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UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Hitchcock Multipurpose Room, Sonja H. Stone Center

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

I.  Call to Order & Opening Remarks—Chair Charles Streeter (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II. Special Presentations (9:20 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.)

  • Kim Allen, Carolina Center for Public Service (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)

III. Human Resources Update – Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement Felicia Washington (9:40 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

IV. Old Business (10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

  • Changing June Retreat to July
  • Chancellor’s Cup Golf Tournament

V.  New Business (10:15 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.)

  • Approval of February Minutes (SharePoint Link, Delegate-Only Access)
  • Proposed Resolution On the Establishment of the University-Wide Rebecca Clark Staff
    Award for Moral Courage (first reading)
  • Nominate an Employee for Forum Delegate
  • Elections for Secretary
    • Candidate:  Kathy James

VI.  Forum Committees (10:50 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)

  • Carolina Blood Drive: Jim Fuller
  • Carolina Community Garden Advisory: Arlene Medder
  • Communications and Public Relations: Katie Turner
  • Education and Career Development: Samara Reynolds (February minutes)
    • Recognition & Awards
  • Membership & Assignments:  Kathy Ramsey
  • Personnel Issues:  Chrissie Greenberg
    • Compensation & Benefits:  John Williams
    • Legislative Action:  Christopher Powe
    • Staff Relations, Policies & Practices:
  • UNC System Staff Assembly: Kim Andrews/Shane Hale/Charles Streeter/Victoria Hammett
  • Executive Committee: Charles Streeter (January minutes)

VII. Announcements/Questions (11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)

VIII.  Adjournment


March 2, 2016 Employee Forum minutes

Attending (those who signed in):  Sharon Brinson, Bonita Brown, Clare Counihan, Mary Dahlsten, Lois Douglass-Alston, Phillip Edwards, David Fraley, Jim Fuller, Lori Haight, Shayna Hill, Kathy James, Gabrielle Jones, Susan Lucas, Matt McKirahan, Arlene Medder, Natiaya Neal, Jackie Overton, Christopher Powe, Krista Prince, Kelli Raker, Kathy Ramsey, Charles Streeter, Ben Triplett, Katie Turner

Excused Absences:  Jo-Ann Blake, Christine Greenberg, Michael Penny

Chair Charles Streeter called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m., welcoming friends and guests.  He said that the UNC System Staff Assembly Executive Committee had met with President Margaret Spellings on her first day.  He noted that there were walk-outs on some campuses in the UNC System on this occasion.  He also said that Spellings will visit Chapel Hill among other UNC campuses.  The Chair asked delegates to wait and see Spellings’ actions before forming an opinion.  He was encouraged by what he saw of her the previous weekend regarding University self-governance.  Katie Turner noted that UNC-Chapel Hill faculty have drafted a letter for consideration by staff regarding President Spellings.

The Chair welcomed Kim Allen from the Carolina Center for Public Service who will speak on increasing staff use of community service leave.  Allen introduced Tremayne Manson who also works with the Center.  Allen asked the Forum the general level of knowledge about community service leave.  Katie Turner said that Forum delegates have heard presentations previously on this leave.  She said that University employees are generally less well-informed.  She suggested that Allen work to find ways to improve communication about the award and increase supervisor acceptance.

Kathy James thought that staff may not know the varied uses for the community service leave.  Clare Counihan noted that the Forum had condensed information about the leave in a recent issue of InTouch, the Forum newsletter.  Kelli Raker suggested publicizing actual examples of when the leave has been used.  Manson suggested that the Forum make the Center aware of things when they happen.  Turner said that the Forum faces the question of mission creep and taking on too much.  The Chair said that some jobs receive more leeway to use the leave than others.  He thought that an assessment piece is necessary to study the question correctly.

Turner praised the idea of the Center organizing a staff event for use of community service leave.  Manson said that the Center’s newsletter publicizes service opportunities for community members.  He left a sign-up sheet for interested listeners.

Vice Chancellor for Workplace Strategy, Equity and Engagement Felicia Washington introduced the new Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler.  She noted that tracking information regarding community service leave use is available from Finance and Administration payroll.  She noted that March is National Women’s History Month.  She reported that UNC-Chapel Hill ranked in the top of the State Employee Combined Campaign rankings, raising $807,000 for charity.  She thanked all for participating.  She also noted that the ULEAD staff training program will assist enrollees in performance management, State policies, career development, conflict management, and other areas.

