Unclassified Staff Advisory Council

Unclassified Staff Advisory Council
Meeting Agenda
Thursday, May 9, 2013
9–10:30 a.m.
010 Student Union

In attendance: David Bringhurst, Helen Dean, Audwin Jones, Megan McCurdy, Jenny Papadakis, Jacqueline Robinson, Aaron Skira, Craig This, Sommer Todd, Cindy Vanzant, Susan Wehmeyer, Chris Bethel, Bev Denlinger, Marty Jenkins, Susan Kracus, Sheila Nahrgang, Jill Putoff, Mary Raider, Melissa Vanzant

Regrets: Jonathan Jackson, Jamie Norris, Courtney Smith

Absent: D. R. Fannin, David Finnie, Mark Hibner, Steven Johnson, Gretchen Rentz, , Valita Wilhoite

Guests:  Jerry Hensley, Jeff, Wehmeyer, Pam Bowers, Mark Polatajko, Mary Reshad, Misty Cox

  • Craig This called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.
  • The minutes from the meeting of April 4, 2013 were approved.
  • New Business
    • Newly elected members in attendance were introduced: Jeff Wehmeyer, Pam Bowers, Misty Cox.
    • Election Results:  Eighteen candidates agreed to run for election. The staff cast 305 ballots accounting for 25% of the unclassified staff.  Newly elected members include:  Pam Bowers, Misty Cox, Jeff Wehmeyer and Ranee Wyer.  No problems were reported with voting.
    • The University Staff Council met yesterday, May 8th with Dr. Limouze.  Winter leave plans have been completed and an announcement will be made the week of May 13th.
    • An Unclassified Staff Open Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th in room 156 Student Union from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Agenda items include:
      • An end of the year wrap-up/review of the year with committee reports and updates during the first hour.
      • A question and answer session with Dr. Limouze and an update on the search process for the Associate Provost for Faculty and Staff affairs in the second hour.
      • An informal farewell party for Dr. Limouze will be held at the Fox and Hound from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. following the forum.
        • USAC members donated a book to the University Libraries in his honor:  To Repair the Ruins, Reading Milton edited by Mary C. Fenton.
  • University committee updates
    • Athletic Council.
      • Subcommittee reports were submitted to the NCAA.
      • Oakland joined the Horizon league.
    • Dining Services.  The committee has not met since Chartwell’s was selected but Mark Polatajko was able to offer an update:
      • A 10 year contract is under negotiation and will be executed in the next 4 to 6 weeks.
      • The contract will offer positive operational returns to the university.
      • Chartwell’s is working on the transition on site and is finalizing stakeholders’ recommendations for retail locations.
      • The food plans are under revision for residents, non-residents, faculty and staff.  Final plans are expected this week.
      • The Woods commons building will be transformative to student life.  An all-you- care-to-eat facility in that building is under consideration.  Student-run cafes are also under consideration.
      • Changes should be completed before fall move-in day.
      • Sodexho has pledged to contribute to a professional seamless transition.
    • Parking Services.
    • Sustainability.
    • University Diversity Advocacy Council.
    • University Staff Council.
    • Wellness & Recreation, Report by Susan Kracus:
      • Interviews for the Wellness Director are currently being conducted.  An open forum will be held when the candidates are invited to campus
      • The faculty and staff retiree picnic will be held June 7th.
      • The Lake Campus picnic is May 16th.
    • WSU Bookstore Committee.
    • Staff Council Human Resources Committee.
    • OSCHE.
    • Lake Campus, Report by Jill Putoff:
      • Lake has added 5 new staff.
      • Enrollment applications are up 5%.
      • Chartwell’s will provide dining services at Lake Campus as well.
      • Garden day is Tuesday May 14th.
      • The Lake Campus picnic is May 16th.
  • Questions or issues from other unclassified staff in attendance
  • Guest Speaker: Al Boggs, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources.
    • USAC prepared 4 questions (see addendum) which were given to Mr. Boggs in advance of the meeting. Human Resources has engaged in a visioning/strategic planning process which inspired some of these questions. USAC is mindful that unclassified employees have identified a number of specific issues and personal concerns which will continue to be followed by USAC.
    • Question #1:  What are HR’s top five priorities for the upcoming fiscal year (FY13/14)?  Further, what is the process by which HR will periodically address these priorities?
      • Health Care:
        • Long and short term strategic planning for prescription benefits and medical care providers. 
        • A review of health care offerings will be conducted after planning has been completed.
        • Addition of a Director of Wellness.
        • Development of a partnership with Wright State Physicians and a wellness program review.
        • Leveraging resources with the wellness programs offered by our health care providers.
        • Expansion of immunization programs such as offering flu shots for families and support for pneumonia and shingles vaccines.
        • Develop WSU Physicians as a possible alternative to emergency room visits. 
        • Implementation of changes based on selection of a healthcare vendor. Devising a plan design may not be possible all in one year.
      • Issue a final recommendation on classified staff pay.
      • Completion of a new HR website
        • USAC will be asked to serve as a focus group to test the website
      • Online alternatives to paper-based performance evaluations.  Cycling into electronic performance evaluations will take a year or two.
        • Vendors have demonstrated electronic versions which include other management tools, succession planning and so forth.
    • Question from attendee:  How can HR keep these plans be kept fresh?  Answer:  HR will use a continuous improvement process. 
