UC President Janet Napolitano selected a UC Irvine alumnus as the next staff adviser-designate to the UC Board of Regents.
Jason Valdry, a UC Irvine alumnus who completed both his undergraduate and master’s degree at UC Irvine, will begin his two-year term as staff adviser Friday. Valdry will work with UC staff adviser LaWana Richmond, a senior business analyst from UC San Diego, to inform the regents of the concerns of UC staff members.
Previous to his appointment, Valdry served as the director of technology at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. He joined the UC Irvine Staff Assembly in 2011, serving as chair from 2013 to 2014, and served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Staff and as a delegate to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies.
“(Valdry) has been very engaged on his local campus to improving the lives of staff,” said Deidre (De) Acker from UC Merced, who served as staff adviser from 2014 to 2016. “He has an IT background, so he will bring a different perspective to the cases.”
UC staff advisers to the regents serve two-year staggered terms and are the only UC staff members that sit in on regent meetings. Each year’s newly-selected staff adviser is called the staff adviser-designate.
The staff adviser and adviser-designate are eligible to serve as non-voting advisers to six Regents’ Committees, including educational policy, finance, long-range planning, grounds and buildings, compliance and audit and investments. They mainly inform UC regents on issues concerning university staff members and how regents’ decisions could potentially affect staff members.
Richmond, who has been a staff adviser since 2015, has worked on assignments such as reviewing proposed sexual harassment prevention course materials and UC sexual violence and assault response policy for nonacademic senate staff.
Richmond also hopes to work with Valdry in the coming year on chief concerns of the UC system, such as sustainability in the UC system and the challenges of enrollment increases.
According to Acker, one of the most prominent issues that the staff adviser and the staff-adviser designate will face will be helping the number of staff members to most efficiently provide service to an increasing number of UC students and faculty members. Furthermore, UC Berkeley’s ongoing budget cuts could potentially require an increase in staff layoffs, which would be a cause of concern for staff advisers.
Napolitano selected Valdry following a systemwide search conducted by a selection committee. The committee, which included systemwide and campus leadership as well as current and former staff advisers, reviewed applications and selected finalists for the president’s consideration in June.
During her term as staff adviser, Acker personally worked with Napolitano on issues such as UC staff diversity and bullying.
“Faculty are protected with tenure but staff is more vulnerable to these uncertainties while on the job,” Acker said. “Hopefully the staff advisers will try to protect as many jobs as they can.”