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March 2, 2022

UNC-Chapel Hill Employee Forum

Zoom Remote Meeting Only:  Connection Details Below

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

I. Call to Order & Opening Remarks: Chair Katie Musgrove (9:15 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.)

  • Welcome to Guests & Members of the Press

II. New Business (9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.)

  • Natiaya Neel’s Departure: Need new Awards & Recognition Chair and CPSC Co-Chair
  • Resolution 22-02, Addressing Serious Retention, Morale, and Resource Problems in University Housekeeping Services (First Reading)

III.  Special Presentations (9:40 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

  • STACC/Arts Everywhere Art Project Launch with Kathryn Wagner, Associate Director, Arts Everywhere

IV. Roundtable with Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz (10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

V.  Human Resources Update (10:30 a.m. – 11:05 a.m.)

  • Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Becci Menghini and Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler
    • Senior Work/Life Manager Jessica Pyjas
    • Performance Management Presentation from Anthony Tyler Enlow, Ashley Hockaday, and DaJanava Gore

VI. Consent Agenda (11:05 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.)

  • February Minutes (to be sent separately to delegates)
  • Forum Committees

VII. Old Business (11:15 a.m. – 11:25 a.m.)

  • Town Hall/Community Meeting Planning

VIII. Announcements/Questions (11:25-11:30 p.m.)

  • Vice Chancellor Representatives Meeting – April 14, 2021 at 10:00 AM
  • Executive Committee Moved to March 22nd

IX. Adjournment

This is a Zoom-only meeting. To obtain Zoom information, please contact Matt Banks by 8 a.m. Wednesday.


March 2, 2022 Employee Forum minutes

Delegates Attending: L. E. Alexander, Vanessa Blake, Jessye Bongiovanni, Randall Borror, Sharron Bouquin, David Bragg, Rich Brandenburg, Alicia Brandt, Shane Brogan, Tiffany Carver, Michael Case, Jen DeNeal, Elizabeth DuBose, Stephanie Forman, Adrianne Gibilisco, Chrissie Greenberg, Leah Hefner, Jessi Hill, Shayna Hill, Keith Hines, James Holman, Brigitte Ironside, Kira Jones, Mary King, Anthony Lindsey, Arlene Medder, Mandy Melton, Manisha Mittal, Katie Musgrove, Joseph Nsonwu-Farley, Ayla Ocasio, Joseph Ormond, Sara Pettaway, Laura Pratt, Kelly Scurlock-Cross, Theresa Silsby, Janice Singletary, Sarah Smith, James Stamey, Janet Steele, Matthew Teal, Sarah Wackerhagen, Karen Webster, Tracy Wetherby Williams, Alice Whiteside, Tracey Wiley, Michael Williams, Tyrone Williams, Jacob Womack

Chair Katie Musgrove called the meeting to order at 9:15 a.m. She announced that delegate election season is now here, and the Forum will accept nominations for new delegates through March 31st. Elections will occur in April. The Chair noted the departure from the University of longtime delegate Natiaya Neal. She asked for volunteers to serve in her capacity as Recognition & Awards committee chair and as co-chair of the Carolina Peer Support committee. She invited those with questions to raise them with her or Joseph Nsonwu-Fairley.

The Chair introduced Stephanie Forman, chair of the Personnel Issues committee, to read proposed resolution 22-02 addressing serious retention, morale, and resource problems in University Housekeeping Services. Forman read the resolution, noting that it was considered by the Forum on first reading that morning. James Holman noted that compensatory time is related to adverse weather duty for these employees. He said that people prefer to have overtime pay in these cases.

Forman said that the Personnel Issues committee will continue to work on details related to the resolution towards approval on second reading in April. The Chair thanked Forman and Matthew Teal and the Personnel Issues committee for their comprehensive work on the resolution.

The Chair noted the efforts of Keith Hines and Jessye Bongiovanni to prepare for the Forum’s March 25th community meeting. Hines said the topic of the webinar format community meeting will be mental health, resilience, and community. Speakers at the meeting will be followed by an Arts Everywhere “Postcards from the Pandemic” pop-up session, allowing reflection on staff members’ experience during the pandemic.

