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UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center for Black Culture and History

NOTE:  This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.

Meet and Greet with Incoming Elected Delegates (9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.)

  • Forum Group Photo Will Be Taken at 9:15 a.m. Please dress well and don’t be late!

I.  Call to Order, Opening Remarks, & Recitation of Forum Charge—Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:25 a.m.)

II. Special Presentations (9:25 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

  • Kevin Guskiewicz, Interim Chancellor of the University
  • Tricia Mahoney of GuidanceResources, on Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

III. Human Resources Update (10:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.)

  • Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington
  • Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler

IV. Consent Agenda (10:35 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)

V. Old Business (10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

  • Forum Meetings Moved to June 12th, July 10th

VI. New Business (11:00 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.)

  • Preference for July 10th Retreat: Ropes Course or Indoor Event or Combination?
  • Forum Officer Elections; Remarks from Officer Candidates
    • Chair: Shayna Hill
    • Vice Chair:
    • Secretary:
    • Treasurer:

VII. Announcements/Questions (11:25 -11:30 a.m.)

IX.  Adjournment


May 1, 2019 Employee Forum minutes

Attending:  L.E. Alexander, Emma Beckham, Ashley Belcher, Jo-Ann Blake, Rich Brandenburg, Shane Brogan, Tia Brown, Melisa Campbell, Timothy Carville, Tiffany Carver, Adrienne Cromwell, Laurel Dean, Jen DeNeal, Morgan Douglas, Phillip Edwards, Nicole Eggleston, Jasper Fleming, Adrienne Gibilisco, Chrissie Greenburg, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, James Holman, Linda Holst , Kathy James, Katie Lewis, Karlina Matthews, Jeff McQueen, Arlene Medder, Clinton Miller, Alan Moran, Kadejah Murray, Katie Musgrove , Natiaya Neal, Joe Ormond, Jim Potts, Laura Pratt, Rocky Riviella, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Greg Smith, James Stamey, Allison Standard, Tracy Weatherby-Williams

Excused Absences: Darren Abrecht, Mary King, Heather Lewis

Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:21 a.m.  She led newly elected Forum delegates in a recitation of the Forum charge.  She then introduced Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to address the Forum.

Guskiewicz thanked the Chair for her leadership and the Forum for its work.  He noted his background as a faculty member, senior associate dean, and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.  He was excited and energized by the passion that staff and faculty carry in their roles working for Carolina.  He also noted his role as parent of two children at Carolina.

Guskiewicz spoke of UNC-Chapel Hill as the most public of public universities, with many opportunities in front of leadership for the future.  He looked forward to working alongside staff on projects and strategies that are bold and student focused.  He asked listeners what the University should change and not change, and what the interim Chancellor should and should not do.  He planned to open opportunities for feedback at any time.

Guskiewicz pledged to do all he could to make all feel welcome in a culture of collaboration.  He noted that the University serves as a representative of the State of North Carolina.  He hoped to identify challenges to the culture of collegiality at the University, drawing upon his own experience researching concussions starting as a junior faculty member in 1995.  He noted Carolina’s subsequent role in rewriting concussion protocols from high schools to the National Football League.  He will seek to build a collaborative culture evocative of the University’s “low stone walls,” as opposed to the departmental silos which limit such cooperation.  Guskiewicz pointed to his meetings with groups outside UNC such as the leadership of the Town of Chapel Hill, as an example of this collaboration.

Guskiewicz noted the numerous challenges facing Carolina, notably in recent controversies about campus safety.  He has established a campus safety commission which will buttress work by an outside consultant on these issues.  He recalled the propagation of symbols and flyers hostile to the campus Jewish community as a recent example of the need to manage differences on different issues.  He said that all must pull together to address these serious concerns.

Alan Moran wished Guskiewicz every success in his future endeavors.  He asked what could be done to create more opportunities for collaboration between University Administration and the Forum.  He said that better communication would lead to a better understanding of employee needs and concerns.  Guskiewicz asked how often the Chancellor has met with the Forum.  Moran recalled that he had served as a delegate in 2005 and he was shocked by how little interaction there has been with current Chancellors.  He said that years ago, there were monthly face-to-face interactions between the Forum Chair and the Chancellor, as well as more participation by Vice Chancellors in Forum discussions.

