Staff Council moving ahead with survey on working climate

Governance group seeking feedback on benefits, professional development

The University of Colorado Staff Council has begun to develop categories of questions for a survey on working climate. The goal is to gauge priorities of staff members concerning benefits so that the council may better represent staff interests to university administrators.

Council members discussed the survey during their Dec. 17, 2015, teleconference.

The governance group wants to ensure that the survey will be manageable – not too long or too vague – for employees and that responses will provide useful data for potential future action by the council and the administration.

“We want to know what the preferred method of professional development is, and we want to get a good idea of different people’s experiences and how supported they are in development,” said Joanna Iturbe of CU-Boulder. For instance, she said, do employees have to pay for development out of pocket, or is it required for their jobs or is it optional, and do they have to take personal time off to participate.

“We know that it is inconsistent, so I want to get a really good idea of how inconsistent it is,” Iturbe said. She also said the survey should assess priorities of staff to help determine what is feasible financially.

Phil Petty of CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus reiterated the importance of asking the right questions. He said that instead of university officials trying to keep the university on par with “peer” institutions, they should try to keep CU at the forefront. “It’s (council’s) to push that. If (administrators) don’t hear from us, they won’t make changes.”

Faculty Council also is working on a proposal that would revamp the tuition benefit, which currently is different for all campuses, but Thomas reminded council that faculty members likely use the benefit differently than staff members.

Also during the meeting:

  • Council approved the appointment of Gaylynne von der Nuell of CU-Boulder to the office of secretary. Kay Miller stepped down from the post in December.
  • Tara Dressler of CU system inquired about the status of notifying system administration employees who work on the other campuses about events. Some campuses have incorporated specific system administration employee email addresses into their distribution lists to ensure that the employees whose work is not located on their home campus are notified of employee events. Dressler said she has heard from some employees that they are not being updated about events or included in invitation lists. Council members representing each campus will make inquiries about the status of measures being used to include these employees in campus activities.
  • Denise Thomas, council chair, asked campus representatives to determine the number of people who will participate in “legislative day” later this year. Each year, campus representatives visit the Colorado Legislature where they can watch the proceedings, speak with representatives, and learn about new or potential legislation and how it will affect the university specifically or higher education in general.