Staff Senate Executive Meeting 11/8/17
Executive Committee Minutes
Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017
Kansas Union, Alcove G
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by President Brian Moss at noon.
Approval of Minutes – Oct. 11, 2017
Motion: To approve the Oct. 11, 2017 Executive Committee minutes, with no corrections needed. Motion made by Michelle Ginavan Hayes. Motion seconded by Kevin Farrell. Motion passed.
President – Brian Moss
Moss said he would defer any formal report for now because many items he would bring up will be in other reports. He did recommend everyone take the time to read this week’s communication from the Provost’s office (Strong Ties) which highlights/recognizes staff (https://provost.ku.edu/strong-ties/20171106).
Treasurer – Susan Shaw
The balance is $4,702. We await the $2,000 professional development funds from the Provost; there could be an upcoming announcement regarding additional funds.
Diversity & Inclusion – Jeff Severin & Michelle Wilson
The committee has been working on providing more specific guidance beyond the charges and or mapping work to guidelines. The group met after the last Staff Senate meeting and members have noticed some charges that might need to be revised, but the committee wonders what the process is for that. Severin asked if there was another review process needed for the committee’s charges? Robert Waller said no, there are no code or statute limitations on revisions to the charges and/or specific to the charges. The committee will continue to look at the charges, particularly some very specific ones, and begin working toward action items and specific objectives to work on throughout the year. One of the focuses will be to work with other Staff Senate committees because the goal is for diversity and inclusion to be a part of everything we do and not just to have a separate committee. Once the committee revises the charges it will submit them. Moss mentioned that Kansas State University would cancel classes for two hours next week and close offices to encourage campus to attend a unity walk regarding diversity, inclusion and equity. It is believed the walk is in response to responses to news that racial graffiti found on a car on the KSU campus had been added to the car by the owner, and that the walk perhaps will not be dissimilar to the Town Hall on the KU campus in the recent past. More details are expected to be announced today.
Legislative Affairs – Robert Waller
The committee continues to work on tuition assistance; Kansas Board of Regents doesn’t provide a true waiver to KBOR institutions, but each institution manages the process differently. Pittsburg State, for example, has a tax component for those using tuition assistance beyond a certain dollar amount and if the coursework doesn’t complement their jobs. The committee is looking for budget information internally at KU to put together a presentation. The committee is eliminating the bumping idea (where a staff member could take an empty seat in a course, but then could be bumped if someone paying tuition needed that seat), but is putting together a proposal based on budget money to take to administration, with the goal of developing a budget recommendation for tuition assistance funding. The committee hopes to get a clear read from upper administration in regard to their ultimate support of staff based on the proposal that will be made to them and the administration’s response. The committee will likely have something for the Executive Committee in January. The Staff Senate Executive Committee had a brief conversation about President Trump’s tax proposal, specifically in regard to graduate students and taxable monies. Ola Faucher of Human Resources Management said it also impacts Endowment funds, and the ability to have those as well. She said the Association of American Universities (AAU) is issuing many communications and ushering forces to provide feedback, as it would be devastating tax reform for higher education; it hits heavily in at least three areas – graduate students, tuition assistance and Endowment. Moss asked Waller about any fallout or responses to yesterday’s elections, Waller said he hadn’t heard of any. Moss asked about the upcoming legislative session; Waller said the legislature had changed from bright red to be more purple, but the same issues of budgetary constraints generally exist within the State. The legislature will reconvene in January. Moss said Jennifer Ananda, a Staff Senate member, was the second highest vote getter and got a 4-year term so she will rotate to the Mayoral position.
Professional Development – Abby Ehling
The Professional Development award was extended to Nov. 11. We had the maximum to be $300 and that hasn’t changed, but potentially that could be higher if Staff Senate receives a bump in funds. The committee will review applications soon and make awards soon. The committee hopes to have additional funds for Spring awards. A subcommittee has been formed to work on the Mini Wheat State tour. Moss asked about travel dates for either award periods. What about something at the end of June? If some items could be paid before the end of the fiscal year, such as airfare, conference registrations, etc., there shouldn’t be a problem with awards for conferences that bump up against the end of the fiscal year. Moss said he’d communicate any news of additional funding as soon as he learns of it. Ginavan Hayes did an analysis of the awards and will share that with Ehling. Ehling wondered if there were more applicants for the Spring, generally. What will we do if more funds are available, in regard to the people who submitted for $300; were there others who might have applied if the number were higher, and if that higher number was made available from the Provost office? The committee will evaluate based on any announcement from the Provost’s office.
Personnel Affairs – Annette Delaney
Delaney had good conversation with Curtis Marsh of KU Info to learn more about what his thoughts are on getting a better search engine in the effort for information staff needs to be more readily findable on the KU web pages; the bottom line was that it is up to departments or individuals to provide to KU Info information to get it on their site, specifically, for returns via KU Info. During the conversation the two had opened ku.edu, had KU Info and HRM webpages open, and did a search for “workers comp”. The KU.edu linked right to HR; KU Info had nothing and HRM pulled up nothing. If you went further into the HRM page with “worker’s compensation” a host of returns resulted. Delaney asked if there was any advice, but Marsh said KU Info needs to receive the information for information to appear on their site. He tweaked the KU Info site specific to workers comp and workers compensation, so information will refresh overnight. Executive Committee members wondered what does Marsh need for the KU Info site? Delaney said he mentioned meta tags used on department sites. Ehling said in the website content manager/Drupal you can set hot words or related words to return search results, so search functions are being very literal. Faucher said the search has been defined for the HRM website, but how does that work with Google? Delaney said the KU search engine seems to be improving, and Marsh said he had worked with Justin Henning; Delaney will contact that office. Faucher said if there was guidance about technically what needs to be done that would help. Delaney might invite Marsh and Henning come to the next committee meeting, she’s hopeful to have a meeting at the end of November. Faucher said she’d asked the HR web person about the search functionality and to see if she could learn more. Andy Jackson said to talk to Adam Braun, who is on Staff Senate and is the HR web person; he might be able to point Delaney in the right direction. Moss asked about search functionality (Google, etc.) within certain subpages of the overall KU website. Is keywords the concept that we need to be focused on? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps to define search results.
