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Staff Council

Upcoming Meetings

Staff Council general meetings for FY20-21 will be held on the second Wednesday of every month from 1-2 p.m. Meetings will be held virtually via WebEx and registration will be sent on a monthly basis via UNotes. All staff is invited to join us!

Mar. 10
Apr. 14
May 12
June 9, with guest speaker President Woodward
July 14

The University of Hartford's Staff Council represents the rights, needs, interests, and goodwill of all non-union staff at the University of Hartford.

The Staff Council seeks to work collaboratively with other members of the University community to foster a greater sense of shared community. As an advocate and contributor, the Staff Council collaborates with colleagues in the campus community to co-create a greater sense of shared purpose and respect. This commitment to a shared learning community at the University serves to inform and guide our work.

The Staff Council serves as an advocate for University staff members and is committed to a culture of respect in an environment that fosters professional success in accordance with the mission of the University.

Staff Spotlight Awards

The Staff Council, in conjunction with the Human Resources Development, has kicked off a new initiative this year to recognize staff. One of the most important things the Chair of the Staff Council does is to help select the annual recipients of the Outstanding Staff Member Awards, but we can all agree we have coworkers who deserve this level of recognition, and we can do it more than just once a year. We are excited to announce our new Staff Spotlight Award that will recognize a hard-working, dedicated, and exceptional employee each month.

man headshot

The July 2020 recipient of the Staff Spotlight Award is Jonathan Easterbrook, Director of Marketing and Communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. He currently works heavily on the editorial side, serving as editor of the recently rebranded UHart magazine, H. In addition to writing, he proofs and edits a wide range of materials to ensure accuracy and consistency with the University’s editorial style guide. Jon also spends time coordinating UNotes and the sending of broadcast email communication to the UHart community.

Jon is no stranger to UHart, as he has been part of the campus community for nearly forty years—he attended UHart as an undergraduate student in 1983, then went on to earn his master’s degree and serve as a graduate administrative intern in the Office of Admission before beginning full-time employment as the Assistant Sports Information Director. He then transitioned to the Office of Marketing and Communication in 1993.

When asked what he enjoys most about working at UHart, Jon said the people. “There has always been a true community feel that exists.” Jon also shared he always try not to take for granted the ongoing cultural opportunities and everyday resources we have working on a University campus (during normal times). “At lunchtime, whether you’re looking to walk, eat, or buy stamps, it’s all right here on campus,” he says.

Along with being the voice behind UHart’s phone system, there are many aspects about Jon colleagues still do not know. He also served as the radio voice for the University of Hartford women’s basketball for 14 years, highlighted by calling the program’s two milestone wins in the NCAA Tournament over Temple (2006 in Trenton, N.J.) and Syracuse (2008 in Baton Rouge, La.). He is also a trained National Weather Service spotter and weather aficionado who was eyeing a career in meteorology before choosing to opt for journalism and communication.

Please join the Staff Council, Human Resources Development, and entire University community in congratulating Jon on this tremendous recognition. His dedication and hard work to the University of Hartford has impacted many faculty, staff, and students, and we are thrilled to recognize him with the Staff Spotlight Award for July 2020.

 

women

The first recipient of the Staff Spotlight Award is Zhihong Di, senior technical support specialist in Information Technology Services (ITS). She supports all of the departments/schools on and off-campus (with the exception of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture).

Di has been working for the University for over 15 years. In her current role, she acts as the primary resource to maintain and service technology diagnosis on campus. Her role involves problem resolving needs and troubleshooting software and hardware issues for faculty, staff as well as students. 

When asked what she likes most about working here, in summary, it was the people.  “The University work environment matched so well with my personal work ethic, enthusiasm, and even my interests and personality. From individuals within the different schools and Colleges, to the library, HRD, Public Safety, Administration, and Admissions, everyone I have worked with or met is extremely friendly, supportive, and professional,” says Di. Working with individuals who show appreciation makes Di not only enjoy doing her job, but also help her complete her jobs successfully, making her feel like a dedicated contributor to the University. Di is extremely grateful for the number of “thank you” e-mails she’s received, phone calls, thank you cards, and more that she has experienced over the past 15 years.

When asked what we do not know about Di, she shared some fun facts, including her outstanding memory. She admitted to knowing about seventy percent of people based on their computer models on campus. “This means if you give me a username, I will tell you about if she/he has a laptop, desktop, surface, MacBook pro or iMac,” says Di. Di also enjoys helping our international students in any needs beyond tech support on and off-campus. She even worked as an interrupter when Chinese delegations visited on campus a few years ago and spent seven years instructing Chinese Classic Literature.

Please join the Staff Council, Human Resources Development, and entire University community in congratulating Di on this tremendous recognition. Her above and beyond work ethic and the impact she’s made on many individuals here on campus has not gone unnoticed, and we are thrilled to recognize her with the Staff Spotlight Award for April 2020.

Meeting Minutes

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Participants: Professional Staff of University of Hartford

Because of time constraints, we were unable to discuss/approve the minutes from the Jan. 13 general meeting. These will be reviewed at our March general meeting.

New Business

NECHE

  • Presentation and updates provided on NECHE accreditation (Prof. Laura Pence and Kathleen Neal, Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness)
  • Around 2/25/21, Kathleen and Laura will send a draft of the presentation for NECHE
  • On-site visit to take place (either virtually or physically) in October 2021
  • NECHE looks at the University holistically to evaluate its effectiveness

TIAA Cref/Raises

  • Open discussion topic: 9% TIAA-CREF contributions and no raises vs. 7% contribution and a 2% raise (Laura Whitney, Vice President for Finance, helped facilitate)
  • Tuition discount is large contributor to current financial strain on the University
    No decision will be made before March 1st when faculty contracts are issued; Potential decisions to be made around August

Staff Council Reports
Treasurer’s Report: (Linda Zigmont) Balance is $1,422.98

  • No change

Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer)

  • Benefits Taskforce met on 1/21/2021
  • Paperless open enrollment went very well. Very few issues
  • CT paid leave: this is a state mandate, and the University must collect from employees’ paychecks. The state is still working on all the details and the benefits will not start until 2022.
  • We cannot yet tell you how it will affect the current leave policies since all the details have not yet been released. Stay tune for more details to come
  • COVID-19 Vaccine-The federal government pays for the vaccine but there is an administration cost which is billed to your medical insurance. Members will not have to pay anything for the vaccine. The administration cost is covered at 100% and it not subject to deductible
  • Due to COVID-19, some employees were not able to spend all the funds they had set aside in their Dependent Care accounts. The University is looking into if it is possible to roll these funds to 2021. I will update when decision is made
  • Remember to contact Cindy regarding any suggestion or concerns

Resource Planning & Priorities committee: (Laura Heemskerk/Laura D’Angelo-Gohn)

  • Meeting was held 2/21/2021. This was an extra meeting to review FY 2022 budget before it goes to the Board of Regents in February. As was done last year, there are three scenarios in the budget: worst case, likely case, and best case. There are so many moving parts and unknowns especially in light of the pandemic. We will prioritize revenue-generating actions

Faculty Senate: (Ben Ide)

  • Provost Fred Sweitzer and Katie Kitchens, Director of Student Services and Advising Center for Student Success, spoke at the 1/22/2021 session of the Faculty Senate meeting (meeting times were changed to allow Senators to watch the Presidential Inauguration). For the Spring 2021 semester, the University will take the same precautions to fight the spread of Covid on campus as they did for the Fall 2020 semester, except they will be more aggressive about testing and contact tracing. Faculty members will be given an automatic 1-year extension for their probationary period if they asked for it. Raises to be retroactive to original probationary period if they get a promotion and take the 1-year extension. The Provost also spoke about the financial situation of the University, including student enrollment, retention, and the projected tuition discount rate
  • At the 1/25/2021 session, the Faculty Senate hosted a discussion on the thought of keeping the University Contribution at 9% or dropping it to 7%, with the other 2% going into a merit raise pool

Human Resource Department: (Lynn Thibodeau)

  • The United Way campaign will be starting at the end of March, but there are no materials to share at this time. It will be completely online and electronic, and emails will go out with the link as soon as the information is available. It should before the April Staff Council meeting

Old/Continuing Business

  • Delegate elections: Voting has closed as of Feb. 9 at 11:59PM, the ballot is at
    https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=6JGLt45CL0KltKj2yrBxBLREkqHZQh5Fj1txJ5f3fm1UQ1lDSTZaVE8xRFhOVDQ3SElVSjRNRjFDWi4u
  • Staff Council delegate to Faculty Senate: Rachel Yacouby (23 votes)
  • UH Benefits Task Force: Laura Heemskerk (23 votes)
  • UH Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Task Force: Desirée Kleykamp (23 votes)
  • UH Resources Priorities and Planning Committee: Laura D'Angelo-Gohn (22 votes)
  • Staff Council Hospitality Committee (multiple positions): Laura D'Angelo-Gohn (18 votes) and Rachel Yacouby (16 votes)
  • Staff Council Ways & Means Committee (multiple positions): Ben Ide (18 votes) and Rachel Yacouby (15 votes)

Next Meeting: Wednesday, Mar. 10 at 1 p.m. – WebEx

Minutes submitted by Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, January, 13, 2021

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Participants: Professional Staff of University of Hartford

Approval of Minutes

  • Discussion and approval of the minutes from Dec. 9 general meeting:
  • Approved via poll feature in WebEx.

