SAC Meeting Minutes September 2019

January 13, 2020

SAC Monthly Meeting Minutes - DRAFT

September 4th, 2019

3 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture, room 410

ATTENDANCE: Ron, Renee, Richie, Sarah, Rebecca, Colin, Kathryn, Kevin & Sharon

  1. Dean Ron Hendrick attending today’s meeting


  1. Future of SAC – Colin welcomed the Dean to our meeting. Stated the committee feels our purpose/guidelines as defined on our website is fundamentally accurate.  “Advise the Dean on issues important to CANR Staff.”


The Dean concurred with stated committee purpose.  SAC should be able to ID issues staff are having within units, with students, faculty and administration.  The staff is a more stabilized group; faculty and students rotate in and out.  The Dean stated for the staff to be effective we need a solid structure and a more effective governance at MSU.  Over the last couple of years with “U” issues, the voices heard least were that of the staff.  Suggested the structure of the committee expand to represent each school/department and represented area.  Establish representation like CAC, 12 departments may need to expand to include IT, Communications, Extension off-campus, Farms etc.  Wants to increase interaction with staff in meaningful ways.  Utilize sub-groups within the committee to be more effective without changing function of the committee.  Need to be an organized voice.  It was not clear how many other schools/departments hold regular staff meetings.  SAC will need to determine representation of the committee.  This may require by-law changes.


Both Dean and SAC see the need to have a larger footprint within the College to better represent the staff at large and governing body. 


SAC to host an annual College-wide staff meeting, (preference to be at the beginning of the AY year early fall) invite the CANR Leadership team, but the meeting is led by the SAC.  Opportunity for staff to ask questions of Leadership.  Could be a reception, that migrates into meeting.  Suggested that SAC solicit questions in advance via Qualtrics, giving staff the chance to ask questions and raise concerns in an anonymous environment. 


Revisiting staff awards program – Would like the awards (monthly) to be more of a personal experience, rethink the process; centered around mission, effective changes in unit etc.    Other options, surprise pop-in visits from the Dean; Dean hosted lunches 2x year.  Suggested to have nominations come forward on how we recognize staff from students or faculty.  Sarah reported that other units also do similar annual awards as we have in the past.  Discussion centered around what our budget is/was for the awards program.  Dean shared; let’s figure out what the program will look like and then we can get the dollar figure.  SAC also needs to do a better job at promoting the University awards.

Communication between SAC and Dean’s office – SAC can have direct communication with the Dean’s office, does not have to flow through Renee or Richie.  Elected Chair should be the representative point person on behalf of the committee to communicate with Dean’s office.  Kathryn interjected that the staff in general want to interact with the Dean.  Sarah asked if it is realistic that the Dean could meet with staff more regularly, he responded yes.  How do we engage outside staff; encouragement has to come from Supervisors.

  1. Current staff issues to discuss

Director of staff human resources position – There will be a communication coming out from the Dean’s office to announce changes within the leadership roles.  Renee will be the lead HR contact for CANR, Richie’s title also changed; will continue to support Dr. Lang but will also handle HR issues.  As a side note, IT Centralization is in a holding pattern right now.

Leveraging College resources for SAC – For web updates we can work with Eileen Gianiodis’ office.  Denise Bond can also help train users to update web content.  Jan, Sarah and Kathryn are trained on DotCMS.  To be web accessible notes should be saved as WORD not PDF.


Understaffing/Underfunding – It is noted that we have heard our campus farm staff are working crazy hours by the salaried staff, not enough people to get the work done.  Funding seems to be an issue for this area and others as we hear of similar areas where faculty numbers have increased yet staff numbers remain the same.  Dean stated that it was no secret that former President Simon wanted to reduce staff numbers.  That philosophy has been put on hold.  The government does not like to reward Higher Ed for staff hires, really driven by faculty.  There is no new money coming in.  Many Chair’s agree this has gotten out of whack.  College has overshot their ability to pay for last round if faculty hires, have greatly reduced the new hire amount for the next year.  Many dynamic challenges the College faces with funding.  State funds (AgBio) dollars are at or above where we were in 2011 but the General Fund is not.  Renee reported that if she is brought in during a staff replacement, this is a good time to look at the current structure, where might there be opportunity to make changes, maybe some efficiency can be found at this time as well.  Where do we look for funding to support staff hires?  Utilize grant option to add budget line for admin support dollars.


What is the ratio of new faculty to new staff hires (not replacements) over the last 5 years?  One department reported out over last 10 years same 5 core staff yet 14 new faculty hires.  Those 5-core staff support 52 faculty, 34 Research Associates, 18 other lab staff and students both grad and undergrad.  


Bonus pay - Spring 2019 requests rejected by Dean’s office – Last year the Dean’s Office was receiving a large number of request for off-cycle raises, some units more than others, becoming obvious units that have vs those that do not have the extra funding to support bonuses when no raises were coming through.  In principle not opposed to giving out bonus, very clear it was creating salary inequities, outcome would create more problems and should not be part of regular income.

  1. Committee vacancies -
    1. Fill DEI vacancy – call for nominations have gone out. Deadline is 9/6/19 will vet with Extension. 
    2. Fill 3 open SAC seats – addressed above, restructure committee makeup


  1. Website update – addressed above


  1. Dean meeting with CANR Staff – addressed above / see action items below. Goal is for the staff to hear updates directly from the Dean and to be able to ask question.  Jan had suggested that we solicit questions from the staff in advance of the meeting, using a survey tool.  (Ice Cream with the Dean, potential way to get staff to attend)


  1. Other business

Action Items:

All Staff meeting with Leadership Team – select date/location, solicit questions from staff, send out invite

How do we determine committee representation expansion?

Review by-laws for needed structure changes

Awards program – date to reinstate, $ amount that was awarded in the past for annual awards


Tags: staff advisory committee

For more information visit:

Staff Advisory Committee

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