Staff Council members' word cloud

Lauren Turner recently asked Staff Council members to describe their work to date. This is how they answered.

Staff Council Gets to Work

Inaugural Members Highlight Their Goals
February 10, 2023

When members of WPI’s inaugural Staff Council began meeting in August 2022, they already had a long list of objectives they hoped to accomplish—the first of which was to coalesce into a high-functioning team supporting unified goals on behalf of the entire staff. 

As highlighted in the Our Inclusive Community area of WPI’s strategic plan, Lead with Purpose, the Staff Council was created to “expand the voice of the staff in steering the university.” The Council includes nine members who, over the last several months, have worked to establish an internal structure and set up processes, procedures, and bylaws.  

“It’s important in academia to have a body like this so that the administration can have good information and make good decisions,” says Lauren Turner, WPI’s senior vice president of Talent & Inclusion and chief diversity officer. “It also makes staff more visible and allows them to contribute in a new way.” In fact, in its first few months, the team has already brought staff perspectives into high-level discussions about WPI’s remote and hybrid work policy; adverse weather policy; staff compensation and classification project; staff climate survey; and employee benefits.  

The Council works in partnership with Talent & Inclusion but is not run by the administration. “The Council self-governs and sets its own priorities,” Turner says, likening how the Council relates to Talent & Inclusion to the way that Faculty Governance consults with, but remains independent from, the Office of the Provost.  

Now that the groundwork has been established, the Council is working to serve, enhance, and advocate for the needs and concerns of the staff at WPI. Employees can connect with the Council via email at 

Preview Inaugural members of Staff Council

First in a Series of Three Installments

Nearly 65 percent of eligible staff cast votes last summer, electing the first eight members of the Council. With the goal of establishing a Council that balances equitable representation across WPI’s departments, employee classes, and demographics, Talent & Inclusion then appointed a ninth member from the pool of nominees. Last fall, one of the Council members left WPI, and the opening was filled by a runner-up from the summer election. The inaugural Staff Council members are William Battelle, Jennifer Cluett, Amy Curran, Diane Dubois, Roxanne Gardner, Kim Hollan, Caitlin Keller, Sarah Miles, and Theona Scola.

In their own words, current Staff Council members share why they got involved and what they hope to accomplish. We’ll hear from three in each installment. 

William Battelle, Events Director (Facilities Management)

William Battelle headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council? 

Any time I can be part of a culture change in any environment—but especially in an environment I love—it’s important to me to do so. If you want to foster change, you must put in the effort to do it. My nature is to be on the bus when it’s ready to leave the station—and I think it’s even more important to drive the bus when it’s time to step up and do so. 

What are the top three things you hope the Council will be able to accomplish? 

  • I want to help create a safe environment where staff can develop ideas; lift them up consistently in a sustainable manner; and foster respect and relevance among our peers, which will let all of WPI benefit from the Staff Council’s hard work. 
  • I’d like to establish sustainable guidance and structures that future staff councils can build upon. 
  • I hope we will work together as a group on diverse topics with diverse people, while being open and honest through it all.  

How do you think WPI as a whole will benefit from having a Staff Council? 

It will provide WPI staff with a central conduit for reviewing current matters in a consistent and sustainable manner. It will also offer staff a clear pathway to WPI leadership for discussing those matters and provide a vehicle for communicating outcomes back to the staff.    

Jennifer CluettAssociate Vice President of Admissions & Dean of Admissions (Admissions & Aid)

Jennifer Cluett headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council?  

I have worked at WPI for 24 years and felt this was a way to give back to the university.  

What are the top three things you hope the Council will be able to accomplish? 

  • I’d like to elevate the voices of staff in decision-making at WPI. 
  • I hope to celebrate the contributions of staff through recognition programs. 
  • I want to identify and create opportunities for university-wide events and programs that promote community and support a positive work culture. 

How do you think WPI as a whole will benefit from having a Staff Council? 

A Staff Council codifies the value of the staff voice and can serve as a conduit for the staff community to reach WPI’s leaders. 

Amy Curran, Director (Accessibility Services)

Amy Curran headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council?   

I was honored to be nominated by a few colleagues and was interested in being considered because I wanted to embrace more leadership opportunities on campus, step out of my comfort zone, and have the opportunity to be part of something that’s new and exciting.  

What are the top three things you hope the Council will be able to accomplish?  

  • I am proud of the thoughtful work that my fellow Staff Council members and I are putting in to develop a clear and meaningful set of bylaws. This will help set the foundation for the Staff Council to move forward in a positive way. 
  • I would like the Staff Council to create a fair and respectful platform for supporting staff advocacy. I see the Staff Council as helping to build a sense of community by facilitating effective communication. 
  • I think the Staff Council is in a unique position to make helpful changes for our campus community, whether that is to plan and host staff events on campus or to draw attention to committee work where staff voices would be integral. 

How do you think WPI as a whole will benefit from having a Staff Council?   

Staff members are essential to our shared WPI campus. This inaugural Staff Council is in the position to create a system that will include the voices of staff as full partners with faculty and students. A thriving Staff Council can offer an opportunity for staff to share concerns, make recommendations, and propose new and exciting ideas.