Staff Council Updates and Highlights

Fall semester just whizzed past us, didn't it? Now that we've all settled into “Spring”, Staff Council would like to take a few minutes to update you on our accomplishments this year. Most importantly, your feedback and input is so valuable to us and helps shape the work we do. We love to hear from you! You can contact us through this web form, or you can reach out to your Staff Council rep. We're always on the lookout for staff accomplishments to share with the RIT community on our website, facebook and twitter pages. Send us your news and we'll share it!

Our favorite activity this year has been the RIT FoodShare Donation Drive we held in Fall semester. Thanks to all of you, a total of $654.00 was donated to the RIT FoodShare Fund and an incredible 25,272.47 pounds of food was donated! We were overwhelmed by the generosity shown by our community. If you have suggestions for future service projects to benefit RIT or the greater Rochester community, send us your ideas!

Staff Council was proud to welcome RIT's new President, Dr. David C. Munson, Jr. to meet with us in December. We are excited to hear of the new plans for our campus and programs. President Munson is beginning to share a revision of the strategic plan with all governance groups. You are invited to attend all Staff Council meetings, but this Thursday, February 8th, Dr. Munson is scheduled to present the revised plan to Staff Council. We hope you can join us! Our meetings are held in the 1829 Room in the SAU. Staff Council also provided feedback to Human Resources regarding the compensation process, and has given Dr. Haefner feedback from staff about class meeting patterns.  

After we returned from Winter break, Staff Council members held a mid-year retreat to review the plans of work we created over the summer – reflecting on what we've done and what remains. Here's a look at our committee updates:

Executive Committee, as the liaison between Staff Council and the RIT administration, has been focusing on an overarching theme this year, customer service. Staff Council has selected a slogan to guide our efforts, “It starts with us”. EC developed a guide for SC members to use when addressing constituent concerns, in an effort to find a resolution in the quickest way possible. In addition to promoting the “Insights into RIT Finance” presentation with Dr. Munson and Dr. Watters, they are planning a series of lunch-hour talks with RIT administration and staff. EC is also working on improving communication with other SC committees. So far this year, EC has met with Dr. Munson, Dr. Watters, and Judy Bender, among others. Dr. Munson communicated his vision for RIT and is open to feedback from staff. With Dr. Watters, EC has discussed the possibility of creating a Resource and Allocation committee for staff to have more insight into RIT finances.

The Communication Committee has been making a focused effort on improving Staff Council's social media presence, and emphasizing the achievements and stories of RIT staff members. This group has created posters for each voting block to help identify who represents each area of RIT on Staff Council. They've also designed a postcard with information about Staff Council. If you'd like any of these materials, please contact your rep! This committee is also responsible for developing the emails you receive from Staff Council and your representative. The SC blog features an interview with an RIT staff member each month, please check it out if you haven't yet. In the Spring, look for promotions related to SC elections, our picnic in May (save the date: May 15, 2018), and more interviews with staff. 

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The Elections Committee has had a busy year so far – in addition to developing a new Onboarding process for staff members who join SC off-cycle, this committee has welcomed two new members to Staff Council. Coming up in Spring, they will hold elections for Blocks 2, 4 and 6, and will encourage staff to make nominations by attending staff meetings. The committee plans to provide printed ballots for staff in areas where access to computers may be limited to improve access for all staff members during the next election cycle. The group is also looking into making a presentation about Staff Council during New Employee Orientation.

The Events Committee has a huge success under their belt – the FoodShare challenge benefitted a lot of people in our community. In October, the committee facilitated the Presidential Awards and hosted a table at the Benefits Fair. Looking ahead to March, they will participate in the United Way kick-off event. The snow may still be falling now, but the Events Committee is already beginning to plan for the annual Staff Appreciation Day and Community Picnic on May 15th! This group also plans the Staff Council retreat that is held for members in June. 

Finally, the University Issues and Policies committee had a full slate of work planned for the year, and then had to take on even more. As you may recall, the Staff Grievance Policy was a major component of this committee's work over the past couple of years. The policy was put in place on an interim basis while it awaited approval from all governance groups, and it was in this capacity that it was used for the first time. That experience revealed areas of the policy that needed improvement, and UIP has taken up the revisions – working with Human Resources and Legal Affairs to make this policy the best it can be. Meanwhile, the committee has been working with Student Government to address concerns about the current Smoking-Restricted Campus policy. The Leave of Absence policy has been updated to reflect the change to semesters. The group also has members working on a review of RIT's position on sick banks and flex time. 

Each committee in Staff Council works hard to support and advocate for our RIT staff members – while committees are given time during regular meetings, they often schedule time outside of normal Staff Council meetings to work through their various tasks and projects. Thank you to our members for all of your hard work and dedication! This has been a busy year for Staff Council, and we are looking forward to checking off even more items from our plans of work as we glide through the rest of the semester. If any of these activities sound interesting or appeal to you, please consider participating in shared governance at RIT and running for Staff Council!