Steering Committee

Steering Committee

How was the steering committee formed?

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.

The steering committee will disband following the inception of a campus-wide election and establishment of the official Staff Council.


Who are the steering committee members?

  • Katie Bowler | Advancement Services Specialist, Office of Advancement
  • Michelle Clements |  Vice President, Human Resources
  • Eric Guerra | Associate Athletic Director, Athletics
  • Kent Koth |  Executive Director, Center for Community Engagement
  • Stephanie Lewis | Core Administrative Specialist, University Core
  • Mary Lou Moffat |  Director, Albers Placement Center
  • Lilly Newell | Sr. Administrative Assistant, Office of the Dean & Advising Center, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Megan Otis | Web Support Specialist, Marketing Communications
  • Melissa Schade | Fellowships Coordinator, Office of Fellowships
  • MK Smith |  Director, Enterprise Applications, Information Technology Services
  • John Teegarden | Sr. Administrative Assistant, Math Department
  • Dion Wade | Director, University Recreation
  • Leann Wagele |  Director of Administration and the Dean’s office, School of Law

What is the goal of the steering committee?

The goal of the steering committee has been to get as much of the information together so the eventual staff council has the ability to succeed and thrive on campus.

To that end, steering committee members 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.

In January 2018, the committee presented their initial findings to Cabinet and to an open forum for staff.

Members then followed up with a campus communication in early February to summarize the key findings of their research and share next steps.

What are their key findings?

After interviewing their counterparts at Creighton, Gonzaga, LMU, Marquette, Santa Clara, Regis and Xavier University, the steering committee has found:

  • The majority AJCU schools have a staff council.
  • The institutions with SCs have charters, by-laws and structured meetings.
  • SCs are connected to the president, cabinet, academic assembly and student government.
  • SCs are involved in key campus initiatives.
  • SCs also frequently work to identify opportunities for additional institutional growth and change.
  • SCs typically have a president and vice president—some institutions appoint and some institutions run elections for these roles.
  • SC seats are populated by campus demographics (academic, student-focused, support areas).
  • Individuals interested in serving on SC and/or running for a seat complete a common application; a roster of candidates and their profiles are shared with all staff; all campus staff are eligible to vote.
  • Staff run for seats with 1-2 year terms.
  • Many SCs also include at-large seats.

What are the steering committee's next steps?

Based on feedback from the campus community, the steering committee plans to do the following:

  • Establish additional communication channels to ensure openness and transparency between the steering committee and the campus community
  • Host additional campus-wide conversations in late summer early fall on key topics related to the formation of a council, including:
    • The composition of the council, including how to ensure full representation of Seattle U staff on the eventual council 
    • The election process of staff council members
  • Based on campus input, propose a model for the election process and council structure to President and Cabinet for endorsement prior to Thanksgiving 2018
  • Facilitate the inaugural election of the Staff Council near the end of Fall Quarter 2018 or early January 2019

The steering committee will disband following the inception of a campus-wide election and establishment of the official Staff Council.