Iowa State University nameplate

Inside Iowa State
Gold bar
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 committee work:

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 university president.

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.

... Becoming the Best
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
Copyright © 1995-2001, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.