      • Four groups of issues have emerged in the HR planning process:  leadership and accountability; HR alignment; automation; and space.  HR is looking at these areas:
        • Additional automation is needed to leverage resources.
        • Self-service will be improved.
        • Space is an issue on campus because the University lacks room for growth and improvement.  Occasional references have been raised to the possibility of moving some support services off-campus, but HR believes it is important that the office remain on the core campus.
        • HR wants to remain aligned with the University strategic plans and goals.  Some tasks may need to be realigned.
          • Consolidation of professional development in HR is desirable
          • Consolidating the treasure trove of information available in HR into a relevant matrix will be useful.  Examples include turnover assessments and needs assessments.
        • Accountability at all levels is important. 
        • Demands are high and resources are scarce.  HR has 4 or 5 years of projects on the board.  Prioritizing them will happen.  This group can be influential in planning.
    • Question #2:  What is your plan, and what steps are being taken to improve communication between HR and staff, both on an individual and university level?
      • The communication piece is critical.  Communication runs through all core planning groups.  We are going to layer the communication through all the core groups.
    • Question #3: How does HR plan to increase support for personnel issues, including those pertaining to administrative and professional development concerns?
      • We know that if we are going to go forward with developing programs that handle professional development, access is important. Release time needs to be encouraged.  We want to provide a combination of online and face-to-face training
      • A lack of availability of flex hours is a major complaint.  We need to encourage and develop the policies that support the development plans.
      • We will make a big investment in wellness for long-term improvement in the workforce.
    • Question #4: How can USAC partner with HR to improve service in the area mentioned above and to better advise the university administration regarding necessary support of the HR functions?
      • Today’s meeting is a big piece of that.  We need to do this more often.  These kinds of discussions are going to be helpful to get the feedback needed for strategic planning.
        • USAC members participated as stakeholders in strategic planning.
      • Mr. Boggs would like to find the opportunity to attend as many of these meeting as USAC would like.
      • Misunderstandings regarding the role of Human Resources are ongoing. 
    • Question from attendee:  How much do you encourage your staff to attend committee meetings and join in?  Answer:
        • HR staff participate in campus committees.  The Diversity Council is a good example.  HR was a participant in developing policies.
        • HR will be more engaged in professional searches.  Staff are receiving training to that end now.
    • Comment from attendee: Many human resources related concerns have been voiced to USAC.  We need to be sure that concerns are heard and responded to.  We need to recognize that there are some issues that should not be forgotten.  Response:
        • In the next few months we will be aligning our internal resources in a new way which will help with this.
        • We will make sure that people know who to see and where to go for their concerns.
        • We want to make sure that we don’t get so focused on technology and development that we forget the daily needs of employees.
    • Question from attendee:  The phrase “at the discretion of management” is frequently repeated in the Wright Way Policy manual.  Is there an initiative to remove some of the discretion to direct that some of the options which are available to some employees are available to all?  Response:
      • Emily Hamman has reviewed all of the policies which fall under Human Resources umbrella and is comparing them to best practices.
      • We have heard the complaint that some employees are unable to get the time off to attend development.  We need to work cooperatively to make use of staff in other areas to increase options. 
      • We often hear that supervisors should attend training.  Questions have been asked about why some training isn’t mandatory.  A culture change is needed more than a policy change.  Incentives can be offered to attend development and accountability can be applied.
    • Question from attendee:  Why aren’t we looking at corporate policies and not just other universities for comparison?  Response:
      • We do look at those though our HR professional associations.
      • Some of those situations include hierarchical management and things are done by decree.  We try to give people more flexibility.  A “thou shalt” policy doesn’t fit our culture.
    • Comment from Mark Polatajko:  We are trying to apply continuous improvement:
      • Identifying and supporting staff for professional development.
      • Completion of performance appraisals.
      • Performance management with an emphasis on development is being investigated.
      • Management discretion needs to be available to some degree so that vital processes can be managed.
      • We need to do right by our people.
  • Guest Speaker: Herb Dregalla, Director of Semester Conversion, "The First Year of Semesters." Dr. Dregalla is now the Associate Dean in the College of Liberal arts but will continue to serve as the Director of Semester Conversion.
  • Dates to Remember
    • Unclassified Staff Open Forum--Tuesday, May 14, 2-4 p.m., 156 Student Union
    • Dr. Henry Limouze Retirement Celebration--Tuesday, May 14, 4:30-6:00 p.m. Fox and Hound Pub & Grille, Beavercreek, Ohio
    • Faculty, Staff, Retiree Picnic--Friday, June 7 (more details to follow)
    • Staff Council--Wednesday, June 12, 2-4 p.m., 267 University Hall
    • USAC Meeting--Thursday, June 13, 157 Student Union. Guest Speaker: Dr. Kimberly Barrett, Update on Performance Appraisals.
  • The meeting was adjourned at 10:35

