feedback and input for future activities.
Monique Spyke, Staff Council intern, introduced herself to the committee. Monique will be updating the Staff Council web site, adding forms and sheets for activity sign-ups.
Navae Homstead has loaded PageMaker on her computer in order to produce the Council Chronicle. She plans to move the newsletter in a new direction utilizing it as a tool for political change on campus consistent with our Staff Council focus on community and diversity, and our responsibility as an active partner in change, with her role being a facilitator and collaboration resource. She works with the steering committee for input, consultation and coordination of our efforts. The production schedule will be bimonthly (every two months), with the first issue to go out on November 22 for November/December news.
Lunch and Learn Update: Cyndee Button reported that Jo Cannon Carlson has agreed to co-chair the sub-committee. The first Lunch and Learn gathering had 45 people signed up. The location was changed to the Kahn Institute Fellows' Lounge to accommodate the larger group. Preliminary plans for the Lunch and Learn series for the year are as follows: October-Children's Literature by Nancy Brady & Susan Etheredge; November-Jennifer Walters; February-Craft Fair; March-Diversity talk; April-Staff Vision artists. As soon as dates are confirmed, Cyndee will notify Navae for Chronicle publication.
Next meeting is Thursday, October 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Nominations and Elections:
Personnel Policy Committee:
Employee Orientation Ad hoc Committee will meet with Patty Kimura to add input from Staff Council in terms of the orientation. The volunteers for this committee are Karen LeHouiller, Stacey Anasazi, Lou Bouley, and Mary Clayton.
Workload Focus Group: The report has arrived and a committee of Brenda Allen, Liane Sullivan-Crowley, Patty Kimura, Chrissie Bell and Sandy Bycenski will meet to discuss how to roll out the report to the staff.
Childcare Report: The childcare program at Smith is expanding to 12 months with hours 8 a.m. @ 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The need to merge the preschool and infant/toddler programs to help accommodate staff work schedules is understood and in process.
Short Term Disability: As reported by Connie Dragon, at age 55 you can get Cobra for 18 months. At age 62-65 with 10 years of service you can stay on Health and Dental Insurance. Smith pays 50% of the College contribution. Example: single Tufts Health Plan HMO gross premium is $61.16 a week. College contribution is $60.00. So if College pays half ($30) towards gross premium, you pay $31.16 a week. It is billed monthly. Dental single plan would cost $2.80 a week. At age 65 you can take the True North Insurance, which is a Medicare supplement. It is a group plan, giving you the benefit of a group price. Life Insurance coverage ends at age 62.
Job Classification & Compensation: This committee, made of various staff members representing the range of current grades, has been working on this for many months. The job classification task force has been meeting to discuss the current classification system and make recommendations for a clearer, more understandable system. The committee will take a look at the structure of job descriptions in comparison to others. The purpose is to make the whole grading system a "glass box" @ so each staff member can clearly understand why their job is classified at a particular grade, and why and how it differs from what may seem to be a similar job but at another grade. This will give everyone the same baseline information about all jobs at Smith. This new clearer system will be rolled by mid-summer of 2003.
Employment Category Redefinition: HR has had discussions about redefining employment categories-temporary appt. vs. limited appt. vs. grant-funded appt. Temporary appointments work 5 months or less and 17 hrs/week on a short-term project. Limited term positions would work 5 months to up to a maximum of 2 years, 17.5 hours (for a 35 hours week position) or more weekly; they are searched positions and would become benefit eligible. Only grant-funded positions can be extended beyond the 2-year limit when more funding is available. This would address the situation of two Smith employees who work side by side, doing the same job for two years together-under the current system, the regular position would be benefited and the limited term position would not-under the proposed changes, both would be benefit eligible.
Organizational Effectiveness: A task force in the Admission's Office has been working with HR Development and an outside consultant on creating an organizational effectiveness assessment by analyzing jobs and how they are performed. The goal of the OEA is to streamline work processes and to increase productivity while maintaining or increasing quality and customer service. A staff member for the admissions office said she was very excited about the proposed changes and shared that the entire review and report were started and completed in only one month. They believe it will help reduce workload because it helps identify both things they should be doing and things they can stop doing. The staff is beginning implementation now.
Leadership and Career Development Initiative: President Christ is committed to staff career development. As part of this, she feels Smith should offer training programs for managers, because we will change the way we manage at Smith. These programs would be designed to assist managers in developing the skills necessary to become better leaders and mentors, and help them in understanding the "big picture".
Individual Development Program: Another part of the ladders to staff development is the IDP. Each manager would work with their staff to create individual development plans to help each individual achieve their performance goals and to create a career plan. The manager and employee will identify core competencies necessary to enable the individual to progress in his/her career. The commitment is to develop Smith employees even if it means that they eventually move on to another area, institution, and etc. for career growth.
Future Meeting dates for Staff Council:
Wednesday, November 6, 2002
Wednesday, December 4, 2002
All meetings will be held at the Mary Maples Dunn Conference Room, Pierce Hall (unless stipulated otherwise) from 2:30-3:30 p.m.
The Staff Council meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.
Kim Allen, Co-Secretary