Staff Senate and UC-Subcommittee Forum

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The Staff Senate and University Council (UC)—Subcommittee Forum was well received by those in attendance. To start the forum Staff Senate members, Green Bouzard and Pa Dao Yang gave a brief overview of what Staff Senate is, the mission, the members, the 2016-17 goals, and announcements of upcoming opportunities. This information can be found at

Following the introduction of Staff Senate each University Council subcommittee had a representative explain what their roll is, give updates on the work they have done, and what current goals they are working on. Below is a recap of what we learned.

Jim Trelstad-Porter—University Council Chair Updates

Jim spoke about the interplay between the University Council (UC) and its various subcommittees. The UC is a non-governing body that provides consultation to the President. Jim (elected by staff ) and Jeff Swenson (appointed by Staff Senate) represent all staff and work to protect staff interests in this group.

The UC convenes to consider specific ideas proposed by subcommittees (e.g. Smoking policy; NCAA transgender policy), engaging in broad deliberation on key issues still taking shape in order to reach consensus. The group is working to create a baseline of content/input to be more effective.

Joanne Reeck—Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee

This subcommittee is comprised mostly of staff and uses the student inclusion assessment to guide work and planning. The committee’s strategic plan and minutes can be found on its Moodle site.

In general, this group is working to continue to enhance a campus-wide conversation on what intentional diversity and inclusion mean on our campus. Conversations are underway to address student concerns regarding diversity across the curriculum and to increase representation on faculty by people from historically marginalized. Augsburg’s faculty hiring process is scheduled to be externally reviewed in December. The reviewer will present back in a Focused Conversation in early 2018. The committee is also working with student government to review concerns of accessibility across campus.

Supporting this committee is the Campus Climate Advisory Team, which convenes when necessary to respond to local, regional, and national issues that affect our students.

Leif Anderson—Leadership Forum

Leif shared that Leadership Forum is a “community of practice” for leaders on campus to gather to improve their practice as leaders. The Forum advances Augsburg’s mission through careful deliberation with peers and improving leadership skills by building relationships across campus. Group consists of VPs, their direct reports, and directors of administrative units. The group convenes twice monthly to consider topics from Focus Conversations, asking “What are the leadership questions we need to be asking?” in order to support a variety of stated strategic initiatives.

Beth Reissenweber & Karen Kaivola—Resources Committee

The Resources subcommittee provides guidance to the President and UC on how best to allocate our available resources in order to meet the goals of our strategic plan and mission.

The committee asks “How can space foster collaborations and intersections” and uses stakeholder feedback to influence priority-making during budget season.

Current projects and priorities include:

  • Ice Arena and Solar Array
  • Residence Halls
  • Academic Costs / Academic Plan
  • Health Insurance
  • Five-year modeling (including debt management)

Look for a Focused Conversation on Financial Management on December 12, 2 p.m. in OGC 100 and December 13, 12:30 p.m. in OGC 100

Look for Focused Conversation on Academic Planning on February 13, 2 p.m., OGC 100 and February 14, 12:30 p.m., OGC 100

Allyson Green & Christina Erickson—Environmental Stewardship Committee

The Environmental Stewardship Committee is working on implementing the Climate Action Plan, a presidential commitment first established in 2009 and is beginning to implement a sustainability work plan with $475,000 in support from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies.

Current projects and priorities include:

  • Campus Operations – lighting, compost, solar array
  • Scholarship & Curriculum – Institutional Learning Outcomes that  highlight student learning around the theme of sustainability, including health and wellness.
  • Campus Culture – Through MACP grant, interns will be working on implementing best practices across campus and within departments; focus on reducing bottled water / “loving local water”;

Nate Gorr—Enrollment Committee

Spring Transfers – Positive outlook (up in inquiries, applications, and admits)

Spring New – Positive outlook (up in inquiries, applications, and admits)

Fall – inquiries down compared to last year, but completed applications are up; goal is 460

Recap on Fall 2017-18 – Grad admissions were very strong, exceeded goal in all but one graduate program. Undergrad took a slight dip below our goal after 10-day. However, the cohort had higher ACT and GPA scores. Nate predicts this will result stronger retention and 4-year grad.

Other key decisions are being held until the appointment of a new VP for Enrollment.

Katie Bishop – Student Success Committee

Committee considers the following data and routinely reports to other bodies:

  • 4-year grad rate (46%)
  • 1st to 2nd year retention (76.5% – due in part to outside political and economic pressures)
  • % of students earning the appropriate # of credits (70%)

Subcommittee is also looking at the following:

  • Changes in advising model
  • Changes in policy around registration
  • Change in adding credit to curriculum / eliminating no-credit offerings
  • Academic feedback / Alert system

Jodi Collen & Seth Leinard—Campus Design Committee and Space Sub-Committee

These subcommittees are focused on how students, faculty, staff, and visitors/guests experience our campus, asking the question “How does our campus tell the Augsburg story?” and working to identify a broad range of stakeholders to assess the various uses/functions of our spaces

The group has recently toured campus to identify areas that need require attention. Findings were shared with Resource Committee and University Council. The group is considering opportunities created by the opening of the Hagfors Center

Look for a Focused Conversation on Strategic Facilities Management on March 6, 2 p.m., OGC 100 and March 7, 12:30 p.m., OGC 100.


For more information about the University Council Subcommittees visit


Wednesday, November 15
1:30–3 p.m.  |  Marshall room

Staff Senate will be hosting a forum to help continue to improve communication and create an opportunity for the Augsburg community to come together. Join us to hear:

  • Staff Senate’s role and goals for the year
  • Updates from the University Council staff representatives Jim Trelstad-Porter and Jeff Swenson
  • University Council subcommittee updates

We look forward to seeing you there!