Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work, and to help build community by learning more about our coworkers. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length.
How long have you worked at the UO?
I have been at the UO for three and a half years. I started working here in April 2018 after moving to Eugene from St. Augustine, Florida.
Tell us about your work:
My main job is to support two of our deans in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean’s office: Karen Ford, dean for faculty, and Hal Sadofsky, divisional dean for natural sciences. I help them with a variety of administrative tasks like calendaring, preparing for meetings, drafting documents or communications and supporting their special projects and priorities. My work is fast-paced and constantly evolving, so it’s important that I use my independent judgment, project management skills, and creative problem-solving to approach it. It’s my responsibility to help our deans work efficiently as we handle a huge portfolio of work to do on behalf of the college.
I'm also the main support person for our CAS-wide diversity programs, which I find to be a really rewarding part of my job. We have made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority at our college, and I am responsible for the various ongoing and yearly programs. We are working hard to promote and sustain healthy work environments and professional relationships among our faculty, staff and students. This fall, we’re asking all CAS units to create group norms, codes of conduct, or core values and we’ll post them on our diversity webpage. I enjoy seeing each of our units work together on a document that reflects how they want to interact as colleagues and a team to create welcoming, diverse, inclusive, and equitable climates.
What does your typical day look like?
Every day is different since I'm frequently balancing several responsibilities for the deans. I check emails on a regular basis and handle administrative tasks such as information tracking and special initiatives monitoring. My job has evolved throughout my time here, and I like having some fluidity in my work. It keeps things busy and interesting.
I also had a baby right before everything went remote, so coming back from parental leave to a vastly different work environment was interesting. Once I began working again, my colleagues were super helpful because they had already adjusted to the new remote workstyle.
What do you like about working at the UO?
I love so many things about working here. We have a beautiful campus, and I love walking around it on my lunch break and feeling the energy of our students. I’m also lucky to work in an incredible office with kind, creative, and effective colleagues. I feel a lot of support from my co-workers and have built a lot of great relationships across campus. People are friendly and helpful at UO, and it felt like I was immediately able to build community after moving across the country to a new city.
I moved to Eugene because I was interested in a historic preservation graduate program offered by the University of Oregon. However, as soon as my husband and I decided to relocate, the program was switched to the Portland campus. We decided to move regardless, and I thought, well, maybe I can get a job at the university. I am extremely grateful for how perfectly everything has worked out in this position. For the time being, I've put my graduate plans on hold because I am content with my job. I've always been interested in architecture and historic buildings because I grew up in an old house. One day, I hope to own a historic home and restore it with my family.
What keeps you motivated?
My colleagues and our campus community keep me motivated and energized. They are amazing people who are so hard-working and passionate about CAS and higher education. They inspire me to do my best every day. It's also so important to have a good structural base of friends and colleagues to have a good environment. It just makes you want to do your best and elevate the department however you can through your work.
What is something people may not know about you?
I played roller derby for a few years when I lived in Florida. My sister and I watched a roller derby movie and thought it looked fun so we looked for a local group. Fortunately, there was a team in the next town over and it was open to new players. My sister and I had a lot of fun with it, and we ended up playing for three years. Cambria Kill Cannon was my roller derby name, and it was inspired by my favorite band at the time. Roller derby helped build my confidence, grow my community, and push me out of my comfort zone. It was also quite an adrenaline rush!
Jules Jones is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.
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