The Staff Advisory Team (SAT) was created in the Spring 2009 to help address MIIS staff member concerns. The Staff Advisory Team serves as a resource to Institute staff on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to: staff social events, professional or personal trainings, workshops, and campus-wide volunteer opportunities.
The SAT is built on a number of core principles and scope of work. These include:
1. Modeling High Performing Teamwork
A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
The SAT will strive to maintain a high performing team of diverse staff members to help strengthen the mission of the Institute. The definition above serves as a reminder of the main components of a team and how a team is different from a group or committee. The principles of this structure have been designed to enable a team experience. The team approach should contribute to a dynamic work environment and enhance the voice of all staff members through a process of agenda setting, regular meetings, and a flat organizational structure.
The Advisory Team concept is based upon the collaborative teamwork approach to managing issues and effectively communicating the results to all stakeholders. Consequently, the Advisory Team puts into practice the very essence of the things we teach at the Institute. Besides ‘walking our talk’, the benefits to the Institute community include the ability to maintain diverse representation for all departments, easy and open access for all staff to express their views, flexible meeting times and easy agenda setting.
2. Small diverse group of volunteers
This team would consist of 5 – 6 volunteer members. The team should draw from various kinds of positions and departments in order to produce a group with complementary skills. While the team should be diverse, we do not envision that an individual member “represents” a specific group or department on campus. Any staff member could interact with any member of the team, and each member of the team accepts the responsibility to work for the benefit of the staff as a whole.
3. New volunteer opportunities offered annually
At least one month prior to setting the agenda, staff members will be invited to volunteer for the team for the upcoming year.
Eligibility: Any staff member is eligible to volunteer except for senior administration (members of the Senior Staff, Deans, Research Center Directors).
Volunteer statement: Each volunteer will express his or her interest by submitting a personal statement that describes the issues that s/he would hope to address as a member of the team.
Selection: New team members will be selected from among the volunteer candidates by the current working group. Each team will be responsible for selecting the following year’s team through the same process. The goal of the selection process will be to keep participation voluntary, dynamic, diverse, and flexible.
The new volunteer group will be charged with facilitating a goal-setting meeting for the year and carry out the objectives of the staff as identified at that meeting.
4. Work of annual agendas set by the entire staff
The team is charged with surveying and/or convening the staff for the purpose of establishing an agenda or work plan for the year, driven by emerging issues, changing circumstances, and the forging of a consensus on priorities. During staff meetings, the team members will serve as facilitators to help draw out the views/ideas/suggestions of the entire staff and reach closure on the agenda.
5. The team shall remain dynamic and embrace flexibility
The SAT’s annual agenda, depending on its complexity, may call for the formation of additional ad hoc working groups to tackle specific issues within the overall purview of the team. Since the goal is to amplify the individual voices of each staff member, the team will need to be deliberate in its facilitation of the staff and communication with the senior administration.
6. Facilitate regular staff meetings/events
In order to listen to and work with the staff, the team provides multiple opportunities to build community on campus. The number/type of activities might vary from year to year, depending on the agenda.