Five questions for P&S Council president Jessica Bell

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Professional and Scientific Council president Jessica Bell. Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Position at ISU: Administrative specialist, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the department of natural resource ecology and management (NREM)

Years at ISU: Almost five

Contact: 294-3056, jmpbell@iastate.edu

Describe your work.

For the Iowa coop unit, I support the research and education provided by the faculty and graduate students through grant support, account management, budget management and graduate student support. For NREM, I support the department's faculty, staff and students by managing grants, hiring research technicians and advising the department on university policies and procedures.  

What strengths do you bring to the council presidency?

I am a continual learner. If someone asks me a question I don't just say, "Oh, I don't know, but here's where you can go to find the answer." Instead I think, "Let's do this together because I want to know the answer, too." I also like to challenge my existing perceptions and ways of thinking. There's always more than one way to look at an issue, and I try to get different opinions and viewpoints to make an informed decision. Another strength I have is that I like to share knowledge I gain with others, helping employees become more engaged with their work at Iowa State.

What are your top priorities as council president?

A big priority this year for council is ensuring that all professional and scientific employees are represented and have a voice -- which we provide through council -- in all the changes that are affecting them this year. It's really important that we continue to keep open the lines of communication we've developed the past few years with P&S employees and improve upon that process, because there's a lot happening.

What challenges face the council this year?

In a word, change. P&S employees are facing a classification and compensation review, which will change how the university, we, ourselves and the outside world look at our positions. That impacts 100 percent of our employees in one way or another. WorkCyte and the corresponding Workday implementation then changes how we actually do our jobs, and that potentially will impact a majority of P&S employees. Shortfalls in funding affect the bottom line of the university, how we do our jobs here, and, I'll be blunt, they affect our paychecks.

The challenge lies in assuring employees that they have representation through council as these changes are planned and implemented. It's making sure we have a seat at all these tables and can represent employees with the best of our abilities.

What would you like to tell the employees you represent?

Professional and Scientific Council is here to represent all P&S employees. Councilors were elected from all areas of the university, and they want to hear from you. I encourage each employee to stay informed about the changes that affect us, communicate your concerns or questions with your elected council representative(s) and keep your mind open to the possibilities that lie before us.