University Staff Advisory Council concludes term, thanks outgoing members

University Staff Advisory Council
August 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) has concluded its 2018-19 term.

USAC exists for the purpose of suggestion, review and advice on issues that impact or are impacted by staff at Penn State. The council acts in an advisory capacity to University administration through the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources.

During the 2018-19 term, USAC focused on change management. Detailed information on its activities and accomplishments is available in a newly developed annual report

Highlights include:

  • Speakers at monthly USAC meetings shared information and updates about change occurring across the University, as well as information about the change management process and helping staff cope with change. Sue Cromwell, Penn State’s director of organizational change management, presented on her unit's role in change management, specifically with the System for Integrated Management, Budgeting and Accounting (SIMBA) project, and explained the process model currently being utilized for change management.
  • USAC hosted its second annual Summit in April 2019. More than 50 Penn State staff members representing Staff Advisory Councils across the commonwealth convened for a day of networking and learning. Judy Grant, regional vice president of Health Advocate Solutions, Penn State’s employee assistance program (EAP) provider, presented an overview of the programs and services offered through the EAP as well as tips for working through stressful and changing times.
  • In May, University President Eric Barron and the council honored three individuals as recipients of the 2019 USAC Staff Awards for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the University. 
  • Throughout the year, USAC members were actively involved with University-wide projects, committees and councils. Members of USAC engaged with the University Faculty Senate, the Compliance Training Strategic Planning Committee, the Microsoft Office 365 implementation team and the Vice President for Human Resources search committee.
  • Members of USAC's executive council are engaged in the ongoing process of sharing best practices of staff advisory councils with Big Ten peers.
  • USAC continued its Positive Paws program and worked to increase communications to Penn State staff, including information on advancements to the USAC website and the development of a point-of-contact list to communicate with Staff Advisory Councils across the commonwealth.

Twenty-three staff members across the University served as USAC members during this term year, and four are outgoing members of the council. The outgoing members are:

  • Megan Gilpin, student services associate, University Libraries
  • Jean Marie Jacob (past-chair), assistant director of academic outreach, World Campus
  • Denita Wright Watson (past-secretary), academic program manager for graduate and professional programs, Penn State Great Valley
  • Brandon Zimmerman, IT support specialist, University Libraries

In addition to primary job responsibilities, serving on USAC has included at least a three-year commitment, participation in multiple meetings per month throughout that time, and time on special projects and events.

Last Updated August 19, 2019