Minutes 2013-2014

February 11, 2014

 Minutes from the January meeting were approved.

  1. Staff Peer Appreciation Awards
    1. Nominations opened today (2/11).
    2. 10 winners will be randomly selected from the nominations received.
    3. An email reminder will be sent shortly inviting nominations and we will remind everyone at the Staff Council Coffee Breaks in March.
  2. Coffee Break
    1. To be held March 26 from 8:30am – 9:30am and 2:30pm – 3:30pm
    2. Peer Appreciation awards will be issued
    3. Campus Police will present an introduction to Active Threat response
  3. Financial Overview meetings with Vice President Shannon Gurek
    1. The sessions were engaging, and attendees asked good questions
  4. Tuition Benefits & the PAGE Program
    1. It was clarified that tuition reimbursement is designed for courses not held at Mount Holyoke; this special program is not part of the campus tuition waiver as well
  5. Spring Luncheon with the President 4/2/2014
    1. If there are any issues brought up at the luncheon that warrant additional attention, the Staff Council will invite Human Resources Director Chris Abbuhl to our April meeting
  6.  Shredding Event during Pangy Day 4/25/2014
    1. Info Shred has volunteered their van to accept anyone’s documents that require shredding.
    2. A suggested donation of $5/box will be collected toward a worthy campus cause (Staff Council is investigating some ideas)
  7. Benefits Fair 5/8/2014
    1. Staff Council will have a table and some information about projects as well as some small giveaways
  8. Elections for Staff Council (terms begin June, 2014)
    1. Nominations will be open from April 7 – 18
    2. Elections will be held May 5 – 14
  9. Truman Scholarship
    1. This scholarship is awarded to the dependent of a staff member who does not receive other college scholarship (i.e., tuition exchange)
    2. The application will open this spring with a May 15 deadline
  10. Committee Reports
    1. No new updates to report
  11. Next Meeting
    1. March 11, 2014 at 1:00pm

January 14, 2014

  1.  Appreciation Awards
  2. Coffee Breaks
    1. Date: 3/26/14 8:30am-9:30am and 2:30pm-3:30pm
    2. Topic: Active Threat- Campus Police will offer an active threat “Brown Bag Luncheon,” but are also available to present this workshop to faculty & staff groups around campus. Contact Earl Brown in Campus Police to schedule a workshop.
    3. Winner of the Staff Council Peer Recognition Awards will be presented with a gift.
  3.   "Financial Overview and Future Budget Planning" meetings
    1. Shannon Gurek will give an overview of the current financial health of the institution and how things have changed over the past 5 years. She will also discuss budget parameters in place as we plan budgets moving forward.
    2. Staff Council members will attempt to attend at least one session.
  4. Extension Courses not included in tuition benefits- update
  5. Updates on
    1. Presidents Luncheon- 4/2/14 from noon – 1:30pm; invitations will be sent from the President’s Office.
    2. Meeting with HR- if there are outstanding staff issues, the Council will meet with HR Director Chris Abbuhl after the President’s Luncheon.

  6. Shredding Event on Pangy Day (4/25/14)
    1. Staff Council will be sponsoring a shredding event on Pangy Day, to be announced to the staff in the next news blasts
  7. Benefits Fair
    1. Staff Council will have a presence as we have in the past.
  8. Elections
    1. Nominations will be accepted April 4 – 18, 2014.
    2. Elections will be held May 5 – 14, 2014.
  9. Committee Reports
  10. No updates

December 10, 2013

  1.  Follow-up on retreat with Human Resources
    1. Flexible summer hours: the communication sent annually from Human Resources does already allow managers to permit additional flexibility for creative work schedules that still allows departments to function through the summer.
    2. Management Training: Human Resources is doing an assessment of training needs in light of limited funding for training currently, and will likely continue to offer some management training and other topics identified as helpful.
  2. Winterfest December 18
    1. Discussed Staff Council roles, and assignments to begin shortly.
  3. Spring Coffee Break
    1. Will be scheduled for late March
    2. Would like to invite the new Chief of Campus Police, Buddy Gould, and have a brief presentation on office/campus safety. He will be invited.
    3. Will also present the Peer Recognition Awards.
  4. Financial Overview Meetings
    1. Shannon Gurek, the Vice President for Finance and Administration, will be holding some meetings on the budget process and the financial health of the College.
    2. The first sessions are currently scheduled on January 14 at 8:30am, and on January 30 at 8:30am and 2:00pm.
  5. Extension Courses
    1. These are not considered part of the college’s Tuition Waiver program, or the Tuition Reimbursement benefit due to the specialty of the courses. Staff Council will follow-up.
  6. Staff Council Spring Events
    1. Peer Recognition Awards: Nominations open in the spring and will be awarded at the spring coffee break.
    2. President’s Luncheon will be scheduled in the spring.
    3. Follow-up meeting with Chris Abbuhl, if needed, will be scheduled after the President’s Luncheon if there are topics that will need further discussion.
    4. Staff Council elections – will be held during/into May to replace those Staff Council members who are completing their terms.
    5. Truman scholarship application and awards.
    6. Shredding Event at Pangy Day – will approach shredding vendor to see if they can come out.
    7. Benefits Fair – May.
  7. Committee Reports
    1. No reports.

November 12, 2013

1.    Fall Coffin Break Follow-Up
     a.       The event went well despite technical issues.
     b.      The afternoon session was not as well attended, perhaps due to the weather.
     c.       In general, the afternoon sessions are less attended; we will re-evaluate after next year.

