Staff Comments by Question on the 2012-13 Senate Evaluation

4. The Senate has been effective in development of shared governance policies and procedures listed below.

Not really involved or informed about in these matters.

There has been little that the senate has been effective at accomplishing. The senate model has completely outlived a useful existence. It is clear to those both in and out of the Michigan Tech community that the senate has now moved out of any form of relevance and are now relegating themselves to a role of complainer and stir stick. The Senate needs to reinvent themselves as a collaborative problem solving body and bring in talented faculty who have an understanding of management and leadership. Shared governance is crucial to the strong health and well being of an institution and Michigan Tech needs an effective partner in the governance of the institution.

The Senate's evaluation of the administration have been useless because the administrators never seem to take any action to either acknowledge or address the Senate constituency's concerns.

The Senate does a poor job of leveraging any authority in any matters when the Senate's position is not in agreement with the administration. This is compounded by the Senate then sometimes taking a contrary position to the administration just to "prove a point" sometimes, e.g. tobacco-free campus proposal.

I am not sure that senate has had a role in the selection of administrators. I do know they evaluate them periodically.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

the senate does not seem to have any influence of matters of administrators, benefits, faculty promotion

 

5. The Senate has been effective in reflecting your concerns regarding the use of university resources.

reflecting concerns - yes understanding the give and take to keep a balance, and the economies impact, and that we are not living in the prosperous times that folks in the 50's, 60's, and 70's experienced - no

if anyone has been reflecting staff concerns regarding fringe benefits, budget or hirings/promotions, I personally have not seen proof of it as it seems that all decisions are cut and dried by Administration and then simply enacted. I do not think that the Senate has enough political power.

For the last few years, it seems the Senate has been much more vocal about the fringe benefits and budget issues. It appears that the results of the fringe benefits survey earlier this year actually had an impact so kudos to whomever was behind that effort!

The senate has reflected my concerns well in many of these areas; however, they perhaps are not in a strong enough position to effectively influence the administration about these concerns.

Regarding b) above: The Senate lacks any influence on what I would consider frivolous spending on campus and in preventing costs from being passed through to employees (parking). Regarding d) above: The University also lacks cohesive HR policy in regards to grading positions and comparative compensation that makes sense for professional staff. I do not see the Senate addressing this.

Senate has been very silent on issues related to admission standards. It becomes a concern when individual departments have a concern.

The Senate reflects concerns of faculty and staff, however it appears the senate concerns are disregarded by university administration

This year the Senate has been very helpful with Fringe benefits.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

the senate does not seem to have any influence on budget or fringe, although I believe the senate understands the employees concerns and does communicate them to administration.

the current procedure for raises and promotions is done by whom the administrator likes instead of qualifications. People are promoting and giving raises to their friends and family members and calling it a reorg., and no one at the top says a word. The President proposes a 3% raise...........some get 6 and others get nothing.

 

6. The Senate has been effective in communicating issues that impact you

Often seemingly too slow, bureaucratic, and ultimately overruled by administration (campus smoking ban).

Not really engaged or well informed in the work of the Senate.

I have no idea who my department's senator is or if we even have one.

Better recently but lacking in general over the last 15 years

Hit or miss--depends on the senate rep. Some are more proactive than others. Senate website is very helpful, although the senate videos (which I watch) could be helped by encouraging (making) all speakers wear a microphone.

I don't recall much communication. I don't know if that means I just haven't paid attention or if there haven't been many issues that impact me.

Several surprises have been delivered over the last several years that could have been better communicated, including; the cost-benefit analysis that went into charging employees for parking the changes in Central IT However, other issues were effectively communicated

Faculty issues and concerns are a major part of senate. Issues/concerns that relate to staff (union or non-union) are rarely if ever a concern unless they impact faculty (ex. benefits).

not really for staff

I rarely hear anything from my senator.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

 

7. The Senate has provided appropriate input to your unit and/or department in the development of proposals submitted to it.

Have not been involved in this process.

The Senate still seems to be skewed towards what it deems are Faculty concerns and does not seem to treat the Staff with equal respect.

 

8. The Senate has acted in a timely manner on proposals submitted by your group.

Have not been involved in this process.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

 

9. Your senator keeps you informed about issues being considered by the Senate.

Never hear from my senator.

Mostly on an informational basis - no specific call to action.

See previous comment. I have no idea if we even have a senator.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

 

10. The Senate should have an independent budget to facilitate contracting with independent experts to aid in decision making

This question is not very well written. If the independent experts are contracted to assist with department/program decision making then perhaps the departments should receive funding to do this and not the senate. However, if this decision making is supposed to be at the university level then I would vehemently disagree with this practice.

I think the Senate is capable of formulating plans that effect staff, I just don't think that the Senate is provided enough clout to have those plans acted on, and in some (most) cases it seems as though any such planning concerns of the Senate are ignored.

Do we really need that? Why not push the administration harder? Unionize!

I would need examples in the type of expertise that's required for decisions in order to give a valuable opinion.

I suppose it depends on what issues and whether the administration would be willing to listen anyway. If the senate brings in an expert and there is no impact on decision making anyway it is wasted money.

