Published: Dec. 10, 2019

11.7.19 – November CLAS Staff Council Meeting


CLAS Staff Council Meeting Notes

  • Angela Beale
  • Carri Boothe
  • Eleanore Lewis
  • Francine Olivas-Zarate
  • Karen Fennell
  • Laura Cuellar-Franco
  • Sandra Quinn
  • Sarah Thompson
  • Sulastri Carr
  • Kelly Stritzinger

Recorded by Elly Lewis

Council Information Updates

Laura Cuellar-Franco gave more of an introduction into who she is and the background, as well as charges, behind the formation of this committee.

Committee Formation Background

Laura was charged by Dean Jansma to create a CLAS Staff Council. She brought the idea to a staff meeting asking for volunteers, and Angela Beale was the only volunteer. Angela then did some research into how other staff councils are organized, with the CU Denver School of Education being particularly helpful. The School of Ed has an unstructured framework, but since we are such a new council, we needed a framework to build upon, so Laura looked to the framework established within University Council, and borrowed the 3 subcommittee setup from there for our council.

New Structure – Subcommittees

Our new structure was framed with the following:

  1. Professional development: Elly (Chair), Sarah, Kelly
  2. Community building & improving work climate/outreach[1]: Remaining staff will decide subcommittee placement by the next Council meeting
    1. Duties of the community building subcommittee: building community through organizing events such as the upcoming cookie event
    2. Duties of the improving work climate & outreach subcommittee: gather data/info & feedback and investigate solutions to staff issues. Plan and hold events or communications for information gathering such as the staff forum to solicit resolutions and ask questions.

*The funding committee has been disbanded.

Council Priorities

There was discussion about what the council should prioritize under this new structure. Suggestions included:

  • Efficiency – in order to operate and implement changes swiftly
  • Need for data from each subcommittee – to use in decision making for CLAS staff at large. For example: Within the professional development committee, how much did we award from our funds? How much was requested? How many people applied. For what kinds of things did staff apply for funding?
  • Transparency within all aspects of the committee

Reorganization of Council Structure

For efficiency, in 3 months the council structure will transition from having two co-chairs to a chair (Laura) and a vice-chair. (Angie)

Previous: 2 Co-Chairs

New Structure[2]:  

  • Chair - Laura
  • Vice-Chair - Angie

Other positions within the Council’s structure will remain the same – ie. Treasurer: Sulastri, Secretary: Elly

Council leadership will meet more frequently. Angie and Laura will meet once a month as Chair & Vice-Chair. The Council’s Executive Committee (Laura, Angie, Sulastri, & Elly) will also meet once per month for improved communication.

Looking Forward

The Executive Committee will discuss the addition/subtraction of duties in upcoming meetings. Some ideas of subcommittee additions include: the bylaws committee, communications committee, policy & procedures committee, and mentorship committee.

Discussion of Terms Used

It was noted that after the previous Council meeting, there was some hesitance to use the term “chair” for members of the subcommittees. There was a discussion about where “chair” comes from and embracing the power in it as a professional development/CV-building opportunity. Using the term “chair” equalizes staff to the same level as faculty and acknowledges the power in what staff does.

Old Business/In-Process Business

  1. Generating a Council Listserv
  2. Building a generic Council email to receive feedback
  3. Website request/page & space within the CLAS website
  4. Letters to supervisors in support of members’ time on the Council from the Dean
  5. Dean meeting with Executive Committee on the Council – April 23rd, 1-2pm. If more time is needed, let Karen know.
    1. Possible discussions: staff wall recognition, space on Dean’s Notes for staff highlights
Subcommittee Reports

Funding Committee

  1. Sulastri – There is still $5,000 in the budget for us to use
    1. Q: Who is considered staff? A: Decision was made to include Research Assistants on all levels. 13 of them are grant-funded.
  2. Carrie – Report on staff composition: 108 total staff
    1. Broken down by position titles:  36 academic services, 30 administrative, 8 lab-related, 14 PRA’s, 20 other.
    2. Broken down by position classification: 36 Classified, 58 University Exempt, 14 Research
    3. There was a discussion about whether or not to include assistant deans such as JoAnn Porter, and it was decided that they should be included. (3-4 assistant deans not included in data above)
    4. Another discussion re: working retirees and whether to include. Again, it was decided to include. (Roughly 4 working retirees) Both decisions align with University Staff Council – in which these two groups are included.

