News for the Smith College Community //September 20, 2001
Everyone Wins With Flex Options
After three years, Smith's pilot programs that explored flexible work options are over.
"Flexibility is now a Smith College employment practice," says Gaynelle Weiss, associate director of human resources. That means flexible work arrangements no longer need approval from the Office of Human Resources (HR). "HR can help administer the flexible schedule, and we're always here as a resource for information," explains Weiss. "But flexibility is now up to individual departments and managers."
Weiss is quick to emphasize that an employee doesn't have to be in a difficult life situation -- such as needing to care for a child or help a sick family member -- to request a flexible work schedule. It's okay, she says, just to want a different work schedule. "No one has to give a reason for requesting a flexible schedule. The only requirement is that the employee work it out with his or her supervisor."
The importance to the Smith community of flexibility in the workplace was first emphasized in the 1998 Staff Self-Study Report. In response to that report, the Flexibility Work Group was formed to develop and recommend a vision for flexibility at the college. Several campus pilot arrangements in 199899 explored different scenarios for flexibility. In 1999, flexibility became a mainstream workplace option.
Weiss says that HR's main role is in helping people understand the principles of a flexible schedule. "In general, flexibility means just that. It calls for flexibility on the part of the college and the participating employees. While in theory flexible schedules may sound wonderful, the reality is that an employee still must put in a full work week -- and that often requires longer days. I've seen many people try it out and find it's not for them."
What confuses many people, according to Weiss, is the assumption that there is a permanent flexible schedule. "That's an oxymoron," she says. "A flexible schedule can't be a rigid, set one. The workload always takes priority over the schedule. So for example, if a campus office has a particular crunch time during the semester, an employee with a four-day flexible schedule would need to work five days to meet the needs of the crunch-time workflow." Because no flexible schedule is carved in stone, Weiss urges employees to take a vacation day rather than presume that a flex day off will be available to meet an important commitment.
Because work differs from job to job, there's no template for flexible schedules at Smith. That said, Weiss believes that most jobs lend themselves to some type of flexible options. But there are exceptions, such as certain union positions and jobs for essential personnel.
Not surprisingly, RADS is one of the departments in which employees are absolutely needed on set schedules. Still, even within those confines, RADS has responded to employees' requests for flexible schedules by helping them make arrangements to fulfill childcare and personal needs, educational programs and work duties.
Kathy Zieja, director of RADS, says that what she likes about the program is that "it empowers the staff person to make some decisions and, at the same time, the job gets done."
Weiss stresses that it is not a manager's responsibility to figure out flexible arrangements for an employee's position. "The employee seeking a flexible schedule must present a proposal that meets his or her needs as well as those of the department. It's trickier than it sounds because the employee must take into account many scheduling factors."
During its pilot program, the Flexibility Work Group's research found that nationwide only 10 percent of the workforce uses flexible options. Weiss suspects that percentage applies to Smith as well, though she doesn't have specific numbers. She notes that it's perfectly acceptable to try out a flexible schedule or implement one for a temporary need or seasonal preference. In fact, Weiss says that people regularly go on and off flexible schedules.
Addie Cain, an HR specialist who retired in June after 22 years with the college, speaks highly of Smith's flexible work options. In fact, she says she might have had to retire sooner had it not been for Smith's adoption of flexible work options. "It improved the quality of my life so much," Cain said. "I had been feeling burned out. During the pilot, I began working four nine-hour days. Both the nature of my work and the fact that we're cross-trained in HR made this schedule possible. Based on my experience, I'd say that flexible work options make it truly possible to have a life while fulfilling job expectations."
Weiss's final word is that communication is essential between employee and supervisor in order for flexible schedules to work. "There need to be clear ground rules from the start," she says. "Expectations need to be established. But with the right foundation, flexible arrangements can increase productivity and boost morale. It's a win-win for Smith College and its employees."
Smith Responds to Tragedy
Around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, as students settled into their first classes of the day and the college went about its early semester business, the world changed.
With the suicide terrorist attacks by hijackers on New York's twin World Trade Center towers and on the Pentagon in Virginia, the United States has been drawn into a quagmire of violence and conflict to which no one can predict a conclusion.
