Seattle University staff have not had a consistent formal representative voice on campus, unlike students (SGSU, GSC) and faculty (Academic Assembly). The need for staff to have a greater voice in guiding and shaping Seattle University has been discussed for several years and was affirmed as a priority for the university in the 2015 Campus Climate Survey.
From Fall 2017 to Winter 2019, a steering committee consisting of thirteen staff members from around the university met monthly in order to lay the groundwork for the formation of a Staff Council here at Seattle U.
In late 2018 through early 2019, the steering committee gathered nominations from the campus community and facilitated an election process. The Staff Council election period ran from Jan 28–Feb 1. 35 candidates ran for staff council within seven distinct categories. Then 61% of the 793 staff on campus voted in the election.
In early February, the election results along with the names of the new Staff Council was announced by Father Steve. Shortly thereafter, the steering committee disbanded and the new Staff Council begins meeting in March 2019.
In 2016, President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and the Cabinet encouraged the Vice President for Human Resources, Michelle Clements, to examine the possibility of launching a staff council at SU.
An initial steering committee of staff leaders from around the campus was formed to start the process of exploring what a staff council at SU might look like, and how SU might move forward in forming a staff council. The steering committee began meeting in fall 2017.
This initial committee received feedback that they lacked broad representation of staff members on campus. As a result, they committed to adding additional representation and put out a call to campus. Twenty-five additional staff members expressed interest in participating on the steering committee, of which, an additional six members were invited to join this formation group in spring 2018.
The steering committee met monthly in order to lay the groundwork for the formation of a Staff Council here at Seattle U.
The goal of the steering committee was to get as much information together as possible so the eventual staff council could succeed and thrive on campus.
To that end, steering committee members completed some benchmarking research and interviewed counterparts at peer Jesuit institutions who established staff councils. The steering committee gathered information on the purpose of these councils, their election processes, council composition, term limits and areas of focus.
After interviewing their counterparts at Creighton, Gonzaga, LMU, Marquette, Santa Clara, Regis and Xavier University, the steering committee has found:
Based on feedback from the campus community, the steering committee: