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15 October 2019


Staff Advisory Council Meeting 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 

Listening to and lifting staff voices to build an informed community


Attendees:  Pamela Prescod-Caesar, Christie Ashton, Shirley Slaughter, Trish Tancredi, George Darbes, Pamela Borkowski-Valentin, Susan Eagar, Oliver Hollocher-Small, Carl Benner, Luis Alvarez, Pam Harris, Lynn Grady, Susan Romero, Garry Beaufurd, Mel Leeds, Roderick Wolfson



Tuesday, Nov 12 Fall All Staff Gathering, Lang Concert Hall, 10:30 am – Noon

Tuesday, Nov 19 SAC meeting, Bond Memorial Hall, 9-10:00 am

Tuesday, Dec 17 SAC meeting, 101 S. Chester Room 002, 9-10:00 am

Guest: Theresa Maguire, Human Resources Manager, would like to discuss reimagining large scale community events. Theresa has been at the college for nine years.

  • Ask about future approaches [2020] to planning Winter Gathering, employee recognition event in December: Service Awards; 25 years of service; retirees. Held in LPAC with a reception, Val Smith gives the welcome.

  • Suggestion: could the photo with Val be held after instead of taking time to walk across stage, get a picture, etc.

  • Dining appreciates having outside caterers for this event.

  • How can we include faculty who have expressed interest? Would it be best for faculty if Winter Gathering is held in the afternoon.

  • Have separate events: i.e., afternoon reception for 25 years; a brochure with other names during a larger event, etc. Terri has looked at how other schools manage events.

  • The timing of the event, December, is a very busy time. A daytime event is overall a good time to hold this event, as opposed to evening.

  • Anyone eligible for over 25 years of service has a private breakfast with Val.

  • Annual Spring Gathering, a community event with a planning committee. Last year campus lost power and the event was postponed. As a back-up we had a pop-up event in front of Parrish in June.

  • In June, the faculty are mostly gone.

  • Idea: occasional Pop-Up events, fresh and fun, build on Community Gathering for Black Excellence Event or June Parrish Pop-Up - also successful. 7:00 a.m. Pop-Up! 

  • Share ideas with Theresa,

  • In the past the committee has surveyed the community about the Spring Gathering.

For Discussion:

  • November All Staff

    • Reminder to arrive early to welcome staff 

    • Invite to go out soon


  • Receiving questions and suggestions

    • Ask more questions included desired resolution 

    • Use the people in your circle to work on issues/suggestions, data gathering, benchmarking which could get presented to the SAC and then raised to president staff if needed


1. QUESTION: Can the College to officially recognize Labor Day--and close?

    • 2020 classes start on Monday, August 31. Classes are held on Labor Day.

    • The suggestion could be brought to Provost.

    • Memorial Day is a floating holiday.

ANSWER: Benefits group will resurface the conversations of labor day

    • EVS and Dining Service Coordination

      • EVS has special projects during off-hours time

2. QUESTION: Over the last few years at this institution, I've seen the same people get picked for committee's over and over again. I've seen the same people within my small department get asked on a regular basis to serve on committees.  We're supposed to be an organization that prides itself on equity but as a staff member I've not seeing much equity when it comes to who is selected to serve on committees. This issue is not just in regards to hiring committees but also other committees throughout the institution. This isn't just a personal issue but an issue that I've heard from a number of different people.  It certainly comes across as if you're a staff member at a certain pay grade then you'll be picked or asked to serve on committees on a regular basis. I believe as someone who is on the lower end of the pay grade structure that we're constantly people overlooked when it comes to committees or just not even being considered at all. Swarthmore need to recognize the talent it was in all it's staff if they want longevity and engagement with their staff members.  I'm sure this question probably won't go anywhere but it's an issue that I feel should be raised with SAC.

  • I will share this with the committee to see if one of our sub-committees could think some strategies to give others access to opportunities for committee work.  

ANSWER: Ways to open the opportunity to join committees 

      1. Creation of interest form (Communications Sub Committee)

      2. Provost worked on a list of a list of types of committees that already exist -- not sure if its public

      3. Committees that reach out to SAC and ACC to serve on certain committee members-- Relevance to the committee tends to influence the members.  In addition, letting supervisors know about serving in committees and taking the proactive initiative in interest with committee

      4. accessibility online to find the committees

      5. Possibly on the website --  Point of contact -- Information on connecting the committees

      6. Difficulties with recruiting for committees is a challenging as well

3. QUESTION: Regarding faculty/staff meal plan for lunches at Sharples, TO purchase a meal at Sharples, the cost is $10.  If you have the privilege to prepay 10 meals at once through the OneCard Office, the cost is $60, or $6/meal. If you have the privilege to prepay 20 meals at once through the OneCard Office, the cost is $110, or $5.50/meal.  

