New CSSAC chair wants staff to use opportunities more

August 27, 2014  

Mitzi Barnett

Mitzi Barnett, chair of the Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee. (Purdue University photo/Matt Thomas)
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Mitzi Barnett wants the Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee to become more visible on campus and to help support the University's mission. She becomes chair of the group on Sept. 9.

"I want to ensure that clerical and service staff are aware of what CSSAC is and the purpose it serves," says Barnett, coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Food Science graduate program. "The committee exists to be the voice for clerical and service staff to bring their suggestions and concerns to administration. Purdue offers professional development opportunities to clerical and service staff through Leadership and Organizational Development Core Services. I would like to see more employees take advantage of them."

Barnett says trips offered by the Purdue Employees Activity Program (PEAP), a CSSAC subcommittee, are something the group has done well.

"PEAP has increased the number of trips and activities offered to employees and their families in the last year," she said. "With huge success, the committee has annually planned trips to a covered bridge festival and Christmas shopping in Chicago. In addition to these trips, employees this year were offered a day in Chicago (including Taste of Chicago, the Magnificent Mile, Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and Lincoln Park Zoo) and a day in Indy (including the Children's Museum, the Indiana State Museum and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art). GOYO (go on your own) events such as Wine and Canvas have been overwhelmingly successful this year. Also in the planning stages are multiday trips."

She says faculty and staff also have benefited from the Discounts subcommittee's work.

"The Discounts committee has increased the number of discounts available to employees and I would like to see that number continue to grow," she says.

Talking to a co-worker, who was a CSSAC representative, sparked her interest in joining the group.

"I had a conversation with Javier Arellano, who was on CSSAC at the time, and he had many positive things to say about his involvement and I decided it was something I wanted to be a part of," she says. "Personal and professional development has always been very important to me. In addition to being a CSSAC member and Accomplished Clerical Excellence graduate, I also have been a United Way team captain since 2005 and an active department representative in the College of Agriculture Food Drive since 2012."

Barnett said being involved with CSSAC seemed like a good follow-up to completing the ACE program in 2006.

"I found ACE very beneficial in learning more about the University. The relationships made during the two-year program remain yet today," she says. "Participating in CSSAC is a natural professional development progression. I feel it is important to understand how personnel and staff benefit from policy decisions that are made. These decisions affect all clerical and service staff and my hope is to be part of positive change in staff members' lives."

Before her current position, Barnett was the graduate admissions coordinator for Interdisciplinary Food Science program from 2005 to 2014. She was a member of the Health and Kinesiology clerical staff in 2003-05.

She also has returned to the classroom.

"Working in education prompted me to become a student again," she says. "In 2009 I began taking classes and am on track to receive my degree in business administration with a minor in human resource management."

Writer: Greg McClure, 49-69711,

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