Meet 3 Staff Council reps who want you take their seats

The UAB Staff Council is more than just a monthly meeting and two-year commitment, say representatives whose support is strong though their terms are ending. It’s about giving a voice to staff, which is important to every unit at UAB, said Jennifer Spears, a School of Medicine representative.

If you know a staff member who represents UAB’s values so well they should do so in an official capacity, nominate them as a Staff Council representative for their organizational unit through Friday, March 30. New representatives will serve a two-year term that begins in August and ends in July 2020.

  • Understanding each other

    David Dada, a coordinator in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, said one of the most important things he learned from his time with the council is how important it is the group exists. It allows UAB employees to both celebrate and advocate for each other — something especially important within his unit because the Division of Student Affairs has many employees who don’t have traditional job responsibilities.

    “Our job descriptions may vary widely, but we share many common experiences as UAB staff,” he said. “We need advocates who are aware of that responsibility.”

    The Staff Council encourages employees to become more connected with the university, and “promotes a sense of community among staff from different entities,” he said.
  • Finding connections

    Jennifer Spears, program coordinator in the Department of Ophthalmology, said doesn’t know where to start to identify her most important experiences during her service as a representative. Guest speakers helped her better understand campuswide initiatives such as FLSA changes, Blazer Kitchen and efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

    “[It] has connected me more closely to the UAB community and given me the tools I need to help people in my area when they have questions,” she said.

    The council also helps remind employees there are areas outside their own — all working toward the same goal. “When we come together as a group, we can accomplish so much more than one individual alone,” she said. “I have met so many people passionate about the UAB community through my involvement with the Staff Council.”
  • Cheering each other on

    Mary Foster, executive assistant in the School of Health Professions and longtime UAB employee, said she had hoped for a Staff Council for many years, and it came together at just the right moment.

    “The timing was perfect for the staff to come together to promote a positive morale and strengthen the sense of community at UAB,” she said.

    Being part of the inaugural council was a learning curve for all involved, and Foster said she enjoyed meeting new people and renewing old friendships. Being a representative on the council enabled her to share SHP’s culture of pride and school spirit with other units.

    “The council has taken an active role in many universitywide committees, and I have learned about so many opportunities to serve, learn and develop from our various speakers,” she said. “The Staff Council has given employees a stronger voice on our campus and it has been nice to be a part of that.”

Formed in 2016, the Staff Council is an engaged campus organization that represents 22 organizational units and is dedicated to promoting an exchange of ideas among its members, the campus community and the UAB administration. It 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.