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Advisory Work Group Issues Recommendations to Enhance the Staff Experience
Following months of research, discussion and collaboration, the Advisory Work Group on Staff Climate Matters has issued a report and recommendations to enhance the overall experience and satisfaction of staff members throughout the Syracuse University community.
The 12-person work group, which was convened following the 2016-17 campuswide climate assessment process, recommended three areas of focus to enhance the staff experience and strengthen the sense of community and relationships with staff and between staff and others on campus. They are:
- increase opportunities for staff recognition so that the campus community can truly understand and appreciate the vital contributions made by staff to the overall success of the University and its students;
- provide professional and career development through consistent training and learning opportunities that are formalized, structured and encouraged by supervisors and leadership; and
- create opportunities for staff and others to form and join groups made up of individuals with common backgrounds, interests and identities (affinity groups).
“I am grateful for the dedication and wisdom of the members of the work group,” says Andrew R. Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “They met frequently, openly discussed difficult issues, researched best practices and offered practical suggestions. They represented a very diverse group of University employees who are the backbone of our community. Through their diligence, they were able to incorporate different needs and viewpoints into recommendations that can improve the working climate for all.”
The work group members are:
- Rebecca Bostwick, managing director of the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion in the Maxwell School
- Susan Dean, office coordinator in the Whitman School
- Patrick Kelly, parking technician in Parking and Transit Services
- Amy Kennedy, academic advisor in the Maxwell School
- Heather Ketcham, operations specialist in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences
- Joe Lee, director/general manager of WAER
- Laura Marra, administrative assistant in the Falk College
- Joseph O’Connor, community services officer in the Department of Public Safety
- Pamela Peter, assistant dean of students and Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Craig Powers, machine repair technician in Physical Plant
- Rob Pusch, senior associate director of Project Advance
- Bonnie Ryan, assistant librarian for Syracuse University Libraries
“I feel fortunate to have worked alongside such a great group of staff from around our campus community on this important work,” says Powers. “We had great discussion and collaboration. And as a result, we made some really tangible recommendations on how to enhance the overall experience for Syracuse University staff. I look forward to seeing our recommendations come to life.”
Some of the recommendations are already being instituted. For example, the Division of Marketing and Communications has launched a Staff Spotlight series featured on the SU News website and shared with the campus community via the SU Today e-newsletter. The feature stories spotlight the contributions of individual staff members who are helping to advance the University’s mission and vision, or are providing essential services to keep the University running.
Additionally, a new orientation program piloted last semester will be required of all new supervisors. The current program includes resources and expectations of leadership, addressing some of the work group’s recommendations for improved supervisor training. The program will be offered in three two-hour sessions in February and again in April. More information will be shared on the SU News website about these professional development opportunities.
The work group offered some recommendations that are under immediate consideration for implementation and others that require a longer-term approach. Staff feedback will continue to be sought during the process of implementing the recommendations.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private, international research university with distinctive academics, diversely unique offerings and an undeniable spirit. Located in the geographic heart of New York state, with a global footprint, and nearly 150 years of history, Syracuse University offers a quintessential college experience. The scope of Syracuse University is a testament to its strengths: a pioneering history dating back to 1870; a choice of more than 200 majors and 100 minors offered through 13 schools and colleges; nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students; more than a quarter of a million alumni in 160 countries; and a student population from all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. For more information, visit syracuse.edu.