Staff Senate Newsletter
Hello, Shocker staff! This past year our campus community faced many challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and much of campus operating in a virtual environment. We were unable to regularly gather in person but we hope you tuned in to the university town halls to hear campus updates, and will do so in the future as we plan to continue these in partnership with the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Faculty Senate.
The UP and USS Senates held joint monthly meetings that typically included a member from the President's Executive Team to share an overview of their division and new initiatives. Our committees were fully integrated to provide representation for all staff and senators also represented staff on a variety of University committees, including the Budget Advisory Committee, Library Appeals Committee, Parking Appeals Committee, Traffic Appeals Committee, Athletics Policy and Culture Task Force and the Rhatigan Student Center Board of Directors, among many others. Additionally, the UP and USS Senate presidents served on the WSU presidential search committee.
Typically at the end of the year, the UP and USS Senates host a general meeting on campus for staff to hear updates from campus leadership, share the Senates' status on projects and initiatives, and transition the Senate leadership to the incoming leadership team and senators. Due to the continuation of the university town halls, we elected not to host a general meeting and are providing this newsletter to highlight the hard work of your 2020-2021 UP and USS Senates. We are excited to share with you what your staff senators have been working on for the past twelve months on your behalf.
Last fall, the UP and USS Senates once again began discussing merging to a joint Senate. The Organizational Governance Committee began meeting to develop a plan and timeline. We hosted listening sessions in the fall to hear from staff their feedback, questions and concerns. Information from these sessions were used to develop a Constitution of the University Staff Senate. In December, staff voted in support of merging the UP and USS Senates to become the University Staff Senate beginning July 1, 2021. Throughout the spring semester, we began updating processes and procedures to ensure a successful transition. The governance committee will finalize bylaws this fall.
Like the UP and USS Senates, the University Staff Senate will serve as a representative body for all staff and participate as your voice in many shared governance opportunities at Wichita State and represent the diversity of staff thoughts and ideas. The University Staff Senate Senators will represent nearly 1,500 staff members at Wichita State. Additionally, we will also have a formal Senate Executive Team and the president and president-elect will receive compensation on par with the other constituency groups.
Building off last year's success with application submissions, your awards and recognition committee made numerous outreach efforts and individually encouraged staff to nominate others. Honorees of the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Unclassified Professional Senate Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award were recognized at the annual Shocker Pride Celebration recognition ceremony in April that was also live streamed. We also recognized and thanked all the outgoing UP and USS Senators.
- Aaron Austin, Student Affairs
- John Jones, Media Resources Center
- Carolyn Speer, Media Resources Center
University Support Staff
- Catherine Childs, Facilities Services
- Angie Linder, Financial Aid
- Sheryl McKelvey, Student Health Services
Unclassified Professional Wayne Carlisle Distinguished Service Award
- Camille Childers, Student Health Services
A number of updates were made to the UP Senate web page this year, including:
- creating a web page introducing the proposed Staff Senate Merger, the benefits, timeline and FAQ
- creating a web page listing past UP Senate presidents
- creating a web page highlighting social activities planned by the Professional Development and Service Committee
- creating a web page with information on the Senate merger listening sessions
- updated web pages with Senators names and headshots and webpage with elected nominees biographies
Additionally, with the assistance of Strategic Communications the committee has begun the work to transition from two separate website for UP Senate and USS Senate to a single Staff Senate website. This work will be concluded with the official merge of the Senates on July 1, 2021.
We continued our work in keeping our constituents informed through monthly email updates, calendar invitations, and announcements in WSU Today. A few of the special communication initiatives this year included:
- messages encouraging constituents to be involved in the listening sessions and voting on the Senate merger
- calendar invitations to virtual town halls
- announcements regarding the Distinguished Service Awards
- announcements of upcoming joint Senate meetings
- announcements of Final Friday social activities and LinkedIn Learning workshop
With the impending merge of the UP and USS Senates, we revamped the entire Senator election process and voting form. Special thanks to Kevin Crabtree and Krysti Carlson-Goering for their guidance and assistance!
We also recently held elections for the Staff Senate Executive Team.
Thank you to all nominees for agreeing to serve your fellow staff members at Wichita State! We are excited to welcome our new Staff Senators and announce our Senate Executive Team:
Elected Senators: Jason Bosch, Katie Austin, Denise Gimlin, Kennedy Rogers, Ali Levine, Marissa Kouns, Kendra Nguyen, Angie Linder, Jessica Walles, Johny Buchanan-Spachek, Sara Rue and Angela Aubrey
At-large Senators: Jessica Pierpoint, Lisa Wood, Gretchen Holthaus, Teresa Moore, Sara Zafar and Jeswin Chankaramangalam
Continuing Senators: Kayla Jasso, Ellen Abbey, Krissy Archambeau, Brian Austin, Amy Belden, Amy McClintock, Matt Houston, Aswini Kona Ravi, Erin Shields, Rachel Tuck* and, Naquela Pack*
* Appointed to complete unexpired term
President: Gabriel Fonseca
President-elect: Denise Gimlin
Vice president: Kayla Jasso
USS representative: Angie Linder
Secretary: Kennedy Rogers
Past presidents (ex officio): Trish Gandu and Randy Sessions
This past year was busy for our policy review committee as they reviewed and provided feedback on the following policies:
- Shared Governance
- Notice of Non-Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation for Employees, Students and Visitors
- Internal Dispute Resolution
- Political Activity
- Discrimination Review Procedures for Students, Employees and Visitors
- Issuance of Criminal Trespass Orders
- Strategic Plan Implementation Policy
- Additional Compensation
- Separation of Employment
- Direct and Indirect Costs
- Software Copying (revocation of policy)
- Computer Hardware Procurement
Numerous engagement opportunities were hosted for staff this year, including:
- Second annual staff vs. faculty Stock the Shocker Support Locker Challenge. This year, in addition to donating food and hygiene products, faculty and staff had the option to donate monetarily. Together, faculty and staff donated $2,020 and 365.95 pounds of food and hygiene products to the SGA's Shocker Support Locker.
