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Establishment of Staff Senate Heralded as Significant Milestone at Lander University

Lander University's very first Staff Senate. Front row, left to right: Michael Ficklin, Mary McDaniel, Rodney Jones (Chair), DeCole Robertson, Karen Hammond (Secretary), Pam Bartley, Torry Fuller, and Rodney Boyter. Back row, left to right: Jennifer Mathis, Debbie Dill, Traci Talley (Treasurer), Jeannie McCallum (Ex-Officio member), Tracy Clifton, and Deb Nygro.

Calling it a "significant milestone" in the university's history, Lander President Richard Cosentino announced the establishment of a 15-member staff senate at the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year. Serving as advocates for approximately 275 Lander staff members, the non-faculty senators represent all areas of the campus.

According to Rodney Jones, Senate Chair, the senate will advise Lander's administration on matters concerning members of the staff. "This is the first time Lander has had a platform for all staff employees to express matters of importance and concern, and it's a key component in advancing Lander as an employer of choice," he said.

"The Lander Staff Senate is a change agent for the university. In addition to the upward communication being improved, (the existence of the) Staff Senate will allow for a better communication flow from the president and the administration to the staff on the decisions of the university that may affect staff directly or indirectly."

Senate members hit ground running
Inaugural members of the Lander Staff Senate were nominated in May, and were immediately charged with building the infrastructure of the group.

"Straightaway, we began researching staff senates from colleges and universities throughout the country," Jones explained. "Using Lander's mission, vision and values as our building blocks, we identified the best practices, and developed a set of bylaws, policies and procedures that will guide the Senate as it moves forward."

Professional development targeted by Senators
The Senators led informational meetings at the end of August and again in mid-September to update Lander staff about progress already made. Additional staff forums will be held each semester.

"Already, we know that we want to address issues such as professional development, employee recognition and other similar issues," said Jones. "Also, we plan to carry out surveys on a regular basis to discover other concerns and desires from Lander staff members."

Meeting the Lander Staff Senate
With roughly 275 employees, the representative ratio is one (1) senator for every 20 employees.

Eligibility for the Lander Staff Senate is open to full-time employees who are non-faculty and have completed at least one year of service to Lander. Senators serve a two-year term.

The inaugural Lander Staff Senate is comprised of:

  • Rodney Jones, (Chair); Financial Aid Counselor and Work-Study Coordinator
  • Michael Ficklin, (Chair Elect); Applications Analyst, Information Technology
  • Karen Hammond, (Secretary); Administrative Assistant for the College of Arts and Humanities
  • Traci Talley, (Treasurer); Senior Accountant, Budget Office
  • Jeannie McCallum, (Ex-Officio); Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
  • Pam Bartley; Assistant to Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Rodney Boyter; Director of Campus Safety
  • Tracy Clifton; Director of Student Conduct, Office of Student Affairs
  • Debbie Dill; Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs
  • Torry Fuller; Manager of Custodial Services
  • Jennifer Mathis; Executive Director, Office of Admissions
  • Mary McDaniel; Director of Procurement and Retail Services
  • Deb Nygro; Assistant Director, University Relations & Publications
  • DeCole Robertson; Assistant Women's Basketball Coach, Bearcat Athletics
  • Melissa Thompson; Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs