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As we enter the holiday season, the Staff Senate is fortunate, grateful, and blessed for the opportunity to work and collaborate with you all year long. Our collective work is essential to support the University's mission to educate compassionate and effective leaders for today's complex world.

SCU Christmas tree in downtown San Jose
This year, the Staff Senate purchased a tree in downtown San Jose’s "Christmas in the Park" to share our Bronco pride and spirit. We encourage you to stop by Cesar Chavez Park and search for it (hint: reindeer x-ing). Enjoy the festive ornaments donated by various departments and the hand-crafted ornaments put together by our events and services committee members.

We thank senators Samantha Kibbish and Kayla Wells (pictured above) for decorating our first-ever, lovely tree.

May the upcoming holidays be filled with peace, rest, and joy in the company of your loved ones!



Sustaining Excellence Update

Mike Nutall returned to the Staff Senate to share the latest update on the Sustaining Excellence Project, including a summary of the questions he fielded during the Nov. 15 Town Hall. Those questions, as well as other questions posed by staff senators, are outlined in the Nov. 16 meeting minutes.

The Staff Senate thanks Mike and the Sustaining Excellence team for their valuable contributions to the Santa Clara Community. We are inspired by their efforts and look forward to our continued collaboration.

Update from Staff Senate President

Melissa Brotherton


  • I am excited to announce Michelle Salmiery as the new Staff Senate Secretary!

  • Thanks for providing feedback to the Alcohol Policy amendment. There were over 75 responses from the staff community. We will share further updates and information as it becomes available.

  • In order to cover our increasingly-demanding agendas, senators voted unanimously in favor of extending our meeting time by 30 minutes from 10:30 a.m. - noon on the third Thursday of every month. As a reminder, all staff are welcome to attend the Staff Senate meetings. Check Staff Senate calendar for upcoming meeting dates.

  • On Nov. 18, I had an opportunity to present at the Faculty Senate meeting. I shared our Staff Senate highlights from last year and our goals for 2017/2018. Faculty were pleasantly surprised to find common interests and themes in the work advanced by the Staff and Faculty Senates. We look forward to collaborating on matters such as housing, childcare, parking, and a mid-year financial update.

  • Clarification: Santa Clara minimum wage will increase to $15 by 2019 (CA statewide increase to $15 by 2023)

  • Brian Moon and Maureen Muscat (Elections and Bylaws Co-chairs) sent out nominations to areas where we have vacancies. Please encourage your colleagues to self-nominate, if you are not in the same department.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy holiday season,

*The Nov. 16, 2017 meeting minutes are saved on the Senate's Google Drive

Staff Senate Holiday Potluck
10:30 a.m. - noon | Graham Commons



Come share the holiday spirit right before we all go on break. 

Join us for the Staff Senate meeting and stay for the potluck. Want to show off your culinary (or grocery shopping) talents and bring some food? -- sign up for a dish here. Can't wait to see you then!

In an effort to get to know each other better and to identify areas of collaboration, senators take turns during every meeting to share three personal facts about themselves, and a highlight and challenge in their area or department. Here are this month's featured senators: 


Helene Lafrance, Head of Research & Outreach

Senator (University Library)

Three Things about Me

  • I am a native of Quebec, and my first language is French. My last name, "Lafrance," sounds really French, but there is nobody named "Lafrance" in France. Every time I go there, they make fun of my name.  
  • I love to run. I started running late in life when I was 52, and I never stopped. So far, I have run 8 half marathons and many shorter races. I am not a fast runner, but I am a steady one. 
  • I lead a book club on campus. We have been meeting once a month for 10 years. So far we have read 102 books, alternating between fiction and non-fiction.

Area Highlight

  • This year, the SCU library won the ACRL Excellence in Academic Libraries Award. You probably never heard of it, but in the library world it's like winning an OSCAR. Our application was based on the implementation of our strategic plan and on developing a culture of assessment.

Area Challenge

  • As many other units on campus, we have trouble recruiting and retaining staff because of the high cost of living in the Bay Area. That's why I joined the Staff Senate Benefits Committee, which will be discussing housing issues this year. 


Mariela Rodriquez, Human Resources Operations Supervisor

Senator (Human Resources)

Three Things about Me

  • I lived in Mexico for 5 years when I was younger.
  • I have ran 2 half-marathons.
  • I am the first generation in my family to attend college and graduate.

Area Highlight

Area Challenge

  • We encourage the SCU community to clean the list of student employees who may have graduated or no longer work in their department. A great way to check is using the Hiring Manager Pages on eCampus


Kayla Wells, Program Director of Immersions 

Senator (Ignatian Center)

Three Things about Me

  • I grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts with a population of 1,800 that does not have a single stop light.
  • My favorite poet is Mary Oliver.
  • I am a dancer and have done hip-hop dance for over 8 years.

Area Highlight

  • We do a great job engaging with communities beyond SCU. In the Thriving Neighbors Program alone, there are offerings for the Washington community in San Jose on a daily basis. Similarly, our Immersions Program visits an average of 12 communities throughout the world every year.
  • We are also great at hosting events. The Bannan Institutes events on average have 145 in-person attendees.

Area Challenge

  • Within our programs that work with students, our greatest challenge is engaging students on a consistent basis for longer than one quarter.

Staff Senate Meeting
Monthly Staff Senate Meeting
10:30 a.m. - noon | Graham Commons
  • Bill Sundstrom, the Faculty Senate President - Hear about the goals and progress of the Faculty Senate
  • Parking and Transportation will provide updates on what is happening in and around our campus

*All staff members are welcome to attend Staff Senate meetings



Questions? Please contact your area senator or email

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