UC Irvine director of technology named next Staff Advisor-Designate to the Regents
Valdry will join Staff Advisor LaWana Richmond, a senior business analyst from UC San Diego, in bringing the voice and perspective of staff and non-Senate academic employees to Board of Regents deliberations. Staff Advisor Deidre Acker, a director of campus climate at UC Merced, completes her two-year appointment on June 30.
“Jason's longtime involvement in staff issues at Irvine, combined with his genuine passion for helping staff — and the university as a whole — be their best will be a great addition to our discussions,” President Janet Napolitano said. “I'm confident he'll be able to provide the staff perspective we need and I look forward to working with him.”
President Napolitano selected Valdry following a systemwide search. A selection committee, which included systemwide and campus leadership as well as current and former staff advisors, reviewed applications and selected finalists for the president's consideration.
Valdry earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from UC Irvine. His love of the campus's culture, sense of community and people prompted him to choose his alma mater as the place to build his career. After completing his undergraduate work 18 years ago, his first job on campus was a help desk administrator, before he became an assistant director of technology. Today, Valdry is director of technology services at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts.
Valdry volunteered on campus workgroups and committees, including a campus budget committee and a workgroup on strategic planning, to help tackle local challenges. He joined the UC Irvine Staff Assembly in 2011, serving as chair in 2013-14, and served on the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Staff and as a delegate to the Council of UC Staff Assemblies.
“I realized there were things about the university that weren't perfect, and I felt I should take action, that I should try to help change things,” Valdry said.
Through these experiences, he learned that some inefficiencies are not limited to UC Irvine; instead, they affect multiple campuses or are systemwide. He decided to apply for the staff advisor role to try to better address these challenges on a broader scale.
As staff advisor-designate, Valdry said he looks forward to connecting with staff across the system to better understand their issues, concerns and ideas for potential solutions. He also plans to reach out to the university's many affinity groups to learn what is top of mind for them.
“There are over 140,000 people and I can't possibly know what they know so I'm excited about talking to staff to learn what their issues and ideas are,” Valdry said. “I want to find a way to bridge the gap between employees and the regents in a way that makes communication more effective, and that informs (the regents') discussions.”
As a champion of lifelong learning, Valdry also plans to advocate for increased professional development for staff, including supervisor training both for current supervisors and employees who want to be on the management track.
“Good supervisors can make you want to stay. Bad supervisors make you want to leave,” Valdry said. “I hope we can make progress with helping all managers be great supervisors. Just because you're a supervisor, the training doesn't stop there. You have to continue your education so you're prepared to deal with new issues.”
You can learn more about the role of the staff advisors, including how to contact Richmond and Valdry, on the Staff Advisor to the Regents website.