It is the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s largest employee group, one whose governance structure has served as a model for similar groups throughout the UW System. And, beyond getting a name change, it is earning some added authority to help steer the state’s third-largest institution on its mission.
On July 1, the UW Oshkosh “Classified Staff” of more than 600 employees will be renamed “University Staff,” leading to a simultaneous name change for the group’s campus shared-governance body from the “Classified Staff Advisory Council” to the “University Staff Council” (USC).
The diverse employee group is comprised of UW Oshkosh’s administrative associate, custodial, police and other University staff members.
“This is not only a shift in name but also a shift in how our voices are heard and recognized,” said Cindy Schultz, academic department associate in the journalism department and chair of the University Staff Council. “We will no longer be an advisory group but a formally recognized governance group on the UW Oshkosh campus.”
Here is a look back at last year’s Classified Staff Development and Appreciation Day…
The group’s name change, triggered by the passage of Wisconsin Act 10 in 2011, will also lead to some additional governance authority for University Staff members, Schultz said.
The University Staff officially becomes a governance group with a voice equal to those of the UW Oshkosh Faculty Senate and Senate of Academic Staff.
“Thirteen years ago, we were invited to sit at the governance table to share our thoughts and concerns and participate in the governance structure of the campus,” Schultz said. “This relationship has grown stronger over the years, and our bylaws have now been approved and will be inserted into the Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook.”
Jean Bord, a UW Oshkosh custodian and vice chair of the University Staff Council, said the name and authority changes for the University Staff have its members focused on the future.
“I also believe that as the University Staff we bring ideas to the table that may not be seen by faculty and academic staff,” Bord said. “From here going forward, be it University Staff, Academic Staff, or Faculty, our final goal is the same: to keep UW Oshkosh a great campus for any student to come to get the best education with outstanding customer service.”
“These are exciting times for the University Staff at UW Oshkosh as we continue to move forward in continued collaboration with the Provost’s administrative staff and the leaders of the Faculty Senate and Senate of Academic Staff,” Schultz said.