P&A News for May 2017

May 2017



P&A News

May 2017 Edition




Next in the P&A Senate


The final P&A Senate meeting for the academic year will be held on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 10:00a.m.

Highlights will include a conversation with representatives from the new Immigration Response Team and presentation of the Outstanding Unit Award.

All meetings are open to everyone--we invite you to join us. 

Twin Cities - 5-125 Moos 

Crookston - 105 Kiehle Hall

Duluth - 173 Kirby Plaza

Morris - 45 Humanities and Fine Arts

Rochester - Room 322


2017 Outstanding Unit Award
Six staff members of the Law School Career Center pose outside Moos Tower

Annually, the P&A Senate recognizes units of the University of Minnesota that are judged to be exemplary in their support of P&A staff and the critical role P&A employees fulfill in supporting the University's mission.


This year the Professional Development and Recognition Subcommittee of the P&A Senate received an impressive number and quality of nominations. The senate is delighted to present the 2017 Outstanding Unit Award to the Law School Career Center. The award will be made at the May 5th senate meeting.


The career center serves the career development needs of approximately 700 JD and LLM students while also providing career services to alumni. The center’s eight P&A employees all practiced law prior to joining the center. The staff operates as a team; all members are encouraged to contribute and participate in the center’s, the Law School’s, and the University’s decision-making and policy development process. As a result of both incorporating high community and professional engagement into the center’s practices and culture, every member on the team, from the front desk manager to the director, is actively engaged both within and outside of the University, making strong contributions to the community, the profession, and the University’s mission.


We are also pleased to award the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences with the 2017 Outstanding Unit Award Honorable Mention.

The WCROC supports P&A staff through encouraging active involvement in conceptualizing research projects, developing grant proposals, serving as principal or co-principal investigators, and managing capital projects. P&A staff in the WCROC are actively involved in strategic planning, key outreach efforts, research publications, as well as international travel; these opportunities enhance the career development of P&A staff and contribute to the University’s mission. 


The senate congratulates the Law School Career Center and the West Central Research and Outreach Center!


2017 P&A Senate Elections

Local elections for senators and alternates are happening now! Keep an eye out for election information in your unit and consider senate service, or nominate a colleague.


Want to make your voice heard, represent the interests of your peers, and better understand the inner workings of the University? Consider serving on the P&A Senate. P&A Senators and Alternates are elected for a three-year term. Time commitment includes attending monthly P&A Senate meetings during the academic year and serving on one of four P&A Senate subcommittees. To hear first-hand accounts about serving on the P&A Senate, please view this video from the Outreach Subcommittee.  


At the April 7, 2017 P&A Senate meeting, elections were held to fill the 2017-18 leadership positions. New terms begin on July 1, 2017. We look forward to a very productive year.

2017-18 P&A Senate Executive Committee

Chair: Catherine St. Hill

Chair-elect: Ian Ringgenberg

Subcommittee Chairs:

Benefits & Compensation: Shannon Farrell and Corinne Komor, co-chairs

Communications: Ann Hagen

Outreach: Angela Dawson

Professional Development & Recognition: Connie Bongiorno and Julie Rashid, co-chairs 

A message from your P&A Senate Chair:  Etty DeVeaux


It has been my privilege to serve you this past year and to maintain the momentum of partnership on initiatives to address current issues, and P&A needs more broadly. As I stated in my first message in October 2016, my commitment has been to continue the tradition of keeping our senate relevant to the needs of P&As by working with our governance partners and the administration to keep P&A issues and concerns at the forefront of the University's deliberations and decision-making.


As my one-year term nears the end I'm reflecting on our work and progress in the last 12 months.


We started our year by bringing together all of the past chairs of the senate, and reviewing the issues that you told us were most critical to a healthy and productive work and University climate. Helping to improve campus climate and P&A benefits were our primary foci for this year.


We are facing a significant cultural shift in which an inclusive climate has risen to critical importance for universities. We are also in a time of diminishing financial resources. The senate explored, and will continue to explore at our May 5 meeting, strategies for improving campus climate, including ways to ensure intellectual and physical safety at the University; overall employee wellness and well-being; and protection and expansion of benefits related to P&As. A summary of work by subcommittee is available in the "Current Conversations" section. 

The impact of the University's Job Family Study also took a bit of time as I met with P&A employees, and our administration to better understand and, where possible, reduce unintended adverse impacts of the Study. This included visits to our Duluth and Rochester campuses to hear P&A experience first-hand and to meet leadership to bring these concerns forward. 


We collaborated with the Civil Service and Faculty Senates on important resolutions regarding parental leave and Title IX training for all employees. In meetings with senior leaders we called for accountability on issues related to the impact of the Job Family Study overall, and worked in partnership to resolve many related issues. Our meetings with central human resources leaders have resulted in a plan to address issues that have languished over years. 

The P&A Senate has made great progress this year. Our voices are being heard. Let's commit to continue this progress into next year, and beyond. I ask you to stay involved.


One year has not been long enough to do all I wanted to do as chair, particularly in a year where a Maintenance of Status Quo order was implemented shortly after the start of my tenure. As I move into the past-chair role, I am encouraging my senate colleagues to consider revising the senate's succession plans to allow the chair to serve for two years to ensure continuity in leadership, which is critical to making real and substantive progress on the important work of the senate. As the chair of any committee will agree, by the end of the first year, the chair is only beginning to be able to move the work forward. I am also encouraging the senate to put deliberate thinking into our subcommittee structure and charges, and to consider what opportunities revising the structure and focus of the subcommittees might reveal. 


