Updates for position descriptions, wellness headline council meeting

Changes to the writing process for Professional and Scientific position descriptions are coming soon. Emma Mallarino Houghton, director of classification and compensation in university human resources, briefed P&S Council members about standard "job factors" that will be rolled out next month.

"The different parts of the position description drive different things," Mallarino Houghton said. "The job duties section typically tells us what classification you are as an employee. The job factors section typically drives the [P-level or pay grade]."

The standardized language for job factors of each classification already exists (it was approved by the state Board of Regents in 1993). That language will replace specifics written by employees and their managers for each individual position. When position descriptions are created or updated in the PeopleAdmin system, the standardized language automatically populates the job factors section of the form, based on the position's classification.

"The language describes the level of work required at each P-level and within each classification. It does not describe the work, which is what the duties section does," Mallarino Houghton said. "Language within the position description gives us the necessary elements to determine pay grade for a position within a classification."

Mallarino Houghton said the system change recently was piloted with some users and will appear side-by-side with the old view, beginning in January. The old view will be phased out and replaced with the standard job factors.

"We're planning to use the phased approach for two to three months, depending on how feedback comes in," Mallarino Houghton said. "If we need to go longer, we will."

Wellness update

Stephanie Downs gave council members an overview of wellness program developments. Downs, ISU's wellness coordinator, said information she collected over the last year from campus conversations, surveys and an inventory of campus resources helped create an action plan.

"As we've built the action plan, we've really been talking about moving from wellness to wellbeing," Downs said. "We've identified six elements for Iowa State. These elements -- the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, financial and community -- are the framework for understanding the comprehensiveness of what wellness can be and bringing in the term 'wellbeing' to that."

Downs outlined five "strategic priorities" that the action plan will address over five years:

  • Improving employees' health
  • Helping employees make and maintain healthy lifestyle choices
  • Creating a supportive environment that makes healthy choices easy
  • Providing employees with the tools to manage and use the health care system
  • Fostering a culture of wellbeing that helps employees in work and life

Some initiatives Downs said to expect in 2016 include an ISU Wellbeing website, program listings (series, workshops, etc.) in Learn@ISU and a personalized wellbeing portal. She said a registered dietician nutritionist will be hired this spring.

Looking to the future, Downs said a community partnership -- which includes the city of Ames, McFarland Clinic, Wellmark and Mary Greeley Medical Center -- is in the early stages of exploring chronic condition support programs. A medical self-care program also is planned.

Other business

Council members approved proposed tweaks to council bylaws that outline university committee assignments. The changes align committee appointments with the following council positions:

  • Policies and procedures committee chair, to policy library advisory committee
  • Compensation and benefits committee chair, to university benefits committee
  • Vice president for equity and inclusion, to university committee on diversity