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May 20, 1993

              VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

                                 STAFF SENATE

 

 

                        MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING

                            THURSDAY, MAY 20, 1993

                   ROOM 102 - PHASE II - VETERINARY MEDICINE

 

 

 

 

  SENATORS PRESENT:  Bill Aliff, Pat Ballard, Joyce Bohr, Janet Bryant, Clara

  Cox, Marge Dellers, Patrick Donohoe, Diane Kaufman, Don Massie, Sherri

  McConnell, Margie Murray, Diane Patty, Fred Phillips, Carlile Price, Peggy

  Rasnick, Lynne Schaefermeyer, Widget Shannon, Barbara Shelor, Chuck

  Shorter, Charlie Stott, Tony Sutphin, Sherri Turner, Deb Williams

 

  ALTERNATES IN ATTENDANCE:  Mary Ann Johnson for Kathy Eschenmann, Dave

  Carper for Spencer Foster, Nancy Looney for Charlie Gills, Agnes Chandler

  for Jane Harrison, Judy Davis for Kathy Reynolds, Pat Worrell for Wyatt

  Sasser, Joann Miller for Sonja Stone, Valerie Myers

 

  GUESTS:  Netta Eisler, SPECTRUM; Roy Jones, Faculty Senate Liason;  Jamie

  Evans

 

  CALL TO ORDER

 

  The meeting was called to order at 5:40 p.m. by President McConnell, who

  welcomed senators, alternates, and guests.  She postponed announcements un-

  til the end of the meeting.

 

 

  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

  The minutes of the April 15, 1993, Staff Senate meeting were approved with

  the following corrections:  Senator Williams was present.  Peggy Rasnick

  brought a guest, Sarah Richardson from the Virginia Water Resources Re-

  search Center and co-chair of Sponsored Programs.

 

 

 

  President McConnell stated the first order of business was to conduct Staff

  Senate elections.  Senator Phillips distributed biographical information on

  all nominees for commissions, committees, and councils.  Ballots were dis-

  tributed, and Senator Phillips explained how to proceed.  A list of classi-

  fied staff nominations will be forwarded to the President's Office for

  university councils and commissions.  Motion was made to approve the list.

  Motion carried.  Voting proceeded for Staff Senate officers and senate rep-

  resentatives on councils, commissions, and committees.

 

 

  President McConnell introduced Dr. James Wolfe, Assistant Vice-Provost for

  Academic Affairs, to speak about the Enrollment Services project and about

  TQM.  The basic project is to establish a new division called Enrollment

  Services.  The purpose is to provide better services to students.  Studies

  have assessed functions of various offices to see where improvements are

  needed.  Enrollment at the university means a number of things to different

  people:  sufficient financial aid, sufficient guidance in order to gradu-

  ate, for example.  Admissions and financial aid are separate departments

  even though they are under one division.  The Registrar's Office is a key

  player in the scheme of student services.  Currently these departments are

  vertically aligned in the organization.  Student Accounts is responsible

  for billing and collecting money from students.  Student Systems is respon-

  sible for putting together computer systems and maintenance for these sys-

  tems.  Sometimes support is enlisted from one department to another,

  although such interaction does not operate as smoothly as it could.  One

  purpose of combining the departments into one is to find a common denomina-

  tor to increase support between departments; some departments do not have a

  sufficient number of employees during their busy times, but sufficient num-

  bers cannot be employed because of the overwhelming cost.  The pressure has

  most noticeably increased in Financial Aid because of a greater need from

  the students, which can affect other units.  When it became obvious this

  was a problem, especially in Financial Aid, the Systems Analysis and Ser-

  vices group was asked to examine the organization.  The study they provided

  focused on Financial Aid, but it also included Admissions, Registrar, and

  Student Systems.  Financial Aid was benchmarked in comparison with peer in-

  stitutions.  The results were conclusive that Virginia Tech is seriously

  understaffed in Financial Aid by 32 full-time employees.  To bring Virginia

  Tech up to the average would cost $750-875,000 in salary costs as well as

  $150-275,000 in operating costs.  This improvement would create a need for

  significant new space and system enhancements.  How does the university

  provide better service in such a situation?  Enrollment Services would com-

  bine several groups to offer many services, thereby condensing the manage-

  ment of the university and possibly making the group more functional.

