STAFF SENATE MEETING MINUTES
August 19, 2015
President Tammy Millican presided over the August 19, 2015, Staff Senate meeting held at the LSU Student Union in Career Center Classroom (256J) at 10:30 a.m.
Pr - Matkovic, Igor (’17)
P - Cherry, Aaron (‘17)
P - Craddock, Jacquelyn (’16)
Pr - Hale, Robert (’16)
P - Hart, M.E. (’16)
P - Hendricks, Kendra (’16)
P - Perkins, Julie (’16)
Pr - DeRoche, Jon (’17)
P - Godfrey, Nikki (’17)
Pr - Kucharchuk, Kayla (’17)
P - Lopez, Ramon (’17)
P - Lowery, Michelle (’17)
P - Millican, Tammy (’17)
A - Nunes, Daniel (’17)
P - Reonas, Barbara (’17)
Pr - Spurlock, Maggi (’17)
P - Steib, Summer (’17)
P - Truitt, Trey (’17)
P - Villien, Douglas (’17)
P - Dufrene, Robert (’18)
P - Eldredge, George (’18)
P - Gomez, Jennifer (’18)
P - Ortiz, Shelly (’18)
P - Poret, Elizabeth (’18)
P - Springstead, Jennifer (’18)
P - Waguespack, Darcy (’18)
P - Adedeji, Funmilayo (’16)
Pr - Owens, Kevin (’18)
P - Corbitt, Brent (’17)
P - Arnold, Nancy (’16)
A - Indicates Absent P - Indicates Present Pr - Indicates Proxy
Andrew Mahtook, Student Government President
Interim Provost Rick Koubek, Academic Affairs
Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer Dereck Rovaris, Office of Diversity
Brian Ainsworth, Campus Federal Credit Union
Casey Coughlin, Campus Federal Credit Union
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by President Tammy Millican at 10:30 a.m.
There was a quorum with six proxies noted.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Senator Jacquelyn Craddock led the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES – July 15, 2015, Staff Senate Meetings
A motion to accept the minutes was made by Treasurer Michelle Lowery. The motion, seconded by President-Elect Trey Truitt, carried.
President Tammy Millican introduced Dr. Rick Koubek who assumed the role of interim Executive Vice President and Provost at Louisiana State University (LSU) after serving as Dean of LSU's College of Engineering for six years. During his tenure as Dean, he successfully raised more than $55 million in private funding as part of a public/private partnership to raise $110 million to renovate Patrick F. Taylor Hall and construct a new chemical engineering building. This is the largest construction and renovation project that has ever taken place on our campus. He is also responsible for nearly doubling undergraduate enrollment, hiring 25 new faculty, and opening a satellite LSU Engineering campus in Jakarta, Indonesia. She asked Senators to please join her in welcoming Executive Vice President and Provost Rick Koubek.
Interim Provost Rick Koubek began by thanking the Staff Senate for letting him speak and said that as Interim Provost, there are two parts to that title. The first Interim and the second Provost, and the only problem with him is, he can’t sit still, so for the Interim (time period) and for Provost (is what he has to do when he walks in the door) this is how he has done it so far.
What they are trying to do in Academic Affairs until a permanent Provost is hired and as LSU is getting ready to do a Campus Master Plan is think very deeply about what that implies, how are you going to teach and do research. Those are probably outside of those boundary conditions, but there are other things that are within it that he will talk about today that they are trying to get done. As Koubek spoke with Peggy Miller on what to touch on, she mentioned the he should begin with the organizational structure because we are still finding ourselves. We now only have a President as you see the Chancellor title disappearing (King Alexander) and he is also President of our campus. You have the Provost and Executive Vice President and within that everything related to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). Dan Layzell is our Chief Financial Officer (CFO), so we have responsibility in the office here for everything that’s not Finance, Human Resources, and Facilities. That is all under the CFO. We have the Office of Research and Economic Development, Student Life with Kurt Keppler, Diversity with Dereck Rovaris, Matt Lee who has taken Gil Reeve’s position, and all of the Deans under the CAO, so that is how we are structured now. Dan and I are kind of the partners in managing the campus on behalf of King Alexander, as he has to make sure that the funding streams stay in place for LSU. As you may have heard Alexander say, we started at 42 to 0 as underdogs in the legislature and then we came out two points ahead at the end of the game. So that was the last session, and in truth, financially, we did come out in pretty good shape.
