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James Madison University Staff Emeriti Association

2016 Year End Report

The Staff Emeriti Association’s second year as an approved organization was a success!  The SEA is sponsored by James Madison University Human Resources, with Director Diane Yerian providing funding and staffing support.  Two new members were added to the Steering Committee for a total of seven members (Christina Updike, Norma Burkholder, Mary Ann Chatelain, Nancy Dove, Mike Lam, Gail May, and Mary Lynne Smith) who met regularly (6 times) throughout 2016 with Lisa Hajdasz, Assistant to the Director of HR, to work on the goals for the year, and plan events for the membership.  We greatly appreciate our HR connection and especially the support given by Lisa Hajdasz!

Purpose: The Staff Emeriti Association is a multifaceted organization open to all retired full-time classified employees who have been granted Emerita/us status by the JMU President. The organization provides an opportunity for Staff Emeriti to continue to be engaged with colleagues and to maintain ties to the University. The SEA is a professional and social organization that encourages the engagement of Staff Emeriti through a wide variety of activities. 

Goals: The Steering Committee discovered that there was a lack of awareness for the Staff Emeriti designation and a need for an Association to maintain contact with these retirees.  Our focus this year was to increase awareness on the JMU campus and highlight the process for being granted the status. The following goals were identified for the Association and accomplished during the year:

  1. Communicate with Administrators: To increase awareness, a letter providing information on the Staff Emeriti designation with nomination procedures was prepared and emailed to all academic and non-academic unit heads at the end of the spring semester.  A yearly email notification schedule of the first week of April and the first week of November for Director level administrators and above was established.  A new Recommendation for Emeritus Status form is pending approval, so the November 2016 email was postponed until early 2017.
  2. Increase Awareness on campus and for members: The Staff Emeriti Association website was reorganized and updated this year (https://www.jmu.edu/staffemeriti/).  The website includes Meeting Minutes; the Association’s purpose; event news and photo gallery; the Staff Emeriti Policy with eligibility requirements and the nomination process to receive the designation; Staff Emeriti benefits; and links to other on-campus events.  New updates included a Welcome Message by President Jon Alger with a photo from his visit to our information table at the Opening of School picnic, along with a new Welcome Message by Christina Updike, Steering Committee chair.  The picture gallery was updated to new software.  Other new links included the SEA brochure and logo, JMU Lifelong Learning Institute and volunteer activities.  The shared mailbox was used for member communications and for individuals to submit questions and comments (staffemeriti@jmu.edu).

An SEA informational brochure with a logo and name tags were created to establish an identity for the association. A mailing consisting of the brochure, a letter from the steering committee chair, a response card and return envelope was sent to all Staff Emeriti members in early June.  The response card queried communication and participation preferences.  There was a 34% response rate out of 125 members.  The responses will be used to plan 2017 activities. Lisa Hajdasz now receives all incoming Staff Emeriti approval letters, so she can contact new members with SEA information in a timely manner.

A new Staff Emeriti Association column was added to JMU’s Madison Magazine for the Winter 2016-17 issue. This will be a regular column in the magazine and will highlight SEA activities.

  1. Organize events for the Association: Four SEA events were planned and enthusiastically attended this year:  A Spring gathering at the JMU Women’s softball game on 4/24; an early summer group attendance at the JMU Arboretum Wine and Maple Tasting event on 5/13; a Fall fun evening playing mini-golf at the Bridgewater Sandy Bottom facility and dinner at Jalisco on 10/13; and the Holiday Gala held 12/14, a joint event with the Faculty Emeriti Association.  Out of 127 members, 63 members and guests attended at least one event.  Enthusiasm for the continued development of the SEA was expressed by attendees throughout the year and President Alger requested that he be included on the invitation list to receive news of our activities!
  2. Pursue a volunteer activity: The SEA is aware of the Madison Plan’s commitment to volunteerism and set a goal to carry out at least one volunteer activity at JMU to give back to the University. The SEA exceeded this goal by hosting an information table at a JMU CHOICES event on 4/8 and hosting SEA information tables at both the JMU Employee Appreciation Day on 5/12 and the Opening of School Picnic on 8/9, where committee members spoke to attendees and handed out over 150 brochures.

The current Steering Committee members will continue in 2017 and two new members, Jane Beach and Milla Sue Wisecarver will be added in January. Goals for the upcoming year are identified: to establish a governance structure; to engage the membership in new activities; to coordinate a community volunteer activity; to grow the Association by continuing to communicate with administrators regarding the Staff Emeriti designation; and to increase campus and community awareness through our website and the Madison Magazine.  As the Association increases in size and participation levels, discussion will continue regarding membership dues, elected officers, and adding special interest groups.

Respectfully submitted, January 2017: 

Christina Updike, Norma Burkholder, Mary Ann Chatelain, Nancy Dove, Mike Lam, Gail May, and Mary Lynne Smith

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