APSAC chair looks forward to building, creating relationships

August 19, 2014  

Andrea Thomas

Andrea Thomas, 2014-15 chair of the Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee. (Purdue University photo/Steven Yang)
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Andrea Thomas sees several newfound and advantageous opportunities when she considers the evolving nature of the West Lafayette campus.

Thomas, who is 2014-15 chair of the Administrative and Professional Staff Advisory Committee, is eager to forge new relationships between APSAC and the University's newest, high-profile hires. She is also committed to continuing to foster APSAC's ongoing relationships with Purdue's established leaders, including President Mitch Daniels and his staff.

"I see a significant opportunity for APSAC to build amiable and mutually beneficial relationships with, for example, Purdue's new treasurer and provost," says Thomas, a technology writer in ITaP.

"Their predecessors were great champions of APSAC's missions and goals -- this meant that the comments and concerns of Purdue's A/P staff were factored considerably into their decisions, which often reverberated across the University. If we can build similar relationships with our new leaders, we know their support will be equally as invaluable."

William E. "Bill" Sullivan became Purdue's treasurer and chief financial officer on June 1. On July 1, Debasish Dutta became Purdue's executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. Thomas plans to extend official invitations from APSAC to Sullivan and Dutta to attend committee functions and meetings as their schedules allow.

In addition to building new relationships with other top administrators, Thomas says she will continue APSAC's practice of inviting Gina DelSanto to the committee's monthly meetings. DelSanto, who is Daniels' chief of staff, has been providing the committee with updates from the president's office and furthering communication between the two entities whenever needed.

Such high-level relationships help keep APSAC's members informed about ongoing and upcoming news and initiatives around the University. This information benefits all Purdue A/P staff, Thomas says, because APSAC members then pass it along to their colleagues to help them feel better connected to Purdue's administrative structure.

Thomas says she also plans, like previous chairs, to participate in several University committees to ensure that A/P staff have a voice on a broad range of issues that affect them. She is now a member of the Advisory Committee on Equity, the IT Strategic Governance Committee and the Staff Memorial Committee, and she will attend the University Senate Advisory Committee meetings in the fall. 

"I think all the relationships we've cultivated so far, including our presence on University committees, have helped strengthen APSAC's presence and credibility on campus," Thomas says.

"I would like for APSAC and all its members to continue in that direction, because ensuring that we have a stake in important University-wide matters benefits all A/P staff. It fosters administrative transparency, and to us that's key."

Beyond continuing and creating relationships with administrators, in 2014-15 APSAC will look to update its strategic plan, Thomas says. Created in 2010, APSAC's strategic plan outlines the committee's mission to foster relationships between Purdue's A/P staff and administrators, champion professional development and strengthen the committee's presence on campus.

The strategic plan expires at the end of this year. With progress made toward all three of those goals, APSAC will look to expand upon the plan and tailor it to expected future needs, Thomas says.

The updated strategic plan may reflect the fact that APSAC's members include individuals with unique ways to understand and further the University's mission. In fact, Thomas says she'd like to emphasize leveraging each member's individual strengths and perspective during the committee's regular activities.

"I have a very participative leadership philosophy," Thomas says.

"One of the best things about being part of APSAC -- and about working at Purdue in general -- is that you're always surrounded by people who have an assortment of experiences and talents that, when applied at once toward challenges, can lead to remarkable things. APSAC's members always support each other and, as a committee, we truly are greater as a group than we are as individuals. I'm excited to see where that takes us."

Writer: Amanda Hamon Kunz, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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