Employee Assembly Update: Summer 2016

Happy Summer to you!

I am Ulysses Smith, the new chair of the Employee Assembly. Having recently been an undergraduate student and now a member of the staff community, I have had the opportunity to see Cornell from a few different perspectives, and to be actively involved in shared governance as both. Through my years on the Student Assembly, the University Assembly and now the Employee Assembly (EA), I know first-hand how different constituent groups can and do affect positive change and improve our institution.

As a buzz-word we hear and read about, "shared governance" is Cornell's process for ensuring that each constituent group – students, staff and faculty – is actively engaged in the decision-making processes and able to have a meaningful role in the direction of the university. For staff members, the EA is the avenue for participation in shared governance. And newly expanded, the EA is now more representative of our diverse employee population and poised to be more responsive to the needs of our staff community.

Over this next year, the EA will be revising its charter and bylaws to more clearly define the type of representative body we should be for all employees. We will also be creating a strategic engagement plan specifically for staff – something that has not yet been done. For this, we really need you! Below, you will find a list of committees with seats available for staff members. I encourage you to join one of these committees. Don't see anything that interests you or think something is missing? Contact your EA representative from the list below and let them know, so we can find a way to get you engaged.

There is no denying that the current climate in the nation is divisive and even a bit scary for many of our employees and their families. There are many days when I am left wondering what it is that I can do to support the people around me, and to make my community one where we all feel welcome, included and appreciated for all that we bring to the institution. For me, shared governance has provided the opportunity to deeply engage with this community and to lead the effort to create a workplace and an institution that will be the example of what is best in the world.

I look forward to working with you all this year!

Ulysses Smith
Lead Diversity and Inclusion Strategist
Title IX Coordinator for Analytics and Reporting
Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity


Join a Committee!

Committees are a great way for Cornell staff members to get involved in shared governance activities at Cornell, and the EA currently has several positions open to staff:

Communications Committee. Two voting positions.

This committee promotes higher visibility for employees as community members, provides a sense of a unified employee body, and helps to create heightened sense of community among all members of the Cornell community.

Employee Education Committee. Seven voting positions.

This committee supports employee development, goals and opportunities.

Staff Recognition and Awards Committee. Three voting positions.

This committee administers all aspects of the George Peter Award for Dedicated Service, the Mary Opperman Award and the Kudos Program, and investigates other staff award and recognition opportunities to present for consideration to the EA.

Additionally, there are two voting seats for staff available on the University Assembly, along with several seats on their standing committees:

  • The UA Codes and Judicial Committee (1)
  • The UA Campus Welfare Committee (1)
  • The UA Campus Infrastructure Committee (1)

All Cornell staff members are invited to apply online to any of the open positions.


Meet Your New EA Representatives

As announced in the Employee Assembly Update on May 2, the EA spent the past two years reviewing its composition and amending its charter to reflect the new representation model approved by the president last fall. The "New EA" increased its body from 19 to 28 staff members to better represent the various voices of Cornell employees. In its first call for applications to run for an EA seat, all 25 staff members who responded were seated and will represent specific constituent groups.

The new Executive Committee is as follows:

  • Chair: Ulysses Smith
  • Executive Vice Chair: BJ Siasoco 
  • Vice Chair for Internal Operations: Pilar Thompson
  • Vice Chair for Communications: Liz Field
  • Vice Chair for Finance: Shelly Cowles
  • Parliamentarian: Hazel Hall

Representing academic colleges and units, staff units and affinity-based perspectives, the 2016-17 EA members are:

  • Arts and Sciences:  Kristy Long
  • Agriculture and Life Sciences: Tamara Payne
  • Human Ecology:  Kristine Mahoney
  • ILR:  BJ Siasoco
  • Graduate School /Law/Johnson Graduate School of Management: Babatunde Ayanfodun
  • Veterinary Medicine: Michelle Stefanski-Seymour
  • Alumni Affairs and Development: Matthew Carcella
  • Campus Life: Imani Allen
  • Health and Safety: Kevin Fitch
  • University Relations: Carrie Sanzone
  • Human Resources: Tanya Grove
  • Library/Museum: Laura Johnson-Kelly
  • Facilities: Hazel Hall
  • Research/Technology: Jeramy Kruser
  • Financial Affairs: Kathy Shiels
  • Administration: Liz Field
  • Geneva: Shelly Cowles
  • International: Pilar Thompson
  • Diversity: Linda Majani
  • Women's: Tammy Shapiro
  • LGBTQ: Ulysses Smith
  • Veterans: Robert Morris
  • Less than five years of service: Atu Darko
  • Exempt: Suzanne Willcox
  • Non-exempt: Brandee Nicholson

View complete member profiles online, and be in touch with your representative to share what's on your mind!


Staff Development Day

The Employee Assembly will be hosting a table at the upcoming Staff Development Day on June 27. Please stop by to meet your EA representatives, share any thoughts, concerns or ideas you might have and pick up some additional information in between the professional development sessions throughout the day.


Upcoming Meetings and Events

EA Meetings: Please join us! The meetings of the Employee Assembly are open to the Cornell community, and traditionally held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 12:15-1:30 p.m.

An Open Dialogue: Understanding the Impact of Recent Domestic and Global Tragedies on the Cornell Graduate Student Community: Faculty, staff, and graduate students are invited to join for lunch and open dialogue July 21, noon-1:30 p.m. in G10 Biotechnology Building, about how recent events are impacting our graduate student community. Staff members who work directly with graduate students are especially encouraged to attend.

Sponsored by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement (OISE), Black Graduate & Professional Student Association (BGPSA), Cornell Latin America Student Society (CLASS), Graduate Women in Science (GWiS), GPSA Diversity & International Student Committee, Indigenous Graduate Student Association (IGSA), Latin@ Graduate Student Coalition (LGSC), Out in Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (oSTEM), and Society for Asian American Graduate Affairs (SAAGA).

Click to RSVP.


The Employee Assembly Update is a way for the Employee Assembly to provide staff with news from your assembly, as well as highlights of events and key resources from around Cornell. We always welcome feedback and input for future editions. Please contact any member of the Communications Committee.

For updates on events of interests, please Like our facebook page.