Dr. Jair Lizarazo-Adarme, known to colleagues and friends as Dr. J, has been with UA for seven years. In his work in the College of Engineering as research manager, he supports research and teaching in all areas of engineering. The Colombia native earned his doctorate in chemical engineering at UA and his MBA at Oregon State University. Since his return to UA, he has been designing and implementing upgrades to modernize the Chemical Engineering Teaching Lab allowing remote operation of pilot-scale experiments via computer.
What were some of the highlights of PSA this past year?
- Awarded the Mark G. Foster Scholarship to Susan Page.
- Partnered with the Division of Community Affairs on the You Make UA Great employee appreciation event, which more than 1,000 people attended.
- Worked with Committee on Committees to establish professional staff members as co-chairs on UA standing committees allowing for staff members to have leadership opportunities.
- Partnered with the Women and Gender Resource Center on the Take Our Children to Work Day.
- Logged over 100 volunteer hours working with Habitat for Humanity in the fall and spring and built a garden for the Brewer Porch Children’s Center.
- Stocked the Brewer Porch Children’s Center therapy room and provided gift cards and gaming consoles for a value of $2,170.
- Contributed $480 in supplies and cash to the Humane Society of West Alabama.
- Awarded Nathan Holtz and Brittany Gregg the Outstanding Professional Award for 2023.
- Sponsored two agility training courses for professional staff.
- Partnered with OCTSA, Faculty Senate and The University of Alabama Retiree Association to present a proposal on maintaining email addresses after retirement.
- Published on the PSA website a curated training of Academic Impressions courses to provide staff additional opportunities to grow the six behavioral expectations that are now part of our job performance evaluation.
What are some of PSA’s goals and major projects for the 2023-2024 year?
- For this year, we want to create something that unites us and puts us together to work in a ceremonial way — a gavel. The gavel, which is used to call meetings to order and pass resolutions, will become a historical piece and a symbol of unity for PSA. An ad-hoc gavel committee has been tasked with the design and fabrication of a gavel for PSA.
- We are revamping our website and social media to support professional staff with information in different areas.
- In addition to our virtual monthly meetings, we want to enhance the professional staff’s sense of belonging and social connection by planning in-person events. While we increase the opportunities for outreach and education, we are adding social and cultural events that will bring an extra opportunity to create long-lasting professional connections.
- The staff life committee is working on a leave donation bank/policy. Committee members have reviewed policy guidance at UA, the IRS and other institutions to have a benchmark. The committee should be able to move toward proposing a resolution this year supporting the development of a leave donation policy.
How can fellow staff get involved or stay informed?
What was the biggest lesson the assembly learned from the past year that will continue to make an impact on the body and how it conducts business?
We learned two significant lessons this past year. The first was with the default Zoom settings for our general assembly meetings. As an open body, we allow non-PSA members to attend our meetings. To address any possible disruptions, we have changed the settings and protocols for our meetings.
The second lesson was about elections. We combined an award ceremony with the election of officers and representatives and ended without a quorum to conduct business. As a result, our business meetings will be virtual and events will be in person.