As Janeen Putman reflects on her year as president of Staff Senate, she can’t help but think about how COVID-19 led to the cancelation of a planned celebration of facilities staff and of the Senate’s scholarships fundraiser, and delayed its first official participation in Give Day.
“I really feel like this Senate group missed out on the most fun parts of the year, including our changing of the gavel and retiring senators,” she said.
“But when I asked several people what they felt was a big accomplishment was how people felt during this year,” she said. “Many have said they felt included and have struggled with that [in the past]. I really hope that it is true.”
Incoming President Sue Whorton hopes to continue supporting that feeling of inclusiveness as she takes over from Putman.
“My main priority is to listen to constituents’ ideas, suggestions and concerns and to share them with the University administration,” she said. “I see my role as supporting ClemsonForward Strategic Priority 4 (Living) in helping to advance the workplace quality of life for Clemson staff.”
Putman, student services manager in bioengineering in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, was similarly motivated when she became president. As a member of the Staff Senate activities committee, she helped spearhead major military appreciation events and the Senate has recognized first-responders and Facilities employees for the work they do.
During her presidency, the Staff Senate helped the Office of Human Resources redevelop and market the new staff development program, called CU GROW. The Senate also made strides for staff in time-limited positions to receive annual evaluations and be able to participate in CU GROW.
Whorton, who is director of the Class of 1956 Academic Success Center and has been a member of Staff Senate four years, looks forward “to find ways to spotlight the essential role our dedicated and professional staff play in the operations of the University.”
As a member of the Senate’s Policy and Welfare committee, she worked with Human Resources and the Graduate School to launch the luncheon to celebrate employees who have earned higher degrees.
She acknowledges, though, “We are in such challenging and uncertain times – many of us have never been so directly impacted by an event like the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s really hard not to worry about the future; there are so many questions and few answers. I encourage all of us to continue to stay positive, give our best efforts at work, remain flexible and reflect on ways to stay resilient.
“At the end of my term, I hope that I can say I helped make a positive difference for Clemson staff,” she said. “If I can say that, then I will have succeeded in my role.”
Also beginning terms on the Staff Senate are several new representatives:
Public Service Activities
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences
College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences
Finance and Operations
College of Science
At-large for Development, Alumni Relations and CAFLS
They replace retiring senators:
College of Science
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