April 7, 2021
UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum
Zoom Remote Meeting: Connection Details Below
NOTE: This is a draft agenda and is subject to change without notice.
I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks: Chair Shayna Hill (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)
- Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press
II. Round Table with Provost Bob Blouin (tentative) (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)
III. Special Presentations (9:40 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.)
- Matthew Teal, University Policy Analyst, on “Policy 101”
- Drs. Rohit Ramaswamy, Kurt Ribisl, Abigail Panter, and Viji Sathy on SaferWays App
IV. Human Resources Update (10:10 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.)
- Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Equal Opportunity & Compliance Becci Menghini
- Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
V. Consent Agenda (10:35 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)
- March Minutes (sent separately)
- Forum Committees
- Communications and Public Relations: Shane Brogan
- Book Club: Brooke O’Neal
- InTouch: Shane Brogan
- Community Service: Jacob Womack
- Carolina Blood Drive: Jen DeNeal
- Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Antonio Squire
- Education and Career Development: L.E. Alexander/Laura Pratt
- Carolina Family Scholarship: L.E. Alexander/Laura Pratt
- Professional Development Grants: L.E. Alexander/Laura Pratt
- Membership & Assignments: Tiffany Carver
- Personnel Issues: Phillip Edwards/Stephanie Forman
- Recognition & Awards: Natiaya Neal
- UNC System Staff Assembly: Shayna Hill/Keith Hines/James Holman/Laura Pratt
- University Committee Representatives
- Advisory Committee on Transportation & Parking: Laura Pratt
- Buildings & Grounds: James Stamey
- Policy Review: Stephanie Brown
- Student Stores Advisory Committee: Keith Hines
- Executive Committee: Shayna Hill
- Communications and Public Relations: Shane Brogan
VI. Old Business (10:50 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)
VII. New Business (11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m.)
- Forum Elections This Month
- Vice Chancellor Representatives Meeting — Thursday, April 8th, 2020 at 10 AM
- Michael Piehler on Sustainable Carolina and the Three Zeros Initiative (May 5th, 2020)
VIII. Announcements/Questions (11:25-11:30 p.m.)
April 7, 2021 Employee Forum minutes
Delegates Attending: Darren Abrecht, L.E. Alexander, Jo-Ann Blake, Jessye Bongiovanni, Randall Borror, Richard Brandenburg, Andrew Brennick, Shane Brogan, Valerie Cartagena, Tiffany Carver, Emma Dehne, Jen DeNeal, Morgan Douglas, Elizabeth DuBose, Phil Edwards, Shayla Evans-Hollingsworth, Jaci Field, Stephanie Forman, Adrianne Gibilisco, Chrissie Greenberg, Leah Hefner, Jessi Hill, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, James Holman, Quin Jernigan, Kira Jones, Mary King, Anthony Lindsey, Haydée Marchese, Evan Marsh, Arlene Medder, Mandy Melton, Kadejah Murray, Katie Musgrove, Natiaya Neal, Ayla Ocasio, Le’Quisha Person, Sara Pettaway, Laura Pratt, Kevin Robinson, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Theresa Silsby, Sarah Smith, Antonio D. Squire, James Stamey, Jake Stallard, Charles Streeter (ex officio), Rosemary Thorp, Sarah Wackerhagen, Matthew Teal, Karen Webster, Tracy Wetherby Williams, Michael Williams, Jacob Womack
Chair Shayna Hill called the meeting to order at 9:18 a.m. She shared the very sad news that former University Ombuds officer Laurie Mesibov had passed away the previous week. She shared that Mesibov was quite touched when the Forum made her a lifelong honorary delegate last year. The Chair recalled Mesibov’s ability to model conversations to allow disagreement yet still come to consensus. Others recalled Mesibov as “a bright light,” “an awesome, positive, encouraging, compassionate person,” who “always showed up.” Ombuds director Dawn Osborne-Adams said that Mesibov understood that expressing criticism or dissent in order to make Carolina better was to express love for Carolina. Ombuds officer Victoria Dowd said she had worked with Mesibov for 15 years in the Ombuds office. She found Mesibov clear, encouraging and engaging. She would call another out if necessary, but all in love. She added that cards could be sent to Campus Box 1546. Dowd knew that we would draw strength from her memory in future years. The Chair recalled the Forum’s role in establishing the Ombuds office during Chancellor Moeser’s tenure.
