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Message from the SPS Council President Steve Builta

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Steve Builta
President, Supportive Professional Staff Council

Steve Builta
Steve Builta
So I’m sitting in my office today working on my first SPS Council newsletter article. As I stare blankly at the blinking cursor on my screen, I keep thinking, “So this is what writers block feels like!” The view out my window isn’t helping either. It’s a dreary, uninspiring, overcast day with temperatures in the 40s. Shouldn’t it be warmer? Shouldn’t springtime be sunny? I guess I’ve lived in northern Illinois long enough to know that Spring is nothing if not unpredictable. In reality, spring is  about the change from beautifully warm days to the cold and storms of a winter that’s not quite ready to give up

In many respects, the spring in northern Illinois makes me think of the current climate at NIU. We are in the midst of unprecedented turmoil. The unpredictability of the state budget, storms of anxiety caused by the stress of Program Prioritization, morale issues and general workplace stress are leading many to see NIU as a rather bleak place to work.

Yet in Illinois spring is also about looking for the beauty of the tulips and flowering trees that make the rather bleak view out my window something to make me smile. This spring at NIU is no different. Since stepping into the role of SPS President in December, I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing individuals. Faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to making an impact on the NIU community. Some of these individuals have had their accomplishments recognized publically during this spring’s awards season, others just keep working in the background to make an impact. I’ve seen SPS and Operating Staff come together to jointly support initiatives related to university service, and compensation for degree and certification completion. I’ve seen shared governance on this campus work together to address inequities related to release time and secretarial support for councils and their presidents. I’ve even had the opportunity to see some of many ways that our administration is working to ensure the future and financial stability of this institution.

Are there some rather dark and dreary issues lurking around the NIU campus? Absolutely! I would ask you to take a few minutes to look past all of that, and spend a few minutes looking for the inspiring, the innovative, the beautiful things going on all around this campus. Those are the things that will make you proud to be a Huskie. Looking at those things will remind you that a warm, bright future is ahead for NIU.

As for spring here in northern Illinois….I guess I’ll just keep my coat handy for my walks outside. There are flowers blooming everywhere, and I don’t want to miss them.

Steve Builta President
SPS Council

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Celebrating SPS Excellence

Missy Gillis Emily Hochstatter

Missy Gillis and Emily Hochstatter
Co-Chairs, SPS Awards Committee
mgillis@niu.edu | emurray2@niu.edu

SPS Council President Steve Builta, Award Recipient Bill McCoy, and President Doug Baker at the 2016 SPS Council Awards Reception
SPS Council President Steve Builta, Award Recipient Bill McCoy, and President Doug Baker at the 2016 SPS Council Awards Reception

On the afternoon of Thursday, April 14th, Supportive Professional Staff employees, fellow colleagues, family, and friends gathered in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center to recognize 40 SPS employees during the annual SPS Council Awards Ceremony. Awards presented included the SPS Certificates of Recognition, the SPS Council Outstanding Service Award, SPS Staff Awards, and the Presidential Supportive Professional Staff Awards for Excellence. Daphne Voorhis was also recognized as the 2015 SPS Dependent Scholarship recipient. 

Twenty SPS employees were presented with Certificates of Recognition. These awards were initiated by the SPS Council in 2003 and are awarded for such accomplishments as: publication of books or articles; presentations or papers delivered at professional conferences; leadership in professional associations; honors and recognitions received; advanced academic degrees or professional certifications earned; and for extraordinary service to the NIU community and its students. This year’s Certificate of Recognition recipients are: Ximena Burgin (Office of Research, Evaluation and Policy Studies), Andrea Drott (Wellness Promotion), Stacey Erdman (University Libraries), Angie Flannery (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Amy Franklin (Student Affairs and Enrollment Management), Lesley Gilbert (Human Resource Services), Ray Gooden (Intercollegiate Athletics), Nancy Harrison (Econ Illinois), Mel Henriksen (Center for Governmental Studies), Joseph King (Institutional Communications), Dara Little (Sponsored Programs Administration), Renee Olsen (Mathematical Sciences), Mark Pietrowski (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Stephanie Richter (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center), Kathy Smith
Kathy Smith
Mary Rudnicki (School of Nursing and Health Studies), Gail Schumacher (Literacy and Elementary Education), Laurie Sodaro (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Michael Stang (Student Affairs and Enrollment Management), Phil Voorhis (Intercollegiate Athletics), and Patricia Wallace (Psychology).

