Fighting Hate on Our Campus

Colleagues,

Just after midnight on Saturday, November 4, an outside group came onto our campus wearing masks and carrying tiki torches. This may not mean much at first glance, but you may recall that one of the first incidents in Charlottesville was a group of white supremacists carrying torches. So this recent event did not sit well with me.

Thankfully, the group of demonstrators on our campus was broken up very quickly. UT police officers arrived at the scene within minutes of the report, told the group they needed to leave, and they did. Shortly after, President Fenves released a statement that basically said while we’re committed to free speech, we don’t support hate.

This isn’t the first hate group-related incident we’ve had on our campus. I’m sure most of you are aware of racist flyers that have been posted around campus over the years. Some have targeted Muslims. Some have targeted people from China. Some have targeted African-Americans.

In response to an increase in non-UT affiliates coming on campus, the university has changed how our buildings are accessed at night and by whom. Building managers and police can remove people from our buildings if they are not part of our community. In the near future, the university will be revising our campus violence policy and reviewing guidelines on who can become a registered group on campus.

But it’s not just up to the university administration. This is a community problem and only the whole community is going to help solve it. So this is my call to action for you:

  • When you hear someone make statements that you think are discriminatory, let them know you or others find those words hurtful or insulting. By staying silent, you are implicitly saying what they said is OK. Speak out if you think what they said is offensive and try to engage them in a respectful conversation. If you’re not sure how to start that conversation, contact EAP or the Dispute Resolution Office for ideas. Or, take a Bystander Intervention class from BeVocal.
  • If you see something racist, like flyers or graffiti, around campus, take a picture of it and report it to the Campus Climate Response Team (CCRT). This team tracks bias incidents on campus. It’s important to not post the photo you took on social media because you will be giving free advertising to the group.
  • Talk to a co-worker or write them a letter of support. Ask them what they need from you. Maybe it’s something as simple as walking with them to their car after work.
  • Ask the UTPD Crime Prevention Unit to give a presentation at your next staff meeting. Knowing how to stop crime before it starts can be one of the best plans of action.
  • Learn about a group that’s different from you by checking out books from our libraries, listening to podcasts, or taking workshops like Disability 101 or LGBTQA+ from DDCE. You can also learn from groups that call for more free speech on campus or support things that you don’t agree with.

There are other ideas on the “8 Things you can do to fight hate” handout shown below. Although this is geared toward staff, these are practical suggestions for any faculty member or student as well. Please read through them and see which ones ring true for you.

This call to action is not about shutting down people who have opinions different from yours… but it is about maintaining a professional and safe work environment for everyone. It’s about engaging people in a respectful dialogue when you can. It’s about telling people that we care about what happens on our campus and to our colleagues.

As the BeSafe campaign says, “When we look out for each other, our whole community is safer.” Respectful conversations with people can and will help change the culture.

Jaime

 

fight hate flyer

Flyer: “8 things you can do to fight hate on our campus”. Print one and hang it in your work area!

Posted in UTSC Chair

September 2017 updates

Here’s a recap of some of the things that happened with Staff Council this month:

 

UTSC Core Values

At the July retreat, all 50+ Representatives brainstormed ideas and values that they felt represented Staff Council. There was a surprising amount of overlap that gave us about 20 items to work with. The Executive Committee then refined those into three core values: Advocacy, Collaboration, and Transparency. Those three values exemplify to me what Staff Council stands for and I find it extra fitting that they spell “ACT”. Committees will use these values to help them prioritize the work they tackle this year.

 

Elections

Elections opened on Wednesday for districts who had more than one nominee. If you are in one of those districts, please be sure to vote by Friday, October 6. If you have questions, please contact Gordon at elections@utsc.utexas.edu. Once elections results are calculated, new representatives and their supervisors will be notified and our new Reps will join us for the October meeting. We will be scheduling an orientation soon as well.

 

Presidential Meet and Greet

The President’s Office offered us the opportunity to meet in small groups with President Fenves on September 25. Our representatives were able to chat with him in a more intimate setting and President Fenves was able to listen to the concerns we had on a more personal level. We even got a shout-out from him on Twitter!

President Fenves and some of the 2017 UTSC Representatives give the Hook 'Em sign

President Fenves pauses for a group photo after the meet and greet on September 25

 

 

Budget and Employee Engagement Survey updates

We really enjoyed having Mary Knight come speak to our group about the UT budget. It definitely gives us a better appreciation of the complexities of the budget, but it also lets us see the big picture of where our money comes from and where our money goes.

