Governance Groups Set Priorities for Coming Year
At retreats held this summer, both the Staff Advisory Council and the Appointed Professionals Advisory Council reviewed their priorities for the coming year. Meanwhile, a big change is on the way for the Faculty Senate, which in a few months will elect a new chairperson for the first time in eight years.
New Leader, New Growth for SAC
During their annual retreat â€“ held July 19 at the Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort â€“ SAC members reviewed their goals for the coming year and participated in various professional development exercises. This is SAC's first year under the leadership of its new president: Shanley Ten Eyck, executive assistant for Federal Relations.
"I think SAC is here to listen, to help, to advocate, to give guidance and to promote a spirit of fun on campus," Ten Eyck said. "I am excited to represent a diverse group of people on campus who are an integral part of our great University community."
A high-priority project for the group in the upcoming year is to issue a short climate survey that will play an important role in how the organization will strategize for the future. The survey will provide the UA's more than 5,300 classified staff members an opportunity to give feedback on various topics such as their workload, supervisors, teams, career development, salary and benefits.
Ten Eyck also said the 23 SAC members are planning events, such as a football tailgate for the UA versus Washington State football game on Nov. 16, to show school spirit and engage the community.
"For the upcoming year, I hope to continue to build upon the rapidly growing membership, encourage a sense of inclusion at the UA and support opportunities for classified staff members to participate more fully in their University," Ten Eyck said. "With our variety of committees, there are so many ways for classified staff to connect to the UA via SAC."
Communication is Key to Raising Awareness for APAC
During a July 29 retreat at the Tucson Marriot University Park hotel, APAC members welcomed new committee chairs and met in breakout sessions to deliberate tasks to tackle.
APAC Chair Jeff Ratje, assistant dean of finance and administration at the James E. Rogers College of Law, said the top priority will be to continue raising awareness of APAC's work among the more than 4,000 employees the group of 64 represents.
"Spreading the word about who we are and how we represent appointed professionals is always critical, and I think we made tremendous strides last year," Ratje said. "I'd really like all employees to understand who we are and what we can do for them and the University."
Improving the way that APAC communicates with its membership, as well as those appointed personnel outside the organization, was a significant topic at the group's retreat. Ratje said he hopes to educate UA community members about the effectiveness that shared governance can have in achieving employees' goals.
"We communicate upwards to UA leaders and communicate back to employees on important issues," Ratje said. "Our main priorities this year are grouped around the theme of 'AP innovation,' which really means moving the University closer to its strategic goals fueled by its strongest assets â€“ its people. We support the efforts of President (Ann Weaver) Hart and her administration to transform the UA through ambitious strategic plans. APAC will continue to be active in positive and constructive innovations."
Big Changes Approaching for Faculty Senate
In the spring, the Faculty Senate will elect new chairs for three major leadership positions: chair of the faculty, vice chair and secretary. Wanda Howell, University Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences, has served as chair of the faculty since she was elected in 2005.
Even though the first official meeting of the Faculty Senate isn't until Sept. 9, officers have met throughout the summer to work on a few large projects.
Vice Chair of the Faculty Robert Mitchell, associate dean for the UA Libraries, said one of the biggest ventures will be working with faculty, attorneys and the associate provost to revise the University Handbook for Appointed Personnel.
"We want to make sure that it reflects current policies and practices arranged in categories that make sense to faculty," Mitchell said. "Over the fall, we'll discuss the revised version and, I hope, vote on it in December or January. Then the next and final phase is that it goes to a vote by the entire faculty."
In addition to going over curriculum proposals submitted to the Faculty Senate each month, another project Mitchell said he hopes to undertake this year is making the grievance process more intelligible to faculty.
"We're not so much trying to change the process as we are simply taking a look at it with an editor's eye and clarify any ambiguities or make it clearer to faculty that have a concern," Mitchell said. "The hope is that we can make it more usable for faculty members who have an issue that they haven't been able to resolve."
Mitchell will be leaving his post when he retires next year. He said he is looking forward to seeing what direction the Faculty Senate will take under new leadership.
"It will be interesting to see what the new generation â€“ whoever that turns out to be â€“ steps up and wants to be involved in," Mitchell said.