Recognized for her years of service to the council and the university, Kathy Smith, Director of Payroll Operations, was awarded the Supportive Professional Staff Council Outstanding Service Award.

Debra Miller
Debra Miller
Greg Ross
Greg Ross

Jason Rhode
Jason Rhode
Anissa Kuhar
Anissa Kuhar
Four individuals and one organization received this year’s Supportive Professional Staff Awards of Distinction. Debra Miller, Director of the Disability Resource Center, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Advocacy. This award recognizes an SPS employee who demonstrates they have advocated for policies and practices that have created a positive living and learning environment for students, faculty, and/or staff. Greg Ross, Residence Program Director, Department of Language and Foreign Literature, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Cultural Competency, which recognizes an employee who has demonstrated leadership in helping to create a more culturally competent and diverse NIU community. Jason Rhode, Director of the Faculty Development and Design Center, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Excellence in Supervision, which recognizes a supervisor who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and ethical practices when supervising professional and student staff. Anissa Kuhar, Assistant Director of Outreach Creative Services, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Institutional Advancement, which recognizes employees who demonstrated leadership in activities, programs, and/or research that has helped to advance their department and the university. The College of Education Student Services was recognized with the SPS Award for Partnership and Collaboration for their work in partnering and collaborating with NIU employees for the betterment of the NIU community.

Greg Barker
Greg Barker
Melissa Burlingame
M. Burlingame

Bill McCoy
William McCoy
Mark McGowan
Mark McGowan
Four SPS employees were selected to receive the 2016 Presidential Supportive Professional Staff Award for Excellence. This year’s recipients are Gregory P. Barker, Director of Testing Services; Melissa Burlingame, Research Associate, Center for Governmental Studies; William McCoy, Director of the BELIEF Initiative, College of Business; and Mark McGowan, Editorial Associate, Media and Public Relations. Each of these individuals was recognized for the significant contributions they have made to the NIU and surrounding community and within their professions.

The SPS Awards Committee thanks everyone who participated in the nomination and recognition process this year.

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Supportive Professional Staff Dependent Scholarship Recipient Announced

Anne Hardy

Anne Hardy 
SPS Scholarship Committee 

The SPS Dependent Scholarship committee is pleased to announce that Daphne Voorhis is the Council’s fourth annual scholarship recipient. Daphne is a sophomore at NIU, pursing a major in Biological Sciences, and plans to add minors in Math and Chemistry.

Daphne credits her dad, Phil Voorhis, for inspiring her strong work ethic. Phil is an SPS employee; he has worked on campus for 27 years and is the head athletic trainer for our student athletes. Daphne says that through her dad’s demonstrated perseverance, he taught her to never give up!

Daphne chose to attend Northern Illinois University because of financial reasons but also because she knew that she would be glad to be part of NIU’s community. She knew that NIU had a lot to offer to students and is now taking advantage of that. Her many activities include participation in the University Honors Program, Honors House residential floor, and Research Rookies. She also remains involved with the local community through various roles within her church, as a childcare provider, as a DeKalb County election judge, and she volunteers for Feed My Starving Children.

Thanks to the generosity of NIU employees, annuitants, and friends of the university, we will be able to make her junior year a little more affordable. Through the SPS Dependent Scholarship fund, this amazing young woman will receive $1,000 toward her educational expenses—certainly a smart investment for NIU!

SPS employees hold many different positions at NIU and make an impact on every aspect of the student experience. Donating to the SPS Dependent Scholarship is just one more way we can have further impact—by helping a student to realize their dream of an NIU education. We are thankful for the more than $8,500 in donations we have already received; the scholarship fund’s growth is a testament to the generosity of our donors and their belief in our students. To assist in the SPS Council’s goal of permanently endowing the scholarship, we ask each SPS member to consider donating $30. Donations can be made online or through payroll deduction. Visit http://www.niu.edu/spsc/scholarship/index.shtml for more information, or contact Anne Hardy at ahardy@niu.edu or 815-753-0143.

