Employee Forum hears from Chancellor Folt, passes compensation resolution
Chancellor Carol L. Folt addressed Employee Forum delegates at the opening of the May 2 meeting, taking advantage of what forum Chair Shayna Hill called the group’s “farewellcome” event to thank the delegates who are ending their terms and welcome new delegates.
“We all are employees with a shared mission,” Folt told the forum delegates. “And we all are here to dedicate ourselves to the well-being of our students and our mission to the state.”
That shared mission is captured in The Blueprint for Next, the strategic framework to guide planning and priorities for the University.
“We want every single change we make, make something good happen. And we want to do it in such a way that we can bring along with us everybody that works here,” Folt said. “This forum is critical to that.”
In a question and answer session after her talk, Folt sympathized with delegates’ dissatisfaction with salary and benefits, addressed questions about transit and parking and welcomed ideas for change. She got them.
Alan Moran, a delegate from carpentry in facilities services, brought up the idea of a partnership with area community colleges that would include apprenticeships or internships with tradespeople at the University. Moran has introduced this idea to the forum previously as a way to address the University’s rapidly aging trades workforce.
Bryan Andregg, chair of the personnel issues committee, recommended that employee participation in campus events and programs be encouraged as part of performance reviews. “The culture needs to value something other than people sitting at their desks,” he said.
Chrissie Greenberg, a delegate from the study abroad program, would like more University support for graduate-level education for employees.
Forum secretary Tiffany Carver wanted to see more training to enable employees to advance in their careers within the University. “I love this place and want to stay, but there’s not a lot of training for people who have been here a long time and can’t move into management,” she said. “There really is a great need, especially if you want to keep people here, to train them, to offer some kind of way to advance themselves, without having to leave the University.”
Felicia A. Washington, vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement, replied that — as part of a Blueprint for Next staff professional development initiative — the Office of Human Resources is preparing an online portal for employees that would contain all information about trainings available for employees. Employees would also be able to see a personal record of the trainings they have taken.
Likewise, one of the components of The Blueprint for Next’s Innovation Made Fundamental pillar is “adapting to changing student and workforce needs.” That is, as the University prepares its students for the 21st century workforce, it should also address the needs of its own employees for customized training to navigate the same forces of change.
Later in the meeting, the Employee Forum passed a resolution calling on Folt to ask the Office of Human Resources to initiate a three-year project related to employee compensation. The project would include raising the salaries of any SHRA employees under the market rate in the first year, conducting a longitudinal analysis of employee compensation in the second year and raising the salaries of any EHRA non-faculty employees under the market rate in the third year.
“We see this resolution as a start to the conversation,” said Andregg, who presented the resolution.
In other action, the Employee Forum honored Carver, communications and public relations committee chair Laurie Haight and treasurer Naquan Hill as the three recipients of the 2018 Kay Wijnberg Hovious Outstanding Employee Forum Delegate Award. The Hovious Award, selected by current forum delegates, recognizes the work of outstanding Employee Forum delegates who go above and beyond the call of duty when performing work on behalf of the forum.