Get-inTouch: Memo 04
April 20, 2016
Please see below for reminders and recent Get- in-Touch submissions. Thank you for your feedback!
Next Staff Assembly: Thursday, May 12 12-1pm Lecture Hall (agenda will be sent out prior to the meeting)
- SGA Banquet: Friday, April 22 (Please note: This event is sold out!)
- Smoking Cessation Session: Thursday, April 21 (Please contact Human Resources)
- Commencement: Friday, May 20
- End-of-Year Picnic: Wednesday, May 25
- Corporate Challenge: Thursday, June 23
- Day of Caring: August 2016 (details to follow from Employee Engagement)
- Freshmen Registration Days: May 7, June 3, June 21, July 15
- Health Insurance Open Enrollment Dates (upcoming from Human Resources)
Title IX training for faculty & staff:
- Medaille is currently finalizing a contract and developing a program with Law Room/Campus Clarity to deliver an online program training to Medaille faculty, staff and students.
- Policies regarding software installation can be found here: http://it.medaille.edu/policies
- Availability of hardware (computers, printers, etc.) should be directed to immediate supervisors.
- Dr. Macur’s updates have addressed a number of concerns regarding the budget goals for 16-17 and successive years. In particular, the Quick Update of March 15, 2016 (“Quick update - 2016-17 Budget Process”) clarified many questions regarding salary and benefits. Please refer to that email for information.
- Staff Council continues to work on the following proposals: carrying over vacation days through the end of the summer, restructuring sick time policy, flex-time/working from home, children in the workplace, and staff benefits. Please continue to send feedback and suggestions regarding these matters. The more information that we receive from staff, the more inclusive our discussions and recommendations will be!
- There have been some questions about recent, proposed changes to New York State labor laws regarding the classification of salaried/hourly employees. College leadership is aware of the proposed changes, addressing these changes is a priority, and that information will be communicated in a timely fashion throughout the campus.
New staff positions:
- In response to a question regarding new staff positions, this may be more appropriately directed at individualized offices and supervisors. It is our understanding the revised budgeting process includes an opportunity to request new staff positions.
Say Yes Coordinator:
- A question regarding the creation of a Say Yes Coordinator was brought to Staff Council. We’d like to thank Dr. Macur for taking the time to respond directly to this question. Here is his response:
“We do not have plans, at this time, to search/hire a person with the title “Say Yes” coordinator. That being said, let’s talk about what we’ve done and let’s talk about what our plans for the future are.
Over the past several years, we have received grants and donations from the federal government, private foundations and donors to support a variety of student support positions and programs on campus. Truth be told, the contribution that one Say Yes Coordinator might make pales in comparison to the substantial network of student support that we have created with help from our friends. One only has to look at the work being done in the M&T Student Success Center or our summer high school to college bridge programs to get a sense of just a portion of these courses and services.
Of course, these grants help all of our students, not just those in Say Yes, and we are always looking for new grant opportunities. In fact, we are even exploring the idea of an Office of Sponsored Programs to help. We also continue to reinvest our own tuition revenue in student support and the general student experience at Medaille so that we can further increase student retention and decrease our reliance on grant funding over the long haul. It’s important to keep in mind that every student who stays at Medaille, rather than transfer to another school or drop out altogether, adds important revenue to the college’s bottom line. This is good not just for our students, but our entire college community. It’s up to each and every one of us to maximize student success and retention! As implicit in our strategic plan, our ultimate, shared goal is to support all of our current positions and programs solely through tuition revenue.
With that in mind, the big conversation lately has been around just how comprehensive our student supports should be. That conversation began with the idea of doing a non-cognitive assessment to understand the non-academic needs of our students and to understand the varying degrees of grit/determination that students bring. We’re still talking about that assessment and we’re talking about the kinds of support that we might need (social workers, mental health counselors, child care, legal support, food bank, etc.)and we’re talking with prospective partners (both service providers and funding sources, including Say Yes).