Guskiewicz asked which specific topics his administration could address.  The Chair recalled that fourteen years ago, the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Better Workplace had established a close personal working link between Chancellor James Moeser and Forum Chair Tommy Griffin.  She noted that the Task Force was instrumental in the establishment of the University’s Ombuds Office.  She noted reports that the Office needs more staff.  She said the Office’s special standing as a place at which employees can raise issues without a threat of retaliation.  Guskiewicz recalled that he had used the Office often to resolve issues in his time as Dean.

Natiaya Neal noted plans surrounding the upcoming Commencement with the School of Public Health.  She was curious about the University’s plan for departmental security at the secondary Commencement events.  She noted fear of retaliation given the shootings at UNC-Charlotte.  Guskiewicz said that the Chancellor’s Cabinet had discussed this question the previous Tuesday.  Executive Vice Provost Ron Strauss has been active in creating and distributing schoolwide guidelines to increase safety.

Tracy Wetherby Williams hoped to see more explicit feedback from the Chancellor’s Office to resolutions forwarded by the Forum.  It was noted that approved resolutions are sent to the Chancellor as well as to various Vice Chancellors.  Guskiewicz pledged to work hard to generate responses and action items from these documents in the future.

Jeff McQueen noted the need to reinvigorate the Forum’s community meeting tradition.  He asked the Chancellor how his Office will prioritize answering questions from staff employees.  Guskiewicz recalled the town halls that Arts & Sciences had conducted to address similar concerns among staff and faculty.  He anticipated a similar system for University-wide concerns.

The Chair thanked Guskiewicz for his time and remarks.  She welcomed Tricia Mahoney of ComPsych to speak on the Employee Assistant Program.  Mahoney noted recent changes to counseling and guidance resources on-line.  She said that these resources are strictly confidential, with all records kept off-campus in Chicago.  She said that counselors are available to employees twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at 877.344.5841.  Additionally, anyone living under the roof of an UNC employee can use these services.  Mahoney noted that all counselors have Masters’ level guidance certifications and would assess contacts’ situation before making referrals to local providers.  UNC employees should use the password ‘TARHEELS’ to obtain these services.

Mahoney said that callers can use three free sessions with ComPsych counselors, with the option to begin again with a different counselor if the first contact is not a good fit.  Counselors will help callers transfer to long-term local counseling options.

ComPsych counselors also can answer brief legal questions and make referrals to local attorneys.  She recalled that her son had used the service to obtain a legal reference to address a speeding ticket on the way home from the beach one holiday.  The service allows one free consultation followed by 25% off services.  Employees should consult for more information.

Counselors can also provide free and confidential services that will guide but not direct employees needing financial and legal assistance.  The service offers a catch-all concierge to do vetting for child and elder care providers, education options, and other matters.  Mahoney recalled another older son with a pit-bull dog who used the service to vet possible apartments and landlords in another state.

Mahoney noted that the online service features help sheets, assessments, and planning calculators to assist employees with various situations.  She said that the service offers five-minute trainings in various areas such as avoiding emotional eating.

Laurel Dean confirmed that the service could not be used in legal proceedings against the University.  Mahoney offered to make her presentation to other departments and units.  Alan Moran asked if the service could share aggregate information with the University.  Mahoney said that the service does provide aggregated data regarding use of legal and financial counseling to find the main drivers of use of the site.  Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources said that the University reviews reports to plan campus trainings.

Arlene Medder asked about employees who are not adept with on-line websites.  Mahoney said that these employees can use the 877.344.5841 phone number to obtain customized help.  Clare Counihan lauded ComPsych’s assistance with elder care planning, noting that others have also raved about the service’s work.  Jo-Ann Blake confirmed that children’s calls to the service can be anonymized.

The Chair led the room in a series of introductions.  She then welcomed Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update.  Washington praised Mahoney’s presentation on the Employee Assistance Program.  She noted the day’s chance to say ‘hello’ to incoming delegates and ‘good-bye’ to departing ones.  She recalled that the Forum Bylaws state that the Chancellor established the Forum to serve in an advisory capacity to their office and to their designees.  The Forum represents all SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees for the communication of general employee interests and concerns.  The Forum is not intended for treatment of individual issues or the circumvention of existing administrative channels.  The Forum advises the Chancellor upon request.

Washington recalled that there are many different mechanisms for communication with University Administration, granting that some employees may feel they do not have great access to decision-makers.  She noted that every other month Forum delegates meet with Vice Chancellor representatives from the Office of Human Resources, Finance & Operations, and occasionally other areas such as Facilities Services.  Usually a representative from the Provost’s Office also attends these meetings.  Delegates can offer potential agenda items and minutes are kept of discussions.

