Staff Senate Minutes - approved 5/26/10

A regular meeting of the Staff Senate was held on Friday April 23, 2010 at SUB 233 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  The following, marked with an X, were present.   Guests present at the meeting were Kate Taylor, Nancy Carrasco, and President Waded Cruzado.

Elected Members:


Steve Beasley


Gale Kinzie


Jan Bradley


Raechell Nielsen


Mary Engel


Jeannette Radcliffe


Deb Harrison


Kevin Thane


Neil Jorgensen


Justin van Almelo


Donna Kelly


Bill Van Horn

Attendance Code Key:  X = Attended     A=Apologies for Absence       Staff, Joan Ford, was in attendance.

Appointed Committee Members:  Kristine Mashaw, Michael Dean, Shana Wold, Carol Shannon, Molly Anderson, Shari Curtis, Ron Brekke, and Pam Fraser. 

A motion, made by Jeannette and seconded by Bill, to approve the March 24, 2010 minutes was unanimously approved. 

Kevin announced the Provost’s Search Committee meeting with classified employees is today at 4:15 p.m. in SUB 236.  The committee is gathering information from each constituent group in its preparation for interview questions for potential Provost candidates.  The questions will include why the candidate is attracted to MSU, what they perceive the key issues are, what qualities or attributes they bring to the table, and five years from now, how they would define success.

Kevin outlined five new work groups being formed by President Cruzado.  They are, as defined by President Cruzado’s 4/14/10 email:  1) Governance Working Group- To explore ways in which we can optimize our institutional policies, processes and practices, while enhancing institutional coordination and communication.  2) Academics Working Group– To explore ways in which we can optimize academic policies, procedures and practices that will guide and implement MSU's academic agenda.  3) Research Working Group To explore ways in which we can optimize policies, processes and practices that will guide and implement MSU's research agenda.  4) Budget Working Group To explore ways in which we can regularly formulate an institutional budget proposal that, incorporating effective representation, will help implement MSU's strategic plan, based on specific measurable objectives.   5) Planning Working Group– To explore how we can formulate a new strategic plan that, based on specific measurable objectives, can be tied to our budget allocation processes and guide the future of MSU.  Classified employees will have representation on all but Academics.

Kevin reported that Shari Curtis requested a 2nd term on the MSU Benefits Committee.  Her request was accepted.

Kevin noted that the nomination process for the Staff Senate elections is underway.  Kate Taylor requested that the final ballot include more information than just a list of names.  All in attendance agreed and a list of questions for the nominees was developed.  By consensus, the group developed the following questions:  Why are you interested in being an elected member of Staff Senate?  What life experiences do you have that you feel would be of value as an elected member of Staff Senate? And is there anything else you would like voters to know about you? 

Committee reports:

International Programs Committee, Pam reported that the committee is working on issues regarding a declining enrollment of international students, declining resource availability, and enrolled students struggling with the English language.

Strategic Planning Committee, per Kristine the committee is on hiatus.

MSU Benefits Committee, Shari noted that we are now in the Choices enrollment period.  Also it is time to submit your credits if you signed up for WellAwards.  Ron recommended the Benefit Choices podcast (, it is informative and helpful.  It was noted that the enrollment program lets you know after you have completed enrollment if you have money left over and asks if you would like that money to go into a flex account.  Changes in the URx program also have an informative podcast available on the web under the URx section.  Carol noted that employees who travel out-of-state or have dependents that are out-of-state should review each of the providers to see what limitations or service restrictions they may have before enrolling in Choices.  Complete notes are online  

Parking Services Advisory Committee, Molly reported the policy on ADA tags and MSU permits was clarified.  An MSU permit (either yearly or visitor) is still required even if someone has an ADA tag.  To avoid future confusion, all ADA signs will now have an MSU Parking Permit Required sign.  Facilities is providing $2500 - $3000 to cover the cost of the new signs.  Summer maintenance projects such as seal coating, crack sealing, and striping will start soon.  The group is drafting a snow emergency plan.  Complete notes are online

University Marketing Committee, Shana reported that Kevin Connolly will give the convocation in fall 2010.  A study prepared for President Cruzado noted that 12.6% of Montana High School graduates are coming to MSU.  Many students are attracted to MSU because we have both book learning and real life experience like Engineers without Borders.

Space Management Committee, Bill reported that the committee deferred devoting space, at this time, to the Gamble student success program and space for the College of Technology.  It is estimated that Hamilton’s first two floors will be ready for occupancy in mid-July.

Guest Speaker

President Cruzado joined Staff Senate at 10:09 a.m.  She began by thanking everyone for all they do and the service provided to students and everyone else we serve.  She has learned a lot in her first 100 days.  The purpose of her listening and learning sessions was to gain an understanding of the Institution through the stories, dreams and goals she heard. 

She noted that communication is key and yet so difficult.  Her Monday morning emails are one effort to improve communication.  She highlighted her April 21st email, where she discussed the management of FY10 one-time-only funds and restoration of Benefits management to the central offices, as an example of keeping the University informed.  She is rethinking the governance of the University with an eye toward:  shared governance, transparency, and communication. 

She noted that with the current structure of the University the President does not have access to any committees.  One of the first steps toward this governance change is the formation of five work groups to shape and have a decision in making these new Councils or Committees.  She noted that currently MSU does not have a policy-making body.  Because of this, policies in place are not uniform and consistent.  A new Governance Council will become this policy-making body and each constituent group will have a vote; agendas will be public, and minutes will be published.  All employees will have access to what is happening before it becomes an article in the newspaper.

President Cruzado concluded her visit by thanking the Staff Senate members present for inviting her to the meeting.


A motion, moved and seconded, that all items be tabled until the next Staff Senate meeting, was unanimously approved.

Other Business:

A motion, moved and seconded, to adjourn the meeting at 11:05 a.m., was unanimously approved.

Next meeting:  Wednesday May 26, 2010 from 9 to 11 a.m. in SUB #236.