This year the Staff Senate has worked to become more of a presence, and resource, to the Pacific University community, and has created ways in which they hope to help further Pacific’s mission of excellence.
Acting as a single arm of the complex Pacific governance system, the Staff Senate is currently made up of 18 staff members, all representing various campuses.
“Our goal is to represent the entire staff and inform decisions about what activities we do,” Lisa Downing, staff senate chair and director of clinical education compliance at the College of Health Professions said. “And how we perform our functions based on the goals and mission of the university.”
According to Downing, this is the first year the Staff Senate has actually vocalized themes and goals, chief among which is a better focus on and work with equity, diversity and inclusion. With a number of bi-lingual staff members at Pacific, Downing said translation services have already greatly improved inner-departmental communications.
“We now have translation services for our all staff meetings and send out messages and advertising translated in both Spanish and English,” Downing said. “We continue to debrief and find areas where we can do better, but it is informing a lot of our decisions and helping us be more efficient.”
Downing said she hopes to continue working to promote values of equity, diversity and inclusion, on Staff Senate next semester in the form of additional training and speakers.
According to Staff Senate Chair Elect Brad Hodges, the Staff Senate has also been working to find ways in which to help and assist Pacific with student retention.
“We’re working with the Undergraduate Student Senate right now and seeing how we can collaborate together,” Hodges said. “We’re looking at making more connections with students, and being more available and open to the interactions we do have with students.”
Both Downing and Hodges hope they can continue to bridge and strengthen relations between staff and students, and work to continue to build the Pacific community.