Staff Council met on Wednesday, February 21 at 9:00AM in Alumni Auditorium. Below are the meeting minutes (approved on March 21, 2018) for your review. These minutes can also be found on the K: Drive, located at K:\Staff Council\Staff Council – Meeting Minutes\June 2017 – May 2018 (Note for Windows 10 users: the K: drive is now the P: drive on your machine).
I. Welcome – Call meeting to order (Patrick DiMambro, Facilitator)
II. New Employee Welcome
- The group welcomed Sekou Keita, a new hire in the Finance department
III. Approval of the December meeting minutes (view at https://staffcouncil.champlain.edu),
- A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the December meeting minutes were unanimously approved
IV. 194 Saint Paul Street Housing Option – Danelle Berube, Residential Life
- Res Life has rolled out their housing selection process for the 2018/2019 academic year. The deadline for housing applications is March 2, with a required housing deposit due to student accounts by March 15.
- Danelle began by giving a brief overview of housing options available “on the hill”. The housing options around main campus are available to both first year and returning students. There are a number of specialized options for students, for example, substance free housing. Students are also encouraged to organize and propose their own “themed” living spaces. Such themes require an application/proposal, are often tied to a specific action plan/cause that benefits the community, and may also have a faculty/staff advisor.
- New on this year’s slate of housing options is 194 Saint Paul. This apartment building provides returning students a year round, independent, autonomous living environment. There is an application process specifically for this option to ensure that it is a good fit considering financial and occupancy responsibilities associated with the contract. That is, students who apply and get accepted are committing to a 1-year housing contract.
- The application process follows the same deadlines as the general selection process noted above (March 2 for application, March 15 deposit). It was noted that the timing is intentional to allow students to enter the standard housing lottery as a contingency (i.e. should they not get accepted for a 194 Saint Paul unit). While priority will be given to third and fourth year students, second year students will be considered based on demand. Students on behavioral/disciplinary probation will not be eligible.
- The question was asked whether or not the new facility will also contain retail space and if there are plans to provide tours once construction is completed. Danelle replied that it does in fact have retail space available. Campus Planning is currently accepting proposals and working with community partners to fill those spaces. The building will be ready soon and Danelle anticipates that it will be showcased in some way, whether in the form of tours, she was not certain. In the meantime, staff can view the detailed mockups by visiting Campus Planning.
- The topic of Spinner Place was brought up. Danelle noted that the College’s contract with Spinner ends this coming Fall, after which, leases will only be available through a third party. Spinner will also be excluded from the shuttle loop after the current academic year. While the College’s contract with Spinner does last through the Summer, there are no plans yet regarding what the use will be during that time.
- It was asked whether or not there will be an area coordinator assigned to the building. Danelle noted that a student leadership position is available. While some aspects will be similar to those of a Resident Advisor (RA), this individual’s role will differ given the living environment and be more support oriented.
- Danelle noted, in response to a question, that parking around the building is operated by the City of Burlington and therefore guaranteed spots/privileges will not be available to residents of 194 Saint Paul. That said, the new facility will be included in the regular shuttle loop.
- The scenario regarding May 2019 graduates was discussed. Given that it will be the first year of the new facility’s occupancy, it is likely that some residents who graduate in May might need to opt out for the Summer months. Danelle and the Res Life team are working on turnaround options to address this potential situation.
V. People Center Update – Jennifer Archambault, Christine Hutchins, Katie Hawley
Modern Think ‘Great Colleges to Work For’ Survey – Jennifer Archambault
- Jennifer reminded staff that the Great Colleges to Work For survey will be administered beginning March 19 until April 6. Staff are highly encouraged to take part in the survey as it is a vital measure of their experiences and ability to thrive at Champlain. Jennifer also emphasized the importance of supervisor encouragement as it is a key driving force behind participation.
- Jennifer addressed concerns and past questions regarding the confidentiality of responses. She assured the group that Modern Think has systems in place that make it impossible to identify individuals based on information collected from their results. This has primarily been a concern among smaller departments. Jennifer noted that departments with less than 5 employees/responses will not receive a summary report, rather, the information is aggregated and rolled up to the broader division/VP area. Champlain does not have access to the raw data.
- It was noted that there was some confusion in past surveys regarding questions related to “management”. For example, whether it refers to direct supervisors, department heads, division Vice Presidents, etc. Jennifer noted that they are aiming to be much more explicit with such language in the 2018 survey.
Resources for Staff Regarding Sexual Misconduct Reporting – Christine Hutchins
- In light of the recent #MeToo campaign, Christine provided a brief update regarding staff’s role in reporting possible incidents. All concerns regarding sexual misconduct should ultimately be reported to the People Center. This allows for a proper investigation to take place. Christine emphasized that the People Center will honor confidentiality for all parties involved.
- Staff were also reminded of their Title IX obligation and responsibility to report situations to the College via the Title IX Coordinator, Danelle Berube. Title IX is the standard which mandates how the College must handle these types of situations.
- Christine finished by reminding the group about the Employee Assistance Program, e4 Health, which is available through the People Center website. This program is completely confidential and connects employees to a number of different health-related resources.
Communication Around Campus Flyers – Katie Hawley
- A message was sent on behalf of the College to all staff, faculty, and students on February 19 regarding the display of white nationalist, racist flyers around campus. As a result, Faculty Forum took the opportunity to omit their normal meeting topics and instead have an open discussion regarding how the situation impacts students’ classroom experience. Katie noted that similar conversations will be held around campus so members of the entire community can discuss what the College should be doing to address the needs of staff, faculty, and students and how to actively demonstrate the commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- The Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) Food Shelf is being operated out of the Skiff 011 Swap Shop. The food shelf is open to address food security needs for all staff, faculty, and students.
- ODI conducted its first food drive during Martin Luther King, Jr. week and it was a success. There will likely be another drive after Spring Break, more information to come regarding details, including a list of preferred food items for donors. In the meantime, donations can be dropped off at the Swap Shop.
2018 Vermont City Marathon – Dana Hutchinson is seeking interested individuals to put together a Champlain relay team. Contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in running a leg of the 5-person or 2-person relay.
- During their January meeting, College Council welcomed members of the Student Government Association (SGA) to give a presentation followed by an open discussion regarding how the College can best support and empower student leaders.
- College Council meeting notes can be found on the website through the Faculty and Staff portal: https://www.champlain.edu/faculty-and-staff/college-council
Staff Council Executive Board
- Christina noted that the Executive Board spent their last meeting exploring data related to staff retention and the exit interview processes conducted by the People Center.
- Staff Networking & Recreation – Kelsey O’Connor, Co-Chair
- Communications will be going out soon regarding the annual Staff Bowling Event, being held at Spare Time on March 30 from 4-6PM.
- Communication & Engagement – Christina Erickson
- Christina reminded the group that nominations for the annual Staff Council Award are now open. Award criteria can be found on the Staff Council website and it will be presented in May.
- Christina also put out a call for committee members. Anyone interested in joining the Communication & Engagement Committee should contact Roland Palmer at email@example.com.
VII. Closing – if you have questions, feedback, ideas – please speak to one of our Executive Committee members