University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Karmen Swim

October 2017

The most exciting news to share with you all is that the recent data received from Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs shows that 90.7% of our staff received performance evaluations in 2017!!!

This is a tremendous improvement over the past year’s number of 40% (and previous year at 41%) and reflects the significant effort put forth by HRDMA to improve the process and implement a new review system over the course of the last several years; but, also shows that the Colleges/Units, Deans and Supervisors at the University were all vested in the success of the process – to be sure that our staff were given reviews to: 

  • reflect their hard work,
  • outline areas for growth and improvement,
  • set goals for the new year, and
  • foster communication with supervisors.  

We are incredibly pleased by this encouraging outcome and proud to have contributed to the success of the launch of the on-line performance reviews.  In an effort to help promote improvements in the review process, the Staff Council Outreach Committee performed a series of focus groups over the summer.  Participants were randomly selected from Colleges and Units all over campus and invited to participate.  Thank you to all staff who came to the outreach sessions and for sharing what you know about the process and how your experience went with your supervisors.  

This feedback helps us understand the need for more sound and widespread supervisory training at UVM to ensure consistency and competence among our many supervisors and helps us maintain an ongoing and meaningful dialogue with HRDMA to improve the process each and every year.  It also allows us to help share resources with staff so they can find information and answer questions relating to the performance review process at the University.  We always want to be a work-in-progress! 

 Staff Council is committed to Diversity and Inclusion at UVM.  We stand behind all efforts at the University that help UVM become more diverse, inclusive and multi-cultural, and we work together as a Council and as a community to embrace our differences and celebrate our commonalities.  This week, at the Staff Council Retreat, we opened a dialogue about discussing these difficult issues in the workplace with sensitivity, mindfulness, and kindness and we hope to continue that conversation as the year goes on.

 In closing, Staff Appreciation Week was outstanding again this year – recognizing Staff’s hard work and dedication to the University.

The Staff Appreciation Committee (thank you!) volunteered many countless hours to have an authentic, week-long celebration of each of YOU – the amazing and talented staff at the University who contribute so greatly to the success of the University.  We were blessed with:

  •  amazing weather, free henna tattoos (thank you Parvin Pothiawala for your generosity), lawn games, music, raffle prizes and tasty food for the Social on the Green;
  • college swag giveaways and delicious food for the 10/15-year luncheon;
  • elegant dinner away from campus at the DoubleTree Hotel (with scrumptious gluten-free flourless chocolate cake, by the way), gifts for our milestone anniversary staff (25, 30, 35, 40, 45…), a picture slideshow and heartfelt words of recognition; and
  • an amazing display of staff artwork at the Staff Council Art Show.  You are all very talented!! 

I look forward with excitement to the work Staff Council will be leading in the upcoming year.  The Staff Council Committees are doing great work on initiatives that will not only benefit the staff, but will also benefit the larger UVM community as a whole.  They have started meaningful conversations and are conducting valuable research and data collection.

Please know that the Staff Council representative(s) in your College or Unit wants to hear from you.  Let us be your voice!    You can reach out to the Staff Council Office at or call at 656-4493.

You can find their contact information at:

With Faith, Hope and all the very Best,