Meet Jamie Sass, P&S Council president

A portrait of Jamie Sass with a blue sky behind her

Ivy College of Business Writing and Speaking Center director Jamie Sass is the 2022-23 president of the Professional and Scientific Council. Photo by Lea Johannsen.

What are the priorities for your presidency?

One thing we're looking at, with the Great Resignation, is retaining the professional and scientific talent we have on campus. It's a point of pride for the university to have exceptional staff, and I think it should remain a point of pride. One part of that is supporting supervisors. If you read through our strategic initiatives from prior years, we've always referred to improving supervisor training. This year, it's about adding support for supervisors because there was a concern that 'training' is too narrow in scope. We know that overall, employees don't leave jobs. They leave supervisors. If we have excellent supervisors, we have better retention. 

WorkFlex obviously is another big issue for us. We're working with university human resources to retain the spirit of the program and still make adjustments based on feedback

Position: Director, Ivy College of Business Writing and Speaking Center
Years at ISU: 6

Contact:, 294-1994

What are the major challenges and issues for council this year?

It's the long-term challenges we're always fighting -- compensation, for instance. We'll also be challenged with, again, retention. As people move in and out of jobs, how is that going to impact how we function? How is that going to impact the everyday quality of life for P&S employees and, more broadly, everyone on campus?

What's one thing you wish P&S staff understood better about council?

That we're here as your advocates, but advocacy work can be slow. As much as I wish that we could make changes on demand, advocacy work is more subtle and takes a bit of finesse and time. That's why when you go back and look through the council's strategic initiatives you see so many issues repeat multiple years. It takes a long time to get all the pieces to move together. For someone as Type A as I am, that can feel excruciatingly slow. When people ask me, 'Can't you do things more quickly?' I say, 'Yes, I really want to, but it doesn't quite work like that.'

What's the most important lesson you've learned while serving on council?

Aside from the value of having a huge and thriving network, I'd say the biggest takeaway has been an appreciation for the depth and scope of the work that my P&S colleagues do across campus. The vast diversity of what we do is amazing. But that's also part of our challenge sometimes, advocating for a group of employees who are doing so many different things. I've said this in a couple of meetings now: What we're trying to do is focus on things that are going to affect all or most P&S employees.

What is your favorite spot on campus to relax?

I moved to Ames from Seattle when I was 14 years old. I didn't like Iowa State, mostly because I didn't want to be in Iowa. I didn't do my undergraduate here because I really wanted to be somewhere else. It wasn't until my mid-20s when I came to graduate school here that I understood Iowa State for what it is and what it could offer. My husband and I got married in the Lagomarcino Hall courtyard in 2014, and we had our reception in the Great Hall in the Memorial Union. I don't know if those are my two favorite spots to relax, but they are my favorite spots on campus.