|NOTE: (MPAC completed its work in Spring 2007 following the release of its Five Year Report.)
Date: January 7, 2004
To: The University of Arizona Community
From: Millennium Project Action Committee
Re: Update on Progress, Millennium Project Phase II
The Millennium Project Action Committee (MPAC) was formed in the spring
of 2003 by President Peter Likins to oversee implementation of recommendations
resulting from the report released by the Millennium Project Phase II.
The Phase II report resulted from a comprehensive study of the job satisfaction
and workplace climate of classified staff and appointed personnel at the
University of Arizona.
Over 53% of classified staff and appointed personnel responded to the
Phase II survey and shared their personal views regarding the University
of Arizona as an employer. This high response rate indicated that employees
felt strongly about their experience here. In recognition of the level
of concern indicated by the participants, we feel it is important to regularly
report back to the University regarding progress made to address key issues
identified in the report.
Leadership and Supervision
We have learned that Human Resources intends a comprehensive look at the
issue of performance appraisal during 2004. We look forward to a report
of these efforts. Much work remains to be done, but MPAC is pleased that
this subject has attracted the attention of key areas of the University.
Training of Supervisors
Human Resources is to be congratulated for the development of the new
Successful Supervisors Series. This series of workshops, tailored to the
needs of each participating department promises to address many areas
of concern raised in the Phase II report. We await the development of
training mandates for all newly hired or newly promoted supervisors.
Opportunities for Advancement
Changes have been made the HR's University Leadership Institute and the
Professional Success Institute. These changes have been well received
to the point of now stressing the department's ability to find adequate
space and resources to meet increased demand. The Commission on the Status
of Women is exploring the possibility of collaborating with MPAC and others
to sponsor a day-long professional development conference to benefit members
of the University community. MPAC is encouraged by the heightened discussion
around these important areas.
Salary and Benefits
The University has taken positive steps to help many employees particularly
those receiving the lowest wages. A landmark decision was made in summer
2003 that increased health care premium costs would not be passed along
to employees. This helped many employees. Recent increases in base pay
to the lowest wage earners of the University addressed the Millennium
report recommendation that the University take action to eliminate its
"working poor". We applaud the University for both these efforts
and urge continued support in these areas. However, the Phase II report
also pointed to the perceived inequities and unfairness pervasive in the
merit pay distribution system. MPAC has communicated its on-going concerns
in this area, particularly in light of the decisions announced in Financial
Bulletin # 31. If the University is determined to pursue merit distribution
in future years our system of both performance review and merit allocation
must be made fairer.
MPAC has entered into very informative discussions with the Department
of Parking and Transportation. These discussions have shown us that creative
approaches to resolution of parking issues are under discussion. We have
encouraged the Director of Parking and Transportation to adopt a format
of open, public communication with University employees so that they may
better understand both the extent of transportation options and the ever-present
constraints placed upon the department. A representative of MPAC has been
added to the Parking and Transportation Advisory Board. Further, MPAC
has identified ways in which it might support continued positive changes
in both access to and costs of parking.
MPAC remains concerned about the cost of health care and the possibility
of future increased costs. However, we wish, again, to congratulate the
University for resolving to absorb the cost of increased premiums during
the summer of 2003.
In May 2003, the Commission on the Status of Women released a White Paper
encouraging the University to adopt a number of changes in the provision
of resources to support members of the University community with small
children. To date, no formal response to this White Paper has been received,
however CSW reports activity on a number of fronts. The Sr. Vice President
for Campus Life, to support the student childcare voucher system, has
identified additional funding. Discussions regarding the provision of
drop-in childcare opportunities are in the early stages and movement may
be near to upgrade some facilities so that they are more child friendly.
MPAC continues to support the adoption of both program and policy changes
related to childcare.
State Government Support
Since the release of the Phase II report, the political climate in Arizona
has changed. Governor Napolitano has made clear her support of higher
education and has successfully lobbied for lessening the budget crisis
at all three Arizona universities. This support now needs to translate
into legislative action. MPAC will anxiously follow this progress.
Respect and Civility
In presenting results of the Phase II study throughout the University,
we have found universal agreement that respect and civility must be articulated
as a central value of the University. To promote such a conversation,
MPAC has created a value statement regarding respect and has shared this
statement with several committees on campus. We have also suggested to
President Likins that the University address this topic through a University-wide
discussion of the various ways in which respect can be promoted throughout
our community. We believe that such an approach will open the door to
better communication between members of the staff and their supervisors,
and will lessen the fear of retaliation currently present among many staff.
For further information about the work of MPAC you may contact either
committee co-chair Kathleen Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Diane
Perreira Quinn at email@example.com. We are anxious to hear the thoughts
of the University community as we proceed in our efforts to create positive