Office of the Chancellor

2006-07 Annual Report

Section 1

2006-07 Annual Report

Feb. 5, 2008
TO: Chancellor Michael Drake
RE: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff

Throughout the preceding academic year, the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff (CACSS) continued its mission of pursuing issues related to the welfare of staff. The following summarizes our major activities and accomplishments.

Our focus for the 2006-07 academic year was two-fold: To increase awareness of UCI's values (integrity, respect, intellectual and creative rigor, commitment, empathy, appreciation and fun); and to facilitate conversation between staff and executive leadership on high priority issues such as supervision, summer quarter workload and career development. These goals were developed in concert with feedback CACSS has received from staff.

CACSS's value is in its ability to reach out to the staff to identify issues and concerns. CACSS accomplishes this by holding campuswide neighborhood meetings where we ask for staff feedback. During the last year, CACSS engaged in two campus-specific neighborhood meetings and one meeting at the medical center. Discussion for the first campus neighborhood meeting and the medical center, which took place in the fall, centered on UCI's values. Many of the staff who attended were unaware of the values, but reacted positively to the concept. Concerns were raised about how the campus would be able to incorporate the values into the UCI culture, and if the values would be interpreted differently by the various constituents on campus. At the time of this meeting both UCIMC and Student Affairs had in place a unique list of values. Following this neighborhood meeting, CACSS met with you to share the feedback and the result was the creation of the "Living Our Values" award, which has been successfully received by staff. Also, as a byproduct of the meeting at UCIMC, some questions concerning planning for the new hospital were raised by a staff member who had heard certain rumors that, if true, would have adversely impacted her daily work. We were able, with her agreement, to refer those concerns to the hospital director, and she resolved those to the satisfaction of the staff member, by providing accurate and timely information that alleviated her concerns.

The second campus neighborhood meeting took place in the spring and focused on the issue of diversity. We asked staff to share their experiences with and perceptions of diversity at UCI. The meeting was well attended and included many faculty as well as staff. Individuals expressed a concern that departments are not as diverse as they should be; that there is a challenge in getting racially diverse staff hiring pools. Diversity is not only about numbers; it is about the fact that people from different cultures communicate differently. An interesting byproduct of this meeting was the realization that most individuals are not aware of the programs on campus or throughout UC that promote diversity – staff, faculty or student. Staff is looking for communication, training and a consistent definition of diversity. Since our neighborhood meeting, many developments have been made in the areas of diversity including the establishment of a Regents Diversity Workgroup and the UCI launch of a diversity resources Web page. To support these efforts, CACSS has formed a Diversity subcommittee whose charge it is to continue the dialogue with staff and insure issues of diversity are brought to the attention of the administration.

CACSS was also very active in partnering with Human Resources and Staff Assembly in providing career development programs to staff at all levels and at all locations. We began the academic year with a career development forum, where a panel of staff and faculty administrators shared with the audience of more than 200 individuals how they were able to grow their careers at UCI. The campus forum was so successful that a similar event was held later in the year at the medical center. In addition to the sharing of success stories, the forums also launched UCI's first dedicated Web site for staff development. Created by Human Resources, the "My Career at UCI" site provides tools, resources and planning guides to help staff navigate their careers at UCI.

The career development initiatives continued into the spring with a seminar dedicated to UCI's staff leaders. The topic of the seminar was "Styles of Leadership," and it provided attendees with an interactive opportunity to self identify their preferred style of communication. This was by far our most well-attended session with more than 250 managers and supervisors attending.

We concluded our year with another all-staff workshop in the summer. Called "Make Your Mark: Personal Branding Workshop," this was an interactive workshop to help individuals identify a personal brand and how they can tap into their unique strengths to improve and advance their careers at UCI.

The overwhelming success of these events continue to indicate the strong need on campus for training and development at all levels of the organization. CACSS strongly supports the efforts of Human Resources to develop a strategic plan for professional and career development. We look forward to continuing our partnering efforts to help realize this goal.

In previous years, CACSS has been able to benchmark staff issues against data provided by both Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Research. Data gathered included staff and faculty FTE ratios, career staff hire and turnover rates, staffing levels, and general demographic information about UCI staff. These data proved extremely vital in advising the Chancellor's Office of trends that may require further analysis. For example, last year's committee reported that staff separations had increased, and the faculty-staff ratio had dropped. Unfortunately, these data have not been updated since October 2005 as a result of staff changes and conflicting workload priorities in those departments that collect the data. CACSS would like to reconnect with Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Research in an effort to reinstitute the collection of these vital and informative staff data.

CACSS is charged with advocating for staff, promoting career development opportunities, mitigating problems and creating a positive work environment. CACSS is not alone in these goals. Our efforts are very dependant on the work of many other units on campus such as Human Resources, Staff Assembly, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, etc. As we move through another year, we seek advice and guidance from you as to how best to support your initiatives and strategies. While the members of CACSS strongly believe in the importance of the committee, we want to insure that our efforts are providing value.

Sincerely,

C. Ronald Huff, Ph.D.
CACSS Faculty Co-Chair 
School of Social Ecology

Ramona Agrela
CACSS Staff Co-Chair
Claire Trevor School of the Arts