For the six years that I have been at LSU, and I know many on Staff Senate who have been here a long time, we went through some dark days during these last six years. Provost Jack Hamilton got us through some of the worst of it, then Bill Jenkins, and Stuart Bell who came in and dealt with the transition plan. We are still trying to figure out what One LSU means. We are kind of at a point now, in my own opinion, that the budgets for the past month or so, although it is raining outside, not so much for LSU right now. It seems to me, having been a Dean for six years and looking at the budgets and the fact that just yesterday we sent all the Deans the approval for hiring and we are going to do another 115 faculty searches this year that things are getting better. The Staff Senate is the first to hear that number, by the way. We are going to propose that we consider a little additional fee that Layzell is working on, so that there will be more operating budgets. What I’m feeling is that in a year or so, we should be stabilized or at least where we were. During that downturn, we did gain a lot of efficiencies and so when we get back to where we were, we will actually be above where we started. This is because of how we all pulled together to carry the load.
On the financial side, it’s a pendulum. Six years ago when I started, we were way over here and now we are here, and be there no mistakes, it may be way over there again, so let’s enjoy this period right now. There will be a lot of discussion and woe is me again when they hold the special session. He and Alexander met with the new faculty yesterday and many of them said their parents were sending them information and asking if they were still going to go to LSU and many asked how the people here took it. This is business as usual in Louisiana, so I suspect that you might hear that again. But I have remarkable confidence in Dan Layzell and his office and the way they have budgeted. They are prepared for a mid-year cut that is not going to affect us. When I looked at how strategic they are now, I feel very confident to the point that we will fill 115 faculty positions and do other hires. No doubt-we need raises which has been a big push for us all and Dan is working hard to make sure that this becomes a major point to the platform for the coming year. How it will work out? Who knows? But you need to know that he is working hard to bring that to the platform and Jason Droddy has to continue to let the legislature know. There is the optics of it all which is the reality of the world we live in, so Droddy works on managing the optics before Dan gets to the point of putting it in.
For the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to watch how we came out of it so well compared to the other places I have been. When I walked into Patrick F. Taylor Hall about 7:30 a.m. in the mornings and the staff begin to arrive by 7:45 a.m. then at 4:45, 5:00, 5:15, they were finally leaving and never said a word about working those long hours. What struck me was that we at LSU care so deeply about the mission and the students that it must be endemic to the institution and that permeates everything we do. I received calls from other deans asking questions like-Is it true that you are the fifth fastest growing College of Engineering in the United States of America? There are 365 engineering colleges, which makes our growth remarkable. We did raise $55 million dollars in 12 months. That doesn’t normally happen, but we did it. We started getting calls to find out the secret to our success and it’s the people. Everyone is so committed to the Mission of LSU that that’s what we do. It starts with the staff and faculty. Our job is to create an environment that you can really thrive in, and so when I met with the Staff Senate Executive Committee and was handed your Strategic Plan for the Staff Senate, I was so excited, because when I read the plan, I said, “Yes, this is what I want to happen in the Office of Academic Affairs. When I read the Staff Senate’s vision statement, the last sentence reads, “The Staff Senate seeks to continually support the vision, mission, and Flagship Agenda of Louisiana State University”. That is very meaningful to me. So my job while I am Interim Provost is to make sure that I do what I can in the Office of Academic Affairs to help the Staff Senate achieve that because for you to achieve this, it will be very good for LSU and the students. I have committed to President Tammy Millican that you all have my 100% full attention and full support to do that. A minor example of how we are trying to do that is that when the Faculty Senate in the spring passed Resolution 14-11, which outlines everything that we do at LSU and makes it easier for faculty to do it, it should have said all of us. I met with Dan and said that we should put a committee together and see where we can make things easier, such as trying to book travel with Shorts Travel Service, better ways to deal with some of the forms that we have to deal with, and all those types of processes that we have to spend our time on that may not be the highest valued time that we can use to help the students instead. We really have to have an opportunity for the campus to look at the things that are the most endemic and dragging us down. To be honest, a lot of those will be in Dan’s area, but Dan was on board, so we got together and put the committee together. Tammy has agreed to be one of the five people to sit on this committee to help us figure out what to look at first. Then, let’s start chipping away at the things that are difficult for us to work with right now.
