Volume 2 - Issue 1
A periodic source of information intended to be beneficial for the Supportive Professional Staff of Northern Illinois University.
Although the council has experienced some attrition over the last two years, attendance at council is at an all-time high. This is largely attributed to two areas: issues and a desire to represent. Through the first half of the fiscal year council attendance averaged 31 members. In January and February, council approved two constitutional amendments that require all alternates to contribute to at least one SPS Council committee. This falls in line with the adage “many hands make light work.” It also means the council will get more SPS involved in the dialogue and forming the monthly agenda.
The Supportive Professional Staff Council met with Jan Gerenstein, SPS representative, with the Computing Facilities Advisory Committee to discuss technology needs. This is an example of council’s desire to be more connected with SPS serving on committees of the university. Additionally, SPS have been appointed to serve as the SPS voice on several search committees: Ombudsperson and the Presidential Advisory Search Committee, as well as on a number of the HLC Self-Study subcommittees and the General Education Visioning Task Force.
Guest speakers have included Sarah Klaper, Ombudsperson; Dr. Toni Tollerud, Faculty and SPS Personnel Advisor; Dr. Kelly Wesener Michael, Acting Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; Dr. Alan Rosenbaum, Faculty Senate President and University Council Secretary; Mr. Andy Small, President of the Operating Staff Council; and Dr. Doris Macdonald, NIU Higher Learning Commission.
Council committees and representatives continue to monitor health benefits, pension issues, and the dependent tuition waiver. I ask that you pay specific attention to HB 1032 which includes language that would eliminate the dependent tuition waivers for state university employees. Council took action this year to improve APPM Section II. Item 15 – Personnel Policies and Procedures for SPS. With the collaboration of Human Resource Services we crafted a policy that is more concise and user friendly. A current proposal allowing the carry-over of vacation days from year one to a second year appointment for Temporary SPS is pending with the Board of Trustees. In closing, the council looks forward to seeing you at the SPS booth staffed for the 2013 NIU Health & Wellness Fair on Wednesday, March 27.
Todd Latham, President
Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) are professionals who provide expertise and support for offices and colleges at NIU and its regional locations. SPS bring educational credentials, technical experience, confident problem-solving, and university loyalty to their positions. Here are just a couple examples of the over 800 SPS who fulfill diverse organizational roles on the NIU campus.
The rising cost of higher education, combined with questions about the future of dependent tuition waivers, has motivated the SPS Council to create a scholarship fund for SPS dependents. The Supportive Professional Staff Scholarship Fund was established in the fall of 2012 to provide scholarship support for children and grandchildren of NIU’s Supportive Professional Staff. SPS Council used the model set by the Operating Staff Council Dependent Scholarship and the Faculty Fund Scholarship to steer the development of our guidelines.
It is the goal of Council to establish an endowment of $25,000 so the scholarship can be granted in perpetuity. If all SPS were to give just $30 this year ($6 for 5 pay periods), we would surpass this goal in only one year! Donations will be kept in an expendable fund by the NIU Foundation until our endowment goal is reached.
Please visit the SPS Scholarship website to watch the scholarship video and learn how to assist Council in building the first ever Supportive Professional Staff scholarship fund.
Each year the Supportive Professional Staff Council acknowledges individuals who work tirelessly to make NIU better. This year, the SPS Council is pleased to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of numerous Supportive Professional Staff individuals on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 from 2:00-4:00pm in the Holmes Student Center Duke Ellington Ballroom. The entire University community is invited to attend. The dessert reception will begin at 2:00pm and the formal program will follow at 2:30pm. The following awards will be conferred:
Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence
The Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence is the highest honor bestowed upon SPS at Northern Illinois University. Each year four individuals are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the university, commitment to professional development, and involvement with university committees and organizations. The individuals who receive this honor are dedicated to the advancement of NIU’s strategic initiatives and vision, and make a positive impact on a daily basis. The 2013 recipients are:
Terry Borg, PhD, Director of External Programs, College of Education
Rebekah Kohli, Instructional Technology Assistant/Program Coordinator, Women’s Studies
Donna Schoenfeld, Director, Health Enhancement
Rachel Xidis, Assistant Director, Web Communications
Supportive Professional Staff Council Service Award
The SPSC Service Award was instituted in 2000 to acknowledge the contributions of a member of the SPS Council, Dr. Gary Gray. Dr. Gray worked as an advisor in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and passed away while serving as an exemplary contributing member of the Council. The Service Award is given to a current member of the SPS Council whose work significantly advances the well-being of SPS on campus.