Treasurer’s Report: (Linda Zigmont) Balance is $1,422.98

  • No change

Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer)

  • Nothing to report. The next meeting is Jan. 21.

Resource Planning & Priorities Committee (RPPC): (Laura Heemskerk/Laura D’Angelo-Gohn)

  • The most recent RPPC meeting was on Thursday, Jan. 7. They completed the review of UHart Start priorities planning. The committee is holding a special meeting on Thursday, Jan. 21 to begin reviewing the actual numbers and budget. During the fall semester, the RPPC focused on prioritizing items/areas in which to allocate University funds.

Faculty Senate: (Ben Ide)

  • There was a presentation from Lisa Zawilinski, the Executive Director for the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, on teaching resources available for faculty. Provost Fred Sweitzer talked about plans for the spring semester, including contingency plans for a start date and ramping up COVID-19 testing for students. He also announced that construction for the new academic building is on time and under budget. As of January 1, 2021, the TIAA Contribution is active again and the University is matching 9% as it had been prior to COVID-19.

Human Resource Department: (Lynn Thibodeau)

  • HRD has completed reviewing employee elections for calendar year 2021 open enrollment. You can now view your elected benefits for calendar year 2021 in your employee self-service portal. The benefit summary is grouped in alphabetical order by type of payroll deduction. As you are reviewing your benefits, please scroll through the entire page and review each benefit/deduction grouping to review your elections. If you cover dependents for medical, dental or vision insurance and do not see them identified under the specific benefit, please contact HRD at hrd@hartford.edu. As a reminder, some benefits include both employee and University premium contribution while others are either employee or University premium contribution only. NOTE: The University contribution to the Health Savings Accounts will reflect only half of the annual contribution.
  • On June 25, 2019, Connecticut passed legislation to create a comprehensive paid family and medical leave insurance program (PFMLI Program) through the signing of Connecticut Public Act 19-25, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave, as amended sections 232 through 235 of Public Act 19-117. For covered employees in the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Paid Leave program offers the opportunity to take time to take care of personal and family health needs without worrying about lost income while you are away from work. Beginning with the first paycheck in January 2021, the University is required to deduct this new payroll tax from all employees including full and part time, temporary and student employees. The deduction is .5 percent (.005) of wages up to the social security tax maximum earnings. For example, an employee earning gross wages of $1,500.00 per pay period would see approximately a $7.50 deduction for the CT Paid Leave Program tax.

New Business

  • United Way – More information is coming soon about the 2021 United Way campaign
  • There is a revised version of the Civility Statement from the Faculty Senate: As a University we foster a climate of civility; as members of our community we engage with one another, maintaining the highest standard of ethical, inclusive, and empathetic behaviors. We assume responsibility for our words, choices, and actions and their impact on others as we expect other members of the community will do the same. Our community is a place where people can have a free and open exchange of diverse ideas and disagree respectfully. - This reflects changes recommended by the SGA and the Staff Council executive board.
  • The Ways & Means Committee will evaluate the ways in which approval of minutes are conducted virtually. This would be similar to the voting paddles utilized during the in-person meetings, indicating a quorum of community reps has been achieved on voting matters.

Old/Continuing Business

  • Delegate elections: Nominations closed, candidates have been notified, election via Google Forms later this month
  • Outstanding Staff Member Awards (the “OSMAs”) will be presented at the Spring Kickoff event on Jan. 27,which starts at 3:30 (see UNotes post for WebEx information)
  • Staff Council website improvements, with shortcuts to often used sites (forms, HRD, DEI, etc.)

Announcements

  • DEI professional day “Racial Equity: Building a Culture of Inclusion at UHart Part II” for faculty and staff is tomorrow, Jan. 14: https://www.hartford.edu/unotes/dei-spring-professional-day-reg.aspx
  • Call for nominations for Staff Spotlight; E-Board has discussed changing the recipient prize, since a parking pass is not as widely utilized at this time
  • For the February meeting, we will have a presentation from Laura Pence and Kathleen Neal about the NECHE accreditation
  • For the March meeting, President Woodward will likely be unable to attend; the E-Board will announce if/when we schedule another speaker
  • Concerns have been raised about the University’s new Inclement weather policy: specifically, issues of inequity for those who work remotely and still need to clear snow and handle childcare. These staff members are forced to take personal time or struggle to fit in a full workday with these added challenges

Updates from Community Representatives/Staff

  • There will be a Career Fair on Jan. 29: https://www.hartford.edu/unotes/2021/01/january-29th-virtual-career-fair.aspx
  • For the spring semester, the first week of classes, Feb. 1 through Feb. 12, will be held remotely/virtually to adhere to the quarantine policy in place for COVID-19
  • The University has extended the Forward Scholarship opportunity, originally implemented for May 2020 graduates, to also include September 2020, January 2021, and September 2021 graduates. This offers recent alumni up to 50% off tuition of UHart graduate programs: https://www.hartford.edu/admission/graduate-admission/tuition-scholarship-program.aspx
  • Institutional Advancement share this year’s Founders Day Challenge will now be called “Day of Giving; Empower Every Student. Every Day.” It is scheduled for Mar. 11. Stay tuned for more information, which will be posted to UNotes
  • Reminder this coming Monday, Jan. 18 is Martin Luther King Day, and is also a University holiday
  • There is a planned electrical shutdown on Saturday, Jan. 16 that will interrupt remote desktop access: https://www.hartford.edu/unotes/2020/12/electrical-shutdown-on-jan-16.aspx

Next Meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 10 (NECHE) at 1 p.m. – WebEx

Minutes submitted by Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Participants: Professional Staff of University of Hartford

Approval of Minutes

  • Discussion and approval of the minutes from previous general meeting (November 11, 2020)
  • Minutes approved via WebEx poll.

New Business

  • Guest Speakers Jessica Nicklin and Mark Boxer discuss University updates:
    • Throughout the fall 2020 semester, the University had a total of 117 COVID-19 cases (10 employees, 107 students) and the overall positivity rate was very low compared to peer schools.
    • Contact tracing will continue for the spring 2021 semester
    • Faculty/staff are permitted to one free COVID-19 test per semester
    • Launching student health ambassador program in February 2021
    • Administration is working on Commencement plans for May 2021
    • New policing/public safety model to improve image of officers; 19 student ambassadors patrolling campus and working with officers; microaggression training over the summer; Annex location near Commons for more student accessibility, perhaps put a social worker on public safety; conscious in hiring practices (women of color, diverse employees); received feedback from students saying it’s well-received
    • Health and Wellness Center in the works
  • Campus Food Pantry Survey
    • A group of University of Hartford faculty, staff, and students are conducting a survey to explore the level of need for a campus food pantry. The purpose of a campus food pantry would be to address any hunger and food insecurity that may exist among the campus population. College campuses nationwide have seen an increase in the number of students coping with food insecurity in recent years. In light of the economic effects of COVID-19, this issue is even more pronounced, not just for students, but also for faculty and staff. As such, this group is working to assess the level of need on our campus in order to best support our campus community members in need. Student, staff, and faculty participation in this survey is very important, as the results will help determine our plan going forward. Please contact Lisa Coté (licote@hartford.edu) with any questions. Please complete our brief survey found here: https://bit.ly/uhartfood

Staff Council Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report: (Linda Zigmont) Balance is $1,422.98
    • No change
  • Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer)
    • Committee spent time reviewing Open Enrollment. This is first year it was 100% online and was going well so far. Low attendance at Town Hall meetings.
  • Resource Planning & Priorities committee: (Laura Heemskerk/Laura D’Angelo-Gohn)
    • Today’s meeting focused on prioritizing UHart Start document goals. Next meeting is Jan. 7, where we will pick up where we left off on UHart Start.
  • Faculty Senate: (Ben Ide)
    • Provost Fred Sweitzer said that spring semester planning is to be like the fall semester: only some face-to-face, with some additional training for those who need it. They are quietly planning some alternative scenarios should they be needed. Faculty teaching an extra class will not continue next semester. President Woodward talked about the many calls and letters of thank you’s he’s gotten from students and parents, expressing their gratitude for the University’s handling of this crisis. We’ve done well, much better than our peers. President Woodward advocated for sharing the Faculty Senate’s Civility Statement with Staff Council and the Student Government Association. He also reviewed the University’s financial status and spoke about returning the TIAA-CREF matching at 8% - or 9% if possible.
    • There will be another Faculty Senate meeting in December
  • Human Resource Department: (Lynn Thibodeau)

Old/Continuing Business

  • Delegate elections: Nominations closing soon, review the candidates, then election via Google Forms
  • Staff Recognition Event on January 27, 2021: Outstanding Staff Member Awards (the “OSMAs”)
    • OSMAs will be part of the faculty/staff kickoff on Jan. 27. Stay tuned for announcement
  • Staff Council website improvements, with shortcuts to often used sites (forms, HRD, DEI, etc.)
    • If staff think of any other shortcuts to add, please share your suggestions to staff@hartford.edu

Next Meeting: Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 1 p.m. – WebEx

Minutes submitted by Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Participants: Professional Staff of University of Hartford

Approval of Minutes

  • Discussion and approval of the minutes from previous general meeting (October 14, 2020)
  • Minutes approved via WebEx poll.