Smith College and its community, like the rest of the country, have been affected by the turmoil of September 11 and its aftermath. Several events have been quickly organized to address the tragedy. On September 11, some 2,000 people attended an all-college meeting to hear talk related to the incident. On September 13, the offices of the dean of the college and the dean of the faculty sponsored "Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Tuesday's Events," a panel of faculty members and administrators from the Five Colleges. And on September 14, Smith joined the nation in observing the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks with a ringing of the college bells followed by a concert by music department faculty and the Glee Club in Sage Hall and prayers in the chapel.
For ongoing news, information and listings of events related to the terrorist attacks, consult the "Response to Tragedy" Web site linked to the Smith main page, or at www.smith.edu/response/.
Like thousands of others across the country, people at Smith have sought ways to help the relief effort for the victims of the attack. Red Cross officials have said that there will be an ongoing need for blood. Those wishing to donate blood can call the Cooley Dickinson Hospital at 582-2668, 582-2669 or 582-2667, and leave contact information. Also, blood can be donated at Easthampton High School on Saturday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Red Cross bloodmobile will be on campus on October 30 and 31.
Financial contributions can be made through the American Red Cross, either by credit card, by calling 1-800-HELP-NOW, or sending a check, payable to American Red Cross (designate "Disaster Relief Fund" on the memo blank), to P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C., 20013. Financial contributions can also be made through the United Way's new September 11 fund. Also, contact Sue Stano at firstname.lastname@example.org to donate a blanket through Project Linus, which provides "security blankets" to children in need.
Succumbs to Cancer
Guru of Walking to Share
Sweetgall, a renowned guru of walking, believes all those goals and more can be achieved by putting one foot in front of the other, particularly through one of his programs, which emphasize a balanced, consistent approach to physical fitness and mental well-being.
Sweetgall will share his insight when he visits the Smith campus on Thursday, September 27, to talk about "Walking Off Weight and StressA Fresh Look at Physical Activity, Longevity, Heart Disease, Coping Skills and the Art of Taking Up Less Space on Planet Earth." His presentation will take place in Wright Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
In addition to sharing some of his adventures and stories from the thousands of miles he's logged, Sweetgall will provide strategies for walking off weight, improving cardiovascular endurance, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, and controlling blood pressure.
The talk is part of the Department of Human Resources' Training and Development workshop series, "Strengthening Mind, Body and Spirit at Work," which offers more than 30 educational sessions throughout the fall to help Smith employees improve their well-being. Sweetgall's campus visit is also sponsored by the American Heart Association and Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
Sweetgall, who is sometimes called the "Pied Piper" of walking, began his company, Creative Walking Inc., almost two decades ago to help people achieve their fitness and health goals through walking-based regimens and to spread his message of wellness and longevity via regular exercise.
Sweetgall has put his money where his feet are several times. In 1984-85, he became the first person to walk through all 50 states in the United States in one year when he trekked 11,208 miles at an average pace of 31 miles a day. He's walked seven times across America and in 1983 set the world record for a continuous run when he jogged 17,071 kilometers.
Sweetgall developed his enthusiasm for walking when, as a young engineer for DuPont Co., several of his relatives, including his father, died of heart attacks in middle age. That prompted Sweetgall to take up jogging. Eventually he became a competing marathoner, ultra-marathoner and triathlete, and finally quit his job and started his own company.
Since then, he has made numerous appearances on national television shows, including NBC's "Today Show" and "Regis and Kathy Lee Live" and has publicly spoken to more than a million people.
Sweetgall calls walking the perfect exercise. "It's cheap, you can't get hurt unless you step in a hole and you can do it any time," he once said in an article in The Wall Street Journal. "You can't ask for more than that."
Sweetgall's talk is open to Smith faculty, staff and students. Employees are encouraged to register to attend through the Training and Development brochure.
How Do You Get to Saratoga?
"Travel with Sophia," a new program offered by the Department of Exercise and Sport Studies and the Office of Human Resources, invites participants to take an imaginary 240-mile journey with Sophia Smith. That's the approximate distance, say the pro-gram's founders, from Northampton to Saratoga, New York -- where Sophia traveled each summer (albeit by horse-drawn carriage and train) -- plus "some extra miles thrown in to sightsee in Saratoga and give you a good workout."
According to a description of the walking program, it was on one of those very trips in the summer of 1869 that "John M. Greene accompanied Sophia Smith to Saratoga as her 'clerical companion,' and spent some of the trip discussing plans to found Smith College."
