Meeting summaries for the current academic year are found below. Archives can be found in the menu at the left.
Present: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanna Hart, Jared Hoffman, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Susan Morse, Nancy Sowders, April Woodward-Ginther.
Construction Project Manager Seth Millam updated staff council members on village, West Quad and other current and upcoming construction projects.
Many staff council and other staff members are concerned about parking during the West Quad project. Signage is currently under consideration by the library planning committee, as are plans for visitor parking. KSC will discuss parking concerns further at a future meeting. Miracle will share her parking information with Seth.
Staff council members signed a card thanking the Chasers for singing at the holiday lunch. Nine cheer baskets were sent this month; the total so far this year is about 40 (similar to last year).
The committee still needs to confirm spring events. The budget includes additional money from Operations that has been earmarked to support KSC events. Pizza was suggested. Holiday lunch: Generally good feedback from the Chasers’ performance — will look into other options for next year including staff and/or instrumental talent. A bit more communication about the duration of the performance would be appreciated. An ugly sweater contest was suggested. Working with AVI to collect donations for their giving tree was suggested.
The minutes from this meeting will be sent out before winter break along with notes from the forum about interim library services. It would be nice to post spring event dates before the break.
There are ongoing discussions about policy related to exempt sick days and where you work.
Senate is about to discuss a draft protest and demonstrations policy. More information will be available after their next meeting.
President Sean Decatur hosted a forum for staff on Nov. 20, 2017. The event began with an update, which covered construction, the campaign, enrollment and the College budget.
The capital campaign is still in its quiet phase — there will be a public launch on Oct. 13, 2018, including an on-campus kick-off event. The working goal is $300 million and we are currently over halfway there. From Oct. 2018, the campaign will likely run for three years (until June 2021). The recently announced anonymous $75 million gift is great, as are several smaller gifts including a pledge to match new scholarship funds and need-based financial aid up to $2.5 million and the creation of a Presidential Fund to expand access for high-need students. The campaign includes a $100 million goal to increase the endowment for financial aid.
The first early decision application deadline was last week, and there is a strong pool. The number of applicants so far is comparable to last year.
Senior Staff is working to finalize a budget for 2018-19 to present to the Board of Trustees at their February meeting. The biggest growth is in financial aid and possibly healthcare. They will also be discussing tuition increase and faculty/staff salary increases among other considerations.
Q: Could Bexley be used for temporary student study space?
A (Ron Griggs): No — much of Bexley is inaccessible and not suitable for study space, although some LBIS staff may move there temporarily.
Q: Where will Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) move during the library project?
A (Griggs): Their interim location will likely be in Peirce Hall.
Q: How will drainage be handled during the construction phases?
A (Seth Millam): Applicable guidelines will be followed to avoid draining silt into the Kokosing.
A (Mark Kohlman): There will be a cistern and drainage consistent with how it is now post-construction.
Q: How will the construction impact Orientation in August?
A (Decatur): The village construction should be complete by then, and residence halls should not be impacted.
Q: What alternative spaces will be available for events if current locations become temporary study space?
A (Decatur): This is currently under consideration. There will be some space available in the new Farr Hall, which will likely be temporary study space before eventually housing retail.
Q: Who will take over the space currently occupied by Admissions and Financial Aid when they move to the new building?
A (Decatur): That is still being discussed. The President’s Office will probably move to the first floor of Ransom Hall. Edelstein might become additional academic space.
Q: How are the application numbers for early decision?
A (Decatur): The intake percentage is comparable to last year, potentially slightly higher.
Q: What are the long-term plans for the temporary parking lot behind Gund Commons?
A (Kohlman): The village has only approved the parking lot through next summer. There are no plans to make it permanent.
Q: Will the second floor of the new Farr Hall be accessible?
A (Kohlman): Yes, it will have an elevator. It will house LBIS network services and two public bathrooms.
Q: When will the retails spaces open in the lower part of the new Farr Hall?
A (Kohlman): Two spaces will likely be used as interim study space during the library project. The Deli will open this summer as scheduled and the Mexican restaurant will open in the fall.
Q: When will Ascension have elevators?
A (Decatur): Work will begin in Ascension after the new academic building is completed in 2021. Provost Joseph Klesner is currently working on a “who’s going where” plan.
Q: So the new library will open before the parking lot?
