Shortly after Carolyn Elliott came to K-State in 2005, she joined the Classified Senate so she could become acquainted with people across campus.
What she didn't expect was to be sitting at the senate's helm a few years later, preparing to chart a course through rough economic times.
"Now that the time is here, I am looking forward to working with my fellow classified senators and President Kirk Schulz," Elliott said. "My fellow senators have more than 350 years of service to K-State. I will look to them for guidance as we meet these challenging times."
Besides budget cuts and the transition to new university leadership, Elliott said that the senate would tackle several important topics in the next year as it represents the more than 1,700 classified employees at K-State.
At the top of the list is making sure state funding continues for the pay plan designed to bring classified employee pay to market value.
"K-State's Classified Senate works with a group called Classified and Support Staff Council, which is made up of representatives from all the Kansas Regent schools," Elliott said. "One of our big drives is to see that the pay plan is fully funded so that our employees can see it in their paychecks and maybe not have to work two jobs."
Another of Elliott's priorities is making sure classified employees continually update and hone their skills.
"We have been working on a Classified Employees Opportunity Fund, which would award scholarships for educational opportunities," Elliott said.
This fund is supported by the All-University Campaign. All one needs to do to donate is designate "Classified Senate" on the All-University Campaign form and funds will go to assist classified employees with their ongoing education.
Also this year, Elliott said they will be showcasing the Classified Employee Award of Excellence. The new award, which will be given for the first time at the Classified Senate Recognition Ceremony, April 28, 2010, will have three categories -- office/clerical, service/maintenance and technical/professional.
"In the last couple of years, we have recognized about 40 people with the Employee of the Year Award," Elliott said. "This honor will be more prestigious."
The names of those who receive the Award of Excellence will be inscribed on a plaque to be housed in Anderson Hall.
"It is always a good thing to recognize the solid work of our classified employees," Elliott said. "This is another way we can raise the morale of our classified employees. After all, they do a fantastic job for K-State."
In addition, the senate will review its codes and bylaws, with a look toward clarifying election-related issues, and will work with Hale Library on archiving its materials and history.
"Overall, I would love to hear from all classified employees," Elliott said. "As a senate, we want to be diligent in representing their needs."
For a full list of the classified senators for 2009-2010, go to http://www.k-state.edu/class-senate/senators.html