College of Human Sciences Well Represented On Staff Senate
by Katy McCall
The College of Human Sciences (COHS) has taken over the Texas Tech University Staff Senate, not by force, but a force to be reckoned with. Senators and COHS staff members Ashlee Brown, Timothy Spees, Cindy Villegas, Billy Tiongco, and Ron Baker have been elected to represent the voice of Texas Tech employees for 2017.
Since 1999, the Staff Senate has served as a liaison among staff, administration, faculty, and students, ensuring that the needs and interests of staff members are valued. Some of their current efforts include awarding staff scholarships and hosting the Tech Advantage Fair.
This year, incoming staff senators continue to identify and address issues important to staff members. The COHS is honored to be so well represented among this reputable organization.
President, Director of Advising and Retention
Despite her new presidency, Ashlee Brown has been a part of Texas Tech since she attended as a college freshman. She graduated with a BS in Human Development & Family Studies and later with a MS in Marriage & Family Therapy. Ashlee has served many different roles at Texas Tech and has worked at the COHS for roughly 7 years.
She became involved with the Staff Senate when a fellow staff member nominated her in 2015. Later, she ran for president-elect in summer 2016.
Although Ashlee's original goal of joining the senate was to expand her experience in higher education, she describes how the past two years that she's been involved with the senate have influenced her.
"I am dedicated to the wonderful people I have had a chance to work with and look
forward to helping strengthen the impact Staff Senate has on the institution."
Her goal this year is to make the senate more organized and accountable to their constituents.
"I am a true believer in the transparency in administration and want to make sure
that the staff are notified and fully educated on decisions being made on their behalf."
While she works with her team to make decisions that are representative of all staff, the mother of two is also pursuing a doctorate in Family & Consumer Sciences.
Continuing Senator, Advising and Retention
Working alongside Ashlee in Advising and Retention and on the Staff Senate, is Timothy Spees. He was elected in fall 2015, and is approaching his third and final year as senator. Although he is not new to the senate, Tim is optimistic about the upcoming year.
"It is a new year and I'm excited about it! I feel like it will be more productive than ever!"
With all the new senators, Tim believes there will be more energy and momentum on the Staff Senate this year. He expects to see more involvement within and outside the senate.
Reflecting on time as a senator, he mentioned there is a lot more going on campus than he realized. Serving on the senate has given him a wider view of campus issues and development. Tim hopes that his previous experience will prepare him to better serve staff members.
"I have had more time to see how the senate works and what we do. I've been able to see some things that should change for the better should the senate agree."
In addition to being a Staff Senator, Tim is a part-time youth pastor at New Home Baptist Church.
New Senator, Advising and Retention
Along with her coworkers in Advising and Retention, Cindy Villegas is now a member of the Staff Senate. A former COHS student, she graduated with a BS in Human Development & Family Studies and later with a MS in Hospitality and Retail Management. Cindy has been a staff member of the COHS for the past sixteen years.
Working in Advising and Retention, she witnessed Ashlee and Tim attending monthly Staff Senate meetings. Her coworkers' involvement on the senate inspired her to become more involved in the organization.
"It (Staff Senate) is a way to be a part of something bigger than myself and do my part in some small way."
Cindy is dedicated to the needs of her fellow staff members, but also sees her new position as an opportunity worth taking advantage of.
"My hope is that I will meet other professionals across campus that will influence my growth and development as professional staff member at Texas Tech University."
As Cindy embarks on the first year of her three-year term, she is also raising two teenage boys. Surely, both will present their own unique set of challenges.
New Treasurer, Assistant Director of Recruitment and Merit Scholarships
From working as a resident assistant during his time as a student to working as the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Merit Scholarships in the COHS, Billy Tiongco has served as a loyal employee of Texas Tech for over 17 years. During his time working for Student Financial Aid, several staff members who were Staff Senators encouraged him to run for treasurer.
After many years working for the university, Billy describes why he wanted to be a part Staff Senate.
"I have truly enjoyed working at Texas Tech – I wanted an opportunity to give back to a place that has meant a great deal to me."
Other than an opportunity to give back, being on Staff Senate has given him a chance to network.
"It (Staff Senate) is a tremendous opportunity for a staff member to branch out and get involved on campus! You get to meet so many different people that you may otherwise not have a chance to interact with across campus."
As Billy maintains the Staff Senate account, he hopes to find time for Texas Tech baseball. The avid fan has been going to games since the late 1990's.
New Senator, Unit Manager of Technology Services
Although Ron Baker has only been a staff member for a couple of years, he has taken initiative to make Texas Tech a better place to work. He was at a facilities meeting when he learned that the Staff Senate had input on some particular issues; he knew he had to be part of those solutions.
"I want to give back to the University and the other great staff that I work with on a daily basis. If I can be a voice for improvement and change for the better, I want to be there."
As a member of the Staff Senate, he plans on sharing his input in discussions and signing up for several committees as they become available.
"Committees work to break down bigger problems of the campus and I want to be a part of them to positively impact my fellow staff. I've got a lot to learn."
In addition to being a senator, Ron is the husband of Dr. Karen Alexander, Director and Associate Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Education.