A (Kohlman): Yes. The parking lot, admissions and academic buildings will open about a year after the new library.
Q: How will shipping/receiving for the library and Gund Gallery be handled during construction?
A (Kohlman): The loading dock logistics are still under assessment.
Present: Robyn Bowers, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanon Hashman, Alex Johnson, Lauri Lange, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Susan Morse, Beth Pae, Nancy Sowders, Lisa Train.
Members shared feedback from the open forum about the new Employee Performance Program and the Position Review Committee. There are still questions about who will be reviewed first, how that will be determined and how the implementation will be staggered. There is also concern about the process through which employees can provide feedback about their direct supervisors; at the moment, it sounds like it will be the responsibility of the supervisor’s supervisor to solicit that feedback, but there is no built-in mechanism in the EEP.
There were no major concerns about the updated policy. Members suggested that it should be more obvious that the policy now covers students, faculty and staff (as opposed to having three distinct policies). It would also be helpful to provide a summary of the changes when the updated policy is shared with the wider campus community since both the previous and the new policy are quite long. A visual depiction of the processes covered by the policy would also be appreciated.
Staff Council noted that two forums, on Nov. 7 at 4:15 p.m. in Olin Auditorium and on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Finn House Cheever Room, will address interim library services during the West Quad construction project. Rebecca will speak to Chris Hudson about livestreaming/recording one of the events in case they are overcrowded.
Alex will follow up with Seth Millam or Mark Kohlman about providing an update to Staff Council in December. Alex is also happy to filter questions about construction on campus.
Emily will find out if there are plans to cover the construction fencing with signs about the work.
Susan will speak to Mark and Seth about providing an update at President Decatur’s staff forum this month.
Senate is currently working on updating the campus government constitution. Emily volunteered if they are interested in having a Staff Council member be part of the project. The goal of the group is to be an advisory body.
The November lunch menu is under review and should be available shortly. Turkey cake was requested if possible. Communications will include a note about bringing canned goods to the President’s holiday party in December rather than to the November lunch in the event email. Miracle will follow up with student groups about providing music — carols and/or instrumental — during the November lunch.
Feedback from the October lunch was good! Suggestions include spooky music for the costume black carpet and considering an incentive for dressing up (even if not a discount). Turn out was similar to last year, although fewer attendees were in costume. Members also suggested adding an award for best group costume.
Kyle and Alex will follow up with AVI about the possibility of offering annual pre-paid cards for lunches and/or accepting card payments.
Business as usual — Tristan and Emily will email staff about the November lunch as soon as the menu is confirmed. Communications is also happy to help organize any additional forums.
Business as usual — the group held a “stuffing party” and the coupons for appreciation award winners are being well received.
Benefits and Policy
The group is revisiting SFP (sick, family, personal) leave policy and meeting with Jennifer Cabral on Nov. 9. Upcoming topics include guidelines for exempt sick time and for “where you work” — at your desk, from home, other campus locations, etc.
Presented by Todd Burson, vice president for finance.
When he arrived at Kenyon, President Decatur asked Senior Staff to develop an evaluation program following staff reports of dissatisfaction with the inconsistency of the current practices.
The Employee Performance Program Committee spent a year doing research and came up with the program, which will be implemented over the course of this academic year. The group looked at a variety of systems including 360 degree evaluations.
After creating a mission statement and a set of principles, the group worked to create a system that addressed the stated issues with the current annual review system. The new system requires at minimum quarterly check-ins between employee and supervisor and a more robust review every three years. An annual survey will also be used to gauge employee satisfaction.
The triennial review will provide an opportunity for supervisors to recommend bonuses for project-based work and merit raises. These will be reviewed by the division head and Human Resources.
Supervisor training and professional development are both core aspects of the program. The required training will set a baseline of expectations for all supervisors with specific focus on the review process.
The check-ins and annual reviews will be managed through documents in Google Drive.
The program will affect all non-faculty employees; discussions are ongoing with unions. The committee is aware that there are some difficulties specific to academic departmental administrative assistants due to the reporting structure. There will be a meeting on October 24 to discuss this in more detail.
Q: Could there an aspect of the triennial review process discussed when employees first arrive?
A: Part of the supervisor training will be about introducing new employees to the process, and specific objectives (expectations) will be discussed with new employees. Expectation setting will also be discussed at the quarterly check-ins. Updating job descriptions to match the review objectives is also part of implementation. Supervisors will be trained to set clear expectations.
