15:38 PM

Staff Council Meeting Addresses QEP, Work Climate Survey, Parking Concerns

The UHD Staff Council held its first town hall meeting of the year Tuesday in A300. In case you missed it, here is a brief synopsis:

The main topic of the day was the University's Quality Enhancement Plan, which addresses promoting community engagement as well as developing critical thinking and writing skills for UHD students. President Bill Flores discussed the University's vision for providing these high-impact learning experiences and ways in which students will document them for later use in resumes and portfolios.

Flores also addressed the University's recent legislative budgetary requests, including hopes to add a Science and Technology building, an urban agriculture and sustainability center, and a Microsoft Innovation Center in the coming years.

Ivonne Montalbano, vice president for Employment Services and Operations (ESO), focused on key concerns brought up in the recent work climate survey, including plans for improving organizational development with online, in-person and hybrid staff trainings to be offered by the department's new manager, Ryan Riojas.

Vice President for Administration and Finance David Bradley took the podium to discuss a hot topic among staff - the future of campus parking. Bradley gave a status update on the construction of the new parking garage which is due to open in summer 2015. Parking fees will see a slight increase with the addition of reserved and unreserved garage spaces as well as dedicated faculty-only parking on the third level. The adjoining welcome center - which will house student services offices - is scheduled to open September 2015, thanks in part to gifts from Houston Endowment and The Brown Foundation Inc. totaling $1.05 million.

Staff Council President-elect Debora Evans announced the start of a new campus tradition, "Gator Blue Fridays," in which all staff are encouraged to wear UHD blue on Fridays. In celebration of the launch, a group photo will be taken on Friday, Mar. 6, at noon on the South Deck.

The council also has plans in the works to renew the tradition of an annual UHD Chili Cook-off this April, the funds from which will support the Edge Grant for staff development.