The Chair introduced Kathryn Wagner, Associate Director of Arts Everywhere. Wagner said that Arts Everywhere aims to be an essential catalyst for the arts, to make arts a fundamental part of campus culture. She shared photographs and noted the dispensers that printout CVS style receipts of short stories. She recalled the red ball installation and the lady spider exhibited for a couple of years here at UNC. She said that Arts Everywhere is involved with several different campus units in promotion of different projects, noting the exhibit at the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention building that should be completed soon. There have also been projects at the Institute of Marine Science, a mural at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, and pop-up concerts with the School of Music.

Wagner said that Arts Everywhere also does pop-up experiences with various student organizations. Arts Everywhere also has many graduate fellowships with various departments across campus. She was excited about the postcard project which will involve staff depicting their personal and professional challenges in this time of the pandemic. Arts Everywhere hopes to engage campus staff and community in making the artist central to Carolina and addressing campus needs such as mental health and wellness team building.

Wagner recalled that former Forum Chair Shayna Hill had suggested the subtitle of the event: I Was Here. Wanger noted that many people’s experiences at Carolina did not stop during the pandemic. She said that Arts Everywhere wants to allow the many incredible people here to grieve together or to express sadness or joy from the past few years, through a creative medium of postcards. Postcards were chosen as they are a whimsical art form that is less intimidating than a canvas and oil paints.

Postcard events will take place across campus through March, with an exhibition of the cards on April 8th, Arts Everywhere Day. Many will go to the Library Archives with others to go to the Art Museum for an interactive exhibit. Interested parties can attend a workshop on this subject at the Morrison Art Studio on the first floor of Morrison Residence hall. Additionally, Arts Everywhere will do a workshop on the postcard event and bring materials to individual units upon request. She offered to work on other plans to reach departments, again as requested. She hoped that employees will grab a kit at the March 18th wellness day and work on their creations separately. She said that the project presents a fun way to express the collective emotion from the past few years.

Wagner offered to take questions. Laura Pratt thanked Wagner and her group for doing this project and particularly for offering to consult with units across campus. Wagner added that prizes are available for units with the highest percentage of participants. Prizes will include things like art makeovers of unit offices.

Arlene Medder asked about what kinds of materials will be included in the postcard kits. Wagner said that kits will include full-size color pencils, postcards, and stamps, with further information and resources written. People who desire acrylics or watercolors should pick up a kit at the Morrison Art Studio. Registration for the meeting will include information about how to request or pick up a postcard kit. Karen Webster asked about obtaining a flyer link for the event. Wagner said that a link will be made available from the Arts Everywhere website soon.

Laura Pratt asked if Arts Everywhere requires a minimum number of participants for campus visits. Wagner said that existing facilities cannot hold very large parties. She suggested that a smaller team show up for coffee, donuts, and postcards some Monday morning at Morrison Art Studio. Wagner also offered to visit departmental space for this purpose. Pratt then asked if staff members can do more than one postcard. Wagner said that the project will not limit the number of postcards submitted, be they from the community meeting, another pop-up event, or from another remote event. Jessye Bongiovanni confirmed that employees can work on more than one team.

Shayna Hill thanked Arts Everywhere for carrying out this project. She noted concern about where employees put all their emotions about what happened during COVID. Hill also asked if someone who deems themselves “un-artistic” could write on the postcard a word of thanks to all. She added that having made it through this historic time was a wonderful thing to have occurred.

Wagner added that Arts Everywhere Day will occur April 8th and the postcard exhibit will likely be on Polk Place as part of a series of displays, among them a collective, guided group scream in consultation with an art therapist. The session will allow screams for things lost, things desired in the future, recent joys, and other guided prompts. The session will probably have music and will end after an hour or so around lunchtime.

The Chair asked if UNC Health participate in Arts Everywhere events. Wagner said that there has been outreach in some areas. She anticipated participation from some areas of UNC Health. The Chair noted general excitement about this project as a cathartic experience in which employees can join together as a community and express the shared, unprecedented experience of the past couple of years.

At this point, the meeting moved to the consent agenda. Laura Pratt asked that the Education & Career Development committee report be pulled from the consent agenda for additional consideration.  Arlene Medder moved that the Forum approve the consent agenda, including the February minutes. Elizabeth DuBose seconded this motion, which was approved without opposition.

Pratt noted that the Education and Career Development committee will soon carry out another round of professional development grant project selections. She noted updates to the grant project include the addition of the Concur travel system. She noted a lot of process improvement from the standpoint of this system. The committee will also open applications for the Carolina Family Scholarship in mid-April. This scholarship will allow children of University employees to receive funds to attend any UNC System institution or North Carolina community college.