In your Strategic Plan, you mention opinion surveys and it seems to me that this would be a good driver for this group to do-the sort of things that are mentioned. Your group should be representing all of our staff on that committee. That is just one thing we are able to do immediately to make sure that I can do what I can to help us do what we want to do for LSU and for our students. I didn’t want to give a lot of numbers today. What is fascinating to me is the data that we received for this year is the exact same number of new freshman as last year. Of course, that is when they pay. The 14th class day is all that matters. What we are guessing is that we will probably net about the same number of new students, but retention is up and so the overall number of students at LSU will probably go up a little bit. Graduate student numbers are holding steady and we had 68 new faculty join us in the fall. We tried to do 125 searches, so we probably closed about half of them. As soon as we started talking about financial exigency last year, there were not a lot of people accepting positions. I suspect that if we can keep that talk down, we can build that back up again.
For the coming year, you will see the following. We are going to have to go through a special session when the new Governor takes over, and President Alexander will be carrying the banner for us- which he is brilliant at. We are fortunate to have him! We are going to do a search for the permanent Provost in the next six months and hope to have that done by January. The enrollment is going to be stable across campus and some are up like Humanities and some are down. We are going to see about 80% of the number of faculty hires that we had last year, and we are going to see a proposal for a new student fee, which would be about $108 per student for the spring semester.
The goal on that is to help with the student experience in the classroom. We will not use it for furniture, travel and things like that. The students need to have an experience at LSU that is worthy of what we envision for them. The resources have been pretty thin for that as we had to cut around the edges. The first step in rebuilding our university is building the student experience and this fee will be dedicated to doing that very thing. The Deans will be asked to submit proposals on how that is going to happen. This will also mean that departments will have a little more breathing room with the operating budgets. President Alexander will bring that to the Board of Supervisors in October.
President Tammy Millican opened the floor for questions for Interim Provost Rick Koubek.
Q: We have received some comments about the Ombuds position as we discussed during the Executive Committee Meeting. Can you update us on that?
A: During the budget cuts, it was a part-time position and so it kind of went away. There has been some investigating on how to get that position filled again and also on what that position looks like on other campuses. Then, we need to figure out if it is really a part-time or full-time position, as the prior Ombuds person may have worked more than part-time. Finally, we need to budget the funds to do it. There has been some exploration, but no commitment as of yet. There is enthusiasm for it. They are trying to consider what that would look like before we put anything on paper, and we will circle back around with the Staff Senate about it.
Q: How are the renovations going with Patrick F. Taylor Hall?
A: We are a little ahead of schedule. It is happening in two pieces. The north half of the building is currently being renovated and then the new Chemical Engineering Building is coming up next to it. That will be completed by summer of 2016. We will be able to move in to those two pieces and then renovation of the front half will begin. Most likely, the units that are displaced, the ones who moved, will not move back until everything is finished in December of 2017, due to logistics. The question is whether we will need to use those classrooms or not. It creates a problem, because those colleges became misplaced due to this project. The Registrar’s Office is trying to figure out if they want to move in to those classrooms or not.
Q: Are you considering taking the position of Executive Vice President and Provost permanently?