The Chair welcomed Provost Bob Blouin to the Forum’s monthly Roundtable segment. Blouin wished the Forum well. He noted that the University continues to receive recommendations for renaming buildings, with the portal to submit open through April 9th. The Chancellor has asked that the renaming committee submit five to six recommendations to him for consideration, with ground rules of high standards and a preference for serious consideration of diversity. Blouin serves as chair of the naming committee. He hoped to have names finalized prior to the start of the Fall semester.
Blouin strongly recommended once again that every community member get vaccinated. He said that vaccination numbers are very good at the national, state, and county level. North Carolina now has 25% fully vaccinated adults and 38% partially vaccinated adults, which Orange County mirrors with similar figures. The University has now conducted over 150,000 tests at campus laboratory sites. Blouin noted the University’s tremendous fortune to have a facility and doctors to provide this service for the general community. Community standards regarding mask wearing, physical distancing, and testing will remain in place through the summer. Things may change as more of the community obtains vaccinations.
Blouin noted controversy regarding other American universities mandating vaccines for their community members. He said that UNC-Chapel Hill has chosen to follow FDA requirements that a workplace cannot mandate vaccines that are under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). He said that the State would have to pass a law requiring mandatory vaccines. For these reasons, he did not envision that the University would mandate vaccinations.
Arlene Medder asked the timeline for changing the names of campus buildings. Blouin did not know the answer to this question, saying that the naming committee’s goal is to submit names to the Chancellor. He said that proposed names would likely go to the Board of Trustees for final approval before the Board’s May meeting. Unused names will be retained for future renaming considerations.
The Chair asked if there has been consideration for getting an onsite vaccination clinic going for faculty and staff. Blouin said that this question arose at a meeting yesterday, primarily for third-shift workers. There has been consultation with Campus Health and Employee Health about establishing a plan for this unique population. The site would likely be at the Student Union, making vaccinations available very early in the morning. University officials have found the Friday Center and R&R lot function as highly efficient and very accessible clinics. He asked if the demand is indeed present for additional vaccination sites and proposed to discuss the question further with the Chair off-line. The Chair noted the scheduled influx of faculty and staff in early July, and worried whether folks have time to get both shots and undergo the two-week waiting period before then.
Blouin added that the University plans to have translators on-site to help third-shift workers, via a walk-in opportunity. These translators will help employees sign up and register onsite so that any technology or language barrier is overcome. The Chair thanked the Provost for this effort.
Dr. Kurt Ribisl noted medical literature which advocates promoting vaccination by making it easy and accessible to obtain. He asked if the University could expand the number of clinics given the similar effort regarding flu shot clinics. He praised the Friday Center operation but said that there is a need to put a clinic for staff and faculty on campus to provide these additional opportunities to move out of the 40-ish % level of vaccinations. He said establishing this clinic for all faculty and staff would help bring more people back to work. He noted the current crunch to get students vaccinated before they leave for home.
Blouin agreed with Ribisl that the President has doubled or tripled the number of vaccination sites available, with most Americans now living within five miles of a site. He questioned whether manufacturers could keep up with the pace of manufacturing and distribution. He pledged to do more things if requested on behalf of staff.
Responding to a question on vaccination mandates, Blouin noted expert commentary that mandating should wait until the question of a booster shot is settled. He added that even people who have had the virus should get vaccinated, as the vaccine provides much stronger antibody response than natural immunity.
