Staff Council Sponsored Fall Staff Luncheon
Last Wednesday, the Fall Staff Luncheon was held in the Harris Center. A huge thanks to Dining Services, to staff council member Kim for the great poem and takeaways, Mark for MCing the event, and to everyone who helped set up. Thanks also to the nearly 150 staff members who came, we are honored!
During the luncheon, everyone had a chance to ask the Staff Council any burning questions they might have had. To recap, here are those questions, and as much as we can remember about the answers we gave!
Q: Why should I ask a question? What have you done I should be worried about?
A: Not a thing! You should ask questions to help keep the staff council accountable and make sure we communicate effectively about the items important to our staff.
Q: Who can we turn to when we have issues with our supervisor?
A: We would hope that our campus environment is open and accepting of differences so that each of us feels comfortable talking to our supervisors when we need assistance. But we also recognize that is not always possible. Speaking with the human resources generalist (Stacy or Jana) is also a great avenue to pursue. The campus is currently interviewing candidates for the newly created ombudsman function, and that will also be a resource for conflict resolution for staff, faculty and students.
Q: How hard is it to get involved with Staff Council?
A: [Many thanks to Mark for so graciously answering this question!] It isn't hard at all. Elections are held every year – in March – and if you are interested in joining, consider nominating yourself when the time comes. Additionally, you don't have to be on Staff Council to be involved. It seems like we're everywhere, don't hesitate to stop us on the sidewalk, or at McDonald's (or somewhere classier) and ask us a question.
Q: How long has each Staff Council member been with the college?
A: Barb Shell – 36 years, Diane Hawkins – 30 years, Mary Phipps – 25 years, Beth Meldrem – 22 years, Brent Jaeger – 18 years, Carlie VanWilligen – 16 years, Mark Watts – 14 years, Sondi Burnell – 14 years, and our baby is Kim Stevenson – 5 years. That is 180 combined years of experience!
Q: What is the biggest challenge in the coming year?
A: For the Staff Council, the biggest challenge is to remain active and relevant, and to make sure that staff is included in the larger discussions taking place on campus.
Q: After a year, what is the biggest accomplishment for the Staff Council?
A: The biggest accomplishment is the consistent inclusion of staff in analyzing processes and making decisions on campus. Members of the Staff Council have been involved in interviewing several of our new vice-presidents; and do serve or have served on most campus committees. Staff Council is recognized as an important part of campus discussions – which is gratifying for those on the council.
Q: How can staff be as included as faculty in the need-blind/admission discussions?
A: First, visit: http://www.grinnell.edu/grinnellsfuture. There you will find information that is useful, and ways you can be involved in the discussions. You can also talk with any of the council members, and we can pass your thoughts on to the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid, which is meeting weekly through the end of the first semester.
Q: Do faculty have to split parental leave, like staff must if both work for the college?
A: We have forwarded this question to Human Resources, and will follow up in the next LL issue.