Work Climate Subcommittee

  1. Climate Survey - Sandra sent out the work climate survey to committee members for review. Elly & Sandra worked through some formatting (for ADA compliance) and wording issues. It was decided to add some questions pertaining to workload and compensation.
    1. Next steps: Karen will send to Chris Puckett after we update and review the current version for guidance before finally sending to all CLAS staff.
  2. Standardized Meeting time for CLAS Staff Council – It was decided that we should meet on the 2nd Thursday of every month from 1-3pm. Elly will send a calendar invite to all Council members.
  3. December 6th Staff Cookie Social – Subcommittee requested support for things such as office supplies, nametags, 3x5 cards, serving tongs, napkins, etc.
    1. Discussion of reaching out to students who were unable to make it to the staff social with things like a holiday card with piece of candy attached. Also, a discussion of doing so in general.
    2. Karen, Sandra, & Francine will move forward advertising for event – 1401 room is already booked for the event.
  4. Spring Forum – Used for survey/survey results, will pass out staff council email address and use info to get data. It was noted that it can be difficult to book a room in the spring and it was noted that there may be a possibility of using some funding to pay the Terrace Room’s $300 fee.
  5. Professional Development Symposium – May 7th at Anschutz
  6. General ideas – Acknowledge birthdays, cards & candy, soliciting donations, etc.* Was suggested that we wait to brainstorm more of these until the Council is more established and we can handle more of the time-consuming work.
  7. Incentives discussion – Is $25 gift card enough to draw crowd/complete survey? Suggestions for alternatives include a raffle for “one free admin day” – essentially an extra day off for 1 or 2 staff members added onto their time sheet.

Council Commitment

Council members need to commit for 2 years for continuity’s sake. Brief discussion about length of time. During discussion questions arose such as:

  • Should we recruit more council members? A: We will discuss at the next meeting

Professional Development Subcommittee

Updates as follows:

  • Instead of one deadline, we will have 3 rolling, soft deadlines, and for staff to apply for funds; 1 hard deadline for staff to have spent funding. Dates are not set in stone, but draft of dates are:
    • Late winter/early spring deadline – March 20th
    • Fiscal deadline for spending funding – May 31st
    • Summer/early fall deadline – July 19th
    • Late fall/early winter deadline – November 22nd
  • Discussion about increasing projected budget from $1,000 to closer to $2,500 per year.
  • Discussion re: questions on funding application and criteria of selection including – whether funding is available from other sources, breakdown of expenses, the amount requested, how this furthers professional goals, etc.
    • Criteria selection include:
      • Do we have the funding available?
      • Does this person meet our Council’s definition of CLAS staff?
      • Weighted question – Does this further this person’s career goals, judging by how related the activity/event/etc. fits the staff person’s position description
      • Need – are there other funding sources available?




Next Steps





Look at who is full time vs. part time

By next meeting


Establish which subcommittee you would like to be a part of and bring back to the next meeting

By next meeting

Everyone outside of Professional Dev. Committee

Decide who is chairing new subcommittees

By next meeting


Calendar invite for CLAS Staff Council Meetings



Add questions to Staff Work Climate survey pertaining to workload and compensation.

November 13


Final review of work climate survey – send to Karen when complete

November 15


Send reviewed copy of work climate survey to Chris Puckett for legal guidance and clearance

When review is finalized – before next meeting

Karen & Laura

Create wording for cookie event flyer

November 15


Create flyer for Cookie event

Before PA meeting


Discussion re: Will we recruit more council members? At next meeting

At next council meeting









[1] There was a brief discussion of what issues comprise the community building/improving work climate & outreach subcommittee. Both of the following descriptions of duties fall under this larger subcommittee, although the duties vary slightly.

[2] Within the next 3 months