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Welcome to IUPUI's Staff Council

State of the University Address

October 14, 2014

President Michael McRobbie presented the State of the University address outlining initiatives set forth in the Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University. Building on the Foundations of Excellence, the Bicentennial Strategic Plan is in draft form with comments being accepted through November 22. You are invited to either respond directly with your comments, or forward them to the Staff Council office for inclusion with comments compiled by the council. The draft plan will be updated and presented to the Board of Trustees at their December, 2014, meeting.

Staff Council Member Feature

Beginning in November 2012, the Staff Development Committee will feature a different Staff Council member in the staff newsletter. If you have a nomination for a member doing outstanding work or with a story to tell, please contact Caitie Deranek.

Rita Flynn has had several opportunities to serve on the IUPUI Staff Council since 1986 when she began working at IUPUI/IUSM. Her first opportunity was as an alternate for a co-worker. She was pleasantly surprised the following year to have been nominated and elected for full time Council service and with a feeling of pride and confidence decided to accept the appointment. Working to help advance her peers gives her a feeling of confidence and pride. After serving the two-term - term limit, she passed the torch to another co-worker. She was again nominated and encouraged by her mentee to return to Staff Council, after a brief service hiatus. So, she decided to return in hopes of revitalizing interest and the enthusiasm toward achieving the Council’s goals and objectives. Accomplishments during her first term made her eager to continue service, and she is looking forward to serving an additional term for 2014 – 2016.

Rita has served on numerous committees during her tenure on the Council and currently serves on the Staff Development Committee. She credits a great team led by Chairman, Caitlin Deranek, who was relentless in keeping them focused on achieving objectives. This committee proposed and was awarded the Professional Development Grant for IUPUI staff. She hopes to encourage a staff member this year to apply for this grant.

Rita continues to serve on the Council as she sees it as a way of meeting peers and a forum for expressing work environment concerns of “support staff.” As the years continue, she has learned that the Staff Council has a voice on the working conditions/environment for the support staff. Being from a union family, she feels that there is strength in numbers as you disseminate information to your unit and throughout the campus. Her favorite aspect of Council work is sending out information to her constituents and listening to the ideas that they express to her. She is often surprised and encouraged by the number of people who will support Food/Blood Drives, Health Fairs, etc. when they are informed. The Council’s newsletter is also a source of satisfaction, because of its campus wide accessibility.

Rita would offer the following tips for future Staff Council member and Staff:

  • Take advantages of the educational opportunities that the University will provide for you and your family;
  • Support and vote for your Staff Council members who address issues like health insurance, parking, educational credit, as well as other unique opportunities that some companies do not offer their employee’s;
  • Ensure diverse representation on the Staff Council; and
  • Work with your constituents and council members because “cooperation gets things done.”

During these economic times, Rita finds balancing Council activities with her job challenging. While staff council participation is supposed to be part of your job activities, it is often difficult finding time in your day to day activities to devote the kind of attention needed to Council business and can be stressful to you and your department. In addition, she feels soliciting some constituents to apply or attend events as an alternate can be difficult. Some areas are not open to the goals of the Staff Council, and some fear retaliation in expressing concerns to the University.

Staff Council participation has helped her grow by informing her of opportunities to improve self-esteem and education. Working within the School of Medicine, she has enjoyed watching the physicians of the future and commitment to “health care” for Indiana residents and mostly the underserved populations of the United States. She feels that friendships made during her service to the Council will last a lifetime.

Rita’s career at IUPUI began in Career and Employment Services continuing with ACCESS Program which is now Undergraduate Education and currently with the School of Medicine at the Division of Diversity Affairs. During her years working at IUPUI, she has obtained numerous certificates and awards. She also received two Associate Degrees prior to her employment at IUPUI. Finally, Rita has her first “Grandbaby” (Annalise), who was premature, but now has a voracious appetite. Her mother has Alzheimer’s, and Rita currently attends every workshop or support group that Indiana University sponsors. She feels that Indiana University has a great Alzheimer Support Group and Informational sessions for baby boomers.

As an office supply, she would like to be a flash drive. She would like to record all of the good times with co-workers, constituents, staff council members, graduations, the different walks in life, and play them back over and over again. Since they say Alzheimer could be hereditary, she could smile just like the people that smile at her work and face. Those would be the good times she had working and serving IUPUI and the Staff Council.

Rita, thank you for your extraordinary service to IUPUI and the Staff Council!

-Written by Mr. Fred Hamilton | Director, Diversity Outreach Comprehensive Science Initiative | IU School of Medicine

Ellen Poffenberger Work/Life Program Fund

Ellen Poffenberger, former Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, retired in August 2010 after a twenty-four year career at IUPUI. Ellen provided leadership to the campus by advocating for work/life balance, human resource consulting for campus units, and thoughtful recognition of the achievements and success of the employees on the campus of IUPUI. Her service to the campus provided her with a firm foundation to understand and advance student employment, employee engagement strategies, and to launch the first staff bonus pay plan. Her role in forming a state-wide chapter of HR professionals in higher education brought external attention to the campus paving the way for IUPUI to be recognized as a great place to work.

In recognition of Ellen’s vision to establish a Work/Life Program for employees at IUPUI, the Staff Council has established the Poffenberger Work/Life Program Fund which will offer general support to enhance and develop programs. The Work/Life Program benefits all IUPUI employees by promoting job satisfaction and allowing people to maximize their contribution at work while enhancing their personal lives.

Your gift to the Poffenberger Work/Life Program Fund will help establish the legacy that will be used for the general support of the Work Life Program within the Office of Human Resource Administration. IUPUI’s work-life programs focus on inclusiveness, creativity and high-quality, practical information and programming. The fund is a great tribute to Ellen’s commitment to advancing work-life as a business strategy integrating work, family and community. A donation card is provided here for your convenience, and the Staff Council thanks you for your consideration.

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