06/05/09: Note from the chair of the Staff Resources Committee
To the College Community:
I write to update you on the work of the Staff Resources Committee (SRC) and to clarify the Committee’s work moving forward.
Since October 2008, when the College instituted a hiring freeze, the SRC has approved—and the President has endorsed—13 staffing requests. Twelve of these requests were to fill existing positions; one was for a new position; all were considered “essential” to the mission of the institution. During the same period of time last year, the SRC approved a total of 35 positions.
Currently, the number of unfilled or frozen positions stands at 35. In addition, 59 colleagues have left or will be leaving the College through the Early Retirement Program (ERP). Given the College’s overall attrition goals, we expect that fewer than 15 percent of these 94 positions will be refilled, through either a conventional replacement process or a reorganization of staff resources. The remaining positions will be eliminated.
Over the summer, the SRC will continue to review staffing requests, including plans that managers have developed to fill positions left vacant by the ERP. Before submitting any proposals to the SRC, managers and department heads will work with their staff to identify services and functions that they—and the College—can do without. These internal reviews should take into account how a reduction in functions will impact other departments on campus as well their own. Each manager’s respective vice president will share the department’s proposed reduced set of responsibilities with the College’s other vice presidents to ensure that the proposed changes do not have an adverse impact on other areas of the College. Given the potential impact on position responsibilities, job descriptions, compensation, and other working conditions, managers and department heads must consult with Human Resources as they develop these plans.
Beginning this month, the Committee will add to its traditional responsibilities by following up on the Budget Oversight Committee’s recommendation that the administration work “to consolidate departments, offices, and functions in order to reduce staffing levels and achieve programmatic efficiencies across the College.” Several such consolidations are already under way, and involve the College Museum; the Mahaney Center for the Arts; the Center for Campus Activities and Leadership; the Event Scheduling Office; the Undergraduate Research Office; the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research; the Alliance for Civic Engagement; and the Career Services Office. Through a careful review of other offices and functions, the SRC will seek to identify further opportunities for consolidation. Throughout this process, the Committee will seek input from vice presidents, managers, and their staff and communicate with affected offices if and when it determines that a consolidation of programs or functions makes sense.
Our goal in pursuing these changes is to clarify, simplify, and consolidate offices and programs that during the past decade have developed independently from one another. There is no doubt that the growth of programs and staff since the mid 1990s has enhanced the quality of the Middlebury experience. Given the current economic situation, however, we must reassess this expansion and pull back where possible, while maintaining the excellence of the liberal arts education that we offer our students.
As the SRC moves forward with this work, there will likely be changes to individual jobs, as well as opportunities for staff who wish to move from one office or position to another at the College. Drew Macan, Associate VP of Human Resources & Organizational Development, will be in touch soon with information about the types of organizational changes that may be implemented and guidelines for how these changes will affect staff members.
for the Staff Resources Committee
Tim Spears (chair)