Staff Council in a questioning mood

Governance group plans survey to gauge staff desires

How do staff members use professional development opportunities? How are they paid for? What are the benefits the university provides and how would a staff member prioritize their importance? Are staff members content with their jobs and the benefits available to them?

These are a few of the questions that the University of Colorado Staff Council (UCSC) might include in a workplace survey it plans to roll out later this year. Council members want to better assess staff member wants and needs so that the council can better advocate for employees.

“The survey will be used to determine our agenda and goals and to help develop action items that can be forwarded to upper administration,” said Denise Thomas, council chair.

Questions will be based on topics that include professional development, benefits and other issues, including the inconsistencies of policies and the way benefits are addressed across the campuses down to the departmental level. Council also wants to assess whether university and classified staff are aware of the benefits offered to them and whether employees are satisfied with what is available.

In other business:

  • Veronica Paradise, University of Colorado Denver Staff Council chair, asked UCSC to consider allowing professional research assistants (PRAs) to serve as voting members of UCSC. Only the CU Denver council allows PRAs to be members because the position carries a faculty classification, but PRAs are not represented as members on faculty governance organizations.

UCSC previously had discussed the possibility of allowing PRAs to be members but determined that the needs of staff members are so different from those of PRAs that the organization could not effectively advocate for PRAs. UCSC also was reluctant to changes its bylaws, which would be required to allow members other than university or classified staff on the council. UCSC members said that while they understand the frustration, PRAs should be represented by the appropriate governance body – Faculty Council.

Thomas said she has talked with John McDowell, chair of the Faculty Council, and others in administration and hopes the discussion will lead to a resolution of the issue.

  • Council heard the results of tabulations for the winners of the annual Service Excellence Awards, which honor outstanding volunteer service by university and classified staff to the university and to community, civic and professional organizations. Awardees – one person from each campus and system administration – will be honored during the All Staff Council Conference on April 8 in Colorado Springs. Each of the recipients will receive the award, a plaque commemorating the event and a $1,000 prize.