Staff Council Reports

Treasurer’s Report: (Linda Zigmont)
Balance is $1,422.98

Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer)
No report at this time; Next meeting will take place next week.

Resource Planning & Priorities Committee: (Laura Heemskerk)
Meeting was held November 5th meeting outlined discussions about UHart Start initiative, including goal setting and strategies. Next meeting will be held December 3rd.

Faculty Senate: (Ben Ide)

President Greg Woodward talked about COVID testing and the influx of new cases. He gave an update on the recent DEI training initiatives and talked about focusing on student housing plans for the next phase of campus construction. A taskforce review of athletics (part of UHart Start) is coming, and it will look at right-sizing. He also talked about what the University spends on staffing compared to income from tuition and asked people to come up with more ideas on how we can save money by shifting priorities in spending. There will be no spring break next year. He also reassured NECHE that we are still healthy and solvent. Provost Fred Sweitzer talked about faculty searches and the effect on the budget, particularly the holds on positions and sabbaticals.

New Business & Updates

  • Civility Statement: Lucy Richard, Director of Clinical Education spoke about the University’s drafted Civility Statement.
    • “As a university we foster a climate of civility; as members of our community, we engage with one another, maintaining the highest standard of ethical, inclusive, and empathetic behaviors. We assume responsibility for our words, choices, and actions and their impact on others as we expect other members of the community will do the same. Our campus community is a place where people can have a free and open exchange of ideas and disagree without being disrespectful.”
    • Lucy emphasized the importance of input from staff members and SGA and welcomes feedback from staff about Civility statement. She can be reached via email at RICHARD@hartford.edu
  • Open Enrollment: Per Rachel Yacouby, Open Enrollment is now available and can be completed fully online. Get started here: https://www.hartford.edu/about/offices-divisions/human-resources-development/open-enrollment.aspx
  • University Gratitude Challenge: Staff Council, in collaboration with the Office of Marketing and Communication and Health and Wellness staff, invites you to participate in the UHart Gratitude Challenge during the month of November. We encourage you to take some time out of your day to say thanks, reflects on positivity, send a thank-you note, etc. Learn more at https://www.hartford.edu/unotes/gratitude-challenge.aspx

Miscellaneous Updates

  • The University Libraries will be open for reduced hours after Thanksgiving break. Furthermore, most library items will have extended loan times and will not be due until February.
  • There will be several international and athlete students who will be residing on campus between Thanksgiving break into January; They have submitted forms to request this special circumstance.
  • There will be an announcement coming from HRD in early 2021 regarding how United Way will be conducting fundraising efforts.

Old/Continuing Business

  • EverFi DEI Initiative:
    • Announcement coming soon regarding DEI initiative modules for faculty and staff; participation in these modules is heavily recommended.
  • Delegate elections: Nomination form has been completed and ready for submission.
  • Outstanding Staff Awards
  • Upcoming Meetings
    • Next meeting (12/9) will feature President Woodward as guest speaker
    • April meeting will feature Kathleen Neal and Laura Pence to discuss updates on the University’s NECHE accreditation
  • Community Representatives: Vacant roles
    • Barney School of Business
    • Bates House
    • Beatrice Auerbach Computer and Administrative Building
    • College of Arts & Sciences
    • College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP)
    • Finance and Administrative Services
    • The Hartt School
    • Hillyer College
    • Member at Large, Exempt
    • Ways & Means Committee
    • Hospitality Committee (Staff Spotlight)
    • Benefits Task Force – Delegate
    • Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Task Force - Delegate

Note: There is a disadvantage of having an E-board member also serve as a Community Rep, as there is a loss of one vote when it comes to voting representation.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. – WebEx

Minutes submitted by Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Participants: Professional Staff of University of Hartford

Minutes

Discussion and Approval of Minutes from previous general meeting. (September 2020)

  • September Minutes approved via poll in WebEx.

Guest Speaker: Christine Grant

  • Christine Grant discussed upcoming launch of EverFi modules for employee DEI initiatives
  • In partnership with EverFi, the University will offer two DEI training modules for employees:
    • “Diversity: Inclusion In The Modern Workplace” and “Managing Bias”
  • The modules will be 35-40 minutes in duration and will be part of the onboarding process for new employees
  • An email will be sent to alert employees when this is being launched and Lynn Thibodeau will help facilitate
  • Ben Ide and Jane Horvath shared positive feedback about their experience with EverFi modules

Staff Council Reports

Human Resource Department: (Lynn Thibodeau/Jen Conley)

  • All students, employees, and visitors are required to complete a COVID-19 screening survey on Public Safety's LiveSafe app before arriving to campus for the day. It is available by downloading the app on your phone.  For any student, employee or visitor who do not use a smartphone, an online version can be accessed on a computer.  You may want to print the results for verification.

Treasurer’s Report: (Linda Zigmont) Balance is $1,422.98

Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer)

  • Open enrollment will open Nov. 2nd – It will be fully online this year
  • The committee met twice to discuss how the claim experience was for the past year and to discuss any changes. Experience for the past year has been on track. The University saved money from early retirements. The committee is not suggesting any big changes for the next year. Open enrollment will be online and will happen in late October to early November. More details will be posted in UNotes.

Resource Planning & Priorities committee: (Laura Heemskerk)

  • Updates from last meeting: RPPC (formerly BAT) was held on 10/1/20. Progress on current year budget was presented. Next meeting is November 5th

Faculty Senate: (Ben Ide)

  • Due to Christina Lapierre's departure, Ben Ide has resumed the role of Staff Council delegate to the Faculty Senate; Some of Ben’s notes from last Faculty Senate meeting:
    • Provost Fred Swietzer spoke about the overarching concern of staying physically, emotionally, and mentally strong during this time while continuing to build new academic programs and recruit students.
    • President Woodward discussed retention numbers (up 9% overall- Target was 10%- and over 17% for students of color) and how we are doing financially ($3.5 million loss from a drop in residency numbers).
    • President Woodward also said that the University will return to matching TIAA-CREF contributions on January 1, 2021.
    • We will continue with a hybrid A/B approach for the spring semester. There is also discussion about starting the semester later and omitting the 2021 spring break

New Business

Vice Chair

  • Christina’s departure leaves a vacancy for the Vice Chair position; If you would like to apply for the Vice Chair position, or nominate a fellow staff member, please email staff@hartford.edu
  • We will accept Vice Chair nominations through the rest of the semester.
  • “The Vice Chair shall preside over Executive Board meetings. The Vice Chair shall perform duties assigned by the Chair. In the absence of the Chair, he/she shall preside over meetings and assume the Chair's duties. The Vice Chair shall coordinate fund raising activities.”

Recording Ssecretary: Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Graduate Services Coordinator for the Barney School of Business, has joined the executive board as our new Recording Secretary.

Community Reps – roundtable updates

Faculty Senate Updates – Jerry Katrichis

Senate continuing WebEx meetings as open meetings – All faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Contact facsenate@hartford.edu if you are interested in attending. These meetings have President Woodward and Provost Swietzer as guest speakers at every meeting.

Vacant Roles: Community Reps, Committees, and Delegates

  • Barney School of Business
  • Bates House
  • Beatrice Auerbach Computer and Administrative Building
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP)
  • Finance and Administrative Services
  • The Hartt School
  • Hillyer College
  • Member at Large, Exempt
  • Ways & Means Committee
  • Hospitality Committee (Staff Spotlight)
  • Benefits Task Force – Delegate
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Task Force - Delegate
  • Note: There is a disadvantage of having an E-board member also serve as a community rep, as there is a loss of one vote when it comes to voting representation.

Outstanding Staff Award – Ben Ide

  • Typically given out at faculty/staff kick-off but because of pandemic, not a good time to call for nominations or hand out rewards
  • Nominations are now open (announcement in UNotes); Nominations can be submitted to HRD
  • Recognition event to be held in December to announce recipients of awards and recognize all staff accomplishments
  • Woodward asking for ideas from SC about creative and innovative ways to show staff appreciation

Meeting Adjourned 1:51 p.m.

Next Meeting: Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. – WebEx

Minutes submitted by Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

 *This meeting was hosted virtually.

