Latest Updates

Fall 2022 Staff Council Updates

Written by Seattle University Staff Council
January 13, 2023

From an email sent to all Staff on December 8, 2022.

Greeting staff colleagues, 

As we enter the holidays and reflect on the past quarter, Staff Council would like to share updates on what each Committee is working on and some of their goals for the new year.   

Staff Voices Survey Task Force 

In 2019, shortly after it first formed, SUSC surveyed staff to get a sense of their concerns and priorities to shape the council’s work. Recognizing that much has changed since 2019, the council agreed that it was a priority to survey the staff again. Each committee appointed one member to the Staff Voices Survey Task Force to update or craft questions for the survey which is now open until January 13, 2023.  

Committee Updates 

  • Nominations, Elections, and By-Laws 

The Nomination, Elections, and By-Laws committee worked to fill two open SUSC seats: an academic non-exempt member who will serve until June 2023 and a student focused non-exempt member will serve until June 2024.  Four candidates are currently running in the special election for the academic non-exempt seat. The election will close on December 13th with the hope that the newly elected member can attend the last council meeting of the year. Unfortunately, we did not get candidates for the student-focused seat, but will reopen the nomination process in January. 

  • Committee on Appointments 

The Board of Trustees put out the call for Seattle University staff members to serve on their subcommittees. Staff Council collected 33 self-nominations from all across campus and submitted these to the Board. After consideration, the following staff representatives were selected, and began their terms in September: 

Staff Member | Committee                                                                         

Stephen Johnson | Academic and Student Affairs 

Dion Wade | Finance 

Heather Williams | Intercollegiate Athletics Oversight 

Bobby Matthews | Mission Integration 

Carolyn Burroughs | Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Laura Vasilopoulos | Advancement 

Sarah Finney | Investment 

Kate Elias | Strategy, Innovation and Technology 

Matthew Albright | Capital Planning and Land Use 

Yolanda Cieters | Socially Responsible Investment Working Group 

  • Inclusion & Community 

The Inclusion and Community Committee began this year by facilitating unconscious bias training for the SUSC members. We have begun discussing how to scale this training up for the rest of the university at large. We have started to meet with other working groups and individuals on campus who are also doing this work to encourage communication and collaboration for cross campus DEI and community efforts.  

Members of the Inclusion and Community Committee also created the DEI survey which went out in November. This survey's purpose was to better understand and capture the work already being done across SU and areas for improvement. We are currently compiling and analyzing the data. Once complete, we will use this to better guide our efforts to support progress towards a more inclusive and community centered SU. 

  • Review, Benefits, and Compensation 

The Review, Benefits and Compensation (RBC) Committee began the year by updating our purpose statement and reviewing the list of staff concerns from recent months and last year. We have met with Human Resources leadership twice thus far this quarter to establish a working relationship and to share information. We first shared our insights related to three areas we would like to advocate for. 1) staff retention and a positive staff experience, 2) communication and transparency from HR and 3) comprehensive compensation and benefits review.  

Most recently, we presented a summary document of concerns we are hearing from staff related to the Washington State salary threshold law. 

  • Staff and Faculty Interactions 

The Staff and Faculty Interactions committee is considering where there are opportunities to bring staff and faculty together around shared goals. With the many changes happening on campus, such as the shift of many staff to non-exempt status and the Integration of Academic Affairs & Student Development, our committee is particularly mindful of the ways staff’s time and labor are valued within the University in pursuit of our larger goal of educating students.  

We currently have a staff council representative who attends Academic Assembly meetings; our hope this year is to expand that point of connection in both directions by seeking out faculty members who can serve as collaborators and supporters of the Staff Council. Our committee also wants to further explore the areas where there is potential for collaboration and connection between faculty and staff, such as identity-based affinity spaces, professional development opportunities, and celebrations. 

  • Staff Recognition and Appreciation  

The RAA team has been working closely with Jerron Lowe in HR to lay the groundwork for how the Celebration of Staff event will be executed in 2023. This event needs to be “owned” by an SU department since the office that planned it last year has been dissolved (Executive Vice President). We are so grateful that HR is willing to step up and take ownership of the event. We are just about ready to convene a planning committee for the event. Any staff or faculty member can join! Please email if you are interested or have questions.  

RAA continuously manages a university wide recognition & appreciation program! Say “Thank You” to a co-worker or fellow staff member with a “Kudos for Colleagues.” You can find the link on the SU Website (Kudos for Colleagues) and brighten someone’s day!  Kudos are sent out weekly by the RAA team and through this easy gesture staff know that they are appreciated. 

  • Professional Development  

The Professional Development Committee focused on crafting questions for the upcoming Staff Voices survey to gather feedback from campus on whether staff are currently participating in professional development and, if not, what barriers exist to engaging in professional development. We also liaised with HR to learn more about the upcoming professional development opportunities being planned for staff supervisors. We will collect additional information in the Staff Voices survey – to be shared with HR – on those topics and formats with which staff are interested in engaging to further their professional formation. 

An upcoming project in the works involves connecting with various areas of campus who already offer professional development opportunities for staff (e.g., Center for Jesuit Education, Office of Diversity & Inclusion) and discussing how we might best help in amplifying these opportunities to a larger audience.  

Thank you for all you do here at Seattle University!  We always welcome your feedback to the Staff Council using the following methods:  

  • Contact your individual council representatives, who are listed on our Members page.
  • Email the entire Staff Council at
  • Use our Feedback Portal, where you can enter feedback anonymously or add your name if you want a direct reply.

A reminder that if you would like help finding and fostering community on campus, we have a list of Affinity Groups available on our website. Feel free to reach out to any groups for which you identify. If you would like to send colleagues a little holiday cheer, you’re welcome to use our Kudos for Colleagues form to share your appreciation.