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Wright State University

Unclassified Staff Advisory Council


Minutes

November 21, 2003

The meeting was held in Room 158 University Hall. USAC Chair, Donna Totten called the meeting to order at 2:30.  

Attendees included:
Monica Austin, SOM
Mendy Beverly, CaTS
Allan Boggs, Human Resources
Kitty Friedman, CaTS
David Hopkins, Provost
Joyce Howes, College of Science and Math
Mary Kenton, Honors Program
Bob Noss, Athletics
Curt Pederson, Psychology
Tricia Renner, Admissions
Jen Rice, Admissions
Marianne Shreck, Research and Sponsored Programs
Gary Sutton, Bursar/Student Loans and Collections
Robert Sweeney, Kettering Center
Donna, Totten, Business and Fiscal Affairs
Carol Vuckovich, Internal Audit
Chris Watson, University Libraries
Susan Wehmeyer, University Libraries
Rick Zech, Budget Planning

APPROVAL of MINUTES

The minutes of the USAC meeting of October 16, 2003 were approved as posted on the website.

STRATEGIC PLAN - David Hopkins and Robert Sweeney

Robert Sweeney reviewed the development and implementation of the plan to date.  He noted that unclassified staff were represented on the committee by Carol Vuckovich (who will be replaced by Donna Totten this year) as well as by their unit dean or director.  After initial development the plan went back to the units to develop university-wide objectives, strategies and goals.  The plan is based on the principle of evolution, not revolution.  We want to build on the strengths of the university.  The plan also requires "line of sight" understanding by all staff.  Everyone needs to be able to see how their job fits in with what WSU is trying to accomplish.  The plan is now available on the university website:  http://www.wright.edu/strategicplan/

David Hopkins reconvened the planning committee to work on implementation.  He expects to align each unit plan as part of the whole.  The committee is discussing the designation of key action items for this year and measurements to let us know when we have succeeded.  One thing they have already discovered is that there is a great deal of commonality across the units.  They plan to share implementation results across unit lines and to talk about both successes and failures so they can learn from each other.  He stressed the importance of each employee in the implementation of the plan.  He said it is very important that everyone see the link between the plan and what they do each day. Staff input is very important.  For that reason, links to each unit plan have been provided from the webpage as well email contact links for each college and division as well as for Dr. Hopkins.

A question was raised about whether annual staff evaluations will be tied to the strategic plan.  Dr. Hopkins said that we need to make sure that what we measure and reward supports and aligns with the plan and can be translated into improvement.

A question was raised about the academic calendar and first weekend.  Move-in day will fall on Labor Day weekend for the next three years.  How can we maintain good customer service in the face of this difficulty?  Dr. Hopkins did not exclude the possibility that the calendar might be reevaluated.

COMMITTEE REPORTS
Athletics - Curt Pederson
Athletics Council met Friday, 10/31/03.

1.  The Provost, Dr. David Hopkins attended the meeting.  Dr. Hopkins was a student athlete at Wooster and wants to continue to look at ways to enhance the success of student-athletes here.  He discussed how WSU’s strategic plan will prepare students and student athletes for the future.

2.  The NCAA Certification visit was scheduled for the first week of November.  (Preliminary feedback was there are no surprises and, as expected, it went very well.)

3.  Coaches Corner—Coach Biancardi was unable to attend.

4.  AD Report—fall sports are winding down and basketball teams gearing up.  A couple of dates were noted on the basketball schedules.  The Ball State game on 12/6/03 with a goal to “fill the house.”  The second date was 1/3/04 against Butler.  The question will be asked to see if student housing can open in time for returning students in order to help maximize student attendance.  There was discussion on ways to boost student attendance at games—buses from housing areas, faculty push, banners updated weekly at a central spot on campus, etc.  Some recruits may struggle academically and there is a search for ways to help.  For example, the use of retired teachers as tutors.  WSU may take a chance on a recruit academically but will not when it comes to a character issue.  The 10th Scholarship Auction was a huge success, netting about $65,000 and was the most attended.  A less of a “black tie” event was also suggested along with ways to get the students together more with the student athletes.

5.  Next meeting is Friday, 11/21/03 at 8 a.m.


Dining - Chris Watson
A meeting was held today.  Chris reported that Dining Services was very receptive to new ideas.  They do not yet have the results of their recent satisfaction survey, but as a result of user input they have dropped the prices of cereal at the C-Store.  Recent promotions including coffee and "cram jams" in the dorms have been successful.  A concern was expressed about food service hours during finals week.  They are looking at opening the C-Store during finals next year, and noted that the Landing Strip remained open.  The full minutes of the Dining Services meeting of 11/03 were added to the minutes 12/1/03.

Parking Services - D.R. Fannin
Donna Totten reported for D.R. Fannin.  Parking Services has not met as a full committee.

