Nominations, Elections, and Open Positions

I emailed the Springfield campus staff this morning about elections for Staff Senate, and after getting a few calls it occurred to me that I ought to write about this as well.

My name is Matthew Stublefield and I am the secretary for Staff Senate. I’ve been a staff member at Missouri State for about four and a half years now, and this was my first year on Staff Senate. My knowledge of the history of Staff Senate is very limited, but in regards to selecting senators, my understanding is that it has been less formalized in the past. Until a couple of years ago, people applied for Staff Senate in the spring, and if their position at the University matched up with an available spot in Staff Senate, their name was entered into a drawing. The lucky person drawn from the hat became the new representative for their area.

Last year, the application was expanded and a group (made up of the chair, chair-elect, and secretary, and maybe some people from the membership committee–note that this is still before my time) selected representatives from the pool of candidates. There was still desire to change this, though, and further involve the staff at Missouri State. We wanted people on campus to fully engage Staff Senate; we want people to speak up, and we want them to know that we’re listening. To that end, the bylaws were revised this year to allow for nominations and campus-wide voting for representatives.

Positions on Staff Senate are divided into two representative groups. The first is “occupational category,” which means job family. Each job family has 1 representative, and for every 100 people more in that job family they get another representative. So with 100 people in a job family, there are 2 representatives; if there are 300 people in a job family, there are 4 representatives.

The second group are “divisional members,” and the divisions are:

  • Office of the President
  • Administrative and Information Services
  • Student Affairs
  • Financial Services
  • Office of the Provost
  • University Advancement
  • Research and Economic Development

Each of these areas gets 1 representative.

Of course, campus-wide voting was an entirely new thing for us. I contacted Management Information Systems (MIS) and asked if they could assist, and they copied and modified the Student Government Association (SGA) voting application for our purposes. The goal was for people to log in and only see the individuals for whom they could vote: people in job family 1 can only vote for job family 1 representatives; job family 2 for job family 2; etc.

Unfortunately, we didn’t receive many nominations, and about half of the nominees respectfully declined. Subsequently, while we have two openings in job families 1 and 4, we only have one candidate for each area. We didn’t receive any nominations for the four divisional areas that need new representatives. Despite this, I suggested we move forward with the election. I want people to know that we’re interested in their nominations, and we want to hear more from them. We want staff to be more involved with the Staff Senate, and this seems like a good first step. Hopefully throughout the upcoming year we’ll hear more from everyone, and next year we’ll receive more nominations and wider election results.

Because we have numerous positions to fill even after this round of nominations and voting, I’m going to submit a resolution at our next Staff Senate meeting (Thursday, June 2nd at 11 a.m. in PSU 313–the meeting is open to all who would like to attend) to amend the bylaws and allow for provisional nominations and elections in which a nomination would be made to Staff Senate and the Senate would vote on the nomination in lieu of a campus-wide election. If you have other suggestions or requests, though, please comment below or email me and let Staff Senate know. To meet our bylaws’ membership requirements we still need one representative in each of the following areas:

  1. Job Family 1
  2. Job Family 4
  3. Administrative and Information Services
  4. Student Affairs
  5. Financial Services
  6. University Advancement

If you or someone you know might be interested in serving on Staff Senate, we’d definitely be interested in hearing about it.

I hope this answers most of the questions people might have. Feel free to comment below or email me directly and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

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