Editor’s Note: Duck of the week is a section of Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with an employee, in their own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.
Head of Human Resources and Operations, Prevention Science Institute and COVID-19 Monitoring and Assessment Program
How long have you worked at UO?
I have been working at UO since 2012. I started at the Child and Family Center as a receptionist and then as it evolved into what is now the Institute of prevention, I became the director of human resources and operations.
Tell us about your work:
I do a variety of administrative, financial and human resource support through a variety of research projects at the Institute of Preventive Sciences. I work on things like integrating recruiting, payroll, purchasing, accounting, travel budgets, and then just day-to-day operations like creating access keys and coordinating schedules between labs. I like being able to do a bit of everything, because it gives me a better understanding of how everything fits together from all angles. I like to call human resources human respect, as my job is to provide leadership management training and consultation to our supervisors so that they can make strategic and thoughtful decisions. I want to help them create their vision to empower our staff and build a culture of trust. This goes hand in hand with a strong employee commitment to support our research, while creating opportunities for professional development, growth and a positive work-life balance.
What is your typical day like?
Every day brings new challenges and opportunities for growth and change, and no two days are the same. I’m lucky and have been able to get to campus at least one day a week since the start of the pandemic. Even though I miss seeing everyone on campus, I also enjoyed working from home. I’m more productive because I have fewer interruptions and can attend more meetings now that I don’t have to travel across campus. I’m really excited about what the remote working environment will look like after the pandemic. I think we see opportunities for working mothers as they no longer have to choose whether or not to stay home with their children. We will be able to recruit with greater diversity across the country if we want to support remote work.
As for what I do on a daily basis, I have the same recurring tasks that happen, but it seems like every month different projects or grants are added. I like to be constantly challenged in my job. . Working on the COVID-19 MAP project has been amazing and empowering because it’s something none of us have done before. We took people from different units across campus and came together to support and protect our UO community. There were a lot of late nights, since we initially planned to test at the Autzen stadium. The summer forest fire then broke out and we had to move inside. Everything was constantly changing, but I felt like I was having an impact too.
What do you like about working at UO?
One of my favorite things about OU is all the different people I meet and work with. I enjoy building relationships across campus, from students to senior executives and campus planning facilities to HR. I work with such a diverse group of people and it is different every day. I am a sociable person, and I like to connect with others and build these kinds of relationships. It gives me a good support network and I know I can contact them when I have a question about how I should handle something.
What motivates you ?
One of my favorite quotes from Steve Prefontaine is âGiving less than your best is sacrificing the giftâ. I want to be able to give back to my community, and one of the ways I can do that is through my work. I am organized, hardworking and enjoy being the support system for our researchers. I want to help them find creative ways to abide by all the bureaucratic rules and UO compliance guidelines. The mission of the Institute of Preventive Sciences is to improve the lives and well-being of children, families and individuals. I see public administration as servant leadership, which measures the success of the work by asking: have I had an impact today? That’s what I like.
What might people not know about you?
My nickname around my family and friends is Beverly Goldberg (from “The Goldbergs” TV show) because I volunteer for a bunch of different things all the time. I just want to help everyone, so I take all these opportunities. I am not afraid to speak up and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I like challenges and I want to face adversity head-on. That’s one of my strengths, but it’s also something that people kind of tease me because I volunteer for this band and they say, âOf course you did. “
Kate Harvey is part of Institute of Prevention Sciences.
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