As to the suggestion to have a representative from Say Yes talk to us about the support services they are providing in secondary schools. It’s a good idea. I’m not sure that Say Yes alone would be able to provide answers to most of your questions, though. In the grand scheme of things, Say Yes is just one stakeholder among many. The primary stakeholder, of course, is the district. Others include the charter schools, the school board, the unions, etc. That’s not to mention all the other school districts that graduate students who have trouble in college. Only half of our provisional freshmen this year are Say Yes students (and many of our Say Yes students are quite bright and talented and are doing exceptionally well in college with very little support ). So Medaille, and many other colleges, need to roll up our sleeves and continue discussions with all these nice folks.
Say Yes supports the state schools much differently than they support Medaille College. We’re talking to Say Yes about that, too. And a small group from the Board will be joining in that conversation.”
Freshmen Parking Passes:
- Freshmen resident students have an option to purchase a parking pass for $200, beginning fall 2016-2017. Parking passes will be purchased from Students Accounts. Proof of payment is taken to Public Safety, where passes are distributed. Feedback indicates that this should have a very limited impact on the availability of parking spaces.
General comments & feedback:
- We understand that cell phone/laptop use may be essential for some faculty/staff during all-campus meetings. However, recent feedback requested that we encourage more respective, attentive behavior from those who do not need to be on their cell phones/laptops.
- A recommendation for informal, lunchtime conversations about topics/trends in higher education was submitted. Staff Council like this idea and are looking for more input! Additional comments & suggestions are welcome. If you would like to be a part of this initiative—please contact Staff Council.
- Campus No Smoking policy goes into effect July 1, 2016! Human Resources is sponsoring a Smoking Cessation/Wellness Seminar tomorrow, April 21, 2016. Check your email for details!
- While a scent-free workplace is not feasible, staff are encouraged to bring this concern to their supervisors, particularly if a strong scent is causing health-related issues! Supervisors, please be aware of this concern.
Get-inTouch: Memo 03
February 23, 2016
There have been recent Get-In-Touch submissions (http://www.medaille.edu/about-medaille/staff-council) that can be quickly clarified. The submission were anonymous, please forgive the mass email. I just wanted to make sure that the persons submitting these questions received a response.
Medaille College Smoking Policy: From Dr. Macur’s quick update of Tuesday, November 03, 2015 8:50 AM, “The campus is going completely smoke free. Beginning on January 1st, 2016 with a full implementation as of July 1st. We are joining the multitude of colleges, universities and other businesses that have already created smoke-free communities. This means that there will be no smoking anywhere on the campus and includes cigarettes, cigars, pipes and the various forms of eSmoking. Thank you for your support and understanding of this venture.”
Office Hours: There was a question about a specific office & their hours of operation, i.e. why was an office not required to stay open until 6pm like some other offices. We received clarification that this office does indeed remain open until 6pm. The Medaille TV information which broadcasts these hours just needs to be updated.
Adjuncts: There was a question about adjunct compensation—this question will be forwarded to Faculty Council, since it falls outside of the purview of Staff Council.
Get-in-Touch: Memo 02
February 19, 2016
Thank you for attending the February 5, 2016, Staff Assembly meeting. The turnout was very encouraging. Based on your feedback from the Staff Assembly meeting, we will distribute documents via email & hold quarterly meetings.
For those who were unable to attend the February 5, 2016 meeting, please reach out to any member of Staff Council or use the Get-In-Touch form (http://www.medaille.edu/about-medaille/staff-council).
The fall semester was spent developing processes by which to organize our work. Now, we are ready to start rolling with action items and recommendations to Dr. Macur and/or Vice President(s).
One of the most pressing concerns is effective communication with staff, both across divisions and throughout the organization. This concern has been echoed in your feedback.
Below are some of the recent submissions from our Get-In-Touch form. We use submissions to guide council discussions, sub-committees, and formal recommendations. Some suggestions require a lot of discussion before we can make a formal recommendation. We thank you for your patience!
Compensation & Benefits
- Staff Assembly feedback confirmed that you are most concerned with compensation & benefits issues. The top three responses from our survey were issues regarding: compensation, restoring vacation/sick time, and retirement matching. The compensation sub-committee is gathering information in preparation to bring formal recommendations regarding these issues to Staff Council. Staff Council will then make recommendations to Dr. Macur and senior-level leadership.
