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Values Commitment Steering Team

Values Commitment Report 2015-2016

In the fall of 2015, the Values Committee Steering Team experienced a major shift in its composition, with all of its chair and faculty members stepping down at the end of their three-year terms. Staff members Colleen Price, Savannah-Jane Griffin, and Felisha McCaster continue to act on the team and bring to it much needed institutional memory and direction.

VCST’s new chair is Christopher Bell, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. The teams new faculty members include Jesus Alfonzo, Associate Professor of Music, Giovanni Fernandez, Assistant Professor of Finance, and Elisabeth Poeter, Associate Professor of World Languages and Cultures and the Director of Gender Studies.

One of the first acts of the new committee was to establish a staggering system for faculty and staff members to leave and join VCST more consistently, thereby maintaining a sense of purpose and identity. From now on, one faculty and one staff member will move off the team in 1.5-, 2-, or 3-year intervals. Subcommittees of one faculty and one staff member were also established, with each team tackling an issue related to one of Stetson’s three core values. These teams are as follows:

Intellectual Development

Jesus Alfonzo and Savannah-Jane Griffin

Global Citizenship

Elisabeth Poeter and Felisha McCaster

Personal Growth

Giovanni Fernandez and Colleen Price

The first semester for the new VCST group was one of trial and error. Establishing consistent meeting times was the most persistent challenge, while the new members worked to develop a sense of the team’s concrete activities and aims. The former chair Robert Sitler, Professor of World Languages and Cultures and the Director of Latin American Studies Program, joined VCST for one of the meetings to aid the team with the latter issue, while the staff members buttressed his observations and advice.

In terms of the subcommittee aims, initial attentions were focused as follows:

  • The Intellectual Development team focused on standardizing the Cultural Credit Requirement across Stetson’s campuses and colleges.

  • The Global Citizenship team concentrated on promoting a change in the College of Arts and Sciences curriculum to include a language requirement.

  • The Personal Growth team continued its previous work on Employee Wellness.

By the end of the fall semester 2015 and beginning of the spring semester 2016, the VCST observed how college-wide the language requirement issue became and its development was now predominantly under the purview of the Curriculum Committee. Likewise, a Cultural Credit Task Force was established to tackle the cultural credit standardization head on. In both of these cases, the Values Committee continues to support the work on the language requirement and cultural credit requirement; however, our active focus has shifted to other issues.

Our team projects for the spring 2016 semester are as follows:

Intellectual Development

  • Increase book feasts across campus
  • work with the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force to develop workshops on diversifying department curricula

Global Citizenship

  • Advance Study Abroad opportunities for students
  • request a shuttle bus for classes to explore Deland and Central Florida for the purposes of cultural and social engagement

Personal Growth

  • Finish remaining work on Employee Wellness and shift to a new project.

As it stands, in partnership with United Healthcare, Stetson’s Human Resource Department will be releasing an employee wellness program ("Rally") including health screenings, educational information, resources, and incentives to the Stetson community this spring. Wellness and Recreation will be supporting this initiative through supplemental programming, creating awareness, and marketing.

Finally, a Values Day Subcommittee headed and maintained by Savannah-Jane Griffin will be formed in February 2016 in order to organize and promote Values Day for the fall of 2016. With all of these projects old and new, the VCST appreciates the university’s support and the new team looks forward to serving the Stetson community.

Sincerely,
Christopher Bell
Chair, Values Commitment Steering Team

Stetson University Values Matrix