Q: Could there be input from all groups with which an employee interacts (students, faculty, other staff)?
A: No — it’s not feasible to implement a more 360 degree process. The responsibility lies with the supervisor to gather additional feedback and discuss it with the employee.
Q: Will there be a process for employees to provide feedback when they are facing challenges — especially if they don’t have a clear single supervisor? Employees need a clear path to critique their supervisor(s) and to feel safe about speaking up.
A: The difficulty of implementing this in the academic division is currently being discussed. The ombudsperson and Human Resources will continue to be available for issues like this.
Q: Will this do away with the current compensation system?
A: No. It’s about reviewing performance and ongoing development, not really about pay scales — ranges and rates won’t change.
Q: What criteria will be used to award bonuses?
A: Documentation from check-ins — it will be specific to individual positions.
Q: What if a supervisor is not recognizing/rewarding performance?
A: This would be an issue for Human Resources, and will be covered in supervisor training.
Q: Will this affect years of service increases?
A: No. They will stay consistent regardless of how long an employee has been here.
Q: How will this work for supervisors whose employees are also supervisors? How will they evaluate how well their employee is supervising other employees?
A: Only the immediate supervisor and employee will have access to the check-in forms, but evaluating how well someone is supervising will be part of the triennial review.
Q: How will the implementation of the three-year review process work?
A: There will be stages — the details are still being worked out. LBIS and Finance will be the earliest adopters, with other divisions following over the course of the academic year. It is likely that, while all employees will begin the check-in process this year, the triennial reviews will be staggered. The committee has not decided which groups will be eligible for the triennial review first, second and third.
Q: How will the supervisor training be implemented?
A: It will be available for all divisions at the same time. Documentation is being prepared now, and online training will be available. Some supervisors will begin the check-in process before undergoing full training.
Q: Could the triennial reviews be implemented by longevity rather than by division? Could supervisors state a preference for when to conduct their first reviews?
A: The details are still being worked out.
Beginning this fall, a committee of eight Senior Staff members and will meet monthly to review all open non-faculty positions. Each position will be reviewed to determine whether there are more pressing resource issues. A number of options will be considered: fill the position as it is, wait a number of months, combine the position with another position, not fill the position. The committee will require additional documents from the supervisor and senior staff member.
Q: Will there be a form and process for employees to submit their open positions for review? Who will decide who does the work if a position is rejected?
A: There will be a document with a set of questions. If a position is rejected, the workflow will be part of the conversation.
Q: How will “greater need” be defined in terms of deciding that a position is unnecessary?
A: Needs will be defined as part of the budget process each fall.
Present: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanon Hashman, Jared Hoffman, Alex Johnson, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Susan Morse, Beth Pae, Nancy Sowders, Lisa Train, April Woodward-Ginther, Ashleigh Zarley
At the Thursday forum about the Employee Performance Program there will also be an update on the new Position Review Committee.
Jennifer Cabral in Human Resources provided the following information about the committee:
“The PRC was created by the Senior Staff last summer. The main objective of the committee is to ensure that limited financial resources are being spent prudently. Since 42 percent of the operating budget is spent on personnel, which is the largest expense item in the operating budget, Senior Staff felt that it was appropriate and necessary that when there is an open position, that the division heads of Senior Staff meet and review the effectiveness of the position in its support of the academic mission of the College. The monthly PRC meeting provides an opportunity for the division heads to understand the job duties of the position and determine if those financial resources could and/or should be used elsewhere on campus. The College is no longer in a position where it can continue to just add costs to the operating budget. If something is to be added to the operating budget, then something else must be taken away. The PRC provides an opportunity for all divisions around campus to have a voice at the table. Since the academic division currently has a review process for open faculty positions, the PRC only reviews non-faculty positions.”
Vice President for Finance Todd Burson will give an update about the Employee Performance Program on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 11:10 a.m. in the Community Foundation Theater. Ellen and Emily will take notes, which will be available online shortly. Todd will provide handouts at the forum. Academic admin assistants will have an additional meeting about the program on Oct. 24. The need for additional presentations will be evaluated after tomorrow’s session and following meetings with individual divisions.
Nancy and Ashleigh have been attending fortnightly Campus Senate meetings. The Senate is made up of students, faculty and staff members. So far, the meetings have focused on business, reviewing the membership, function and structure of the group, and some specific updates from areas like residential life.