  Technical things need to be done such as training and assessment.  This is

  a relatively slow process.  Cross-training among the affected units could

  aleviate some of the pressure on one department at certain times.  The idea

  is to provide team-based management for the combined division, which would

  alleviate some of the administrative processes.  Rather than a director, an

  administrative process team would make decisions, keep track of expendi-

  tures, etc.

 

  Working on a committee to plan reorganization is difficult.  The introduc-

  tion of team-based management has caused many highs and lows.  This organ-

  ization is being done because of a dire need to fill employee gaps since

  money is not available to improve staffing under current budget problems.

  The end result is to provide better service to the students.

 

  Senator Williams asked if Enrollment Services has a target date for this

  reorganization to take place.  Dr. Wolfe said early 1995 but added that

  that date was conservative.  AT & T has been involved in TQM for seven

  years.  He said the hope is that everyone will learn to work smarter, not

  harder.  This should actually be a good time for people to learn more, to

  make changes in their careers without leaving their jobs or Virginia Tech.

 

  Senator Cox asked if the management teams had been organized yet and, if

  so, any changes had actually taken place.  Dr. Wolfe asked Senator Sutphin

  to address this question.  Senator Sutphin, team captain for one team in

  Financial Aid, answered yes, changes have been made in the award package

  and financial aid transcripts.  These are design teams which address cer-

  tain specific functions, not the broader, cross-unit management teams.

 

  Vice-President Stott asked if anything was available to help employees who

  are going through these changing processes.  Dr. Wolfe said a training

  package is being put together to help accomodate employees to change.  He

  expects $2-3,000 to be spent on training in the next three years.

 

 

  President McConnell introduced Judy Ridinger, Manager of Compensation and

  Benefits Administration, to speak about about the timeliness of performance

  plans and evaluations.

 

  Senator Stott expressed appreciation that Benefits extended the health ben-

  efits change deadline due to packets being mailed out late.  Ms. Ridinger

  expressed her appreciation for that feedback and stated she feels that the

  problem may take care of itself as people learn more about what their bene-

  fits actually are and what changes can and should be made.

 

 

  Ms. Ridinger stated it is important to talk about performance management in

  general.  It is a cycle which begins with the performance plan.  The cycle

  starts on November 1  each year to October 31 the following year.  The po-

  sition description is the basis for a performance plan where each expecta-

  tion should be developed in coordination with the employee.  The reviewer

  has a major role in approving these expectations.  Ideally during the year,

  supervisors should look at them and go over them with employees to provide

  feedback.  This is important to keep employees informed.  Near the end of

  the cycle the supervisor is asked to do the evaluation.  This year notices

  to start the process will be mailed in August.  Ms. Ridinger suggested

  supervisors get feedback from employees as to how they feel they have done.

  Personnel Services recommends recorded comments for all ratings so the re-

  viewer can determine if the rating is correct.  The supervisor must get

  comments from the reviewer as well as approval at this time.  The reviewer

  may request further documentation and may not approve the supervisors' rat-

  ing.  The evaluations probably will be due the first of October this year.

  Part of the reason for this date is implementation of the incentive pay

  plan.  Personnel Services believes the performance management process is a

  good tool whether money is involved or not.  This year proposed raises put

  a different light on these evaluations.  Evaluations below exceptional can

  go directly to Personnel Services.  Exceptional-level evaluations must go

  through a different process, since they make the employee eligible for a

  three-step pay increase.  Money will be available for about 8 percent of

  the maximum employment level to receive exceptional pay raises.  In order

  to fairly distribute the dollars, each agency had to devise a plan, ap-

  proved by the state, as to how it would divide the money.  Most likely,

  Personnel Services will be dividing the money with the direction of a per-

  sonnel advisory committee consisting of representatives from every college

  and administrative units.  The unofficial draft plan would divide the

  agency into two major groups, the academic side and the chief business of-

  ficer's side.  These two groups would be divided into sub groups for each

  college and six administrative support departments; for a total of twenty-

  one groups.  Each group would be given a percentage of money relative to

  the number of people in it's group.  Some of these units have less than

  five percent exceptional to as many as forty percent exceptional ratings.

