Staff Council leadership ready for new year

When Mary Field took on the role of University of Houston-Victoria Staff Council chair last school year, she had no idea what to expect during a pandemic. Now, she’s ready to continue the work she started.

Mary Field

Field, an administrative assistant in the UHV School of Business Administration, is the 2021-2022 UHV Staff Council chair after volunteering to stay in the position for another year. UHV Staff Council chairs can serve two consecutive years in the position. She also will continue to represent the university’s staff on the UHV President’s Cabinet.

“I feel that the council accomplished a lot this last year, and we are making strides,” Field said. “We have a strong council, and we wouldn’t be this far along in our projects without everyone’s hard work. I am excited to keep working on behalf of the UHV staff.”

The purpose of the Staff Council is to communicate staff concerns, share ideas and resources, and create opportunities for UHV involvement. The council also discusses university issues and policies. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Staff Council met virtually through Microsoft Teams last school year. The council is considering keeping a virtual or hybrid option for future council meetings since attendance increased after switching to a virtual setting, Field said.

Field has been a member of the Staff Council for several years and served as the board secretary in 2008-2009 and 2017-2018, and as vice chair in 2019-2020.

Last school year, the council focused on how to help UHV staff members with compensation, including staff members whose positions were unable to be reclassified. The council created a compensation committee in the fall to research what other universities with similar challenges were doing.

The Staff Council is working with UHV administration on a five-year plan to help get staff salaries up to estimated market values for each position. The committee will be working with UHV Human Resources, as well as looking into training and other opportunities for staff to develop skills to help work their way up the career ladder.

“Everyone is excited about the progress we have made and looking toward the future of UHV,” Field said. “UHV President Bob Glenn and Provost Chance Glenn are supportive of the staff, and we could not be happier to have an open-minded administration. We all have a goal of making UHV the employer of choice in Victoria and the Crossroads.”

Theresa Hawken

Theresa Hawken also will serve on the Staff Council as vice chair. The position of vice chair is typically a three-year commitment because the vice chair becomes the chair the following year and then past chair the third year. Hawken has worked at UHV for a little more than 12 years. She has worked as an administrative assistant in the UHV Library since 2015 and before that worked in the provost’s office. She also has been a member of the Staff Council for several years and previously served as secretary.

Other topics the council expects to continue working on include the addition of UHV parking lots and organizing in-person events for staff, including a welcome back luncheon, Hawken said.

“I have enjoyed being the vice chair and working with Mary, and I am looking forward to continue the work that we all started last year,” she said. “The Staff Council is an important part of the university and is a place where staff members can have their voices heard. We have a great group of people and a wonderful staff, and I think we will get even more work done this year.”

The 2021-2022 UHV Staff Council leadership is:

  • Vice Chair – Theresa Hawken, administrative assistant, UHV Library
  • Secretary – Shayna Palacios, analyst, Title IX and Equal Opportunity
  • University of Houston System Staff Executive Council Member At-Large – Lauren Emerson, communications manager, Marketing & Communications
  • At-Large Victoria – Kendra Matthews, executive administrative assistant, Provost’s Office; Camilla Sutton, assistant director, Residence Life; and Julie Buchhorn Wardi, manager, UHV Testing Services
  • At-Large Katy – Jennifer Reeder, academic advisor, School of Arts & Sciences; Kristy Hennessey, academic advisor, School of Business Administration; and Kiyanna Coleman, certification analyst, School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco