Staff Council Meeting Minutes – March 2019

Staff Council met on Thursday, March 21 at 4:00PM in Lakeside 101/102. Below are the meeting minutes (approved on April 17, 2019) for your review. 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 April 17 meeting.


I.   Welcome – Call meeting to order (Christina Erickson, Immediate Past President, Staff Council)

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

  • A motion was made to approve, motion was seconded, and the February meeting minutes were unanimously approved

III.   International Center Presentation – Bekemeh Airewele, Director of Diversity & Engagement, SGA & Jessa Karki, Director of International Student Services

  • Bekemeh is a senior Marketing major and SGA Director of Diversity & Engagement. The idea for an International Center came from her conversations with a fellow student, who felt that she did not fit in due to her unique experiences being a student from Kenya. This shed some light on how our international students are feeling and how we as an institution can provide that sense of community.
  • Jessa described primary reasons/factoids to emphasize the importance of having an International Center.
    • The College’s Mission, specifically where we aim “to ensure that our students graduate prepared to be globally engaged citizens with international experience and global perspective.” Jessa made the point that this can’t happen in one semester abroad, it happens throughout all four years through engagement/experiences. It is important to provide and expand those opportunities for engagement among students.
    • College age in the United States is decreasing which has an impact on enrollment/recruiting. International student recruiting has been under-utilized and there is opportunity to bring students in from all over the world.
    • There are currently 1 Million international students in the US, which represents just 5.5% of overall enrollment. That population is responsible for $38B worth of business and create over 455,000 jobs nationwide. In Vermont, there are 1,870 international students, responsible for $87M of business and 892 jobs within the state. The question was asked whether or not a majority of VT population of international students are enrolled at UVM. Jessa noted that that is not necessarily true, students are spread out among the top 13 schools in the state. Each year we have to submit an international student census to the Institute for International Education, who use the data to produce an “open doors” report. The “open doors” report is where the numbers for enrollment, net worth, and job production are generated.
    • Champlain only has about 25-30 international students enrolled, total for any given year. In 2018, the College had an international student yield rate of just 4%, compared to the national rate which is 23%. Out of 114 student applicants and 63 accepts, Champlain yielded just 4 enrollees. The question was asked whether or not students distinguish why they did not choose Champlain. Jessa mentioned that without a community, it’s hard to convince someone to be the only one from their country here.
  • Bekemeh expressed the vision and mission of the proposed International Center. The Center would fall under the Academic Affairs division, specifically under the Office of International Education and overseen by Jessa as the Director of that division. The aim is provide a place of comfort and a feeling of acceptance. The Center would also be open to DACA, refugees, and students who are third culture (first generation in the US, families are from outside the US). The Center would provide cultural conversations/events based in learning about different cultures, which would be open to the broader College community.
  • Ultimately, the goal of this Center is to build community. Bekemeh expressed that, for her, the Women’s and Gender Center and Office of Diversity and Inclusion provide this sense of community. This Center would aim to expand on that and provide additional opportunities for people to learn and appreciate different cultures.
  • The learning outcomes of the International Center would be that people can appreciate difference. Bekemeh noted that one of the problems we have in the world is that people tend to shy away from difference or feel that they have to integrate in order to be appreciated. Differences should be accepted and celebrated. Another learning outcome would be for international students to understand their rights as immigrants to this country and for allies to understand when those rights are not being acknowledged. Lastly, simply educating the community. It was mentioned earlier that “global citizenship” is emphasized for students just once throughout their career at the College (i.e. study abroad). This is inherently limited and the Center would aim to make education of other cultures an ongoing objective during students’ time at the College.
  • The proposed space would be located in Skiff Hall. This space would be most suitable because of the proximity to OIE, making for a smooth transition. Bekemeh is in the process of working with the College’s space committee to ensure the availability of the proposed location. The Center would need to be staffed by someone who is familiar with international visas and laws that accompany them, as well as someone who can provide learning and comfort to international students. This individual would likely require an assistant, and it would be beneficial to also have an AmeriCorps representative housed in the Center for student support. Similar to ODI and WGC, there would be student ambassadors employed. There have also been three requests for graduate internships in OIE, which provides opportunity to bring in someone new to help the Center move along.
  • The question was asked whether or not colleges around the country have similar centers, or some form of what is being proposed, available to students. Jessa noted that there are examples of similar centers. Many are larger centers due to those campus’ being at critical mass of international student populations.

IV.   Triple E Conversation: As we consider the Champlain 2025 Strategic Plan, in what ways can Staff Council support a Champlain College Flourishing Community? – Jennifer Nicholls

  • Jennifer is the process lead for the Flourishing Community foundation team, which represents one of five foundation teams focused on different areas for the Champlain 2025 strategic plan. Jennifer shared the team’s charge:

The Flourishing Community team will make recommendations enabling our community to flourish, including themes of communication, relationships, connection to mission, professional development, career path and compensation, enhanced commitment to diversity, equity and inclusions, recognition, and connecting professional success to purpose of life. This team should examine literature on positive organizations. Remember to represent traditional undergraduate programs, graduate programs and Champlain Online, and integrate the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion and leading through financial realities.

  • The team began their process by doing a lot of research, including analyzing Champlain College documentation (e.g., 2020 plan, findings from community conversation in October, existing policies, etc.). The team also looked at other institutions’ strategic plans/websites related to community as well as positive organizations and best practices.
  • The results of the research and analysis feed into the team’s next step of the process which is to build a model and formulate what the recommendations may end up being. Jennifer shared Deloit’s “simply irresistible organizational” model, which provides the foundation for what the team is hoping to cover in their recommendations. The model consists of five major categories: Meaningful Work, Supportive Management, Positive Work Environment, Growth Opportunity, and Trust in Leadership. Jennifer noted that this model is not necessarily what the team will be proposing, rather, a foundation from which their recommendations are growing. Each category is broken down into sub-categories, and the team has aligned all of the research as well as mapped all the ideas presented by the College community to each.
  • The goal of today’s breakout session is to discuss what role Staff Council might play in supporting a flourishing community. Attendees broke up into smaller groups based on the 5 categories presented by the Flourishing Community foundation team and were asked to discuss the following prompt: “In what ways can Staff Council support a Champlain College Flourishing Community?”

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