headshots of newly elected Staff Council members

Staff Council Now at Full Strength, Part 2

Staff gratitude gathering on November 20
November 17, 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 this three-part series, staff from across the university elected the second cohort of members in July. The 18-member Council is in discussions with university leadership about a variety of staff issues, including work schedules and improving communication on matters that have a direct impact on staff. 

On Monday, November 20, Staff Council will host Harvest of Thanks, a gathering to express appreciation and gratitude for WPI’s dedicated staff community. There will be refreshments, prizes, and fun activities in the Campus Center Odeum from 2–3:30 p.m.

Below, three of the newest Staff Council members share in their own words why they got involved and what they hope to achieve. 

Mike Hamilton, Instructional Technology Specialist (Instructional Technology)
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Mike Hamilton headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council?

I have worked at WPI for 17 years in two different divisions and a variety of roles. I love working here for several reasons, but I have also seen so many colleagues and friends leave for reasons that I believe and hope Staff Council can help to remedy. 

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

  • Improve the work experience for staff members on campus. 
  • Work to ensure that staff have benefits that make WPI more attractive than competitive jobs. 
  • Continue to build Staff Council into a body that has a voice and is respected by faculty and upper administration on campus. 

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

Our faculty have several governing groups with direct lines of communication to institutional leadership. I believe a strong Staff Council can help elevate staff voices to a similar level, which is important because our jobs are very different from faculty members’ jobs, and the university will benefit when the administration hears and understands both perspectives.

Pat Howe, Operations Manager (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
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Pat Howe headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council? 

I saw the great work they are doing, and I wanted to be a part of it.

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

To continue to be the voice of the staff and ensure our concerns are heard. Of course, the faculty and students are why we ALL are here, but the staff members run the show and we are often overlooked. I hope the Council also can focus on a formal professional development or mentoring program for staff along with promoting better choices to improve our work-life balance. 

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

Happier employees = higher retention rates, and that will benefit everyone. 

Alesia LeSane, Assistant Director (Multicultural Education and Student Success)
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Alesia LeSane headshot

Why did you want to run for Staff Council?

It is a wonderful thing to be able to advocate, empower, and uplift voices from within a community, and I have an unwavering passion for the work that I do. Staff serve such an important role on campus and our voice deserves to be heard in all decision-making processes. I want to advance the work that has been done so far to cultivate and foster a collaborative and caring environment in which staff can grow and thrive. 

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

  • Promote opportunities that will equip staff members with tools for career enrichment. 
  • Foster a stronger sense of community among staff. 
  • Create a program that recognizes staff dedication and service to WPI’s community. 

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

Staff Council will encourage and foster more transparent and frequent communication among staff, faculty, students, and administration while providing a variety of perspectives. It presents an opportunity for employees to share their ideas and to have their concerns acknowledged.