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September 29, 2011

New president seeks to expand

SAC’s influence

walkerInvoking her organization’s new motto — broaden, understand, build — Staff Association Council (SAC) President Deborah Walker elaborated on the goals and objectives for the staff council at her first meeting as president, Sept. 14. (See July 21 University Times.)

She said SAC will broaden its message and influence by ensuring that appointed members to University Senate and Pitt trustees committees attend and participate in meetings and report to SAC on developments.

SAC also expects to expand the mailing list for its e-newsletter, which currently has about 800 subscribers, she said. (Members of the Pitt community can subscribe at

Walker said she wants to increase participation at SAC-sponsored events by at least 10 percent.

In addition, SAC is planning to provide an interactive audio hook-up with the regional campuses to allow their input at SAC’s monthly meetings. Walker said SAC also is lobbying Human Resources to present more information on the organization at new staff orientation sessions.

To better understand staff issues, Walker said SAC will survey staff, sponsor “town hall” meetings, increase the number of brown bag lunch workshops and partner with Human Resources on adding organizational development sessions.

To “build pathways to solutions,” Walker said SAC’s officers also will partner with Senate officers, undergraduate and graduate student leaders and Pitt administrators to hold regular meetings. “The goal is to increase information-sharing by getting everybody on the same page,” she said.

SAC also announced that four new associate members had joined the organization. New members serve for six months as non-voting associates who sit on one or more of SAC’s 11 standing committees.

New members are: Susan G. Benton, human resources coordinator, Division of Laboratory Animal Resources; Tami J. Haslett, pre-press technician, University Marketing Communications; Penny N. Semaia, assistant athletics director, Student Life, and Nancy G. Spice, assistant director for IT training, Office of Research.

SAC also welcomed the new council secretary, Diane Bartus, whose office is located at 504 Craig Hall. Bartus can be reached at 4-4236 or

In other SAC business:

• SAC announced the theme for its fall assembly: “Effectively Using Technology in Your Job,” a series of presentations and workshops on various technologies, computing skills and social media available in the professional environment. Jinx Walton, director of Computing Services and Systems Development, will be the keynote speaker.

The event will be scheduled sometime in November, Walker said. Human Resources has agreed to send a letter to supervisors urging them to allow their staff to attend as a professional development event.

• SAC has endorsed the Dignity and Respect Campaign, a national movement that espouses “the belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect by encouraging behavioral change in individuals, communities, schools and organizations.”

Jesse Nicholson, chair of SAC’s diversity and inclusion committee, said October is designated as Dignity and Respect month. He said the goal of his committee is to get an additional 1,000 Pitt staff members to sign the campaign pledge, which reads “I ______________ will treat everyone with dignity and respect.”

Participants can sign the pledge via the campaign’s web site at For more information, contact Nicholson at 8-2172 or

• The safety and security committee, along with the office of Environmental Heath and Safety (EHS), is sponsoring the annual Health, Safety and Security Day, Oct. 4, 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m. on the William Pitt Union patio and lawn.

The event will include demonstrations of safety equipment. Representatives expected to offer health and safety tips include Pittsburgh fire personnel, Pitt campus police and EHS staff.

• SAC is planning to establish two more standing committees, Walker said. In the preliminary stages of development are the community service committee and the book fund committee.

The former committee would organize SAC’s community charity events.

The latter committee would look for ways to increase SAC’s endowment of the Book Fund for Children of Staff, which annually provides financial assistance toward the purchase of books for select Pitt undergraduate students whose parent or guardian is a staff member.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 3

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