March 31, 2015

Moss Leaving APAC Leadership, Will Continue Committee Volunteerism

Michael Moss, as APAC Chair, meeting with then-Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.
By Monica M. Walk and William S. Bike
AFTER FIVE years of leading the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC), Michael Moss has stepped down as chair of the organization. He will, however, continue to support the group as a committee member. In fact, until the APAC elections in April, Moss will serve as treasurer—while former treasurer Colleen Piersen steps up as interim chair.
THE POSITION swap is the result of Moss realizing he needed to reorganize his volunteer time to better handle changing job duties and his enrollment in graduate school at UIC. Moss is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration while continuing to work in the Office of Budget Operations and Financial Analysis.
APPRECIATION FOR the University’s mission of research, instruction, and public service led to Moss’s arrival at UIC in 2003. He worked in Student Services in the Office of Student Financial Aid, then moved to a series of positions in the business office before taking on the associate directorship of his current unit. He calls his current UIC office “a good place to be.”
THAT POSITIVE feeling continues to extend to APAC, which Moss identifies as a good fit for his volunteer interests. It took attending only one meeting eight years ago to cement his commitment. 
“I WAS really drawn to represent the interests and concerns of AP staff to campus and University leadership,” he said. “I have a long background in volunteer work. It is satisfying to contribute.”
CHAIRING THE group did sometimes involve stress, as Moss noted that the best interests of individual employees may not always be in sync with the best interests of the campus overall. “Over time, it became easier; as I learned more about employees and got to know APs, it was easier to make sure they were well represented,” Moss said.
CALLING HIMSELF a “numbers and data person,” Moss cites development of a staff survey among his APAC leadership highlights. “It was the first survey of staff to learn their interests and concerns,” he said. “Data made it easier to move those concerns forward.”
THREE AREAS rose to the top as significantly important to employees:  job analysis and conversion; pension benefits; and equity issues involving comparison of peers.
“WE FIRST took action on pensions and conversions,” said Moss, “which represented the most significant concerns of the time and got a lot of support from the campus and our AP constituents. Who else fights for what is important to Academic Professionals?” he asked. “We represent a voice that doesn’t have unions or other organized efforts dedicated exclusively to voicing the interests and concerns of our APs.”
SUPPORT INCLUDED coordination of hundreds of signatures and comments that helped halt a legislative process that would have ended local hiring decisions for Academic Professional positions, moving the authority to make such decisions back to the State Universities Civil Service System. “I truly believe we stopped the legislative process on that issue,” Moss said, calling it a highlight of his APAC leadership. “We were probably the only employee group to take such large scale, coordinated action.”
APAC WAS among other groups, including the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), opposing Senate Bill 512 and its proposed changes to diminish current benefits. “People were concerned, and we were able to communicate that very clearly,” Moss said.
TOWN HALL meetings organized under Moss’s leadership also proved effective. “We held a dozen or more Town Hall meetings on job conversion and the status of the University budget,” he said, noting the participation of University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter in recent meetings.
 “THE CHAIR sometimes gets the most attention,” Moss commented in closing. “But, there are 17 other people on the committee working hard—who deserve 17 times as much recognition and appreciation.”

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