My thanks to my P&A Consultative Committee colleagues for your ongoing efforts and involvement, to our senators and alternates, and to all of you for your work on behalf of the University. A special thanks to Amber Bathke, professional support to the P&A Senate, with whom it has been a pleasure to do this work, and without whom the work not so easily get done.   


I now have the distinct honor to hand the leadership of our senate to Dr. Catherine St. Hill (chair) and Ian Ringgenberg (chair-elect). Catherine has been a constant source of support during my year and has demonstrated through her leadership that the senate is in excellent hands. Please join me in welcoming Catherine as incoming chair.

Etty welcomes your comments, concerns, and questions at pasench@umn.edu.


Current Conversations

Benefits & Compensation: This subcommittee provides a voice for P&A concerns and advocacy to central University leadership, identifies areas of potential improvement in our benefits, and provides a conduit of information between human resources administration and P&A employees. This year we researched parental leave at the U and at our peer Big 10 institutions. Our resultant resolution to create equity in parental leave by extending six paid weeks to all parents (not only birthing parents) was approved by the P&A Senate in April and has been forwarded to central leadership. We are considering ways to improve the Regent's Scholarship program and advanced the discussion when we met with President Kaler in February. We are exploring changes in total compensation, based on feedback from you.

Outreach: This subcommittee has spent the year considering how to increase senate participation and spread awareness. As filling senate positions relies heavily on communications, we have begun extensive discussions regarding subcommittee responsibilities and how best to organize senate efforts.

Communications:  Communicating involves so much more than a monthly newsletter. The P&A Senate is currently examining the ways we communicate, what we communicate, and what you want to know about and need. Your ideas are welcome. Tell us what you what to know and how you want to receive the information. 

Professional Development & Recognition: As the Outstanding Unit Award process closes for this year, we continue to think about how P&As are supported at the University. Our programming this year addressed a variety of employee concerns, including financial health, sleep, and hosting versus. leading. What makes you feel valued as a P&A? What development opportunities do you need or want? Help us provide development opportunities and highlight the work our P&As are doing. Share your ideas!


P&A Employee Spotlight: Noro Andriamanalina, Ph.D.

Each month we feature a University of Minnesota P&A employee - highlighting the unique breadth and depth of this employee group. Nominate a colleague or team of colleagues to be featured in the P&A Newsletter.


This month we introduce you to Noro Andriamanalina, director, Academic and Professional Development, Office of Diversity in Graduate Education. 


Q.  What is your role at the U?

I lead efforts to retain and support graduate students of color across the U (Twin Cities & Duluth). I provide resources and develop opportunities for graduate students of color to ensure their success in graduating in a timely manner. Our programs include a summer institute for newly admitted graduate students, allowing them to acclimate to their program and research while building community; travel grants for both research efforts and conference presentations; teaching opportunities at the Morris or Duluth campuses while completing dissertations; arranging adjunct teaching positions at other liberal arts colleges in Minnesota; and a collaboration with Urban Scholars, a professional development program created by the city of Minneapolis. 

Q.  How does your work impact the U?

This work retains diverse students at the U so they can contribute to the intellectual diversity of the U, enriching both classrooms and research efforts.  

Q.  What do you like best about working at the U?

The culture is welcoming and supportive. My colleagues are great collaborators!


Q. What might surprise our readers about you?

I play five different musical instruments: clarinet, recorder, piano, organ, guitar. I grew up in Princeton, NJ where the public schools required us to take an instrument every year beginning in 4th grade. I still play all five on regular basis, mostly for my own enjoyment.  


Q.  What U resource do you think more P&As need to know about/use?

The University libraries. Most staff don't know that each unit or department has their own librarian to assist with scholarship and research. Call the libraries and ask for the librarian assigned to your unit. I rely on these subject matter experts constantly and am amazed at the amount of knowledge available to us.


Center Stage: CBS Conservatory

This month P&A News introduces a new feature. Center Stage will highlight a place, a resource, or program at the University. P&As are crucial to the success of every featured story. Want to nominate a place or resource for Center Stage? Email us at pasenate@umn.edu. 


The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory is a hidden gem on the St. Paul Campus. P&A News spoke with Lisa Aston Philander, PhD, the curator of the Conservatory.


Q.  What is it?

The CBS Conservatory is home to a living plant collection of over 1200 species, showcasing the diversity of the Earth's plants. The Conservatory's mission is to bring the plants of the world to the people of Minnesota. The plants are displayed in eight simulated environmental biomes, including our newest environment, a fog desert.


Q.  How does the Conservatory support the University's mission?  

The Conservatory primarily supports the U's outreach mission. We support education for K-12 students, as well as garden clubs and other community organizations, by growing and sending plants to classes to demonstrate plant adaptation. We showcase University plant research regularly.  


Q.  What do you like best about working at the Conservatory?

I like the opportunity to introduce and inspire the love of plants in others, and learning continuously about plants and the ways plants are used by people.


Q. What's one thing you want all P&As to know about the Conservatory?

It's a wonderful place to bring your staff for an appreciation or team building event, or just an introduction to different resources at the U. You can schedule a tour by visiting our website.


Conservatory trivia:  The Conservatory's corpse flower received lots of attention when it bloomed in 2016 but less well known is the fact that the Conservatory is currently growing an African species of corpse flower never before grown outside of Africa!