- Sick Time clarification: Has there been any thought to re-adjusting benefits back to the old system in terms of sick time? I am curious to know exactly how this saved the college money and how much over the years?
- In consultation with Human Resources & VP of Business and Finance, Staff Council was given the following clarification: The policy change for sick leave was not based on financial savings. The intent was to bring the College in line with industry standard; reduce excessive absenteeism; eliminate placing an undue burden on co-workers; and encourage employees to build up sick bank--which allows full pay up to a maximum of 100 sick days--in the event of sickness or injury that would require absence for more than 6 consecutive days.
- When Get-In-Touch submissions are received:
- Staff Council members and/or the relevant sub-committee review the submission, gather information, and determine a response. Staff Council may then vote to make a formal recommendation to either Dr. Macur or the appropriate Vice President. Staff Council will share the outcome of this recommendation with Staff Assembly.
- We make an effort to communicate directly with individuals who submit non-anonymous suggestions, questions, etc.
- Please note: Given Staff Council’s mission and purpose, some feedback is not within our purview. When this is the case, we make every effort to send this information to the appropriate office. This can be difficult, especially when the feedback is anonymous. Please know, however, that we see and discuss every submission received.
- Per the Charter, the proceedings of the Staff Council meetings are confidential. However, we will communicate relevant information via Staff Assembly meetings.
- Members of Staff Council are representative of all Staff. Please reach out to a member of Staff Council, even if they are not from your division! We are working to improve cross-divisional communication as well as top-down communication while still respecting the formal hierarchy of the College reporting structure.
- We are committed to making Medaille College one of the best places to work in Western New York! To that end, we recognize the value of professional development. Staff Council is working on ways to support programming and workshops offered through Human Resources and other offices, as well as developing our own initiatives for professional development.
- Staff Council would like to support our community through volunteering efforts, fundraisers, or other initiatives. Feedback and suggestions in this area are encouraged!
Get-in-Touch: Memo 01
December 4, 2015
Staff are encouraged to send feedback, questions, comments, and recommendations to Staff Council through our web form, available here: http://www.medaille.edu/about-medaille/staff-council. We look forward to hearing from you!
Below are the submissions that we received for October and November.
“Will employees ever hear back on the suggestions they submit?”
- Answer: Yes! Staff Council has been discussing “Get in Touch” feedback at our meetings. We value all feedback and are working on the best way to respond to anonymous submissions. To that end, we will post a monthly feedback memo to me.medaille.edu. This will give all Medaille staff (and faculty!) the chance to review not only questions from their colleagues, but also Staff Council’s recommendations and feedback.
“Are we going to be open on November 23? If so, why? Classes are canceled and every office closes early, some at noon, some at 2.”
- Answer: Dr. Macur and Cabinet closed Medaille College at 2pm on Wednesday, November 25th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Please note: some offices, such as Public Safety, remained open.
“I am wondering if you could provide information to the campus regarding new hires that are made without a search. I have noticed this happened with faculty hires, and now it has happened with at least 1 staff hire. What is the process for a hire without a search?”
- Answer: Human Resources can provide information on the search and hire process for staff. Please contact Bobbie Bilotta, Director of Human Resources.
“Is it possible for Medaille to close on Fridays in the summer? This would be one way to show employees they are valued.”
- Answer: Staff Council will discuss this at a future meeting. Please note: Given the nature of their responsibilities, some offices may not be able to accommodate a four-day work week. Additionally, classes run during some Fridays in the summer, so closing the campus may not be an option for offices that serve and work with our students.
“Hello! I am submitting an idea however perhaps staff council is not the appropriate group to submit this to. In any case, would it be possible and/or feasible to provide CPR training to staff, on a first-come, first-serve basis of course. I’d be interested in being trained!
- Answer: Staff Council will look into this and contact the appropriate offices. More information soon!
“I am writing to suggest some staff spirit by labeling a day a week (Friday?) or once a month “Medaille gear day” in which all staff wear something Medaille related.”
- Answer: At our Town Hall meeting on October 22, Dr. Macur instituted Maverick Fridays! Show your support by wearing Medaille branded-clothes and/or Medaille colors.