Latest Updates

Winter 2022 Staff Council Updates

Written by Seattle University Staff Council
March 2, 2022

As the days start to grow longer and we shed our heavy winter coats, we begin to emerge with the spring. With that comes new growth and the hope of better things to come. This seems even more palpable this year as the world watches the invasion of Ukraine. For those of you who have connections to Ukraine, our thoughts and prayers are with you. If you know an impacted coworker or student, please offer support where you can.  

Staff have operated over these past several years of the pandemic in a state of constant flux where flexibility and innovation have been key to our success as a university. Although our individual experiences may differ, we have all been through this challenge together. Staff Council would like to extend our appreciation to you. We are grateful to represent and work alongside this team of dedicated and committed staff here at Seattle University.   

Staff Council have been diligent these past few months advocating for staff on the topics we hear are of concern. Special thanks go out to those who have been an active part of Staff Council by either attending a monthly meeting or one of our office hours or by reaching out to us directly. We hear you and appreciate your perspectives. In the words of Malala Yousafzai, "When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." 

Staff Council Cabinet Liaison 

Staff Council is fortunate to have a great liaison with Cabinet through Tim Leary, Executive Vice President. We are excited to announce that Chris Van Liew, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, will now also serve as our liaison with Cabinet alongside Tim Leary. Chris has been a strong supporter of Staff Council and already attends many of our council meetings. Partnering with Chris helps us ensure that any changes we advocate are in line with our Strategic Directions 

Staff Council Office Hours 

Staff Council is holding virtual drop-in office hours for the remainder of the academic year. Stop in to discuss any topic that you feel needs to be brought to the attention of Staff Council or just stop in to chat. We welcome the opportunity to get to know you and build community. 

  • Thursday, March 24th from 11am to noon 
  • Tuesday, April 26th from 9am to 10am 
  • Wednesday, May 25th from 2pm to 3pm 
  • Zoom link for all meetings:  

Upcoming Staff Council Elections 

Seattle University Staff Council election season is fast approaching!  

Have you considered sharing your talents and voice in a more formal way through participation in shared governance at SU? Do you know a colleague who would be valuable within this elected role? Nominations and elections will take place in April, so please start thinking about colleagues who might make great additions to the council.  

Members of Staff Council represent the voice of all staff members from across the entire campus. Come join your fellow staff and represent your peers on this influential team. Please consider submitting a nomination for yourself and/or others to the AY23 Seattle University Staff Council election.  

SUSC will host an informational forum on Zoom for staff curious about Council work on Tuesday, April 26 at 12:30pm. We will send out an email reminder with a link closer to the date and will post this on our website. 

Winter Meeting Highlights 

Staff Council meetings occur monthly every second Wednesday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Keep an eye out for email reminders from Staff Council and announcements in SU Today. All staff are welcome to attend.  

  • For additional SU Staff Council meeting information, please visit our website where you will find links to the current agenda, if available, and minutes of past meetings. 
  • Staff Council monthly meetings will be held remotely for the remainder of the academic year using Zoom. 

Topics discussed over the past months include:  

  • Ongoing discussions with HR over the Flexwork Pilot program, sick leave during the pandemic, review process, MRRs, exit interviews, and retention. We learned from Matt Philip that there are a large number of new hires at SU, 42%, within the past 2.5 to 3 years.  
  • Staff voiced concerns over this past January’s virtual reopening. 
  • Tim Leary provided a Cabinet update each meeting. Some highlights of the updates include the hiring process of several VP and Dean positions, Reigniting the Strategic Directions report, Staff Professional Formation committee work, and COVID protocol.  
  • Staff Council met with Shaney Fink this past December to discuss the resignation of Coach Hayford. 
  • HR’s Matt Philip and Ellen Huelmann provided updates to staff based on the top issues around the review process, MRRs, exit interviews, and flexwork. Matt presented the staff headcounts and turnover during this pandemic. The sick time donation bank, now known as the Sick Time Sharing Program, was first introduced in this past February’s Staff Council meeting. 
  • Tara Hicks and Josh Halbert talked about COVID at SU, KN-95 masks available to campus areas, and COVID numbers in King County which peaked on January 10th. Boosters were promoted providing 60-70% protection from serious infection. 
  • Natasha Martin provided updates on the new Ombudsperson role. This new position has been expanded to include staff representation in addition to faculty. 
  • HR’s Matt Philip and Ellen Huelmann provided updates to staff based on the top issues around the review process, MRRs, exit interviews, and flexwork. Matt presented the staff headcounts and turnover during this pandemic. The sick time donation bank, now known as the Sick Time Sharing Program, was first introduced in this past February’s Staff Council meeting.  