Benefits and Policy
The committee has met twice and will meet again next week. Current work involves finalizing the process for donating and banking time off, and they will discuss what other topics to tackle this year. Ellen and Miracle are co-chairing the committee.
Ellen will follow up with Micah about the Staff Council member posters. Emily and Tristan will work on an email template for the lunch reminders and send out a save the date soon. A Staff Council hashtag will be promoted/tested at the October lunch.
90+ people showed up for the September lunch. Alex will send the menu for the October lunch to Tristan as soon as it is available. It will likely be soup, salad and sandwiches. The lunch will include a costume contest with the addition of a runway and parade this year. There will be ballots for voting and trophies. Athletics and LBIS are lined up to sponsor the certificates for the next two lunches. A combined Thanksgiving/holiday lunch menu is being worked on. Susan will follow up with Senior Staff about reported concerns regarding not having a December lunch.
22 cheer baskets were sent out in September! There will be another appreciation award for the October lunch. Winners can receive a coupon if they are unable to attend that month’s lunch.
Staff are concerned about how the West Quad construction will affect parking. Seth and Communications are working on a timeline. Emily has communicated the need for communication to the Communications team. Suggestion: an employee appreciation initiative that involves a reserved parking space for a week.
Present: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, Ellen Harbourt, Shanon Hashman, Jared Hoffman, Emily Lindo, Miracle Mahle, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Susan Morse, Tristan Neviska, Beth Pae, Nancy Sowders, Ashleigh Zarley
Emily and Ellen volunteered to form a group to review the Staff Council bylaws this year. Other KSC members interested in the project can contact Emily.
Members discussed staff training in general at Kenyon: is it adequate and accessible? The communications subcommittee will compile a list of available training opportunities offered by various offices including Human Resources, LBIS and the Office of Communications and follow up with HR about listing them in a central place. KSC agreed that its role in facilitating training should focus on tips and tricks rather than specific technical/software training.
Members decided that Staff Council does not need to have it’s own social media accounts, but it would be fun to experiment with a hashtag promoted at the first lunch on Sept. 20. Proposed: #kenyonstaffcouncil
Members discussed whether Kenyon staff should write a freedom of information statement similar to the one published by the faculty. It was decided that staff don’t need to write a separate statement at this time: many of the concerns addressed by such a statement as they could relate to staff are covered in the staff handbook sections about employment policies and standards of conduct and/or could be raised in conversation with the College ombudsperson. The members affirmed the role of staff in supporting faculty and students in their commitment to freedom of expression.
The co-chairs reported on a request from the EPP committee to give an update on the status of the program and implementation timeline. Rebecca volunteered to follow up with the committee to confirm the presentation style (a feedback forum, discussion groups, a straightforward presentation with time for questions) and discuss logistics. Staff Council recommends organizing two sessions so that as many staff members as possible can attend. Members agreed on the need for clarity in communicating which staff members will be affected by the program.
Dates have been set for this semester’s all-employee lunches: Sept. 20, Oct. 25 and Nov. 15 with the additional College-wide holiday party taking place in December. New this year, the outreach committee with use a random generator to select a staff member to receive a KSC Appreciation Award, which will include a small gift bag and a free lunch.
The next Staff Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 4. in the Office of Residential Life conference room.
At the first meeting for the 2017-18 academic year, Kenyon Staff Council welcomed new members and introduced returning members.
The Staff Council subcommittees were described and members signed up:
• Benefits and Policy: Robyn Bowers, Ellen Harbourt, Shanna Hart, Jared Hoffman, Miracle Mahle
• Communications: Ellen Harbourt, Lauri Lange, Emily Lindo, Tristan Neviska
• Events: Shanon Hashman, Alex Johnson, Rebecca Matney, Lori Moore, Beth Pae, Lisa Train
• Outreach: Rachel Curtis, Kyle Eddy, April Woodward-Ginther
Elected positions: co-chairs Ashleigh Zarley and Nancy Sowders, treasurer Kyle Eddy, secretary Emily Lindo, election coordinator Rebecca Matney.
The next Staff Council meeting will take place Aug. 2 in the College Relations Center conference room, and Staff Council will also participate in a leadership retreat along with senior staff and the Faculty Executive Committee on Aug. 14.