  There is a wide range of what is perceived to be exceptional.  In groups

  where the percentage is high, decisions about who gets the raises will be

  more difficult.  Personnel Services has worked hard to dispell the notion

  that meets expectations is not a good rating.  Meets expectations is viewed

  as getting a grade of C.  That was true in the old system because the

  standards were set to reflect minimal standards.  Today's expectations are

  written at the maximum level.  More training is needed to educate supervi-

  sors that "meets expectations" should be the norm.  Some group will have to

  sort out which exceptional ratings appear to be the most justified.  This

  means the supervisor has a tremendous responsibility to document all excep-

  tional or non-exceptional actions.  Personnel Services will not be making

  this determination.  The early October date is given in order to give this

  committee time to determine who actually deserves exceptional raises.  In

  large units the head of the unit may sub-divide his/her group into groups

  of pay grades 1-8 and grades 9-15 to help assure the raises are evenly di-

  vided.  The reviewer's role is of utmost importance in exceptional ratings.

  The committee will go to the reviewer first to receive additional justi-

  fication.

 

  If employees do not feel they have received an adequate evaluation, they

  can file a grievance, but it is suggested they go to the reviewer first and

  express their concerns.  Maybe their performance plan needs to be changed.

  Again, this is why the reviewer's role is very important.  An evaluation is

  grievable only if it passes one of four tests.  One of the biggest problems

  in this process is supervisors who fail to get their plans done on time.

  Many faculty members have only one employee working for them, which makes

  it easy to give them an exceptional rating because they can not make com-

  parison.  These cases tend to receive higher evaluations as well as cases

  where supervisors have not received formal training on the new system.

 

 

  Senator Schaefermeyer stated there would be some negative reactions to hav-

  ing only a ten-month evaluation since the dates seem to back up contin-

  ually.  Will there be notices about the early evaluation date?  Ms.

  Ridinger stated there would be notices.  Ideally, if employee plans were

  completed on time there would be fewer complaints.  The administrative work

  required before the December 1 pay-out calls for a two-month lead time to

  administer all paperwork.

 

  Senator Sutphin asked if a policy is in place for employees to evaluate

  their supervisor.  Ms. Ridinger stated this is not required; however, a

  number of departments on campus do it.

 

  Senator Aliff stated some supervisors do not do plans and this is unfair to

  employees.  Why can't the university, DPT in Richmond, or Employee Re-

  lations set a policy?  It seems there is too much advisory and not enough

  directives.  Ms. Ridinger responded that if it were up to her, she would

  surely push for that.

 

  Jamie Evans, guest, stated he found it difficult to do four evaluations at

  the beginning of the academic year.  Ms. Ridinger, said that was a common

  concern.  She suggested that documentation be collected during the year.

 

  Senator Donohoe asked if provisions were being made to incorporate a space

  in the evaluations for people who participate in shared governance.  Ms.

  Ridinger stated Personnel Services has encouraged supervisors to recognize

  special projects, team participation, and general interest in the univer-

  sity.

 

  Senator Shelor stated her supervisor formally documents his impressions of

  his employees every two weeks and goes over these evaluations with employ-

  ees every quarter.  He mandates his supervisors do the same with their em-

  ployees or they will receive a fair but needs improvement on their

  evaluations in this category.  This actually helps at the end of the year

  because all documentation is there and it is easy to see where employees

  stand.  The employees also have a good idea of what their rating will be,

  so there are fewer surprises.  He feels this is the only fair way to rate

  employees because people tend to remember negative things and most recent

  instances.

 

  Senator Stott said there is a very fine line between a rating of meets or

  exceeds; are there any more specific guidelines.  Ms. Ridinger stated that

  other than the definitions given, there are no specific guidelines.  which

  is why the reviewer is so important.  The supervisor might be putting a lot

  of work on employees.  The expectations might be written low because the

  supervisor does not delegate.  It is the reviewer's responsibility to main-

  tain equity.  Personnel Services is seen as the policer of the system.  Ac-

  tually, peers need to complain to the department head or a dean.  Unless

  Personnel Services recieves a complaint, the assumption is made that super-

  visors are doing their job.

