Published: Dec. 20, 2019
Clock with hands reading 12:05, notes, and laptop with pens to represent Meeting Minutes

12.13.19 – December CLAS Staff Council Meeting


CLAS Staff Council Meeting Notes

  1. Angela Beale
  2. Carri Boothe
  3. Eleanore Lewis
  4. Francine Olivas-Zarate
  5. Karen Fennell
  6. Laura Cuellar-Franco
  7. Sandra Quinn
  8. Sarah Thompson
  9. Sulastri Carr
  10. Kelly Stritzinger
  11. Sothary Chea

Recorded by Elly Lewis

Introduction of Sothary Chea

Laura Cuellar-Franco introduced new council member Sothary Chea. Sothary was recruited by Laura at the Cookie Party for her interest in what the Council does and will take on the new role of Communications Chair. Welcome, Sothary!


Laura will work with Sothary as part of the Communications Subcommittee.

Bylaws Discussion

Background: Sulastri sent a draft of the full bylaws based upon University Council’s bylaws to the Executive Committee. It was a very long document so Sulastri and Angela will work to reduce that draft to 3 or 4 pages.


Bylaws Discussion Topics for larger meeting:

  1. The voting/Nominations process and number of council members
    1. 20 people discussed as good max # for council members, but the number will vary based on needs and priorities of the Council.
  2. Committee duties & how many members are adequate to comprise each committee?
  3. Will council vote on executive committee? Or will staff at large?
  4. When do elections take place?
    1. Spring was discussed as a possibility.

We will discuss the bylaws in our January meeting. The bylaws will be sent to the entire Council a week or two before the meeting for review in the January meeting.

Election/Nomination Discussion

The group discussed the pragmatics of staggering commitments for current and new members.

  • 1-year minimum commitment for new members
  • 4-year maximum without running for position again
  • The group discussed whether there should there be a cap on the number of consecutive terms possible to serve but did not make any final determinations.

Subcommittee Chair Clarifications & Responsibilities

3 Subcommittees at present:

  1. Professional Development Committee: Elly Lewis – Chair
    1. Responsibilities: Planning/organization of award funding distribution to CLAS staff
  2. Work Climate and Outreach Committee: Karen Fennell – Chair
    1. Responsibilities: Planning/organizing community building events and planning/organizing methods to gather staff climate data for end of year discussion with the Dean  
  3. Communications Committee: Sothary Chea – Chair
    1. Responsibilities: Collection/Distribution of information between CLAS Staff council and CLAS employees – including website updates and creating marketing materials

Each of the subcommittee chairs will be added to the executive committee after the next election cycle.

Subcommittee Updates

Work Climate & Outreach: The climate survey has gone out to the staff. Will be available until January 10th. The committee will notify the winner of the $25 gift card directly. Some feedback that has been received re: the survey:

  • The survey needs to allow for negative feedback
  • Needs more definitive answers
  • There was a suggestion to add a section for “Overall Feedback.” However, the survey was initially built with a question about overall feedback in it, but university counsel directed us to remove that question.

Communications Committee: To reduce any confusion, all communications from the counsel will now come from Sothary Chea as the Communications Chair. Any tasks related to communications need to be sent to Sothary. In the future there may be a form for staff to fill out for communications requests. Karen will approve emails before they are sent to greater staff at large. Both Karen and Sothary need at least 1 business day to review any communications before they need to be sent.


Professional Development Committee: No new updates.

Cookie Exchange Debrief

Attendance: 13 staff members attended. Many staff members from CLAS Advising attended the Cookie Exchange. Many people could not come because the event was held on a Friday.

Planning for future: Suggestions -

  • Next time, we will not plan an event on a Friday since there are many that can’t make Friday events. This will be based upon room availability.
  • We will also try to promote the event more before the day of the event. We will also try to structure in shorter shifts for staff council members to represent the Council.
  • Shorter durations for future events
  • Alternatives to potlucks where attendees do not need to bring anything to attend. Ideas included a happy hour where the council sponsors some appetizers and attendees buy their own drinks.

Ultimately the event seemed successful as it came in under budget and there was general enthusiasm from attendees. There was discussion of making this an annual event through the Council.

Spring Forum Discussion

Questions regarding:

  • Space: Space may be limited because it many rooms in the university are reserved almost every day for orientations and campus visits. The Terrace Room was suggested as a space, but there was some hesitation because of the $300 reservation fee. Saint Cajetan’s was also suggested, but council members were unfamiliar with the reservation process for that space.
  • Time: It was suggested to hold the forum sometime within the weeks of: March 30th-April 3rd, or April 5th-10th so that the Council would have feedback from the event for the meeting with the dean.
  • Presentation/s: The group discussed the idea of having a keynote speaker to help the event have an efficient flow to the Forum. The speaker should discuss with the group what things are working as well as what things are not working.
  • Online/Zoom Participation: The forum will need to have technical access to Zoom so that staff members who cannot attend the forum physically will be able to be heard.
  • Room Setup: Suggestions include roundtables to facilitate solution discussions in small groups. Later, the small groups will present their findings to the larger group.
  • Advertise for the Council: Include what the council does and how much Professional Development Funding we have awarded so far.


Next Steps





Reach out to Sothary to promote the Professional Development for Spring Awareness



Send out reminder to staff to complete the climate survey

January 6th


Send Karen info about the architecture school

By next meeting

Sulastri and Angela

Review current bylaw draft and send out a paired down version to the greater Council before the next meeting for review

Before January Meeting


Meet as needed for updates to ongoing projects