    Staff Council would like to stress our deep appreciation of Matt's and Ellen's willingness to come to our meetings and engage with staff, as well as their openness to hear staff concerns firsthand during these extraordinary times. Human Resources, like many areas on campus, have experienced both increased turnover and workload during the pandemic. Staff members and Staff Council reported concerns from individuals who were running low or had completely depleted their sick leave balances halfway through FY22. Based on this information, HR acted quickly to change the policy while opening the door of communication to impacted and anxious staff members. There are now several options available to staff in these situations; when they reach out to HR directly, HR can determine the best solution to address each individual’s needs and circumstances. 

More details provided within the monthly meeting minutes 

Committee Updates 

The Review, Benefits and Compensation (RBC) Committee meets regularly with HR to discuss topics that impact staff. RBC raises staff voices to HR for consideration when decisions are made surrounding the topics of reviews, benefits, and compensation.  

  • HR sent an official email on February 22nd outlining leave options for staff. Faculty and staff with personal concerns related to time away to address health or caregiving responsibilities should reach out to Human Resources or Bre Smith, Benefits & Leave Analyst, directly to learn about options that may be available to assist them in their situation.    
  • The Sick Time Sharing Program has been restarted. Staff with a reserve sick balance, please consider participating if your sick time allotment and personal situation allows. 

Affinity Groups  

To help staff build connection and community, the Inclusion & Community and Communications Committees have identified several affinity groups within our SU community. These groups are now posted on the Staff Connections page of the SUSC website. If you are aware of and/or coordinate other affinity groups open to staff members, please email Staff Council the group description and contact information and we will include it on our website as a resource for all staff. We hope this central location of information will help foster meaningful connections between members of our campus community.  

Kudos for Colleagues 

The Recognition and Appreciation Committee is underway with a project to collect and provide information on staff recognition and appreciation practices that exist on campus. We are starting the process of surveying work areas in our community to assess what formal and informal practices are already in place, then will gather additional ideas from the community and create an accessible online resource for SU personnel to use going forward as they consider ways to honor the good work of our campus community.  

Do you know someone who deserves a bit of public recognition? Do you want to thank someone for their act of kindness or support recently? If so, please consider submitting some Kudos for Colleagues and the Council will happily send along your appreciation! Kudos can be submitted anonymously or with your name attached – either way, your colleagues will know they are valued and respected through your acknowledgement! 

Staff Council offers our congratulations to all of the staff who have received kudos and our thanks to all of the staff who have submitted kudos to support their colleagues. 

Input to Staff Council 

We welcome your input. If you wish to communicate with the Staff Council, you can email the entire Staff Council, you can submit anonymous feedback using a form on our website, or you can email individual members using the members list on our website. 



Seattle University Staff Council 

Kit Morse, President | Conference and Event Services 

Kari Langsea, Vice President | Campus Ministry 

Chelsea Lien, Secretary | Information Technology Services 

Jessica Allen | Office of Gift Planning 

Corey Belser | Athletics 

Matt Burton | Facilities   

Carly Darcher | Student Academic Services 

Chuy Garcia | Student Health Center   

Laura Hauck-Vixie | College of Arts and Sciences   

Jenna Isakson | Office of Sponsored Projects   

Angie Jenkins | Learning Assistance Programs  

Christina Juarez | College of Arts and Sciences  

Stephanie Lewis | University Core     

Eunice MacGill | College of Education  

Dawn Madore | Facilities Services 

Craig Nisgor | Athletics 

Dario Ogaz | Education Abroad   

Andrea Ross | Conference and Event Services 

Julie Schwabe | College of Science and Engineering