The Kenyon Staff Council is expanding its membership to better represent Kenyon employees from all divisions and may include, for the first time, union members if they win election.
The council will grow to 19, from 15, employees who are elected to improve communication and professional relationships among exempt and non-exempt employees and the Office of the President and Senior Staff.
Stephen Martin, Staff Council co-chair and associate director for enterprise systems, said the changes speak to the unity in community. “Whether you are part-time or full-time, exempt or non-exempt, we are all Kenyon staff members,” he said. “The council seeks to improve all staff communication, and we really wanted to help bridge any gaps that exist on campus. This is a step in the right direction.”
Staff Council and Senior Staff have approved changes in Staff Council bylaws to better capture the voices of all employees in a more proportionate and inclusive manner. The council includes representatives from seven College divisions (Academic, Admissions, College Relations, Finance, Library and Information Services, Operations, and Student Affairs).
The Finance and Operations divisions were once a single division, and Staff Council representation continued to reflect that structure even though each became its own division in 2005. The Finance Division will now have two representatives and the Operations Division will have three. A third representative was added for the Operations Division because that division includes 26 percent of all employees. A third representative from the Student Affairs Division also was added because that division includes 25 percent of all employees.
Each division represented by two employees sends an elected exempt and non-exempt employee to the council. Under the new configuration, the Operations and Student Affairs divisions will send an exempt and non-exempt employee to the council plus an at-large representative that may be exempt or non-exempt.
In another change, employees may only vote for representatives from their own division, with the exception of the five at-large seats.
Union members may not serve on the council’s benefits subcommittee because benefits for union employees are negotiated with the College.
Martin and co-chair Lorie Shults, administrative assistant in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said Staff Council approved the changes after a thorough discussion. The proposal was submitted to Senior Staff, which, in turn, approved the new approach. Martin and Shults also discussed the changes with the Middle Path Partnership and employees in the Office of Campus Safety.
“I believe by expanding the Kenyon Staff Council with new seats, separating the divisions of Finance and Operations and encouraging union members to take seats on the council, we will better be able to understand the staff issues across the entire campus,” Shults said. “Through better understanding and communication the council will better serve the Kenyon community and become an even stronger voice and ear for all of the staff.”
Nominations for the next Staff Council election will be made in mid-April with the election planned for early May.
Elected employee representation on general advisory bodies dates to about 1990 when the Administrative Advisory Council and Staff Advisory Council were created during the administration of President Philip H. Jordan. Those two councils eventually were combined. President S. Georgia Nugent named the combined groups the Presidential Advisory and Communications Team (PACT) in 2004. President Sean Decatur asked PACT members in 2013 to consider a new name that would better reflect the mutual interests of employees and the administration.
Prepared by the Office of Communications
March 29, 2016