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2022 Wrap up: Election Results and Accomplishments

2022 Wrap up:

As the academic year closes, we wanted to reflect with our community on what the PSO has been up to. First, a note on transitions: Board members whose tenures are ending include officers Leyla Salmassi, President; Jen Davison, Vice President; and Kat Eli, Secretary; as well as Board members Annette Anderson, Keavy Gilbert, and Matt Weatherford. Over the past year the PSO has worked to create positive impacts for the University of Washington professional staff community. The focus on DEI work both in the Board and within the PSO DEI Committee led to, among other things, two, 2-day, DEI Forums in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. Hosted in partnership with The Whole U and other partners across UW’s three main campuses, these events were attended by over 300 people each–and daylighted and connected people and efforts across the university community.


One of the central themes driving these and other efforts, a theme which underpins PSO’s purpose, is that of resonance and connectivity. We seek to facilitate knowledge sharing and get past ‘siloing’ tendencies that are so common in organizations like ours, and to remind people that they are not alone, and that partnering together to build on common visions and goals is both possible and feasible.


The PSO Board has achieved just that in the last year with this and many other important efforts. Here are some highlights we’d like to share:


Our Elections Committee has streamlined a new elections form, and reworked messaging around elections to encourage and enable more folks to participate in our processes: both as voters and as potential Board members.


The Legislative Committee hosted PSO Legislative Preview with Director of State Relations Joe Dacca; organized and shared Legislative Town Hall meeting schedules with our community; and continued to work with campus partners. The Committee also worked to keep the professional staff community informed by posting relevant updates to the PSO website.


The PSO Communications Committee is in some ways an unsung hero of the PSO. The PSO’s mission depends on communication, and every important message put forth by us is processed by this committee. For example, our monthly newsletter gets distributed to over 11,000 subscribers, and over 33% of those recipients open the letter every month! This year, the committee implemented a new platform and process for editing and publishing the newsletter, which will allow the Board to more easily collaborate in the publishing process.


Since last Summer, our Scholarships Committee has awarded 14 scholarships for career development, totaling $5000, and has thus far funded (via reimbursements) some $2000 of those awards. As a reminder: these funds are donated by you, our members, to support other members and the mission of the PSO!


Ongoing work of the PSO and its UTC representatives for the past 6 years around the UPASS Advocacy (letters to UTC, testimony at 2018 Campus Master Plan, and public comment before the UW Regents) have finally led to the announcement this week of a Universal UPASS benefit for all Professional Staff.  Look for this announcement in your mailbox if you are a current UPASS holder.   This is a good example of the long term focused advocacy that is possible when working with a board and large group such as the PSO and partnering with many internal and external organizations toward a common goal.


In addition to committee work, the Board has been busy as a whole. We routinely receive and respond to requests for information, assistance, advocacy, or resources from across the professional staff community. We also proactively advocate for professional staff, such as the ‘return to work’ survey we accomplished last summer. The results were shared publicly and reported directly to UW Leadership to inform related policies and procedures.

PSO Board members continue to hold seats on Faculty Councils, participating in the shared governance process to ensure representation of professional staff. Working with UW leadership we have been able to bring our budget into the UW system, which allows for persistence and greater ease in transferring funds to our scholarship recipients and other efforts. And, we continue to meet quarterly with UW-HR, and annually with President Cauce, to uplift the collective voice of UW’s professional staff. Our efforts to advocate for you are paying off in big and small ways: for example, we were for the first time invited to weigh in on UW’s new Diversity Blueprint, as representatives of the professional staff–folks who often do not get a seat at the table for such strategic planning efforts.


2022 Election Results:

Our hats are off to the entire 2021-22 Board for an amazing and dynamic year of resonance and growth. We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of Board members, including President Steve Snyder, VP Deci Evans, and Secretary Laine Ritter. Other new members include:

  • Harry Athwal, Ambulatory Services, UWMC-Montlake
  • Zoe Bartholomew, Assistant Director, UW Advancement College of Engineering
  • Bonnie Beardsley, Nutrition & Food Service, HMC
  • Michelle Bucholtz, Finance & Administration, Advancement
  • Lauren P. Carter, Research Scientist, Biochemistry
  • Ivonne Diaz, International Student Services, Enrollment Services
  • Eileen Guo, Student Leadership, Ethnic Cultural Center
  • Mackenzie Klinker Hutchins, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System, School of Nursing
  • Michelle LaCrosse, Dean’s Office, School of Pharmacy
  • Robert J. Livingston, Research Scientist, Laboratory Medicine
  • Allison Spooner Chair’s Office, Chemistry Department
  • Sean C. Thomas, Clinical Business Affairs, UW Medicine / General Counsel’s Office, UW Physicians


We are grateful to serve the needs of this community, and hope that you will reach out, join us in these great efforts, contribute, or connect with us in other ways.



Whole Board:

  • Accomplished pro-staff-wide survey on return to work, and presented results to UW leadership to inform policy and procedure
  • Routinely receive and respond to requests for information, assistance, advocacy, or resources from across the professional staff community


Elections and Recruitment Committee:

  • New O365-based Election form
  • Reworked messaging around elections
  • Updated timelines and process around recruitment and elections


DEI Committee:

  • TWO tri-campus, two-day DEI Forums (October, and April)
  • Continued monthly sharing of community DEI efforts via PSO Newsletter


Legislative Committee:

  • Hosted PSO Legislative Preview with Director of State Relations Joe Dacca
  • Organized and shared Legislative Town Hall meeting schedules with Pro Staff
  • Met with and built relationships with campus partners: Faculty Legislative Representative (FLR), GPSS Vice President of External Affairs, ASUW Director of Office of Government Relations (OGR), and Director of Office of Planning and Budgeting (OPB)
  • Posted Legislative Updates to PSO Blog


Communications Committee:

  • 33% of our 11,000 monthly newsletter recipients regularly open our newsletters.
  • New newsletter process


Scholarships Committee:

  • Since Summer 2021 we have:
    • Awarded 14 scholarships (totaling over $5,000)
    • Funded over $2,000 (meaning that’s how many folks have submitted reimbursement from the scholarships we awarded)


PSO engagement on Faculty Councils that we should mention:

  • Continue to participate in shared governance through the Faculty Councils
  • University Transportation Committee  (UTC) – Universal UPASS now for all UW Employees
  • Campus Planning & Stewardship


Other important details of note:

  • Meet quarterly with UWHR
  • Meet with President Cauce
  • Got a budget housed in UW system
  • Increased participation in UW-wide conversations, for example in the development of the new Diversity Blueprint