Office of the Chancellor

2009-10 Annual Report

Section 1

2009-10 Annual Report

Nov. 22, 2010
TO: Chancellor Michael Drake
RE: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Staff

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


This past year, CACSS continued to focus on diversity by completing the three-part Staff Diversity Town Hall Dialogue Series. The overall objectives of the series were to:

  • Underscore the university's commitment to an inclusive culture;
  • Solicit input; and
  • Build a diversity community

The Town Halls (reported on in the 2008-2009 CACSS annual report) included Part I: Explore Efforts, where feedback on the current state of diversity at UC Irvine was solicited from attendees. Part II: Build Community, was the first time that several staff diversity-related affinity groups gathered in one setting. As a result of the dialogue, some of the affinity groups have been revived. In addition, discussions are now under way with the Dean of Students, HR and the Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity to transition the support services for staff affinity groups from a student to a staff umbrella.

These initial Town Halls culminated in a CACSS recommendation to create a campus-wide diversity committee. This recommendation dovetailed with University of California President Yudof's request that each UC campus form a Campus Climate Council. Since then, Chancellor Drake has formed the UC Irvine Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion. Several CACSS members serve on the Advisory Council, including Dean Vicki Ruiz (CACSS Faculty Co-Chair), Nikishna Polequaptewa (CACSS Diversity Subcommittee Chair) and Deborah McWilliams.

The final Staff Diversity Town Hall, Part III: Advance Diversity was held on June 16, 2010. Over 100 people attended, many of them from the Center for Educational Partnerships. Dean Vicki Ruiz gave the opening remarks, Nikishna Polequaptewa shared about the formation of the CACSS Diversity Subcommittee, and Professor Douglas Haynes reviewed the UC Accountability Report. Chancellor Michael Drake provided positive, thoughtful comments regarding the way in which diversity issues manifest in society at large and in the UC system in particular. He responded to concerns, dispelled rumors, and spoke about constructive efforts and programs that advance diversity. Chancellor Drake also gave some background on the UC Irvine Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion.

In addition to the Staff Diversity Town Hall Dialogue Series, another effort that CACSS made to enhance diversity involves a change in the recruitment process of CACSS members. This year, the application process will be implemented, allowing staff the opportunity to apply to join CACSS.


After two years of a full-committee focus on advancing diversity, CACSS is now reforming and adding new subcommittees to broaden our scope of work.

  • Employee Development – Nancy Chen Lane and Rhonda Louden, Co-chairs (new subcommittee)
    Draft workable solutions to address employee development issues brought to the attention of the chancellor via CACSS. Suggest projects addressing top issues that arose from the UCI People Development Summit of 2008, as well as the Town Hall Meetings.
  • Staff Diversity – Nikishna Polequaptewa, Chair 
    The subcommittee, comprised of eight members, recently decided to expand membership to include two additional ex-officio representatives from the Cross-Cultural Center and the Disability Services Center. The initial focus has been on
    • Collaborating with the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion;
    • Integrating staff related questions into the Climate Council campuswide survey;
    • Developing an interactive staff diversity portal to educate the campus; and
    • Identifying effective staff diversity outreach strategies.
    The Diversity Town Hall Series events spurred a renewed interest collaboration for improved staff diversity on campus. Forty staff members from various departments signed up to participate in subcommittee initiatives.
  • Town Hall – Desiree von Haag, Chair 
    The subcommittee will hold regular town hall meetings with campus staff throughout the year on a broad range of topics in order to capture the pulse of the campus. For example, meetings may include presenting/sharing information and ideas and gaining staff's feedback on a specific topic or theme; following up with staff in a timely manner on current/pressing campus issues; seeking feedback from staff on messages, presentations and other information delivered to the campus by UCOP.
  • Outreach/Marketing (new subcommittee, goals to be established)
  • Staff Survey – Gwen Kuhns Black, Chair (new subcommittee, goals to be established)

Goals for 2010-2011

CACSS is currently developing plans for the upcoming year, including:

  • Market CACSS efforts to better serve as ambassadors to our staff
    • Revamp our Web page
    • Promote existing efforts
    • Co-host partnership event with Staff Assembly
  • Host several Town Halls to solicit staff feedback and input regarding:
    • Current/pressing campus issues
    • Why we are here, what we do, how we can make the enterprise better
    • Communicate campus resources available to staff
  • Begin assessment efforts with staff via a survey
  • Develop campaign to demonstrate appreciation for staff, build community and increase engagement
  • Sponsor an award that recognizes staff for work in their communities

Recommendations and Suggestions

CACSS is extremely pleased that Chancellor Drake has formed the UC Irvine Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion, and we look forward to providing input. In addition, we request that the chancellor take the following actions:

  • Ensure that the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture & Inclusion works collaboratively with CACSS to support each other in our missions, and to capitalize on opportunities to effect positive growth and change for our staff.
  • Provide funding support for CACSS to implement a staff survey where we can expand upon and quantify the anecdotal information that we gather at Town Halls.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as co-chairs of CACSS. We are honored to work with such astute, dedicated and compassionate colleagues, individuals committed to the welfare of staff on this campus. We applaud your understanding and appreciation of the pivotal role that staff play in the success of UC Irvine, and for providing ongoing support to CACSS.

Respectfully submitted,

Vicki Ruiz
CACSS Faculty Co-Chair
Dean, School of Humanities
Professor, History, School of Humanities

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


  1. Communications Report
  2. Equal Opportunity & Diversity Report