Inside Iowa State
December 11, 1998
Council gears up for P&S employee survey
by Anne Dolan
At its Dec. 4 meeting, members of the Professional and Scientific (P&S) Council voted to table a motion presented last month to make available online the current version of the P&S Handbook, pending approval of a revised handbook by ISU officials. In a written report, assistant vice president for human resource services Carla Espinoza said her office has approved the revisions and she is scheduling a review session with staff members in ISU legal services.
With the hope that the revised handbook will be approved for distribution early in the new year, council members agreed to not pursue putting the current handbook on the Web. There was no discussion on the likelihood of putting the revised handbook online.
In other business, council president Rob Bowers announced that a subcommittee has been formed to coordinate a survey of all P&S employees. The last survey was done in 1995. The survey results will guide future council efforts. Survey questions will inquire about topics such as performance appraisals, hours worked and flex time, salary notification and explanation, ISU benefits, professional development, job satisfaction, and satisfaction with council action, including suggestions for council review. Danette Kenne will chair the subcommittee. Bowers said the goal is to distribute the survey this summer and complete the data analysis early in the fall.
Faculty Senate president Denise Vrchota, who attended the meeting, asked for council input on the practice of P&S staff members teaching classes. The response was that P&S staff typically consider it a privilege and an honor to be given a teaching assignment, and that some P&S employees have unique expertise to bring to their teaching. The council position is that P&S teaching should supplement, not supplant, faculty teaching.
Vrchota also said she is interested in sponsoring a lecture or panel this year to improve campus awareness and sensitivity to sexual harassment. She said the senate would be interested in cooperating with the council to sponsor an event.
During the open forum portion of the meeting, George Covert and Dan Woodin, representing the P&S professional development committee, responded to questions about tuition reimbursement grants and professional development grants. Among their comments:
The next council meeting begins at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. A noon open forum, also in the Pioneer Room, will include a presentation and time for questions with employee wellness coordinator Lauri Dusselier.
- Tuition grants are awarded every semester. The program is in the second year of an experiment in which all applicants receive full tuition, up to the cost of three graduate or undergraduate credits at Iowa State. Covert said grant requests likely will exceed the funding available this year.
- Professional development grants are intended to leverage personal and departmental funds (preferably one-third by each). The maximum grant is $400. Grant applicants are urged to apply early in the year because grants are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, rather than spread out over the year.
- Both grant programs are administered by a P&S peer committee. Committee members are happy to answer questions or review application drafts.
- Activities covered by a professional development grant should relate to your profession, although not necessarily to your current job. Examples of funded activities are short courses, field experiences and computer software that helps a person prepare for a professional examination.
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