Staff Council met on Wednesday, April 18 at 9:00AM in Alumni Auditorium. Below are the meeting minutes (to be approved on May 22, 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). Please send any revisions to Cullen Bostock at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the May 22 Annual meeting.
I. Welcome – Call meeting to order (Dan Selicaro, Facilitator)
II. New Employee Welcome
- The group welcomed 2 new employees!
Sarah Quintana– Recruiter, People Center
Amy Eastman – Senior Academic Specialist, Registrar’s Office
III. Approval of the March meeting minutes (view at https://staffcouncil.champlain.edu),
- A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the March meeting minutes were unanimously approved
IV. Senior Capstone Project Update – Anthony Rivers ’18
- Anthony is a senior in the College’s Psychology degree program. The capstone project revolves around the College’s Animal/Pet Policy. As an animal lover, Anthony was inspired to pursue this project as a way to provide clarity and address misunderstanding around the policy. Anthony noted that students often approach policy change with a lot of enthusiasm, however, he feels it can sometimes by one-sided and it is his obligation to make sure everyone is informed. His goal was not to change the policy but to see what the attitude is towards it.
- Anthony surveyed the entire college community (faculty, staff, and students) to gain insights about the communication of the policy. One of the key findings of the survey was that there is a lack of understanding among students regarding why the policy is in place and in what circumstances individuals are allowed to have animals on campus. The policy was enacted as part of the College’s obligation to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for those visiting and living on campus. However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHA), services and assistance animals are permitted upon approval by accommodations office.
- Anthony noted another key finding regarding enforcement. The results of his studied showed that the policy was well enforced among Staff and Faculty. However, 70% of student respondents replied that they know of someone who has violated the policy, and 20% replied that they themselves have violated the policy.
- Anthony concluded his presentation by expressing his insight that this is a “balancing act”. 25% of respondents stated that they are either allergic or afraid of certain animals and the College has to be mindful of that. Anthony stated that the College could benefit from better enforcement and informing the community about the policy. He recommended that the College also create more opportunities, safe spaces, and/or initiatives for those students who are comfortable around animals to interact with them.
V. SGA Overview / Year in Review – Christa Bennett, Outgoing President
- SGA made significant changes to their hierarchical structure during the 2017-2018 academic year. Christa noted the key addition of the SGA House of Representatives. The House consists of representatives from each academic division, class year (First year through Senior) as well as representatives for Academic Diversity and Engagement and Campus Engagement. These representatives all report to the Vice President. SGA Cabinet consists of 5 Director positions -Operations, Communications, Clubs, Diversity & Inclusion, and Finance.
- SGA awarded 65 grants throughout the academic year (34 in Fall and 31 in Spring, to date), with a total spending of $48,000. Grants were awarded to student groups to address needs in a number of different areas. Examples for each area include:
Professional Development ($5,832) – Conference attendance, Intercollegiate Broadcast System Awards Ceremony, Northeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Challenge Competition
Academic Ventures ($1,337) – Film projects, physical arcade game
Partnerships with Divisions / Programs ($2,800) – Technology for Zanzibari students, guest lecturer from Italy, cinematography trip to Montreal.
- Christa presented information regarding student clubs. There were 58 active clubs in Fall 2017 and 43 clubs in Spring 2018. Athletic and social clubs consistently appear to be the most popular. Others club categories include diversity, academic, and music to name a few.
- Some other key events throughout the year include SGA’s signing of 2 national letters; one to the Department of Education regarding proposed revisions to Title IX which increases the burden of proof necessary for campus sexual assault cases to be investigated, and another regarding school gun violence in the wake of recent events in Florida.
- SGA made significant process changes in 2017-2018 as well. The Dare to Share initiative was introduced, which aims to formalize the process for proposals and policy change between students and the administration. Students will now submit their proposals/feedback to the SGA President, who will present it to the Cabinet for vetting and questions, then it will be brought to the House for further review. Ultimately, next steps will be followed by the appropriate SGA representative. SGA also shifted to a bi-weekly grant approval process in an effort to create more funding opportunities for student initiatives.
