Staff Senate met virtually on September 8 and they were joined by Susan McKellep, training coordinator for the Human Development Company (HDC), which is UofL’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
McKellep guided senators through a 40-minute PowerPoint presentation on the free counseling services and resources HDC provides to all employees. The most common issue employees request assistance with is increased stress and many counseling sessions are conducted virtually from inside employees’ personal vehicles.
“The stressors of the world have just increased exponentially, so everyone is feeling stress that they may have never felt before to a degree they have never felt,” she said.
When employees call the HDC phone line, 502-589-4357, they can receive counseling immediately or schedule an appointment. Counseling sessions are:
- Strictly confidential and not put on medical records
- Free to employees and their household family members
- Available by phone and video call
- Available 24/7 every day of the year, including holidays
Employees receive eight free counseling sessions per issue. Typical issues include stress, marital or family problems, mental health, substance abuse and financial stress. Any problem, however, causing employees to worry or become frustrated can be addressed with an HDC counselor. Counselors are always on call and employees may indicate their preferences in a counselor.
“You just call us, give us your basic information and then we find out what it is you’d like to talk with someone about and if you think you’d prefer a female or you prefer a male or an African-American, or someone who is LGBTQ friendly, or someone who works really well with teenagers. Whatever your criteria might be, just let us know and then we will match you up with the best counselor for you,” McKellep said.
The Anti-Racism Committee was created over the summer and is being co-chaired by Senators Leondra Gully and Andrew Grubb. Gully explained to senators that the committee was formed to ensure staff senators play a role in shaping the university’s anti-racism agenda.
“Regardless of where you feel in terms of where your knowledge level is or where you are in the process of understanding what the anti-racism work is, we know that different people are in different places, in different levels, and we really want to encourage everyone, if you are interested, to join the committee,” Gully said.
Staff Senate Chair John Smith added, “I think it is a critical piece for us as a senate body and I’ve given this committee a pretty aggressive timeline to report back to us in October. The important thing is that we shift from identifying opportunities to making a concrete plan about an action plan.”
Smith went on to report that the new provost search is still moving forward and the Staff Senate Executive Committee has increased its meeting frequency from monthly to bi-weekly.
Policies and Economic Development (PED) Committee Chair Virginia Hosono reminded senators of HR’s decision to defer the sweep date for employees who have leave time that exceeds their maximum. The date was deferred from June 30 to December 31 this year.
Staff Help and Relief Effort (SHARE) Committee Chair Sally Molsberger stepped down from the senate over the summer due to her increased workload. Senator Kari Donahue is the new committee chair and Senator Bonnie Dean is the new vice chair.
All committee reports and a video recording of the September meeting can be found on the Staff Senate meetings webpage. The next Staff Senate meeting will be held October 13 via Microsoft Teams.