Staff Council Meeting Minutes – September 2018

Staff Council met on Tuesday, September 18 at 8:30AM in Alumni Auditorium. Below are the meeting minutes (approved on October 25, 2018) for your review. These minutes can also be found on the K: Drive, located at K:\Staff Council\Staff Council – Meeting Minutes\June 2018 – May 2019 (Note for Windows 10 users: the K: drive is now the P: drive on your machine). Please send any recommended revisions to Cullen Bostock at cbostock@champlain.edu prior to the October 25 meeting.


I.   Welcome – Call meeting to order (Shaylea Scribner, Staff Council President)

  • Shaylea began by noting her goals for the year as Staff Council President:
    • Reform the Staff Council meetings to include more time to talk about big issues facing Staff at Champlain (i.e. make the meetings more “meaty”).
    • Support the Executive Board and the three committees through the year, specifically by helping them to reach their goals.
    • Work with Executive Board and the three committees to find ways to engage staff more through Staff Council and events
  • An introduction was made to each member of the Staff Council Executive Board.
    • Shaylea Scribner, President
    • Jared Cadrette, Vice President
    • Patrick DiMambro, Treasurer
    • Cullen Bostock, Secretary
    • Mikael Blanco, Board Member At-Large
    • Tara Arneson, Board Member At-Large
    • Aram Sevakian, Board Member At-Large
    • Jean-Marie Severance, Staff Welfare & Advocacy Committee Chair
    • Kelsey O’Connor, Staff Networking & Recreation Committee Chair
    • Nic Anderson, Staff Communications & Engagement Committee Co-Chair
    • Katy DelGreco, Staff Communications & Engagement Committee Co-Chair
  • Shaylea expressed opportunity for her and members of the Staff Council Executive Board to ask questions on behalf of employees (i.e. to College leadership, at Town Hall meetings, etc.). Should individuals not feel comfortable asking difficult questions or have specific agenda items they would like explored for future meetings, they may contact any member of the Executive Board.

II.   Approval of the May (Annual) meeting minutes (see on Staff Council Blog at https://staffcouncil.champlain.edu)

  • A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the May 2018 Annual Meeting minutes were unanimously approved

III.   Let Us Teach Presentation & Call for Participation – Elaine Young & Faith Yacubian

  • Elaine began by giving a brief overview of what “Let Us Teach” is all about. As an educational community, Champlain College faculty, staff and students support free speech and reject the notion that differing points of view and individual experiences prevent us from embracing all the forms of diversity on our campus. Rather, we look to the inspiration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as we celebrate the power of education and free, constructive dialogue to maintain a strong and vibrant democracy. This grassroots, community-driven event is intended to provide an opportunity for each of us to contribute our knowledge, passion, experiences, questions, and curiosities so that we can learn from, engage with, and enrich one another outside the classroom.
  • The 2018 event was a great success, with a wide variety of topics (e.g. social injustice, current events, etc.) being presented in a number of different formats (e.g. films, open forums/discussions, formal presentations, etc.). Elaine noted that student participation and engagement in the event added to its success.
  • Faith recognized that faculty are in a privileged position and may not experience as many barriers to participating as staff might (e.g. manager approval, time, etc.). In addition to engaging in the day’s events, staff are encouraged to play a part in planning the event. The Let Us Teach kick-off meeting will be held on September 26. There are a number of ways in which staff can contribute. Those interested should contact Elaine (eyoung@champlain.edu).
  • The question was asked whether or not the 2019 Let Us Teach events will be held on MLK Day, as it was this past year. Elaine replied that the intention is to have forums held throughout the day on MLK Day, in 15 minute time slots. However, consideration has been given to holding set events over the course of that week. Since MLK Day is a public holiday, there is the potential some people may not be around campus. Having events throughout the week provides more opportunities for engagement.

IV.   Introduction to Vice President for Technology and CIO – Jeff Brown

  • Jeff has been working in Higher Education Information Technology for roughly 20 years and it is one of his lifelong passions. One of the things he appreciates about Champlain is how the College operates and swiftly adapts to changes. He is also grateful for joining an already strong IT team.
  • The question was asked whether or not he/his team would continue to share information regarding current projects, including priorities and progress. Jeff replied, “Absolutely”. He values transparency and believes that sharing such information allows IT to steward the strategic budgeting process and helps departments assess and/or meet their needs.
  • It was asked whether or not staff can still expect never having to share personal information. This is still the case. IT will never ask for such information. Jeff emphasized that continued information security training is necessary and has implications in both our professional and personal lives.
  • The topic of single sign-on was brought up. Jeff explained that this is something his department is striving toward. The ideal situation is for the College’s information to be controlled internally, as opposed to having to distribute data to various systems. The first step to addressing this topic will be to perform a full systems inventory. 