- Christa concluded by listing members of the incoming SGA administration for the 2018-2019 academic year as a result of their recent elections:
Denzel Nadim, President
Maria Morales, Vice President
Quinn Kanner, Director of Clubs
Erin Warner, Director of Communication
Bekemeh Airewele, Director of Diversity and Engagement
Kaitlyn Vangu, Director of Finance
Abi Sesay, Director of Operations
Elizabeth Allen-Pennebaker, Advisor
Ciaran Buckley, Advisor
House of Representatives
CCM Representatives: Abigail Lewis, Ryan Littleton & Brandon Sweet
EHS Representatives: Emma Santos & Riaz Clark
ITS Representatives: Shelsea Henry & Cecilia Pohlar
SSB Representatives: Kyle Vigneau & Samantha Shubert
Academic Diversity Representative: Mariama Jallow
VI. Enrollment Update – Lisa Bunders
- Lisa began by thanking those involved in making the accepted students day a great success. The College welcomed approximately 600 potential Champlain students and their families to campus and the feedback from attendees was that it is evident people enjoy working for the College.
- Lisa noted that the current funnel is similar to years past, however, we continue to see shifts in the demographic composition which is representative of the national trend. Deposits are half in, which is on pace with 2016. Early decision continues to slightly erode. Lisa explained that this is representative of the anxiety within the market which is also indicated by increased number of financial aid appeals.
- Admissions is looking to make some changes to the way they look at applications to better align with national trends. For instance, Lisa noted moving to a test optional model next Fall and adding more quantitative measures. SAT scores are becoming less and less representative of success and this model would aim to break down barriers that test scores may create for some potential students.
- One key takeaway from current enrollment data is that ITS has seen some fantastic growth. Deposits are up from previous years in diverse and female populations.
- Someone in the group mentioned a comment they overheard at the admitted students event. Specifically, one family stated that Champlain is their first choice but they are waiting on financial aid. This led to the question of when FA packages go out to families. Lisa noted that FA packages have already been sent, the comment is likely referring to waiting for a response to their FA appeal. Lisa also expressed that a major shift in the world of FA is that an increased number of families with demonstrated resources still appeal.
- The question was asked whether or not demographics have significantly changed in those regions that the College has historically been successful in yielding (e.g. New England). Lisa mentioned that the number of college age or college attending students is trending down in New England. Alternatively, the number of such students is trending up in places like Texas and the Midwest.
- The Social Impact Scholars Track was briefly discussed. Coordinated by Eric Ronis and through collaboration with a group staff, faculty, and administrators, this Track is a new academic initiative designed to recruit and retain incoming student leaders to raise greater awareness around diversity, inclusion and equity issues. The program follows a cohort model, with an inaugural cohort of 8 students (currently), and Lisa noted that early indicators suggest it will have a positive impact on yield.
VII. Committee Updates
Staff Networking & Recreation
- On May 17, there will be a Staff Pop-Up Event, the Pine Street Crawl. Attendees will meet at Lakeside and “crawl” over to Queen City Brewing, followed by Zero Gravity.
- The end of year staff celebration will be a barbeque event held at Oakledge Park on June 21. More information will be sent to staff as the event approaches.
Communication & Engagement
- Reminder that 2 nomination forms can be found on the Staff Council website – Staff Council Award and Executive Board Member nominations (available positions: President, Treasurer, and 3 Board Members)
- April meeting was a continuation of their “Why in Action” discussions and included conversations about Career Collaborative as well as an appreciate inquiry workshop around educational leadership.
- While there was a set agenda for the April meeting, the group tabled it and instead had an open conversation following the death of Champlain student, Ethan Parker.
Staff Council Executive Board
- Discussion at the April meeting revolved around the College’s end of year recognition events as well as input regarding communication of key staff departures.
- In the March meeting, Nic Anderson announced Champlain’s partnership with a number of area businesses and the City of Burlington to provide a city-wide Bike Share program. The program was launched on April 18 with a bike “parade” from campus to Ben and Jerry’s on Church Street.
May Service Day
- With the changes made to end of academic year recognition events, what normally was a half day designated to community service will likely have a different look this year. Any and all thoughts or ideas are welcome.
IX. Closing – if you have questions, feedback, ideas – please speak to one of our Executive Committee members