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, Part 3

Public Comment Period for Constitution and Bylaws Ends February 28
February 24, 2023

Staff Council is an elected body created to “expand the voice of the staff in steering the university.” As noted in the first segment of a three-part series, the Council has been hard at work writing the body’s governing documents. Members of WPI’s staff community have until February 28 to review and comment on the Council's draft constitution and bylaws, which will then be ratified by a simple majority of eligible staff. 

This is the final segment of a series about the inaugural Staff Council members, elected in 2022. Two weeks ago we introduced you to William Battelle, Jennifer Cluett, and Amy Curran, and last week we introduced you to Diane Dubois, Roxanne Gardener, and Kim Hollan. Now Caitlin Keller, Sarah Miles, and Theona Scola share in their own words why they got involved and what they hope to accomplish.

Caitlin Keller, Senior Instructional Designer (Academic Technology Center)

Caitlin Keller headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council? 

I’ve been part of the WPI community for over six years and have seen the benefits of governance for other groups on campus. Staff Council is an opportunity to invoke change in our community, where staff have been historically underrepresented in decision-making. I hope to amplify the voices of our staff and advocate for changes that lead to a more inclusive and supportive community.   

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

  • I hope Staff Council can establish a system in which staff are able to voice their concerns in a safe environment without fear of retaliation. 
  • I hope we can serve as an intermediary between staff and the broader WPI community to help inform decision-making inclusive of staff needs.  
  • I hope Staff Council can work toward an inclusive campus culture that considers staff as an integral part of WPI’s continued success. 

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

Much of the crucial work done by staff is invisible to the broader campus community. Staff Council will provide transparency into staff contributions and needs. It will also give staff a voice in areas where we were previously excluded despite being impacted by the decisions. Breaking down the barriers between groups on campus and becoming aware of the needs and contributions of all members of our community is a critical first step in moving toward a more inclusive campus culture. 

Sarah Miles, University Registrar (Registrars Office)

Sarah Miles headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council?  

I believe staff are an integral part of our community and deserve to have a voice in the governance of our institution.  

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

In this first year, creating a constitution and bylaws, creating a space to hear thoughts, ideas, and concerns, and engaging with staff are my top priorities. From that base, we can go far! 

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

All communities are strongest when all members feel engaged, feel part of a whole. This official channel between staff and upper management will give a voice to a large contingent of our community that has previously felt left out of the decision-making process. We look forward to bringing that voice to the table. 

Theona Scola, Director of Donor Strategy and Stewardship (Division of University Advancement)

Theona Scola headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council? 

It is important for the staff to have a representing voice and a formal avenue for communication related to the policies and issues that impact our staff. Additionally, I love the dynamics of working cross-divisionally. I enjoy team-based work with colleagues from different areas with different skill sets, expertise, and insight. I’m excited to impact positive change for our staff community! 

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

So far the team’s focus has been on developing the framework for operation, including the constitution and by-laws to support our efforts. Establishing internal roles, responsibilities, and expectations for the team and determining how to best collaborate with university constituents is another top priority. This initial work is critical to ensuring a sustainable Staff Council model aimed to support our staff community.  

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

Staff Council members represent a broad perspective of our staff community, serve as resources and advocates for staff, and foster a more inclusive sense of community for our staff. The Council will improve the campus working climate by sharing information and supporting staff-aimed initiatives.