Academic Futures Town Hall Notes
May 2, 2018
Comments and Questions:
Participants expressed their appreciation for the AF process and their ability to be involved in it. They urged that the campus include a broad range of staff members in all such discussions. Staff very much want to identify with the mission of the university and to be part of its processes.
The following issues were raised:
- Tuition Benefit: (see white paper on this subject):
- Staff have difficulty using the tuition benefit, which is of great importance to them. Now only 4% take advantage of the benefit. There are too many barriers to using the benefit, including being admitted into a college and complex process to navigate.
- It would be good if the tuition benefit could be used at other institutions, including community colleges and places that have programs, such as horticulture, that we don’t have.
- Right now it seems as if tuition benefits are hard to use for online courses; hard to get into online classes.
- This benefit could be important to develop mid-level management. It is a way to invest in ourselves.
- How do we measure staff success?:
- What is our retention rate?
- What percentage of our staff engage in professional development?
- Do we have clear career paths?
- To what degree do staff feel aligned with the strategic imperatives? It is perhaps easier to see how staff connect with student success than innovation (though people noted the CFO’s innovation awards) and impacting humanity (though organized staff volunteering was put forward).
- Similar to the Unified Student Experience, having a Unified Staff Experience with a single avenues to navigate the information they need in their day-to-day roles.
- Child Care/Elder Care:
- This is a clear and pressing need.
- Parental leave benefit much appreciated
- Inclusive Excellence:
- We need to make sure that diversity, inclusion, gender parity are not just token phrases but things we act on. The lack of child care, for example, has an impact on gender parity.
- Housing Costs
- It is an issue.
- Professional Development:
- Staff should be encouraged to engage in professional development and provided with various ways to do that with supervisors incentivized to encourage professional development
- Staff should be encouraged (not discouraged) from engaging in service such as Staff Council.
- We need to do more to train managers how to handle their people.
- We need to figure out what managers need. Perhaps run a survey just for them.
- Creating links between staff groups:
- Just as faculty want interdisciplinary, inter-unit connections, so do staff want to have ways to link various operations. Such connections offer possibilities for cross-pollenated ideas.
- Focused Meetings:
- It was suggested that AF consider holding meetings for people in: facilities management; housing and dining; all auxiliary services.