The University of Arizona

MILLENNIUM PROJECT ACTION COMMITTEE

Formed in Response to the Report and Recommendations of the
Millennium Project: Enhancing the Climate for Excellence at the University
Phase II: Classified Staff and Appointed Personnel


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.

Parking
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.

Health Care
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.

Childcare
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 ukmiller@ag.arizona.edu, or Diane Perreira Quinn at dcquinn@u.arizona.edu. We are anxious to hear the thoughts of the University community as we proceed in our efforts to create positive change.

Return to MPAC Home Page

Document located at http://www.u.arizona.edu/~millen/mpacupdate1.html
Contact Diversity Resource Office for MPAC information.