October 6, 2011 Minutes

Meeting Date: 2011-10-6

Person Presiding: Michael Frizell

Members in Attendance: Sandra Arthur, Scott Fiedler, Sandra Johnson, Nadine Jones, Charles Klarr, Erin Parrish, Holly Robison, Matthew Stublefield, Erin Trotter, Steve Turner, Andrea Weber, Kirk Whittington, Dixie Williams, Mary Ann Wood, Kyle Yates

Proxy Members in Attendance: Donna Hanley on behalf of Peggy Jones

Guests in Attendance: Holly Pepe, Yvette Medley, Sharon Lopinot, Catherine Beck, Lyn McKenzie, Jessica Johnston, Emily O’Laughlin, Britni Seckinger, Kelly Cara, Paula Wilhelm, Susan Willingham, Brooke Decker

The Staff Senate meeting was moved to PSU 308A by Conference Services.

Agenda Item: Call to Order

Staff Senate has quorum, and was subsequently called to order by Chairperson Michael Frizell.

Agenda Item: Approval of Agenda

The agenda was emailed in advance of the meeting. Senator Erin Trotter suggested an addition regarding a 4-day work week during the summer, but this was not added to the agenda. The agenda was approved unanimously by the Senate.

Agenda Item: Approval of Minutes (9/1/2011)

The minutes were emailed in advance of the meeting. There were no changes requested and the minutes were approved unanimously.

Agenda Item: Old Business

Certified Professional Secretary Workgroup

Senator Holly Robison was introduced by Chair-Elect Dixie Williams to talk about the Certified Professional Secretary workgroup. A survey has been completed by approximately 85% of Administrative Assistants at Missouri State University but the results have not been tabulated yet. The workgroup intends to survey other institutions to see what they offer regarding professional development, certification, and stipends. The next meeting of the workgroup will be October 17th.

Mileage Rate Workgroup

Senator Scott Fiedler's workgroup is still in the research stage as well. In surveying other institutions in Missouri, both two and four year, 90% have returned responses. Missouri State University still has the lowest rate of mileage reimbursement, though 3-4 other institutions are at the same rate of $0.37. The rest are averaging $0.46. The workgroup is reviewing state and federal policies and will meet in a few weeks to look at rates, policies, and a potential plan regarding mileage reimbursement. The workgroup would like to find out from Financial Services approximately how much the University spent on mileage last year so they can figure out the financial impact of an increase to the rate.

Staff Activities Workgroup

Yvette Medlin's workgroup has gathered ideas and narrowed them down to three. They are currently looking at dates and budgets and are still taking ideas.

Public Relations Workgroup

Senator Brenda Stewart's workgroup is working to increase Staff Senate's presence on campus, improve the website, and work more with staff orientation.

Denim Days Workgroup

Director of Staff Relations Andrea Weber's group rates Denim Day as having been very successful so far. A t-shirt created by Holly Robison can be purchased at the collection table throughout the week in the PSU, and there are collection points all week. A $5 donation gives staff the opportunity to wear jeans on Friday, October 7th. At a luncheon last week, $839 was raised and Penny Wars raised another $239.

Guest of the Senate Yvette Medlin asked a question about tax deductions and Director Weber replied that all who donate should receive a receipt for tax purposes. If they did not, they should contact her (Andrea Weber).

New Business

Discussion regarding commitment to diversity and sensitivity

Chair Michael Frizell opened a discussion about religious sensitivity in reply to the recent discussion on the mailing list UDIG, maintained by Kishor Shah. Due to Showcase being scheduled on Yom Kippur, Jews would not be able to participate. Chair Frizell asked if Staff Senate should draft a resolution supporting and encouraging religious and cultural sensitivity in general.

Chair-Elect Dixie Williams, who works in the Office of Admissions where Showcase is planned, stated that the scheduling error was a mistake and that Andy Wright had taken full responsibility.

Chair Frizell expressed that we do not want to make a mountain out of a mistake, but that we do want to make sure the University is duly aware of its obligations to be sensitive to these sorts of things.

Senator Mary Ann Wood expressed that we need to voice support for civility in addition to cultural diversity and awareness due to a lack of civility in recent online and offline discussion regarding the scheduling of Showcase.

Guest of the Senate Kelly Cara brought forward two recommendations. First, that the University calendar red-flag an event if scheduled on a holiday. And second, that the University send a letter out stating that this sort of thing won’t happen again.

Chair-Elect Dixie Williams stated that the University does not identify students or applicants by their religious preference, so there would be no way to target a letter.

Guest of the Senate Kelly Cara suggested offering a second date or option for Showcase.

Guest of the Senate Paula Wilhelm stated that the Office for Diversity and Inclusion had recently provided a calendar listing all religious holidays and that these items had recently been submitted to the University Calendar. In addition, Human Resources is creating a diversity training program.

Bronze Bear Award

Chair Michael Frizell discussed the Bronze Bear Award. This award is for a person or persons who have been instrumental in supporting the University over the years. It is awarded at the recommendation of Administrative Council, Student Government Association, Staff Senate, and the Faculty Senate by the Board of Governors. The Executive Committee has reviewed the decision and expressed support for it, and the award will be announced in November if the Board approves the recipients at the October meeting.

Staff Excellence in University Service Awards (SEUSA)

Secretary Matthew Stublefield has been working with Barb Helvey on the SEUSAs. The committee has been gathered and the nominations have been opened. Nominations will close on November 15th and the committee will receive packets for review a few days later, with the decision on recipients to be made in early December. Awards will be given at the annual Staff Recognition Luncheon in January.

Wyrick Commission

The Student Government Association has asked for a representative from Staff Senate to serve on the Wrick Commission. Senator Nadine Jones volunteered to serve.

Budget Committees

Chair Michael Frizell brought to the floor the common thread of issues brought to the Executive Committee, which is money or the lack thereof in the form of raises. In addition, with the upcoming change to Custodial regarding third shift, many staff are concerned about issues regarding money. Chair Frizell wished to express to Staff Senate that they are represented at all levels of the upcoming budget committee discussions. Chair Frizell is serving on the Executive Budget Committee, Secretary Matthew Stublefield is on the Administrative Budget Committee, and last year’s Staff Senate Chair Tabitha Haynes is on the Staff Allocation Task Force.

Senator Janelle Melton raised the question of sources for staff raises, particularly salary savings. Chair Frizell stated that he would look into the matter.

Senator Erin Trotter raised the question of University priorities for funding and a discussion ensued regarding funding sources and how prioritization happens.

Guest of the Senate Sharon Lopinot asked why staff at Missouri State University so often have to learn about University dealings from the News-Leader rather than from the Administration. She learned of the changes to Custodial from a news article and felt there should have been more internal communication.

Senator Charles Klarr stated that custodians were told over a month ago, and when dealing with personnel issues, it is best not to broadcast that information to everyone.

Chair Michael Frizell stated that there is a general move towards better communication and more transparency, and that he is hopeful due to the upcoming committee meetings.