A: That’s a tricky question. The best job on campus to me is the Dean of Engineering at LSU. It’s a really good job. Having said that, my background is really quite odd. My first bachelor’s degree is in Biblical Literature, the second Bachelor’s Degree is in Psychology, and my final degree was a PH.D in Engineering. So in my world view, I’ve got this odd combination as a frustrated liberal arts major. I was just not that good at it and it was really hard. I would have done that had I been successful at it. I do enjoy being in a position where I have more breadth, but I have not yet applied. I am still thinking about it.
President Tammy Millican thanked him for coming to speak to the full Senate today. Interim Provost Rick Koubek thanked the group for having him and for the Senate’s work on the Staff Senate Strategic Plan.
President Tammy Millican reported that on July 29, the Executive Committee met with Interim Provost Rick Koubek to discuss the Strategic Plan. She said she was impressed, and that he asked for the meeting and shared information. He spoke about employee morale and said he was glad that it was brought up. He calls it value, rather than morale. He said he has been talking with Dr. Alexander and others and believes that we have to find a way to recognize the staff who have made it through six extremely tough years at LSU and who are seeing new staff come in who have no idea what the last six years have been like. They are looking at some ways to address that issue. He also mentioned the idea of allowing departments to be more entrepreneurial, with departments being able to keep some of their own funding that they earned at the end of the year, instead of putting it back into the pot. He also talked about creating revenue streams, and Exec found him to be very open to a lot of new ideas.
President Tammy Millican reported that on August 7, she was honored to represent LSU Staff as part of the graduation party platform for Summer Commencement. There was a fantastic guest speaker, and a tremendous amount of graduates, which was wonderful. If you have never been to commencement ceremonies at LSU, and this is something that the university is working on to get more community support for non-athletic events, such as Commencement, go see the students and the celebration. It is truly a wonderful thing and it is why we are here on campus, no matter where you work on campus.
President Tammy Millican reported that on August 11, the Executive Committee met to plan for today’s meeting and set the agenda.
President Tammy Millican asked if anyone had any committee updates that they would like to provide.
Senator Ramon Lopez announced that the first Governmental Relations Committee meeting will likely be held on Friday, September 11, 2015 to get a head start on the budget announcements and to get an event planned for the fall. Lopez will be reaching out to Student Government President Andrew Mahtook on that as well.
President Tammy Millican mentioned that last year the committee tried to plan an LSU Staff Day at the State Capital to thank them and to give them some information on the many amazing things that we are doing at LSU. She said that Staff Senate wants it to be very positive and for legislators to see the real faces of LSU. She said we also want to partner with our students and build those relationships to help our Legislative Liaison. Millican spoke with Mahtook this morning and mentioned that it is her hope that we can work with Faculty Senate and Student Government. With these three groups working together, that will be a lot of people and it gives us a stronger voice instead of going to the Capital separately.
Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator Melonie Milton reported that the Marketing Committee met on August 18th to discuss the Talk and Tour at Alex Box Stadium on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at noon. The Staff Senate will hold their monthly meeting at Alex Box in the Champions Club on the first floor (behind home plate) at 10:30 a.m., with a catered lunch from Jason’s Deli. Melonie will send out the menu selection to the full Senate and invited guests, so they can select their lunch. Sandi Gillilan, Assistant Vice President for Administrative Operations with Finance and Administration, will be the guest speaker and men’s basketball coach, Johnny Jones, may speak. We will market the event through Facebook. Twitter, Staff Senate website and through broadcast emails. We will hold a couple of trivia contests to promote the event on the Facebook Page with a t-shirt and lapel pin prize. We will also possibly advertise through the Daily Reveille by either a ¼ or ½ page ad during the week of September 1. We will send out a teaser first, “Something is Coming Out of the Box!” She asked that no one tell what the invite is for until the event information is released. We are hoping that baseball coach, Paul Mainieri will speak before the tour begins. It is a beautiful facility and it is always nice to tour one of the athletic facilities at LSU.