Phil Edwards asked how assumptions about the current situation could change opening plans in the fall. Blouin said that it was very possible that things could change if adverse events occur. There is a question as to the variants that are changing the overall virus population. Vaccinations generally protect against these variants, for the most part. A worst-case scenario would be a variant that makes current vaccines ineffective. Otherwise, there could be a manufacturing problem with the vaccines that would make them unavailable. However, in Orange County vaccinations have gone very well. The campus community’s positivity rate is well below .2% right now. Blouin was very encouraged by general adherence to community standards.
Blouin added that some community members are still reluctant to get vaccinated. He hoped that as things evolve, these people will become increasingly more comfortable with and trusting of the process. He said that the vaccinations are a tool to reunite families separated by the pandemic. He personally had been vaccinated and recently had a chance to hug his four granddaughters for the first time in 17 months.
Tracy Wetherby Williams asked about communication of community standards to incoming students. She said these new students add a new level of uncertainty to campus calculations. Blouin said that the University must constantly communicate to these new students about community standards. He and Chancellor Guskiewicz will send out a message laying out the framework for summer and fall soon. He anticipated that given current and developing conditions, the University will maintain testing in some form and will probably require mask wearing in most situations. He would keep the Forum appraised of occurrences as they happen.
The Chair thanked Blouin for his time and remarks. She then turned to Drs. Rohit Ramaswamy, Kurt Ribisl, Abigail Panter, and Viji Sathy for their remarks on the new SaferWays Application. Dr. Sathy thanked the NC Policy Collaboratory for its support of this project, which she hoped would really serve to help share and crowdsource COVID safety behaviors. Other members of the group introduced themselves. Sathy said that the group hopes to crowdsource data on safety behaviors so that people can either avoid locations they consider risky or frequent locations thought to be safe, in effect preemptively reducing the spread of unsafe behavior.
Sathy defined safety behaviors as how distanced people are in those spaces, whether six feet of distance are maintained, and whether people are wearing masks. She drew a parallel with the Waze driving application in that people are meant to share information about what they are seeing to decide about going to a place. She shared screenshots of the application and then sent a link to the application so that listeners could pull it up on their phone or computer. The address is safer-ways.com. Providing a location allows the browser to see where reports about unsafe behavior have been made nearby. Each of the checks provides information about these locations.
The purpose of the tool is to anticipate and stop creation of situations that might lead to risky behaviors. Sathy recalled the press story about an Instagram account in which people were videotaping situations felt to be unsafe. These types of sharing can be difficult for the sharer as people around them can identify the individual responsible for negative publicity. Open videotaping can thus be seen as a tool for snitching. However, the more reports there are, the more crowdsourced and detailed the overall map becomes, allowing triangulation of the data. So far locally there are around 1,500 unique users providing 400 reports. These users are mainly students, faculty, and staff. She noted that QR codes allow people to sign up for the web-based application. Sathy asked delegates to try the application for themselves.
This tool, while developed on campus, can be used anywhere, enabling one to share information with those thinking to travel to different areas. Laura Pratt asked how the application will be rolled out via social media, specifically. Will there be a Saferways Instagram account, or will the communication go through the UNC account? Sathy said that the Saferways team does not yet have a social media account, but has been consulting with UNC social media about the app. She hoped that advertisements during Commencement would lead to students’ families taking the idea back to their communities.
Kevin Robinson asked about new student and family programs as a basis for educating incoming students and parents. This could lead to parents monitoring the application on behalf of their children. Sathy loved the idea of involving the families. Jacob Womack asked if the team had reached out to Orange County Health to obtain additional data. Sathy said the team has previously considered plugging into county-level efforts related to COVID safety. Arlene Medder suggested a website called parkgeek.com that provides information about crowd sizes at parks and museums. Sathy thanked Medder for the good idea. Medder said she would share the information about the tool and the link with the Forum following the meeting. Sathy asked listeners to use the software and provide feedback to improve.
