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16 September 2009

Staff Advisory Council
Meeting Minutes for 16 September 2009

Members Present:

Mary Marissen, Anna Headley, Lynn Grady, Pat Hearty, Beth Baksi, Lois Falzone, Janet McSwiggan, Betsy Durning, and Tami Gura

Ex-Officio Members Present:

Melanie Young representing Human Resources and Shar LaMar representing the EEO Office

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) of Swarthmore College was called to order at 9:35 a.m. on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, by moderator Mary Marissen. The following items were discussed.


It was agreed that each member would take a turn in recording the minutes of the SAC meetings, beginning with Terry McGrath.

Bryn Mawr College Workshop Series:

Bryn Mawr College is offering a career workshop in October for current and former faculty/staff and alumnae/i members of Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Swarthmore College. The topics include the following:  Career Related Self-Assessment, Developing Resumes and Cover Letters, Job Search Strategies, and Interviewing and Negotiation Skills. The Workshop will be announced in the Faculty/Staff email Digest.

Ad-Hoc Financial Planning Group:

The committee continues to meet, and departments have presented proposed budget plans to the committee. The Board will meet on Friday, September 25 to decide the amount of budget gap that needs to be solved. Note: the Board is not making decisions on budget specifics at this time, but will determine, based on how the financial markets have performed in recent months, the amount of budget cuts and revenue enhancements that need to be made.

  • An All-Staff Meeting will be scheduled in early October to discuss the Board’s recommendation. Addendum: The All-Staff meeting is set for Friday, October 2, at 11:00am in the Lang Concert Hall. President Chopp will address the staff.
  • The Board will review the more specific budget solutions in December.
  • It is recommended that the department heads communicate proposed budget adjustments with their departments.
  • SAC is exploring how best to disseminate information and facilitate discussion. Focus discussion groups on specific topics may be formed in addition to the more general “Let’s Talk” meetings and other opportunities for the broader community to discuss proposed budgets.
  • Mary Marissen and Shar LaMar are sitting in on Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee meetings for the fall in an effort to ease communication among constituencies regarding benefits.
  • Suggestion: implement an online forum where the community could discuss directly with one another. Concern about confidentiality (outside the Swarthmore community) was expressed. SAC couldn’t figure out any way of doing this that would guarantee confidentiality.
  • Suggestion: add the schedule of any meetings addressing the financial crisis to the Finance website. Employees may find a public timeline helpful. Melanie and Shar will work together in compiling the list of committee dates.

Memorial Day/Labor Day

An anonymous source compiled a list of colleges and their designated holidays. Some of the colleges that are on this list include: Amherst, Bryn Mawr, Colgate, Drexel, Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, etc.), and those colleges all have Memorial Day and Labor Day as holidays.

SAC appreciates the information. Although this was discussed in depth about 3 years ago, it was agreed that a subcommittee will form to research and discuss this again and to come to a decision, sometime after the winter break. Melanie Young has a great deal of data concerning these two holidays and volunteered to be on the committee. Janet McSwiggan and Anna Headley will also be on the committee.

Staff Development Week

Shar LaMar spoke about the Staff Development Week, which is to be scheduled in early January. The suggestion for this came from President Chopp. A working group is being developed, and Lynn Grady agreed to join Shar in the committee. Lois Falzone and Janet McSwiggan would check their schedules to see if they are free to join the committee.

The event would be devoted to staff development topics, such as leadership style, having influence with or without authority, etc. The committee will be seeking out people from within the Swarthmore community to be presenters. There will be many sessions occurring at various locales on-campus to encourage participation. Dates will be confirmed in the next week or so, and the program schedule will be distributed before the winter break.

SAC Representatives:

If a staff member contacts a SAC representative with a concern, the rep is free to initiate resolution on their own by contacting any member of the college community for more information. Issues affecting individuals or smaller groups of employees do not need to necessarily wait until the next SAC meeting to be addressed.

Being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:48 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry McGrath