Staff Council

Staff Council Mission

The Staff Council at Otis College of Art and Design will serve as an open forum for the expression of recommendations to College leadership on issues, procedures, and policies affecting staff; to support the exchange of information between administrators, faculty, students, and staff; and to help advance the mission, the strategic plan, and shared governance. The Staff Council will act as an advisory body to promote the interests of all staff members at the College.

Staff Council logo

Staff Council Executive Committee

Co-Chairs: Jean-Marie Venturini and Carrie Banasky
Academic Affairs: Sara Hanna
Communications and Marketing Rep: Becca Todd
Campus Life Rep: Aaron Bratys
Financial and Administration Rep: Judith Franco
Human Resources Rep: Helane Wilbourne
Institutional Advancement and President's Office Rep: Felice Myers

Ex-Officio: Karen Hill, VP of Human Resources and Development

Staff Council Information

All current Otis College staff have access to a shared "Staff Council" G-drive where information is being centrally located such as meeting agendas + minutes, meeting recordings, and any other relevant information/materials.

Staff Council Meetings

Starting June 2020, Staff Council Meetings will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month @ 2:00pm PT for 1 hour.

Staff Council Charter

Established: 2.24.2020
Updated: 7.7.2021

Scope of Responsibilities:

The Otis College Staff Council acts as an advisory body to the President and Senior Team. In fulfilling this role, the Otis College Staff Council shall:

  • Foster an environment of respect and equity especially in the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in support of the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) council.
  • Provide a forum for staff whereby opinions of staff can be collected and discussed on issues, policies, and procedures that impact staff employees as a whole and shared with the President, Senior Team, and other groups.
  • In furtherance of the spirit of communication and collaboration, the chair or co-chair of Staff Council should seek an invitation to Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate meetings, and in turn request a representative from Faculty Senate leadership and the Academic Assembly chair or co-chair to attend Staff Council meetings.
  • Endeavor to create, promote, and model attitudes of civility, character, and community among all college employees.
  • Adhere to Otis College work-place values: mission-centric, collaboration, communication, performance, and sustainability.
  • Endeavor to enhance, promote the visibility, recognition, and professional development of staff on campus and within the community.


  • The Staff Council does not arbitrate individual staff concerns and will direct any such concerns to the appropriate supervisor or human resources. 


  • Staff Council is run by the Staff Council Executive Committee (SCEC). This committee consists of two co-chairs, a Secretary, and one representative from each division of the College. In addition, the Vice President of Human Resources and Development will sit as an ex-officio on the SCEC.
    • Staff Council co-chairs: Will provide leadership in setting agenda items, submitting proposals, recommendations, or suggestions to Senior Leadership as appropriate. Co-chairs will also be responsible for communicating with Staff Council members including checking the Staff Council email. Co-chairs are nominated and elected from those who are active voting members of Staff Council, are full-time staff, from different departments, and have worked at the College for at least two fiscal years. Co-chairs serve two-year terms and are elected on alternate years to provide continuity of leadership. For the first year of Staff Council, two co-chairs will be elected by the voting members of Staff Council and at the end of the first year one co-chair will step down and a new co-chair elected. The senior co-chair will become ex-officio and serve a third year on the SCEC in an advisory capacity.
    • Staff Council Secretary: Main responsibilities include taking notes at council and committee meetings and maintaining online space to share information with members. The secretary will also create voting forms online. The secretary will also launch the virtual meeting space and book physical meeting rooms. Any member of the SCEC can take minutes if the secretary is absent. The Secretary will be appointed by the co-chairs from among the other SCEC members. The secretary also serves only one fiscal year term.
    • Staff Council Executive Committee Members: Will assist in setting agenda items and conducting due diligence on proposals, recommendations, or suggestions to Senior Leadership. SCEC members comprise a full-time staff representative from each division of the College, have worked at the college for at least two fiscal years, and serve one term of one fiscal year. These SCEC members may be nominated by any voting member of Staff Council, but are only elected by voting members of Staff Council from that division.
  • Nominations for SCEC positions will take place by the last week of May and voting will occur by the second week of June. Only voting members of Staff Council can participate in nominations and elections of SCEC members.
  • Terms for SCEC are defined by a fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30th.
  • In the case of a co-chair unable to fulfill their responsibilities, the other co-chair may call for an emergency election of a new co-chair. 
  • Co-chairs may be re-elected after a gap of two fiscal years. Additional SCEC members may be re-elected after a gap of one fiscal year. An SCEC member can run for co-chair. A former co-chair, no longer serving as ex-officio, can run as a member of the SCEC.
  • There are no term limits for Staff Council Executive Committee members and co-chairs. The gap years provide an opportunity for a change in leadership and account for high turn-over among staff positions.
  • For non-exempt full-time staff, serving on the SCEC is voluntary and cannot be counted as working hours unless the meeting is held during working hours and attended with manager approval. Membership:
  • Staff participation is voluntary.
  • Members of the Staff Council represent all departments/units/divisions of the College, therefore, all part-time and full-time staff are eligible and encouraged to participate in Staff Council meetings. Participation by staff in Staff Council or Staff Council Executive Committee is optional.
  • To ensure broad and equal representation, Staff Council encourages all Senior leadership to promote attendance of Staff Council meetings by employees.
  • Senior Team and Academic leaders (chairs and directors of Academic programs or departments) are welcome to attend meetings, but do not participate as voting members or serve as Staff Council leadership on the Executive Committee.
  • The Staff Council will make every attempt to maintain anonymity if it is requested and reasonable when presenting recommendations to the President, Senior Team, and/or other groups.
  • There is no term limit for membership in the Staff Council.


