Staff Advisory Team
The Monterey Institute of International Studies has seen efforts through the years to organize and represent the staff of the Institute through a variety of structures. Currently, there is no staff group on campus working primarily on staff issues/ideas/improvements. During the reorganization process, this lack of a voice or representative group became apparent, and Provost Sands called an all staff meeting to address the issue. More than 50 staff members attended this meeting and broke into small discussion groups to brainstorm ideas. One member from each of those small groups volunteered to meet and help create a structure that would best serve the needs of the MIIS staff and community at large. Three ideas were then proposed to the staff and 56 staff members voted to support the 6-person advisory team idea.
This proposal is a result of the work done by a volunteer group of staff from varying departments and positions on campus.
Karen Weiss, Dean’s Assistant GSTI
Priscilla Lorenzo, Office Services Coordinator
Toni Thomas, MBA Academic Advisor and Program Coordinator
Lynn McDonald, Postgraduate Fellow in Organizational Development
Susan Wolfe, Manager of Foundation and Corporate Relations
Erika Johnson, Acquisitions Librarian
Kenley Butler, CNS Senior Project Manager, Executive Officer
A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
The main idea of this proposal is to create a high performing team of diverse staff members to help strengthen the mission of the Monterey Institute. The definition above serves as a reminder of the main components of a team and how a team is different from a group or committee. The principles of this proposed structure have been designed to enable a team experience. The team approach should contribute to a dynamic work environment and enhance the voice of all staff members through a process of agenda setting, regular meetings, and a flat organizational structure.
The Advisory Team concept is based upon the collaborative teamwork approach to managing issues and effectively communicating the results to all stakeholders. Consequently, the Advisory Team puts into practice the very essence of the things we teach at the Monterey Institute. Besides ‘walking our talk’, the benefits to the Institute community include the ability to maintain diverse representation for all departments, easy and open access for all staff to express their views, flexible meeting times and easy agenda setting.
Small diverse group of volunteers
This team would consist of 5 – 6 volunteer members. The team should draw from various kinds of positions and departments in order to produce a group with complementary skills. While the team should be diverse, we do not envision that an individual member “represents” a specific group or department on campus. Any staff member could interact with any member of the team, and each member of the team accepts the responsibility to work for the benefit of the staff as a whole.
New volunteer opportunities offered annually
One month prior to setting the agenda, the community will be asked to volunteer for the team for the upcoming year. The new volunteer group will then facilitate a goal-setting meeting for the year and carry out the objectives of the staff. The previous team will facilitate the process of creating a new team with the goal of keeping the participation voluntary, dynamic and flexible. The current working group will help facilitate the creation of the first team.
Work off annual agendas set by the entire staff
The team is charged with convening the staff for the purpose of establishing an agenda or work plan for the year, driven by emerging issues, changing circumstances, and the forging of a consensus on priorities. During staff meetings, the team members will serve as facilitators to help draw out the views/ideas/suggestions of the entire staff and reach closure on the agenda. Communication, collaboration and community have already emerged as major issues that the staff would like to address with a staff team.
The agenda, depending on its complexity, may call for the formation of additional ad hoc working groups to tackle specific issues within the overall purview of the team. Since the goal is to amplify the individual voices of each staff member, the team will need to be deliberate in its facilitation of the staff and communication with the senior administration.
Facilitate regular staff meetings/events
In order to listen to and work with the staff, the team needs to provide multiple opportunities to build community on campus. The number/type of activities might vary from year to year, depending on the agenda.
Relation to Senior Administration
For purposes of providing some infrastructure and a channel of communication with the senior administration of the Institute, we propose that this new team be affiliated with the innovation and special projects areas under Amy McGill. Amy would act as an administrative liaison, meeting with the group when necessary, providing assistance, serving as the budget officer for the team, and facilitating opportunities for the team to work with other members of the senior administration, as appropriate. The team could serve to provide a staff perspective on a variety of issues or help facilitate dialogs between the various constituents on campus.
Once the team is assembled, it will define goals and outcomes for the group. Some funding will be necessary to assure that the team is able to fulfill its mandate. It is the hope of this working group that the advisory team and senior administration can work together on the creation of a budget that takes into consideration the challenging financial times that are coming, but demonstrates the commitment of the administration to the staff, and the notion that a staff team will help the Institute realize its mission.
- Staff council working group meets with senior staff to discuss proposal, make changes if necessary, and create a shared vision for the staff.
- Working group takes the proposal back to the staff at large, asking for feedback and volunteers for the team.
- Volunteers meet to form the team – if too many staff volunteers, the group of volunteers forms a team based on the skills needed to make the team effective. Process to be facilitated by the current working group.
- The team meets to decide next steps:
a. Staff needs assessment
b. Deliberate/thought out facilitation
c. Goal setting/budget formation