Frequently Asked Questions

Summary:

The UM Staff Senate is a body that represents exempt and non-exempt UM staff from all over the campus as an advisory body to the President on matters concerning staff.

Download a PDF version of Frequently Asked Questions.

1. What is the UM Staff Senate?
Since 1994, the UM Staff Senate has advised the President’s Office on policies, procedures, and issues that affect your quality of life as a UM staff member.

2. What “issues” would matter to me?
Besides salary, many issues affect quality of life on campus for staff. These include, but are not limited to:

a. campus security: do I feel safe walking around?
b. parking: will these parking rates continue to increase?
c. state policies affecting campus staff: will we see any more salary increases?
d. child-care: can we organize a child-care facility on campus for parents?
e. campus life: any events happening lately that staff members can be part of?
f. “green” campus environment: can we recycle on campus? Is the water here clean?
g. community outreach: when is the next service activity in West Baltimore?
h. information technology: can we get all the different systems to talk to each other?
i. work-life strategies: is there a mentoring program for staff? How do I handle work stress? 

3. What has the UM Staff Senate done for me lately?
For the past few years, UM staff endured not only zero salary increases (merit or cost-of-living adjustment “COLA”) but also temporary salary reductions from June 2009 through December 2012. As UM Staff Senators and CUSS representatives made our voices heard to state policy-makers over a sustained period of time, we are finally receiving a COLA adjustment, effective January 2013.

In 2011, the UM Staff Senate mobilized UM staff to sign a petition to stand against the state-proposed merger of the University of Maryland at Baltimore and the University of Maryland at College Park. With thousands of jobs threatened, UM staff were empowered to express their disagreement in an effective way to the Board of Regents—which eventually rejected the UM at Baltimore-UMCP merger.

4. How is the UM Staff Senate set up?
Every spring, UM staff can vote for representatives across campus. Your elected staff senators and alternates serve on various committees—meeting outside of regular work hours, and once a month to deliver a report to the UM Staff Senate.

5. How do my UM Staff Senators work on issues?
Let’s take an issue, for example, child-care on campus. It’s is an issue that everyone might agree is a great idea, but no one has the time outside of their regular work schedule to do the grunt work, push it through the channels, and follow through. Your UM Staff Senators work on your behalf in a child-care subcommittee to research, advocate, and advise senior leadership as they select certain sites for a possible child-care facility. Staff senators keep working to make these things happen for everyone.

6. How do I get connected with the UM Staff Senate?
Connecting with the UM Staff Senate is important—so that your voice can be heard. You can:

a. “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/umstaffsenate
b. “Follow” us on Twitter: @UMStaffSenate
c. Check out our website: www.umaryland.edu/ssenate
d. Email us: staffsenate@umaryland.edu

Most staff are automatically added to an email list upon employment at UM, but it helps to connect more informally on Facebook, etc, where other staff are also connected. Please note that it is acceptable for staff to be on Facebook in moderation, and your personal profile is not made any more visible to us nor others when you “like” us.

7. How come I haven’t heard about the UM Staff Senate before?
Starting in 2011, the UM Staff Senate found that improved general awareness, communication to staff, and vehicles for hearing staff feedback are necessary for the staff senate to be effective as representatives for staff on this campus.

8. How do I get involved with the UM Staff Senate?
You can be involved informally or formally in these ways:

a. Participate and engage in conversations on Facebook and Twitter pages, “like” our posts and spread the word to your colleagues so they can be connected.
b. Volunteer for one of our events or contribute to our community outreach projects (Cell Phones for Soldiers, the Veteran’s Winter Drive, and Ronald McDonald House, etc)
c. Be involved as a staff senate volunteer—this is a great way to try us out, do something positive to serve our campus, and meet people all over the campus.
d. Nominate yourself for election as a staff senator and join the fun! Anyone run for the staff senate, although there are more exempt seats than non-exempt seats. Staff senators serve for 1 or 2 year terms.