Jacob Womack reminded listeners about the Community Service committee’s Ronald McDonald House charitable drive, which began last week. He was excited about the Amazon gift basket that will allow tracking of donations. The Chair offered to share information about the drive on Twitter and other social media.

Joseph Nsonwu-Farley reported that Carolina Peer Support Collaborative listener applications have just opened up. He invited listeners to nominate others, particularly students, who might be good peer supporters. The Chair thanked Nsonwu-Farley for his note and his service in this area.

The Chair noted that the Forum Executive Committee meeting will be held March 22nd instead of March 15th, to avoid a conflict with the UNC System Staff Assembly meeting. The Vice Chancellors’ representatives’ meeting will take place April 14th at 10 a.m., with a request for attendees and topics due to go out in late March.

Shayna Hill reported that the UNC System Staff Assembly will meet March 14-15. She hoped that a tradition of the Assembly meeting with President Hans will continue in March. She offered to take questions or concerns to the meeting.

Elizabeth Dubose raised a series of questions regarding the responsibility of the individual to access mental health initiatives available to them, versus other things like racial issues that keep people from thriving in the community in which they work and wish that they could live. The Chair hoped to address these issues to a degree at the upcoming Community meeting.

The Chair recognized Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to provide remarks in the Forum’s customary roundtable. He thanked Kathryn Wagner and the Arts Everywhere staff for their work. He also noted that the University semester is coming to its halfway point. He thanked staff and the campus community for their efforts.

Guskiewicz anticipated questions about the University’s mask mandate given recent Supreme Court decisions. He said that the University will follow the Orange County health department in lifting the mask mandate, with communication to go to campus shortly. Much has changed the last 24 hours regarding the mask mandate’s change. Guskiewicz said that the University will continue its work with public health experts and state and local health officials and campus leads to ensure that the University can conduct its own operation safely.

Guskiewicz talked about his experience with the young scholars coming to campus. He had visited the Asian-American Students Association as well as the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. He said that none of this would be possible without staff resilience, flexibility, and hope. He looked forward to the wellness day on March 18th. He also anticipated an increased reliance on metrics after a panel discussion with University leaders.

He praised the work of UNC administrators in maintaining the work of the Carolina Covenant which assists lower income students from rural areas attend Carolina. He offered to take questions. The Chair noted talk that Orange County will remove its mask mandate as of March 7th. Guskiewicz said that this step will eliminate the indoor mask mandate. He said that while the University wants everyone to wear masks if they so choose, individual departments will not have the autonomy to mandate compliance.

Arlene Medder asked if testing will be active for the foreseeable future. Guskiewicz said that it is likely that surveillance testing will be phased out this week. He would check back to ensure he was correct. Kira Jones raised a question in the chat regarding graduate students no longer having masking the classroom. Guskiewicz noted that the campus is a highly vaccinated community with positivity rates down dramatically from six or seven weeks ago. He said that the University will need to continue to encourage individuals to be safe in the classroom environment. Individuals uncomfortable can still wear their own masks, but the University can no longer mandate general use.

A chat question asked if incoming students for fall 2022 will be required to be vaccinated. Guskiewicz thought that current policies would remain, meaning that the University would not be able to mandate vaccinations for students or employees. The Chair noted questions about students opting out of masking when others have family members who are immunocompromised or too young to be vaccinated. Guskiewicz said that an option might emerge for faculty through the accommodation process.

Alice Whiteside questioned the University’s policy that accommodations are not available if the concern is the health of a family member, only if the employee themselves are immunocompromised. Guskiewicz said that he would look into that question, as did Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Linc Butler.

Laura Pratt asked if Guskiewicz had any information about how students have been affected by the conflict in Ukraine, particularly with regard to travel policy. Guskiewicz said that this question would be better raised with Vice Provost Barbara Stevenson, hired from the State Department around three years ago. Stevenson is a talented expert who brings a wealth of experience about these kinds of concerns. Guskiewicz understood that no UNC students are studying in Ukraine right now. Study Abroad will need to make adjustments in future programs in the area.

Pratt confirmed that there is a process through which graduate students can apply for exemptions to travel internationally. She asked if the University might forego the exemption process so that more international research travel can occur. Guskiewicz said that this was a current goal in spite of current obstacles. He understood that a Student Affairs team has worked to reach students in the Ukraine region or from there. Vice Provost Amy Johnson confirmed that was correct. The Chair asked what resources the University shared with these students, noting that faculty and staff employees also have these connections. Johnson said that phone calls from the department were followed by emails. She would find out what had been sent to these students.

