Council sets issue priorities

The Professional and Scientific Council executive committee began working on a list of policy priorities and issues in January. The council's seven committees (awards; communications; compensation and benefits; policies and procedures; representation; retention and recruitment; and peer advisory) were asked to brainstorm on ideas for consideration.

In a recent message to P&S employees, council president Dan Burden identified five "major issues" gleaned from that process, including:

  • Salaries
  • Effective implementation of a performance management program
  • Professional development
  • Position descriptions (understanding and utilizing them)
  • Inequities in the resource management model (RMM)

Nine additional items also were identified during a tally of prioritized rankings by council members. Burden said all 14 issues were shared with president Steven Leath and executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman.

What's next

Burden said the range of issues will require different approaches, such as tweaking the focus of existing council committees or partnering with other campus groups to work on common goals.

"Some issues, due to funding levels for example, are pretty much out of our hands; but we need to keep them before university leadership so everyone is aware there are problems out there that continue to impact our university mission," he said. "Some issues are things on which we can take a more proactive stance."

Burden said the council's top priorities, which deal primarily with funding and human resources issues, are additionally impacted by changes in the university's top administrative positions.

"Campus leadership and [human resource services] are committed to addressing salary and equity issues, as well as meaningful professional development. There is a great deal of change in the works. Couple that with the review of the RMM that will come out -- surely there will be some tweaks or changes to RMM -- and streamlining the performance-based pay models, and you can see that it could end up being a very interesting year," he said.

Call to action

Participation and engagement of P&S employees and council members continue to be important, Burden said. An online question form is being developed for the council website as a tool to help bring forward questions and discussion topics of any type. He said the executive council will review submissions, contact appropriate campus leaders for responses and present them at council meetings.

"P&S staff are critical to creating, funding and managing the teaching, research and outreach programs of this university," Burden said. "We have campus leadership that recognizes that contribution. I'm very upbeat."