Welcome to Employee Recognition Week at UNC! I want to begin by stating how thankful I am for each of our employees. I recognize the great deal of energy and passion you put into your jobs every day. You are the nucleus of our institution and the reason why UNC is a special place for our students to learn, work, and live. You all make an impact on our students, directly and indirectly. Our strategic planning efforts, centered around UNC becoming a “Students First” institution, cannot be done without you.   

Showing appreciation for our employees is always important, but particularly now given the extraordinary measures our staff and faculty have taken in the past year to continue to serve our students through the pandemic. Together, you have worked to create as safe of a learning environment as possible for our community, which I am very grateful for. Our staff and faculty are very deserving of special recognition and to kick off this week — in conjunction with Human Resources — I am excited to announce several new initiatives to recognize your exceptional work.   

Last week, a packet of materials was sent to 70 university leaders and supervisors with tools to launch a new campus employee recognition program called “Build a Bear Up.” Beginning this week, UNC employees can send a mini UNC Bear to a colleague’s office with a personalized greeting as an expression of gratitude for their work. We hope this genuine and fun approach to acknowledging our employees’ efforts is well received and is a welcome surprise for those who receive a mini Bear. While there are many ways to show appreciation for our colleagues, we hope this is an additional avenue to build a supportive community. For more information about Build a Bear Up, including details about how you can recognize a colleague through this program, visit our Human Resources webpage.   

In addition to the new recognition program, there are a few other employee initiatives I would like to announce.    

Modified Summer Work Week  From May 14 through July 30, our administrative offices will close at 1:00 p.m. on Fridays. This applies for all classified and exempt staff. Full-time employees will continue to work a regular schedule Monday through Thursday but will only work a half day on Friday. Employees will be paid their full-time salary with the remaining four hours paid by the university, classified as administrative leave. Staff in areas that are unable to close on Fridays will be granted four hours of administrative leave each week.   

Everyone has worked very hard in the past year and my hope is the early start to weekends in the summer will provide you with much needed additional time to relax and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends.    

Volunteer Leave Program – Effective immediately, all full-time classified, professional, and administrative staff, and faculty will be eligible each fiscal year to use 16 hours of paid administrative leave to participate in community or school volunteer activities. Leave can be taken in one hour increments and should be requested at least one week in advance with the employee’s supervisor. For part-time employees, the 16 hours will be prorated by FTE.   

We greatly value our relationship with the City of Greeley and the extended Northern Colorado community. Our hope is this program will encourage you to give back to an organization or area you might be passionate about. A few options could include volunteering at a food bank or homeless shelter, volunteering through United Way of Weld County, and participating in a fundraising event. If you know of an organization that could use volunteer assistance, please reach out to our Human Resources Department and they will add that organization to a list of places that are in need of volunteers. The full policy on the Volunteer Leave Program can be read here.   

Extended Winter Break – This year we will once again have an extended winter break. This has been well-received and we will continue to have time off from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve at the end of 2021. By providing additional time off, again our hope is that you will be able to spend time with family and friends over the holidays and have the flexibility to travel wherever you may want to go. UNC’s 2021 holiday calendar can be found here.   

In the coming weeks, Human Resources will provide additional details on these initiatives. Until then, please contact Human Resources at human.resources@unco.edu with any questions you may have. If you have any ideas or suggestions to enhance these initiatives, feel free to reach out to me at president@unco.edu.   

I am excited about each initiative and I hope this news will help you start your week on a positive note. Our staff and faculty have gone above and beyond in the past year to continue to serve our students in many ways and deliver a high-quality educational experience. I cannot emphasize enough how proud I am to be President of UNC. I am very fortunate to work at an institution with staff and faculty who are as talented, caring, passionate, and committed as you are.   

Rowing, Not Drifting,   


Andy Feinstein