Present: Kim Allen, Adrianne Andrews, Adrian Beaulieu, Joseph Bialek, Nancy Brady, Terri Calloway, Janice Cole, Karen Hebert, Chris Carr Hill, Marti Hobbes, Patty Kimura, Karen LeHouiller, Merrilyn Lewis, Jinny Mason, Laura Matta, Steve Monteiro, Linda Rainville, Sam Rush, Bill Sheehan, Tara Zidonik
Excused: Gayle Fitzgerald, Kate Kilpatrick, Linda LaFlam, Patricia Rist, Xinh Spangler, Mike Washut
Guests: Stacey Anasazi, Sabrina Marsh, Naomi Miller
Congratulations to the Activities Committee for organizing sundaes for staff on Mountain Day and to Communications Committee for planning the staff forum. Both events were successful in raising the profile of Staff Council on campus.
Sue Beaumier said that Denim Day is tomorrow; in January there will be a Saturday matinee as well as a wine-tasting event Jan. 6-7.
To avoid having Mountain Day occur on the day of the fall staff forum, the committee recommended we schedule the forum AFTER fall break -- Mountain Day is never scheduled that late.
Since the forum ended soon after President Christ announced we could take the rest of the day off, the committee had a concern that some staff at the forum didnÕt get a chance to ask questions. As a remedy, we will solicit any remaining questions when we send out the approved Sept. 9 minute meetings to that community and ask staff to forward the questions to Merrilyn Lewis.
Review of charter -- Article III Membership. (The discussion was interrupted by arrival of guest Charles Staelin and discussion of CECE Report.)
Presidential plan -- strategic plan for institutional diversity. Miller wants to make four initiatives via focus groups (inter-level) with open questions.
Her approach will be to look at the community within diversity and to that end sheÕs calling the program ÒCommon Ground.Ó
Efforts will be focused on alumnae as well as campus constituents.
Some long-term projects:
-what are supports for diversity encountered at Smith
-what are the obstacles
-suggestions for change
-what works well; what doesnÕt
-what are connections we can make across distinctions
Miller commented that although sheÕs worked on diversity issues at other institutions, she prefers to design an approach thatÕs unique to SmithÕs environment. She said the true answers are within the college and so she wants to systematically hear from a cross section of voices at the college.
She wants to establish a Common Ground staff committee that will help her identify the ÒanchorÓ points that connect the various constituencies. The committee will be an ongoing group with a focused, project-based approach.
The committee will consist of a total of 10 to 12 people from standing committees, like Staff Council, Faculty Council, Student Government Association, as well as ad hoc members.
SheÕd like a pool of names.
More immediately, she wants to know the most promising initiative that could offer outreach opportunities. Beyond work? Initiatives like a staff development internship program that would examine whatÕs worked in the past, whatÕs already been done and hasnÕt worked; i.e. a pilot initiative for staff development.
Chris Carr Hill asked whether the diversity outreach efforts would be directed at local alumnae, and Miller said "no," that she envisions a national advisory committee and added that sheÕs looking for recommendations for an alumnae committee.
Ideally, the first meeting of Common Ground will be in December. She asked Staff Council reps to send any questions that she can use in her focus groups.
In addition, she will use information gathered from exit interviews as part of initiatives.
Best times have been meeting with staff and asking how we experience diversity.
Staff Council helped Miller to think of staff issues in a focused way.
Charles Staelin, gave an overview of the recommendations for the Center for Early Childhood Education (CECE) presented by the committee, and mentioned that theyÕve been conducting open forums to present the recommendations and gather feedback.
Staelin emphasized that they were only recommendations at this point. The next step is for Committee on Mission and Priorities (CMP), ACRA, and Faculty Compensation and Development to discuss them. He noted that there were staff members represented on CMP and ACRA; i.e., Jane Sommer and Diane Tulis.
He noted that there will be a faculty meeting on October 26, at which the recommendations will be discussed.
Tara Zidonik commented that the report seemed to focus on a cost-cutting analysis only.
Staelin said that though he couldnÕt speak for the committee, he could say that the committee had been given a narrow mandate by ACRA to give the CECE program the same rigorous scrutiny that other departments across campus engaged in as part of the CollegeÕs budget-balancing efforts.
Tara Zidonik commented that Smith should be making a strong statement on the issue of early childhood education and that we could be creative about it; enlisting the help of the School for Social Work and the finance department, for example.
Patty Kimura commented on the idea of creating a sliding fee scale to encourage economic diversity, making CECE affordable and accessible to more staff.
There was also discussion of the importance of an early childhood education program as a recruitment and retention device, not just for faculty, but for staff, too.
The discussion quickly moved to the issue of whether or not it was appropriate for the program to subsidize non-Smith families and the wider issue of whether the program should be a resource primarily for the campus community or for the wider Northampton community. Among the Staff Council members there was a difference of opinion on this point.
Someone asked about how the College supports the Sunny Side Day Care program. someone said Smith provides the building (and its maintenance) as well as $27-$28 thousand/year for work-study students.