In addition, we loved the energy and realism that Noel Landuyt brought to the meeting when he spoke about the university-wide Employee Engagement Survey results. He also shared with us

You can review the September PowerPoint to learn more.

 

 

 

Looking forward

 

In October, we will have four guest speakers:

  • Jeff Stellmach on the Staff Emergency Fund
  • Alyssa Manse on Cvent, an event management tool used by some departments around campus
  • Frances Delacruz on UTLearn, the learning management system introduced to campus last year
  • Dana Cook on Workday, the HR system secheduled for a Fall 2018 release

In November, we will have:

  • Bobby Stone from PTS, who will give us an overview of how PTS is funded and to help us understand the new parking permit waitlist policy
  • Jeanne Farahnak will speak on Employee Advisory Council, which is similar to Staff Council but for all of UT System

Each month committee chairs will give updates on the progress their committees have made on their projects.

 

As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments for me, you can email me at chair@utsc.utexas.edu. You can also reach out to your representative or use our Issues Form to submit issues to the Staff Council.

Take care everyone and have a great weekend,

Jaime

 

 

Posted in UTSC Chair

Committees Taking Shape

Our annual retreat was held on July 20 at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. If you haven’t been there in person yet, I encourage you to go check it out. It’s free admission to UT faculty, staff, and students with a valid UT ID card.

Before the retreat, representatives had an opportunity to fill out a survey asking what types of issues they thought we should work on this year. We had about 32 of our 67 reps respond. We also brought data collected from our 2016 campus-wide survey to see what issues were still relevant.

Some committees are part of our bylaws (Communications, Elections, Issues, and Resources), others were committees that had work in progress from last year (Diversity, Engagement, Flex Work, Professional Development, Sustainability, and Wellness), and others were created based on new topics (Bylaws, Campus Safety, and Staff Benefits).  At this stage, our committees are still in a bit of a flux as we try to narrow our focus on issues we can tackle. As you can imagine, we received more project ideas than we actually have time for. In addition, we will still continue to work on projects like the Staff Lunch Lotto (lunch with President Fenves) and the ReFresh Project (subsidized commuter shower facilities).

While we were working we shot some video footage to use in some upcoming videos. We want to better explain who Staff Council is, what we do, and what positive changes we’ve had on staff at UT.

We still have about 29 open positions on Staff Council, so if your district has a vacancy and you’re interested in joining us, check out our get involved page.

Our August meeting will be held on the 17th, from 2-3:30 in Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302) and we plan to use the last part of the meeting to firm up our committee projects. Our September meeting will be held on the 21st (same time and location) and will feature Mary Knight, who will talk about UT’s budget and the impact of the last legislative session.
As always, I welcome your feedback and hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings.
Jaime K Davis
2017-2018 UT Staff Council Chair
chair@utsc.utexas.edu
Reps hold up signs indicating topics of interest

Groups start to form during the 2017 retreat

Posted in UTSC Chair

A new year and new challenges

As your new Staff Council Chairperson, I look forward to getting to know all of the representatives at our July 20 retreat. A link to the list of current UTSC Representatives can be found on our website.

At our retreat we will brainstorm projects we would like to accomplish this year. In the past, some of our accomplishments include proving Lynda.com would be a valuable resource to our campus, helping establish the Wellness Coordinator and the Staff Ombuds positions, developing the Professional Development Grant Program, and partnering with many campus organizations to help bring you benefits like the Farm-to-Work program, the Employee Emergency Fund, and access to showers and locker room facilities for commuters. I look forward to more exciting projects like these this year!

One of the things I have found in talking with people around campus is that many don’t know who we are or what we do. So one of my goals this year is to help fix that. I plan to work closely with the Communications and Engagement committees to figure out ways we can better market ourselves. What a shame that our mission is to help staff at UT Austin and so many aren’t even aware that we exist.

I know that one of our challenges this year will be the budget. As with the past several years, our budget has been tight and -although the legislature was kinder to us than we thought they would be- I expect this year to be no different. We might be passed the point of “doing more with less,” as we’ve been doing that for far too long. We may need to start thinking differently about solutions and I welcome your thoughts and ideas of what those solutions might be.

I am excited about the coming year and know it is full of promise! I welcome your feedback and hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings. Our next general meeting is June 15, from 2-3:30 in Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302).

Jaime K Davis
2017-2018 UT Staff Council Chair
chair@utsc.utexas.edu

Posted in UTSC Chair

SkillPort

UT System has recently completed a 3-year contract with Skillsoft — a provider of talent management training content — and has made it available to all UT System campuses (all active faculty and staff) at no additional charge.