Shared governance should work both ways, rather than the Senate being on the receiving end. The most recent benefits package discussions demonstrated that administrative decisions appeared to be based on "half-truths" and incomplete analysis of data. Allowing the Senate access to independent experts seems a step for less biased decision-making, holding everyone to more fact-based analysis and decisions.

I would need more information about what benefits an independent expert would provide before I would support this. I would also need to know where this money would come from.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

I'd agree but the senate doesn't really seem to aid in any decisions that matter to me. I.e., benefits.

I think we have enough good intelligent people on campus that we do not need to contract another outside vendor.

 

11. The Senate is an effective body in representing staff

I am in Ann Arbor so I am not really aware of the Senate.

My impression is that it is effective in including staff, but not sure how all of the decisions are made and by whom.

The Senate is completely ineffective in this capacity. Not only is it ineffective, it is the perception of most staff that it is actually inhibiting the representation of staff.

I think it could be more effective; however, I don't think the issue is a lack of interest or lack of concern by the senate. Staff need to be more engaged and involved if we want the senate to be an effective representative for us.

Staff do not seem fully integrated into Senate processes. This may be partially due the existence of a separate staff council whose function appears to be both social activities and as an advisory body to the president. I would prefer staff be more invested in the Senate, for one voice to speak for the non-administrators in shared governance. I feel the current arrangement provides more voice to staff council which has a less representative mode of operation.

Senate is effective when they are representing faculty, not staff.

The only staff issues raised are benefits. There are many more that should be discussed.

Neither the senate nor the staff council adequately represent the needs of professional staff. However, the senate does the better job of the two.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

It's a tool for the faculty.

Does the Administration value the input of the Senate?

 

12. The Senate is an effective body in representing faculty.

Not knowledgeable enough to comment.

The Senate appears to be more interested in the preservation of the Senate and having some relevance than they are with solving problems. Their image is tarnished and their constant self promotion to reestablish some form of respect is distracting.

Overall, it is pretty effective in my estimation (as a staff member). Could be bolstered by additional engagement from the administration in using the resources of the senate for decision making.

At least in my experience, faculty senators appear to poll their constituents on controversial matters, and report back with more detail and nuance. The Senate seems to look for compromise and common ground. That may not make the Senate effect in sharing governance, but it does seem to represent faculty position and opinions with clarity.

Again, the only issues raised are benefits. Many more to be discussed.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

 

13. What can the Senate do to get the information to you more effectively from the list below?

Social media (private tumblrs, twitter, etc.)

Do a better job of publicizing the Senators and make them more visible on campus.

Structured email messages that have a consistent look and feel and that quickly bring the pertinent information to one's attention may work well.

It would be nice to have a transcript and/or meeting notes via email as I have not been able attend the meetings.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

Training for senate officers on effective and constructive leadership. Topics in front of the senate seem to generally stall in circular evaluation processes because everyone has a pet interest that the senate seems beholden to. Resolving a common sense consensus on key issues seems to be a continuing challenge that leadership training may help resolve.

 

14. What kind of proposals should the Senate spend more time on?

Intellectual property policies affecting all instructors involved in any modes of teaching (face-to-face, blended, fully online). The administration needs to hear prevailing sentiments about these issues as they deliberate policy.

I am not sure if it is in the realm of the Senate's responsibilities but it seems they should be more proactive in providing input that can impact decisions that will affect both staff and faculty fringe benefits. It seems that these decisions are made with no input from anyone outside the HR department and the Ad building as a whole. If in fact there is a Senate liason working on matters in advance, then I think more advance communication from that liason is warranted, updates, likely changes to be forthcoming, etc.

It would seem that the faculty senate leadership would recommend annual goals and move forward with consensus.

What about staff. Question C

How about a collective discussion of how to improve curriculum, enhance the student classroom experience or ways to attract and support faculty. Very few senators have expertise or training in the use of university resources. They also don't have the full landscape of information to make quality informed decisions regarding the use of university resources.

Your mention of career path/appointment/promotion of staff would be an interesting issue for the senate to discuss. It is perhaps not as easy as faculty career paths but it would be interesting to see it get some attention.

I'm confused about the role of the Senate. Looking in from the outside, it seems that the Senate is very hard-working and takes its role seriously. However, it seems like the Administration almost always trumps the Senate's recommendations. I question the time that the Senate spends on any proposals if, in the end, the Administration holds the control.

Policies on appointment of executives--all executives, not just the 2 or 3 listed in the bylaws.

I haven't been here long enough to be able to answer this section

I'm not sure what you mean by "shared governance" but based on what this body does, neither do you. I could care less about appointment and promotion of faculty. (I had an earlier comment on how well the senate represents the staff, and low and behold, your final question has to do with appointment and promotion of faculty. It's okay, I get it, but don't bother throwing me a bone when you've carved every piece of meat from it.) Spend more time--all your time--dealing with prioritizing finite resources within the University (human resources, knowledge resources, money, and time).

not sure what "shared governance" means

The Senate needs to devote time and energy to updating policies and procedures related to new technologies. It needs to be more nimble to stay relevant.