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Karen Ellis and Lowell Rasmussen outdoors

Morris campus CSC member Karen Ellis, right, and associate vice chancellor for plant services Lowell Rasmussen hosted the CSC visit.

Morris hosts the CSC

By Susan Cable

Brief, Nov. 14, 2007

The Civil Service Committee met at the LaFave House in Morris Oct. 25. The committee holds one meeting on a campus other than the Twin Cities each year. About 45 civil service staff members work at the Morris campus.

Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson, the fifth chancellor and first woman to hold the position at Morris, welcomed the committee and shared information about the mission of the campus, which is committed to research, extracurricular programs, and services, with a strong sense of community.

Johnson also provided some history of the 118-year-old campus, which initially was an American Indian boarding school, first administered by the Catholic Church and later the U.S. Government. It was an agricultural high school until it became a liberal arts college in 1960. UMM is now one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, with an enrollment of about 1,900 students and more than 145 teaching faculty.

Meeting highlights

The meeting included reports from chair Cathy Marquardt and the other officers as well as subcommittee chairs. The committee voted to appoint Don Cavalier, director of the Career and Counseling Department at Crookston, as the civil service representative to the All-University Honors Committee.

Vice-chair Susan Cable reported on work with the U Senate office and Senate Library Committee to include a civil service representative on the committee. Susan Rose provided updates on the civil service classification and compensation task force. Rose and Nancy Fulton, who serve on the Compensation-Benefits subcommittee, reported on on-going discussions with the Office of Human Resources about a possible lump-sum payment. Legislative Network chair Patrick Davern gave a summary report and will provide more information as the legislative session approaches. Timelines for Civil Service Rules changes were provided by Lori Nicol.

Lunch and a campus tour

After the meeting business was completed, a lovely luncheon was served in the La Fave House, which has a history of its own. Donated to the University by the La Fave family--longtime activists in the West Central Educational Development Assoication--in 1999, it has been remodeled with guest quarters as well as meeting rooms. A staff person lives in the apartment above and manages services for meetings or visitors.

The CSC toured the campus, including the new Regional Fitness Center, shared by staff, students, and the community. The center has recreation and competition pools, a cardiovascular room, and an indoor track. Equipment rentals are available and swimming lessons, fitness programs, and camps provided. Cooperative efforts between the community and the campus became instrumental in the development of the new football stadium, an example of the strong partnership between campus and community.

Lowell Rasmussen, associate vice chancellor for plant services, provided a brief presentation about UMM's green initiatives, including how biomass will convert to gas to provide heat for campus buildings. A wind turbine supplies more than 50 percent of campus electricity needs. Once the biomass plant is completed, it will provide up to 80 percent of campus heating and cooling needs.

Morris CSC member Karen Ellis, a program associate in continuing education and summer session at UMM, coordinated the visit and meeting accommodations. Ellis also chairs the CSC Senate Delegations Subcomittee.

Susan Cable is vice-chair of the Civil Service Committee and an administrative professional in the Office of Human Resources.