Katie Turner suggested placing the training and development course list on-line.  Senior Director for Communications and Talent Development Kathy Bryant said that the calendar is available from  Turner said that some employees have reported difficulties in finding and registering for courses via ConnectCarolina.   Bryant said that employees should go to “Training” under “Self-Service” in ConnectCarolina and do a search for courses.

Bryant noted that Human Resources is also in the process of revamping its website.  She said that Human Resources is looking for focus groups of interested parties.  Interested employees should contact her directly at  She said that respondents will need to commit around 1.5 hours of time, but will receive a nice lunch.  Clare Counihan confirmed that Human Resources will do redirects for all of its pages.

Bryant said that the ULEAD (University Leadership Education and Development) course will accept nominations through March 21st.  North Carolina Central University and General Administration will also have positions with the course, but the majority of places go to UNC-Chapel Hill employees.  Ben Triplett, a 2015 ULEAD graduate, said that it was a great experience that was immediately valuable in his job.  Katie Turner asked if the course is just for managers or supervisors.  Bryant said that managers or managers of significant projects or units are eligible.  Enrollees do not require direct reports to qualify.

Lois Douglass-Alston asked if Bryant could make the tuition waiver program more prominent in the Human Resources web redesign.  She said that this is a tremendous benefit.  Bryant said that Human Resources must try to not make the navigation so deep and difficult to access.

Bryant noted that Associate Vice Chancellor Taffye Clayton has asked for Forum input on the inclusion and diversity survey following the Forum meeting.  She asked all interested who could stay an additional 30 minutes to participate.

Felicia Washington welcomed Senior Director for Employee and Management Relations Gena Carter to speak on the revised SHRA grievance policy.  Carter said that the new policy updated its definitions to include the twelve-month probationary period.  Also, the policy changes the old terminology of SPA (State Personnel Act) to SHRA (State Human Resources Act).  Carter noted that [all SHRA grievances will be recorded.  Each party to the grievance will sign a form indicating they are aware that the hearing is being recorded and that the recording is only to be used to facilitate the grievance process.]

Carter said that the current performance management cycle ends March 31st.  Managers should prepare their reviews and review instructions on entering ratings.  Overall ratings are due no later than May 31st but should be entered in March and April.  The performance appraisal policy will begin April 1 but will be not much different.  Kelli Raker asked what would happen if the reviews are not done by April 1st.  Carter said that Human Resources would do a strong follow-up with the delinquent supervisor.  She said that goals under scrutiny will be half performance goals and half institutional goals.

Senior Director Ashley Nicklis noted that this is her final update to the Forum as she will soon leave to take a similar position as Benefits Director for the University System.  Nicklis noted that the Work Well Live Well expo will take place March 16th.  She noted that the Rams Dining Hall will offer $5 lunches to attendees on that date.

Nicklis noted that MetLife life insurance will hold a campaign to increase life insurance coverage for University employees this month.  She said that the University will send out compensation statements on the week of March 21st.

The Chair congratulated former Forum Chair Jackie Overton for winning the University Advancement of Women award.  He noted that the Chancellor had attended a ceremony honoring Overton and other winners the previous Friday.

The Chair noted the need for Bylaws revisions to allow the Forum to hold its annual retreat in July.  Parliamentarian Phillip Edwards had noted the need for changes in various parts of the Bylaws.  Matt McKirahan pointed out that some divisions receive disproportionate representation in the Forum’s current custom of allowing outgoing, incoming, and continuing delegates to all vote for the new year’s officers.  Jackie Overton said that outgoing delegates have been kept on as they would have more knowledge about potential candidates’ characters.  Katie Turner recommended moving this subject to the March Executive Committee meeting for further discussion.  Krista Prince voiced a preference for a July retreat.  The Chair said that the new Chair should have a chance to plan their own retreat as the first event of their year.

The Chair noted that the Chancellors’ Cup golf tournament will take place May 25th in Sanford at the Tobacco Road Golf Club.  He said that the University is still looking for team participants.  He noted that the Forum will help raise money for the Janet B. Royster professional development scholarships.  He hoped that UNC-Chapel Hill would defeat the four-time champions Winston-Salem State University.

