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Meet the University Staff Council Chair

Nicole Owen
Nicole Owen

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to all of you on our campuses. This introduction is long overdue, but I am a firm believer that it is never too late to reach out, network, and make new connections. Especially during the challenging times we find ourselves in these days. 

On October 1, 2020, I was elected as your University Staff Council Chair, and was re-elected in July of 2021 for a second term.  Now I understand there are individuals on our campus that still do not know what University Staff Council is and what we do. That is due in part to the Council only being in operation for about 11 years. Almost everyone on campus recognizes University Senate and Student Senate and knows that they are part of the shared governance model on this campus. The University Staff Council makes up the 3RD piece of Shared Governance. We are the voice of University Staff, your support system, and your colleagues. The council is made up of fellow University Staff members who have volunteered and been elected by the full body to serve in this role. Please click on the link above to see who your council members are, and you will probably see a few familiar faces. Attached to this email is an informational handout that gives a bit more information on who we are and what we do.

Each month the Chair, Nicole Owen; Vice Chair, Emily Herwig; and University Staff Representative, Sally Eckwright; meet with the following administrators on campus to bring forward issues relating to University Staff and to stay up to date. In addition we meet as a full council monthly as well as the Executive Committee:

  • Chancellor, James Schmidt
  • Provost & Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, Patricia Kleine
  • Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, Grace Crickette
  • Vice Chancellor of EDI & Student Affairs, Olga Diaz
  • Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management, Billy Felz

Now, a little background about myself. I have been a state employee for 14 years, and have spent the last 13 years as the ADA in the Department of Mathematics. In about 2016, I decided to attend a University Staff Council meeting after a little prodding from a colleague. She asked me to attend because I was always asking her about issues relating to University Staff and how we could change things to make them better. She appreciated my enthusiasm, my empathetic nature, and my consideration for others. She believed I would be a perfect person to get involved with University Staff Council. I am happy to say that she was right and I have continued to get more involved since that very first meeting. This shared governance experience has allowed me to feel more connected to our campus, more knowledgeable about what is happening on our campus, and has helped me to expand my professional network. Thank you for trusting me to be your leader.

I encourage all University Staff members to attend one of our meetings, reach out to a council member that is familiar to you, or get involved on one of our many committees. We are an energetic group and would like to hear from all of our members. You can email anytime at and we will get back to you.  

Thank you for your time and we look forward to working with you.  

Nicole Owen  (she/her/hers)
University Staff Council