Looking Back ~ Erin Heath, 2020-21 Chair of the P&A Senate/P&A Consultative Committee

Serving as chair of the P&A Senate in 2020-21 has been an eventful experience. The “typical” priorities we may have otherwise worked on became somewhat secondary, although we still made progress on a number of issues. The P&A Senate worked through how to effectively manage through 27 pay periods, a COVID-related temporary salary reduction, efforts intended to minimize P&A layoffs, safe work environments, and return to campus planning, in addition to navigating our way through civil conflicts and unrest. The groundwork we laid in developing relationships and engaging in dialog this year will contribute to the foundation we build on in moving forward toward our “new” normal.

Serving as P&A Senate chair this year has truly been an honor, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work on behalf of our 6,500 or so P&A employees throughout the University system. And I know, under Chair Scott Creer and Chair-elect Adolfo Carrillo Cabello’s leadership, the P&A Senate will be in great hands.

Looking Ahead ~ Scott Creer, 2021-22 Chair of P&A the Senate/P&A Consultative Committee

There is no doubt this year will continue to be challenging. Out of the ashes from the world that was forever changed by COVID-19, the University will need to forge a new path forward. Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 will set the stage for the future that we will all develop together and struggle to adapt to. I can see the issues of advocacy around safety, immunizations, and masking relative to COVID-19 continuing, while trying to plan and advocate for an environment post these concerns. It would be unrealistic to believe that the issues of race and policing in this country, across the metro, and at the University are going to be solved within the upcoming year. Staff salaries have felt the impact of two salary freezes since 2008, below inflation increases on the other years, and several readjustments of responsibilities. The decentralized nature of the University has led to inequities felt by P&A employees across the system. 

It is not my expectation that we will be able to fix any of these large important issues within my tenure as chair of the P&A Senate. My goal for this year is to increase the presence and voice of P&A staff in the University decision-making process. It will be important to continue to build on relationships established by previous P&A leadership, and be ready to call on those allies to support us in trying to address the many challenges stated above. I intend to continue advocating for changes to policies to ensure equitable employment experiences for University employees. 

I am excited and optimistic about the coming year. I have no doubt that PACC and the P&A Senate will continue their work in elevating the voice and contributions of P&A staff across the University system. 

We always welcome engagement with any constituent regarding their ideas to improve the P&A experience, and people should never hesitate to reach out. You can find contact information on the P&A Senate website.

NRRI Awarded the 2021 P&A Outstanding Unit Award

Congratulations to the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), winner of the 2021 P&A Outstanding Unit Award! NRRI develops and maintains unique relationships with industry, business, government agencies, legislators, NGOs, academia and communities that benefit the University as well as facilitating P&A staff serving on both federal and state agency committees and advisory boards. NRRI is featured on the P&A Senate Awards website, plus you can read more about their work at nrri.umn.edu.

Positioned for Excellence, Alignment, and Knowledge Initiative

The Positioned for Excellence, Alignment, and Knowledge (PEAK) Initiative is a systemwide effort to better understand administrative activities happening across the system and deliver best-in-class services to support the University’s mission of teaching, research, and service. The goal is to explore more effective ways of operation to meet the challenges faced by higher education, position us against the financial and operational burdens of COVID-19, and ultimately steer the University toward future success. The PEAK initiative will identify opportunities to increase efficiency or gain capacity in order to support the long-term financial health and sustainability of the University. You can visit the PEAK initiative website to learn more. 

A survey was sent out to select participants whose position classification and job title matched the project’s scope. Those of you who were selected and asked for your engagement by completing this survey, thank you. Your participation ensures that the results are a comprehensive representation of the work P&A staff are engaged in. P&A Senate Chair-elect Scott Creer sits on the PEAK Advisory Council representing the P&A Senate. If you have concerns about the initiative feel free to contact Scott

P&A Driving Excellence

Jason Tangquist, interim registrar, University of Minnesota Crookston, has filled in as needed for a lot of roles on the Crookston campus. He moved from the Athletics Compliance department into the Office of the  Registrar for the past two years and has recently taken on the responsibility of Title IX Officer for students. Tangquist is also serving as the Title IX Officer for faculty and staff while the search for a new director of Human Resources is underway. Tanquist serves on many other committees on campus as well.  

