Denise Prescott, University of Houston-Victoria payroll and benefits manager, recently became the 2008-2009 chair of the UHV Staff Council, a group that represents all benefits-eligible staff in university matters.
"I think that the Staff Council is very important for the success of the university, Prescott said. "It's critical that staff members have an outlet for voicing their opinions about the things that take place at UHV."
Although all staff members who are eligible for university benefits automatically are part of the Staff Council, members of the council's executive board are elected by university staff to one-year terms. The board works to educate the staff about UHV issues and provides a way for staff members to discuss university matters, Prescott said.
Prescott was elected a year ago as 2007-2008 vice chair, so she automatically became 2008-2009 chair. Other new members of the executive board are:
- Vice chair Lisa Barr, Small Business Development Center business adviser
- Secretary Cassandra Clark, finance accounting clerk
- Exempt at large (professionals, administrators and executives paid monthly) Anna Salazar, university advancement administrative assistant
- Nonexempt at large (office and clerical employees paid hourly) Sunitha Subbaiah, university receptionist
Randy Faulk, 2007-2008 Staff Council chair, will serve as past chair on the executive board in 2008-2009 to answer any questions that the new members may have. Faulk, UHV user services administrator, also was vice chair of the Staff Council in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007, and chair in 2005-2006.
"It's been a great experience," he said. "The things you learn about how the university runs makes it a wonderful opportunity."
Faulk said the council got involved this past year with discussions about UHV possibly becoming a four-year university in the future. The board sent out a survey to UHV staff members and found the vast majority supported the expansion.
"We were very appreciative of UHV President Tim Hudson involving us with that," he said.
The council also started working on adding a fitness release program that would allow benefits-eligible staff members to use up to three hours of their work week to pursue fitness activities. The program is awaiting approval from the UHV President's Cabinet.
Prescott said she thinks the program will be well received if it is approved. She also wants to get more staff from the University of Houston System-Sugar Land and the University of Houston System-Cinco Ranch involved with Staff Council meetings in 2008-2009. Both campuses are administered by UHV.
"I want them to feel like if they have an issue, they can come to Staff Council, and we can help them," she said.
As 2008-2009 chair, Prescott will represent the staff on the UHV Presidents Cabinet and will sit on the University System Staff Executive Council.