Tackling climate change of a different sort

To: UC Santa Cruz staff

From: Herbie Lee, Interim Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

I’m very pleased to announce the reconstitution of our Campus Welfare Committee.

Historically, the charge of this committee has been to understand the impacts of campus planning activities on the campus community. In the past, the group has focused on things like transportation, parking, and childcare. But after gathering input—through our strategic planning process Envision UC Santa Cruz, through Staff Advisory Board forums, and through discussions with campus leadership and so many of you—the decision was made by the executive vice chancellor’s office to shift the charge of the group to have a general focus on our campus climate.

We want this group to eventually get its arms around the campus climate in its broadest sense—for our faculty, staff, academic employees, undergraduate, and graduate students—and to be well-informed of the drivers that impact us all. And for the first two years (academic years 2016–17 and 2017–18), we want the committee to narrow its focus to staff engagement, morale, and wellness.

Why? A staff employee engagement survey done UC-wide revealed that employee engagement on our campus lags behind our sister campuses and is lower than our peers across the nation. While clearly the loss of knowledge through retirements and the decrease in staff due to budget reductions have had an impact on morale, it is also apparent that our systems for development, engagement, and support of a diverse and multi-generational workforce can be improved.

This new Campus Welfare Committee is being chaired by Sarah Latham, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services. Expect to hear from Sarah in the coming months as the committee begins soliciting input and identifying the issues that impact staff engagement.

I’ve asked the committee to provide me and my successor with a status report this coming June and a final report in December 2017 that includes work that has been done, findings, and potential “quick-wins” that could be implemented campuswide prior to the final recommendations. I’m very much looking forward to not only the group’s findings—but a potential roadmap to a more professionally satisfied and engaged staff.

The Campus Welfare Committee members are:

  • David Abercia, Assistant Vice Provost and Chief of Staff, Undergraduate Education
  • Noriko Aso, Associate Professor, History
  • Rosa Chung, Department Manager, Baskin School of Engineering
  • Jose Gaona, Planning and Resource Analyst, Social Sciences
  • Kris Godley, Business Analyst, Office of Research
  • Adrienne Harrell, Assistant Dean, Humanities
  • Meg Kobe, Director, Student Health Outreach and Promotion, Student Success
  • Alison Trybom Lucas, Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Dean, Arts
  • Magge McCue, Divisional Business Director, Information Technology Services
  • Rachel Neuman, Graduate Student Commons Business/Building Manager, Graduate Studies
  • Linda Rhoads, Chief of Staff, CP/EVC’s Office
  • Sabrina Shaver, Assistant Manager, Staff Human Resources, BAS
  • John Steele, Senior CUCSA Delegate, BAS

Thank you to all involved, and I look forward to seeing all employees at our annual staff appreciation picnic, which is slated for May 25 this year. Look for more details on the event in this space as the event draws closer.