Latest News 

Let Your Voice Be Heard

If you have a concern or would like to engage in a dialog about something that impacts P&A employees, there are multiple ways for you to be heard. This includes if you have concerns about your employment experience during COVID-19.
  1. You have representatives in your unit serving on the P&A Senate, feel free to engage them. P&A senators can bring issues forward on your behalf directly to P&A Senate leaders or to P&A Senate meetings. This is the best way to engage in a dialog and to ensure that P&A Senate is representing your interests.
  2. You can always reach out to P&A Senate leadership directly. Your engagement and feedback are always welcomed. 
  3. You can anonymously submit an item for consideration using the link at the bottom of every P&A newsletter. However, please be aware that due to the anonymous nature of the submission, P&A Leadership will be unable to individually follow up.
Advocacy only works when supported by your feedback. We do not have a seat at the decision-making table as a senate most of the time; however, we are your voice as an employee for how decisions are impacting all of us as a whole. It may feel like there is no immediate, substantive action taken in response to your feedback or concern, yet the ripple effect from your voice will influence future change.

Erin Heath is New Director of the University Senate Office 

On December 6, 2021, University Senate Office leadership transitioned from long-time Director Vickie Courtney to Erin Heath, who comes to the University Senate Office from University Finance. Heath has served in a number of positions in the University, most recently with Institutional Analysis, where her work included serving as project coordinator for the 2017 Economic Impact Study and Phase 1 of the PEAK Initiative. She has 25 years of administrative experience in higher education. 

“Vickie really expanded the scope and strength of shared governance at the University," Heath said of her predecessor. (Read Courtney’s reflection on her experience and accomplishments during her tenure at the University of Minnesota.)

Heath said that her interest in governance was heightened during her tenure as chair of the P&A Senate and led her to eventually pursue the director position. Heath said her new position has reawakened her "inner learner" from her days as a graduate student, and believes that her broad professional higher education experience in finance and academic affairs, as well as her academic interests related to governance and policy work, will help her position the University Senate Office for continued success.
In conjunction with her role as director of the University Senate Office, Heath also assumes direction of University Honors and Awards, which recognizes the excellence of faculty, staff, students, and alumni across the University of Minnesota system. 
One of Heath's goals is to get to know the strengths and interests of her individual staff members and to support them during the transition to new leadership. "This is the strongest team with skills that complement one another," she said. Heath also plans to work with governance leaders, representing different University constituencies, to identify shared priorities. "Listening to and synthesizing multiple points of view is something I have experience with and enjoy doing," Heath said. She also sees opportunities to enhance training for senate governance participants as well as transparency of the governance decision-making processes.

Events for January and February 

January Policy Pop Up Event: Campus Public Art

The University recently established an administrative policy titled Campus Public Art to align with Minnesota Statute: 16b.35 Art in State Buildings. The Policy Pop-up event will have several experts to brighten up your winter blues and discuss whatever you'd like to know about these public art projects and the process for public art on all campuses system-wide.
When: Thursday, January 27, 2022 from Noon to 1 PM CT
Where: Via Zoom
Click here to register

February Seminar Series Event: “The Realities of Resilience in the Face of Burnout”

The February Seminar Series event, presented in partnership with the Civil Service Senate, features Dr. Tai Mendenhall from the Department of Family Social Science. During this event, titled “The Realities of Resilience in the Face of Burnout”, Dr. Mendenhall will have an informative conversation to learn about common symptoms of burnout and compassion fatigue. Despite knowing that attention to our own self-care and (inter)personal well-being is essential, practicing what we preach is easier said than done. Participants will receive tangible resources and tools to facilitate biopsychosocial/spiritual health.
When: Thursday, February 3 from Noon to 1 PM CT
Where: Via Zoom

P&A Driving MPACT 2025

Tony Scott is the new director of the Undergraduate Applied and Professional Study programs. He has had a lengthy career in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies where he has worked diligently supporting students and ensuring they have the skills necessary for success as students and as they enter the workforce. Scott’s role of committing to supporting student success highlights the connection of P&A staff to MPACT 2025.

Laura Mogelson is the Director of the Multiple Pathways to Teaching program (MPT) in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). MPT is an innovative, non-conventional teacher licensure program, offering quality preparation to high-potential teacher candidates in partnership with local districts and organizations. MPT works with local school partners and organizations to tailor curriculum delivery and identify promising candidates, many of whom already have extensive experience working in schools, often in high needs areas. Many candidates are in district positions while working towards their licensure and master's degree coursework.

Together with CEHD’s commitment to educating the next generation of teachers, MPT is helping to overcome predicted teacher shortages while diversifying the teacher workforce. Mogelson’s work supports MPACT 2025 in working to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus system while also serving the state and impacting education across the nation.  
Christopher Lundstrom is a lecturer in the School of Kinesiology. His research interests center on endurance exercise training and performance. Specifically, he is interested in running economy, aerobic capacity, metabolic substrate utilization, and heart rate variability. Lundstrom  has taught courses in the areas of sports science, training theory, coaching, and physical education at the University of Minnesota since 2006. Lundstrom’s “Tips and Tricks for Running in Cold Weather” were recently featured in the “Talking with U of M” segment on the UMN News & Events page. Lundstrom contributes to MPACT 2025 through his commitment to discovery, innovation and impact.

Sheila Williams Ridge, Associate Director of the Child Development Lab School, is co-author of “Nature-Based Learning for Young Children: Anytime, Anywhere, on Any Budget.” Her book includes play-based lesson plans and experiential activities that early childhood educators can use in a variety of settings. Williams Ridge’s work connects to MPACT 2025’s commitment to community and belonging by working to achieve anti-racist early childhood resources that are accessible to all. 

Please consider sharing your own work with us to be considered for upcoming newsletters. If you come upon an article involving a P&A Employee, let us know.

Senate Work

P&A Consultative Committee (PACC)

Chair Scott Creer and Chair-elect Adolfo Carrillo Cabello  
Chair Scott Creer and Chair-elect Adolfo Carrillo Cabello have been working in consultation with the P&A Consultative Committee, the Office of the President, and the Office of Human Resources on several advocacy topics. They have heard the concerns of P&As regarding the COVID-19 Omicron variant and CDC guidance. Specifically, Creer has asked that service delivery expectations be modified to accommodate staff time away for COVID-19 reasons. P&A leadership has also initiated joint advocacy conversations with the Civil Service and Faculty Senates regarding employee concerns around the University of Minnesota Wellness Program. Additionally, Creer continues advocating for performance management (employee reviews) to be separated from compensation adjustments, and for the current merit pool to be renamed.

P&A Professional Development and Recognition Subcommittee (PD&R)

Co-Chairs: Leigh Allen and Monica Kocon  


The University Awards & Honors website lists awards for which P&A employees are eligible to submit nominations. There are a number of award nomination deadlines coming up in February and March. 


If you missed the December 1 Seminar Series event, “An Intro to the Office for Conflict Resolution” with Tamar Gronvall, check out the recording.

Additional Updates

As a new semester begins, the University community is reminded of several messages regarding COVID-19 in the workplace, including recent updates from President Gabel on January 5, 2022, and updates from Ken Horstman on January 11, 2022. Both messages reminded everyone to keep Work. With Flexibility in mind as we head into 2022. Further examples to support flexibility in your work space were discussed in the P&A Special Edition newsletter.
Keep up to date on legislative updates, consider joining UMN Advocates.