The Chair called for a motion to approve the February minutes.  Arlene Medder made this motion with edits, seconded by Jackie Overton.  The motion was approved with two abstentions.

Katie Turner introduced a proposed resolution that would establish a University-wide award for staff.  She said that the proposal was the result of a discussion in a recent Executive Committee meeting.  She noted that the Forum had not obtained much traction with its peer recognition awards recently.  The ceremony was limited and segmented to certain parts of campus.  She proposed this new award for the Chancellor to present during University Day each year similar to ones done for the faculty and students.

Regarding nomination criteria, Turner said that she left the criteria intentionally broad in order to make the award open to all levels of employment.  She said that the award would be named after Rebecca Clark, who was involved in action on behalf of University employees in the early 1990s.  Clare Counihan asked if faculty would be included as possible recipients, and Turner said that they would not be considered.  Arlene Medder suggested that Turner contact Clark’s family regarding using her name on the award.  Turner noted that Clark was involved in litigation on behalf of housekeepers in the early 1990s.  She recalled that the University Laundry was renamed the Kennon Cheek-Rebecca Clark building, by court order.  She said that Clark is an important historical figure whom the University should recognize more broadly.  Turner said that she had sent the proposal to the Chancellor’s Office as well as Vice Chancellor Felicia Washington and Special Assistant Rumay Alexander.

Turner said the Forum Executive Committee would determine who best exhibits the values of the Rebecca Clark Award.  She sought to make the criteria as broad as possible to avoid nomination fatigue.  Felicia Washington said that Turner idea is a wonderful and agreed that obtaining family support for the award made sense.  She recommended that the award make tighter constraints on eligibility, given the vetting that other University awards receive.  She recommended that the Forum take into account how other University awards are decided.  Turner said that the E. Kidder Graham award is selected by an elected committee, the Committee on Honorary Degrees and Special Awards.  However, Turner thought that having a separate nomination committee for the Clark Award would be counterproductive as the Forum is already stretched for resources.  She said that the Forum Executive Committee is the proper location for the award as delegates on the committee are more invested in the work of the Forum, as either committee chairs or divisional representatives.

Lois Douglass-Alston thought that an elected committee would be fairer, as the Forum Executive Committee might appear skewed towards certain choices.  She did not want to have the impression that the dice were loaded in any way.  Clare Counihan echoed Douglass-Alston’s comments, noting that the Carolina Women’s Center University Advancement of Women awards are from an appointed committee.  She said otherwise the impression might be that the recipients are handpicked.  Turner asked about combining Executive Committee appointments with the Recognition and Awards committee.  Ronda Manuel suggested an all-call informational e-mail could staff a selection committee with needed applicants.  Turner said that someone must manage the award, adding that she did not want the perception of bias to tinge the award either.

Matt McKirahan said that the Employee Forum should handle the award’s administration, with perhaps the Executive Committee narrowing the list of nominations for consideration.  Then the list of candidates would go to the staff committee.  Lori Haight noted that all Forum delegates have the time to serve on the Executive Committee.  Katie Turner noted that the University Awards committee develops a slate of nominees for the entire Faculty Counsel to consider in closed session.

Jackie Overton thought that the award was a great idea.  She recalled Clark’s formidable personality and actions on behalf of University employees and Howard Lee, the first elected black mayor in the American South.  She offered to contact Clark’s family.

Shayna Hill thought that having the full Forum vote on the eventual winner was a good plan.  It was noted that the Chancellor would have final approval authority over the eventual selection.  Kelli Raker preferred that Forum delegates recuse themselves from consideration if the Forum decides on recipients.  Turner did not want to discourage those who do work on the Forum by eliminating them from consideration for the award.  She did not want to diminish the pool with too many exclusions.  She said that the Executive Committee is the best path given that it meets long enough and has enough overlap from year to year to preserve institutional memory.

Katie Turner clarified that the constituting document for the Clark Award would provide the reason behind the award, enabling the selecting committee to determine criteria.  Ben Triplett asked if the Award would take the place of the peer recognition awards.  Turner said that she did not mean to displace those awards, but to raise the profile of the Forum in University life.  The Chair agreed that the Forum needs more recognition on the podium during University Day.  He noted that the Forum has still not constituted the Recognition & Awards committee for this year.

