2022 Dean's Staff Advisory Committee Minutes

Meeting minutes are detailed below. Click the link to jump to that month's minutes.

September 27 August 26 March 30

September 27

Present: Heather Hazzard, Lisa Pasbjerg, Emily Schultz, Jacqueline Evans, Kimberly Sapkowski, Candace Heeringa, Ruth Patino, Angela Zell, Lori Dykstra, Sarah Enlow, Julie Bergstrom, Tae Blair, Karla Cody, Nara Parameswaran

Not in attendance: Tae Blair, Karla Cody, Anne Leiby-McMahon

Discussion of staff awards:

There was discussion around the promotion of staff awards and the recommendation was made to have the Dean mention them at the next Town Hall. The lunch was confirmed to still be happening and the submission deadline for awards is October 17th.

Nara's role:

Self described as Ex Officio channel between the committee & the Dean’s office as well as the committee & the university.

Additional focus topics:

Bylaws/rules consistent across advisory groups

Actionable items around staff retention/recruitment 


Emily noted we need to work on ways to retain staff – we are losing a lot of them.  Also discrepancies in flexibility offered to some staff. Nara offered to get University VP to talk to us regarding staff retention issues.


Staff development opportunities - what is available? How do staff feel? How do we assess market & internal equity?

Dean meetings

Nara suggests we discuss things we cannot solve at our own or Nara’s level


August 26

Present: Heather Hazzard, Lisa Pasbjerg, Emily Schultz, Jacqueline Evans, Kimberly Sapkowski, Anne Leiby-McMahon, Candace Heeringa, Ruth Patino, Angela Zell, Lori Dykstra, Sarah Enlow, Julie Bergstrom
Not in attendance: Tae Blair, Karla Cody

Chose officers by vote:
Julie Bergstrom - Vice Chair
Lisa Pasbjerg - Secretary

Review of roster - changes must be made by Monday 8/29/2022.

Need 2 staff members to serve for one year on Dean’s Diversity Advisory Committee (should be elected, but current members forgot to include Staff). May also be working on Bylaws with this group, and discussion of creating a template for Bylaws for all Dean advisory groups. Lisa Pasbjerg, Ruth Patino & Sarah Enlow all volunteered – Sarah withdrew after some discussion.

Creation of official Subcommittees
Bylaws – Heather Hazzard (lead), Lisa Pasbjerg, Kim Sapkowski, Ann Leiby-McMahon, Ruth Patino & Emily Schultz
Awards – Julie Bergstrom (lead), Emily Schultz, Tae Blair, Sarah Enlow, Lori Dykstra, Amme Leiby-McMahon & Angela Zell
Communications – Candace Heeringa (lead), Sarah Enlow, Jacqueline Evans & Kim Sapkowski
Leads will work on setting up Subcommittee meetings. Commitment from the group to use Subcommittees to stay better organized and on task.

Discussion of having Narayanan Parameswaran from the Dean’s office participate in regular meetings.
Options Heather discussed with him:

  1. Come to monthly meetings ex officio, listen in, take info back to Dean
  2. Come before/after quarterly meetings with the Dean

Some members of the committee also brought up the idea of having Nara only attend partially, i.e. first half or second half of each meeting or call special meetings.

Some expression of concern ie confidentiality.

The possibility of creating another subcommittee just to focus on Support Staff issues.

A rep from the Dean’s office DOES attend other advisory committee meetings. The idea is that more work & discussion will take place in the subcommittees, keeping the general meeting as a place for more complete presentations. Nara can facilitate better conversations & results from meetings with Dean Sousa.

Agreed by vote to have Nara attend all general meetings.

Will include Nara on Doodle Poll for meetings.

Doodle Poll will be out by Tuesday, 8/30/22
Quarterly Meetings with Dean Sousa are set:
10/17/22 11 a.m.–Noon
1/16/23 11 a.m.-Noon
4/20/23 11 a.m.-Noon
7/24/23 11a.m.-Noon
Nara will be included in these as well.

For September meeting, it will be important to set some time in the agenda to work with Nara on best subjects to bring to the Dean. Also, how to “complete the circle” with what we bring to Dean and solutions to report back to Staff.

Everyone agreed to approach Jack Lipton re advice on Bylaws and sharing of Faculty strategies to get retirement taken out during pandemic returned. Lisa will follow up.


March 30

Present: Dean Designate Aron Sousa, Lisa Pasbjerg, Heather Hazzard, Angie Zell, Sarah Enlow, Julie Bergstrom, Candance Heeringa, Melissa Kacos, Kellie Sisson, Nathan Kuhn, Harmony Valkenberg, Holly Nysse, Anne Leiby-McMahan 

  • Congratulations to Dr. Sousa on being selected as the permanent Dean of CHM!
  • Update for Dr. Sousa on our newsletter, and name selected (Staff Voice). We need to be sure he gets a copy since they are normally just sent to staff members.
  • Strategic Planning Committee – our thoughts on the staff role and designation in subgroups. Faculty and staff are lumped together in one group but we are really such separate groups with different needs. It seems like we should be 2 separate groups.
  • We asked about having a committee member as a guest on an upcoming Town Hall. Dr. Sousa would be happy to have Lisa on an upcoming Town Hall. We can come up with a few topics for he and Lisa to discuss. We will also use it as a time to announce new membership opportunities.
  • Top two issues we get in feedback from Staff – HR & Retirement
    • Slowness of hiring concerns. Dr. Sousa asked if it is CHM HR or University HR? We need to double check on this as many members didn’t know there was a difference. It might be a central HR issue. If They are CHM specific issues, we can let Dr. Sousa know. Reclasses are very slow for central HR, they are trying to fix this process. Perhaps part of the problem is just the unawareness of there are two HR groups and how things work. We could get more info and do a lunch and learn or graphic in the newsletter. It would be useful for staff to understand the process.
    • Reduction in retirement. What are the possibilities of it changing? Dr. Sousa not optimistic that we’ll get money back retroactively. However, it will come back. Faculty have been asking for restoration. Did MSU lose money or not during Covid, we hear mixed messages. Dr. Sousa said that yes, there was some loss with housing, but overall did get pretty close with adding more students. Loss of international students is very real. On the other hand, the endowment made 41% last year.
    • Remote work and retention. We have lost some staff that have left for higher paying positions that offer remote work. Dr. Sousa noted that it is a very interesting time with remote work being offered so people don’t have to move to take new positions. Especially with some places paying higher wages due to higher costs of living in those areas.
    • Higher education accessibility for those working off-campus. This would be attractive for recruiting. Staff off-site would like to be able to take courses at institutions that are closer.
    • Could a market analysis be done on salaries? As we lose people, it seems like it would need to be done. It would be nice to do in advance to retain people. Dr. Sousa doesn’t know if MSU has any plans to do that. Dr. Sousa agreed that it’s cheaper to retain than to hire new, but he can’t speak to the university’s plan.
    • What can we do as a collective when we bring issues to you that you can’t address? Dr. Sousa does take things back. Unions are a place where things happen also having conversations with folks in your unit that do HR. We can give a list of recommendations to Toya Pruitt and Nara Parameswaran.
    • We asked what we can do for Dr. Sousa. He reiterated that participating in town halls and even recommending staff to be featured in town halls and continue letting him know if/when things aren’t going well.


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