Dear Campus Colleagues,
Many thanks to those who attended last week’s open forum on the development of a staff advisory council. With more than 70 people in attendance at the forum there clearly is much energy and interest in creating a council at Seattle University. Through the forum, we appreciated the chance to share what we have learned about staff advisory councils from other Jesuit institutions, to answer questions about Seattle U’s potential council and to receive your feedback and suggestions.
Here’s a short summary of the information we shared at the forum regarding common practices from other Jesuit institutions that have a staff advisory council.
- The majority AJCU schools have a staff advisory council.
- The institutions with SACs have charters, by-laws and structured meetings.
- SACs are connected to the president, cabinet, academic assembly and student government.
- SACs are involved in key campus initiatives.
- SACs also frequently work to identify opportunities for additional institutional growth and change.
- SACs typically have a president and vice president—some institutions appoint and some institutions run elections for these roles.
- SAC seats are populated by campus demographics (academic, student focused, support areas).
- Individuals interested in serving on SAC 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 SACs also include at-large seats.
Seattle U is still very much in a preliminary phase of creating a staff advisory council. No decisions about the structure and purpose of a Seattle University SAC have been made. What we do know to be important, though, is that the council is the voice of all staff on campus and that it is an elected group of colleagues who care about their peers’ interests. The role of the steering committee has been to get as much of the information together so the eventual staff advisory council has the ability to succeed and thrive on campus. Based upon the open forum and what we’ve learned from other institutions here are a few next steps and actions:
- Add additional members to the SAC planning committee in order to better reflect staff at various levels of our institutional structure, with a particular emphasis on adding front line staff
- Create a website to share information, including examples of structures from other institutions, opportunities to provide feedback and information about additional ways to get involved
- Host additional conversations on key topics related to the formation of a council, including purpose, representation, the election process and communication strategies
We aspire to make this process transparent and to include as many voices and perspectives as possible. We welcome your feedback and suggestions.
With warm regards,
Staff Advisory Council Steering Committee
Eric Guerra, Athletics
Kent Koth, Center for Community Engagement
Mary Lou Moffat, Albers Business School
MK Smith, ITS
Leann Wagele, Law School
Dion Wade, Student Development
Michelle Clements, HR