University of Vermont

A Note from Staff Council President Karmen Swim

Another semester has started here at the University and I hope this Staffline finds each of you healthy, happy and enjoying our Vermont winter…however that looks for you!

It is certainly a busy and exciting time.  The leadership roles for myself and Bethany Wolfe, Staff Council Vice President will be ending this summer.  An Officers’ Election will be launched in March for our successors. We are also preparing to reach out to those units/colleges where we have Staff Council Representative vacancies for the upcoming term.  So, now is a great opportunity to get involved in Staff Council! Keep your eyes open for recruitment materials or get in touch with the Staff Council Office if you have questions. 

We continue to have collaborative conversations with administration and give advice regarding matters such as parking, FY19 non-represented compensation & merit increases, IBB, and UVM’s upcoming accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  Staff Council was invited to share feedback on Standard 7, which includes physical, technical, informational and financial resources.  We focused on the physical aspects of our campus, as well as access, safety, security and a healthy environment. The accreditation process is only beginning, and there are plans to involve the entire campus community in the effort, so you will have further opportunities to share your perspective if you wish.

Staff Council Leadership continues to make progress on our “Jump Start” program.  We envision that this program will allow newly-hired staff members to meet a few times throughout their first year on campus, as a follow-up to Orientation.  We are still developing the details of the program and what the meetings will look like.  But, in order to determine the best development for the program and to provide useful information at these meetings, we will be sending out a survey soon to all new non-represented staff hired in the last year asking them to speak about their experiences being new members of the University community. We’re asking these questions:

  • Thinking about the time between your orientation and now, what new information about benefits, perks, programs, opportunities and organizations at UVM have you learned?
  • What are some things that would have been helpful for you to learn at orientation?
  • What questions about UVM in general, your department, or your position are still outstanding for you?
  • What is one piece of information you’ve learned about UVM that you think every employee should know?
  • What are some ways that you think UVM could better support recently-hired employees?

Even if you’re not new to UVM, we’re interested in your experience when you started here – so if upon reading these questions you have anything you would like to share, please email either or

I want to take a moment to highlight the amazing work that the Staff Council committees are continuing to do in support of the non-represented staff at the University.

The Compensation, Benefits & Budget Committee is finalizing the FY19 Non-Represented Staff Compensation and Merit Recommendations.  We are hoping for a higher percentage for merit this year so supervisors can use this to reward the exceptional staff at the University.  We are also looking at other non-monetary ways to acknowledge and reward staff for their contributions to the University. 

This Committee is also working on a “Parenting at UVM” forum.  We had learned through staff outreach that there is a need for knowledge-sharing to help parents understand how UVM supports parenting and find ways to support and learn from other parents.  The forum will feature resources available at UVM, but also in the community and at the state level as well.

The Outreach Committee continues to develop the new Staff Council Survey so we can learn valuable feedback from you. We depend on your feedback to choose our issues and goals.  The survey is expected to be deployed in the Fall of 2018, and you’ll receive an email when it’s available to fill out.

The Social Committee continues to bring opportunities to the campus to build community and families by offering local outings to our staff.  Some upcoming events include:

Open Skate Night: We’re so excited to present the 3rd Annual Open Skate Night! The entire UVM community and your friends and families are invited for a night of free ice skating on the Gutterson Ice. We provide snacks and a live DJ, you bring your own skates and have a great time. Friday March 23rd, 6pm-8pm.

Lyric Theatre’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels:  The Social Committee invites you to the 2:00 pm matinee of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on April 7th. They’re subsidizing tickets so you can get a discount!  Check this issue of Staffline for the ticket order form.

The Staff Council Subsidized Basketball and Hockey tickets to attend games over the student holiday break were a great success – a COMPLETE SELL OUT!  We’re sorry if you missed them this time, but we will keep fundraising so we can offer this great deal again next year. On a personal note, I want to add:  Let’s go Catamounts!   Keep up the solid work – it is certainly exciting to be a part of the action at UVM!

The Personal and Professional Development Committee is working on a new Professional Development Scholarship Fund and are in the process of preparing a recommendation to administration.  Stay tuned; the intent of the scholarship fund is to help support professional development opportunities for our staff…so, it is all very energizing! 

The Committee is working to create a Staff Council hosted event at edu@uvm (Educate. Develop.  Understand.) – scheduled for March 13, 14 and 15.  I encourage you to please take a moment to look at all the workshop descriptions and program schedules at:  Registration is required and opens February 15! 

Other events of interest at edu@uvm include: 

Keynote & Breakfast – “Thorny Conversations:  Navigating your way through Conflict”

Wake Up to Wellness – Morning Dedicated to Wellness Workshops

My next Staffline letter will be the April edition.  Until then, please stay warm, stay focused, stay present.  Share your concerns, speak of your successes and embrace the differences in all of us that make this University such a wonderful, diverse, inclusive and rich environment to work. 

All the best,