By Monica M. Walk
TIMING IS key for some commitments.
KATHLEEN STAUFFER, MUPP, Assistant Dean for Administration in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), felt that sense of positive timing keenly when she joined APAC in February 2015. Her professional and personal commitments were aligned in a way that finally opened the opportunity to join the organization she had long wanted to support.
WHILE SHE had attended APAC events casually prior to this year, Stauffer felt a pull to more deeply participate in the organization.
“IT IS something I thought about for the last 15 years,” she said of serving the organization. “Now I have more [UIC] experience, and I am done raising my kids. Now, I have time.”
WHEN SHE joined the group, Stauffer also immediately stepped into a board position as APAC budget officer, drawing on her years of professional UIC budgeting experience.
“I AM an Academic Professional,” Stauffer said. “I like the mission of APAC. It is very helpful to me, especially because of the concerns with HR issues the last several years. The Academic Professional to Civil Service conversions have been going on for five years, and have been contentious. Being part of APAC gives me a better feeling of control, and that it is possible to shape how things turn out.”
STAUFFER CITES the ongoing conversion process among her top priorities in her APAC work.
“IT WOULD be nice to come up with some type of solution to conversions that have happened, and to review those that are questionable and may be moved back to AP,” she said. “I want to inform everyone of what they need to be aware of.”
UNIONS, PENSION issues, and salary parity and increases also are among her top concerns for Academic Professionals.
“THE ACADEMIC Professionals are the only group on our campus with no union representation,” Stauffer said. “We are the only ones on our own. This group is the only way to advocate for Academic Professionals on campus. It is a good way to have our voices heard.”
STAUFFER CAME to UIC as a graduate student in CUPPA in 1990 and earned a Master’s degree in urban planning and public affairs. She then worked for CUPPA in several departments: the Center for Urban Economic Development, the Urban Transportation Center, and the Dean’s office. She moved to the College of Pharmacy, but returned to CUPPA in 2005, where she now concentrates on administrative work for both the college and the unit, with a focus on human resources and budgets. Throughout her UIC career, Stauffer has worked with students ranging from new undergraduates to departing graduate students.
“THIS IS a really nice place to work,” Stauffer said of UIC. “It has been very collegial in all the positions I have had throughout my tenure at the University.”
SHE URGES other Academic Professionals to attend APAC events. “It is well worth the time and effort to get involved,” Stauffer said. “Everyone has perspective and positive things to add, whether they have been here a year or ten,” she said.
“JUST DON’T wait as long as I did,” she advised, with a laugh.
TO CONTACT Stauffer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.