Tuesday, May 14, 2024

I would like to conclude the year in the same way I began many of our Staff Council meetings - with a heartfelt THANK YOU. I extend my gratitude to all of our UI Staff Councilors for their hard work, passion, and dedication this year! I also want to express my appreciation to my co-workers who consistently went above and beyond to maintain our high quality and productivity in Patient Financial Services while I was advocating for our staff and representing our wonderful University. I am grateful to my many mentors and UI leadership for their unwavering support and guidance. Finally, I’d like to thank my family for their constant support and encouragement to live by a saying I often reflect on - be good to yourself but be better to others.

This year was another successful one for the Staff Council, marked by boundary-crossing, path creation, and record-breaking. We were active advocates for our colleagues. The Tuition Assistance program, which was approved this year to be a permanent recurring program, is a testament to our advocacy. This program allows staff to enhance their professional development each semester, benefiting both themselves and our institution. We forged partnerships across campus, meeting with numerous local college staff councils to share who we are, what we do, and how we can support them. We were active in our community, partnering with Johnson and Washington United Way and earning the Spirit of Philanthropy Award for our efforts to give back to our community. We volunteered across our campus and in the community, logging 288 volunteer hours and participating in food drives, parades, welcome events, highway cleanups, book sales, and many other volunteer events. This year, our councilors made our motto of advocacy in action more than just a saying - they made it a way of life.

This year, we focused on three tenets: CELEBRATE, COMMUNICATE, and COLLABORATE. We saw tremendous success in achieving our goals, and here are just a few examples:


  • Monthly Staff Spotlights in our Newsletter that saw an open rate of over 35% 
  • Monthly Staff Councilor Spotlights in our newsletter highlighting our advocacy
  • Record Awards Nominations with 54 nominations
  • Record Staff Appreciation Grants were requested and funded
  • Participated in Mary Jo Small, IOWA, and Hancher- Finkbine Award Selection Committees
  • Participated in the creation and presentation of the new UI Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony
  • Presented Staff Awards to our honorees at their workplace to honor them in front of their colleagues


  • Created social media accounts where we shared 63 posts of our activity and messages for staff
  • Updated our website that saw increased visits both locally and abroad
  • Sent out monthly invites to attend UI Staff Council meetings that saw increased attendance
  • Created Visual Marketing from digital displays to postcards (United Way) to an orientation video
  • Maintained our monthly newsletter that saw over 3000 staff each month enjoying
  • Visited campus Staff Councils to share who and what we are to show support
  • Created a partnership with Iowa NOW to highlight guest speakers and share our activities


  • Worked with UI DEI in participating in Juneteenth to visiting UI Diversity Councils to holding our annual Welcoming and Diversity event
  • Held Monthly visits with Mental and Holistic Wellness to share initiatives and in turn help promote
  • Connected with fellow UI Shared Governance holding two joint sessions
  • Met with numerous Iowa City, State, and Federal Legislators by having them visit our monthly meetings to holding legislative forums to attending Hawkeye Caucus Day in both Des Moines and Washington DC
  • Created a partnership with our local United Way where we volunteered at numerous events and won the  2023 Spirit of Philanthropy Award
  • Made new and valuable relationships with our Iowa Healthcare leadership sharing issues and achieving goals together along the way
  • Maintained our indispensable partnership with our UI Human Resources colleagues that saw successes on many levels from Discover Your University to the Tuition Assistance program

We COLLABORATED, CELEBRATED, and COMMUNICATED all across campus and our community. We CONCENTRATED and CAPTIVATED one another, allowing us to COMMISERATE and CELEBRATE another wonderful year on Staff Council!

I started this year in dedication to my grandmother who taught me kindness, hard work, and spent her life giving back to others. She taught me that no matter what life gives you, you take it, learn from it, and turn it into a positive and give back. I hope this year you felt that support, that positivity, and that active advocacy on your behalf. I stated last June that I felt blessed, thankful, humbled, thrilled, excited, and honored to be President and I can honestly say that those sentiments still hold true today. I am beyond grateful to have represented you and beyond thankful to my Staff Councilors who gave it their all this year. Lastly, thank you to you, our UI Staff, who make our campus, community, and state the best place to work and live. Lastly I will end with how I started this farewell message with one last thank. A heartfelt thank you to you, our UI Staff, who make our campus, community, and state the best place to work and live.

James Jorris
Staff Council President