  • A limited number of meetings will be held during working hours and will be counted as hours worked, but any other activities will be considered voluntary and not counted as hours worked.
  • The Staff Council meets monthly or as needed. The Staff Council Executive Committee (SCEC) also meets monthly to plan Staff Council meetings.
  • Attendance can be physical or virtual to Staff Council meetings to allow participation by staff unable to physically attend meetings.

Voting + Quorum:

  • Exempt and non-exempt (part-time and full-time) staff are voting members of the Staff Council excluding Senior Team and Academic leadership (chairs and directors of Academic programs or departments).
  • Recommendations, areas of focus, and other related matters will be determined by a quorum (a simple majority - 50% plus one - of the members voting online).
  • Online voting will be open for one week. If a simple majority is not achieved, a new vote will be called.
  • Online voting will require Staff Council members to include their name and x-number to ensure there are no duplicate votes. Voting results are given only to co-chairs.
  • Co-chairs will only publicize the results of the vote. All other voting information is kept confidential. In particular, for elections of Staff Council Executive Committee members, only the name of the individual elected is shared, no other details describing the votes or voting breakdown is to be shared.
  • In the event of a tie, the SCEC can extend the vote for the affected division(s) by one week.  If a vote extension fails to break the tie, then the affected division(s) will participate in a re-vote.  If a tie exists after the re-vote, the tie will be broken based on the candidate’s seniority, with the candidate’s total length of service with the college determining who will serve on the SCEC.


  • The Staff Council Executive Committee (SCEC) will organize Staff Council meetings and agenda items with input from Staff Council members, provide written documentation of recommendations, and manage other administrative work to be determined.
  • The SCEC may invite experts/guest speakers to attend Staff Council meetings on an as-needed basis.
  • The Staff Council Executive Committee is responsible for maintaining an online space where all material is accessible to members. Notifications will be sent through email. Staff Council members have view access to the material. Additional access may be granted as needed. Agendas will be accessible online. Staff Council members can contact the Staff Council Secretary directly to request agenda items or speak to their division representative on the SCEC.


  • Staff Council is a standing staff advisory council and the meetings are open to all Otis College staff.
  • Staff Council is authorized to form subcommittees and ad hoc task forces when needed.
  • Staff Council makes recommendations to Senior Team and the President on issues affecting staff after conducting appropriate information gathering.



  • The Staff Council Charter is a living document. Any amendments must be proposed by a member of the Staff Council, reviewed by the Staff Council Executive Committee (SCEC), and approved by a simple majority vote of Staff Council members.

Additional Information:

One of the Staff Council co-chairs should seek an invitation Academic Assembly and Faculty Senate meetings. This will allow the Staff Council co-chairs to be informed and report back factual information to the Staff Council. In turn, Faculty Senate leadership and the Academic Assembly chair or co-chair would be invited to attend Staff Council meetings, which promote transparency and communication across the College. The Staff Council chair or co-chair should also reach out to the Student Union (SU) when appropriate.

Currently, the Staff Council does not seek funding. However, funding of recommendations may be handled in the following ways: 1) the President and/or Senior Team VP may choose to fund directly or 2) the recommendation would follow the standard budgeting process.