Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 6, 1996

P&S Council: More contact with constituents heads the "to-do" list

by Anne Dolan
More frequent contact between members of the Professional and Scientific Council and their constituents is a key goal of the council this year, said first-year President Jim Meek.

"P&S are such a diverse group of employees, geographically and professionally, that communication may not occur without some effort," Meek said. "The systems and mechanisms for stronger communication are out there; we, as a council, need to use them better -- especially for some important issues this year such as salary increases and the changes in health benefits."

Meek mentioned informal brown bag lunches, regular phone calls to various constituents, and more use of the council's homepage that opened on the World Wide Web last year as some options.

"We were really pleased that President (Martin) Jischke, on short notice, made time for discussion over the ICN (Iowa Communications Network) of the salary increase issue last month. About 190 P&S staff participated in that discussion at sites around the state," he said.

Meek said he anticipates a second goal of the council will be to focus on professional development opportunities. For example, he said that could involve working with the Training and Development Office to plan programming that crosses disciplines, is offered on campus and targets P&S staff, particularly those who can't easily get away from campus. Such opportunities can improve employee benefits without costing a bundle, Meek said.

Salary equity also may get some attention, he said. "There are some pocket situations, such as computer service people and scientists at the Ames Lab, in which salaries are considerably under market," Meek noted. "It's also difficult for younger employees to ever break out of the first quartile of their pay range. We'd like to address some specific concerns like that."

Meek was elected president of the council in June, at the conclusion of his first year on the council. He is a special projects manager in extension to families.

The P&S Council will try a new format this year. The monthly open forum will begin at noon, followed by committee meetings from 1 to 2 p.m. The full council will meet at 2 p.m. and adjourn by 4 p.m.

Highlights of the council's first meeting on Sept. 5 will be in the "Today's News" section of the World Wide Web and in the Sept. 20 issue of this newspaper.

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