Role: I work with a great team of people who provide fantastic support for our students who are preparing to take on sometimes difficult but always essential roles as educators and other professionals supporting people with disabilities. I spend a lot of time on curriculum development, ensuring that our programs are up to date with the latest requirements for teacher licensure and other certifications, and that we’re responding to student demand for new course offerings on different aspects of disability. Another large part of my role is to admit students to our graduate programs, which can be traditional on-campus programs, cohort programs in cooperation with local school divisions, and fully online programs. And I also act as the HR Liaison for the division – it really is a very varied role.
Mason journey: I joined Mason in my current role in the fall of 2019. My husband was already working in the College of Science, and my son had just started at the Child Development Center, so then we were a complete Mason family!
Best thing about working at Mason: The vast majority of people at Mason are working towards advancing and improving the university, and while they all have that goal in common, there are so many different views about what that actually means. To my mind, that’s great insofar as it creates this tension that builds on the strengths of the university, so that the whole is so much more than the sum of the parts; and at the same time, it’s so important that, as individuals and as an institution overall, we’re maintaining a level of awareness and decency that ensures the needs of less-advantaged members of our community are heard and uplifted. The recent Vision Day focus on student food insecurity is a great example, as are the programs that are run across campus to help create a safer, more welcoming and inclusive environment for marginalized communities within the university.
On a personal note, my favorite thing about being on campus in Fairfax is being able to step out of my office at lunchtime and go and sit under a tree or in a little forest. It’s my strong hope that we continue to recognize the value of the wooded areas that are such a feature of this campus and find a way to preserve them even as the university expands and develops.
Why I serve on the Staff Senate: I stood for Staff Senate in order to promote the sustainability issues that I care deeply about. I’m happy to be part of the revived Environmental Justice and Sustainability ad hoc committee, and to be working in partnership with University Sustainability and others across the campuses, especially now in Earth Month, to encourage everyone to reimagine what they can do to work towards a greener Mason. I’m also in the process of building an online community that is intended to act as a hub for people to connect with each other about environmental and sustainability issues and to enable more people to work together to take action and advocate for change.
At the end of the day: I believe that, as staff, we support and sustain each other as we support the institution. There’s a quote I keep coming back to: “Everything worthwhile is done with other people.” I hope that I can use my time as a senator to do something worthwhile, and to do so with others.