Mission and Purpose
Brandeis University recognizes that all staff are essential to the vibrancy and achievements of the community. Brandeis staff members demonstrate their commitment to the life, work, and operations of the university in countless vital ways. Therefore, the University considers Brandeis University Staff Advisory Committee (BUSAC) a priority.
The purpose of BUSAC is to improve the work environment through discussions and actions that influence policy, develop and enrich staff, and promote ongoing, meaningful and deliberate improvements to the staff experience, including in the areas of professional development, training opportunities, staff recognition, events, career advancement, and employee wellness. In particular, BUSAC will accomplish this by:
- Providing a system for staff to share ideas, concerns, and suggestions regarding the betterment of the staff experience at Brandeis;
- Providing an environment where individuals’ opinions and contributions are respected and acknowledged;
- Using data, surveys, and other sources of information when formulating recommendations on achievable change;
- Meeting with senior administration on a regular basis to review reports and recommendations regarding proposed changes and solutions;
- Regularly reporting to staff and senior administration.
BUSAC is not intended to be used as a vehicle for resolving employee grievances, or for negotiating employee wages, rates of pay, hours of employment, or benefits.
BUSAC is the representative body of our staff population. The committee shall be comprised of elected and appointed staff members from the University. Among the elected officials there will be a Chair and Vice-chair. The Chair and Vice-chair will be elected by the voting members of the committee.
An Assistant may be appointed but does not need to be a member of the committee. The Vice President of Human Resources, as ex officio, serves as Advisor and is a non-voting member of the committee.
Nominations, Elections and Appointments
The initial BUSAC elections will be held in January 2018. Thereafter, elections will be held in March, beginning in 2019. Terms will begin July 1.
Under the direction of BUSAC, the Election Subcommittee will be responsible for the logistics of the election process, which includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of deadlines, recruitment of candidates, assisting with communication, validating results, and troubleshooting any issues that arise during the election process.
In consultation with the committee, appointments are reserved by the Chair for the purposes of ensuring that the committee is a representative body of the staff population. A member of the committee may resign at any time by providing written notice to the Chair; when possible, two (2) week notice is appreciated.
BUSAC members are expected to attend monthly meetings, engage in BUSAC work, communicate regularly with their districts and work on committees and/or task forces as they arise. Members who have a conflict with meeting times will contact the Chair and Vice-Chair with the nature of the conflict and to discuss a plan of continued engagement such as reading the minutes to ensure they are current on BUSAC business, participating in Subcommittees and Task Forces, and communicating with their district.
Members who do not engage in good faith will be contacted by the Chair or Vice Chair to discuss an outline for participation and a deadline. If the deadline passes without improved engagement, the member may be removed from the committee and replaced by appointment by the Chair and/or BUSAC. Any interim duties to the district will be covered by the At-Large Member. If the vacancy is a Member-at Large, the appointment will be chosen from the pool of all eligible staff members.
If a BUSAC representative resigns or is unable to continue in the role, another staff member from the district will be appointed by the Chair to fulfill the unexpired term. If the vacancy is a Member-at-large, the appointment will be chosen from the pool of all eligible staff members. If the member is either the Chair or Vice-Chair, the committee will hold nominations and a vote to fill the vacant role.
Benefits-eligible staff who have completed their 6-month probationary period may nominate, run for committee positions and/or vote in elections.
Staff members who are categorized by Brandeis' Office of Human Resources as Senior Management, including the President, Chiefs, Deans and Vice Presidents, etc., are not eligible.
District representative members serve a two-year term and may be elected or appointed to a second term as a district representative and/or an at-large member. At-large members serve a one-year term and may be elected or appointed to a second term and/or to a term as a district representative. Regardless of membership type, a BUSAC member’s total continuous length of service may not exceed four years, except when appointed to fill a vacancy. After completing their maximum of four years of continuous service on the committee, a member is not eligible to serve again until two academic years have elapsed.
If a BUSAC member was appointed to fill a vacancy in their district, their eligibility to run for future terms is dependent on the length of their initial term. If this appointment is for less than or equal to one year, the newly appointed member is still eligible to serve for up to two at-large terms and/or two district representative terms, provided their total subsequent service does not exceed four years. If this appointment is for more than one year, the newly appointed member is eligible to serve up to two at-large terms or one term as district representative, provided their total subsequent service does not exceed three years.
If a BUSAC member was appointed to fill an at-large vacancy, their eligibility to run for future terms is dependent on the length of their initial term. If this appointment is for less than or equal to six months, the newly appointed member is still eligible to serve for up to two at-large terms and/or two district representative terms, provided their total subsequent service does not exceed four years. If this appointment is for more than six months, the newly appointed member is eligible to serve for one additional at-large term and/or one term as district representative, provided their total subsequent service does not exceed three years.
The terms of the initial members of the committee shall include one-and-a-half year terms, two-and-a-half year terms, and three-and-a-half year terms, in order to create staggered terms going forward.
The initial Chair and Vice-chair may serve two-and-a-half year terms in their first term. Thereafter, the Chair and Vice-chair will serve two-year terms.
The committee will meet monthly. Additional meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chair or Vice-Chair.
The Committee will meet in-person whenever possible at a designated space on campus. Given the geographical spread of campus, an online alternative will be offered should members be unable to attend. Due to the sensitive nature of many topics discussed, meetings cannot be recorded and distributed.
After each meeting, minutes will be provided in a timely manner. At the start of each meeting, minutes from the prior meeting will be reviewed, discussed and, if necessary, amended. The committee will discuss the issues that affect Brandeis staff and provide recommendations and potential solutions, where applicable, to senior management through the Chair and/or Vice-chair. Issues that arise as part of collective bargaining are outside of the committee charter. A final determination on what to bring forth will be established among the committee.
The Chair and/or Vice-chair will provide regular reports to staff and senior administration.
At the end of the fiscal year, BUSAC will produce an annual report that will be shared with staff and University administration.
The University considers BUSAC a priority. Therefore, representatives and their supervisors have a joint responsibility in maintaining open communication regarding scheduled committee meetings while ensuring appropriate office or work location coverage.
Subcommittees, Task Forces and Liaison Work
Subcommittees and task forces may be formed to address specific staff needs and concerns.
Subcommittees will be formed to monitor and work on ongoing issues. While a specific issue may be addressed, no defined time period for resolution is required. In contrast, Task Forces will be formed to address specific issues, have a defined charge, and a proposed time period for resolution. In certain cases, the Chair may ask for a volunteer to act as a liaison to other work being done on campus including faculty subcommittees and task forces or search committees for administrative positions. Each committee member may serve on any subcommittee, task force, or act as a liaison.
Subcommittees include, but are not limited to, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Elections, Communication, and Constituent Management. Task forces may include Wellness, Recognition, Professional Development, Parking, etc.
This Charter serves as a living document and may be altered as determined by the committee and Chair.
As the work of BUSAC evolves, parts of this charter may need to be amended or negated. This process is as follows:
- The Chair and/or Vice Chair will identify issues as they arise in discussion with the committee.
- The Chair and/or Vice Chair will compose amendments to the charter and will circulate for comment approximately 1 week before a BUSAC meeting. Members will have until the meeting to make comments on language or content.
- The updated amendments document will be circulated to the committee at the meeting for continued discussion.
- The Chair and/or Vice Chair will determine if the amendment needs to be held for more discussion or if a vote will commence.
- A roll call vote for ayes, nays, and abstains will be taken. Members must be present to vote.
- At the discretion of the Chair, an online voting procedure may be substituted for an in-person roll call.