An attendee  asked about University students who may travel to places with high infection rates and may not necessarily take precautions during spring break. Will the University test students upon their return? Guskiewicz said that the plan is not to do that unless something changes in consultation with public health officials.

Jacob Womack asked about staff retention issues raised by the Office of Ethics and Policy in an email Monday. He wondered what metrics the University will use to focus on these concerns, to assist in modeling different approaches to these problems. Guskiewicz said that early in the semester the University tracked critical workforce areas given the so-called “Great Resignation.” Other campuses and workplaces are poaching top talented workers at UNC System institutions. The University is working hard to provide some kind of additional strategic retention fund to alleviate this loss.

Linc Butler related the story of a vacant executive assistant role that usually receives 80 to 90 applications but this year he received only ten applications. These stories are common in other roles through Human Resources and elsewhere across campus. This is a challenging job market for recruiters and managers trying to build these pools up. Jacob Womack asked about a backlog of demand for advancement and promotion given the expiration of the recent hiring freeze. He asked if this demand extends mainly to administrative roles or other areas as well. Butler said that some areas have always been challenging to fill given the University’s geographic location and local competitors. Butler said that this new competition for applicants seems to be across the board.

The Chair thanked Chancellor Guskiewicz for his remarks and work addressing staffing concerns. She welcomed Linc Butler to present the Forum’s customary Human Resources update. Butler noted that Vice Chancellor Becci Menghini was on a well-deserved vacation this week. Butler welcomed Tyler Enlow, Ashley Hockaday, and DaJanava Gore to speak on the upcoming performance management season. The trio walked the Forum through the new updates to the performance management system, which this year will be online only. The system will feature a new self-assessment opportunity for employees. Hockaday noted the more delineated timeline of steps associated with the process this year. Self-assessments will open March 15th to March 31st. April 1st is the date in which the process moves to managers’ appraisals of employee performance. On May 1st, Human Resources officials will do back-end checks of these appraisals, with a final move to the manager and employee for signatures on May 21st.

Hockaday noted that self-assessments are not required. Planning for the upcoming cycle will occur from April 1st to June 3rd of this year, with other probationary review mid-cycle overviews occurring as needed. Tyler Enlow highlighted steps associated with the various assessments in the beginning of the process. He said that software glitches have presented some difficulties to administrators overseeing this process. Enlow also noted that second-level supervisors will no longer sign off on employee performance levels, although there are areas in which second level supervisors can provide input on employee performance. He noted that SHRA institutional goals are equally weighted, with no change possible for non-supervisory employees. Enlow outlined possible difficulties and solutions to changes with the new system. He described other software changes necessary to the changeover to an all-online system.

Sharron Bouquin raised a question in the chat about whether or not the manager has the opportunity to edit the appraisal following submission to the Human Resources representative. Enlow said that access to changes will not occur since the process has moved onto the next step. One would need to submit a help ticket via HR to fix this discrepancy.

The Chair asked a question regarding the timing of trainings in development plans. Enlow noted that many times employees take classes which do not directly prepare them for their current work. He said that there is now a development plan comment section in which an employee can state what they were unable to accomplish this year. The group discussed other particular questions associated with the new performance management system, one regarding warning emails about due dates for the system. Pratt confirmed that employees who do not receive these emails have already done what is necessary for their development goal.

The Chair then moved onto Senior Work/Life Manager Jessica Pyjas’ presentation of upcoming wellness programs provided by the University in March. Pyjas also outlined events to occur at the upcoming Employee Wellness day on March 18th. She hoped that delegates could attend or volunteer for the event. The Wellness Day slogan is “Believe in New Beginnings.” The Chair thanked Pyjas for her hard work on these many different activities. Delegates and Butler commented as to how fortunate the University is that Pyjas does so much in this role.

Elizabeth Dubose asked if there is an HR approved word for supervising when one is not allowed to supervise other employees. Butler thought that this could be termed overseeing and directing day to day work. The Chair asked if Butler has any update on ARP approval. Butler said that the ARP approval is part of the larger University budget approval process. He noted that approvals will still go to the Board of Trustees.

Arlene Medder moved that the meeting adjourn, seconded by Jacob Womack. The motion was approved by acclamation at 11:10 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Matt Banks, Recording Secretary



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