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Feature

 Frank Douma, chair, CAPA Representation and Governance Committee.

Frank Douma, chair, CAPA Representation and Governance Committee

CAPA is ready for the next level

P&A council looks forward to increased involvement with U Senate

By Frank Douma and members of the CAPA Representation and Governance Committee

From Brief, December 22, 2004

Since 1980, when the University's Board of Regents established the professional and administrative (P&A) job class, the P&A staff has grown to about 25 percent of the University of Minnesota's work force.

Over the years, the original Academic Staff Advisory Committee (ASAC) evolved from a small, appointed advisory group into an elected body of over 50. Today, the representative body for 4,300 P&A staff is the Council of Academic Professionals and Administrators--CAPA. Together, these representatives advocate for the interests of P&A employees across a wide range of issues and ensure that P&A voices are heard on all matters of concern.

Every Twin Cities campus college and administrative unit elects representatives to serve on CAPA. Duluth campus elects 3 representatives; Crookston, Morris, and Rochester each elect one. Since each unit began electing its own representatives, interest and participation in both CAPA and individual unit governance has increased dramatically.

Through the work of CAPA, P&A staff have representation on nearly every committee, task force, and working group at the University. CAPA's four internal standing committees--Benefits and Compensation, Representation and Governance, Communications, and Professional Development and Recognition--consult with constituents and recommend policy on issues that affect P&As at the University, and recommend action to CAPA, which pushes these recommendations forward within appropriate University channels. In addition, CAPA's Executive Committee serves as the voice of CAPA to external bodies and to central administration.

Taking CAPA to the next level

This year, the University Senate is expected take the groundbreaking step of including representatives from CAPA and civil service. The change will be significant in two ways. First, CAPA will elect 23 senators from among its ranks to serve in the Senate. And second, the CAPA chair and vice chair will serve on the Senate and the Senate Consultative Committee.

CAPA is excited to be a part of these changes in governance. While the council will continue to meet as an independent body to provide a P&A perspective and consider business unique to P&A staff, the opportunity to gather at the same table with students, faculty, and civil service employees should lead to increased information sharing and collaboration between the University Senate and CAPA.

Frank Douma is a research fellow for the State and Local Policy Program, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, and chairs the CAPA Representation and Governance Committee. Committee members Barb Van Drasek, Stacy Doepner-Hove, Emily Finch, and Kendra Weber contributed to this article.

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