Washington noted that May is a time of celebration at UNC with Commencement affecting every part of campus.  She noted the recent University Advancement of Women awards, the recent announcement of the C. Knox Massey Award winners, and the banquet for longstanding employees.

Washington reminded employees of their mandatory Title IX training.  She noted the build-out of the strategic plan through the Blueprint for Next.

Linc Butler spoke on the Operational Excellence Initiative’s progress, saying that the program had done amazing work redesigning, onboarding and hiring employees in Finance, Human Resources, and Sponsored Research.  He said that the Initiative had set a target of 45 days to hire the right candidate for open positions.  The Initiative will now turn its attention to the establishment and updating of positions in a more efficient and effective manner.

Senior Employee & Managerial Consultant Tyler Enlow spoke on the performance management process, the review period of which ends May 1st.  He said that supervisors could still enter ratings after the deadline but not complete the full review.  Enlow noted that the performance cycle requires that a performance plan be put in place for every position within 30 days of creation.  Senior Director Angenette McAdoo is available to help write developmental goals for positions, typically the most difficult part of the process.  A separate section on lifelong learning is not rated but rather is used to document conference, mentorship or other experiences.

Jen DeNeal asked when the performance management process will go on-line.  Enlow said that the plan is to move forward with this step very soon.  For now, the process is mainly confined to paper, although a pilot program has undergone implementation.  Linc Butler said that the System Office has launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) to implement on-line performance management.

An employee asked about setting goals for ConnectCarolina related to Talent Development.  Butler said that the timeframe for these improvements will likely be put in place in the next few weeks.

Enlow noted that the Office of Human Resources provides training on performance management actions weekday mornings.  Interested employees should sign up via ConnectCarolina.

Worklife and Wellness Program Manager Jessica Pyjas listed May health observances, including mental health fitness, Wellness Wednesdays and the Spring Fling run/walk event May 3rd.  She noted the upcoming Wellness Champion program that will ask members to dedicate 6-8 hours a month to developing programs in their departments.

Pyjas directed employees to the Helping Heels care list in the WorkWell newsletter that recruits and lists babysitting, childcare, and elder care resources every semester.  She noted that employees can obtain 25-50% off flowers from and discounts on college preparatory assistance as well.  Employees can also enjoy Fridays on the Front Porch afternoons outside the Carolina Inn from May 3rd to August 11th.

Laurel Dean asked if the Helping Heels list extends beyond the Chapel Hill area.  Pyjas could not say how far representatives live outside the immediate area.  Adrienne Gibilisco asked how caregivers are vetted.  Pyjas replied that the service disclaimer requires users to do their own vetting.

Chrissie Greenberg thanked the Office of Human Resources for the presentation on the Employee Assistance Program.  She was excited to let coworkers know about this program.  She confirmed that employees with more supervisory responsibility can be sent to BEST training.  Linc Butler said that this was true.  Employees can register for this training through ConnectCarolina.  The Chair urged inclusion of faculty supervisors in the BEST training.  Washington said that this step is on the agenda for the future.

Chrissie Greenberg praised efforts to decrease the number of days required to make new hires.  She asked about the creation of timelines to explain this process to managers and applicants, similar to those in use at NC State.  Butler said that a hiring playbook is in the works.

Arlene Medder asked about training those conducting the hiring process.  Butler said that Human Resources had just revised the hiring process to provide this opportunity.  There is no mandatory training for these employees, however.

Jim Potts recalled discussion of changing the salary band updates at the Forum meeting in November 2018.  He asked for an update about this concern.  Butler said that UNC-Chapel Hill had submitted a proposal to the UNC System Office.  The University needs special dispensation to revise the current salary adjustments, as these are outside the University’s authority to implement.  He did not know if the Legislature would move to address this concern.  He noted that UNC campuses have been vocal about this question.

Potts asked if there had been any effort to have salaries adjusted.  Butler said that there has been no University-wide movement, leaving units themselves to move in this area.  Washington said that the University has looked at equity in schools or units.  The University does not have the freedom to act that the Central Office has.  Potts asked what drove action regarding salary bands but not salaries.  The Chair thought that collaboration between departments would be helpful.  She noted that departments seem to treat their employees differently.  She thought it would be good for the University to explore these units’ different approaches.

Washington agreed with the Chair’s remarks.  She said that as the University refines its budgets and works towards a new budget model, it will move towards collaboration in these discussions when possible.  Potts asked about the Engagement Survey for faculty and staff.  Washington replied that Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity and Compliance Becci Menghini had provided a presentation to the Forum which had been uploaded onto the Forum website.  She said that the University System Office has been left to institute an action plan related to the survey results.