V.   Staff Welfare & Advocacy Committee Session – Jean-Marie Severance

  • Chair of the Staff Welfare & Advocacy Committee, Jean-Marie, began by sharing the list of current committee members as well as the statement from Staff Council Bylaws which describes the committee’s purpose.
    • Committee Members: Jean-Marie Severance (Chair), Mikael Blanco (Board Liaison), Christina Erickson, Dan Selicaro, Linda Goodrum, Justin Cawley, Will McCrary, Christa Hagan-Howe, James Garner, Jen Adrian, Kellie Nadeau, Madison Braz.
    • Purpose, as stated in Staff Council Bylaws: “This Committee shall work collaboratively with the People Center to review College policies, benefits, salary, insurance, retirement matters, performance evaluation, professional development, and staff recognition programs which affect staff personnel. The overall job classification structure and advancement opportunities for staff members will be reviewed as deemed necessary and appropriate. This Committee is charged with preparing proposals for review by the membership at large, and subsequently presenting the approved proposal to the President of the College by a representative of the Committee and the President of Staff Council. The Committee will not pursue individual personnel issues or grievances. All communications by any newly formed committee with Staff Council members, such as an ad hoc committee or task force, must be approved by and established under the guidance of the Executive Committee.”
  • As a result of regular meetings with Jennifer Archambault and the People Center, the committee has identified the following next steps/topics being explored this year:
    • Staff Holiday Calendar – The current calendar posted on the Faculty/Staff website goes through this year. The committee will want to have a part in planning/projecting staff holidays in future calendar years.
    • Great Colleges to Work for (GCTWF) Survey results – At the end of October, a consultant from Modern Think will be on campus to review the results/findings with the College community (likely during Town Hall). Jennifer mentioned that we are slightly behind schedule in terms of sharing the results with everyone. She emphasized that this is not purposeful and is simply the result of having trouble aligning schedules between various stakeholders.
    • Developing a Staff Welfare & Advocacy portion in new manager orientation materials
    • Continuing to evaluate the performance review process – The committee still feels there is some angst toward the process as well as differences in how managers interpret performance rankings. With the imminent adoption of Oracle, the committee recognizes opportunity to rethink the process.
  • Jean-Marie invited members to share their thoughts in an open forum. The first topic discussed was the staff performance evaluation process. There was a scenario described involving a manager telling a staff member to complete the “progress toward goals” section “as if you were requesting a letter of recommendation”. This was interpreted as being an encouragement to find jobs elsewhere. Alternatively, it was pointed out that the intention was likely to describe how best for staff to advocate for themselves. This example did prompt further discussion regarding the need to standardize or be more explicit in our definitions of “goals”, “tasks”, etc. The process should make clear for individuals what they need to do in order to advance in their role.
  • There was a question asked regarding the impact Modern Think/GCTWF Survey results have on the committee’s goals/direction. Jean-Marie expressed that the results greatly influence what the committee will focus on. She is appreciative that members of the committee have been invited to sit in on initial results review/consultation. Jennifer noted that, as a result of initial review with Cabinet, the three themes that are evident are: vision, communication, and senior leadership.
  • The impact of recent layoffs and staff turnover was acknowledged. While there are varying views on whether or not such individual departure details should be communicated, the general consensus seems to indicate that some form of sharing with the community is helpful. When staff leave the College, with them goes the personal/professional connections and institutional knowledge they had established during their time at the College. Additionally, there is pressure felt by those staff members that must fill the void in terms of workload.
  • Jean-Marie concluded this portion of the agenda by putting out a call for committee members, emphasizing the need for more student affairs representatives. Anyone interested in joining the Staff Welfare & Advocacy committee can email staffwelfare@champlain.edu. 

VI.   Build Your Own Business (BYOBiz) Program Overview & Updates – Kylie King

  • Kylie introduced herself as the new Director for the BYOBiz Program. Kylie is also an Assistant Professor in the Business Administration Program. In her role as the new Director, Kylie is looking forward to building upon the program’s strengths.
  • Kylie’s primary goal is to continue to support and engage Champlain College student entrepreneurs through various workshops/events throughout the year. Another goal is to identify and leverage the program’s strengths, including information gathering and highlighting success stories from current/former business students. 

VII.   Announcements

  • Shaylea made the announcement that the 2019 Commencement Ceremony has been moved to the Champlain Exposition Center in Essex. This move allows the College to remove the cap on attendance, among other logistical and cost saving benefits. It was mentioned that this move also provides the opportunity to hang the various country flags to represent our international students.
  • Champlain College’s International Education Week/Nations United kicks off on Saturday, November 10, 2018 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Alumni Auditorium.
  • Information regarding voter registration drive, “Let Us Vote”, will be shared throughout the Fall. This is a concerted effort to encourage Champlain College students to register and vote in November. In the 2014 mid-term election, just 17% of Champlain College students voted, despite 58% being registered. This year the goal is for 46% of registered students to vote.

VIII.   Closing – if you have questions, feedback, ideas – please speak to me or one of our Executive Committee members