Minutes

  • Review of July and August minutes
  • Voted to approve the July and August minutes, using the poll function

Staff Council Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report: Balance is $1,422.98
  • Benefits Taskforce: (Cindy Oppenheimer) meeting in September 2020
  • Resource Planning & Priorities Committee: (Randi Ashton-Pritting/Laura Heemskerk)
    • Met on Sept. 3, 2020
    • Shared update regarding cost of tuition which will be shared with the President’s Cabinet
  • Faculty Senate: (Christina Lapierre)

The faculty senate continues to meet monthly via WebEx. The August meeting had President Woodward and Provost Sweitzer going through the upcoming opening plans for the campus as it related to students and faculty. Faculty were reminded about utilizing masks and cleaning products available to them in their classrooms for those that are teaching hybrid models. Students who do not follow the mask requirement and do not comply can be told to leave the classroom until they have a mask. Continued insubordination of compliance from students can/may result in being asked to leave the campus. Leadership will continue to monitor the activity of students and is working with Hartford Healthcare to monitor students who may test positive.

  • Human Resources Department: (Lynn Thibodeau)

The Office of Human Resources Development is happy to partner with our Employee Assistance Program provider, The Lexington Group, to provide our employees the opportunity to participate in a Stress Management Webinar. The webinar will cover: Understand the science of the stress response, recognize your own stress triggers, learn how to respond rather than react and discover powerful stress busting strategies.

Effective Stress Management: One Hour Webinar

Date: Thursday, September 10

Time: Noon-1 p.m.

Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1607273130643809552

Please be on the lookout for our weekly reminders regarding COVID transmission prevention awareness. They will be posted to UNotes every Wednesday. If you have not yet done your COVID transmission prevention awareness training, it is not too late. Reach out to EmPOWER@hartford.edu for more information and directions.

All students, employees, and visitors are required to complete a COVID-19 screening survey on Public Safety’s LiveSafe app before arriving to campus for the day. It is available by downloading the app on your phone. For any student, employee, or visitor who do not use a smartphone, an online version can be accessed on a computer. You may want to print the results for verification.

If you wish to sign the LET’S KEEP HAWKS HEALTHY PLEDGE, it is available on the Employee Tab in Self-Service.

New Business

  • Faculty Senate Updates – Jerry Katrichis: haven’t gotten business going yet for the school year
  • Student Government Update – Juli Dajci, Class of 2021:
  • Lukas Struppe, Class of 2021, represented SGA for today’s meeting
  • Gave overview of what has been going on so far this year
  • Black Lives Matters March a couple weeks ago was very successful, student Jasmine Streeter was the main person setting up the event and organizing, great turnout
  • Club fair coming up next week, September 14-18;set up time slots from 10-2 p.m.  every day, social distanced and spread out but still so that students can be engaged and active in the UHart community
  • Recently been discussing with administration how clubs and organizations will best be able to function with COVID policies and procedures
  • Delegate Elections
  • Coming up this month
  • Ben is going to create a survey poll using Google Forms to solicit input for those that want to run for delegate positions
  • Vacant Community Reps Roles
  • Bates House
  • Computer/Admin Building
  • ENHP
  • Finance & Admin Services
  • Hartt
  • Hillyer
  • Open spot on the Benefits Task Force because Lynn Galvin retired from University (2-year rotations)
  • Leonard Bretton made announcement about using 25Live to request scheduling for events
  • Staff Council Committee Vacancies:
  • Ways & Means
  • Hospitality (Staff Spotlight)
  • Staff Council Annual Report is finished and will be sent out to all community reps and will be put on website
  • Outstanding Staff Awards
  • Follow up from September 2nd President Woodward Updates
  • Ben Ide announced Lauren Goldman leaving University, this will be her last time taking minutes as Recording Secretary
  • Opened the floor to updates from Community Reps:
    • Stephanie Fengler promoted academic building beam signing that will be happening tomorrow and Friday. Shared UNotes announcement in chat
  • Laura Heemskerk (CETA): Introduced Vince Mack, new Collegiate Budget Manager; also shared CETA did a great job social distancing their labs and faculty were pleased with set up
  • Cindy Oppenheimer (A&S): Office coordinators at A&S won Barbara Cooke award for outstanding service
  • Rebecca Lee (Hartford Art School): art gallery opening tomorrow at Joseloff Gallery - thesis exhibition, in person who people who are already on campus, tomorrow from 4-6 p.m.; shared UNotes announcement in chat

Next General Meeting: October 14, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

*This meeting was hosted virtually.

Minutes

  • Reviewed minutes from March, April, May, June 2020 general meetings
  • Voted for approval of minutes in chat
  • Approved minutes from March, April, May, June 2020

Staff Council Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report – Linda Zigmont: Balance is $1,422.98
  • Human Resources Department – Lynn Thibodeau
    • Human Resources Development (HRD) has completed implementation of an online electronic records system. This implementation was designed to improve the experience of employees who need to complete forms, as well as increase the efficiency of the onboarding and training while allowing the University to move toward an electronic, paperless employee records keeping process. In the coming weeks, you will be receiving emails from the Records system. Many of these emails will invite you to click on a link that will bring you to the PeopleAdmin system to complete tasks or checklists. This is not spam. We will be using the new Records module of PeopleAdmin to distribute the University of Hartford’s Healthy Hawks COVID-19 pledge. All of the students will be asked to sign the pledge, and faculty and staff are urged to do so as well. HRD will also be using this tool to offer return to work information and COVID-19 awareness and prevention training. 

New Business

HR Q&A Responses to staff:

  • Question about whether staff should continue to submit time reports to supervisors
  • Question should go to individual’s deans and department heads
  • Question about working remotely
  • Still an option for staff who are not student-facing or not otherwise needed physically on campus to work from home. This would allow for social distancing on campus and saves resources for facilities and public safety, and other colleagues who must be on campus. Supervisors are empowered to make the decision that is best for the business functions and employees
  • Question about working on Labor Day
  • The people working that day are essential staff only, otherwise should be a day off
  • Are guests allowed on campus as part of events or other business?
  • Please check with public safety on this, also the recent announcement on UNotes about guests on campus
  • Question about PPE provided on campus
    • Laura Whitney sent an email on July 6th, stating that PPE and cleaning products as aligned with CDC will be centrally purchased and distributed to the schools and departments. The University is in the process of developing and documenting standards; most departments have submitted PPE requests at this time. Please send an email to ppe@hartford.edu for any more requests
  • Questions about LiveSafe app, what if people don’t have a smartphone or are concerned about privacy?
  • There is an option for taking the survey on a computer before coming to work. You don’t have to turn on location tracking in app. Additional questions can go to public safety
  • Questions about daily health survey
  • Only symptoms that are abnormal or new should be checked off
  • Only need to complete survey if you are going to be on campus that day
  • If you have any positive symptoms from the list, stay home
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen to the department?
  • Case by case basis because there are too many variables. It is important to let supervisors and HRD know if you are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive so plans can be made appropriately
  • Questions about student workers
  • Any student related questions need to be directed to residence life, the dean of students, or health services
  • Question about whether University will start buying water for employees again (question came late)
  • Ben will raise question with HRD and procurement
  • Opened up to additional questionsIs campus open on the weekends?
    • Directed this question to public safety

Lynn Thibodeau explained how to get to online COVID training. Staff must electronically sign once finished. Link to training is on self-service so employees don’t need to log into PeopleAdmin. Don’t have to certify/electronically sign if accessed through self-service

  • Vacancies for Community Reps:
    • Bates House
    • Beatrice Auerbach Computer and Administrative Building
    • College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions
    • Finance and Administrative Services
    • The Hartt School
    • Hillyer College
  • Community Reps overview: commitment of one meeting a month, someone willing to report what they find from Staff Council back to their constituents, and take thoughts from constituents back to Staff Council
  • Delegate Elections – vacancies for the following Staff Council delegate positions:
    • Ways & Means Committee
    • Hospitality Committee
    • Benefits Taskforce
  • Election will be for all positions
  • Aiming to be ready to have elections for positions in September or October
  • Staff member asked: How many staff members have left the University?
  • Around 35 retired, most of them were faculty members
  • Don’t know how many staff members we lost due to attrition, budget cuts
  • Staff Spotlight: Jon Easterbrook is the most recent recipient
  • Jon and Di will be receiving free parking passes for next academic year
  • Always accepting more nominations for Staff Spotlight
  • Career & Professional Development Workshops
  • Will be kicking off in 2021, quarterly workshops
  • Will be part of staff meetings, allocate time based on topic
  • Sean Parke is collecting submissions relating to how COVID is affecting faculty, staff and students for an article. Link is in UNotes
  • Asked for announcements from Community Reps:
  • Keeping Hawks Healthy - website with info and resources for COVID 19
  • Faculty/Staff Kickoff next Wednesday August 19
  • Stephen Mulready named interim dean for Barney
  • President Woodward now has a conflict during the September meeting, can’t make it
  • E-Board has scheduled a separate meeting with President Woodward for Sept 2 that staff are welcome to attend. Registration is required to join; see UNotes.

