August 23, 2012

APAC Profile

Colleen Piersen.
Job Analysis Project Got Colleen Piersen Involved with APAC
By Ivone DeJesus
COLLEEN PIERSEN is the Assistant Head for Administration in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy--the fifth most active research unit on campus as measured by Fiscal Year expenditures. She also is a Research Assistant Professor, contributing to the unit's research programs and Director of Research Services for the College of Pharmacy.

AS ASSISTANT Head for Administration of a complex department, her responsibilities span finance, human resources, and academics with a strong emphasis on research administration and compliance. There is “never a dull or static moment” as Piersen interacts with a network of about 200 individuals. She enjoys the challenge of managing the department's resources and staffing to optimize research and academic performance, as well as mentoring junior faculty members, postdocs, and staff committed to progress in biomedical science. Being able to truly facilitate research is another reason that she enjoys her role at UIC. In broader perspective, the opportunity to be able to improve the quality of science education/literacy in the United States makes the hard work worthwhile.

HAVING BEEN at UIC since 2000, Piersen previously served as Program Coordinator and managed research activities for the UIC/National Institutes of Health Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. Throughout the years, she attended APAC events and meetings but it wasn’t until this past spring that she became an elected member. She was prompted to become involved due to the UIC Job Analysis Project. Piersen stated that she perceived a “need to preserve and recognize the value to the University of valid AP positions.” 

IN THE upcoming year, she would like APAC to “continue to voice concerns and propose rational solutions to problems as they arise in the new job matrix” and “observe the introduction of new job families and their potentaial impact on the campus research enterprise.”

PIERSEN’S COMMITMENT to APAC is apparent, as she said, “as one of your representatives, I will attempt to convey the collective knowledge and concerns of APs on campus.”

SHE ALSO gives some “words of wisdom” to non-APAC members: “Academic Professionals play a vital role in coordinating and synthesizing various functions (Finance, HR, etc.), and the preservation of flexible AP positions or the substance thereof during the job analysis/conversion process is in the best interest of the University.”

WHILE HER work at UIC keeps her quite busy, she makes the time to be involved in volunteer activities such as being a Science Olympiad event coach at the junior high level and a Girl Scout troop leader. Her children’s school and sports activities as well as her enjoyment of travelling native landscape gardening also fill her free time. Piersen has three children -- two boys and one girl -- ages 14, 12, and 8 in high, middle, and elementary school this Fall. She is married to Russell McLaughlin, an anesthesiologist whom she met while they we were both training at Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

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