This week’s message is a mixture of announcements and discussion points that I want to make sure staff are aware of. Some are in the planning stages; some are final decisions. There are a variety of topics this week—not focused on one particular theme.
- Performance evaluations: Managers will begin meeting with staff on completing the performance evaluation process in the next couple of months. The deadline for having evaluations entered into PeopleSoft will be sometime in May. In recognition of everyone’s hard work and the difficulties of the past year, the process will be similar to last year. There will not be ratings and there is no need to gather feedback from others outside the department. The focus is on having meaningful conversations between managers and employees about last year’s goals and setting new goals in alignment with the library’s strategic initiatives.
- Raises: We are awaiting an official announcement regarding how HMS will be administering salary increases this year. The preliminary conversation is in recognition of the challenging year there will be salary increases based on a set percentage as opposed to variable pay options.
- Summer holidays: Currently, there are three official University holidays. Juneteenth, which falls on Saturday, June 19th and will be celebrated on Friday June 18th. July 4th, which is celebrated on Monday, July 5th, and Memorial Day, which is celebrated on Monday, May 31st. The library will be closed on these official holidays. There is discussion in administrative leadership meetings that the university will be adding two more paid holidays—July 6th (the Tuesday after the July 4th weekend) and June 1st (the Tuesday after Memorial Day). If the decision is made to provide these additional days, they will be added as paid time off in the system. Since this is actively being discussed and an official decision will be made soon, we are asking managers to not approve vacation time that incorporates these dates so that time sheet corrections can be avoided. If you are planning vacation time around Memorial Day week or 4th of July week, let your manager know and get verbal approval so you can make your plans but hold off on entering the request into the system for now. If those additional days are given as paid holidays, the library would be closed those days as well. We will keep you informed regarding the outcome of this discussion.
- Vacation time: We know if has been difficult to take vacation time during the past year. There has been no place to go. People have had many work and personal responsibilities that have made it difficult to take time off. Safety protocols have made it virtually impossible to travel to see family and friends. As a result, many employees have maxed out their vacation balances or have unusually high vacation balances. HMS is encouraging us to take some time this summer and enjoy the nicer weather or just take some days and turn off our computers and decompress. We are anticipating a very busy fall semester, with the return of students to classroom learning on August 2nd, many faculty, staff and researchers returning onsite, and Countway being open extended hours. The summer months leading up to the beginning of the academic year might be a good time for us to consider taking some vacation time for personal rejuvenation, rest and relaxation.
- Saturday opening: Last Saturday, we opened to students for reservation for study from 9am to 6pm (closed 1-2 for cleaning). We had about 10 students (a good number for our first day). Students expressed gratitude and appreciation for the weekend hours.
- DBMI return to Countway: Some DBMI faculty and staff will be returning to their offices in Countway this month. They will use the Huntington entrance, adhere to Crimson Clear, enter into the testing cadence, wear masks, and adhere to safety protocols. They will be allowed in the building during the same time the library is staffed with security and will remain in DBMI office areas. Not all DBMI will be returning at once and there will be capacity limits.
- Countway Town Hall meetings: I will continue to offer bi-monthly Town Hall meetings to highlight issues related to library opening and preparing for a more robust campus and library opening. The next meeting is April 13th. After my brief update on library usage, Drs. Allan Brandt and Scott Podolsky will be giving us a short presentation on COVID shaming. As we prepare for a more open campus, I hope to bring in additional speakers to introduce topics that might help us all process the events of the past year and think about how we can move forward together.