Many Council members work diligently to do more than their part to create a positive work environment for our colleagues. Service to the Council can be a time consuming and demanding volunteer job that members do in addition to regular work responsibilities. The 2013 recipient is:
Micheal Stang, Executive Director, Department of Housing & Dining
Certificates of Recognition
Certificates of Recognition are awarded to members of the Supportive Professional Staff who have achieved accomplishments throughout the past year that go above and beyond their regular job duties such as:
The 2013 recipients are:
Melissa Burlingame, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability & Energy
Michele Stieren, Associate Director, Admissions
Anne Petty Johnson, Director, LA&S External Programming
Richard Tom, Sr. Assistant Director, Admissions
Rebekah Wagner, Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy Program
Margee Myles, Director, Student Services, College of Education
Shelley Binegar, Assistant Athletics Director, Intercollegiate Athletics
Jennifer Such, Coordinator of Retention, College of Education
Amy Alfredson, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, Alumni Association
Sue Schwartz, Academic Advisor, Kinesiology & Physical Education
Anne Hardy, Director, Scholarship Office
Brian Walk, Director, Outreach Communications
Lesley Gilbert, Assistant Director, Employee Services, Human Resource Development
Dena Funkhouser, Assistant Director, Budget & Planning, Finance & Facilities
Amanda Carrier, Marketing Specialist & Alumni Coordinator, College of Engineering & Engineering Technology
Ximena Burgin, Project Manager, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Policy Studies, College of Education
Denise Rode, Director, First & Second Year Experience Programs
Stacey Deegan, Assistant to the Chair for Advising & Assessment, Engineering Technology
Aaron Hill, Hall Director, Department of Housing & Dining
Lauren Teso, Complex Coordinator, Department of Housing & Dining
Felicia Bohanon, Director, Office of Precollegiate Programs
Kristin Duffy, Contract Coordinator, Sponsored Programs and Industrial Relations, Office of Sponsored Projects
Donna Martin, Research Development Specialist, Office of Sponsored Projects
Debbie Gettemy, Assistant Director for Residence Life Student Staff Development, Department of Housing & Dining
Bobbie Cole, Complex Coordinator, Department of Housing & Dining
Brian Johnson, Complex Coordinator & Acting Assistant Director for Residential Education, Department of Housing & Dining
Sandy Splanksy, Director of Academic Advising, College of Health & Human Sciences
Greg Ross, Director, Foreign Language Residence Program, Foreign Languages & Literatures
Randi Napientek, Assistant Director, Office of Student Academic Success
Colette Maher, Academic Advisor/Counselor, Academic Advising Center
Julia Lamb, Outreach Coordinator, Research Associate, Center for Southeast Asian Studies
Kathy Smith, Assistant Director, Payroll Operations, Human Resources Services
Dain Gotto, Assistant Director, Student Involvement & Leadership Development
Sam Morreale, Head Coach, Gymnastics
Jim Venskus, Claims Management Coordinator, Office of General Counsel
Carrie Zack, Assessment Coordinator for Teacher Certification, University Office of Teacher Certification
Christian Spears, Deputy Director of Athletics, Intercollegiate Athletics
The Supportive Professional Staff Council was founded to provide a method of communication amongst other SPS employees and to offer the opportunity for employees to be able to share and address concerns from other SPS constituents in the campus community. Now is your opportunity to join this group of dedicated employees to help make your voice heard on campus. Please watch your email as your SPS Council will be asking for nominations for Council. You may nominate yourself or others from your division for Council. Please see the projected timeline for this year’s SPS Council Elections process:
SPS Election Timeline
|Deadline for Nominations for SPS Council
||March 8, 2013|
|Voting for SPS Council||April 8 – April 12, 2013|
|Notification of Appointments to Council||May 1, 2013|
If you have any questions regarding the election process, please contact your Council Representative or Alternate at http://www.niu.edu/spsc/membership/representatives.shtml.
The SPS Council Events Committee strives to hold at least one event a month for all SPS employees. Some of the events are informative and some are social but all are meant to provide opportunities to meet and mingle with others who are categorized as SPS across campus.
During the fall semester, the Events Committee hosted a tailgating event in conjunction with a home football game, at which 30 SPS employees were fortified to cheer on the Huskies. A lunch in the Chandelier Room featured Dr. Matthew Streb, Chair of the Political Science Department. Almost 50 people attended to hear Dr. Streb talk about the upcoming elections. November’s event was a Brown Bag Mobile Device Workshop. This event afforded the 25 employees who attended the opportunity to talk with members of the IT staff who shared useful apps, information and answered questions from attendees. The SPS Holiday Open House rounded out the semester for the more than 40 employees who gathered to chat and enjoy a light meal.
The spring semester promises to be as interesting and fun. A second tech event is planned for April 4th in the HSC Capitol Room, 11:30 - 1:00 (brown bag). The Committee is planning a spring tailgate event on April 13, when the Huskie Women’s Softball and the Men’s Baseball teams are playing home games, and the Spring Football game is taking place. Tailgating will begin at 11:30, baseball at 1:00 and softball and football at 2:00. Admission to all events is free, food costs will be low. This is a VERY kid friendly event, not only will there be three quality games to watch, there will also be a collection of 'inflatables' provided by Athletics, a meet and greet / run the bases with the ballplayers, and certainly room to bring your mitt or Nerf and play some toss or bags. RSVP required to estimate food costs, and those wishing to eat can simply pay at the event. For more details and to signup please use the online form. Dr. Lisa Freeman will be talking about research being conducted on campus and about opportunities for SPS employees to propose their own research.
Plan to take advantage of these upcoming events. If you have suggestions for future events, please contact one of the committee co-chairs: Eric Biletzky or Melissa Burlingame.
The university has established a Sick Leave Bank program in which regularly appointed faculty, supportive professional, and civil service employees are eligible to participate. Regularly appointed employees may elect to join the sick leave bank during the Benefits Choice period, May 1st through May 31st.
For FY14, current participants will not be required to donate additional sick days to maintain participation due to the adequacy of donated sick days remaining on balance as of this date. Otherwise, participation in the Sick Leave Bank program requires an employee to donate at least one day of accrued sick leave prior to the end of the annual "Benefits Choice" period.
Consistent with the Illinois Sick Leave Bank Act, the Sick Leave Bank program is designed to assist NIU employees who face major health crises and who have exhausted all other available benefits. To register for participation in the Sick Leave Bank program for FY14, please complete the enrollment form which is available on the HRS web site at: http://www.hr.niu.edu/resources/files/Downloads/8600-Sick%20Bank%20Form%20for%20Full%20Time%20Employees.pdf All forms must be received in the Payroll Department by May 31st, 2013. If you have any questions regarding the Sick Leave Bank program, please feel free to contact Human Resource Services at 753-6000.