University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Renee Berteau

October 2014

Happy Autumn!

Last month we celebrated Staff Appreciation Week which was an opportunity for the entire UVM community – students, staff, faculty and administration – to recognize and thank the hundreds of staff employees at the University for all the work they do. From the Social on the Green with the gorgeous weather and Culture Awareness focus to the Fourth Annual UVM Staff Art Exhibit, the Recognition Dinner and Lunch; from the new initiatives like the I ♥ UVM Staff campaign #iheartuvmstaff and campus tours by the AdvoCats, to the simple message of thanks given from one colleague to another; we engaged as one UVM community in caring, supportive, and fun ways to highlight the significant contributions staff have made to our institution.

You can check out a number of photos from throughout Staff Appreciation Week at the I ♥ UVM Staff webpage.

I want to thank the Staff Appreciation Week Planning committee and Staff Council for organizing these events and initiatives. I also want to thank President Sullivan, Leslie Sullivan, Provost Rosowsky, Vice President Heading-Grant, Vice President Richard Cate, Vice President Gary Derr and the rest of the UVM community for their support of staff as well as students and faculty which makes our institution so special and unique.

While taking the time to recognize staff was an important celebration, we all realize that this is a busy time for UVM with multiple new initiatives and significant organizational changes that impact the entire University. Our leaders have set some attainable strategic goals to transform UVM into a stronger institution, but to get there we need the dedication of staff and faculty alike. However, in the case of staff, I and Staff Council recognize that years of across-the-board salary increases or no increases have become problematic for many as they strive to do more with less support or time and try to make ends meet when costs are rising and difficult personal financial decisions have to be made. We all know that UVM’s total compensation is very generous, but despite this fact, for many staff, it’s just not adding up.

For several years Staff Council has been advocating for Performance Appraisals for all staff so that merit based increases could occur to recognize those employees who are living out the values of Our Common Ground in ways that have positive impacts and gains for our students, colleagues, Vermont, the U.S., and even the world.

At this time of transition, we need to have a serious discussion as an institution about how to incentivize our staff to encourage them to be innovative, creative, and dedicated to our mission. To this end, it is time to make Performance Appraisals for all staff an expectation and bring back merit based increases within a compensation model that recognizes and incorporates the strategic goals that have been set by our leaders. We need to reward our staff for going above and beyond, facing challenges, and attaining positive outcomes, to strengthen our University and set it apart from other higher education institutions.

On Friday, October 17, 2014, I will have an opportunity to address the Board of Trustees. During that time I plan to share with them our staff concerns around salary and incentives in this time of transition. I encourage those staff who have concerns on these issues to share your thoughts with me and Staff Council. To do so either complete a Staff Connect submission or send an email to Staff.Council@uvm.edu.

My heartfelt thanks to all staff who make UVM the institution it is today.

Sincerely,

Renee Berteau
Staff Council President