Public Relations – no current chair
Mary Murphy and Debora Deering were in attendance, as they’ve begun the effort to work on a Staff Senate newsletter even though there is no current PR chair. They distributed a document with some working information; there is at least one other person who might help. Deering sent an email to all committee chairs asking for information; they’ll see what they receive and flush out the newsletter. If there are suggestions or ideas, please contact Deering or Murphy. Moss will submit something. They spoke with Kathy Reed about newsletter distribution; she said email was the best and provided instructions, but did say that some hard copies were suggested for staff who don’t have access to email. Kathy said she’d print them and send them but that Staff Senate would likely need to provide a few reams of paper. Reed will provide more information about both numbers and where hard copy newsletters might need to be. Delaney asked about the number of newsletters? Murphy said they hoped for one before the end of the semester, and that another would be produced in the Spring semester. Deering is suggesting the group picture of the Staff Senate, and potentially a card for the back page that Staff Senate could sign as a holiday greeting. Deering asked the Committee for suggestions and said they hoped for the newsletter to be information but also fun. Delaney suggested information about the United Way. As Deering gets information she’ll have Murphy add it to the working document, and then information would come to the Executive Committee prior to publication. Deering asked how we could move to get the reams of paper. Moss asked what the size would be; it will be letter sized as that’s easier to print. Reed will ultimately say how much paper will be needed. The newsletter will likely be two pages, front and back. Reed did say Staff Senate would be charged back for paper but that she’d do the printing for Staff Senate. Any additional paper purchased would be saved with Governance for future use by Staff Senate. Governance will also help with some design elements, if needed. Deering asked if Executive Committee wanted something from the Provost and/or the Chancellor? Waller said no, he didn’t think an additional focus from upper administration would be needed. Waller said he thought it would be good if something comes from them already to include it, but that a new section wasn’t necessarily needed; the general group concurred. The newsletter will have a few links to pages about important university topics and there will be a small section with calendar information. Moss mentioned perhaps linking to the Provost’s recent publication that highlighted staff.
Elections – Andy Jackson
There are still two vacant seats, in Operations and Support. The preference is for senators to come from within those categories, rather than from at large. Emails have been sent to sitting senators in those categories, but if anyone knows of anyone, please let Jackson know. There is also still a need for a PR chair; he will send another email saying the issue will be discussed at next week’s full Staff Senate meeting.
HRM – Ola Faucher
Faucher said she’d planned to mention tax proposal concerns, but they had already been discussed in the meeting. She reminded the group to pay attention to time reporting deadlines as many are shorter during holiday weeks. The first pay period with no central HR approval happened and 200 supervisors needed to be followed up with as they had not approved time or approved time late; there wasn’t a number immediately available about the number of people who didn’t get paid. HRM is working with those who weren’t paid to resolve the situation. KU has 3,300 staff, 1,400 faculty and a big number of those are supervisors, so the number of supervisors is significant.
Faculty – Kirk McClure
There has been no feedback from the Chancellor’s office yet on KU’s airline fleet situation after a query was posed after publication of a planning and resources report. There was a partial response to a query about the Huron consultants, and the response was that there has been a savings of $51 million. The group has asked for more information about that $51 million in savings and awaits response. McClure mentioned discussions about management of agendas at various Senate meetings, and the Staff Senate Executive Committee had a discussion about agendas at various senates (Faculty, University, Student) and how agendas are managed and how to allow people to debate and interact but for meetings to be manageable and productive and to stay generally on schedule.
Student – Kevin Farrell
This is committee week and looking at the agendas there should be a long Student Senate meeting next week. Farrell will likely will bring more specific information for the full Staff Senate meeting next week. Farrell enrolled for next semester and will have a conflict and will need to resign as the student representative, so a new student will likely be named for spring. Moss asked about graduate student participation; Farrell said every graduate student seat is filled.
Unfinished Business - none
Moss asked if there would be an explanation of how to report Veteran’s Day time; information has already been shared and there is information on the HRM website if anyone has questions. HR does need a list of the salaried staff who work the holiday.
Staff Senate appreciation event – Moss wants to get the conversation going. The Chancellor has approved and wants to host a gathering at The Outlook for Staff Senate and has asked for date suggestions. Is it easier to do over lunch? Later in the day? What is the best time for administration and for Staff Senate for such an event? This would be at the end of the school year. Waller asked if we could make one of the Staff Senate meetings that time? Moss said he thought there was a conflict with the Chancellor and KBOR meetings, but we could move it to be a different Wednesday. Jackson and Ehling agreed that moving the Staff Senate to another Wednesday would work. Moss wondered about the March meeting, as the March meeting is scheduled during Spring Break, so if it was moved maybe that would be a good date. We would not want to move the April Staff Senate meeting. Moss will ask the Provost about a potential March meeting date at the next meeting he and Ginavan Hayes have with the Provost. When a date is determined any adjustments will be made to the March full Staff Senate/event at The Outlook date.
Call to Adjourn – Andy Jackson made the motion to adjourn at 1:09 p.m. Seconded by Susan Shaw. Motion passed.
Next Meeting Schedule
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, 12:00 PM ‐ 1:30 PM, Kansas Union, Alcove G
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, 12:00 PM ‐ 1:30 PM, Kansas Union, Malott Room