October 1, 1998
As the new chair of the Staff Advisory Council, Patricia Harrison, executive secretary for affiliated services billing, hopes to foster unity among all members of the Tulane community. Faculty, staff, upper-level administrators and students all need to work together, Harrison says.
"We need to be one entity and help Tulane to prosper and grow," she says. After six years on the council, which serves as the representative body for university staff, Harrison says she's learned a lot about how the university works.
She has served two years as vice chair of the council, three years as a staff representative on the University Senate and three years as a guest of the Board of Administrators. In her tenure as chair for the next two fiscal years, Harrison says one of her goals is to bring the staff retirement plan in line with the faculty plan by raising the university's contribution one-half percent to 8 percent and by lobbying for staff to receive the 2-percent matching option currently offered to faculty.
She notes that President Scott Cowen has expressed interest in the concerns of staff and has already attended two meetings with the council. Harrison says serving on the council has made her feel that staff can have a voice in university issues.
"I enjoy being a part of things and trying to help staff better their situation at Tulane," she says. "I've also gotten to know faculty, administrators and staff that I never would have otherwise."
Although equalizing retirement benefits is a high priority, other issues such as improving the uptown campus parking situation and increasing staff representation in university governance are also a concern, Harrison says. No matter what issue the council takes on, however, Harrison wants to ensure that activities are done in the spirit of cooperation.
"There is a lot of positive energy on the Staff Advisory Council because of Scott," Harrison says. "I think we should follow his lead and work together to be more of a unified Tulane."
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