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2016 SPS Council Election Results

Gail Jacky
Director, University Writing Center

The Supportive Professional Staff (SPS) Council represents the interests and concerns of the SPS personnel on campus as part of NIU’s shared governance system. These individuals are elected by their peers through a representative form of government with the university divided into divisions. Because of the extensive reorganization of department/entity reporting lines throughout NIU over the last two years, Council representation was re-proportioned this year from six to seven divisions (see the following list) to provide a more even distribution of the SPS employees.

  1. Academic Affairs—Executive Vice President & Provost, Human Resources, and International Affairs
  2. Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
  3. Academic Affairs— College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  4. Academic Affairs—Other Colleges, Graduate School, Libraries, and Research & Innovation Partnerships
  5. Divisions of Outreach, Engagement, & Regional Development and University Advancement
  6. Divisions of Administration & Finance, Information Technology, General Counsel, Marketing & Communications, and President’s Office
  7. Intercollegiate Athletics

The Council is composed of 24 representatives and 24 alternates who are elected by their peers from each division to serve staggering two year terms (see Table 1). The president is elected at-large and does not represent any particular division. 

Table 1: Number of Representatives and Alternates by Division
1 3 3
2 3 3
3 3 3
4 5 5
5 5 5
6 3 3
7 2 2

The 2016 Supportive Profession Staff (SPS) election was held in early April to select the Council president and to fill the FY17-18 vacancies for the representatives and alternates from the seven divisions. The following were individuals were elected; however, we are still seeking 2 individuals to serve as alternates for Division 5.  

President: Catherine Doederlein

Division 1: Randi Napientek, representative; Dana Gautcher and Stephanie Richter, alternates

Division 2: Jeanne Meyer, representative; Sandi Carlisle, alternate

Division 3: Erin Reid, Mark Pietrowski, and Linda Watson, representatives; Sandy Lopez and Ryan Pumroy, alternates

Division 4: Russ Devereaux, representative; David Dosier, alternate

Division 5: Melissa Burlingame, Deborah Pixton, and Judith Dymond, representatives; April Arnold and Nicholas Piazza, alternates

Division 6: Rachel Xidis and Janet Love-Moore, representatives; Tom Viel, alternate

Division 7: Deborah Boughton, representative

SPS Council meetings are held the second Thursday of each month from 10:00a.m. to 12:00p.m. The meetings are generally held in the Skyroom in the Holmes Student Center. All SPS employees are welcome to attend. 

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Cellular Stipend Update

Sabrina Hammond

Sabrina Hammond 
Director, Service Desk, Customer Support Services

Isn’t this Great? Springtime has finally arrived. Along with the opportunity to watch the flowers grow, the trees blossom and feel the warmth of the sun, it is also time to review Cellular Stipend requests in your areas.

The process has changed from last year when requests were initiated via the IT Forms > Cellular Services website  Employee Stipend Plans are administered wholly by the sponsoring department via the Additional Pay Form (APF) and the Department of Human Resources - Payroll. Please initiate this type of request, or the annual renewal, with your supervisor, as per the Cellular Service Stipend Policy (Section 6.0.3). 

 When completing the APF, be aware of the following:

  • The APF does not have the required drop-down selection for “Reason for Additional Compensation.” You must manually enter TEC in the space provided after the form is printed.
  • The APF for a Cellular stipend request should have an Effective End Date of June 30. Ongoing stipends must be renewed each fiscal year. We recommend the initiation of the process by May 30th to ensure continuity of the additional pay allotment.

Additional information about Cellular Stipends can be found online at ITForms.niu.edu > Cellular Stipend Request Information.

Also please note that departmentally provisioned cellular services and / or equipment constitutes an “exception’ to the Cellular Stipend Policy.

This request for Managed Service Plans” must be initiated online for approval at ITForms.niu.edu > Cellular Service.