Research shows the success of a bacterial community depends on its shape.
The MIT Working Group on Support Staff Issues has established new task groups dealing with reengineering and other issues, and the organization is looking to boost awareness and membership at an open house scheduled for Thursday, July 25 in the Bush Room (10-105) from 12:10-1pm.
The group, which now consists of approximately 27 support and administrative staff, was established in 1975 to discuss issues affecting support staff and their working environment. Task groups study these concerns and make recommendations to Vice President for Human Resources Joan Rice.
Past Working Group policy recommendations have involved improvements in retirement benefits, support staff training and development, domestic-partner benefits, tuition assistance, creation of an in-house temporary personnel pool (MITemps), and transportation and safety issues. The organization also holds workshops and has published a number of resource guides and brochures.
"This is a place where your voice can be heard," said Working Group Co-Convener Cheryl Thornton, administrative assistant in the Center for Transportation Studies. "During this period of reengineering at MIT, the group is a positive resource for information and support," added Co-Convener Trudy Morris, house manager in the Office of Housing and Food Services.
Current activities include ensuring support-staff input during the reengineering process, analyzing the current HMO rate structure, improving new-member recruitment, and exploring new ways for publicizing the group's activities. Task group chairs are Dawn McNeill of the Office of Summer Session and Edward A. Jacobson of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (reengineering), Fran Ryan of the Comptroller's Accounting Office (HMOs), SharonLeah Brown of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (public relations) and Peter Narbonne of the Office of Student Financial Aid (membership).
At the open house, members will talk about the history of the Working Group on Support Staff Issues, provide an update on the four current task groups and their goals, and take questions from attendees. President Charles M. Vest is scheduled to attend the general-membership meeting on October 16.
The Working Group discussed increasing membership at its annual retreat last month at Endicott House, which also featured a career-planning workshop by Kit Donahue of Manchester Inc., the outplacement firm hired by MIT to assist displaced employees. Membership in the group is open to anyone on campus and Lincoln Lab with permission of their supervisors. The group's e-mail address is
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 24, 1996.