INSIDE IOWA STATE
March 9, 2001
P&S committees making dent in annual priority list
It has been about a year since results of the survey of all Professional
and Scientific employees were released. At its annual planning retreat last
August, the P&S Council set work priorities for the year, based largely
on survey results. Most of the council's work is done through its six
standing committees. Following is an update on those priorities and
Salary increases, including their relationship to performance evaluations.
Council leaders, with help from the provost office and human resources
staff, this year are tracking how many P&S employees didn't receive
performance appraisals last fiscal year. That number has dropped from more
than 450 last summer to 159 last month.
Leave policies, including wide interpretation on campus of the Family
Medical Leave Act and a fear that policy changes might "cost"
employees accrued vacation/sick leave. As part of a year-long review process
to iron out policy inconsistencies between the P&S Handbook and
the Office Procedure Guide, members of the policies and procedures
committee studied P&S leave policies. The broader review will be wrapped
up this month, freeing committee time. The committee also awaits an
opportunity to contribute to the administrative-level discussion under way
on family leave (see story below).
Cost, coverage and accessibility to health benefits. The compensation and
benefits committee reviewed and recommended council support of insurance
options for domestic partners that equals that for married or common-law
spouses. The council endorsed the policy, which was enacted by the
P&S staff in the lower P levels (P11-14) who supervise merit staff with
higher salaries than their own. The compensation and benefits committee has
met with a P&S specialist in human resources and assistant provost Ellen
Rasmussen to gather information. Committee members have determined this is
not widespread on campus.
Improve communications with constituents (in both directions). The P&S
Council Web site was redesigned last spring; additional information and
links were added. New to the site this year are summaries of the open forums
preceding council meetings and profiles of council members (work in
progress). Communications committee members currently are testing other
formats for electronic information sharing, including the survey, chat and
discussion formats found in the online teaching software WebCT. For example,
a WebCT discussion might help gather ideas and suggestions for changes to
Iowa State's family leave policy.
Council president Kerry Dixon noted that some of the council's
priorities will be best advanced through discussions with appropriate staff,
not via council votes.
"But we'd like to get some action this year on the top priorities
assigned to each committee," she said.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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