New 2017-18 Leadership for Staff Senate

As a new academic year approaches, the Staff Senate would like to remind staff to reach out to your Staff Senate senators at or by attending a regular monthly meeting for any issue which could affect their work environment. Staff Senate meetings are open to the public and are held the second Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. Locations can vary depending on campus events, so please refer to the Staff Senate website for location details. This month's meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 163 Graduate Education Building, and we will be celebrating our scholarship recipients as well as announcing Employees of the 4th quarter.

Introducing the Staff Senate leadership for the 2017-18 academic year:

Elon Turner is currently serving as Staff Senate chair after serving as vice-chair for the last year. He has four years of experience on the Staff Senate and most recently led the effort to develop and release a Staff Climate Survey. Elected to Staff Senate by personnel in our finance and administration areas, Elon is a director with IT Services with nine years of tenure with the university. During these nine years, he has had the opportunity to work with staff, students, and faculty at all levels and departments on campus which contributed to insight into the common and unique challenges of the institution. A Northwest Arkansas native, Elon is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Arkansas.  

Trish Watkins elected as Staff Senate vice chair. She has served four terms on Staff Senate, having previously held the position of chair from July 2013 until February 2016. During her leadership as chair, she worked with university leaders on the implementation of the maternity/paternity leave plan, as well as the optional short-term disability plan. In addition, Staff Appreciation Week was formed and the RazorGifts Holiday Gifting Program was approved and inaugurated. Trish assisted in raising awareness within campus and our state leadership to put merit bonus back on an employee's base pay. Following many years advocating for our Agri personnel, she is currently the assistant director of grants and finance at the World Trade Center Arkansas. In addition to vice chair, Trish currently serves on Senate as an at-large senator and with her 32 years of service at the University of Arkansas will continue to advocate from a position of knowledge across our vast campus.  

Cindy Morley has been elected as Staff Senate treasurer. She has been on campus since 1992, first as an undergraduate and later as a full-time staff member. After graduation, her career began at Mullins Library followed by a move over to the Law Llibrary. A small hiatus then return to campus joining the staff in the Office of the Provost where she acquired knowledge about administration and campus policies. There, Cindy found she really enjoyed seeing the "big picture" of campus and had her first real interactions with Staff Senate. Six years ago, she moved to her current position in the Department of Plant Pathology, which is part of the Division of Agriculture. The Division of Agriculture is a unique and somewhat separate place from the rest of campus and can present many challenges as well as opportunities. Cindy serves as a senator for the Division of Agriculture. She is very committed to ensuring that staff from the division have a voice on campus.

Denise Bignar is currently serving as Staff Senate secretary. A two-time graduate of the University of Arkansas, she understands the importance of continuing to advocate for funding of the Staff Senate scholarship to allow staff members to advance their earning potential if they wish. Denise has a total of seven years serving as a senator for our academic affairs units on campus out of her 10 years of University of Arkansas employment. During her tenure on Senate, she has served as chair of several Staff Senate committees — Awards, Employee of the Quarter/Employee of the Year (EOQ/EOY), Elections, and most currently Communications. As chair of EOQ/EOY, Denise enjoyed meeting and celebrating many of the outstanding staff we have on our campus. As communication chair, the celebration of staff will not cease but expand to include the outstanding efforts and successes of Staff Senate as well.


Denise Bignar,
Staff Senate


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