Next General Staff Council Meeting: Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

*This meeting was hosted virtually.

Minutes

  • Need to review minutes from March, April, May, and June meetings
  • Stephanie will send Community Reps links to the minutes to review and wait until next meeting to vote
  • Executive Board will look into setting up a poll in WebEx for voting 

Staff Council Reports

  • Treasurer’s Report - Linda Zigmont: Balance is $1,422.98
  • Human Resources Department - Lynn Thibodeau
    • Throughout July and into the beginning of August, to the extent possible, employees who can effectively perform their job responsibilities remotely should continue to do so. During this time, Facilities and other reopening committees will review all departments for necessary protective barriers and social distancing, and ensure that the University is in compliance with all of the state of Connecticut’s reopening requirements. Reopening of offices will require a thorough assessment of challenges, as well as measures that can reasonably be put into place to provide protection to our workforce.
    • Some of our employees may be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age, underlying health conditions, or other factors. Please see the CDC’s list of high-risk groups.
    • If a staff member has a medical condition that could reasonably affect their ability to safely perform their duties on campus, they must request a reasonable accommodation through HRD and go through the interactive process. Based on the information obtained through that process, a determination will be made on whether the employee qualifies for reasonable accommodation.
    • For employees who may not have a disability, but are otherwise considered “high risk” for serious illness due to COVID-19, the University has established the process below for those faculty and staff to explore the possibility of alternative work arrangements with their supervisors.
      • Employees who are, or will be 65 or older as of December 31, 2020, and wish to continue to work from home should contact HRD before July 17, 2020.
      • Employees who believe their own underlying health condition increases the risk for serious complications related to COVID-19 should contact HRD to discuss the situation no later than July 31, 2020. HRD will notify the appropriate supervisor if the request is granted.
      • Employees who cohabitate with someone who is or will be age 65 or older as of December 31, 2020, or who cohabitate with someone with an underlying health condition that increases the risk of serious complications related to COVID-19 shall contact HRD to discuss the situation by July 31, 2020. HRD will notify the appropriate supervisor for the staff member’s decision.
      • If you need to request an accommodation for the fall, reach out to the Office of Human Resources Development (HRD) to discuss your specific situation, documentation requirements, and options.

New Business

  • President Woodward will be having a town hall style meeting on July 15 at 2 p.m.
    • Notices will be going out
    • He will be answering questions, staff is welcomed to send Ben questions that he will relay to him, or they can ask him questions at the meeting
  • A staff member asked a question about what protocols are being put into place for staff safety when we reopen offices
    • Ben made note of question to keep in the loop as that is discussed
    • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be made available to faculty, staff, and students on campus
    • Specific questions about Personal Protective Equipment can be emailed to ppe@hartford.edu 
  • Delegate Elections
    • Voted in our last in-person staff meeting on changes to the constitution and by-laws which allows us to do nominations and voting for delegates to various committees
    • Try to start that this month, publish the change to the constitution and bylaws so that the most recent version will be on the staff council website, and then form a nominating committee, put out a poll asking for nominations to various positions, and send out to voting to membership
  • Annual Report to Staff Council going out this month
    • See if we can put this document out in UNotes rather than spend a whole meeting on it
  • Staff Spotlight update
    • Ben will work with remaining members of the committee, review the list of nominations and nominate someone for June and then get nominations going for July
  • Topics for Staff (Career and Professional Development)
    • Reviewed the results from the survey that went out to staff in 2018 for what people were interested in for training and development
    • Highest votes for training and development: communication (verbal and nonverbal) and conflict resolution
    • Highest votes for career development: developing personal leadership skills and management/leadership development
    • A staff member made a suggestion to add cultural competencies to the list of topics
    • What other topics would staff like to learn more about in our schedule for 2020-2021?
      • Specific management of student workers
    • Beyond training topics, what areas of concern would you like to have Staff Council champion or look into?
  • All Staff Council meetings will take place on WebEx for the foreseeable future
  • Discussed the need to stay in the loop of whether Community Reps have left the University
  • Asked for updates from Community Reps
    • Laura D’Angelo-Gohn (Barney): Dean Amy Zeng is leaving University of Hartford July 14
    • Cindy Oppenheimer (A&S): there have been a lot of shuffles in A&S, there is now one office coordinator per building, some office coordinators have been let go
    • Lawrence (OMC): can look into seeing if he is able to share information from the directory
    • Rachel Yacouby was let go from Hartt
    • Judy Camarsick has retired
    • Lots of changes at Hartt
    • Paul Fleury from Bursar’s Office retired in May, new bursar is Michelle Jarvis-Letterman
  • Bates House has started a plan for a staggered A/B schedule between two “teams”, working every other day
  • Office phones can be set up to go directly to email or personal cell phone
  • Are some jobs, who were vacated due to retirement and reconsolidating, still advertised to inside the UHART community first?
    • Ben will follow up on this question

Next General Staff Council Meeting: Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, June 10, 2020 

*This meeting was hosted virtually

Guest Speakers: Jane Horvath and Christine Grant

  • Jane and Chris discussed updates to the President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (they serve as committee co-chairs)
  • Committee has been visiting with extended cabinet, deans, student government, faculty senate
  • Provided some background and context on the committee and why the president has set up the committee in the way he has
    • August 2017 - President appointed President’s Committee on DEI - goal was to improve diversity on campus
    • Fall of 2017 - President developed 12-point program and committee began plan to address item 10 - connecting DEI efforts across campus, articulating a definition of DEI at UHART, holding campus accountable for commitment to action
    • This work helped in the creation of the Steering Committee, helped inform its charge and structure, and helped identify central responsibilities of this new steering group: leading, advocating, and assisting in the coordination of DEI efforts
    • 2019-2020 steering committee on DEI Work:

 Four Work Groups:

  1. Policy, Procedures, and Practices Work Group (do our current policies embed DEI?)
  2. Population Work Group (our recruiting efforts, for faculty staff and students)
  3. Academic Work Group (curriculum and student learning, does it support efforts of DEI?)
  4. Assessment Work Group (how do we assess ourselves? How we hold ourselves accountable, develop strategies and ways of evaluating the work that we are doing
  • Have made two major recommendations to President Woodward:
  1. All policies ensure that all disparate groups are taking into consideration and that it’s an inclusive document
  2. All task force/working groups have DEI involved in decision making
  • Jane and Chris took questions from staff:
    • Q: Have students been asking for the University to take action during these George Floyd days? And how should the University respond?
      • A: Chris Grant: office of student engagement and inclusion along with SGA will be holding an open forum next week, led by dean of students, where students will be given forum to ask questions. Jane and Chris have also been charged with meeting with deans from various schools to set up same type of format for students, alums in each school, see how we can better provide action items appropriately in each school
    • Q: How can we become involved in DEI efforts within our individual schools/colleges?
      • A: Meetings with the deans will better inform faculty and staff in each school, the deans are definitely on board as it relates to recognizing that this is a pivotal moment and to move forward action items that will be more meaningful, consistent. Stay tuned and each school will be informed or notified by their deans
    • Q: Is it possible to increase faculty diversity when we are under a tenure system and probably not growing?
      • A: The Office of the Provost working through TSTORRS has been working with the toolbox to emphasize the importance and mandate that people be proactive in efforts to diversify faculty, there has been some success although not as much as we would like and not across the board. Individual schools and colleges have their own challenges in moving that forward. Some people suggesting that Jackie McClean fellowship be expanded
    • Q: How are we going to be able to increase staff diversity if we are not going to be able to hire new staff in the near future?
      • A: at this point there is a review and evaluation of our budget and where we are as a campus, wait and see. It’s a particular challenge right now, we need to be creative and understand that this is a long-term journey
    • Q: Is the forum advertised on UNotes?
      • A: Not sure if it’s been placed in UNotes, being spearheaded by dean’s office
  • Separate question for e-board:
    • Q: What have people heard about return to campus date?
      • A: only info we have heard so far is about students return date, haven’t received information yet regarding staff

Next General Staff Council Meeting: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

*This meeting was hosted virtually.