Similar to the popular Century Club program, which required participants to travel a cumulative hundred miles in a semester, "Travel with Sophia" asks participants to accumulate the 240 miles between October 1 and April 1 by walking, swimming or cycling.
"Here at Smith, we're concerned with the whole person -- developing our capacity for improving physical well-being as well as expanding our professional skills and understanding what it takes to work together as a team," says Charlene Correa, human resources specialist, who co-organized the program with Barbara Brehm-Curtis, professor of exercise and sport studies.
Those who finish the program will receive a free t-shirt.
All college personnel have received
an orange flier advertising the program. To register, return
the completed form to the Department of Exercise and Sport Studies.
Sources of further information, if any, are indicated in parentheses. Notices should be submitted by mail, by e-mail email@example.com) or by fax (extension 2171).
Dunn Garden Dedication
Theatre Production Canceled
On the Fence
New Libraries Web Site
Faculty and Staff
Weight Watchers at Work
Photograph the Poets
Seeking New Peer Tutors
Study Skills Workshops
Study Abroad Fair
Women Discovering Business
Peer Writing Assistance
Sources of further information, if any, are shown in parentheses at the end of event descriptions. An asterisk following a listing indicates that the event is open to the public. Admission charges, if any, are listed when known. Items for this section must be submitted on Event Service Request Forms.
Monday, September 24
Informational session Weekly meeting for students interested in studying abroad, including a review of opportunities and procedures, and a question-and-answer period. 4 p.m., Third Floor Resource Room, Clark Hall
Workshop "What's Next?" For students returning from studying abroad, including a discussion and information about following international interests, reversing culture shock and more. Yearbooks will be available. Register at studyabroad@ smith.edu. 4-6 p.m., Dewey Common Room
Reception for JYA students returning from Latin America and Spain. Students interested in spending JYA in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country are invited to attend. If this date conflicts with Mountain Day, it will be held instead on Tuesday, September 25, in Seelye 207. Sponsors: Portuguese department; PRESHCO; Latin American studies. 4:30 p.m., Wright Common Room
Women & Financial Independence course "Financing Life." Randy Bartlett, instructor. Noncredit, open to the Smith community. 7:30-9 p.m., Stoddard Auditorium
Computer science TA
lunch table Noon, Duckett Special Dining
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. All levels. 4:45-6 p.m., Davis Ballroom
Tuesday, September 25
Lecture Anne Whiston Spirn, professor of landscape architecture and planning, M.I.T., will speak on topics in her recent book, The Language of Landscape. 5-6 p.m., Stoddard Auditorium
Weight Watchers at Work All welcome. 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room
Faculty members interested in applying for fellowships with the
2002-03 Kahn Institute project, "The Question of Reparations
for African Americans," should attend this meeting with
the organizers and the institute's director. For more information,
Meeting for new and returning Ceramics Club members. Learn about, join, or renew membership. 7 p.m., outside Davis Ballroom
Information session for those interested in studying abroad during spring semester or 2002-03, including a review of opportunities and procedures, and a question-and-answer period. 7 p.m., Seelye 106
SGA Senate meeting Open forum. All students welcome. 7:15 p.m., Seelye 201
Information session and recognition ceremony on becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. A special plaque will be presented in recognition of the strong participation of Smith College alumnae since 1961. 7:30 p.m., Seelye 207
Meeting Newman Association. Elections will be held, as well as an exploration into our spiritual gifts. First-year students are encouraged to attend. 7 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. All levels. 3:45-6 p.m., Davis Ballroom
Field hockey vs. Mount Holyoke College. 7 p.m., Athletic Fields*
Volleyball vs. Springfield
CDO open hours for library research and browsing. Peer advisers available. 79 p.m., CDO
S.O.S. Community Service Fair Representatives from more than 40 nonprofit community-based agencies will be available to provide information on how to make a difference in your community. Call S.O.S., ext. 2756, with questions. 7-8:30 p.m., Davis Ballroom
Wednesday, September 26
