November 13, 2019

Penn State Altoona Staff Advisory Council

Wednesday, November 13, 2019   |   202 LRC   |   10:00 a.m.


MINUTES

Present: June Aiken, Veronica Barstow, Jerry Benito, Toni Feret, Debbie Flaig, Angel Goldian, Donovin Lindsay, David McGreal, Ginny Norris, Jennifer Sabourin

Guests: Chancellor Bechtel-Wherry, Halden Jacobson, Drew McGhee, Lloyd Painter,

Absent: Debbie Burroughs, Jeff Covino, Sue Dodson, Russell Pentland


Call to order: The meeting was called to order by Chair, Jennifer Sabourin, at 10:05 a.m.

Meeting Minutes approved: The September meeting minutes were approved by the committee.


OLD BUSINESS

All Staff Retreat puzzle: Shannon Hawkins is working on the puzzle pieces that were decorated at the all staff retreat in May.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Guest – Lori-Bechtel-Wherry, Chancellor and Dean: Chancellor Bechtel-Wherry paid a visit to the Staff Advisory Council meeting. She wanted to welcome all new members and gain an understanding of current committee projects and tasks. Chancellor Bechtel-Wherry thanked the committee for their hard work and dedication in supporting staff across campus while acknowledging the Penn State Altoona mission and values. She opened the room for questions from the committee.

What are you most excited about on campus for next semester?

  • The future direction of the Discovery grants being offered and what our college can do for our students.
  • The new Smith Building renovation project that will house a new Electromechanical Engineering Lab.
  • The Altoona Symphony Orchestra concert titled “Besieged.” The event includes clips from a series of StoryCorps interviews conducted with Altoona residents in September who witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • The way we work with our community to provide support for our students and value in our work that makes a difference.

Guest – Lloyd Painter, Director of Information Technology: Lloyd Painter wanted to discuss a new partnership that our IT service desk will be making with University Park starting in the spring semester. When calling the service desk for support all faculty/staff will be routed through UP first for all core concerns such as email issues, account access, etc. All student calls and classroom technology needs will be routed to our service desk for quicker response and all after hour calls will be routed to UP for assistance. By making these changes IT is hoping to free up more time to offer technology training and other support to faculty and staff. More information to follow.

All Staff Retreat: Amy Case replaced Sue Dodson on the All Staff Retreat committee. More details to come on event planning.

Power Hour Discussion: In the past Staff Advisory Council would hold Power Hour Sessions during the noon common hour. These sessions provided different training opportunities for staff and a chance for everyone to meet more often and get to know each other. We’ve considered introducing these events once again over the lunch hour. Feedback is listed below. More details to follow. 

  • Due to the rules regulating housing and food we’re only allowed to offer Pepsi products, Aquafina water and snack items.
  • It might be nice to have different departments or office host an open house once or twice a month where staff can tour the facility and meet other coworkers.
  • The Chancellor offered to support the first of these events by hosting an open house with snacks at Castle Quarters where staff can meet and take a tour of the downtown buildings.

Salute A Champion: There were eight nominees for the September Salute a Champion award. They are:

Jared Frederick

Victoria Hesser

Billie Lewis

Jennifer Sabourin

Beth Seymour

Human Development and Family Studies

Debbie McQuillen

Sue Patterson

 

STAFF CONCERNS/REPORTS

1. “I’m wondering if there is a stated policy on bringing children under the age of 18 to the campus during “working hours” or to a classroom?”

 Responses:

  • We currently do not have a policy governing if a child under the age of 18 can be on campus during work hours. However, there are times when a parent/guardian must bring a child to campus with them. A child can be in the classroom if the instructor/facilitator has their child clearances.
  • Debbie Flaig spoke to Cherrie Henry who was looking at putting a policy in place. Dr. Bechtel-Wherry offered to discuss this matter with Cherrie to come to a resolution that will be best for everyone.
  • It is important for staff to have the ability to share concerns through avenues that are most comfortable for them. However, without being able to ask clarifying questions from anonymous reports, some concerns are difficult to address in their entirety. Please understand that we will do our best to understand these concerns when they are submitted.

2. Student Halden Jacobson of the Student Government Association Academic Affairs Committee attended the meeting on behalf of the students. Several complaints have been made regarding academic advising. Students would like to know what they should do about academic advisors who are unavailable or unresponsive to messages or phone calls. Several of the students have not been able to meet with their advisors to review schedules or discuss concerns.

 Responses:

  • Advising is part of the teaching, research and service for tenure line faculty, but regardless of the type of position held faculty are required to do their part and it’s seen as unprofessional to ignore any student inquiry.
  • Please see the Division Head who oversees the faculty within that academic area to discuss concerns.
  • If the problem is not resolved through the Division Office, then please see the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Sue Dodson provided her resignation to the Staff Advisory Council. Sue will be retiring at the end of the fall semester.
  • Next meeting: Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 122B Slep at 10:00 a.m.
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