2.    Follow-Up after Retreat with Human Resources
     a.       HR Director was receptive to ideas from the Council.
     b.      We may hold another retreat with HR in the spring if enough questions arise, or may invite Chris to the next Staff Council meeting after the luncheon with the President in case questions  arise.

3.    Winterfest
     a.       Date is December 18.
     b.      Staff Council assists with some of the work for the event.

4.    Committee Reports
     a.       Updates were received from the Faculty Meeting representative.

November 7, 2013 Retreat with Human Resources

1.       Summer Hours
     a.       Staff Council received a suggestion from a staff member that the college consider extending Summer Hours until Labor Day
                                    i.      Many students are back by Labor Day, and departments directly supporting students have become busier by then, and cannot extend those hours.
                                   ii.      However, departments with less direct impact from students returning may, with their department head’s approval, consider extending them.
     b.      Another question arose regarding whether or not staff had any flexibility of work schedules within those Summer Hours; the announcement sent annually allows that with the department head’s approval as long as the department can remain open during the shorter core Summer Hours schedule.

2.       Gorse Benefits
A staff member asked whether or not there is equity between faculty and staff on benefits for Gorse tuition
                                       i.      Gorse benefits are income-qualified; discounts for Mount Holyoke employees, both faculty and staff, are based on household income.
                                     ii.      Independent of this college benefit, Gorse also offers multi-child discounts for the 3rd and subsequent child enrolled.

3.       Bereavement Policy
     a.       A staff member asked if there could be specific provisions for at least a day of bereavement time for close relatives other than those listed in the policy.
     b.      Human Resources staff have already reviewed this, and the policy will be updated shortly on the online Staff Handbook.
     c.       Note that the six allotted personal days may also be used for any leave necessitated by someone who is close to you, but does not meet the criteria as defined in the college’s policy.

4.       Performance Development Program
     a.       Human Resources is tracking returns to assure consistent completion across campus; some departments are in a different cycle based on the workload cycle.
     b.      Human Resources is developing a training program for staff based on the needs identified through these forms, and will utilize resources already available locally.
     c.       In unrelated news, Human Resources is kicking off a leadership development program.

5.       Merit-Based Pay Increases
     a.       This topic continues to be one that is discussed in numerous forums.
                                          i.      In order to have a merit-based pay program to be equitable, there have to be identified meaningful distinctions between what is considered laudatory performance, and performance that is average.
                                         ii.      An inconsistently-managed program can actually lead to decreased moral.
     b.      The college continues to monitor salary levels in all positions against the market to assure staff are paid fairly, and adjustments are made when salaries dip below that value.
                                           i.      This assessment is based on local and national salary data and is ongoing.

6.       Tuition Benefits
     a.       Staff members taking a course at Mount Holyoke are eligible for one course/semester tuition free, with additional benefits for staff enrolled in the Frances Perkins program.
     b.      Additionally, staff may take a course at another institution and may be eligible for reimbursement for $500/semester if they meet certain requirements.
                                            i.      This amount was raised recently from $250, but Human Resources will review our peers to assure we remain within the norm of this kind of benefit with other                  institutions who may offer tuition benefits.

October 8, 2013

1.       Mountain Day Follow Up
     a.       For the first time we are aware of, we ran out of pie. We will increase the order for next year.
     b.      The hour-long shifts worked well for Staff Council members.

2.       Annual Staff Council Retreat with Human Resources
     a.       Topics submitted for consideration were reviewed

3.       Fall “Coffin Break” Final Planning
     a.       October 31 at 8:30am and 2:30pm in the Great Room in Blanchard
     b.      Topic to be Haunted MHC with a guest speaker from the Archives

4.       Discussed handling of Staff Council emails; co-chairs will respond to those that need an immediate response referring anything that requires Council consideration to the next meeting.

5.       Winterfest: Save the date, December 18, 2013

6.       Committee Reports
     a.       Alcohol & Drug Advisory Council: Staff Council rep provided an update on that meeting.

7.       Next Meeting of the Staff Council:  November 12, 2013

September 10, 2013

1.       Minutes from the June meeting were approved.

2.       Staff Council’s annual retreat with Chris Abbuhl, Director of Human Resources planning
     a.       A few suggestions for topics were reviewed.
     b.      Will solicit additional agenda topics from the staff.

3.       Winterfest
     a.       The budget for the event was transferred to the Staff Council area.
     b.      We are reviewing our role and obtaining the date to prepare for what the Staff Council traditionally handles.

4.       Fall Coffee Break
     a.       Looking at October 31 for a date; checking at the availability of the Great Room and for any potential conflicts.
     b.      Will again host two breaks, one at 8:30am and one at 2:30pm.
     c.       Will approach a few presenters who may be of interest to the staff.

5.       Mountain Day
     a.       Mountain Day is announced that morning; Staff Council serves pie to staff from 11am – 1p.
     b.      We will set up a Doodle poll so members can volunteer to staff the table.

6.       Staff Meet & Greets
     a.       In August a staff member arranged a meet and greet for staff at the Yarde House which was fairly well attended. Faculty have a similar event that they organize for newer faculty members.
     b.      Staff Council will announce future events through the monthly staff blast.

7.       Committees
     a.       Assignments of 2013-2014 Staff Council member committee and role assignments.

8.       Next meeting is scheduled for October 8.