Joe Moses, senior lecturer, Department of Writing, and Jason Tham (UMN alumni, Ph.D. 2019), have published the Collaborative Writing Playbook: An Instructor’s Guide to Designing Writing Projects for Student Teams (2021, Parlor Press). The playbook is designed to assist instructors who want to create team writing assignments that support course-specific learning objectives. The co-authors took full advantage of the University’s collaborative spirit by consulting with colleagues in Writing Studies, the Writing Enriched Curriculum Program, the Center for Educational Innovation, LATIS, and the Emerging Technologies Research Collaboratory. Their work was supported by grants from the Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing research program and the CLA Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop. 

Congratulations to all those who were awarded the 2021 President's Award for Outstanding Service, including six P&A staff members:   

  • Angela M. Carter, access consultant, Disability Resource Center, Office for Equity and Diversity, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • LeAnn Lindquist Dean, library director, Rodney A. Briggs Library, University of Minnesota Morris
  • Minerva S. Muñoz, director, TRIO Student Support Services, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Josh Parrill, tutor programming coordinator and interim assistant director, Student Success Center, University of Minnesota Crookston
  • Terry Straub, Extension educator, Master Gardener Volunteer Program - Hennepin County, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

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 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)

At its May meeting, PACC met with Tina Marisam, director and Title IX coordinator, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA). From Marisam's presentation, the committee learned that the EOAA has a variety of formal and informal procedures available to employees with concerns about discrimination, sexual misconduct, and related retaliation. Individuals can meet with an EOAA staff member to learn about EOAA processes without providing information about their concerns or deciding whether they want to initiate an EOAA process. Individuals who wish to remain anonymous can report concerns and/or ask questions about EOAA processes through UReport. Concerns reported through UReport that are related to discrimination, sexual misconduct, and related retaliation will be forwarded to EOAA. To learn more about how to report misconduct you can refer to the EOAA website on reporting misconduct.  

Benefits and Compensation Subcommittee (B&C)

The Office of Human Resources Compensation team is currently working on refining the Information Technology job family which is expected to be completed this August. As part of P&A Senate advocacy last year, a member from the P&A Senate was invited to be on the IT Market Refinement Advisory Team. This team greatly contributes to the design of the refined job family. Job families still needing to be refined include Administration, Education, Libraries and Museums, Research, and Student Services. Questions can be sent to [email protected].

Communications Subcommittee

The Communications Subcommittee will send an abbreviated newsletter this summer to keep P&A staff updated on information coming from the Office of Human Resources and the Office of the President.

Outreach Subcommittee

Welcome to all the newly elected P&A senators! We look forward to having more senators as elections wrap up over the coming month. We are working on improving the new senator orientation process this summer and are excited to prepare for fall.

Professional Development and Recognition Subcommittee (PD&R)

The PD&R Subcommittee would like to thank everyone who nominated a unit for the 2021 P&A Outstanding Unit Award. This year featured tough competition and we hope to share more about the other finalists and nominees throughout the upcoming academic year.
Thanks for your participation in the new Policy Pop-Up event series this year. The events were well received by all involved and will resume in the fall.
The notes, slides, handouts, and video recording for the April 2021 Leveraging and Understanding a Multi-generational Workforce Seminar Series event are here.

Additional Updates

Scheduling Remaining Furlough Hours or Pay Reduction Time Off

Ken Horstman, interim vice president, OHR, sent a message on behalf of OHR, reminding salaried faculty and P&A employees that the Furlough and Pay Reduction Program ends June 30, 2021. Salaried faculty and P&A employees have until December 30, 2021 to use pay reduction hours.

  • Faculty and P&A Employees Have Until December 30, 2021 to Use PRP Hours: Pay reductions for salaried faculty and P&A employees will end with the last pay date in the current fiscal year, which is June 30. Beginning with the first paycheck of the new fiscal year on July 14, you will see a slight adjustment in your biweekly amount of gross pay compared to FY21. In addition, the deadline for taking your optional bank of pay reduction time off has been extended to December 30 (December 31 is a University holiday). After that date, any remaining hours will no longer be available.
  • Scheduling Remaining Furlough Hours or Pay Reduction Time Off: You can submit requests for remaining furlough or pay reduction hours as you do for any other absence using your usual time-tracking system. For detailed instructions, see the Absence Requests web page. Furlough or pay reduction time off may be used consecutively or intermittently, and you can use vacation and other types of leave in combination with your assigned hours.

Self Care this Summer

Your P&A colleagues wish you a refreshing summer. Taking time to care for yourself comes in many forms, and below are some of the University resources you may find useful to care for your mental, physical, financial health and more.