Recreation and Wellness - Bob Noss
Holiday Holdout started this week.  The "holdout" refers to a seven week period from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Participants will weigh in every week in an effort to keep holiday weight gains under 2 pounds.  Weights will remain private. Each week that participants keep their weight stable they will be entered in a prize drawing.  The committee will host a reception at the January 21st basketball game.  Game tickets will probably be about $5.00.  They will host a luncheon in February, with a possible speaker on humor in the workplace.  A euchre tournament was discussed for March.  The next Recreation and Wellness meeting will be December 16th.

OLD BUSINESS

Handbook
The final draft will be reviewed the first week of December and will be released electronically. 

Policy for Employees Taking Classes
This was discussed at length at the last USAC meeting.  A concern remains that some supervisors are not allowing staff to take classes or workshops during working hours because they believe that university policy forbids this.  Allan Boggs agreed that the handbook should distinguish between development and for-credit classes.  He will prepare revised wording for Donna to review.  In addition he will make an effort to encourage supervisors to be flexible about scheduling, especially when a course is needed as part of a series or is a degree requirement. 

A concern was raised that care should be taken to avoid the impression that taking classes on work time is an entitlement.  Allan agreed that we need to balance expectations but said that he would be concerned about a supervisor who allowed no flexibility at all.  He said no department should have employees who are precluded from development at some level.  Allan plans to encourage development opportunities and will work to improve the value of development in the culture of the university.

The issue of fee remissions for part time staff taking classes or development workshops remains open.

United Way

Donations are down this year.  Donna reported that WSU has collected $89,747.20 (14% participation).  The goal was $105,000.  Donna asked for ideas about why donations had declined.  The economy and the earlier starting/closing dates were cited.  Donna also reported that donors names were removed from the campaign email list once their pledge had been received. 

NEW BUSINESS
Tuition Reciprocity Agreements

Staff expressed strong interest in tuition reciprocity on the USAC survey.  Donna's initial research into the issue revealed that this is an extremely complex issue which may not be possible in the long run, but she will continue to work on it.

Off Campus Representation

A concern was presented to the council about the lack of off-campus (Lake, Kettering Center, Research Park, SOM) representation on USAC.  The committee to review the composition of USAC will look at this issue as well.  Human Resources does not offer a list of staff by office location, but it may be possible to provide it.  We will also revisit the possibility of teleconferencing at a future meeting.

University Staff Council
A meeting was held 10/29/03.
The agenda included:

  1. Human Resource Liaisons
    1. Didn’t have time to discuss this at the meeting, but will discuss it in December.
    2. Alan Boggs would like this  group to continue as a group of business managers who can offer feedback on the mechanics of HR transactions, but not serve as employee relations staff.
  2. Annual Merit Evaluations
    1. A concern was expressed that evaluations seem to bear little relationship to merit pay.
    2. Dr. Rickert reported that salaries have compressed for all but the longest term staff; many are gathered together at the bottom of the range because the bottom keeps moving up and overtaking the gains made by less new employees.
    3. One way to fix this might be to add a raise component for range adjustments (i.e., merit, across-the-board AND range adjustment).  Those in the lower parts of the scale would get larger increases than those at the higher end in this category.  The theory is that after a certain period of time there should be little difference in the pay based on longevity.
    4. The evaluation method itself is also a problem.  When there is a small pool of staff in a division, everyone seems to be outstanding.  If the raise pools are broadened, then there is a problem with consistency.  Alan Boggs reported that an electronic instrument might provide the solution.  HR will test one or more of these instruments to see if they might work.  The cost of such a program would be an important consideration.
  3. Training Opportunities for Staff
    1. The strongest need is for supervisor training. 
    2. WSU supervisors seem to be inconsistent about allowing training to occur on work time.
    3. Human Resources believes there are opportunities for partnership with the Kettering Center.
    4. Human Resources can provide in-house supervisor training but can’t force attendance.
  4. Formalizing the Council's composition, format and schedule
    1. Didn't have time to discuss this at the meeting but we will meet again in early December to discuss this.

Leave Reporting

This issue was deferred the January meeting due to lack of time.

First Opportunities for Unclassified Staff

A suggestion was brought to the council to investigate the feasibility of a "first opportunities" job posting for unclassified staff, similar to what is available for classified staff.  Donna and Allan will discuss whether this is a viable option.  It seems it may be possible.

Holiday Hospitality Program

It was suggested that USAC sponsor a Holiday Hospitality program.  Such programs link willing hosts with faculty, staff or students to share a holiday meal.  A concern was expressed that it is too late in the season to pull a program together properly for this year.   If it was not well-done it might affect the future of the program.  It was agreed to discuss this in January as a possibility for next year.

Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.

 NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of USAC will be held Thursday, January 15th, 2004, 2:30 p.m. A location has not yet been confirmed.
 

Minutes submitted by Susan Wehmeyer, USAC Secretary, 11/21/03, Dining Minutes added 12/1/03.
 


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Revised:  1 December 2003