Guest Speaker: President Woodward

  • President Woodward provided update on how things are going with the university right now, coping with COVID-19
    • Finalized 2020 budget - we’re planning on ending the year about $3.7 million in the red, and then have a three-year-plan to bring that to profit
    • Plan is still in motion - building new building, new degrees, etc. on time
    • Due to pandemic we have had unexpected expenses - we overspent our budget by about $1.8 million after all the COVID - revenue was about the same, discount was lower, cost on staffing/events were higher than expected - cost of about $1.5 million because of the costs due to pandemic
    • Will end the year at about $3 million extra loss due to the pandemic.
    • Board wants University to move to a zero-balance budget more quickly - want to be able to make paychecks, pay creditors, satisfy people we borrow money from, etc.
    • Leadership will have to determine with the board how to manage that with the current situation
    • This year is a COVID recovery year, net year we have to be back to a place where we are sustainable and solvent
    • There will be a sense of changing some of the things we do at the University - University reset - so that on the other side of the pandemic we will be able to have a sustainable business plan
    • Plan is to create a couple scenarios this week based upon 85% enrollment and based on 70% enrollment
    • Once we have those two budgets, we will have an idea of what kind of budget savings we have to come up with
    • Gather responses from faculty and administration of what they would do/change/eliminate with those cuts
    • Not going to go back with an across the board cutting plan - we would rather go back taking the pie of revenue and replacing it a little differently to be able to create investments where we have return on that revenue, places where we know we have enrollment and can make revenue
    • Once that budget cut is announced, people will need to make org charts/budget plans to show administration to prove we are going to make the cuts
    • Should all unfold around June 10 - then we will make a final budget, present a budget to the board on June 19 - either approve or not - will get to work right after that day ad spend the next couple months figuring out how to put those changes into place on campus
    • Planning for the fall: for each of the two enrollment scenarios (70% and 85%) we imagine three options, build out a plan for each scenario:
  1. Fall happens as normal
  2. Fall doesn’t happen at all
  3. Fall is somehow smaller/interrupted - maybe we start late, leave early, maybe only half the students can come back to campus
  • Greg’s prediction: we will be able to open the dorms but we may have to have single residence only, have to have testing for everyone that comes and leaves campus, probably smaller classes, probably not be able to have major events, don’t know about sports, will have to follow all the rules put forth by CT, US, CDC
  • Going to teach class in the fall - probably going to offer in dual-formats
  • Promised the board we would try to make a decision about the fall by June 15
  • Hope that we know what we are doing by July 1
  • Want to offer students different options for what makes them comfortable (online, starting in January, etc.)
  • Going to send out an announcement to all staff to say that the work at home plan is going to continue until at least July 1
  • 120 people or so furloughed
  • 14 people have taken early retirement, another couple dozen thinking about it

 

  • Answered questions from staff:
  • Q: How does the timing work between electing early retirement and being informed about an extended furlough or termination?
    • A: As we get closer to July 1, we will have a sense of what’s going to happen - at that point in time if there are layoffs, would extend deadline for early retirement. Will make timing work out if necessary.
  • Q: What does the international student scene look like?
    • A: Don’t know if international students will come, will have to offer all classes to international students in an online format, probably won’t be able to get here for the fall.
  • Q: You mention budget cuts, but what about programs that are bringing in a significant increase in numbers of students to that program? Example: Track program has 45 committed NEW students (program brings in min profit to University of $25 million - based on $25,000 net price, taking out six total scholarships being used by the program) but doesn't have resources to get the kids to a facility to practice or enough of budget to take a bus to an actual track meet.  90 students next year for the program total.  40 more student athletes than in years past.  
    • A: All the budget cuts will be modulated and adjusted by looking at the overall University sustainability, will have to make smart choices about areas that are not bringing in as high of a return on investment, may have to change percentages of where we spend our money to be able to create a sustainable business plan. In this case, athletics people would decide how to best spend money, not decided by administration.
  • Q: Will students from CT have to commute? And if there are siblings at UHart will they have to room together?
    • A: Extended commuter range from 30 miles to 60 miles. Might be able to consider siblings rooming together.
  • Q: What about off-campus apartments? How do you control how many students are rooming together? 
    • A: Virtually nothing we can do about that, we can’t control their actions off campus, we will offer a hybrid approach to learning so that students can do what makes them most comfortable
  • Q: The governor stated faculty over 70 or those with medical conditions should teach online. What about staff that are older or have medical issues?
    • A: We can’t force people in high risk pools to come to campus, will have to figure out in those scenarios on how to help them continue to work from home. We will do everything we can to make people as safe as possible. If it’s not safe we won’t do it. Lives are more important than money. If there are layoffs, no one would ever be laid off because they are in a high risk pool, that would be completely unethical.
  • Q: Regarding the possibility of layoffs in the future, have there been any layoffs so far or just furloughs and early retirements?
    • A: There have been no layoffs.
  • Q: Is there a plan to outfit classrooms with technology for this idea of blended courses?
    • A: We would have to have every single course live-streamed and posted online so students could watch it later
  • Q: Have there been discussions about staggered hours, flexible work options, like work-from-home as we move forward? Thank you!
    • A: Will definitely have staggered work hours for the kinds of tasks where it doesn’t matter time of day, open to letting staff continue working from home if that works better for them.
  • Q: Will we receive our second HSA contribution in July?
    • A: Don’t know anything about that, question for HRD. Nothing has been changed. Jen Conley spoke up and said there is no changes to the HSA contribution that would happen in July.
  • Q: Do you anticipate any change to the tuition reimbursement benefit for employees in the upcoming months?
    • A:
  • Q: Has the Uuniversity started planning for contact tracing? For students, faculty, staff, and other campus visitors?
    • A: Will have to do that, can’t open campus without a contact tracing plan in place.
  • Q: How are Summer Term enrollments?
    • A: Online enrollments are pretty normal, other summer programs aren’t going to happen, such as summer place, soccer camps, police academy, etc.
  • Q: University of New Haven offered discount to students taking summer classes online. Have we considered doing this?
    • A: Yes, offering free classes to students from this semester who didn’t feel like they got what they wanted out of their class, will offer them chance to retake that class this year or next summer for free. Barney and Hillyer offering certain classes for free online this summer. Offering masters programs for graduating seniors who want to stay for 50% off.
  • Q: Are we still holding the May commencement in December as scheduled?
    • A: Will be combined with December commencement on December 15, 2020 at the XL Center, Hartford, CT.
  • Q: Are there any international students still living on campus who weren't able to leave the U.S.?
    • A: Still have about 45 students on campus, not all international students. Not going to kick students out, will continue to monitor and manage. At some point will have to give first responders 30 days’ notice if/when we need the dorms back.
  • Q: Are there any plans to let students back on campus to remove their belongings left in March?
    • A: Will open up 10-day period between May 26 and June 4 and tell students what day they can come back to get their belongings
  • President Woodward encouraged staff to write to him with ideas of where things could be cut

Next General Staff Council Meeting: Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Minutes submitted by Recording Secretary, Lauren Goldman.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

*This meeting was hosted virtually

Guest Speaker: President Woodward

  • Discussed budgetary issues that the University is facing due to the COVID-19
  • Have to develop a balanced business plan
  • Answered questions that staff sent into the chat function
  • Q: What are the numbers looking like?
    • A: So far about 15 people have signed up for early retirement

         -About 35 voluntary furloughs so far - saves the University about $350,000 so far

         -State of CT is paying half of unemployment fees for the University

         -Individual on furlough gets insurance premiums paid for by University

         -$600 weekly unemployment check from federal government

  • Q: If involuntary furloughs are necessary is there a time this will be announced?
    • A: Not particularly necessary but they are very helpful to the University. If state and federal government is willing to pay our employees’ salary, why wouldn’t we let them do that?

                   -If we go to that stage, we would look deeper into the actual work, see who is working less than 15 hours from home - looked at what the savings would be with that number, which is about $700,000 saved between now and July 1

                   -What if we ramp that up to people working under 20 hours a week?

                   -Savings on that goes well over $1,000,000

                   -Supervisors will have to think about what they need, what they can get by with

                   -The savings from consolidating the work to one person who is already working more would be huge

                   -In the next week or two they will start looking at these situations

                   -Conversation will continue over the next two weeks and see where we are

                   -Supervisors will contact and work with their employees one on one, not a public announcement