The Chair welcomed Matthew Teal to present on “Policy 101.” Teal is the University Policy Analyst and a Forum delegate. He followed on Jen DeNeal’s presentation from February. Teal provided a brief introduction to the Ethics & Policy office and its efforts to create a shared language around policy at UNC. He then spoke about efforts to increase transparency around policy at UNC. He recalled that the Ethics & Policy office was created given the athletic/academic scandal that was discovered early in the last decade. Groups investigating the affair issued a joint report recommending the creation of a policy and ethics office to serve as a central hub for policy questions at the University.
The office originally reported directly to the Chancellor but since January 2020 the office is part of the Office of Institutional Integrity and Risk Management headed up by Vice Chancellor George Battle. Ethics & Policy found policymaking at UNC to be very decentralized. In response, the office has created a shared, standardized language and definition about what is a policy, a standard, and a procedure.
A policy is a high-level strategic document that mandates, specifies or prohibits behavior, aligning with the University’s mission, vision, and values. A procedure is a tactical document about current practices and ways to accomplish goals in University policy. A standard is the minimum acceptable limits or rules used to implement a policy. A unit policy is developed by a campus organization headed by a Vice Chancellor, Dean or Provost, with a unit document applied only to that unit. A University document applies to two or more units on campus.
This shared language allows decisionmakers to talk with one another logically about these questions. Ethics & Policy created document templates to help standardize policy across the University. Typically, legacy policy documents have been written by different folks, at different times, in different units with different senses about what to include in a policy document. Ethics & Policy has now centralized where policies live and how they are created. Historically, policies have lived on different websites, making it much less clear which unit owns a policy and whether a document is definitive. The new document templates include sections on purpose, why a document is needed, and scope, to whom does the document apply. Related documents cross-reference other University policies or external documents.
The centralized policy repository provides contact information about whom to call or email for more information. Academic policies do not fall in the scope of the Ethics & Policy office and belong more to the faculty and the Faculty Council. Everything else at the University is governed by Ethics & Policy or is administered by that office. University documents must go in the centralized policy repository. The repository is moving to a new software vendor in the coming months to policies.unc.edu. Teal noted that his office is involved in migrating data to the new location.
A chat question asked the procedure for suggesting a new University policy. Teal suggested that a person with this question reach out to Ethics & Policy to do research on similar policy or adaptation of policy to meet needs. Ethics & Policy personnel can help do policy research, help with technical writing, or review drafts to help shepherd one through the policy creation and approval process.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler noted the nomination process for the Outstanding Encouragement of Learning and Development award would soon open. This award is presented to a supervisor who actively facilitates the participation of their team, their staff members, in learning and development opportunities. Communication will go out to campus soon on this topic.
Tyler Enloe spoke on Performance Review procedures. He noted key changes in deadlines associated with the new advent of Carolina Talent. The performance plan for 2021-22 suspends the requirement for second-level approval. SHRA employees are now required to create a development plan for every employee, moving in line with the EHRA non-faculty process. The weight of institutional goals will no longer be editable going forward. Institutional goals and personnel goals will both be 100% in Carolina Talent. Carolina Talent development plans work in concert with the Carolina Talent learning module and Linked-In learning courses. Competencies for each position will be filled out in advance.
Mid-cycle reviews now will be required for anyone not meeting expectations for any rating. Performance plans and performance reviews will be automated for all but new hires thus far. The process went live on April 1st, with May 14th the institutional deadline. Departments or schools may set an earlier deadline. May 31st is the deadline for the 2021-22 SHRA performance plan. An employee acknowledgement step is still active, but the plan goes into place June 11th whether the employee has acknowledged or not.
For EHRA non-faculty, July 1st is when their process begins. On August 13th, the process for EHRA mirrors that for SHRA, with the date for employee acknowledgment falling on September 10th. Enlow said that there is a worksheet on bias. He noted that an employee should be rated on their performance of the expectations the manager set for them and are not rated in comparison to another employee. OHR will implement a computer-based training (CBT) on bias and performance reviews for the 2021-2022 performance reviews in Carolina Talent.
