Five years and counting: Hazleton Staff Advisory Council marks milestone

Nittany Lion statue in a field of green grass
Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — The Staff Advisory Council (StAC) at Penn State Hazleton is marking five years of providing a voice to campus staff. 

Formed in February 2018, StAC provides a forum for part- and full-time staff to discuss issues impacting them and share ideas that could enhance the work environment at Penn State Hazleton. The council also acts in an advisory capacity to the chancellor by recommending new initiatives or revisions to existing policies. 

“StAC gave an important forum for our staff to speak up collectively that they didn’t have before,” Chancellor Elizabeth J. Wright said. “It’s been invaluable to me in terms of gaining important feedback and I look forward to working closely with the council to meet their goals.” 

Instructional Designer Liz Huck is the current StAC chair and serves a three-year term. As chair, she presides over meetings, creates agendas, sees that orders and resolutions are carried into effect and manages the overall business of the council. 

Huck said StAC helped her get to know colleagues she otherwise may not have worked with on a regular basis. At the same time, she was impressed by how safe and collaborative a forum it provided for staff. 

“StAC is a great way to ensure that staff have a voice on campus,” Huck said. “The involvement with Campus Council, the meetings with Chancellor Wright, and the anonymous feedback survey all open the lines of communication between administration, faculty and staff. Additionally, StAC is a great forum for connecting with and supporting other staff, both socially and professionally.” 

The council is overseen by an executive board that includes a chair, chair-elect, past chair, scribe and scribe-elect. Positions are elected via nomination and a vote and can only be held by members of the council. Meetings are held monthly. 

Student Success Center Coordinator Tammy Spevak played a significant role in establishing the council and served as its first chair. She said she went into the council knowing the needs of herself and her unit, but soon discovered what mattered to her colleagues. 

“It was eye-opening,” Spevak said. “You really learn what matters to everybody else on campus.” 

Learning what mattered to others allowed the group to work as a group to put potential solutions into action, Spevak said. She recalled one of StAC’s first successes: improvements to bushes, shrubbery and other landscaping around campus. 

“We started to be taken seriously as a group that can get things done,” Spevak said. 

The council also works to celebrate the accomplishments of staff. It sponsors an annual Outstanding Staff Award that is presented to a staff member who goes the extra mile to support others through a high degree of professionalism, integrity and overall excellence.