  • Q: Across the board budget cuts or siloed by department?
    • A: Not in favor of across the board budget cuts, finding ways to centralize and expand work across silos to work together, where can we share resources and staff? Where can we get work done more efficiently for the University?
  • Q: For people that are furloughed, are there any assurances of them returning to work?
    • A: Furlough is a signed legal agreement with legal protections. You will return on the date that the document states. The only thing they can do is negotiate with you to change the date. You cannot be let go as a result of a furlough.
  • Q: How would the sale of the HCW campus add to our budget?
    • A: We have tried to sell this many times, hasn’t worked. It’s still for sale. When that campus is sold, the money from the sale has to go toward the various programs we have that support and retain the legacy of HCW (Women’s Advancement Initiative, and others)
  • Q: Is there a benefit for staff who take voluntary furloughs vs. forced?
    • A: No, it’s the same
  • Q: Would you consider reduced week furloughs, not just all or nothing?
    • A: According to state bylaws, there is a percentage of work hours you can work and still collect unemployment. We are looking at that and trying to collect some data on what that would look like, in the process of figuring that out. Right now, the data tells us that the most profitable thing we can do are full furloughs because we recoup more from the state, and the state doesn’t chip in the money the same way for part time furloughs. Will do what’s best for employees and University.
  • Q: What happens to those of us who are on 44 week contracts? Would we still get unemployment past our contract date?
    • A: Guess is yes, but going to forward to HRD to confirm with person who sent question
  • Q: How will staff manage to get all the work done? There are many things some people don’t know how to do.
    • A: We have to make sure we can still get all the work done, any place that we see things that are redundant or areas where things can be blended. Repartitioning the pie, as a business we have to invest in the products that sell and bring a better return. Where do we put our limited revenue into places where we get a return that allows our entire business to function? Where can we put our people that the returns are the highest?
  • Q: In regard to distance learning, do you foresee anything being put in the budget to include tools the library provides?
    • A: We will have to invest in resources forth to make online learning the best it can be. Trade offs to the change in our delivery.
  • Q: When are credits /refunds applied to student accounts? Already started to happen? if not when will that start?
    • A: CCIC (group of private colleges in CT) meets every Thursday - telling them to wait, don’t start refunding money yet because they don’t know the fine print around government stimulus funds. Can’t risk screwing up the $4.6 million dollars the government is going to send to the university by divvying it up and handing it out in ways we might not be able to recoup.
  • Q: Approximately when will the final details of the voluntary retirement incentive program be coming out?
    • A: Unclear about what the specific details that weren’t included in the email that are still coming out. Anyone who has that question just send an email to Jen Conley and ask for those details. Greg will try to remind people in HRD that a lot of people are asking that question and to try to get that info out as soon as possible
  • Q: Is there anything we can do to help students who are at risk?
    • A: Create a list of volunteers of university employees to be mentor/big brother/big sister to students who are struggling in isolation. Ask for Chris Grant and Jen to create some kind of message to go out in UNotes to ask if there are people interested in doing that.
  • Q: When I started here a few years ago, I got the sense that we already tightened our belts regarding redundancies. I have a hard time now hearing that there are additional cost savings with overlap in areas that haven't already been achieved. 
    • A: Areas where there’s still some redundancies: In the seven schools there are processes around financial aid, scholarships, budgeting, dealing with transfer students, assessing graduation credentials, etc. Those things could come to the Center for Student Success.
  • Q: What is happening with the classroom renovation plan for this summer?
    • A: Slowing down. Have done a lot of things in the dorm and residence halls, have done some campus refurbishing. There’s a three-year-plan, but or this summer those things are on hold for now.
  • Q: With that relaxation of communicating w/ students accepted elsewhere.... does that bring a higher discount rate into question to lure folks in?
    • A: Some of our best students may get offers from more competitive schools because they have less international students coming. Going to fight hard, keep putting out messages, reaching out to students who didn’t attend in the past and may want to be close to home. After deposit deadline, going to tell students they will refund deposit if students change their mind because family situation changes. Give students the option to defer till spring, take classes online, from home, four-week classes to start, etc.
  • Q: Will HRD send more information regarding how we are expected to "track" our day-to-day work and who will be going through that?
    • A: Supervisors are working with their areas to determine the best way to do it, and supervisors will be the ones going through that and tracking it.
  • Q: Couldn’t we just forward our UHA mail to a personal account if we are furloughed?
    • A: Recommends that everyone do that anyway just in case

Next General Staff Meeting: Wednesday, May 14, 2020

Minutes submitted by Recording Secretary, Lauren Goldman.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Minutes:

  • Reviewed minutes from February 12 meeting.
    • Add Bonnie Taylor to attendance
    • Staff spotlight: staff council can give one staff spotlight award per month
    • “one of two” free parking permits for next year
    • Ways and means changed proposes - second bullet point, “elections for delegates to committees such as…”
    • Approved minutes with amended changes

University Committee Reports:

  • Benefits Taskforce - Cindy Oppenheimer/Lynn Galvin

Open Enrollment Recap - Passive Enrollment went well. Mostly positive feedback. 12 individuals from across the University have not signed paperwork for HSA contribution. If you do not sign you will not receive University funds. Multiple notices have been sent to individuals. Please contact HRD. A few people changed from POS to deductible based plans. The final numbers for December 2019 were 122 POS/653 Deductible based for a total 775. January 2020 - 105 POS/669 Deductible based for a total number of 774.

Discussion about RX: Expressed displeasure of some that they have to use CVS for 90 day supply. This will be looked at during renewal.

Dependent Eligibility Audit-Medbill: This is being done to make sure we are covering the right individuals. As of 2/20/20 all employees have been notified and no prevalent issues so far.

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force: Christine Grant
  • Resource Planning & Priorities Committee: Randi Ashton-Pritting/Laura Heemskerk

Resource Priorities and Planning Committees (RPPC) met on January 9, 2020. The Committee reviewed and discussed the charge and membership (both standing members and rotating) and made them formal documents. The next meeting of the RPPC will be on March 5, 2020.  

Staff Council Reports:

  • Faculty Senate - Ben Ide/Christina Lapierre

President Woodward spoke about the UHart Start strategic planning document. He’s almost done with the review and the revision, based on hundreds of pages of comments, starts next. He, like Provost Sweitzer, also gave some updates and answered questions. Caitlin Trinh and Sean Meehan from Institutional Advancement gave an overview and update on donor activities. The Faculty Policy Manual “FPM” is in the process of annual review. Student Government reported that they are working on accessibility concerns on campus to have more wheelchair access. They have a “reusable cups” initiative on campus and have created a sustainability committee. The Clinical & Applied Faculty tracks are up for proposed changes with updated language to the contract that is under review.

  • Treasurer’s Report - Linda Zigmont: Balance is $1,422.98
  • Fundraising Committee (no report)
  • Human Resource Department: Lynn Thibodeau (no report)

Just a reminder, the University has partnered with an independent third party vendor, MedBill Management, to audit the eligibility of spouses participating in the University’s group medical insurance plan. This audit/verification consists of two parts: Part 1: All participants who cover a spouse on the medical plan will be asked to provide appropriate documentation verifying the covered individual is the legal spouse of the employee. Part 2: Participants whose annual base/contracted salary is greater than $40,000 will then be asked to provide additional documentation in order to verify his/her spouse does not have access to qualified medical plan at his/her employer. Within the next week, MedBilll Management will be sending a letter and subsequent verification package to complete and return to their processing/verification center. This verification is mandatory for all employees on the medical planwhich covers a spouse. All information sent to MedBill Management will be kept confidential and all documents will be stored in a secure environment with restricted access.

New Business:

  • Clarified various awards
    • Staff spotlight: Staff Council can give one staff spotlight award per month, submitted to community reps or executive board
    • Outstanding staff award - five awards per year, nominations gathered in April and May, decisions made in June or July, awards given out during Kick Off event at beginning of fall semester
    • Academic staff excellence award - done through the Provost office, winners announced in UNotes
  • Final read of proposed changes to Constitutions and Bylaws related to elections of delegates to committees
    • Approved changes with amended change of “and” to “or” as noted in February 12 minutes, change was made during this March 11 meeting
  • Will begin nomination process for delegates for committees, hopefully will have results by May
    • Committees needing delegates: Resource for Priority Planning Committee, Faculty Senate, Student Government, Diversity Equity & Inclusion
    • Will send list to community reps for feedback, then put out a call for nominations
  • Updates from community reps
    • Hartt: upcoming performances, Hartt 100 celebration, opera black box on March 27 and 28, Lionsgate on 29th
    • Marketing and Communications: form went out yesterday for anybody traveling out of the state
    • ENHP: arts and healthcare lecture on April 7, details in UNotes
    • Human Resources - sexual harassment training is mandated by state of CT law, please finish if you have not. Reminder about Med Bill
  • Diversity speaks event on March 31 has been cancelled
  • Aetna is doing Coronavirus testing at no cost for anyone who is a participant
  • Jen Conley answered questions related to current policies regarding Coronavirus - as of right now it is business as usual, dealing with working from home employees on a case by case business, more updates will continue to come out in the coming days
  • Early retirement package will be out in the next couple of weeks, available for both faculty and staff
  • Update from faculty senate: getting a representative from faculty senate, Jerry Katrichis (chair of faculty senate) to come to Staff Council meetings to give reports
  • We now have a representative from Student Government Association, James Brino
  • Someone has been selected for the March staff spotlight award. Announcement and interview will be going into UNotes before the end of this month

Campus News/Updates:

  • Please stop by the WISE Affinity Group (Women Inspire Success Excellence) on Friday, March 27 from 1:00-2:00 pm in Barney A235. Topic will be: Whole Self-Care. Guest speaker Prati Kaufman is a Marketing & Mindset Coach, Speaker, and Mentor. She endeavors to empower individuals to take inspired action with no self-judgment. To contact Prati: prati@pratikaufman.com
  • 10th Annual Helping Hawks Registration: As part of our commitment to community service, the Office of Student Engagement and Inclusion will be hosting UHart’s 10th annual Helping Hawks day of service on Friday, April 3, 2020. On this day, students, faculty, and staff engage in various community service projects throughout the Greater Hartford Area. University of Hartford volunteers will serve at each site between the hours of 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on projects provided by the site. Volunteers will check in 10:45-11:30 am in GSU South Cafe, for a brief welcome and to be dismissed to their buses. All volunteers are provided transportation to their service sites and are scheduled to arrive at their designated service project sites between 11:30 am and noon. After completing their service project, volunteers will be picked up from each of their site locations and returned to campus between 3 p.m. and 3:30 pm.
  • Spring break: March 16-20, 2020

Next General Staff Council Meeting: April 8, 2020

Minutes submitted by Recording Secretary, Lauren Goldman.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Attendance: Ben Ide, Lauren Goldman, Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Kelly Anderson, Allison Poulin, Meaghan Murphy-Rennie, Lisa Wollenberg, Rebecca Lee, Rachel Yacouby, Miguel Otero, Victoria Sandoval, Diane Purcell, Randi Ashton-Pritting, Laura Heemskerk, Amy Kopec, Tina Berrien, Brian Verderosa, Cindy Oppenheimer, Anthony Williams, Anthony Oudorn, Stacie Wentz, Brian Nwafor, Donna Clarke, Margaret Reynolds, Bonnie Taylor.

