It’s election season for DePaul’s Staff Council, which means it’s time to decide who will be the voice for staff concerns and ideas in the coming year. Erin Berkowitz, staff council president, spoke with Newsline about why she got involved and how you can make an informed decision as a voter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself—what’s your role at DePaul?
I am currently the director of academic advising in the College of Science and Health. In my role, I work closely with faculty, staff, and students to deliver advising services to the undergraduate students in the college.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
When I moved to Chicago in spring 2010, I started running along the lakefront and signed up to run the Chicago Marathon that fall. Since then, I have completed 14 marathons, four triathlons, running relays, and countless half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. Some of my best friends in Chicago are those I met through the running community. I am also an avid reader and love talking to others about the latest book they are reading.
How did you first get involved with Staff Council and what motivated you to run?
I have worked at DePaul for nine years and have been involved with Staff Council for about five. I decided to run for Staff Council after attending the 2013 budget forum, when I realized how important it is for staff to know about changes to budget, benefits, and policy.
What are a few things that you think the DePaul community might not know about Staff Council?
Staff Council plays an important role on many of the university committees, which can be the best forum for our staff voice to be heard. Change can sometimes happen slowly at DePaul. When Staff Council receive concerns or ideas from staff, we work with administration to share that information. Staff Council then considers how we can take this information to make positive changes for all staff. Two examples that come to mind are part-time tuition benefits and parental family leave. These are issues that Staff Council worked on for years before they were approved as benefits changes.
What’s your favorite part of serving on Staff Council?
My favorite part of serving on Staff Council is the ability to meet staff from across the university. Staff Council is a great way to work with others you may not normally interact with during the workday. I also feel like I have a much better understanding of DePaul policies, staff benefits, and the university budgeting process since joining Staff Council.
What are some of your priorities for the coming year, and what events are your favorite?
My biggest priority is improving staff morale. Staff have experienced many changes at DePaul over the past five or six years. I want staff to feel valued in the work they do to make DePaul a great institution for our students and a place our alumni can be proud of. We recently hosted two Noontime Networking events to provide staff with opportunities to get to know Staff Council as well as colleagues from across the university. Staff Council also hosted a professional development showcase in January. The showcase brought various staff professional development opportunities for staff together in a fair-style event. This event gave staff an opportunity to learn more about opportunities they can participate in to expand their skills at DePaul.
Elections are happening now, what should staff look for as they’re choosing among candidates?
Voting is open until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 26.