It’s time for an update on the Leadership, Community and Values Initiative (LCVI).
More than 18 months ago, the UW launched the initiative, promising to create an environment that did more to recognize, sustain and enhance leadership at all levels of the University. The initiative recognizes that people are the University’s most important asset, and that the excellence of the institution depends on maximizing human potential.
A survey conducted last year has provided the road map for the initiative’s next phase. The initiative steering committee has identified key areas of concern among faculty and staff and has worked with members of the UW administration to develop strategies and programs that address these concerns.
Vision and Values
Faculty and staff indicated that they want to have a greater sens e of connection to the overall purpose of the institution, sharing a clear vision and being united through shared values.
Provost Wise agreed that a shared vision was important, and early in her tenure began gathering information from individuals across campus and in the community upon which to base a series of vision and values statements. Input was received through focus groups with undergraduate and graduate students, UW alumni, staff groups, Faculty Senate, Board of Deans, and the UW Foundation. In addition, more than 2,000 UW faculty, staff, and students responded to a Web-based survey eliciting comments about an initial draft of the various sections of the statements. Now in their final form, the vision and values statements are available at www.washington.edu/discovery. They describe not only the UW’s aspirations and the values that the University will promote, but also the characteristics that make the UW “uniquely Washington.”
These statements will become part of an ongoing internal communication effort involving campus leadership at all levels. The anchor for the entire vision, values and “uniquely Washington” package is the idea of discovery: “Discovery is at the heart of our University.”
To fulfill the mission, vision and goals of the UW, faculty and staff need additional resources, both physical and monetary. Recognizing this concern, the UW administration has augmented the basic salary increases provided by the state for faculty and professional staff in the past two years; $2 million was set aside to directly address faculty salary compression. The UW administration continues to make faculty and staff salaries its highest priority in its budget requests. “We take this issue very seriously,” says Provost Wise, “but people should remember that these salary gaps developed over a decade and will not be closed in one biennium.”
This past year the UW increased faculty salaries significantly with the average faculty salaries increasing by 5.2 percent and professional staff salaries increasing 3 percent. Although faculty salary increases were, in part, a function of the settlement of the faculty lawsuit, the UW administration augmented the total increase the state provided, which was just 1.6 percent for faculty and professional staff salaries. The UW added to the salary pool by reprogramming funds from other priorities and by tapping University reserves. The UW goal for the next two years is to continue to focus on salaries as a priority, augmenting the raises provided by the state even further.
The UW is dealing with the issue of physical resources by purchasing the Safeco complex in the University District, by working hard on achieving a good capital budget from the state, by seeking private funds in cases where state support is not available, and by expanding its presence in south Lake Union. The governor’s capital budget request for 2007-9 includes $94 million to fund reconstruction of Savery and Clark Halls, the Playhouse Theater and Magnuson H-Wing. In addition, the budget fully funds planning and design renovation projects at Balmer, Lewis and Denny halls. It also includes $8.4 million to renovate general classroom space.
Transparency and Decision-making
Building a greater sense of trust of central administration and making decisions more transparent were identified as critical goals. To achieve these goals, Provost Wise has restructured the Provost’s Office, to make it more responsive and to communicate more aggressively with the entire UW community. She met with all school and college leadership and other senior leaders within her first 90 days. She is holding regular town hall meetings, as well as meetings with faculty in all the UW’s colleges.
In addition, Provost Wise and President Emmert meet regularly for lunch with faculty, students and Faculty Senate representatives. Both the president and the provost have notified the campus, through e-mail and other means, of major actions and significant policy changes.
Decisions on faculty recruitment and retention have been streamlined by establishing a pre-approval mechanism for retention raises that are less than 10 percent and will be accomplished with the unit’s own funds. In addition, there are now “standard” agreements when a partnership is necessary for a recruitment or retention offer, thus reducing the amount of time required at a critical juncture.
Some administrative Web sites are being updated. Academic Human Resources’ site was recently revised, in order to direct users more easily to major policy information, and the Human Resources site is undergoing a major revision to meet the users’ needs, including the addition of toolkits, articles of general interest and a scorecard that provides information on how well Human Resources is doing in meeting its goals.
Over the past year, the Office of Research and its units have focused significant attention on improving the level of service provided to researchers and staff. Examples of enhancements include: recruiting an interdisciplinary team of associate vice provosts that reflects the complexity and quality of the UW research program; streamlining many aspects of the human subjects review process; investing in further development of UW’s electronic research administration systems; acting on the recommendations of a faculty advisory committee to establish a provost-funded bridge program to support researchers at pivotal points in their careers; clarifying policies, processes and procedures related to matching and startup funds, use of facilities and administrative costs, and limited submission grants and fellowships; enhancing resources and communication related to the transition to grants.gov; and investing in new staff positions to improve the level of service provided to UW’s research community.
Faculty and staff agreed that leaders should have access to more training. So the University took the ADVANCE Program’s leadership development workshops (designed to help chairs in the sciences and engineering lead their departments more effectively), and began offering them to chairs in the social sciences, humanities, arts, and professional schools.. The workshops have been very well received and should make a difference in the knowledge and skills of a large body of UW leaders. These workshops are in addition to ongoing leadership development programs at UW Medical Center and Harborview. More information is available at http://www.washington.edu/provost/initiatives/lcvi/index.shtml.
“We are pleased to offer these leadership workshops, using the ADVANCE model,” says Executive Vice Provost Ana Mari Cauce, “and we plan to expand these offerings, as they meet a clear need.” In addition, a series of workshops for new chairs is being planned for this spring and fall, to help prepare chairs for the important tasks in leading their departments.
