INSIDE IOWA STATE
August 31, 2001
Communication still Tops Heer's P&S list
by Anne Krapfl
Rex Heer, P&S Council president. Photo by Bob Elbert.
One of the people responsible for remodeling the Professional and Scientific
Council's Web site was elected to the council's top post last spring.
Incoming council president Rex Heer said his commitment to improving
communication both among P&S employees and among the council and other
campus groups hasn't wavered.
"Better communication was the reason I first came on council (in 1999),"
Heer said. "All other issues feed into this one. It's important."
Heer is a project coordinator in the creative services unit of the
Instructional Technology Center.
He talked about building a stronger P&S community, by providing information
that is timely, working harder to get input from underrepresented groups in
the P&S ranks, and relaying recommendations to university policy
"I personally think diversity adds strength to everything," he said. "The
best way to avoid the discrimination that comes from ignorance is to get
more people involved. I would like to issue a personal invitation to
individuals from underrepresented groups to be involved in P&S committees or
help us formulate recommendations and policies."
Communications committee members will continue to study online alternatives
for sharing ideas among P&S employees, including surveys and chat room-like
discussion groups. An online survey was piloted last spring, but log-in
difficulties prevented many from participating, Heer said. And the council
will continue to host monthly open forums over the noon hour. These are open
to the university community; P&S employees especially are encouraged to
Heer noted that President Gregory Geoffroy is demonstrating that he also is
committed to strong intra-campus communication, via monthly meetings with
P&S and faculty leaders, as well as a breakfast series at The Knoll that
also pulls in the vice presidents, provost and executive members of the P&S
and faculty leadership bodies.
"We all have different perspectives on issues. It strengthens the university
if we understand what some of the other perspectives are," Heer explained.
Compensation issues float to top
Heer said the council's compensation and benefits committee, chaired this
year by Barry McCroskey, has another full "to do" list. The council also may
use ad hoc groups to study single issues. Some of the issues council members
have identified for study include a regular review of the current salary
matrix system, a heavy concentration of women in the lowest P levels and low
numbers in the high P levels, a lack of career paths or even "moving up"
options for many P&S positions and a growing salary overlap between Merit
positions and lower level P&S positions.
"Dealing with this last one doesn't have any simple answers," Heer said.
"It's not just about supervisors and the people they supervise; it's a
broader issue than that. And we don't want to hold Merit salaries down.
That's not the solution.
"I don't know what we'll recommend, but it needs to be studied," he said.
Heer said he hopes the council also has time to follow Provost Rollin
Richmond's suggestions to:
Other ongoing policy discussions, which Heer said the council hopes to be
involved in, include:
- Review the P&S grievance procedure.
- Consider developing a conduct policy for P&S staff so they aren't
assumed to be covered by a faculty conduct policy approved in May by the
Joining Heer on the council's executive committee this year are vice
president Lynette Hornung, secretary-treasurer Sarah Cooney and at-large
members Leigh Elsberry and Debra Sanborn.
- A new early retirement incentive program to replace the one that
expires next July 1.
- A task force studying the university's budget priorities and strategic
see story on page 1).
- An in-progress look at leave policies, especially family leave.
- A plan that will cover health care cost increases anticipated for FY03.
- A request for state-funded salary increases next year (at or near 6
percent) that get P&S employees closer to peers' salaries at schools similar
to Iowa State.
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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