University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Catherine Symans

June 2014

Catherine Symans


As my two-year term as Staff Council President comes to an end, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address you in my final Staffline. Although the position of Staff Council President has its challenges, these past two years have been truly rewarding. The Staff Council Representatives with whom I’ve served are a responsible, dedicated and thoughtful group of staff members. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to come to know and work with them on a number of initiatives including addressing the needs of Nursing Mothers at UVM, building community among staff by providing opportunities to interact in social settings, advocating for the expectation of standardized performance appraisals for all staff and for the expectation of supervisory training.  The Staff Council has plenty of challenges ahead, but as I “pass the gavel” to President-elect Renee Berteau and Vice President-elect Johanna Brabham, I am confident that the Staff Council will continue to achieve greatness under this new leadership team. As we communicated in our recent Annual Staff Council Update to the senior administration,

The Staff Council serves in a unique capacity at UVM, allowing for the incorporation of staff’s voice at the University in a way that models respect and innovation and openness and justice. We believe that we are a stellar example of how the concerns and thinking and energy of higher education staff can be fully invested in the governing structure and decision-making processes of a university.

In closing, I would like to thank the senior leadership at the University for encouraging and supporting the work of the Staff Council. We have appreciated the increased opportunities for contact with administration and the expanded engagement with University initiatives. I would especially like to thank Renee Berteau for serving as my Vice President these past two years and making my job easier as she shared the responsibility of leading the Council. I congratulate her and wish her the very best of luck as she assumes the Presidency for the next two years. And most importantly, my heartfelt gratitude goes to the Staff Council Office team of Jeff Bukowski and Amy Gilman. Without their wise counsel and ever-present support, I would not have been able to as effectively carry out the duties and responsibilities of the Staff Council Presidency.

With great appreciation,

Catherine Symans

Staff Council President