Dr. Dereck Rovaris mentioned that he did the tour last semester, and it is a world class facility. The Staff Senate invited Dr. Rovaris to join us. Coach Mainieri is always so generous when he speaks and the facility is impressive to see. The gentlemen who gave the tour was a former major league player and mentioned that Alex Box is nicer than most major league stadiums.
SPECIAL AD-HOC COMMITTEES
President Tammy Millican asked if anyone had any committee updates that they would like to provide. No updates.
President Tammy Millican asked if anyone had any committee updates that they would like to provide. No updates.
President Tammy Millican reported that she attended the Campus Communicators meeting held on August 12. Linda Bonnin, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications, spoke about the LSU Bound signs that were purchased by the Alumni Center. She showed a great presentation of students holding their signs or the signs posted in their yards from all over the country. This has been a very inexpensive way to get LSU’s name all over social media. Bonnin also spoke about a brand survey that is done every year for LSU. They ask if you attend LSU, why you work at LSU, what words come to mind when you hear LSU, etc. Football appears before academics and they are working to change that perception. Millican has a copy of both reports to share upon request but asked that the reports be kept confidential due to the information that was reported.
University Planning Council
Past-President Julie Perkins reported that she attended the University Planning Council (UPC) Meeting on July 28th, where Interim Provost Rick Koubek spoke and led that meeting. He welcomed and introduced some new people. He gave a quick budget update and most of that information was shared here this morning.
She said there was some information about a sabbatical audit that took place and basically what came out of that is probably as a university, we are not doing a good job of following up after the sabbatical to make sure the work that was supposed to be done was done. She said we need to do a better job of ensuring that everything that was supposed to be accomplished was accomplished and it needs to be reported back to LSU appropriately. This is something that they will be working on with the academic side.
The last things discussed was UPC taking a part in the Master Planning process and the status of the effort-four master planning firms chosen as finalists. This group will also take part in that conversation. She will provide more updates as the campus goes through the master planning process.
President Tammy Millican announced that in the past the Executive Committee has reviewed Senators’ committee choices and most have chosen two committees. However, this year we have been lucky enough to have some overachievers who picked way more than the two committee requirement.
In the past, the Executive Committee had to figure out if those Senators really wanted to serve on more than two committees and which two, so the Executive Committee decided that Senators should make those decisions this year. A spreadsheet was created that lists every committee each Senator chose. The list was circulated, so that each Senator can review and make a final decision on the number of committees they would like to serve on.
President Tammy Millican has emailed all committee chairs to let them know that they have been appointed as a chair and the next step is for them to contact their committee members to determine a meeting date/time for their first meeting. The Executive Committee will be looking at the Staff Senate’s Strategic Plan to review all of the goals to create some of the committee charges for the year. There are some charges that are already established, such as the New Employee Reception, but there are other things on that plan that can be charges for the committees. At the same time, committees are asked to develop some of their own charges. The Executive Committee will help in any way that is needed, but it is up to committee members to carry out the charges that are set.
President Tammy Millican announced that she sent out a letter last week to each staff member who recently graduated during the summer, congratulating them on behalf of the Staff Senate.
Campus Committee on Sustainability
President Tammy Millican announced that the Campus Committee on Sustainability will be launched in the fall and chaired by Sarah Temple. This group would like a Staff Senate Representative. She asked Senators interested in serving on the committee to contact her or Melonie and meeting information would be sent to them. That group is going to get together and work on goals and initiatives for sustainability campus-wide. There will also be different sub- groups within the committee for members who are more interested in bicycling, energy, green products, etc. She said there is room for two representatives for those who may be interested.
Fall Fest 2015
President Tammy Millican announced that Fall Fest is scheduled on Friday, October 2, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The Staff Senate has already reserved a table for the event. She said Staff Senate has done some interesting things in the past, such as caricatures, cotton candy and snow cones. The Executive Committee discussed doing something different this year to create a better presence and are looking at renting the Human Hamster Balls and Track. This would only require a couple of senator volunteers to help with line control and a couple of volunteers at the table to tell people about Staff Senate. That allows other Senators to volunteer at the food tent.
