At the Metropolitan State University of Denver Staff Senate’s November meeting, members discussed the pros and cons of merit-based pay, which is one of the Staff Senate’s strategic goals for 2023-24. The conversation touched on staff workload, a need for more supervisor resources and tools to promote employee development and the desire for recognition that is standardized, consistent and unbiased. 

In addition to supporting the 2030 Strategic Plan Pillar V goal to be Colorado’s most desired place of employment, senators noted that merit-based pay could lower turnover for entry-level front-line positions, help retain staff, incentivize and attract new employees and recognize an employee’s continued development, showing that the University values their contributions.  

Potential drawbacks proposed included subjectivity and inconsistency in execution, opportunity for bias that could lead to inequities, morale problems if a raise were not achieved, pay disparities among people doing similar jobs (compression) and possibly fostering an unhealthy culture of competition due to finite monetary resources for raises. Furthermore, implementing such a program would be time-consuming and complex, requiring additional resources for Human Resources.  

President’s updates

  • Staff Senate President Ruby Matheny presented the results of the student-employee supervisor survey to the President’s Cabinet. Feedback included the desire for students to be able to edit their time sheets, HR resuming the role of confirming students’ work eligibility, more streamlined and transparent onboarding processes and increased resource support for HR staff. Bi-weekly meetings are scheduled with HR to continue progress, and another Cabinet update is planned for February.  
  • The compensation-equity study includes reviewing and analyzing current pay and compensation structures to identify potential pay inequities within employee classes and positions. Position descriptions will be used as data points to identify similar roles and not to assess potential pay increases for individual employees.
    • If a position description has changed more than 25%, employees should work with their supervisors to update the description and see their senior HR partner to get a copy of the position description from PeopleAdmin.  
  • Brian Gunther, manager of School of Education technical process and communications, is representing the Staff Senate on the cross-functional Shared Governance Taskforce that is examining and refining the decision-making process at the University. The committee is seeking more representation from students and professional staff. If interested in representing staff, email Matheny.  

Auraria Sustainable Campus Program  

Cassy Cadwallader, assistant director of sustainability at the Auraria Sustainable Campus Program, gave an overview of the organization’s ongoing efforts. The ASCP is a tri-institutional student-fee-funded program housed at the Auraria Higher Education Center. The program aims to reduce the ecological impact of the Auraria Campus through its 7 Pillars of Sustainability: 

  • alternative transportation 
  • education and outreach 
  • energy efficiency 
  • food and gardens 
  • renewable energy 
  • waste diversion 
  • and water conservation.  

Projects initiated by the ASCP include upgrading water fixtures on campus, updating the Tivoli with LED lighting and installing the on the Auraria Library the largest rooftop solar array in downtown Denver. Learn more about the ASCP’s projects and programs and visit the ASCP website.  

Round-robin updates 

Executive Committee 

  • The Staff Senate is hosting a table at the New Employee Community Welcome Resource Fair on Dec. 11 from 11-11:30 a.m. in the Tivoli Turnhalle.
  • Funding requests for eligible staff projects are due by Dec. 1. 

Budget Taskforce 

  • President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., released her budget charge this month. The Board of Trustees has requested that budget requests be framed from an affordability standpoint and a connection to University priorities: 
    • Investing in our people 
    • Fiscal health 
    • Student success and advising structures 
    • Preparing Coloradans for the modern workforce 
    • Infrastructure development 
  • The budget circular will be released soon. Branches will develop their budgets and are asked to analyze how their current budgets could support new proposals before they are submitted to the University Planning and Budget Advisory Committee.  

Senate Policy Review Committee 

Staff Employment Policy and Support Committee  

  • The LGBTQ Resource Center at Auraria is seeking feedback on gender-inclusive restrooms.  

Elections Committee 

  • The committee held its first meeting to discuss how elections will be run since a new elections structure has been implemented.  
  • Staff Senate positions up for election next year include vice president, treasurer and a new Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (JEDI) officer. Staff members can nominate candidates and/or self-nominate. All staff members are invited to participate and to attend the next meeting Dec. 12.  

Recognition and Scholarships Committee 

  • Submit nominations for the Roadrunners Who Soar: Staff Excellence Awards. Nominations are due by Dec. 8.  

JEDI Committee 

  • Noble Things,” a short story by Roxane Gay, will be December’s Inclusive Insights Book Club. All MSU Denver employees are welcome to join the club and self-enroll in the Teams. Two discussions are scheduled Dec. 7:  
    • In person, Jordan Student Success Building, Room 330C (noon-1 p.m.)  
    • Virtual, via Teams (1-2 p.m.) 

Community announcements

  • Nov. 28 is Roadrunner Tuesday, an annual 24-hour event that raises money for Rowdy’s Corner. The Staff Senate is competing against the Faculty Senate, and the group with more donors by the end of the day wins. Select “Staff Senate” when donating to choose your affiliation.