Council shares concerns about services survey

Associate vice president and chief of staff Miles Lackey gave members of the Professional and Scientific Council an update on the state Board of Regents' efficiency study at their March 5 meeting. Last month's employee survey on service processes was the focus of questions and discussion.

The survey -- an assessment of transactional service processes in human resources, information technology and finance -- is part of the information gathering being conducted by the Chazey Partners consultant firm as part of the regents' Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review (TIER). Lackey said about 2,100 employees who spend more than 10 percent of their time on work related to those services were asked to complete the survey. Workshops and meetings with targeted stakeholders also are being held.

"It helps Chazey to establish our current state of operations -- to determine the amount of effort we're putting into delivering these services -- and provide feedback from customers and clients about how happy they are with the level of service they're receiving," Lackey said.

Prior to the meeting, council members provided questions about the survey, which Lackey used for his presentation. Among his answers:

  • No layoffs will occur as a result of the study
  • The survey establishes a baseline for FTE investment in delivering services
  • Emphasis was placed on transactional services
  • The consultants understand that variations, unique needs exist across the institution
  • The university is not necessarily looking at a centralized, across-the-board approach
  • Decisions will be collaborative, with input from impacted units
  • Evaluation of reporting structures will occur

Lackey acknowledged that the survey may have been sent to employees who do not regularly perform the transactional services, and said the list has "since been pared down."

Council members shared additional feedback about the survey, including concerns about the clarity of the language.

"What information can you possibly get out of it when no one is interpreting what you're asking the same way?" asked Dan Rice, director of recruitment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"Let's see the survey results -- what sort of information we can glean from the data -- go back and follow up with the unit leads and figure out if there are some large anomalies," Lackey said. "If there are, we're going to have to recalibrate. Hopefully, they'll be able to tease out what is valuable, what is right and what is inaccurate."


In other business, council members elected their 2015-16 officers:

  • President-elect: Clayton Johnson, academic adviser, College of Design
  • Secretary/treasurer: Kate Goudy-Haut, program coordinator, human development and family studies (second term)
  • Vice president for university community relations: Jessica Bell, administrative specialist, natural resource ecology and management
  • Vice president for equity and inclusion: Katie Davidson, program assistant, College of Veterinary Medicine (second term)
  • Vice president for university planning and budget: Jordan Bates, program manager, internal audit

Current president-elect Tera Lawson, program coordinator in the School of Education, and the newly elected officers begin their terms at the conclusion of the June 3 council meeting.

Other business

The policies and procedures committee introduced a motion that endorses a draft policy outlining guidelines for use of assistance animals on campus. However, the motion recommends a clearer definition of the term "housing unit" used in the policy.

The draft policy establishes procedures for accommodating service animals and emotional support animals. It is open for public comment through April 21. Questions and comments can be sent to Council members will vote on the motion at their April 1 meeting.

Dean of students Pamela Anthony and Mark Hall, a representative from the Spelman and Johnson consultant group, updated council members on the search for ISU's inaugural chief diversity officer. The search committee is gathering input -- through meetings and a town hall series -- from the campus and Ames community to develop a position description.

Hall said "consistent themes" from the input indicate the candidate should:

  • Be a collaborator, coordinator and community builder
  • Have "personal skills, political savvy and charisma" to bring groups together in a "complex, decentralized academic organization"