The Chair said that the Executive Committee will consider the resolution at its March meeting.  He invited delegates to provide input to him or to Turner on the Award.

The Chair encouraged delegates to nominate their fellow employees for the Forum delegate elections.  He noted that the Forum also needs to find candidates for its upcoming officer elections.  He hoped that these would be highly contested contests.

The Chair called for candidates to stand for election to the position of Forum Secretary, replacing Kathy Ramsey, who had been promoted to Forum Vice Chair.  Kathy James had indicated her interest previously.  As there was no other nominations, the Chair closed nominations.  Kathy James was elected by acclamation.

Jim Fuller noted that the Carolina Blood Drive committee had met February 9th to discuss the June 7th blood drive.  He said that the drive will emphasize Fast Pass registration for donors.  He said that the committee is working to find stories and finalize t-shirt designs.

Arlene Medder said that the Carolina Campus Community Garden is facing the problems of a maturing garden, namely nematodes and soil exhaustion.  The Garden will hold joint projects with other campus organizations this spring.

Katie Turner noted that the Communications and Public Relations committee had published the March edition of InTouch.  She said that the committee had partnered with Campus Recreation to offer a ten-week outdoor fitness class.  She hoped that employees will register for the class.  She noted that James Holman has requested shared leave donations.  She said that she could not release medical information about Holman even if consented, due to federal regulations.  She said that the Career Corner page of InTouch had received the highest number of page views this month, as usual.  She noted that Suzanne Jorgenson will teach a social media class on March 14th.  Additionally, Dawna Jones has agreed to take over administration of the Forum book club.  Turner noted that the Association of Women Faculty Professionals will hold an event on navigating implicit gender bias in the workplace.

The Chair noted that Dante Peace had flown in from New Jersey to address the February book club, which discussed the book “The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace.”  He thanked Dawna Jones for her leadership in keeping the book club strong.

Clare Counihan noted that the Education and Career Development committee will hold a professional development brown bag lunch March 29th.  Additionally, the March 22nd higher education mini-conference has filled up with participants.  She said that a great lineup of speakers will be featured at the mini-conference.  Counihan noted that the professional development grant application process has committed all of its funds for this semester.  She said that the Carolina Family Scholarship process will continue to seek funding to support expansion of that program.  She said that applications will open April 1st and close June 1st.

Kathy James noted that the Membership and Assignments committee will close the Forum delegate nominations process on March 7th.

Ben Triplett said that the Personnel Issues committee has been asked to develop approach to honor those buried in unmarked graves in the Chapel Hill cemetery.  Employees interested in this effort should contact Christine Greenberg or Clare Counihan.

The Chair said that the UNC System Staff Assembly had met in Pembroke February 28th and 29th.  He said that the State Health Plan had been charged to study cuts to the 80/20 plan by direction of the Legislature.  He said that Staff Assembly delegates provided feedback to UNC System Vice President Matt Brody on this question.  He noted that there have been changes to the SHRA performance appraisal process.  Finally, UNC System Policy Director Chris Chiron had shared a graphic on adverse weather procedures with the group.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had been invited to meet with a group redesigning the UNC web page.  Clare Counihan asked about making the page bilingual or multilingual.  Arlene Medder wondered about the process of publishing articles on the home page.  Katie Turner said that her experience with the faculty/staff part of the page had almost always had broken links.  She found it difficult to track down the person responsible for updating these links.  Medder wondered about color-blind issues and ADA compliance with the page.  Gabrielle Jones noted that the undergraduate admissions page has a very modern design.  The Chair said that this design comes at a price to the University.  Lois Douglass-Alston asked about a statement on the University’s commitment to diversity.  Felicia Washington said that this statement is in the works.

The Chair noted that the Student Stores RFP had closed to further bids.  He and Katie Turner will join the evaluation committee on March 9th.

The Chair suggested that the Forum obtain a get-well card for the electrician who was recently wounded.  The Executive Committee will discuss this further.

Arlene Medder moved that the Forum adjourn.  This motion was met with general agreement, and the Forum adjourned at 11:26 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary


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