We can get two Hamster Balls, the track, and two operators for three hours for $565.00. We may partner with Faculty Senate and Student Government on this to help with the cost. It would also give us an opportunity to work with them and to get to know some of them as well. A sign-up sheet was circulated for participation. Senators were asked to check their calendars if they were unsure of their availability and email the Staff Senate Office with their availability.
2015 Take Back the Night – October 11
President Tammy Millican announced that the Executive Committee would also like for the Staff Senate to take part in this year’s Take Back the Night that will be held on Sunday, October 11th. The committee has met to begin planning for this year’s event, and Staff Senate would like to have a bigger presence this year.
Senator Summer Steib announced that this will be the 29th annual Take Back the Night event, which is a candlelight vigil and a march to raise awareness about sexual violence in all forms. We have about 35 community and campus partners that co-sponsor that event. Here on campus, some of the majors sponsors are the Women’s Center, the Student Health Center and Campus Life. There are also some major community sponsors.
She said there will be a resource fair before the event, so if Staff Senate would like to have a table to share information that would be great. There will be free food, free drinks and live music. It usually kicks off about 1 ½ hour before the vigil and then there is about a mile long march through campus and surrounding communities. There are numerous volunteer opportunities and a list was provided to President Tammy Millican. She said they hope to have a large contingent from Staff Senate that comes out. If you have older children, it would be age appropriate, but perhaps not for younger children. There are conversations about subjects that people will have to make sure they are comfortable talking about with their children. Millican asked that those interested please contact Melonie.
Benefits Fair – October 15
President Tammy Millican announced that the Annual Benefits Fair is scheduled on Thursday, October 15th 2015, and the Executive Committee would like for the full Senate to participate again this year. We will need senator volunteers to be present at our table for 2 hour shifts throughout the day. This gives everyone an opportunity to meet with vendors regarding benefits and it is also a great opportunity for Senators to let staff know what is going on with Staff Senate.
She said it’s interesting when you talk to people and figure out that they really don’t know everything that is going on at LSU. We haven’t had the News & Notes all summer, so things are kind of quiet. There are usually refreshments and door prizes. This is a very good way to introduce people to Staff Senate who may not know anything about us. She said a sign-up sheet would be circulated soon.
Senator Direct Contact List
President Tammy Millican announced that the Executive Committee would like to have an internal Senator Direct Contact List which will just list name and direct (cellular) phone number, if Senators are comfortable with providing that information. This will help Senators be able to reach another Senator directly, if needed. A list was circulated for those who would like to share their number.
Staff Senate Budget
Treasurer Michelle Lowery circulated an updated balance sheet for the Staff Senate accounts. She gave a report of the balances as of Tuesday, August 11, 2015 with updates on purchases and operating expenses, such as telecommunications (direct Staff Senate Office phone number), purchase of the Senator placards, Copier Management (which will not be charged any longer since the Staff Senate Office moved to Finance and Administration and copying is now a shared resource) and purchase of office supplies. The balance of the gift fund is $126.38.
The LSU Foundation Fee Support Scholarship balance is $12,909.44, and it went down by $272.00 due to awarding of a scholarship. The Holiday on Campus Support Fund balance went up by about $17 in earned interest and the balance is $945.47. The Scholarship Award Account has gone down by $1,050, so the balance is $48,284.25. The Support Fund has gone down by about $78, and the balance is $257.47. The Staff Senate State Operating Account Budget has gone down by about $86.83, and the balance is $41,217.37. The overall balance went down from $113,798.78 to $103,740.78.
