Latest News

Become a Voice for Yourself and Your Colleagues!

Want to make your voice heard, represent the interests of your peers, and become familiar with the inner workings of the University? Consider serving on the P&A Senate! Several units across the University have openings for senator and alternate positions.  You will have received an email from your unit's election contact if there are open seats in your unit. Nominate yourself or someone else by the March 31 deadline.
Learn more about the P&A Senate and the role of a senator. To hear first-hand information about serving on the P&A Senate, join Senate members for office hours on Friday, March 19 or Wednesday, March 24. Drop into Zoom and stay as little or as long as you like and explore the possibility of serving on the P&A Senate.
Office Hours for the P&A Senate:

2021 P&A Senate Outstanding Unit Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 P&A Senate Outstanding Unit Award. Annually, the P&A Senate awards the Outstanding Unit Award to a unit of the University of Minnesota judged to be exemplary in its support of P&A staff and the critical role P&A employees fulfill in carrying out the mission of the University. Nominations must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021. Links to the award guidelines and nomination form can be found here.

Annual Report on Employee Compensation

The annual report on employee compensation was presented by Ken Horstman, interim vice president, Office of Human Resources (OHR), during the February 11, 2021, Board of Regents Finance & Operations Committee meeting. Presentation materials may be found here (slides 64-99). This presentation included salary data for University faculty and staff (including P&A and Civil Service) which highlighted disparities when compared to market rates. The P&A Senate is working with OHR to better understand these data and their implications on the University workforce.

P&A Driving Excellence

Ashley Mitchell, teaching specialist, HHH School of Public Health, was recently recognized as an Outstanding Instructor for two classes she taught: PubH 1003 in Spring 2020 and for PubH 2601 in Fall 2020. Ashley also serves on the Alcohol Policy and Abuse Prevention committee and wrote a letter to the editor of the Minnesota Daily in response to an article about allowing the UMN logo on alcohol products.
The University of Minnesota Academic Advising Network (AAN) includes advisors and student services professionals from across the Twin Cities Campus. AAN provides a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas and information regarding academic advising within the University community. On March 10th, winners of the Academic Advising Network AAN Awards were announced recognizing outstanding work in the profession. The awards winners as well as members of the AAN Board are P&A employees working diligently to enhance the student experience on campus. 

  • Rising Star Award - Grant McCormack, CFANS
  • Goldy Standard Award - True Xiong, CLA & School of Statistics 
  • Oracle Award - Fred Williams, Pre-Health Student Resource Center 
  • The Gopher Way Award - Kelly Deutschman, CSE 
  • Gopher Spirit Award - Jacquelyn Burt, CSCI 
  • Ski-U-Mah Collaboration Award - Ruth Cardenas, Ryan Hanson, and Ah Vang-Lo, CEHD Trio Student Support Services  

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Academic Support Resources, and the Office of Undergraduate Education are taking the lead on a project to implement Promise Plus, the University's guarantee for Minnesota undergraduate students with household income of $50,000 or less (for dependent and independent students) and that with the combination of Federal, State and institutional funds will cover the full cost of their tuition. The P&A staff in these areas working on the project range from business and financial aid analysts to communications specialists to project manager to director. For more information about the program, visit this site.

Let us know what great work you or your colleagues are doing. There is amazing work happening by P&As across the state. We want to hear from you! Submit your information here for consideration in an upcoming P&A newsletter. We will follow up with colleagues if the submission is not a self nomination.

Senate Work

P&A Consultative Committee (PACC)

President Gabel will attend the March 18, 2021, PACC Meeting to discuss perspectives about returning to campus.

Vacation Deferral - Erin Heath and Scott Creer, chair and chair-elect of PACC, continue working with OHR on guidance for use of the Deferral of Vacation Leave policy. Look to the April P&A Newsletter for the next update. 

Benefits and Compensation Subcommittee (B&C)  

In collaboration with the B&C Parental Leave Working Group, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) has developed the Parental and/or Medical Leave Planning Tool that employees may use for planned time off for a parental and/or medical leave. The tool includes checklists that cover multiple types of leaves and provide information to help employees ask the right questions and get the answers as they work on their planning in collaboration with their HR Unit Lead.

Professional Development and Recognition Subcommittee (PD&R)

The February 17, 2021 “Mindfulness, Morsels, and Movement: Feeding the Body and Mind” Seminar Series event, co-hosted with the Civil Service Senate, provided useful information regarding dietary recommendations and suggestions for wellness as well as a quick mindfulness exercise and information about trauma-informed mental health care and yoga. A link to the recording and materials can be found here

PD&R is hosting a Policy Pop-Up on March 31, 2021 from 12-1pm regarding planned extended leaves and the newly created Parental and/or Medical Leave Planning Tool ("the checklist"). Both planned leaves and the checklist are governed by several important University policies. The event will be a moderated drop-in Q&A session. 

Please follow this link for registration. You will then be sent the Zoom information for the upcoming session.

April's Seminar Series event details will be announced soon.

The next P&A Senate meeting is April 2, 2021. All P&As are welcome to attend and participate in discussions at senate meetings. The P&A Senate Meetings calendar can be found here.

Additional Updates

University Travel Update 

A comprehensive review of the Traveling on University Business policy was completed in February of 2021. Updated information includes the following:

  • Clarification around what are/are not reimbursable expenses.
  • Information pertaining to how to pay for travel has been collected into one section.
  • Assembles information regarding paying for travel from throughout the policy into one new section.
  • Language regarding extended day travel and local mileage has been moved from this policy to the Business Expenses policy.
  • Clarification related to air transportation.
  • Additional clarification around allowances and restrictions regarding room sharing and the use of vacation rental sites (Airbnb, VRBO).
  • Explains which dependent care expenses are/are not eligible for reimbursement.

University of Minnesota Duluth - Commission on Equity, Race & Ethnicity (CERE) Summit

The Commission on Equity, Race & Ethnicity (CERE) was established on the UM Duluth Campus in 2003, with a stated mission to "create an equitable campus community for people of all racial, ethnic, and intersecting identities through education and institutional change.”

Each year, CERE supports a summit whose theme aligns with its mission and the overall goals of the University. This year’s virtual event - “Being Antiracist, Doing Antiracism” - was held in early March with author Tim Wise and Professor Ibram X. Kendi as keynote speakers.

CERE understands that the conversations around equity, racism and ethnicity are sometimes fraught with emotional tension. However, CERE believes that avoidance only contributes to the separation of our community and provides space for biases to metastasize.

For those unable to attend this year's virtual Summit, there is still an opportunity to view the discussion with Tim Wise until March 31, 2021. If you have not registered for the Summit you may do so by creating an account at the registration page.

Vaccine News 

Multiple state-run programs are aimed at connecting Minnesotans with opportunities to receive the vaccine. The state’s Vaccine Connector is one way to find out when, where, and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, there is more information available at the Minnesota Department of Health site about the Community Vaccination Pilot Program.

For those in the Twin Cities, the University's Vaccine site is the official channel to communicate all vaccine information to U of M employees at this time.  

Legislative Updates

The State Legislature is now in session the Government and Community Relations website is great for more up to date information on the legislative session.