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September 28, 2017

Staff Matters

Staff Council Encourages Proactive Communication Between Administration and Staff


The University of Pittsburgh Staff Council, formerly Staff Association Council, is excited for a new academic year and increased opportunities to partner collaboratively across campus to strengthen our Pitt community.

Pitt is a vibrant collegiate environment with many disparate and parallel activities. Staff Council simultaneously acts as an advocate for better University communication and as one of the channels for constructive communication across all five campuses. Because of the wealth of available information, direct lines of communication from the top-down, across units and from the bottom-up are critical to organizational efficiency.

Staff Council has long been a successful advocate for clear communication from University leadership. One example of our productive efforts is the role Staff Council played in helping to shape this year’s salary pool increase announcement. The initial memo from Administration was straightforward; staff knew what to reasonably expect for annual salary increases. In previous years, staff could expect to receive an ambiguous memo which often left them with more questions than answers. Further clarifying salary pool communication this year, the Office of Human Resources provided an FAQ in the July 27 edition of University Times that gave insight to the annual salary process, provided clarity on differences between merit and maintenance and urged responsibility centers to detail staff salary appeal procedures in salary communications to staff. Another example is University solicitation of staff participation during provost and dean searches, opening opportunities for staff members to directly communicate ideas for incoming leadership. Staff Council remains dedicated to building on such improvements and expanding ways in which important information is disseminated from the top-down.

Reciprocally, staff members should not be passive in seeking out channels of information that exist to benefit Pitt staff. In addition to a concentrated platform like, many University departments and units maintain active websites, social media accounts, text message alerts and newsletters used to communicate with staff. Staff are encouraged to engage with fellow colleagues, students, faculty and administration, and to seek out opportunities to grow and learn. For instance, Human Resources provides guides to having conversations with your supervisor, answers benefits questions and addresses workplace concerns. The Faculty and Staff Development Program offers diverse opportunities to maximize your professional growth biannually. Staff Council presents regular lunch and learn Brown Bag events on relevant University and community topics. Most recently, the Employee and Labor Relations team within the Office of Human Resources took part in a Staff Council Town Hall event, a new series designed to put a human face on services the University provides.

Staff should feel empowered to present to leadership innovative ideas that promote efficiency in their departments, schools and responsibility centers; staff should also actively connect with colleagues to discover workplace best practices and to share news and information. This year, make your voice heard in your workplace by communicating with your supervisor, participating in open forums across campus and sharing your ideas at


Andy Stephany is the president of Staff Council and is a pre-award administrator in the Department of Medicine.


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