The Danforth Staff Council (DSC) began in 2014 as a working group composed of staff members committed to providing an official voice for staff concerns at the university. A formal request was submitted to the university administration in the fall of 2015, and the DSC was formed in 2016.
Currently, the DSC has 30 members serving on nine committees.
What the DSC has accomplished
- Time off: The DSC encouraged the administration to provide extra time off to staff members as a way of thanking them for their hard work this year during such a trying time. After our proposal and discussions with leadership, Chancellor Martin announced Nov. 24 that Danforth Campus staff would receive two additional days of paid time off, to be taken between Dec. 18 and Feb. 28.
- Parental and caregiver leave: The DSC worked for months researching other universities and businesses and making presentations to administrative leaders on the importance of leave for new parents as well as those who need time away from work to care for a family member with a serious illness. The resulting policy change, which took effect in 2019, provides important financial support and peace of mind for employees who need to care for a loved one.
- Town halls: Thanks to the DSC, administrative leaders provide important updates twice a year on issues affecting staff members and respond to direct questions from employees.
- Representation: The DSC has advocated for, and been granted, greater staff representation across campus, from roles on search committees for key administrator positions such as chancellor and leadership of the Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to membership on working groups and advisory boards.
What we are working on now
- We recently submitted a response to alternate operations to administration and discussed how to improve. We are still keeping a pulse on alternate operations as well as plans to return to on-site work.
If you are experiencing any excessive burden due to alternate operations, please let us know how we can help (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The DSC now has a representative on a university committee charged with rethinking how we operate. We have learned some lessons during the pandemic, and we should put those into action to ensure we operate efficiently (e.g., can some positions be done remotely).
- Prior to the pandemic, we created an ad hoc committee to look at the creation of values for the university. We recently renewed the committee to continue this important work as the pandemic made “us” as a university really consider our values.
- Lastly, we will be looking for ways to communicate more directly with staff. I have implemented this newsletter and the “chat with the chairs” as two ways to hear from staff about how we, as a council, can best represent you.
Upcoming DSC events
Chat with the Chairs
The chair and co-chair would like to hear from staff members across the Danforth Campus. We are offering a few “chat with the chairs” virtual sessions. If you are interested, please send an email to email@example.com and let us know which of these dates and times works best for you, and we will send you a Zoom invitation. Space is limited, so sign up soon!
- Jan. 25th 9-10 a.m., noon-1 p.m., or 3-4 p.m.
- Jan. 27th 9-10 a.m., noon-1 p.m., or 3-4 p.m.
- Jan. 29th 9-10 a.m., noon-1 p.m., or 3-4 p.m.
Virtual Spring Town Hall
2-4 p.m. March 15th (tentative; dependent upon speaker availability)
If you would like more information on joining the DSC, we will be holding informational sessions via Zoom in early February and March.
Applications for membership on the DSC will be accepted from March 8th – 19th at staffcouncil.wustl.edu/new-members/.