USAC: The purpose of the Unclassified Staff Advisory Council(USAC) is to represent its members to the university by: promoting their general welfare; advocating for unclassified staff through active participation in university governance structure; reviewing, initiating and making recommendation on relevant university policies and procedures; encouraging and facilitating communication among members; and encouraging professional development opportunities. One of the prime responsibilities of this council is to serve the educational community by creating and maintaining an environment conducive to the teaching, learning, research, and service functions of higher education. The recommendations of the council are submitted to the University President.


Text of email sent to Al Boggs May 3, 2013:

Thank you for your willingness to attend the Unclassified Staff Advisory Council (USAC) meeting on May 9, 2013 to discuss concerns related to Human Resources (HR), as voiced and recorded in the March 14, 2013 USAC meeting and minutes, respectively. 

We hope you will use this meeting to help us and our broader community understand HR objectives and strategies, inclusive of how we can contribute to such, regarding the themes presented in the April 19, 2013, "Partnering with HR," visioning session.  Specifically, we would like to focus on the theme of "proactive, effective, world-class service", which we believe will also speak to the other identified themes of "exceptionally respected, trusted professionals" and "irreplaceable strategic contributor."

Due to time constraints for the upcoming meeting, we've identified the following questions for which we would like you to address:

1)  What are HR's top five priorities for the upcoming fiscal year (FY 13/14)?  Further, what is the process by which HR will periodically reassess these priorities? 

2) What is your plan, and what steps are being taken, to improve communication between HR and staff, both on an individual and university level? 

3) How does HR plan to increase support for personnel issues, including those pertaining to administrative and professional development concerns? 

4) How can USAC partner with HR to improve service in the areas mentioned above, and to better advise the university administration regarding the necessary support of the HR function? 

Thank you for your attention to these concerns and we look forward to working with you in our shared commitment towards the ongoing success of the University.

Craig This
Data Analyst
Office of Institutional Research
350 G University Hall
Wright State University
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway
Dayton, OH 45434




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