Office of the Chancellor

2008-09 Annual Report

Section 1

2008-09 Annual Report

Dec. 4, 2009
TO: Chancellor Michael Drake
RE: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff

The University of California, Irvine Chancellor's AdvisoryCommittee on the Status of Staff (CACSS) recently completed its eighth year. Established in 2001, CACSS is charged with advocating for staff, promoting career development opportunities, mitigating problems and creating a positive work environment.

Membership Recruitment

CACSS would like to recommend moving from the current nomination process to an application process. The goal is to expand the diversity of the committee and also include staff with less than five years of service. As with the current nomination process, the final list of recommendations would be submitted by the CACSS co-chairs to the Chancellor's Office for approval. New members typically join the committee in the fall.

Good to Great Recognition

Since spring 2008, CACSS has explored the development of a new award program to encourage and reward units that enable positive workplace environments for excellence. After extensive discussion, CACSS decided not to proceed with this certificate program. Operational logistics and overlap with existing programs were regarded as presenting major barriers to success. In order to promote positive workplace environments, CACSS will continue its practice of sponsoring periodic town hall meetings on the main campus and at the medical center to solicit the direct in-put of staff about strengths and areas where UCI can improve as a preferred employer.

Diversity Efforts

This past year, CACSS has focused on the topic of diversity. This decision was in keeping with systemwide staff initiatives (see first bullet below), combined with a follow-up to a 2007 CACSS Town Hall conversation.

  • Alignment with Systemwide Staff Initiatives and UC Irvine Medical Center
    • Designated CACSS meetings centered around dialogue with:
      • Gecole Harley, UC Irvine representative to the UC Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (Staff and Faculty)
      • Ramona Agrela and Kirsten Quanbeck, UC Irvine representatives to the UC Staff Diversity Council
      • Lila Moulton, co-chair, UCI Medical Center Diversity Committee
    • Reviewed the first annual UC report on staff diversity (PDF)
  • Staff Diversity Town Hall Dialogue Series
    • Planned a 3-part, lunch-hour series utilizing the World Cafe dialogue model:
      • Summer 2009: Explore Efforts – solicit feedback from staff attendees
      • Fall 2009: Build Community – develop and promote affinity groups
      • Winter 2010: Advance Diversity – review UC Accountability Report and CACSS Annual Report
    • Completed 1st Dialogue (Summer 2009: Explore Efforts). Detailed feedback attached (Appendix C). Summary:
      • Approximately 45 staff attended the 7/29/09 meeting. Participants were engaged and expressed a wide variety of concerns. To ensure that everyone was heard, a follow-up meeting was scheduled 8/19/09, with about 25 people in attendance.
      • Participants ranked the UCI climate around diversity and diversity efforts on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
        • Average ranking at 1st meeting = 2.7
        • Average ranking at 2nd meeting = 2.86
        • As participants focused in on staff (as opposed to faculty and students), rankings fell.
      • Participants were asked what does and does not work at UCI. Key findings:
        • UCI is well-intentioned, but often lacks follow-through at the senior level.
        • Diversity should be defined broadly.
        • Concern that the budget crisis may have a disproportionate impact on underrepresented populations.
        • Diversity efforts are fragmented.
        • UCI needs to make diversity a priority. How do we do that?
      • Participants were asked for suggestions to enhance what UCI does well and to share practical solutions to remedy our deficits. Key findings:
        • Improve recruitment, retention, mentoring processes
        • Provide and require more diversity education opportunities
        • Focus on overall campus climate
        • Revive Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Diversity
        • Appoint Chief Diversity Officer
        • Ask Chancellor to be more vocal on issues of diversity (including regular announcements and a "state of the union" address mandating that we strive for excellence around issues of diversity)
    • Completed 2nd Dialogue (Fall 2009: Build Community). Summary:
      • Approximately 35 staff attended the 11/18/09 meeting.
      • Sherwynn Umali, director of student organizations with the Dean of Students, gave an overview of how to register as a campus organization, and the benefits in doing so.
      • Brief presentations were given by representatives from past and present diversity-related affinity groups, including:
        • American Indian Collaborative
        • Asian American Faculty Staff Association
        • Black Faculty Staff Association
        • Latino Faculty Staff Association
        • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Group
        • Disability Group
        • UCIMC Diversity Committee
        • Interfaith
      • In a fair-like environment, participants were given the opportunity to mingle and get involved with diversity-related affinity groups.
  • Follow-Up E-mail Concerns Expressed by Staff
    • Two employees expressed deep concern about the closure of Student Academic Advancement Services (SAAS), a federally funded program primarily serving first generation/low-income, and disabled and foster youth college students.
    • Another employee shared an experience involving a former supervisor who required her to use vacation time in order to attend classes at the Extension for Advancement through the Vice Chancellor Scholarship program.

Recommendations and Suggestion

One of the primary efforts CACSS has focused on is the Staff Diversity Town Hall Dialogue Series. Participants conveyed a strong preference for raising the visibility of diversity and inclusion on campus. Building on the existing foundation, the following suggestions for your consideration and action are designed to enhance and strengthen the campus commitment to diversity and inclusion:

  • Initiate periodic Chancellor's State of Diversity address, including expectations for the campus
    • Deliver message via verbal and written communications. Examples: appearances, video, post on the UCI main Web page, ZotMail, etc.
  • Create campuswide diversity committee
    • Charge with advocating for diversity at UCI, promoting diversity efforts across the university community, and supporting a diverse and inclusive environment
    • Define diversity broadly, to include LGBTQ issues, economic issues, and individuals with disabilities
    • Base committee structure on best-practices across the UC system
    • Follow through on diversity-related recommendations of this CACSS report
  • Appoint a Chief Diversity Officer to increase the visibility of UCI's commitment to diversity, and to monitor campus efforts and outcomes
  • Charge HR to integrate diversity component into performance evaluations of all staff (not just supervisors)
  • Underscore the importance of release time to permit staff to attend diversity training and diversity-related sponsored campus events
    • Highlight the benefits as they relate to professional development, improved campus climate and staff morale, and reduced departmental conflict
  • Endorse the development of and leadership participation in a diversity certificate program for managers and supervisors
  • Change CACSS membership from a nomination to an application process
    • Increase diversity, and include more representation of staff with less than five years of service

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as CACSS co-chairs. We agree with your sentiment expressed on the CACSS Web site that staff "provide the foundation for UCI's continued excellence." We appreciate your ongoing efforts to create a positive work environment for this community.

Respectfully submitted,

Douglas M. Haynes
CACSS Faculty Co-Chair
Associate Professor of History
Director, ADVANCE Program

Jessica Drew de Paz
CACSS Staff Co-Chair
Training Coordinator, Environmental Health & Safety

Appendices

  1. Communications Report
  2. Staff Assembly Report
  3. Summer Staff Diversity Town Hall Dialogue Staff Feedback (PDF)