For employees at the College of Charleston, 2019 brings several new opportunities for faculty and staff to connect with colleagues, stay informed about campus news and events and establish healthy habits.

Here’s a rundown of what’s new for employees beginning spring semester 2019:

Faculty and staff can enjoy a meal in their own dining area.

1. Employee Dining Space

Faculty and Staff can now enjoy a separate CofC employee dining area inside Liberty Street Fresh Food Company. Employees must enter through the main Fresh Food Company entrance at the corner of St. Philip and Liberty streets and may not bring in food from outside the facility.

The employee dining area is located at the back (southeast corner) of the dining facility behind a partition. The employee dining space was established through a collaboration among Business and Auxiliary Services, Dining Services and the Staff Advisory Committee to the President.

Employees who take advantage of the new dining space may also be interested in signing up for a Faculty and Staff Meal Plan, which comes with 25 meals to use on campus at Liberty Fresh Food Co., Marty’s Place, or on select Sandwich/Salad Combos at Market 159. The plan costs $155, which equates to just $6.20 per meal! Payment plans are also available (paid in four equal installments of $38.75 over a two-month period).

To sign up for a meal plan, visit the Dining Services webpage. If you’d like to pay in full for a Faculty and Staff Meal Plan, please visit Cougar Card Services in Berry Hall.

Director of Residence Life Melantha Ardrey, who is also the current chair of the Staff Advisory Committee to the President, says SAC has been working on a number of initiatives this academic year aimed at boosting employee morale and creating more opportunities for employees to engage across divisions and colleges.

“One of the ways we want to increase informal interaction is by offering a gathering space for meals,” Ardrey says. “Faculty and Staff can now enjoy a separate dining area in Liberty Fresh Food Company. We hope that faculty and staff will take advantage of this opportunity to gather with colleagues and other employees at the College who they may not know or have an opportunity to interact with otherwise.”

Faculty and staff fitness classes are now free.

2. Free Group Fitness Classes

Campus Recreation has announced that faculty and staff group fitness classes are now free. A variety of classes are offered weekly, including early mornings, lunchtime, weekends and evenings.

In addition to the group fitness classes, a dedicated class for faculty and staff only, called Cougar Fit, is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 5:05 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. in J201 of the Johnson Center.

For details on all of the group fitness options and to sign-up, visit the Campus Recreation webpage. (Please note that some classes require reservations due to class size limitations.)

“We’re excited to offer faculty and staff multiple opportunities to participate in our group fitness program at no cost,” says Bucky Buchanan, assistant director of Campus Recreation Services. “As an institution, we realize the value in health and fitness. We also value the feedback we received from our community members about our program. We’re able to offer this opportunity for free because we worked with the administration who saw the value in our programs for faculty and staff members.”

A Faculty & Staff News webpage is among the new features available to faculty and staff this spring.

3. Faculty/Staff News Page

CofC employees have a new way to access news and information relevant to faculty and staff. A Faculty/Staff News section was recently added to The College Today, the College’s official news site that is maintained by the Office of Communications. You can access Faculty/Staff News directly at

Faculty/Staff News highlights stories, news and information of interest to College employees, including a monthly employee profile called “CofC Faces to Know,” important updates about campus services and helpful links to employee resources.

Story ideas and suggestions for Faculty/Staff News can be submitted to

In addition, the Office of Communications has established a new Twitter handle specifically for CofC employees. You can follow the new Twitter account at

4. Health and Wellness Panel

To encourage CofC employees to maintain and/or establish healthy habits in 2019, the Staff Advisory Committee to the President and the Student Affairs Staff Wellness Committee are co-hosting a special event titled Health, Wellness and Self-Care in the New Year. The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, in the Stern Center Ballroom.

A panel of CofC staff experts will share advice and answer questions focused on the following areas: stress-reduction and mindfulness techniques; the importance of preventative health screenings; healthy eating habits; and exercise and physical fitness.

The event is free and is open to all CofC faculty and staff. There will be a drawing for raffle prizes following the panel discussion.

5. Grants for Professional Development

CofC Staff can apply for funding to attend conferences and other professional development events. The next application deadline for funding through the Staff Professional Development Incentive Program is Jan. 15, 2019.

Examples of possible activities that could be funded under the program include travel to or organization of on- and off-campus conferences, workshops, seminars, and other training directly related to the staff member’s position.

The program is operated by the Staff Advisory Committee to the President, with final approval residing with the Office of the President. Program details and application materials are available on the Office of the President website.