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Frank Douma, John Borchert, David Bernstein, Stacy Doepner-Hove, Pam Stenhjem

Attending a CAPA transition meeting May 14 were (left to right, standing) Frank Douma, John Borchert, and David Bernstein, and (seated) Stacy Doepner-Hove and Pamela Stenhjem.

CAPA 2007 transition begins

By David Bernstein

Brief, May 16, 2007

In elections April 20, the Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators (CAPA) chose a new executive committee--including several first-time members--and nine new senators to represent academic professional and administrative (P&A) staff in the University Senate. CAPA will thus have quite a different public face in 2007-08, beginning July 1.

As the U-wide governance body that represents more than 4,000 P&A employees, CAPA has made priorities of advocacy and strong P&A participation in the transformational process currently underway at the U. P&As teach and advise students, conduct research, direct programs, manage budgets, administer departments, and reach out to citizens all over Minnesota.

CAPA is guided by an executive committee made up of a chair, vice-chair, and chairs of four standing committees.

The new CAPA chair is Pamela Stenhjem, and the vice-chair is Mary Laeger-Hagemeister. New committee chairs on the executive committee will be Bill Roberts, benefits and compensation; John Borchert, communications; Ingrid Nuttall, professional development and recognition; and David Bernstein, representation and governance.

The nine senators will be Bernstein, Elaine Challacombe, Jaki Cottingham-Zierdt, William Craig, Stacy Doepner-Hove, Susan Doerr, Frank Douma, Kirsten Jamsen, and Caroline Rosen.

CAPA offers heartfelt gratitude to three members of the executive committee who are stepping down after years of dedicated service--but continue on with CAPA as unit representatives or senators: outgoing chair Cottingham-Zierdt, vice-chair Doepner-Hove, and benefits and compensation chair Douma. All three have been extremely effective in helping to put CAPA on the map as a thoughtful advisory body and strong advocate for concerns of P&A employees.

Next year's challenges

Increasing work loads have surfaced as a major concern of P&As across the U. Moreover, as a result of focus groups held this year by the Classification and Compensation Work Group--a U committee that included several CAPA members, other concerns of P&A employees were also raised. The new executive committee will want CAPA to address some of them in the coming year. To get an idea of the challenges CAPA will face, P&A staff are urged to read the summary of issues raised in the focus groups. See P&A Discussion Groups--Summary Themes on the Office of Human Resources's Classification and Compensation page.

In tandem with discerning P&A employees' concerns, CAPA has spent time this year thinking about P&A contributions. All P&A staff will soon receive an important survey that intends to allow CAPA to gauge these contributions more specifically and quantitatively. Please fill out this survey to show the University the range and quality of P&A contributions in order to argue that measures of P&A achievements be included as the U assess its progress in reaching the goal of becoming a top research and teaching institution. Currently, explicit metrics and measurements are in place for faculty contributions and student achievement, but there are none for staff. If CAPA gets a good response to the survey, the executive committee will be in a strong position to use those results to show how P&A contributions can be included among measures of what it takes to be a great university.

Executive committee members invite P&A members to contact their CAPA share thoughts about how CAPA might best address these upcoming challenges--or to find out more about CAPA--or to become involved in CAPA. Visit the CAPA Web site for more information, including how to contact your CAPA representative.

David Bernstein is the development coordinator and a teaching specialist for the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, Twin Cities campus. He serves as one of two College of Liberal Arts representatives to CAPA, as a University senator, and as chair of CAPA's Representation and Governance Committee. Contact him at