Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 26, 1998

P&S Council

Efforts this year for better communication paid off

by Anne Dolan

Last fall, President Rob Bowers had high hopes the Professional and Scientific Council would become a better group of communicators. Nine months later, the group's president is not disappointed.

"We did fairly well this year in that respect, and it was our top goal," he said last week. "We exceeded our expectations on what we could get done."

With the intent of receiving more input from P&S constituents, the council developed its own Web site this year, offering information on awards, tuition grants, upcoming deadlines, opportunities to get involved in council committees and a rotating "frequently asked question" related to P&S employment issues. The council's communications committee also launched an e-mail message system, in which every council member relays news to about 75 P&S employees on approximately a monthly basis. The system replaces a newsletter.

"It's working fantastically," Bowers said. "It's a wonderful two-way system that's spurring interest in some of our activities, which is what we hoped it would do."

Another top accomplishment this year was teaming with the training and development office to sponsor a professional development day, "Power and Ethics in Leadership," in May. The event was for all ISU employees, not just P&S staff.

"I think most people walked away with food for thought and a good experience," Bowers said. "One of the best things demonstrated to me is that leadership is a function of who you are, not what your job title is."

He said the council will take part in planning a professional development day again next spring, though the audience and theme hasn't been determined.

Bowers also praised the council's compensation and benefits committee for taking on a user survey and review of the ISU (benefits) Plan this year. Because the response was light and mostly positive, members of the committee simply met recently with staff in the benefits office and human resource services director Carla Espinoza to share the concerns received.

Another committee of the council awarded $25,000 worth of grants to student recruitment and retention projects submitted by P&S employees. Funding for the program, which is in its fourth year, comes from President Martin Jischke. Bowers, who will serve a second year as P&S president, said he anticipates a decision soon on the funding level for the program next year.

The council retreat in August will focus on team building for council members and developing a short list of principles that will guide how the council responds to campus issues next year.

"We don't have time to do a lot of strategic planning, but this will be sort of our mini-version of that," Bowers said.

The P&S Council will not meet in July. Council members will hold an annual planning retreat Thursday, Aug. 6, at McFarland Park. The next regular council meeting begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

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