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22 January 2015

SAC Meeting, Thursday, January 22 at 10:00 am


In Attendance:

Rose Maio, Fran Grady, Rish Tancredi, Julie DiPietro, Luis Alvarez, Donzella Franklin, Zenobia Harbust, Pattie Kim-Keeffer, Michael Kappeler, Jessica Brangiel, Paula Dale, Christi Pappert, Danie Martin, Ben Wilson, Genevieve Nilan, Lynn Grady

Kim Fremont – Guest

Sue Watts – Guest


SAC Agenda January 22nd:

All Staff Meeting format and date for spring.

Discussion about best space for holding all staff meeting.  Limited spaces on campus big enough to hold all staff.  Should format of meeting change? Ideas included soliciting questions from staff in advance.  SAC members will help hand out paper/pencils ahead of time so staff can submit questions to be addressed during the meeting.  Not all questions may be addressed at that all staff meeting but if contact info is provided SAC will follow up after the all staff meeting.

Discussion of Facilities' new rule about purchasing furniture for College use:

New policy: all furniture to be ordered through Maria Lucoff (this includes white boards) Contact at mlucoff1.  Anything ordered independently the College will not help with set up or maintenance.  Discounts are available through facilities.  Any questions on what should be ordered should go to Maria before purchases are made.   

Kim Fremont and Sue Watts to the agenda for a brief update on the Electronic Timekeeping.

There was a glitch in the electronic timecard software over the summer which caused duplication issues.  As a result implementation of the system for remaining staff was put on hold.  Approximately 90 staff members are left to be moved to electronic timesheets.  The goal is to get all staff onto the electronic timesheet system by the end of calendar year.  Documentation for how to use the system is also being rewritten for staff. 


Follow-up from last month –

It would be helpful if SAC did a comparison study to provide to HR of paid time off/holidays at peer institutions.  This way Swarthmore would have something to measure against in regards to additional holiday time.  (specifically Memorial Day, Labor Day, MLK day)  This study could then be relayed to the new president.

Lynn will head this up with Jessica and Trish to help.  Will look at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Widener, Temple, St. Joe’s and COFHE schools.  Look at holidays provided to staff at these schools. 

Questions received:

1). Please ask about extending The College Faculty Mortgage Loan program (Mortgage Assistance) to include our staff members.

These loans already extended to the City of Chester and Media Borough, where housing is significantly more affordable than the normal 1.5 mile radius of Parrish Hall.  Offering low interest mortgage rates (and home improvement loans) to staff members would be potentially an economic booster to our surrounding communities.

It would also entice our employees to live closer and make all-hands-on-deck situations (weather emergencies and such) easier to achieve.

This could be similar to Penn's program.

This has been forwarded to Senior Staff for further review.  Zenobia will follow up with Rose with additional information. 


2). Regarding the new Learning & Development Certificates that were sent out a few weeks back by HR - there was confusion over the wording of the email describing Swarthmore as a "competitive learning organization." That language seemed to confuse folks as well as make others uncomfortable that the perception was that employees should be competing against each other in earning "points" for professional development rather than working with each other to help all of us achieve within our positions.  

Perhaps because these certificates weren't explained by HR before being sent out that is what has caused the confusion.  It might be helpful if the intent of these certificates was explained a bit better and if the wording in the email was changed to remove the idea of a competition between employees.  

Also since HR is now tracking employee participation in professional development sessions organized by Swarthmore HR is there any place that employees can track all of the other professional development that staff engage in that is not provided by Swarthmore HR?  While professional development is brought up in annual performance review conversations if HR is tracking engagement in professional development, presumably to be used for future promotion opportunities, it would be helpful if staff could log all professional development in one central HR location.   


            Zenobia defined what a learning organization is as an environment in which people continue to learn and grow individually so the employer can adapt and remain agile.  Swarthmore has not had a formal learning and development program for staff in the past.  Swarthmore has to remain competitive in higher education and this extends to staff as well. Staff should remain highly functional in their areas and we all need to continue to grow. 

More information can be found here - 

As far as professional development undertaken by staff outside of what HR provides if the employee receives any kind of certificate/documentation from that outside training HR can put a copy into one’s personnel file.  Staff should keep copies documenting training for their performance review. 

Communication explaining the new learning certificates was in the email.  HR didn't think mass communication needed to be sent out. 



Suggestion:  I recently found out that there are certain businesses that extend discounts to employees..aside from Marriot which Joe C. told us about;  Haab Oil...I know about...but College doesn't seem to make it known...Swarthmore Hardware, who else...Butch told me of someone the other day but I don't remember who it was.  Butch asked Ralph to work on getting a list...but this seems a good venue for getting some further info.  (Scott Arboretum sends out a list annually of places that give SC employees 10 or 15% discount.  Think it is a good list to know about.  

                Discussion took place on different vendors that offer discounts including Verizon & AT&T.  SAC to solicit for volunteers for a small subcommittee that would be interested in working to compile information on other vendors that might provide discounts to Swarthmore staff.  Perhaps the information can be captured in a Google Doc but it will need to be regularly updated for accuracy. 


Additional Question submitted to SAC not on Agenda:

Many buildings were very cold after break.  This particularly effected EVS staff. 

Facilities is looking at this problem further. 


Next SAC meeting - February 19th