Raj Mayfield shared the employee experience of Carolina Talent Performance on the self-service home page. An employee might first acknowledge their performance plan, via a My Actions link or also a task called “Acknowledge my Performance Plan.” The latter will send an email when your manager completes their end of the performance review process. Along the left side of the page are different sections of the performance plan, with instructional areas at the top of each section. Clicking through provides an overview on the first page then institutional goals listed on the second page. All the weights of institutional goals are from now on equally apportioned. The next section will list individual goals that the manager and the employee have worked to create. A new section follows called “Tasks and Targets,” which provides another way to track progress towards a goal through the year. The next section is a development plan, which now features a way to add free form action development steps or links to trainings. Finally, there is a place for manager comments and to enter the scheduled conference date, with a signature. Employees can sign or decline to sign and enter comments on the plan as well.
Employees can save and exit for later consideration of the plan until the due date. Later on, employees can access “Snapshot,” which provides access to historical documents like the previously mentioned performance plan. This page allows access to the annual appraisal that your manager entered and uploaded, available in pdf format. One can find goals assigned to work throughout the year through the goals module and the goals menu. The employee and their manager or upline management can see goals and make real-time progress updates. This allows for real-time capturing of events, alleviating the need to remember all at appraisal time. Employee edits to goals will require supervisor approval via an automatically generated email. A similar process is in place for development plan progress and goals. All this is accessible through ConnectCarolina then Carolina Talent.
Kevin Robinson asked how goals should be created. Enlow said that goalsetting should be a collaboration between employee and manager. Laura Pratt asked about the balance between typical work duties and above and beyond typical work duties. Enlow said that development goals are about employee development and really have nothing to do with the main duties of the job. Differentiating between development goals and individual goals depends on immediate relevance to the job performed. Development goals are collaborated, often generated by the employee, but always subject to managerial approval.
Haydée Marchese asked about the notion that managers cannot rate their employees at above meeting expectations as that means it is time for that employee to move up or receive a salary increase. She thought it natural that employees want to do a good job and to be appreciated and evaluated as such. Enlow thought it important that performance goals include “exceeding expectations” goals in the overall goal. One should not shift expectations throughout the year. The “exceeding expectations” achievement does not include a monetary supplement. Marchese asked what can be done about managers who do not follow these instructions on setting goals. Enlow said that the upcoming computerized system will allow closer monitoring of performance reviews. More processes are moving online for managers to watch and learn from easily. OHR consultants are also available to consult with employees who run into an issue with their manager’s performance reviews or goals.
The Chair welcomed Worklife Manager Jessica Pyjas to recap the recent virtual wellness week. The week had 1,125 registrations for an average of six sessions that week. The most popular sessions dealt with mindfulness and mediation. Other popular classes were cooking demonstrations. Prerecorded yoga classes and other fitness classes hosted by UNC Recreation were also very popular.
Wellness Wednesday information is now available via the on-demand library. On April 14th, the topic will be “Ten Strategies for Improving Finances.” Registration closes 48 hours before class begins. Pyjas reminded listeners that May is mental health awareness month. May 5th at 3 p.m. will feature the topic “Understanding Depression,” which is available through the work/life and wellness calendar to maintain confidentiality.
Pyjas recognized all participants in Miles for Wellness, which started March 15th and ends May 8th. UNC has 35 active teams, surpassing the number at all other UNC System institutions combined. She reminded listeners that “Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less” is completely free, with April sessions beginning on the 27th, and a registration deadline on the 23rd. Pyjas called for nominations for the State Governor’s awards, which are due April 15th.
The Chair called for a motion to approve the consent agenda. Arlene Medder made this motion, seconded by Laura Pratt. In the absence of further discussion, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 a.m.
Matt Banks, Recording Secretary