Potts said that if the University is using the Engagement Survey for the Blue Print for Next pillars and goals, he would hope to have the chance to contribute to the development of these goals.

Alan Moran hoped that in the future, the Forum would change its Bylaws to include more gender-neutral, inclusive language.

Rocky Riviella asked about a comment on a State Health Plan document that referred to benefits not being guaranteed as of 2021.  Washington said that she could not respond as she had not seen this page.  Riviella offered to send this link to Washington and her staff.  Butler said that the page might refer to a policy affecting new hires as of January 1, 2021.  Current employees would not be affected by this change.  Riviella noted the negative effects on employee recruitment this change would cause.  He hoped that the State would pursue another avenue.

The Chair asked committee chairs to make brief reports.  Greg Smith reported that he would continue as editor of InTouch for the Communications & Public Relations committee.

Katie Musgrove serves as the current chair of the Community Service committee, which is welcoming new members.  The committee works on Habitat for Humanity builds, the Carolina Campus Community Garden, the Carolina Blood Drive, various food and toy drives, and other endeavors.

Chair Laura Pratt said that the Education and Career Development committee had just closed applications for the Professional Development Grant program.  Carolina Family Scholarship applications will be accepted until June 1st.

Tiffany Carver noted that as Secretary of the Forum she chairs the Membership and Assignments committee, which conducts elections, meeting planning, orientation and retreat planning for the Forum.  She invited delegates to join the committee.

An employee recalled that a prospective resolution on salary compression had been sent to Personnel Issues committee members for discussion.  She said that the committee would consult with James Holman and Human Resources representatives in producing a final resolution for the Forum’s consideration.

Tiffany Carver reported that the Recognition & Awards committee will review nominations for the Peer Recognition awards on Friday, May 3rd at 11:30 a.m. in the School of Public Health.  She said that the Forum book club will meet May 30th at noon in 3005 Hooker Research Center.

The Chair reminded listeners that the UNC System Staff Assembly would conduct the next Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament to raise money for the Janet B. Royster scholarship program on Wednesday, May 15th.  She invited delegates to work on the Forum’s part of the program with the permission of their supervisor.  The tournament will take place at the Tobacco Road golf club in Sanford.

The Chair noted an idea to create a Budget Committee to manage the Forum’s finances.  Katie Musgrove noted that delegates are required to serve on one Forum committee.  She urged delegates to consider their choices before the July 10th all-day retreat.

The Chair confirmed under Old Business that the June meeting of the Forum will take place June 12th and the all-day retreat will take place July 10th, due to conflicting campus events and the July 4th holiday.

Under New Business, the Chair asked delegates’ opinions on the siting of the all-day retreat.  She recalled that the Forum held its morning session at the Outdoor Education Center last year then finished at the Hickory Tavern in Carrboro.

Katie Musgrove thought that last year’s teambuilding exercises had been very effective.  The Chair agreed.  Chrissie Greenberg noted that she had to miss the morning session.  She said that many employees cannot last on their feet for extended times outside.  She proposed that the Forum use the Outdoor Education Center as a later, optional event.  Tracy Wetherby Williams commented that she loved the outdoor event.  Laura Pratt thought that the Forum could conduct teambuilding activities at locations other than the Outdoor Center.

The Chair proposed to work with the Executive Committee to hammer out the different options.  She noted that the Outdoor Education Center does not have an indoor space in which to conduct business.

The Chair reminded delegates that every Forum officer position is open for election, other than Parliamentarian.  She asked if anyone wished to run for Forum office, noting that new delegates are eligible to serve or could shadow existing officers to prepare for office later.  Katie Musgrove said that delegates can also chair Forum committees.  Phil Edwards recalled that prospective officer candidates should discuss additional time commitments with their supervisor.  The Chair noted that the University pays an annual stipend to the department of the Forum Chair.

Arlene Medder said that delegates must also select divisional representatives to the Forum Executive Committee.  She said that serving in this role had provided delegates with a more comfortable way to learn about the Forum and its work in the University.  The Chair said that the Executive Committee meets the third Tuesday of the month in the Forum Office at 134 East Franklin Street, Room 207.

Kathy James moved that the Forum adjourn, seconded by Arlene Medder.  The meeting adjourned by acclamation at 11:25 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Matt Banks, Recording Secretary

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