The original concept of the University of California Staff Assemblies (hereafter referred to as the Council) was, and remains, an assembly of staff dedicated to improving communications between University of California (UC) administrators and staff, and between staff at UC locations (Office of the President, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and all ten campuses). The Council’s objective is to provide service to the University by advising and providing a staff perspective to decision makers.
The Council, originally referred to as the University of California Staff Employee Associations, was founded on November 26, 1974 and chartered on July 18, 1975, and was comprised of delegates from six campuses. During its initial development the Council reviewed staff issues such as sabbaticals, ombuds services, development, and counseling. In the early years staff did not advise UC administrators or serve on systemwide committees; although some forward-thinking Chancellors included staff on their campus committees.
In 1977 the Chair of the Council served on two University-wide committees dealing with staff benefits, cross-training and career ladders. Chairs of each campus staff assembly, as well as members of the Council, were invited to Charter Day 1978 at the UC Berkeley campus (Charter Day-which commemorates the founding of the University of California-has been celebrated at the UC Berkeley campus every year since 1874). The President’s Office requested a list of Council members and selected an individual to serve on the Systemwide Affirmative Action Committee. President David Saxon met with the Council at Berkeley during its June 1978 conference.
The next significant advance occurred in 1978-1979 when the Office of the President agreed to pay travel expenses for one delegate from each campus to attend Council meetings. The Council name was changed slightly, dropping the word “employee.” Supervisory guidelines and childcare were important issues that year.
In 1979-1980 Assistant Vice President Archie Kleingartner recommended that the Santa Barbara project on Quality of Work-Life serve as an educational tool for managers. The President appointed one Council delegate to three Campus Advisory Committees: the Staff Compensation Policy Committee, the Staff Compensation Implementation Committee, and the Task Force on Implementation of Time and Effort Reporting.
The current name, “Council of University of California Staff Assemblies” (CUCSA), was adopted in 1981. During this year the CUCSA Chair was appointed to the President’s Sexual Harassment Task Force. When CUCSA met with President Saxon in 1982 he indicated it was appropriate to utilize staff in committee assignments and that he would continue efforts in this area. During this year comparable worth, career development, and special performance awards were topics of discussion. CUCSA delegates were given opportunities to serve on selection committees for Chancellors and the President. The CUCSA Chair participated in welcoming ceremonies for President Jack Peltason and in Charter Day ceremonies.
Beginning in 1992, the Council Chair and Chair-Elect began presenting annual reports of CUCSA’s work to the UC Board of Regents.
In 1993 the CUCSA Chair and Vice Chair participated as the first staff invitees to an All University Long-Range Academic Planning Retreat. In addition they were invited to present issues of concern to the newly formed Academic Planning Council. In subsequent years the Office of the President and its liaison to CUCSA, Assistant Vice President Lubbe Levin, requested that staff serve on committees such as the Special Committee on University Award Programs, Violence in the Workplace and Health Care Advisory Committees, Business Officers Training Certification program development, the Work-Life and Family Issues Symposium, and the Task Force on Child Care Policy and Programs.
CUCSA has had significant involvement in presenting staff perspective on recommendations regarding management initiatives and has addressed the Regents on such diverse topics as budget issues, student fee policies, capital programs, and domestic partner benefits.
In January 1999 a Faculty/Staff Partnership Task Force was formed jointly by the Academic Council and CUCSA. The Chair of the Academic Council and the Chair of CUCSA co-chaired the project which resulted in a report offering ideas to promote partnerships between faculty and staff for the advancement of the mission of the University.
With the addition of the tenth UC campus in 2000-2001, CUCSA welcomed the first delegates from UC Merced, a landmark occasion. Four critical areas were identified and task forces formed: Housing, Communication, Morale, and Training. The Housing Task Force focused on the impact of housing costs and availability, identified staff housing needs, and identified possible practices to help alleviate problems. The Morale Task Force identified existing morale enhancing programs, morale “drainers,” and determining and sharing best practices systemwide. The Training Task Force recommended an increased focus on career advancement training and expanded supervisor training. The Communication Task Force emphasized the need to enhance communication between staff and administration and identified areas where CUCSA can serve a more responsible role.
In 2001-2002 special challenges arose. On September 11, 2001 the world watched in disbelief as planes flew into buildings and lives were altered. Not long after the State budget crisis arose. Nevertheless a sense of community prevailed. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) hosted its first ever CUCSA meeting and delegates learned of LANL’s amazing contributions to UC, California, and the world. Dependent fee waivers, succession planning, and equity benefits were identified as top priorities. CUCSA presented a statement to the Regents, expressing unanimous support for relative equity benefits for non-traditional families.
In 2003 CUCSA was invited to participate in the Staff Advisory Committee for the Selection of the President. CUCSA worked closely to help develop the selection criteria with The Board of Regents. During 2003 CUCSA was visited by two sitting Presidents of the University of California – Richard Atkinson and Robert Dynes – a first in CUCSA history.
A standing Diversity Committee was formed by CUCSA in 2004 in response to President Dynes’ declaration that diversity was among his highest priorities for the university. The committee maintained an ongoing review of the work done on diversity by the University, and acknowledged the outstanding work of the Champions of Diversity across the system. In 2004 there was also a “full table” when delegates from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory were added and, for the first time, all UC locations were present at CUCSA, making CUCSA a truly systemwide association.
A huge success for all UC staff was achieved in 2005. In January The Board of Regents voted to approve a recommendation by President Dynes that staff be included at The Regents table as Staff Advisors. For the first time staff would be members of two Regental committees – the Committee on Educational Policy and the Committee on Grounds and Buildings. CUCSA had worked on this for over ten years.
In 2005-2006 there was close collaboration between CUCSA’s Workforce Evolution Committee and the Office of the President regarding issues of succession planning. The specific area that CUCSA reviewed during the year centered on knowledge transfer.
The most exciting news in 2006-2007 was The Board of Regents voting to have a Staff Advisor and a Staff Advisor Designate as permanent members at their table. The Staff Advisor program is designed to improve direct communication between UC employees and the Board and to help facilitate staff input into the Board’s deliberations and decisions. Under this program, two staff or non-Senate academic employees serve as non-voting advisors to designated Regents’ committees. The Staff Advisors were also asked to sit on the Long-Range Planning Committee, in addition to their previous committee work. In celebration of this monumental occasion, a CUCSA Reunion Event was sponsored by UCOP at UCLA in June of 2007. Succession planning was again a topic on the table for CUCSA as was diversity, and the effectiveness of communication within the various campuses and between the campuses and the Office of the President. In December 2006, President Dynes formed the UC Staff Diversity Council. CUCSA was asked to appoint a representative to the Council. The initial representative was the 2006-2007 CUCSA Chair, Bill Johansen. Following CUCSA’s elections at the June 2007 CUCSA meeting, it was decided that incoming Vice-Chair Joel Gonzales (UCSF) would serve as CUCSA’s representative in order to maintain the two-year commitment that this role on the Staff Diversity Council requires. The Wellness Initiative was also previewed.
The current composition of CUCSA now includes two delegates from each of the ten campuses of the University, the Office of the President, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as well as three officers, bringing the group total to 27.
In 2007-2008 President Dynes announced his resignation as of June 30, 2008. Members of CUCSA were called upon to serve on the Staff Advisory Committee to the Regents for the selection of our next President. Mark G. Yudof becomes the 19th President of the University of California. For the first time, CUCSA creates and adopts a strategic plan to be reviewed and revised annually.
In August 2008 the Chair resigned. Per the Bylaws, the Chair Elect stepped up to take on the role of Chair. An election was held in November to elect a new Secretary and Vice Chair.