APSAC, CSSAC hold joint meeting

October 19, 2011

Members of APSAC and CSSAC discussed four issues -- knowledge of benefits, supporting participation in and raising awareness on campus of the two groups, doing more with less, and civility in the workplace -- on Oct. 11 during their third annual joint meeting.

 APSAC chair Robin Shanks said he, Ebony Barrett-Kennedy, chair of CSSAC, and the vice chairs of the two groups, Gary Carter (CSSAC) and Bob Morman (APSAC), selected the topics because they are relevant to all Purdue employees and timely.

Members broke up into four groups to share ideas about the four topics. Each of the discussion group leaders later summarized what was discussed.

Also at the meeting, a new APSAC-CSSAC award was presented, and members heard news of annual discount cards, Purdue's 2011-12 budget and a survey about preferences regarding the University's next president.

In summaries of the discussion groups, Morman, who led the discussion on benefits, said that group talked at length about finding ways to let constituents know about benefits they may not be aware they have. Putting a link about benefits on the APSAC and CSSAC websites, beginning a spotlight on benefits feature in each committee's monthly update, and researching the extent to which employees allow their benefits to be elected by default and educating them on the ramifications of that decision were among the recommendations made by the group.

Pam Jones, a CSSAC member who led the discussion about support of APSAC and CSSAC and raising awareness, said that group talked about having something about the groups on a regular basis in Purdue Today. She said perhaps the feature could highlight what the groups' committees are doing. Other suggestions included doing more PowerPoint presentations about the groups around campus. To encourage support from supervisors the suggestion was made to review how serving on the committees has benefited the department during performance reviews. This would help supervisors view participation as a cost-effective form of professional development.

The group Shanks led explored the theme of doing more with less. He said most people seem to enjoy working at Purdue, and feel they have risen to the challenges of the times. Shanks added that it is occasionally difficult for some to see how their own efforts fit into the overall success of the University. That is something APSAC and CSSAC hope to foster in the future, helping staff recognize the importance of their contributions.

Carter, who led the discussion about civility in the workplace, said that group talked about how the feeling of the ''Purdue family'' is not as strong as it used to be. He said they talked about the importance of developing supervisor-employee relationships early and of being proactive rather than reactive. The diversity and culture differences at the University also were discussed.

''We're going to continue to talk about all of this,'' Shanks said. ''Ebony and I have pledged to continue a dialogue about these issues. The leadership of CSSAC and APSAC are committed to strengthening the ties that bind the two groups, forging new collaborations and working for the good of our university.''

Also on Oct. 11, Melissa Swathwood was named the first recipient of the Community Spirit Award. Swathwood, a research and faculty secretary for the Purdue University School of Nursing, has served as president of the Tippecanoe County Child Abuse Prevention Council since 2008. She also organizes events benefiting cancer research, Food Finders Food Bank, March of Dimes, Relay for Life and the American Heart Association.

Courtenay Wells, clinical assistant professor of nursing, nominated Swathwood and spoke about her volunteer efforts.

Morman initially proposed a new award to recognize Purdue employees for their significant contributions through community service during last year's joint meeting. The two groups then established a joint task force that developed the Community Spirit Award. It will be awarded annually to an A/P or C/S staff member who sets a high standard for service, encourages a sustained commitment to civic participation and inspires others to make service a central part of their lives.

In other business:

* Carrie Hanson, training manager in Human Resources, told the two groups that cards listing all vendors who offer Purdue employees discounts were sent out the week of Oct. 10. She said that the discounts are good through September 2012. The cards had a misprint regarding the date.

* Jim Almond, senior vice president for business services and assistant treasurer, gave a presentation about Purdue's final budget for 2011-12.

* Carter encouraged the two groups to fill out an online survey designed to gather input on traits and experiences desired of the next Purdue president. The survey was sent by a special advisory committee of the University Senate formed at the request of the Purdue Board of Trustees. It was announced through an e-mail to all faculty, staff and students. He also reminded the groups that members of the special advisory committee will facilitate three listening sessions, two during the day and one in the evening, in the next few weeks. He encouraged employees who don't have frequent access to computers and e-mail to attend those sessions.