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Staff Senate recap

The body welcomes new members, discusses goals and committee participation.

By Lindsey Coulter

August 13, 2020

MSU Denver flag.The Tuesday meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Staff Senate included a number of new faces. Recently elected senators and officers, as well as members of the MSU Denver staff community, gathered virtually to get acquainted and discuss goals for the coming year.

Rebecca Reid, president, welcomed all new members and thanked them for their leadership before introducing Salina Blea, assistant director of student employment and equity programs, and Gregory Singer, professional academic advisor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, as the Senate’s new elected speakers. Blea noted her excitement for the role, which she plans to approach through the lens of equity. Meanwhile, Singer shared his desire to facilitate greater connections between staff members and the Staff Senate.

As speakers, Blea and Singer will represent their fellow senators at all Staff Senate Executive Committee meetings, lead Staff Senate working sessions and help advance Staff Senate priorities. The first working session of the new academic year is Aug. 25 from 10-11:30 a.m. Senators are encouraged to speak with their respective teams, offices and departments prior to the meeting to gather feedback on priorities and areas of concern.

Reid then opened the floor to allow senators to discuss the state of higher education and what they hope to tackle in the coming year. Members shared their desire for a more comprehensive sick-leave policy for student employees (which is in the early stages of implementation) and generally improving the student-employee experience. They also looked ahead to anticipated challenges the University might encounter in the spring semester and revisited efforts to address systemic racism and commit to anti-racism work.

In response to questions concerning Faculty Senate and Staff Senate collaboration, Maggie Thulson, vice president, highlighted the current nonvoting staff representation on the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee and Academic Policies Committee and committed to greater communication about efforts to collaborate with faculty. Members also posed the possibility of including more student employees as voting members on academic and policy committees, which depending on the committee would require varying levels of policy change.

Sen. Diane Yee, director, Campus Recreation, who sits on the Budget Recommendation Committee, encouraged Staff Senate members to review the recent BRC meeting recap in the Early Bird. Members also shared concerns about potential furloughs for the 2021-22 academic year, compensation plans, potential furloughs for classified employees, managing workloads and honoring mental-health and wellness needs by continuing to take vacation time.

Senators and general staff members were invited to further engage in inclusive leadership by participating on a committee. Committees in need of members include the Elections Committee, Staff Employment Policy and Support Committee, Recognition and Scholarships Committee, Statewide Classified Council, Campus Ethics Committee, Budget Recommendation Committee, Ad Hoc: Communications Committee, Standing: Policy Review Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is in development. Brian Gunther, technical process and communication manager, School of Education, will be representing Staff Senate on the Provost’s Cabinet, and the senate is seeking an alternate.

Staff Senate committees are essential in creating opportunities for employee engagement and leadership development, as well as advancing Senate priorities. While some committees require senator or officer standing, there are also opportunities for all University staff to be involved. Check out the available opportunities on the public Staff Senate communication site and contact the Staff Senate Executive Committee if you are interested in joining a Senate committee.

The next Staff Senate meeting is Sept. 8, and all staff members are invited to attend. For more information on the Staff Senate, please visit the group’s SharePoint page.

Topics: Inclusive leadership, Staff Senate

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