UT System will be presenting Skillsoft to the various HR functions across UT System in the near future, but in the meantime, you can access the site and browse through the course, video, and book offerings.

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: UT System employee
Hosting/Administrative Sponsor: Skillport
Price: Varies by program
Venue: Online
Website: utsystem.skillport.com

Posted in Professional Development Resources

UT Staff Toastmasters Club

Each Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking, interpersonal communications, and leadership skills by giving a prepared or impromptu speech or taking on a role such a evaluator, grammarian or timekeeper. There is no instructor in a Toastmasters meeting and the curriculum is self-paced. Members evaluate each other’s presentations in a constructive yet positive format; this friendly feedback process is a key part of the program’s success.

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: Membership is open to all current and former UT Austin Staff.
Price: $20 one time new member fee, $55 club dues (paid every 6 months)
Venue: The club meets every Thursday 12:05pm-12:55pm typically in SAC 1.106; a detailed meeting schedule is posted on the club website that notes any variations in location.
Website: utstaff.toastmastersclubs.org

Posted in Professional Development Resources Tagged with:

Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO)

Bachelor of Arts Degree
A new Bachelor of Arts degree from HDO designed to teach students to explore, learn, and articulate the ways the liberal arts and social/behavioral sciences can address practical problems facing organizations.

Master of Arts Degree
An innovative program offering students from the business and nonprofit sectors the knowledge and skills they need to make their organizations more effective, creative, and efficient.

Professional Training
Professional training for groups and individuals led by UT Austin’s top faculty. Programs focus on the practical value of the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences for solving real-world problems. Training options include:

  • Certificate Programs
  • Custom Programs
  • One-Day Professional Seminars

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: Designed for Working Professionals
Hosting/Administrative Sponsor: HDO at UT Austin
Price: Varies by program
Venue: On campus
Contact: Lewis Miller lewismiller@utexas.edu
Website: hdo.utexas.edu

Posted in Professional Development Resources Tagged with: ,

Data Management at UT

Faculty, researchers, students, and support staff across all disciplines at the University of Texas are engaged in research projects that gather, create, and/or use data. The Data Management Program at UT is committed to helping develop and steward that data at all stages of research, from project planning to publication and dissemination. In a collaborative effort between the UT Libraries, TACC, and ITS, we offer resources, training, and consulting services to the UT community. A major focus of the program is to help research and support staff develop the essential skills, good practices, and a basic understanding of the funding body and publisher requirements associated with data management.

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: None
Hosting/Administrative Sponsor: UT Libraries
Price: free
Venue: On campus
Contact: Jessica Trelogan j.trelogan@austin.utexas.edu
Website: lib.utexas.edu/datamanagement

Posted in Professional Development Resources Tagged with:

Center for Professional Education (CPE)

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Professional Education (CPE) helps individuals meet professional and personal goals and helps organizations develop employees and improve performance through its program, consulting, coaching and facilitation services.

CPE designs and delivers face-to-face and online noncredit programs for individuals interested in improving their professional skills or who seek a credential or a career change. Our programs and instructors help individuals and organizations around Texas and around the world improve personal and organizational performance. Since 1999, more than 18,000 individuals have enrolled in CPE programs. We conduct an average of 300 onsite programs annually within and outside of Texas. Our program participants hail from every region of the United States and from Mexico, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia.

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: None
Price: varies
Venue: Thompson Conference Center (TCC)
Contact: Liliya Spinazzola lspinazzola@austin.utexas.edu
Website: professionaled.utexas.edu

Posted in Professional Development Resources Tagged with:

Leadership Symposium

Provide participants with innovative ideas, tools, and discussions to help develop as effective and successful leaders.

Restrictions/Prerequisites for Attendance: UT employees
Hosting/Administrative Sponsor: Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association (HF/SA)
Price: free
Venue: On campus
Contact: Elsie Q. Rebolloso elsieqr@austin.utexas.edu
Website: sites.utexas.edu/hfsa/events/leadership-symposium/

Posted in Professional Development Resources Tagged with: ,

Archives

UTSC Calendar

  • UTSC January Meeting

    January 18, 2018 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    Peter O'Donnell Junior Building, Peter O'Donnell Jr Building, 201 E 24th St, Austin, TX 78712, USA

    • Staff Council Issues Subcommittee updates: Eda Mathews
    • Guest Presenters:
      • Adrienne Howarth-Moore on the HR move to UTA
      • Adrienne Howarth-Moore on potential changes to the Staff Education Benefit
      • Bobby Stone on parking permit waitlist policy

    See more details