UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Preparing for its 2021-2022 academic year, the University Staff Advisory Council (USAC) has elected new executive members to lead the council in service to the University president and administration on issues impacting staff University-wide.
Benjy Romig, consultant for Identity and Access Management in the Office of Information Security, is chair for 2021-2022. Serving alongside him as secretary will be Rachel Galloway, assistant director of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.
Terra Ingram, administrative coordinator for the SAFES Institute within the College of Agricultural Sciences, will serve as chair-elect. Lynne O’Cain, program coordinator in the Office of the Senior Associate Dean for Instruction and Curricula at the Eberly College of Science, and Billie Jo Yuhaniak, administrative coordinator for the Chancellor’s Office at Penn State Fayette, will serve as co-secretaries elect.
Romig is beginning his fourth year with USAC. He has previously served as chair of USAC’s Communications Committee. His primary initiative for USAC this year is to promote engagement —including engagement amongst USAC members, as well as with university leadership, focusing on increasing two-way communication. In addition, by promoting USAC events, both virtual and in-person, while continuing to provide and expand our online social media presence, messaging, and providing regular updates, his goal is to increase awareness and promote engagement with all staff across the University.
Romig said he is looking forward to what the upcoming year will hold. “Hopefully we are coming to the end of the ‘COVID-era,’ and it is imperative that the lessons we learned since the beginning of 2020 (such as workday flexibility and the importance of self-care) aren't ignored or forgotten, allowing for progress instead of simply reverting to 2019 status.”
Starting her third year on USAC, Ingram has served as the chair of USAC’s Awards and Recognition Committee, as well as chair of the staff advisory councils in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Smeal College of Business. Reflecting on the challenges and obstacles the University’s staff faced in 2020, Ingram said she is certain staff members cannot lose sight of what has been learned, the important role staff play in the operation of the University, and the need for USAC to continue its work representing and advocating for staff. “USAC serves as an advisory board to the Vice President of Human Resources, and we will continue to work on strengthening that relationship, as well as our relationships with other senior leadership team members,” Ingram said. “We will do this while also working to increase our visibility and communication with staff, so they feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns with USAC.”
Galloway is beginning her third term with USAC and has served as a member of the Communications Committee as well as the newly formed Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity (IE&D) Committee. In 2021-2022, she is serving as co-chair of the IE&D Committee, as well as secretary. When joining USAC, she said she was looking for ways to engage with the broader University. In her role as part of Penn State Student Affairs, she serves as an advocate for students when they express needs or concerns. She said USAC provides an opportunity for her to advocate on behalf of fellow staff while allowing her to expand her University network beyond the University Park campus. In addition to her role as secretary, she aims for the IE&D Committee to continue its work learning about the experiences of staff from underrepresented backgrounds.
O’Cain is starting her second year on USAC and previously served as a member of USAC’s Awards and Recognition Committee last year. She said her belief that everyone has valuable experience and advice to contribute, no matter what their background or our role at the University is, was one of the reasons she joined USAC. O’Cain said USAC affords her the opportunity to learn and work alongside members from across the commonwealth to share staff concerns and create opportunities for positive change.
Yuhaniak is also beginning her second year on USAC. Her interest in joining the Council stems from her work in helping create the Staff Senate organization at Penn State Fayette. She hopes to provide positive staff representation from the Commonwealth Campuses and to be an advocate for her peers across the University. For the past year, she served on USAC’s Logistics Committee. In the upcoming year serving as co-secretary, Yuhaniak said she is eager to share updates and to bring awareness of USAC’s outstanding work to the commonwealth campuses.
The 2021-22 University Staff Advisory Council is comprised of thirty-one members, of which seven are new to the council.