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Applications Due March 1 for UC Board of Regents Staff Advisor

February 11, 2013

Juliann Martinez worked at UC Berkeley for 21 years, but it was not until she became staff adviser to the Board of Regents that she fully grasped the enormity of the university system, everything it does and the people who make it possible.

"One of the most rewarding experiences was meeting staff throughout the system, and hearing and feeling their commitment to the university," said Martinez, who served as staff adviser from 2009-2011. "At the time, we were starting to implement furloughs, changes were being proposed to post-employment benefits and fee increases were in the works. Despite all that, what I heard was a tremendous commitment from staff at all levels to maintaining the quality of the university through the work they do every day"

Apply by March 1 to become the next staff adviser-designate
Learn more about the staff adviser program and how to apply on the staff adviser website. Applications are due by 5 p.m. March 1. If you have questions about the position or the application process, call Juliann Martinez in UCOP Employee Relations at 510-287-3331 or email her at Juliann.Martinez@ucop.edu.

The staff adviser program, now in its seventh year, allows two staff and/or non-Senate academic employees to participate in open sessions of designated committees of the board. The staff advisers bring the voice and perspective of staff and non-Senate academic employees to board deliberations.

Kevin Smith, chief administrative officer for the UCLA Chancellor's Organization, and Kathy Barton, executive director of strategic initiatives at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, are the current staff advisers. Smith's term expires June 30.

The chance to become the 10th staff adviser since the Staff Adviser program was launched is here. Applications for the 2013-2015 staff adviser-designate will be accepted through March 1.

In 2007, the regents created two staff adviser positions to help foster two-way communication and bring the perspective of staff and non-Senate academic employees to policy deliberations.

Staff advisers hear staff's concerns and ideas during campus visits, systemwide forums, and by email and phone. They meet regularly with UC leaders including the president and regents, providing valuable input to help shape policies and programs. They are nonvoting members of the Board of Regents, and serve on several regents committees.

Dave Miller, director of Diversity Outreach in the Office of Diversity and Faculty Development at UCLA, was one of two inaugural staff advisers appointed in 2005 to build the program.

"There are less than a handful of higher education institutions that allow staff to be a member of the board of regents," Miller said. "It is an incredible opportunity for people who are passionate about this institution, who have an agenda to move forward the interests of staff, and have the ability to bring forth recommendations to the board."

"The level of access to senior leaders of the university, to each member of the Board of Regents, and as we've seen, even to the governor and the lieutenant governor, is unparalleled," he added.

Past and present staff advisers say the role has exceeded their expectations.

Current staff adviser-designate Kathy Barton, who will transition to staff adviser in June and help mentor the incoming candidate, said one of the most rewarding experiences so far has been the ability to bring to policy deliberations the perspective of staff who might not otherwise have a loud voice.

The role has also given her a deeper understanding of the complex issues facing the University of California.

"You may be aware of the big issues, but you aren't necessarily studying the details or looking at the impact in a comprehensive way," said Barton, executive director of strategic initiatives at the UC Riverside School of Medicine.

"At first the scope of these issues seems daunting, but as you get into the role, you become more and more conversant."

The past nine staff advisers have left indelible marks on programs and policies. Their input shaped how furloughs were administered at campuses in 2009, and ensured that the university understood the value of offering a traditional pension plan at a time when the idea of shifting to a defined contribution plan was bandied about.

Former Staff Adviser Lynda Brewer of UC Irvine served on the selection committee that recommended Mark G. Yudof as UC president in 2007. And the climate survey currently under way at all campuses grew out of recommendations from the Study Group on UC Diversity, on which a staff adviser served.

More critical issues facing the university await the next staff advisers.

"State funding has been a big issue and that's going to continue," Barton said. "Prop. 30 is helping us tread water, but we need a long-term solution that will help protect the quality of this university. UC is under a lot of pressure to find administrative efficiencies and generate new sources of revenue."

Other issues that will affect staff and the university include the initiative to deploy a single systemwide human resources and payroll system known as UCPath, and projects that increase administrative efficiencies through the Working Smarter initiative.

Martinez, who is handling applications for the staff-adviser designate opening in her new role in employee relations at UC Office of the President, encourages staff to learn more about the position.

"It's a fabulous experience," Martinez said. "You get to see the university in a way that changes you forever and have an impact on shaping its future."