As far as the scholarships that go to students, the expendable amount that we can actually give to students this year is $5,084.00. With regards to the endowment, since the balance is a lot more than is awarded, and with the way that the Foundation works, 80% goes into the market and 20% stays at LSU in a Quasi-Endowed Account. The market did not perform that well this year, so when that happens, we are still guaranteed a certain percentage (about 4%) and there are Quasi-Endowed Reserves. She said it will pull from that. If we have a good year, the extra that we earn will go into the reserves, so we are still getting what we need and that reserve still has money if we need to pull from it in the future.
Staff Senate Gift Fund
President Tammy Millican encouraged Senators to contribute to the Gift Fund. Voluntary contributions are $10 per year, per Senator.
The guidelines for giving are:
Death - send flowers ($50) upon death of a current Senator or former Senator, and for current Senator’s immediate family members.
Wedding - appropriate gift, cost not to exceed $30 (current Senators).
Babies - send flowers or gift - $30 (current Senators).
Retirement – send an acknowledgement for current Senators as well as former Senators. Please make checks payable to LSU and memo the Staff Senate Gift Fund.
Maria Fuentes-Martin, New Associate Vice President & Dean of Students
President Tammy Millican announced that LSU has named a new Associate Vice President and Dean of Students, Maria “Mari” Fuentes-Martin who is taking K.C. White’s place. She will begin on Monday, August 24, 2015. The Staff Senate will send her a letter welcoming her to LSU and inviting her to an upcoming Staff Senate meeting. We will also post a welcome on Staff Senate’s social media accounts.
President Tammy Millican wanted to introduce something new to the meeting agenda. There are so many talented Staff Senators, so at the end of each meeting, she wants to mention some Staff Senator accomplishments. She said that she is able to find out about some of them on her own, but some come from other people.
The first accomplishment is Senator Igor Matkovic, who has his own television talk show called “Style Savvy,” will see that show begin airing this fall in Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and New York. Senator Matkovic will be seen all over the United States. He is our Senator celebrity who is going global and living the life.
The second accomplishment belongs to Senator Aaron Cherry, who has been appointed to the City- Parish Complete Streets Citizen Advisory Committee by the Metro Council. Senator Aaron Cherry mentioned that he attended a meeting yesterday at the AARP Office downtown. He mentioned that the Metro Council in November adopted a policy that says that any street in any road renovation to be done with a certain set of goals to accommodate all road users such as artery streets where you can’t put speed bumps on them because Emergency Crews may need to travel on those. Basically if you keep isolating communities to take streets and make them through corridors, you really devalue the neighborhoods, you take away from the quality of life for the residents and the businesses.
He mentioned that it is really nice to part of this Board, because he is representing Bike Baton Rouge. He said it’s nice to have a seat at the table as his group has been standing on the sidewalk, screaming and yelling for the last eight years. They actually have a government sanctioned voice now with a bunch of other non-profits. They will be meeting to take on some pretty big projects within the next three to four years. LSU also has a seat assigned to Dennis Mitchell, who is a Landscape Architect from Planning, Design & Construction. He is the gentleman who fought to have the roundabouts installed on campus and they have really changed the traffic patterns. He is a great resource for us on campus.
The third accomplishment is Past-President Julie Perkins, who has accepted a new position as the Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration for the School of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has hit the ground running. Past-President Julie Perkins asked that Senators pay attention to the calendar for the School of Music, as the school is doing some really great things. She said she will do her best to share those events with the Senate as they are announced through the Staff Senate Office. They have some really great events and bring in a lot of great artists. This is something she was not aware of until she started working there and as comp tickets become available, she will be sharing as she would love to have all attend.
The fourth accomplishment is from Senator Ramon Lopez, who has accepted a new position as the Assistant Director in the Office of First Year Experience. He will manage transfer student programs, as well as outreach and retention programs for non-tradition, first-generation, and minority students at LSU.
President Tammy Millican also thanked President-Elect Trey Truitt, Treasurer Michelle Lowery, Senators Jennifer Gomez, Shelly Ortiz, George Eldredge and Nancy Arnold who on extremely short notice were able to volunteer during Summer Commencement by being available to hand out programs, as well as direct people as needed. They are trying to make this experience better for students and their families. We pulled through for Clay Benton at the Registrar’s Office who really needed some help and we were able to help at the last minute. Millican mentioned that the opportunity to volunteer will come up in the fall and spring commencement.
