Staff Council reflects on year’s progress, elects officers

Seeing parental leave benefit come to fruition a highlight, chair says

University of Colorado Staff Council (UCSC) members reflected on what was accomplished this year and goals going forward during their May 30 meeting at system administration offices in Denver. The group also elected new officers for the upcoming year.

Perhaps the biggest achievement was the UCSC’s work in helping to push forward the university’s paid parental leave program, which grants four weeks of leave to eligible employees.

“We received some feedback from staff members who used the benefit, and just hearing their joy about not having to worry financially and being able to enjoy adjusting to that new little person in their lives was a gift,” said Nancy Moore, council chair. “They said they appreciated working for an organization that values family.”

Council also revamped its traditional all-council annual conference, including the presentation of the Service Excellence Awards, which honor nominated staff members for their work.

This year’s event included workshops on professional development, which has been an employee benefit that council has been focused on improving for several years. Moore said the shift was well-received by event participants.

Also, instead of honoring four staff members for excellent service, eight people – two from each campus – received awards, and all nominees were invited to attend the event.

Council members collaborated with Employee Learning and Development to support opportunities for employees and are working with individual campus councils to implement specialized projects, including a mentorship program at CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus.

The council also continued efforts to involve staff members in community service. This year, for instance, campuses collected more than 1,000 coats for local charities, continued blood drives and conducted a book drive.

While UCSC’s specific goals for the upcoming year will be determined during a retreat in August, Moore said, broad agenda items likely will include advocating for pay equity, a more equitable tuition waiver benefit, and a more defined benefit regarding flexible hours and work locations. Currently, such work flexibility is extended to employees at a supervisor’s discretion.

Another of council’s main thrusts will be to educate staff members about the benefits available to them, including, for instance, policies that set aside hours for volunteer work.

“With the rest of the campus communities, we are all shifting gears to refocus and work with new leadership while keeping in mind what it means to be part of CU and to hold those core values so that people, whether they are staff, faculty or students, feel safe to express who they are on the CU campuses without fear,” Moore said.

The council always is open to feedback about how it should move forward to support staff members, Moore said. Anyone with concerns or who wants to be part of shared governance should contact their campus councils.

During the meeting, council announced the results of officer elections. For the upcoming academic year, officers are:

  • Ryan Untisz, CU Denver l Anschutz, chair
  • Tara Dressler, system administration, vice chair
  • Alejandro DeJesus, UCCS, secretary
  • Jeni Webster, CU Boulder, treasurer
  • Kevin Young, CU Denver l Anschutz, communications chair
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