University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council Vice President Renee Berteau

February 2013

Each Fall, Staff Council holds a Retreat for all of its Representatives which focuses on a topic relevant to the organization and which can assist  us moving forward to better address the needs of staff at UVM. For several hours we brainstorm, share and discuss our ideas while we try to understand the topic and what this knowledge can bring to our advocacy for you.

This year, the Retreat was focused on Servant Leadership: a concept of leadership developed by Robert K. Greenleaf which seeks to involve others in decision making, is based in ethical and caring behavior, and enhances individual personal growth while improving the caring and quality of an organization.  Through investigating how Staff Council Representatives serve as Servant Leaders, we identified ways to reach staff to hear what they are experiencing at UVM. One of the major themes of this discussion was outlining better communication methods on both how to communicate out to staff, and how to receive information from them.  As always, far more ideas were generated than our volunteer Representatives have time to address, but we’ve been working on a few of them, and I’d like to take my time in this letter to tell you about them.

  • Taking a page from UVM Student Government Association’s book on how to communicate, we have been developing an informational video that will be completed by the end of the semester.  We are working on giving our community a chance to see some of our Staff Council Representatives speak to the work Staff Council does for staff. It will be sent out in Staffline and posted on our website.

  • We have developed an EDU@UVM session called “Staff Council Town Meeting” for this March’s Signature Staff Development event on March 7th. We hope that many staff from across the University will attend to talk about issues that concern them. We are also partnering with Continuing Education to lead a presentation on “Taking Classes While Working” which will focus on balancing our personal and professional lives while taking advantage of educational opportunities at UVM and available to its employees. I’m excited that we will be a part of EDU@UVM as this event is a wonderful way to meet others and exchange ideas while understanding the University from outside of your own department, college, or unit.

  • Staffline: With our focus on communication this year, the Staff Council and Staff Council Administrator have taken a hard look at what this monthly e-newsletter holds for information, and how well it is distributed to staff.  With a view toward making this the primary means of communication from Staff Council, it’s an important tool.  Your input and suggestions on content or ways of distribution would be welcome.

As a staff member myself for almost eight years, I know how insulated you can sometimes feel when working in your own department.  But there are many others throughout the University who do what you do, and feel the same pressures.  It is important that we reach out to each other to exchange ideas; learn how we handle our individual work/life balance, or what we use for strategies to adapt to change.  One of the reasons I enjoy Staff Council is it helps me connect to other staff to support the excellent work of our University. 

Please know that Staff Council President Catherine Symans and I are always open to suggestions or comments from staff, and can be reached at Staff.Council@uvm.eduThe more we hear from you, the more we can influence positive change for staff at UVM.


Renee Berteau

Staff Council Vice President

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