Minutes of HCSC Meeting: December 6, 2004

Present:  Frank Werdann (presiding), Accordino, Avery, Beyer, Brunetta, Gaynor, Georgia, Hammon-Card, Huneke, Kraemer, Losie, Miller, E., Moriarty, and Wyckoff; Guest: Schnell

1. The meeting was convened by Chair Werdann at 9:02 a.m. and he invited members to introduce themselves.
2. Chair Werdann gave appropriate praise to Rick Accordino for generously supplying the committee with refreshments.  He then congratulated Donna Avery on her recent promotion to the Director of the Office of Academic Affairs.

3. A decision was made to have the secretary email draft committee minutes to members after each meeting for their perusal prior to the next meeting, at which time they will be discussed and approved.

4. Future agendas, notice of committee meeting times and requests for agenda items and additional staff participation will be sent out by Chair Werdann.  He will also include the Web site link as a resource tool.

5. A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes of November 15, 2004 as previously distributed.  The motion passed unanimously.

6. The committee was reminded that any comments or suggestions about the composition of the Staff Council Web site are always appreciated.

7. Judy Schnell joined the committee for the purpose of bringing forth an agenda item.  She shared with the Committee her personal recent experience as a soon to be honoree as a 30 year Quinquennial Award recipient. 

She noted that when she was a 25 year award recipient she had exercised the option to have the value of her award donated to an external non-profit organization in lieu of receipt of a gift.  At that time, there was an unwritten campus policy governing this practice with no
written guidelines in place.

This year when she requested that the value of her 30 year award also be donated to an
external non-profit organization, she was told that there is now a written policy (effective
2001) in place that discontinues this practice (may be viewed in its entirety at  www.hartwick.edu/x10719.xml).  It states that "in lieu of  receiving a gift, an employee may opt to direct Human Resources to contribute the amount that the College would have expended on the gift to a designated funding opportunity at the College as arranged between the employee and the Office of Institutional Advancement (which could include student scholarships, internship support, study abroad support, academic/student life/athletics program funding, campaign priorities, etc.). An employee may not opt to receive cash in lieu of his/her quinquennial award."  It seems that a written policy was adopted after the College had received  one or more requests for what was deemed inappropriate options in lieu of a gift.

Ms. Schnell recently asked the Cabinet for a review of the current written policy to allow her  the opportunity to contribute to an external non-profit organization.  The Cabinet reviewed the policy as requested, and has decided not to make a change at this time.

After committee discussion, the following motion was made and seconded:

The Staff Council respectfully requests that Cabinet consider incorporating an additional sentence to the current policy that would provide an option for quinquennial recipients to donate to the United Way as an alternative to their receiving a gift or donating to a Hartwick College funding opportunity.

This action would allow recipients to contribute to one of the named non-profit organizations supported by the United Way, or to designate to another non-profit of their choosing.

The motion passed unanimously.

It was also noted that some employees feel that the current offering of quinquennial awards is somewhat sub-par.  A suggestion was made and accepted that perhaps a list of possible new external vendors could be produced.

8. Campus-wide assessment was the next topic of discussion.  The Committee has been asked to appoint 3 staff members to the newly organized Campus-Wide Assessment Committee. The Committee will probably begin meeting early in Spring Term 2005, and will most likely meet at least once a month for the next year.  The work of the Committee will be extremely important  as it will be developing a campus-wide assessment program.  As you may know, assessment is very much connected to our Middle States evaluation and review. 

 Composition of the committee will be as follows:

  • Three faculty to be elected by their respective divisions
  • Three faculty to be appointed by the president
  • One representative elected by the Dean's Council
  • Three staff to be appointed by the Staff Council
  • Three staff to be appointed by the president
  • Two students (one sophomore and one junior) to be appointed by the Student Senate

Ex-officio members:

  • John Anderson, Co-Chair
  • Ellen Falduto, Co-Chair
  • Greg Krikorian
  • Larry Malone

Discussion of the Council resulted in a decision to have the secretary send out an email to staff inviting volunteers to submit their names for consideration by the Council.  Appointments will then be determined from the pool of volunteers at the next meeting which is scheduled to be held on Monday, January 3, 2005 at 9:00 am in Eaton Lounge.

9. Ellen Miller distributed copies of a spreadsheet outlining current Hartwick College employee benefits programs and a "draft" of proposed program changes.  This will be an agenda item for the February 2005 meeting of the Board of Trustees, with a final decision resulting at that meeting, or at the latest, at the Board meeting in May 2005.  The document was produced by the Committee on Faculty Salaries and Budget and will be discussed at the Faculty Meeting today.  Staff Council is being requested to weigh in on the proposal as well.

During the course of discussion, it was noted that current employees will be grandfathered pertinent to existing policies in force, and that the anticipated effective  date of the proposed revised policy is expected to be July 1, 2005.

Further discussion ensued with specific topics of tuition exchange and tuition remission being discussed at length.  Vacation time (use or lose) is also earmarked for a  revision in policy and particulars were explained by Ellen Miller.

It was decided that this may a perfect first topic for the subcommittee on Planning & Events to become involved with.  An open meeting could be set up to allow an opportunity for staff to participate in discussion of the issues and recommendations.  Ellen advised the committee not to distribute copies of the spreadsheet outlining possible revisions, as it could easily be misunderstood without accompanying conversation and explanations.

10. The meeting was adjourned at 10:08 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Avery