Minutes

  • Approved minutes from December 8, 2019, as amended.
  • Reviewed and approved minutes from January 8, 2020.

University Committee Reports

  • Benefits Taskforce – Cindy Oppenheimer/Lynn Galvin (no report)
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force – Christina Lapierre (no report)
  • Resource Planning & Priorities Committee (previously known as BAT) – Randi Ashton-Pritting/Laura Heemskerk

Staff Council Reports

  • Faculty Senate – Ben Ide

President Woodward reported that we had the highest returning percentage of 2nd semester freshmen in 5 years: 93%. The cutoff point for registration has been raised; previously, if a student still owed $2,500 they wouldn’t be allowed to register and now it is $5,000. Meanwhile, Financial Aid and other offices have been aggressively calling to get students registered.

The construction tape will be going up soon for the new academic building, but the students are expressing concerns about the creation of a new building when the dorms are in bad shape. President Woodward is trying to get the message out that the University is spending $6 million on residence hall renovations, with $2 million already spent, so students will see improvements soon if they haven’t already.

Molly Polk, the Vice President for Marketing and Enrollment Administration, gave an overview of marketing and enrollment strategies. We are seeing stats that we are taking our competitors’ market share.

After eight years, Ben is stepping down as Staff Council delegate to the Faculty Senate. Christina Lapierre will take over starting in February 2020. 

  • Treasurer’s Report – Linda Zigmont: Balance is $1,422.98.
  • Fundraising Committee (no report)
  • Human Resources Development – Lynn Thibodeau (no report)

New Business

  • Announced town hall meetings with President Woodward to discuss Strategic Plan
  • $6 million have been allocated to renovating the residence halls
  • Emphasis on the rule of not bringing pets to work
  • Service animals do not qualify as pets and are allowed
  • Announced plans for Staff Spotlight
  • 3 questions that will be asked in an interview with winners:
  1. What is your role at the university?
  2. What do you like about working here?
  3. What’s something that people don’t know about you?
  • Will be written up in UNotes
  • Winners will receive a certificate of recognition from HRD and names will go into a drawing for one of two free parking permits for next academic year
  • Ben will collect the names for nominations
  • Announcement about Provost’s Academic Staff Award nominations posted in UNotes
  • Ways & Means proposed changes of electing SC Delegates
  • Currently have elections every 2 years
  • Proposed change would be elections for delegates to committees such as Faculty Senate
  • Presented information on proposed changes as a “first read”
  • Use the same nominating committee procedure as for e-board election
  • Change “and” to “or” for section 2 paragraph a (at large representatives OR delegates) for revision to proposed changes
  • Executive officers can also be a delegate, but should be encouraged to take only one delegate position at most
  • Vote on proposed changes at next general meeting in March
  • Will get revised document out to Community Reps by Friday 2/28, giving E-Board time to go over it at their meeting beforehand, and giving communities 2 weeks to review before the vote
  • Ben has been delegate to Faculty Senate for 8 years
  • Effective this month, Ben will be stepping down, and Christina will be taking on the role
  • Ben will write up report on information collected for vacation updates
  • E-board will send email to HRD with suggestions to add into the staff manual regarding the ability to borrow vacation time from next fiscal year in extenuating circumstances
  • Updates from community reps
  • Athletics: of all the fall sports, 87% of all student athletes had 3.0 or higher, 5th highest GPA in the country for D1 sports with a cumulative GPA of 3.65. all faculty and staff can now go to athletic events for free. Men’s basketball team has a game tonight at Albany, trying to get into 2nd place spot for conferences.
  • Hartt: Hartt collage this weekend, created for prospective students but community members invited to come. Music, dance, and performance. Friday and Saturday at 7:30 in Lincoln. Buy tickets through box office.
  • CETA: Laura Heemskerk is now the assistant dean of administration in CETA.
  • Student International Center: hosting 34th international festival on 2/29. All you can eat international buffet and students and professional performances. Open for faculty, staff, students, and community members. Doors open at 5.
  • Hartford Art School: upcoming opening in the Silky Gallery, 35 prospective transfer students showing their art. Goldfarb annual exhibition is currently going on at Joseloff Gallery, current student artwork.
  • Residential Life: renovations in basements A-D, fire pit outside across from the commons.

Next General Meeting: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.

UNIVERSITY OF HARTFORD

STAFF COUNCIL GENERAL MEETING – DRAFT

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Attendance: Ben Ide, Christina Lapierre, Lauren Goldman, Linda Zigmont, Stephanie Fengler, Laura D’Angelo-Gohn, Pam Masi, Kelly Anderson, Allison Poulin, Meaghan Murphy-Rennie, Lisa Wollenberg, Rebecca Lee, Rachel Yacouby, Jackie Orlowski, Miguel Otero, Trevor Anderson, Anthony Williams, Laura Heemskerk.

Minutes:

  • Reviewed minutes from December 11 meeting. Change “perspective” to “prospective”.
  • Did not meet quorum so could not approve minutes, will review December minutes again for approval during the February meeting.

University Committee Reports:

  • Benefits Taskforce – Cindy Oppenheimer/Lynn Galvin (no report)
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force - Christina Lapierre (no report)
  • Resource Planning & Priorities Committee (previously known as BAT) – Randi Ashton/Pritting/Laura Heemskerk
    • Resource Priorities and Planning Committee (formerly BAT) met on Dec. 21, 2019. The committee reviewed the final FY19 budget to actuals. We also reviewed the FY20 budget compared with actuals to date and compared with actuals of this time last year. We are tracking closely to budget. The sale of bonds and restructuring of debt has been completed which gives the University a line of credit that will be used for campus projects such as beautification and buildings. The University has successfully centralized many functions; however, there are still efficiencies to be realized. The next RPPC meeting is January 9, 2020.

Staff Council Reports:

  • Faculty Senate – Ben Ide (no report)
  • Treasurer’s Report – Linda Zigmont: Balance is $1,422.98.
  • Fundraising Committee (no report)
  • Human Resources Development – Lynn Thibodeau (no report) 

New Business:

  • Goals for 2020 relating to Staff Council
  • Improve HRD on-boarding process for new staff, as well as training across departments
  • Improve communication about budgeting process
  • Staff Council Representatives share announcements about anything going on within their areas
  • Inviting upper level administrators to our meetings more often
  • How do we empower staff to advocate for themselves?
  • Focus on updating/amending the reporting structure of employees
  • Reviewed where we stand with the Vacation Rollover Survey
  • Executive Board is meeting with President Woodward, Laura Whitney, and Jen Conley tomorrow and will wrap this up, get a final say of what we are or are not going to change
  • Reminder about Employee Resource Groups/Affinity Groups
  • There is a section in UNotes about the different groups
  • Checked in with Community Reps
  • 1/30-2/2 – Hartt Opera Theater production of Die Fledermaus
  • President is scheduled to come and talk at staff council meeting on March 11

Campus News/Updates:

Register today for How to Move from Awareness to Action Against Unconscious Bias, the Spring 2020 Diversity and Inclusion professional training for staff and faculty. This training takes place on Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Gengras Student Union. It is presented as part of the University’s strategic direction and commitment to building a culturally competent and inclusive campus community by the President’s Office for Diversity and Community Engagement and Human Resources Development. All staff and faculty are strongly encouraged to attend this Professional Development training. Attendance at the fall training is not a prerequisite for attending in January. Light refreshments will be available. Please plan to join us! 

The second Diversity Speaks program of the academic year will be held on March 31, 2020 from noon to 1 p.m. in Millard Auditorium. Belonging and Being Seen is again the program focus with an emphasis on the experiences of international and immigrants. Complete details about a compelling program will be published in the new year so mark your calendar today and plan to attend. The year-long Diversity Speaks project is presented thanks to a partnership between Travelers and a committee of faculty, staff, and students.

Next Staff Council Meeting: Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Minutes submitted by Lauren Goldman, Recording Secretary.