Present: Rob Zuback, Pennie Carr-Harris, Nancy Sudak, and Dick Tindal
#1. Update from Rob on strategy for engaging those nearing retirement with the objective of improving the poor response rate concerning our Association.
Based partly on a review of how other institutions deal with retirees, Rob offered the following possibilities:
- Having the college pay for/give retirees their first year of membership in our Association – a suggestion that we strongly endorsed.
- Providing various discounts and benefits (originally listed under Agenda items #4 & #5). Possibilities included discounts at the college bookstore and fitness centre, full access to the library (including the ability to sign out books), and a special $20 fee for taking courses at the college. Almost all of these courses are credits toward existing programs, which means that very few are the kind of general interest courses that might more likely appeal to our members. Even so, the possibility of courses for retirees for $20 is a welcome benefit for those who might take advantage.
- The discounts and benefits might be accessed by way of a retiree card but production of such a card would apparently (according to IT staff) cost about $25 a person and that seems to be a major stumbling block. For those who retire in the future, and still have their staff card, it might be possible to attach a sticker identifying them as retirees. For most of us, however, the problem is the cost (which seems unnecessarily high) of producing retiree cards. In marked contrast, we understand that graduating students are given free Alumni cards.
- Using retirees as volunteers at college events and helping to promote college events. Rob provided examples from Seneca and Niagara of such activities. One involved a possible mentoring program where retirees would meet with students to discuss their careers. Nancy pointed out that there had been discussion of retirees meeting with International students for informal chats that might help them in becoming more fluent in English – but that nothing had resulted from this offer by our Association.
- Other examples from Rob about activities at other colleges included a monthly social at a pub or restaurant and an annual Christmas lunch. Our Association does hold several social events each year and they are well attended. We have occasionally, but not consistently, been invited to a Christmas lunch at the college, but apparently that is no longer being held.
- Rob talked about possible retiree access to Alumni benefits, notably those available under the PERKS program. [We need to find out more about such benefits and ensure that our members are aware of them.]
- Rob also mentioned the possibility of preparing a more formal retiree package (that might be produced by the college in collaboration with our Association) for distribution to impending retirees, and he provided a sample from Seneca College. We pointed out that such a pamphlet had been prepared by our Association for just such a purpose – but it would seem that this document and its ongoing use needs revisiting.
#2. Retiree access to AllNotes
Rob explained that there is no provision for retirees to have continuing access to AllNotes. There is one such access, available from email@example.com (the email address for our Association). Rob’s suggestion was our Association should monitor AllNotes, identify upcoming items that may be of interest to our members, and then publicize these through our own email records.
#3. Reviewing the system for notifying our Association when former employees die.
We didn’t specifically address this issue at the MOU meeting. But during exchanges prior to the meeting, Rob indicated that for now the best that can be offered are the periodic reports from Katey, as she learns about the deaths of retirees. Greater involvement by HR is needed, but they may not be aware of deaths either and CAAT might be a better source if it could become part of a new information strategy. Notifications are sporadic at best and they arise from a variety of sources, based mostly on where the deceased was best known.
#4 and #5. Creation of a retiree card for accessing benefits and tuition breaks for retirees.
Both of these matters were addressed under #1 above. Rob asked the Association if it could provide a list of the benefits that its members would most like to receive, and this is something that we will pursue with our membership.
#6. The Archives
Rob reported that some funds were allocated to hire students to work on organizing the Archives, but this has not yet been done. Rick Anderson is the manager to whom the library reports and there appears to be some college commitment to do something about organizing the Archives and storing the material in a proper environment. We need to follow up on this and – perhaps – to volunteer our expertise (and lengthy memories) to help in the task.
While we understand, from an earlier report from Ian Wilson, that some of the extensive retiree donations to the College Foundation will be used to support work on the Archives, Rob had not yet obtained any details from Janine on how our funds are being used. However, he promised to get an endowment report that would indicate the total funds donated, the interest being earned, and what payments have been made and to whom.