November 13 Staff Forum Recap

President Pelton kicked off the November 13 staff forum in the Bordy Theater with an invitation for new staff to introduce themselves. He then turned the podium over to Jordan Mackenzie (HR), who led attendees in a game of Workday Jeopardy. Workday is an HR, Payroll, and Finance tool that is replacing Banner and PeopleAdmin. Contestants answered questions about Workday in the categories Features, Lingo, Dates, and Ch-ch-ch-changes. Next, Steve Lisa (Financial Affairs) explained the Workday Finance project timeline. Planning started in July, and the Workday Finance team is now in the “configure and prototype” phase. The Workday Finance project is broken up into 11 different workstreams with more than 35 employees across the College working in all 11 workstreams. He shared that the following features will be handled in Workday when it goes live July 1, 2019: P card management, budget reporting, Marketplace, and payment processing.

Pam Walsh (HR) gave updates on the HR/Payroll side of Workday. She said that there will be 28 training sessions for employees and managers between December 3 and December 14. The topics will focus on immediate needs for Day 1 of Workday. There will also be trainings in January on additional capabilities of Workday. A group of staff called the “Change Champion Network” will be providing departmental support and help with training. Peter de Andrade closed the Workday presentation by confirming the launch date of January 1, 2019, for the HR/Payroll functions and asked if anyone had questions.

The next presentation was given by students from the organization EAGLE (Emerson’s Advancement Group for Love and Expression). Vice President Rachel Gaudet and President Christopher Henderson-West updated the community on gender inclusivity at Emerson. The students encouraged attendees to normalize the use of stating preferred pronouns when introducing themselves. They gave an update on inclusive multi-stall restrooms on campus. Currently there are inclusive multi-stall restrooms in Walker, Ansin, Piano Row, and Paramount. They hope that more restrooms are converted in the future and noted that some current ones need to be retrofitted; for example, restrooms that used to be for males only need to have trash receptacles added.

Regarding people who have updated their names, the students said that in email situations, if someone signs off an email using a different name than what is in their email address, one should address the person by the name they used to sign off in the email. Students are working with the administration on updating the current name policy. Gaudet and Henderson-West ended the presentation by providing a list of on-campus resources, including student organizations, eQual, Healing and Advocacy Collective, and Intercultural Student Affairs. They invited attendees to email them at with any questions.

President Pelton wrapped up the forum by giving highlights from his recent State of the College address. In short, Emerson has had a good year. It has climbed rankings by U.S. News & World ReportHollywood Reporter, and College Factual. The College also had its best enrollment season ever, with a 25 percent increase in new first-time, first-year applicants and a 16 percent increase in transfer applications. Gains on the diversity front are also encouraging. International enrollment is up 54 percent over last fall for the new first-time class. Twenty-seven percent of the incoming new first-time class are domestic students of color.

Emerson had a record fundraising year last year, raising almost $11 million. The College is structurally sound and has managed several complex operating and capital challenges: union negotiations; new dining, security, and cleaning contracts; and Little Building construction. It continues to be financially sound and has been recognized by Moody’s for exceptional revenue growth.

The College is also building on its academic excellence by hiring new faculty and new staff in the School of Communication and Engagement Lab, among other departments. New bachelor’s and master’s degree programs have also launched. Pelton also noted that the College is building the foundation to become a borderless campus, with joint degree programs coming online in the future in Paris, Switzerland, Australia, and Hong Kong.

Happily, the Little Building is on track to open in Fall 2019, which means Emerson will have the capacity to house first- through third-year students.

After thanking the staff for all of their continued efforts, he left the podium and Pam Walsh invited attendees to share announcements, and then provided the names of the five lucky raffle winners.

Nancy Howell (Marketing)