Staff advisory council elects leadership for academic year

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The University Staff Advisory Council (USAC), which serves the University president and administration in an advisory capacity about issues that have an impact on staff across the University, has elected new leaders for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Nicole Sturges, assistant director of the Center for Survey Research at Penn State Harrisburg, is chair for 2020-2021. Serving alongside her as co-secretaries will be Terra Ingram, administrative staff coordinator for the Center for Professional Personnel Development in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Jane Pflaum, assistant to the chancellor at Penn State York.

Benjy Romig, consultant for Identity and Access Management in the Office of Information Security, will serve as chair-elect. Rachel Galloway, assistant director of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, will serve as secretary-elect.

Sturges is beginning her fourth year with USAC. For the past two years, she has served as chair of USAC’s Outreach Committee. She has also lead planning for the USAC Summit, an annual event to bring together representatives of Staff Advisory Councils across the University for networking and collaboration. She said she plans to build on much of the great work that USAC began in the past year. Her areas of focus for the council include community engagement, communication, and support and advocacy for Penn State staff.

Sturges will be the first staff member from a commonwealth campus to serve as USAC chair. “I am excited to bring a different perspective to leading the council.” Sturges said. “I would like to encourage more representation and membership on USAC from commonwealth campuses and to build on our outreach and communication efforts to hear from staff across all areas of the University.”

Starting his third year on USAC, Romig has served as chair of the Communications Committee.  “Having worked in non-traditional capacities including nights, weekends and telecommuting, I wanted to be sure that there was a voice for others who are working under similar conditions.” he said on why he joined USAC.  When asked about his new position as chair-elect, he added: “Nicole brings such passion and excitement – I am looking forward to the opportunity to work more closely with her moving into the new year”.

Ingram is starting her second year on USAC. She said she was first drawn to the committee and their work because she wanted to be a voice for staff concerns and help to create change in the university system that will have a positive impact on its staff members. Terra has served as the chair of the staff advisory councils in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the Smeal College of Business in the past. She is passionate about staff advocacy and leadership that has an impact. Terra will also serve as the chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee for the coming year.  

Pflaum is also beginning her second year on USAC. Her interest in joining the council was driven by the opportunity to share issues, concerns, and successes of staff across the University and to have a chance to create positive change for all staff. In the upcoming year, she hopes to heighten awareness of USAC’s initiatives with staff at commonwealth campuses. Pflaum is currently the chair of Penn State York’s Staff Advisory Council and in 2020-21 will also serve as co-chair of USAC’s Communication Committee.

Galloway will be serving her second year on USAC. Within her role in Student Affairs, she serves as an advocate for students. Volunteering with USAC seemed like a natural step toward becoming an advocate for her peers as well. USAC can influence critical policies and initiatives that effect staff members daily, and Galloway believes it is the responsibility of the Council to think critically and communicate broadly. She said she hopes to remain positive and productive in her new role as secretary-elect and in her continued participation on USAC’s Communication Committee.

For more information on USAC, visit

Last Updated September 04, 2020