Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Barbara Taylor Staff Scholarship Fund

Dr. Barbara G. Taylor, former member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and associate vice chancellor for human resources, will retire this year after 35 years of service to the University of Arkansas. We wish her well. In lieu of gifts commemorating her service upon her departure, people are encouraged to instead make a contribution to the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund in Taylor’s honor. These contributions will be used to support the educational endeavors of staff who contribute to the diversity of the campus, either by ethnicity or field of work.

Taylor, who began her career at the university as director of human relations, the title used for the campus’ first affirmative action officer, has always been interested in increasing the diversity of the students, faculty and staff.

“Awareness of diversity on our campus has increased during my time here,” Taylor said. “Northwest Arkansas has certainly become more diverse over the past 35 years, and I think that growth and change truly enhances and enriches the university and the community alike. Diversity is a very broad concept; when we bring different kinds of people together, we all learn from each other and become more creative and inclusive.”

As Taylor reflects on 35 years of service to the University of Arkansas, there is one thing she’ll miss most: the people. She finds that the human resources function on campus has evolved from a mindset of making and enforcing rules to a strategic, genuine “How can I help you?” approach to serving others. She finds there is now a greater focus on what is important to the campus as a whole and on what will make everyone’s work easier.

“Every day is a surprise in human resources,” she said, “and it is always interesting, never boring, and I never know what each day will bring. Working here has been a challenging and fulfilling experience, and I hope to continue to stay involved and to help others even though I won’t be coming to work here every day.”

Gifts to the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund may be made through the Annual Fund Web site. Be sure to indicate that your gift is in honor of Barbara Taylor.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rev. Copley: Unions Help Families

We are living in very difficult economic times. In the midst of these times, the community of faith must stand with workers in their struggle to provide for their families.

All major religions recognize the dignity of the worker and the sanctity of labor. Yet in the wealthiest country on Earth, working Americans are facing difficult choices. They are forced to choose between paying for groceries and medicine, the mortgage and the college tuition bill. This must change.

Throughout the history of our country, the best way to move a family into the middle class has been through forming unions at the workplace. It is the quickest way to eliminate poverty. It is important that we support the Employee Free Choice Act. It provides an opportunity for our country to take an important concrete step toward fulfilling the dream of a just society.

The EFCA provides a protected and fair way for workers to form a union. It would provide much needed balance to the system and put the choice on whether to form unions back in the workers’ hands.

Unions have made the middle class in the United States. This is what has made our country the economic powerhouse it has been. They also are a crucial part of the broad movement to put the pursuit of justice ahead of the pursuit of profit and power. It is for this reason that people of faith should support the Employee Free Choice Act.

REV. STEVE COPLEY North Little Rock

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 6 November 2009