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Unclassified Senate nominations to open; staff encouraged to get involved

Unclassified Senate is seeking nominations for new senators to help shape university policy and serve their colleagues. While it might not sound glorious, a pair of senators said their service has been enlightening and professionally engaging, not just a series of meetings.

Unclassified staff who are elected serve three year terms representing designated areas of the university. Monthly meetings are held and senators have the opportunity to discuss and influence university policy and stay abreast of issues before University Senate, the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas legislature.

“Serving on the Unclassified Senate has given me a chance to have a closer look at how the university runs, what the important issues are for both the university and unclassified professional staff, and the process for effecting change,” said Susan Mercer, associate director of the Institute for Policy and Social Research. “I have a better understanding of governance at the university as well as new insight into issues facing colleagues from other sectors all across campus.”

The nomination period will be open from Feb. 4 to March 4. Elections will be held from March 21 to April 1. Nominations may be made by sending an e-mail with the nominee’s name and job title to unclassifiedsenate@ku.edu. Self-nominations are welcome. Ballots and voting will be available at unclassifiedsenate.ku.edu. The first meeting with new senators will be held May 11.

Unclassified staff can also serve on senate and university committees without being elected a senator. Easan Selvan, systems specialist with Student Success Technology Services, said committee and senate service has been an opportunity.

“Committee work, to me, is where the rubber hits the road,” said Selvan, chair of the governance and representation committee. “That’s where you really get things done. Being part of the senate is an amazing opportunity, not only to serve the university, but to develop professionally and meet great people from across campus. People who share a sense of responsibility for their community.”

Both Mercer and Selvan said they would encourage all staff to consider nominating a colleague or nominating themself for service.

“I thought about running for senate for several years before I actually did,” Mercer said. “I don't know why I waited — it has been a rewarding experience for me, and I believe many of my colleagues would benefit from the experience as well.”

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