Past President Ryan Gregg's thoughts...
…On Staff Council:
Students are the lifeblood of our university. Faculty, then, are the vital organs that use this blood and bring the campus to life. That leaves staff as the strength - the skeletal system - of this university body. Without us, the university could not function: staff keep UNM moving forward. Likewise, Staff Council is a way for staff to advocate for their well-being in the workplace, and to participate in the shared governance of our university.
After 30 years, it's obvious to me that we have more work to do, but we also have a 30 year legacy on which to build and the people-power necessary to continue this work for at least another 30 years!
…On his Presidency:
Our year of progress was informed by the listening tour that I took during the year before I became President. I traveled to many departments and units across campus and heard the concerns and hopes and ideas of our diverse staff body. Those discussions led to initiatives like Paid Parental Leave.
In addition to many the many staff who served on numerous committees and task-forces we also updated policies, including the tuition remission policy. We also reflected on our 2015-2020 strategic plan and developed a 2020-2025 strategic plan which keeps the important values and functions the same, but updates them to align with today's challenges and opportunities.
We instituted the Staff Council's first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee which was very personal to me. I was elected to Staff Council in 2016 on a platform of increasing diversity and I'm happy to report that this committee will continue focusing on issues of equity and inclusion and that the membership of the current Staff Council is the most diverse in recent history.
The work of which I'm most proud is the one thing in which I'm also disappointed: the FY21 compensation increase. We supported UNM Administration, the Council of University Presidents, and UNM Government Relations, working hand-in-hand to advocate for a new compensation funding model, and for a 4% compensation increase -- and we did both! I'm so proud of this because so many people said it could not be done. I will always have some disappointment because these compensation increases were (as we all know) removed by the NM Legislature in an effort to balance the budget given the new budget predictions as a function of the global coronavirus pandemic. It hurts, especially, because having met so many UNM staff and heard about their experiences, I know that our hardworking staff very much deserved those compensation increases. Rest assured that we will continue to advocate for fair compensation for staff moving forward.
…On current Challenges facing staff:
We are facing a challenge, unprecedented in our lifetime. University enrollments across the country are predicted to decline dramatically. States are divesting from institutions of higher education yet again. So much uncertainty about this pandemic exists, and the science and guidance are advancing rapidly.
Despite this, I'm hopeful that we will move through this and onto the other side. We are fortunate to have leaders who are competent and caring. I have seen, firsthand, exactly what staff at UNM can do when the going gets tough. We have challenges ahead, and Staff Council needs your help and participation so we can adequately advocate for you, but I'd rather be here at UNM and living in Albuquerque than anywhere else.
We have the tools and resources to move into this new world that coronavirus has made. An institution founded in 1889 could not have existed this long without periodic transformation. We're living in the moment where we can shape this transformation. I know that we'll do so with attention to our mission as The University for New Mexico, which means centering students, making people-first decisions, and protecting the safety of each of us.