Staff Advisory Council has its eyes on CCUby Derrick Bracey
If you ever drive or walk by the fountain at the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina University, you will see the rising water cast in brilliant teal and bronze lights. Whether you are a student, alumni, faculty, staff or just a fan of CCU, seeing the school colors spraying up and cascading down gives you a sense of pride and fosters an environment where people come to experience great things. The idea for the pond and the fountain originated with President David DeCenzo, but the proposal for the teal and bronze lighting came from the Staff Advisory Council.
The council received a suggestion to dye the water in all the fountains on campus teal. Unfortunately, dyeing the water stains the fountains, the surrounding walkways, and possibly those who pass by, if there is an overspray. The council wasn’t able to implement this dye suggestion, but it led to the addition of the teal and bronze lighting at the HTC fountain. This is just one example of the way staff ideas can impact CCU’s campus.
“The faculty had a voice through the Faculty Senate,” says Sandra Williams, chairperson of the council and director of facilities planning and management. “And the students had a voice through the Student Government Association. But before the Staff Advisory Council, the staff did not have a voice at the University.”
The council does field a lot of ideas about how to improve the campus grounds, but it is in place to do more than just beautify the school. “Many improvements to the University have been generated through the Staff Advisory Council,” says Williams. “The newly instituted staff orientation program that is offered through Human Resources was generated through a suggestion to the council. We’ve also had proposals that have helped promote and increase safety on our campus.”
Once an issue is identified and deemed appropriate, the council contacts the department that can handle the issue, and the council and the department work together to resolve it. If approved, implement the council's recommendation will be implemented.
The council also acts as a filtering agent or a gatekeeper for feedback from staff members. It doesn’t take on personnel issues, complaints or any human resource matters. And Williams admits, “Not every suggestion that comes to the council can be implemented, but the council provides a place for discussion, and sometimes, explanation when a suggestion cannot be entertained.”
The Staff Advisory Council was established by President David DeCenzo and held its first meeting on Feb. 6, 2008. The council meets every third Tuesday of the month to discuss the suggestions, concerns and ideas that arise throughout the year. Staff members of CCU can place comment cards in suggestion boxes on campus, and suggestions can be made online at coastal.edu/staffadvisory. “The staff can also approach council members with recommendations in person,” says Williams.
The council includes a chairman appointed by DeCenzo, and he may also appoint up to two at-large members. The rest of the council is made up of 12 members who represent the major functional areas of the University. There are two members from the offices of various academic areas; two from the Office of Finance and Administration; and one member is chosen from the offices of Student Affairs, University Communication, Human Resources, Facilities Management, Enrollment Management, Athletics and Philanthropy. These 12 members are nominated by the vice president of each area. Each member serves a two-year term with new members joining continuing members each year.
Above all else, Williams says, “This council was established to improve communications with CCU’s staff.” The effects from this improved communication can be seen throughout CCU’s campus.
For more information about the Staff Advisory Council, contact Sandra Williams at 843-234-3470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.