COSAM's Human Resources Connection

People • Learning • Development

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Take a few minutes to get some great ideas for training from Auburn University's Human Resource Development Course Schedule. Classes on computer skills, diversity, communication, personal growth and much more are offered at the Human Resource Development Training Facility at 1550 Glenn Avenue. Sign up for classes through AU Access via clicking on the Employees tab and then Fast-Train

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Employees can access a variety of free classes through LinkedIn Learning (formerly From Excel and Outlook training to weekly tips for administrative professionals, everyone can find helpful training online. Access these classes via AU Access and click on the LinkedIn Learning button.

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All active, full-time Auburn University employees are eligible for 15 free credit hours per academic year. Learn more about your Employee Education Benefits as well as the reduced tuition available for your dependents.

Submit and Online Suggestion

If you have an HR-related question, contact Stephanie Woodley, 4-5872, or Katherine Calloway, 4-8698.

Issue 3 - August 2019

Training Opportunities logo

The College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) is a leader in offering training to prevent and report any form of sex-based and gender-based harassment. COSAM has offered Title IX training opportunities for faculty, staff and graduate students for several years with Kelley Taylor, director of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity. This training gives everyone the ability to understand the different forms of harassment and how to immediately report it.

Message from the Dean

As we begin the Fall semester there are several issues that I would like to address in this newsletter. These are important issues for all faculty, staff, and students in COSAM.

Making COSAM a more inclusive and welcoming workplace
In Fall 2018 I arranged for joyce gossom (yes, her name is spelled with all lower case letters) to engage interested COSAM staff, faculty, and graduate students in confidential conversations (she called them kitchen table talks) to learn how folks feel about working in the college.

We got a lot of very useful feedback and suggestions, and we are now acting on them. One of the suggestions that arose from the graduate students was to do more to help new faculty learn how to be effective mentors of graduate students for whom they serve as research advisors. joyce developed a new workshop for young faculty designed to address this need. The workshop took place on August 16 and was attended by all of the new faculty who started in COSAM this month and by many of the faculty who have begun in the past two years. I attended and think it will be very useful for our young faculty.

Another point that came out in the table talks was that COSAM should try to do more with complaints or unfortunate conflicts and incidents involving faculty, staff, and students. Those kinds of issues are often slow to reach me or the department chairs, making it difficult for us to address the underlying difficulties. One reason for this is that folks with complaints are often shy or feel intimated about bringing these kinds of issues to the attention of their supervisor, Department Chair, or the Dean’s office. I have therefore created the COSAM Champions group. These are volunteers of faculty, staff, and graduate students in COSAM to whom complaints, etc., can be brought. The Champions will do their best to help find an appropriate way to open communication with me (or another member of the COSAM administration) in a manner that protects the feelings, privacy, etc., of the complainant. Put simply, we can’t fix problems if we don’t know about them, and a COSAM Champion will help open a line of communication in which people feel safe reporting their complaint. Earlier this week joyce conducted a training session for COSAM Champions so that they would understand their role and how to deal with folks who might come to them with issues. The list of Champions is given below along with their departments. If you or a colleague feel a need to communicate about a difficult issue and are unsure how to proceed, I urge you to consider contacting one of our Champions. You are free to contact anyone from this list – they need not be from your department or job classification. Please contact anyone from this list that you feel comfortable speaking to about your issue. Their goal is to get you the information you need and help you resolve your problem.

This is a new program and I am eager to see how it works. If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it.

COSAM Champions:

  • Tenure-Track Faculty:
    • Maggie Han (Math/Stat)
    • Luke Oeding (Math/Stat)
    • Paul Cobine (Biology)
    • Allen Landers (Physics)
  • Lecturer:
    • Marilyn Vogel (Geosciences)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor:
    • Sima Ahsani (Math/Stat)
  • Staff/AP:
    • Mae Davis (Math/Stat)
    • Rebecca Folmar (Chemistry)
    • JoAnn Broach (Biology)
    • Janice Brown (OIED)
    • Morgan Beadles (Biology)
    • Paula Norrel (Biology)
  • Graduate Students:
    • Brittni Hall (Math/Stat)
    • John Carr (Math/Stat)
    • Gopal Nath (Math/Stat)
    • Erin McGraw (Biology)
  • Post-doc
    • Gabriela Toomer (Biology)

Contact a COSAM Champion through this page.

Fall 2019 Raises
The guidelines for raises for Auburn employees (faculty, staff, and graduate students) were announced on May 31 and are described in this pdf.

While the raises will not get final approval until the Board of Trustees meets on September 13 and you will not receive official notification of your raise until after that, the general news is as follows. 3.5% of the total salaries in each unit (i.e., department or office) have been allocated for raises. This means that for faculty and staff, the raise for each employee will depend on their performance rating (or FAR rating for faculty), with the sum total of all raises being 3.5% of total salaries. Graduate student stipends will also increase with the average for all departments again being 3.5% (the department chairs will give more information on these student raises to their departments shortly).

In addition to these numbers I also want to address an issue that came up in the table talk conversations conducted by joyce gossom last Fall. A number of you had some mistaken impressions about raises. In particular, several folks stated to joyce that they thought that it is the Dean (i.e., me) who determines raises for everyone in COSAM. This is not the case. For a faculty member or staff member in a particular department, it is the Department Chair who makes the final recommendation on raise amounts. As mentioned above, raises are based directly on an employee’s performance rating. For example, all faculty in Department X who get a particular rating get the same percentage raise. The staff raises follow the same pattern, with all employees with the same supervisor and the same rating receiving the same percentage raise. As Dean, I certainly do look at all the raises in the college and on occasion I have asked Department Chairs to explain raises, but I have never overruled a Chair’s recommendation.

I have gone into this detail concerning raises for two reasons. First, I feel that everyone should know exactly how raises are determined. Second, you should also know that your raise is tied directly to your performance rating, which is something that should be discussed with your supervisor when you meet for your evaluation each year. As part of that meeting I encourage you to ask what you can/should do to improve your evaluation. That is something that everyone should expect from their supervisor. If you do not feel that is the case for you, I want to know about it and will make sure that it happens in the future.

Fall 2019 Townhalls
We will be having COSAM Townhall meetings this Fall, one for staff and another for graduate students, and I will also be meeting with the faculty in each department at different departmental faculty meetings. This will give a chance to give everyone the latest news from the upper administration and also answer any questions you might have about (virtually) anything. Note that at the staff townhall we will announce the winners of the COSAM staff/AP awards. The dates and locations for the townhalls will be announced soon.

I have covered a lot of information in this newsletter and have tried to be comprehensive, but if you have any questions or just wish to discuss anything mentioned here, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My door is always open.

View past issues of the COSAM Human Resources Newsletter.

The COSAM HR Newsletter is distributed to all COSAM faculty, staff and graduate students.      COSAM Logo