This year, four new deans took up appointment as academic leaders in their colleges. To assist these deans in understanding how to get things done in the large, complex environment of the UW, a series of 12 meetings were instituted, with central administration support. “Just finding out who can tell you how state ethics laws affect your faculty, or where to get information about partner hiring, or where to find data on student graduation rates, is a challenge for a new dean,” said Dean Arthur Nowell, who helped organized these sessions. “New deans have so much to assimilate, so many people to meet. This is a big University and there are great resource folks to help colleges. It’s a matter of finding who is the best person to help.”
The Strategic Leadership Program for staff is in the process of being redesigned. This comprehensive program is required for all staff supervisors. It is built around several core competencies including decision-making, managing conflict and effective planning. The redesign will focus on how supervisors can address within their departments the issues related to LCVI, including recognition, diversity and professional development as well as help supervisors understand and operationalize the UW vision and values within their own work groups.
Other resources for staff development are being expanded. A new career development manager has been hired, who will initially be working with managers to help them develop options for career development within their unit. Workshops and services for individuals interested in career development will begin in the spring. Susan Templeton, who assumed the position Jan. 2, has worked at the UW as a career counselor at the Center for Career Services since 1995 and became a senior career counselor in 2002. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UW is working with Service Employees International Union 925 to include its UW members in the audience for career development offerings. The UW also has purchased access to SkillSoft e-Learning, a Web-based knowledge and learning resource, which will give staff free access to the content of over 900 online courses.
The UW administration, in partnership with graduate and professional students, has created the Learning for Leadership Council, which provides grants for student-led initiatives that provide opportunities for professional development and leadership experience.
A career development task force has recently completed its report, which is available at http://www.washington.edu/president/lcvi/career/cdreport.pdf
Diversity is a core value of the University and crucial to the attainment of the University’s mission and goals. The survey found that the UW can improve its support of diversity.
The initiative team is working with the vice president and vice provost, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, to develop systemic plans and strategies to address student, faculty and staff recruitment and retention, climate, curriculum and other aspects of diversity. To help recruit and retain a diverse faculty, the UW has hired Luis Fraga of Stanford to become the first associate vice provost for faculty advancement. Human Resources has hired a diversity specialist, Chesca Ward, to focus on staff diversity issues.
The Diversity Council has been reorganized so that it has two representatives from each school and college. The council provides a forum for sharing best practices and collaboration on important issues around diversity. An inventory of diversity activities in each school and college has been assembled. The council has begun work on the strategic plan, which will be integrated into the University’s six-year plan, along with metrics to measure progress.
The UW was a major participant in the Washington State Faculty and Staff of Color in Higher Education Conference, an opportunity for networking, information sharing and personal development.
The UW has created a diversity minor for undergraduates (http://depts.washington.edu/divminor/) which provides students with an introduction to the diversity of human experience found in the U.S. and the world. Also, a new disabilities studies minor has been launched by a multi-campus interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, students and community members who share an interest in questions relating to society’s understanding of disability (http://depts.washington.edu/disstud/) and there are plans to offer at least a few classes focusing on American Sign Language. The UW’s commitment to diversity is also evident in the profile of the freshman class of 2006, which saw minority student acceptances up by as much as 10 percent.
Those organizations that are rated as the best places to work are usually described by their employees as places where a sense of community exists. These organizations enjoy low rates of job turnover, high productivity and excellent service to their clients and customers. The connection between excellent performance and a sense of common purpose is not an accident.
The initiative steering committee created a task force on community, which has produced recommendations available at http://www.washington.edu/president/lcvi/community/community_team_report.pdf
. The essence of these recommendations is that community-building must begin at the unit level. There are numerous examples of UW units that are successful in building community, but such efforts are scarcely widespread. A combination of campuswide events should be coupled with the creation of a “toolkit” that can be used by unit managers as a source of ideas and encouragement. Creating community is tied closely to leadership training, accountability and consistent recognition.
Being recognized for the outstanding work so many faculty and staff accomplish day in and day out was identified as an essential element in workplace satisfaction.
A task force on recognition has produced a report, http://www.washington.edu/president/lcvi/recognition/recognition_report.pdf. Similar to the recommendations in the community-building report, recognition must begin at the unit level and offer varied means of recognition. The Recognition Committee makes 13 recommendations, among them the need for executive support and infrastructure, faculty involvement, improved clarity on the rules and tax implications, and hiring and training leaders who are committed to recognizing staff on a regular basis.
The 2005 survey showed that many faculty members faced anxieties and real conflicts in trying to balance demanding careers with family commitments.
Last year, the UW received an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Flexible Faculty Careers Award and created Balance@UW, designed to support UW faculty in balancing productive academic careers with satisfying personal lives. This initiative includes several projects related to the LCVI, such as increasing transparency in family-friendly policy implementation, increasing available childcare, and piloting peer support groups for faculty parents. The first support group for faculty parents started Jan. 12. This group is targeting first time mothers with babies six months old or younger. This program will be expanded later this year for additional faculty parent populations.
“We are pleased that so much activity has occurred around concerns raised by the initiative survey,” Kornberg said. “But we realize that much work remains to be done. We have not yet had time to digest the reports of the task forces. But we are committed to moving forward and plan to survey the campus community in the near future to determine how much progress we are making on key issues. We are gratified by the continued support from President Emmert and Provost Wise for this initiative.”
Leadership initiative steering committee members include: Ana Mari Cauce, executive vice provost; Mindy Kornberg, vice president of human resources; Sheila Edwards Lange, interim vice president for minority affairs and vice provost for diversity; Arthur Nowell, dean of the College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences; Bob Roseth, director of news and information; Lea Vaughn, professor of law; V’Ella Warren, vice president of financial management; and Elizabeth Warrick, director of professional and organizational development.