- Two virtual Final Friday events during the spring semester to offer staff the opportunity to fellowship and disengage from their work for a short time.
- Partnered with the Shocker Career Accelerator to offer two professional development opportunities through the LinkEdIn Learning platform.
Collaborated with the Office of the President, Office of the VP for Finance and Administration and Faculty Senate to host Wu’s Welcome Back Breakfast to celebrate the re-integration back to campus.
The Unclassified Professional Senate (UPS) Council represents unclassified professionals and the University Support Staff (USS) Council represents university support staff across the state's six universities. The UP Senate president (Trish Gandu) and USS Senate president (Randy Sessions) were responsible for leading their respective councils as WSU was the host institution. The Councils met individually throughout the year and came together twice for joint meetings to discuss challenges and initiatives impacting both constituency groups. A sub-committee was created to begin working on the second satisfaction survey to be administered spring 2022 with results shared fall 2022.
The UPS Council requested and was approved to report to the Council of Presidents (COPS) instead of KBOR beginning next academic year. This change in structure will result in presenting to COPS four times a year with the option of presenting to KBOR on substantive issues.
One of the most significant outcomes of being part of the Councils this year has been the support we received from senate leaders at the other KBOR institutions. In a year filled with numerous challenges, namely COVID, the Council served as a sounding board and a group we could turn to for advice and suggestions.
In recognition of the exceptional work put forward by the senators and committees this year, the senators voted on three internal awards.
Committee of the Year:
Organizational Governance: Gabriel Fonseca, Trish Gandu, John Jones, Julie Scott, Matt Houston, Randy Sessions, Amy McClintock, Sheryl McKelvey
This award recognizes a committee that worked together to carry forward the missions of the UP and USS Senates and contributed to the overall success of the Senates and, by extension, Wichita State.
Rising Star Award:
Kayla Jasso (UP)
This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated quality performance, professionalism, and dedication on the Senate and shows promise for future contributions to the Senate as it carries out its mission for Wichita State. Congratulations, Kayla!
Outstanding Achievement Award:
Julie Scott (UP) and Matt Houston (USS)
This award recognizes an individual/individuals within the Senate for outstanding and sustained contributions to the Senate and, by extension, Wichita State. Congratulations, Julie and Matt!
First off, thank you to our senators for all their work in advocating for staff and advancing the mission of the Senates. We are excited for those who will be continuing and celebrate the nine who completed their term(s) this June and will be stepping away from the Senate. Special thanks to each of them for their service and leadership!
- UP: Shawn Ehrstein, Daraleen Estill-Matos, John Jones, Judi McBroom, Alan Dsouza
- USS: Sheryl McKelvey, Kimberly Gutierrez, Travis Dorion, Sandra Goldsmith
As we reflect on this past year, we're proud of the accomplishments of the Senates and all the ways in which we've been able to advocate on behalf of staff. It has been an honor to serve as your UP and USS Senate presidents and we hope we have been able to continue to build on the foundation created by many former Senate presidents.
We also want to thank UP Senate past President Julie Scott and USS Senate past President Matt Houston, for their guidance, advice and mentorship this past year. Also for their work in reimagining the shared governance policy with Faculty Senate past President Jeff Jarman and SGA President Rija Khan. This policy has been submitted to the President's Executive Team for their review. Thank you, Julie and Matt, for your leadership!
We look forward to the official transition to the University Staff Senate on July 1 and continued advocacy under the leadership of Gabriel Fonseca, your first Staff Senate President.
UP Senate President, 2020-2021
USS Senate President, 2020-2021
- Staff Senate Meetings: Transitioning to bi-monthly meetings to be held the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 3:30-5 p.m.
- Staff Senate Bylaws: The development of the bylaws will be a key focus in the first couple months of the term.
- President's Distinguished Service Awards: Review the current awards structure to determine whether changes should be made with the merge to the Staff Senate.
- Three-year Long Range Plan: We are entering year three of our current plan and will begin discussions to develop the next long range plan.
- Senate president will continue to serve on the COVID Task Force.
- Continue to engage with University and Human Resources on the launching of the Market Based Compensation.