Discussion with Vice Chancellor Ron Mitchelson

On November 25th, the Research and Graduate Studies Division Staff Senators and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion Vice Chancellor Ron Mitchelson.  The meeting was well underway when I arrived (I had one of those silly “right time, wrong place” moments) but Dr. Mitchelson was extremely gracious as I explained my tardiness and he immediately helped me to feel at ease as he began telling me how supportive he is of Staff Senate. 

Prior to my arrival there was discussion regarding Sustainability and the Conflict of Interest Policy and how to better inform and include the Staff Senate on these projects.  We had some discussion about the Sustainability Staff Forums and it was mentioned that there was limited attendance, which led our discussion into how the Staff Senate might be able to better encourage participation and attendance at staff-centric activities such as these.  Ideas included giving away free stuff, maybe having a door prize that participants could register to win, and figuring out ways to communicate better both internally to the staff senate as well as externally to each of our constituents.  Rick suggested creating a half-sheet flyer with the main topics of interest each month and having several copies available for senators to pick up at our monthly meetings and pass out in their divisions.

As we were sitting there with the Vice Chancellor, I realized how comfortable and relaxed I was.  Dr. Mitchelson has this easy nature to him that reminded me of that commercial about the “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  He is so genuine and interesting that I could probably get lost for a week just sitting and listening to what he has to say.  As our conversation continued, it seemed apparent that the staff felt very comfortable in his presence as well, and I feel like our “meeting” could have easily taken place around a fire or in a restaurant, because it felt more like talking with friends than colleagues.  As much as I hate to admit this, I was so drawn in by Dr. Mitchelson that I forgot to take notes!  So I am definitely not slighting the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, with a shorter post, I just enjoyed myself a little too much!

After our meeting, Rick took me around the Sponsored Programs offices, and introduced me to his Director, Barbara Gray and ERS Specialist, Angie Wade before showing off his own office, which by the way, if you have not visited Rick’s office, you may want to put that on your to-do list; it’s VERY unique!  Rick then passed me off to Suhail and Christina and they concluded my tour with the Grants and Administration Offices and introductions to EPAF Business Coordinator, Rosalie Farley and the Director of Grants and Contracts, Ms. Cathy Hall.  It was a very interesting day as I gained perspective of how much goes on in these two departments!  I know all of our departments are over-worked and under-staffed, but I was truly impressed with the amount of work they do with such limited staff!  Way to go you guys!!!

Many thanks to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies for allowing me to join in their meeting, and especially to Rick Smiley, Christina Kennedy and Suhail Guzman for the wonderful departmental tours and introductions. 

For those of you in the Division of Academic Affairs, your opportunity to have a discussion with your Vice Chancellor is coming up on Monday, December 2nd, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there!