 

 

  SENATE COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  *COMMUNICATIONS--Senator Cox, chair, reported the committee had not met

  this month.

 

  *LONG RANGE BUDGET AND PLANNING--Senator Ballard, chair, reported the com-

  mittee meeting had been rescheduled for June 8th.

 

  *POLICIES AND ISSUES--Senator Murray, chair, reported the committee had not

  met since last senate meeting but would have a joint meeting June 3rd with

  the Council of Staff Association Officers and the Policies and Issues Com-

  mittee.

 

  *ELECTIONS AND NOMINATIONS--Senator Phillips, chair, reported the committee

  had been working very hard over the past month preparing the ballots for

  this evening's election.  Results of the election were as follows:  Staff

  Senate Officers:  Sherri McConnell, President; Charlie Stott, Vice-

  President; Valerie Myers, Secretary; and Betty Greene, Parliamentarian.

 

  Council and Commission Representatives:

 

  University Council - Bhaba Misra, Sarah Wheeler

 

  Commission on Classified Staff Affairs - Betty Greene, Senator; Joyce

  Smith, Academic Units;  John Ashby, Administrative Units

 

  Commision on Graduate Studies and Policies:  Joyce Bohr

 

  University Advisory Council on Human Rights and Social Responsibility:

  James Evans;  Fred McCormick and Sarah Richardson to be submitted to the

  president for single appointment

 

  Senator Phillips encouraged all who have an interest in working in

  governance to let his committee know for the upcoming year.  Senator

  Phillips thanked all members of the Elections and Nominations Committee for

  working so hard this year.

 

 

  UNIVERSITY COUNCIL, COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

  President McConnell announced we would not be going over council, commis-

  sion, and committee reports and asked if there were any questions.

 

 

  OLD BUSINESS

 

  President McConnell stated the senate had previously tabled discussion of a

  resolution concerning administrative and professional faculty.  She asked

  if Senate wanted to remove it from the table at this time.  Senator Cox

  stated she saw no need to bring it off the table since University Council

  already had approved the creation of a commission for this group.

 

  Senator Murray shared handouts on Phase II.  Several task forces have re-

  ceived charges, and implementation has taken place in some areas.  Senator

  Murray requested senators read the handouts and make a list of questions.

  Ann Spencer and Wayland Winstead are on the agenda for the June 17 meeting

  to discuss Phase II.

 

 

  NEW BUSINESS

 

  *BC/BS SURVEY--Vice President Stott asked how Key Advantage is working?

  Are enrollees finding it difficult to get service?  Are claims being re-

  jected?  His task force has not received many comments over the last few

  months.  Would a survey of four or five questions be useful to obtain in-

  formation?  President McConnell asked Vice President Stott to work with

  Senator Murray and the Council of Staff Association Officers to distribute

  the survey.  She also recommended working with the Center for Survey Re-

  search to add validity to the questions.

 

  Senator Dellers made the motion that senate send a letter of appreciation

  for Staff Appreciation Day to Ann Spencer and her committee.  President

  McConnell responded a letter had already been sent to Ms. Spencer, Cornell

  Morton, Carol Nickerson, Fred Phillips, Freda Blecher, Joyce Smith, and

  Shauna Bishop.  The motion was therefore rescended.

 

  President McConnell announced that VM2 would be abolished June 14.  Not ev-

  eryone will be moved to VM1 automatically.  She asked all senators whose

  ID's would be changing to notify the secretary by June 8.  President

  McConnell's new ID will be SHERRI on VM1; Senate's ID is STAFFSEN on VM1.

  The 1993-94 secretary will use that ID for the upcoming year.

 

  President McConnell thanked all the senators for their service this past

  year.  She stated she will not be here for the June 17 meeting because she

  will be at the beach.  President McConnell gave a special thanks to her

  staff senate officers and committee chairs who would not be returning next

  year:  Barbara Shelor, Fred Phillips, and Clara Cox.

 

  The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

 

 

 

  Barbara Hise Shelor

  Secretary

 

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