Minutes of HCSC Meeting: June 6, 2006

Present: Bill Beyer (presiding), Accordino, Avery, Brunetta, Eichler, Freeland, Gaynor, Georgia, Maben, Marullo, Miller, E., Moriarty, Pickett, Stever, Tenace, Werdann, and Wycoff

1. The meeting was called to order at 9:03 am. 

2. Chair Beyer introduced Vice President for Enrollment Management, Patricia Maben, who proceeded to provide Council with an update on the "Retention Initiative." The Enrollment Management Task Force is currently comprised of 22 individuals representing faculty and staff from across campus and serves to identify issues affecting retention and provides respective feedback .  The Task Force (TF) meets once a week.  Data is reviewed from various sources; Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI); consultant's report; admitted student questionnaires that denote why students did or did not choose Hartwick, etc.

The initial reason for the creation of a Task Force is the fact that we are lagging behind benchmark schools relative to our percentage of student retention.  We are losing too many students and definitely more than our competition.  The TF serves to investigate some of the reasons behind this loss. In recent year we've lost too many of our freshmen class.  Both good and poor academic students are reflected in this percentage. 

The work of the TF has been divided into short and long-term goals.  Short-term goals were divided into five groups.

  • Individual attentiveness
  • First-year experience
  • Marketing
  • Parent communications
  • Research and staff groups

Patricia noted that Valerie Harabet, Student Success Coordinator, in the key implementer for the groups.

The TF discovered that students don't know who/where to go to for particular information.  She also stated that they are not alone, that many faculty and staff also don't know who to go to for specific questions and information.  The TF outcome is to provide staff and faculty with the necessary education to learn about specific job responsibilities.

Action Item #1
Patricia requests that Staff Council consider a process for providing an accurate listing of office job responsibilities on the HC webpage.  It is very important that we not only create initial job descriptions, but continually update them, as they are changing constantly. Greg Krikorian is currently working on a plan for assisting the freshmen, but we need to provide information for all others.   Discussion resulted in a suggestion that photos may want to accompany the job descriptions.  This would provide both a face and a name for the contact.  It was noted that students today want instant answers and their familiarity with computers makes the webpage a natural fit for this type of information.

Patricia told Staff Council that they could also assist in another venture of the TF, if they so desire. 

In an effort to get the word out, special presentations will be held each Monday for students outside the Commons (on their turf) during the lunch hour.  Individual campus offices (including Admissions) will sign up for participation in the program and will be expected to provide information about their office and its services.  Offices will be requested to be creative in labeling their tables and in finding ways to attract students to the table to find out what you have to offer.  Each participating office will host a raffle.  Students will be offered a business card, pamphlet or verbal communication about the office's services before they can be entered for the raffle.  The office with the most student sign ups and the most traffic at their table will win a coffee hour sponsored by the Enrollment Management Task Force.  Lunch will also be offered to each office representative at the table.

On Wednesdays, academic department who are featured in the "Major Mondays" will be invited to have a table set up outside of the Commons.  Faculty from each department will be encouraged to participate.  Hopefully, these events will be a fun way to introduce students to all campus departments.

Suzanne Gaynor, speaking for the Professional Development Committee informed Patricia that they have been discussing the idea of having staff "days on campus" sessions starting next fall.  They will provide a forum for sharing information with staff that is normally shared with parents and prospective students when they come to campus for orientation.  Faculty will also be invited as there are some real "gaps" in faculty information about campus services as well.  Suzanne also noted that Suzanne Janitz will be providing a re-orientation session for interested persons next fall.  This session will offer the type of information that is currently being imparted to "new" employees. 

Patricia affirmed that research has proven that we often lose lower end academic males.  In part, it may be because they are embarrassed or shy about seeking assistance.  It has been found that many students of today either do not like or do not take advantage of one-on-one, face-to-face contact.  Therefore, a "live" action item for the TF this summer is to create an online program entitled "Ask Charlotte." It will provide an opportunity for anonymous questions to be asked and answered.  All questions will be funneled to appropriate respondents and answers will be provided quickly.  Although the complete format has not yet been decided upon, it might contain a listing of frequently asked questions and answers. New answers to posed questions will be added as they are received. It has been used elsewhere successfully, and Hartwick is anxious to try it out.

If Staff Council members have any thoughts or suggestions on how they can assist with retention efforts, please contact Patricia Maben.

3. Chair Beyer requested approval for the minutes of May 2, 2006.  A motion was made and seconded  to approve the minutes as previously distributed.  The motion was approved unanimously.

4. Attention then turned to nomination of new Staff Council officers.  Nancy Wycoff reported the outcome of the Nominations Committee.  After a brief discussion, the following slate of candidates was brought up for action.

  • Chair: Suzanne Gaynor
  • Vice Chair: Carla Tenace
  • Secretary:  Sara Pickett and Shirley Georgia (shared appointment
  • Treasurer:  Shirley Georgia

Committee members were reminded that this group of officers also comprises the Executive Committee.

A motion was made, seconded to elect the aforementioned candidates to the  positions for which they were nominated.  The motion was approved.

5. The Assessment Plan was the next topic of discussion.  Chair Beyer asked if anyone had any questions or comments about the plan after their review of it.  The general consensus is that Council is unclear about exactly what is expected from them pertinent to the plan.  Council members agree that there is a need for assessment and understands that it is a campus project that the College is moving forward with.  We approve of what we've read thus far, but understand that individual assessment plans for each area will need to be tailored to meet specific needs.

6. Treasurer’s Report—Shirley Georgia confirmed that $1,500 will be made available for Staff Council's use during the fiscal year 2006-07.  This budget is in additional to the remaining "garage sale" money that is in a budget that can roll over from year to year.

7. Suzanne Gaynor reported on behalf of the Professional Development Committee and reminded everyone of the upcoming workshop that will be led by Mike Haehnel on Wednesday, June 7th at noon in Eaton Lounge.  The topic of discussion will be Conflict Management—a follow-up to the first workshop presented on this topic last fall.  However, participation in the first one is not a pre-requisite to the second, as there will be useful information for all.  This will be the last workshop presentation from the Professional Development Committee until next fall.

8. Summer Coffee Hours—Council had decided to hold one coffee hour during the summer of 2006 and received a price quote of $3.75 per person from ARA.  Frank Werdann, Director of the College Stores, volunteered to have Barnes & Noble pay for the refreshments.  In light of this generous offer, and coupled with the fact that we have money in our budget, Council has decided to sponsor a second coffee hour for the summer.  The first one will occur on Thursday, June 22nd at 10:00 a.m. in the Bresee Foyer.  The second will be held in July with a specific date yet to be determined.

9. Committees

  • It was suggested that the Personnel Committee might take on the task of defining specific responsibilities for each office for entry on-line.
  • Stephanie Brunetta needs webpage updates for committee members and respective responsibilities.
  • Contact needs to be made with the new Student Senate President, Randy Burgess, Jr. to determine who Staff Council’s student representative is.
  • Matt Stever has volunteered for service on an ad hoc Staff Council By-Law committee.
  • It was decided that Council needs to send staff an invitation to participate on various committees.  You do not need to be in an elected Staff Council leadership role in order to serve on a Council committee.
  • Gladys Freeland and Shirley George will draft an invitation to the first summer coffee hour (6/22/06) that will include some type of reference inviting all staff to come and "mingle with Staff Council elected representatives and find out details pertinent to service on specific committees"

10. The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 am.

Respectfully submitted, 

Donna Avery