Staff Senate Meeting Overview April 2014
The Staff Senate is part of UofL's shared governance system, which also includes the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association. Senators are elected by their peers. The full body met in regular session April 14 at Ekstrom Library. Chair Angela Lewis-Klein presided. The following are highlights from the meeting.
A special election for seat VP-ATH03 was held. Carla Meredith, physical plant/custodial services manager, was the winner over Richard Brown, SOM/UBM, department of surgery.
Gretchen Henry, senate secretary, demonstrated the new Plone 4 website, which will go live July 1.
Angela Lewis-Klein encouraged interested staff members to apply for three available full scholarships being offered for the May 16 Pathways Women’s Leadership Conference.
Sam Connally, vice president for human resources, discussed the university’s efforts to provide lactation/nursing rooms across campus. Connally said the Affordable Care Act requires sanitary space for nursing mothers to express breast milk (bathrooms are not considered sanitary). While some university buildings have set aside such spaces, others have not. Connally said the university’s Breastfeeding and Lactation Guidelines were distributed to managers. He said the university would like to have rooms set aside that are publicly available and that nursing mothers can schedule for regular use. He said managers are responsible for finding a sanitary space for a nursing mother if it is needed. He said there are 12 specific lactation facilities at UofL.
Connally said the first year of the Provost’s Staff Leadership Academy has been successful. He said the academy had three teams that looked at 1) community service leave; 2) the employee suggestion program; and 3) telecommuting guidelines.
Connally said the new Supervisor of the Year award will debut this spring.
Bob Staat, the Faculty Senate representative, gave a report from the Faculty Senate’s April meeting. He also discussed his recent trip to Yale University as part of the team evaluating the shared services business concept. Staat said the staff at Yale advised the team not to promise cost-savings from shared services, but rather to promise efficiency.
Staff senators said their constituents are concerned about possible job losses if the university adopts shared services. Connally said the university is not trying to reduce positions but to impose better quality control over business functions.
Provost Shirley Willihnganz addressed a staffing concern about the department of public safety due to three staff members retiring as part of the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). She said while the goal of VSIP is to generate money to keep the university moving forward, public safety may need to have some money built back in because it is not an area where the university wants to make cuts.
Dr. Willihnganz also discussed the shared services concept and emphasized that the idea is being carefully studied through two pilot programs on campus and site visits to other universities. She said she does not think adopting a shared services business model will result in job losses, but rather will create different jobs. “We have never been a university that tries to move itself forward by massively laying people off,” she said. She also encouraged the staff senate to communicate with her office about ideas to help minimize concern over the changes.
Chair Angela Lewis-Klein noted that S.H.A.R.E. (Staff Help Assistance Relief Effort) donations are down due to the VSIP. She reminded staff members that even $1 a month makes a difference.
--Prepared for the Staff Senate by Janet Cappiello, UofL Today editor, communications specialist, UofL Office of Communications and Marketing.