Chemistry/Biochemistry lunch chat An informal departmental seminar for students and faculty. 12:10-1:10 p.m., McConnell 403a
Training and Development workshop "Increasing Personal Power and Personal Accountability." Jan Morton, facilitator. Open to faculty and staff. 9 a.m.-Noon, Dewey Common Room
Women & Financial Independence course "Interpreting Financial News." Jim Miller, economics, instructor. Noncredit, open to the Smith community. 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room
Meeting MassPIRG. 7 p.m., Seelye 101
Yom Kippur Kol Nidre
Buddhist meditation and discussion. 7:15 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel
ECC Bible study First of the semester. Student-led discussion of topics raised by the Sunday morning worship community. Snacks provided. All welcome. 10 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel
Classics lunch Noon, Duckett Special Dining Room C
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. All levels. 4:45-6 p.m., Davis Ballroom
Social events coordinator dinner 5:45 p.m., Duckett Special Dining Room C
S.O.S. dinner 5:45 p.m., Duckett Special Dining Room A
Thursday, September 27
Lecture "Hip-Hop in Germany, Especially Breakdance; Perspectives on 'Authentic Black American Culture' in a European Context." Gabriele Klein, visiting sociologist and professor, University of Hamburg. 4:30 p.m., Dewey Common Room
Training and Development workshop "Walking Off Weight and StressA Fresh Look at Physical Activity, Longevity, Heart Disease, Coping Skills and the Art of Taking Up Less Space on Planet Earth." Robert Sweetgall. Open to faculty, staff and students. (See story, page 1.) 7 p.m., Wright Auditorium*
Informational meeting about a study program that's of-and out of-this world. Spend a semester studying the earth's environment or the universe at Columbia University's Biosphere II, a three-acre replica of Earth, and state-of-the-art astronomical facilities. Pizza served. Sponsor: Environmental Science and Public Policy Program. Noon, Engineering 102
CDO meeting Overview of senior job-search programs designed to familiarize students with the on- and off-campus recruiting programs, career fairs, and on-line resources. To be repeated on Tuesday, October 2. 12:15 p.m., CDO Group Room, Drew Hall
Meeting Smith TV. 7 p.m., Media Resources Center
Meeting MassPIRG. All
Drop-in stress reduction and relaxation class with Hayat Nancy Abuza. Refresh body, mind and spirit. Open to all Five College students, staff and faculty. Sponsor: Office of the Chaplains. 4:30-5:30 p.m., Wright Common Room*
Yom Kippur Neilah service As part of personal tzedakah, please bring a can of food or dry nonperishable item for local shelters. Break-the-fast meal follows in Bodman Lounge. 5:30 p.m., Chapel
Intervarsity prayer meeting 7-10 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel
Language lunch tables Korean, Russian. Noon, Duckett Special Dining Rooms A, B (alternate weekly)
Glee Club lunch table
Softball vs. Wesleyan University. 4:15 p.m., athletic fields*
Friday, September 28
Meeting Women Discovering Business. Refreshments provided. (See notice.) 7:30 p.m., Dewey Common Room
Newman Association overnight A fun night of movies, discussions and laid-back relaxation. For more information, contact Claire Willis, ext. 2754. Bodman Lounge, Chapel
Language lunch table Hebrew. Noon, Duckett Special Dining Room C
Saturday, September 29
Softball vs. Babson College. 1 p.m., athletic fields*
Sunday, September 30
Meeting Feminists of
Quaker (Friends) meeting for worship. Preceded by informal discussion at 9:30 a.m. Childcare available. 11 a.m., Bass 203, 204*
Roman Catholic mass Dinner follows in Bodman Lounge. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., Chapel
Christian prayer meeting Smith Christian Fellowship. 6 p.m., Wright Common Room
Intervarsity prayer meeting 9-10 p.m., Chapel
The Henry L. Seaver Collections: A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Henry L. Seaver's Stunning Bequest Through December. Mortimer Rare Book Room vestibule, Neilson Library, third floor*
Paradise Gate A site-specific architectural sculpture made of natural materials, by North Carolina sculptor Patrick Dougherty, which will remain on campus all year. Sponsors: Smith College Museum of Art; Botanic Garden. Burton Lawn*
The Journey Not the Arrival: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1906-2001 An exhibition of rare materials from special collections, chronicling the life of the aviator, author and 1928 Smith graduate. Through October 31. Neilson Library, Morgan Gallery (entrance corridor) and third floor*
Linear Dimensions Recent figurative works, including paintings, drawings and sculptures, by Eileen Kane '67. Through Oct. 31. Alumnae House Gallery*