December 2009 minutes

Westchester Administrative Staff Council meeting
December 2, 2009
Butcher Suite, Kessel Campus Center, PLV

The meeting was called to order by Peggy Caraccio, co-chair of the Administrative Staff Council. 


  • Holiday Show today at 4 pm in the Gottesman room.
  • Tapas Lounge:  December 8 (Click this link to make reservations for the Tapas Lounge).  Restaurant management course students have a lounge.  You can use your meal card. 
  • Have a wonderful Holiday. 

Peggy will be moving to Pleasantville at the end of this week.  Shikha Bajracharya is now in charge of the Help Desk.


Approval of November Meeting Minutes.   Fran O’Gara made a motion to accept the minutes and GailWeldon seconded the motion


Treasurer’s Report.  No Report.  Money for Coffee has been allocated at $20 per meeting.  All additional funds will be spent on the picnic.


Committee Reports:

Benefits (Fran O’Gara)  All benefits are coming up for renewal as of June 30, 2010.  All programs will be reviewed – medical, dental, and life insurance.  Wellness committee is new and we will soon get a survey about things you are interested in as far as wellness programs.  Need to be proactive with Cigna and wellness will improve over time but need to take an active role in trying to increase wellness.   This will be a bargaining tool when renewing with Cigna. 

The January Wellness Committee meeting will discuss the results of the survey.  The results of the wellness survey will NOT have a direct effect on the benefits that the university provides but will be used to select wellness programs. 

Participants in the discussion requested to have a part of a meeting to discuss benefits (The January meeting has been scheduled with this topic in mind).  People are angry that our stress levels have increased and how can we be healthier if we can’t even leave our desks for lunch.


Faculty Council (Karen DeSantis) – no report.  Next meeting is Friday.


Service Committee: Clout drive is happening and is slightly delayed.  Look for an announcement to come out soon.


Picnic Committee - no report.  Please think about joining or chairing the picnic committee.


Presentation:  Christine Shakespeare, Interim Associate Provost for the Office for Student Success.

Christine began with a brief background.  She began at Pace in 2008 and has been in her current position for four months.  This division works with retention which may have a very hard year as the students are having financial problems along with the rest of the economy. 
Division of the Office for Student Success encompasses several departments some of which are on both campuses: Center for Academic Excellence, First Year Programs, Tutoring Centers, CAP, Sophomore retention for undecided students, Office for Student Success, International Division.  Christine also works on the articulation agreements (which include relationships with 2 year colleges for easy transfer transitions) and Commencement. 
Priority work:

  • Reorganizing staff roles within the division
  • Organizing an institution wide retention advisory board that will focus on institutional barriers for student success
  • Analyzing current data banks that are already available to identify populations that might need additional programming. 
  • Assessing the current programs to see if they are effective in helping with student success.
  • Working with OSA on Banner initiatives that will help with advising and with international division programs. 
  • Working on coordinating orientations for all students including new students, transfer students, and graduate students.
  • Ensuring compliance with Homeland Security.

Questions and comments:

The new Retention committee will be forthcoming.  The Provost will announce it soon and will be asking for committee members.

Who are the names of people in the division? (Click here for a list of the people in this division)

Special needs students are also served by this division.  Looking at building services as well as student needs.

Some students may not be able to complete their degree in four years and may have to drop out for a short time and return.  The Counseling center had a brochure about it in the past that might be helpful for students.

Graduation:  Survey results are in and with the Provost.  He is meeting with faculty council this week and results may be shared soon.


Guests: Betsy Garti, Director of Employee Relations and Jim Marshall, Senior Compensation and Benefits Analyst.


BG:  The decision about changing the vacation time has been made so we should be discussing how we can move forward.  Aligning the vacation accrual calendar with university fiscal year for administrative reasons eliminates the overlap between the two different calendars and saves the University money as there is no carryover of monies into August that must be held out of the fiscal budget in case vacation time needs to be refunded to employees who separate in July or August.

What are your suggestions about how to make this work?  Suggestions for managers:  Sit down with staff and explain the process.  HR can help if you need it.  HR has an outlook vacation calendar that everyone shares.  Managers might need to create a clear set of guidelines.

Council response:  The biggest concern is that most people take their vacation in the summer.  If everyone waits until June, there will be nobody on campus for that month.  This impacts the workload in an academic department especially when there is only one administrative person per department.   If that one person is not around, who is going to do the work?  It just waits for you to come back.

Has the carryover of days be considered for this year?  Since this was a mandated change, people should be given flexibility for this transition year. 

What about those people who are moving from the Grad Center who are packing during slow student times rather than taking vacation times?

The Problem is that our staff is so dedicated and does not want to take vacation at time when it may hurt the students that this becomes a concern.

Please send any additional suggestions for managers, management council, or any other concerns about this new process to Betsy at