ANSWER: Response from Anthony Condo and Anthony Coschignano:  Thank you for sharing your concern regarding faculty/staff meal plan pricing.  We reviewed the pricing structure and would like to propose two additional options to pre-pay at a lower commitment.  The new options would be:

      • 3 meals for $19

      • 5 meals for $31

      • 10 meals for $60

      • 20 meals for $110

While pre-paying is still necessary with the OneCard based meal plans, it still represents significant savings over the regular door rate.

  • Questions and comments regarding the above meal plan topic

    • How will we relay this new meal plan information?

4. QUESTION: Can we have more opportunities to improve faculty and staff relations?

    • The community engagement sub-committee could use some members to work on idea and raise existing ideas

    • Post campus-wide opportunities on the website

    • Pamela mentioned “meetups” -- that came of SAC, in previous meetings to possibly enhance engagements

 5. QUESTION: There was an event in the library, sponsored by an outside group, they had a caterer bring non-compostable items [styrofoam plates, plastic cups]. Does SAC have any recommendations on how we can, as an institution, be more mindful of promoting the Green Event Guide?"

      • If your hosting an events, guide listed on advanced management website for guidelines to make the event more aligned with sustainable practices

      • How can we make mandated guidelines for external sources assisting with events for a more sustainable product?

        • How do we have a college wide push to take the sustainability guidelines?

        • Bookstore has compostable materials 

        • Commitment at the moment, not a policy -- 

        • Direct reminder, and refreshing the stakeholders in creating the events about the sustainability events guide

        • Possibly provide a list of sustainable vendors bookings?

 6. QUESTION: How can we lift up or develop some sort of reciprocal reporting/info sharing structure between the various Employee Resource Groups (ERG) and SAC. I know this is on our agenda for the Women of Color ERG. (Ex: SAC liaisons for each ERG or vice versa).


      • Oct 15, 3:30– 4:30 p.m. in Kohlberg Hall - Scheuer Room

      • ERG is interested in connecting with SAC

        • Could we create a staff resource page to SAC linking ERG along with staff discounts?

      • ERG

        • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are groups of employees who come together based on shared characteristics, interests and concerns for the purpose of creating a more inclusive environment at Swarthmore. Meet informally with each group to learn about what they are doing and how you can participate. Our ERGs groups are as follows:

          • Women of Color

          • Men of Color

          • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ)

          • New Employees on the Move

          • Working Parents

          • Veterans at Swarthmore

​​​​​​​Website redesign will create a link


 7. QUESTION: An articulation in the next SAC minutes of the relationship between SAC and AAC, and how these bodies work together or don't (this may already exist somewhere, but I could not find it). If there is a formal relationship,  perhaps exploring what that relationship could look like if formalized (again, liaisons might be appropriate here, if they don't already exist).

ANSWER: Recently met with Varo Duffins last Thursday to discuss how SAC and AAC can work together and what that relationship could look like.   We are still thinking through this and do not have a formal definition as of yet. However, our first meeting was a great start. We will continue to meet and planning a joint meeting with SAC and AAC.  More to come.  


8. QUESTION: An exploration of institutional governance and the role of committees.  I've sat in various meetings in the past months and the lack of clarity about committees has come up several times (who has access or opportunity to serve on various campus committees, who governs committees [faculty or staff], what is the scope of many committees re: institutional governance,  and how committee appointments can be more broadly lifted up as a professional development opportunity for staff members)?

 9. QUESTION: Questions around compensation and benefits seem to be frequent

    • Can a subgroup work on creating an FAQ?

    • "To learn more about the College’s benefits offerings, we encourage you to attend our Benefits and Wellness Fair on Thurs., Oct. 24. We will also be offering additional information sessions on our HDHP plans this fall, the details of which we will share soon". 

      • If these concerns come up, point them in the right direction with HR/Benefit events 

      • Maybe a second session or not have the events overlap


 10. QUESTION: Our compensation and benefits cycles do not line up. The performance evaluations don’t line up with the deadline for salary increases- we find out about our annual increases ahead of finding out about health insurance rate increases- and most importantly, the pool/annual percentage for increase is often eclipsed by the increase in premiums- so in fact there is no increase- you’re perhaps just less behind.

    • The College's budget cycle for determining the compensation pool is based on the fiscal year for financial purposes and benefits programs are based on an annual year for tax purposes including FSA and HSA regulatory requirements etc. Performance assessments by division can be conducted on flexible schedules depending on the department, and are due annually by August 15th. 

      • HR partnered with a consultant to confirm this

      • Workshops to explain why the low pay grade, smaller increases and higher costs

        • The slides will be on the compensation website

        • Attempt to capture the questions and a resource