Staff Senator Birthdays
President Tammy Millican announced that Senator Brent Corbitt celebrated his birthday on August
13. “Happy Birthday.”
Staff Senator Placards and Photographs
Staff Senate Administrative Coordinator Melonie Milton announced that all Senators should have received a door placard, and to let her know if you have not received one. She reminded everyone to forward their professional photograph to her for the website.
Treasurer Michelle Lowery announced that Zac Lemoine with the President’s Office has reached out to her to see if Staff Senators would be able to volunteer this Sunday, August 23, for the President’s “LSU Welcome”. This is an event for first year students and the President speaks, there is a Master of Ceremonies, the Student Government President, Provost and other key administrators attend. They also introduce faculty members, so that the students can make a connection with them. The Tiger Band also plays and the Cheerleaders, Mike the Tiger and the Tiger Girls are there.
Volunteers should arrive at 5:15 p.m. on the concourse at the PMAC to welcome students, encourage them to have some jambalaya, go into the PMAC and have a seat for the presentation which starts at 6:30 p.m. If there is any jambalaya left, the volunteers are welcome to eat. If you are interested, please arrive wearing purple or gold, but something comfortable as it may be hot. Please also wear a name tag, if you have one and your Staff Senator ribbons. President Tammy Millican mentioned that not everyone has a name tag, which the Executive Committee will discuss during the September Meeting.
Treasurer Michelle Lowery announced that Fall Fest 2015 registration is now up on the website. She sent an announcement out through the Provost Office, so a Dean, Director or Department Head in your office should have received an email by now. If they do not forward it to you, you can go on the Fall Fest Website, www.lsu.edu/fallfest. There is a purple button to click and register.
Senator Nancy Arnold has mentioned to President Tammy Millican that it may be a good idea to have a group of senators’ visit with deans/department chairs to discuss ways in which to increase employee morale. Some methods may include alternate work hours as per PS-79. It was originally thought to perhaps contact Deans, Directors and Department Heads to maybe visit with them to help think of ways to increase awareness of the Staff Senate across campus.
President Tammy Millican mentioned that the Executive Committee discussed giving this charge to the Staff Benefits, Policies and Development Committee to let them work on a letter of ways to value employees with things that are already existing, as well as come up with some other suggestions. Arnold mentioned taking advantage of policies that are already in place that they may not be aware of at this time.
Secretary Barbara Reonas mentioned that Senators should have received an email regarding the policy changes happening with regards to PS-22, the Student Absence Policy. She asked for feedback yesterday and did receive some. If anyone has any additional feedback, please send those to her. Basically, Faculty Senate has proposed some additional changes and revisions of that policy, and she summarized some of them, such as including a portion about dependent care, which is needed since some students take care of dependents. There is some additional language about illnesses being a little bit more defined. The reason this policy revision came to the staff’s attention is that during final exam week, there is a proposal right now that faculty are no longer required to make the decision if any excuse for a student is valid. They want to revise it to bring the excuse to the Dean or Counselor to approve the excuse, which staff feels should be between the professor and the student, so staff would like that removed. She said that she and President-Elect Trey Truitt will be getting together to draft a response to the proposed changes. Truitt mentioned travel needs for students to interview for jobs as an issue. She said they will make sure to send Matt Lee a copy as well.
President Tammy Millican mentioned that it is important for us to provide feedback when asked, so that it helps keep us involved and gets our name out there-as outlined as a goal in the Strategic Plan.
MOTION TO ADJOURN – With there being no more business, Past-President Julie Perkins moved to adjourn. The motion, seconded by Senator Kendra Hendricks, carried. The meeting adjourned before noon.
Barbara Reonas, Secretary BR/mm