August 28, 2017

Staff Council prepares to start second year strong

exec comm insideClockwise, from top left: David Rhodes, chair; David Beeching, chair-elect; Amy Dean, secretary; and Stefanie Varghese, treasurerIn the year since employees elected the inaugural members of the UAB Staff Council, it has become an engaged campus organization representing 21 organizational units and dedicated to promoting an exchange of ideas among its members, the campus community and the administration.

To start its second year strong, the council elected the newest members of its executive committee: David Rhodes, chair; David Beeching, chair-elect; Amy Dean, secretary; and Stefanie Varghese, treasurer. Ginger Hattaway, chair during the council’s inaugural year, also is a member.

A year of success

The staff council was formed to be a voice to those who comprise a majority of UAB’s employees by providing advice and recommendations to university administration and leaders. Rather than remaining entirely inwardly focused, it was important to the council to participate in service work that supported both UAB and the greater Birmingham community.

The staff council was integral in promoting the UAB Engagement Survey, administered in April, and participating on search committees for key staff members. They participated in the inaugural First Year Convocation, a formal academic event welcoming new students to the UAB community and provided staff-centric input to the UAB Strategic Plan.

“Our overall vision is to help make UAB a more outstanding place to work, live, serve the community and learn,” said council Chair David Rhodes, a program director in the Department of Biostatics.

“If we all pull together with one concerted effort, there’s no limit to what we could do.”

The council also hosted a holiday toy drive for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, volunteered for the UAB Benevolent Fund Habitat for Humanity build and worked with Student Advocacy, Rights and Conduct on a drive to benefit its food and supply pantry, which supplies needed items to UAB students experiencing financial need or food insecurity.

“We want to make [Birmingham] a better place to live,” Rhodes said. “[UAB] already is a fantastic place to work. I have 18 years of experience both on the hospital and campus side, and I think UAB is the best place on the planet to put my roots down and call home.”

Room for growth

As the council winds up for its second year on campus, big things are planned, including a new staff mentoring program that will be offered in collaboration with Organization Learning and Development. They also have worked with OL&D on the launch of Lynda.com, the UAB Success Model and the improved Manager’s Toolkit.

ginger Hattaway insideGinger Hattaway, past-chair

“We know mentoring is important in terms of professional development,” Rhodes said. “We think mentoring is a step in the right direction in helping those goals become more achievable.”

The staff council also wants to continue to promote a culture of pride about working at UAB through its Be Seen in Green initiative, which it resurrected this past year to encourage employees to wear Blazer green every Friday to support UAB. Rhodes said this is especially timely with #TheReturn approaching and a renewed pride in UAB Football.

“We want to be sure people are showing their school spirit and supporting our football team, band and cheerleaders by wearing Blazer Green,” he said.

Get involved

The UAB Staff Council meets 8:30 a.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month in Volker Hall Room 302, and meetings are open to any UAB employee. The meetings feature guest speakers from UAB.

“We welcome any staff member on campus to attend,” Rhodes said. “If we all pull together with one concerted effort, there’s no limit to what we could do.”