Staff Senate president shares goals for coming year

Shelley Dempsey has had many roles at the University of South Carolina, including student and teacher. Now, the director of On Your Time initiatives will serve as the first president of the new Staff Senate. UofSC Today asked  Dempsey about her plans and goals for the organization's first year.

What does it mean to you to be the first president of the University of South Carolina Staff Senate, and what motivated you to run?

I am so grateful for the friends and colleagues who nominated me for this position. Having already been a student, an instructor and a staff member during my time at Carolina, the opportunity to serve in a new way is both exciting and humbling. I have had the opportunity to work on our campus in many areas, including those that are related to academic affairs, student affairs and alumni affairs. I hope this background and experience will help me represent our staff well and establish a foundation that will serve the Staff Senate going into the future. 

What would you like the Staff Senate to achieve in its first year?

It is such an accomplishment to have a Staff Senate on our campus, and I applaud President Caslen for acknowledging the need and seeing it to fruition in such a short amount of time. Leena Holt and Angela Wright, Staff Senate co-chairs, have been invaluable this past year in laying a foundation through their research of similar groups at other universities, and in their diligent work to get bylaws written and officers placed. 

It is my hope that the newly selected officers can continue this progress as we begin the process to elect senators. This will allow voices to be heard from every area of our university community, and the diverse perspectives and opinions of our senators will make us truly representative of the UofSC staff. 

What impact do you think a Staff Senate voice will have on university strategies and priorities?

The area of strategies and priorities is perhaps the one about which I’m most excited. We are already being asked to share our opinions on a number of the president’s strategic planning committees. This involvement will ensure that staff are part of the process from the very beginning and are able to use our perspectives to help set priorities and participate in both problem solving and implementation of new ideas.

How can staff members get involved with the Staff Senate?

The opportunities to get involved vary, and depend on how much time a staff member can commit. The largest opportunity with the greatest level of commitment will be serving as a senator to represent your department. We are finalizing this process now and will be sharing details in the coming weeks. Our goal is to have senators in place by July 1 to assemble our first full Staff Senate for the Fall 2021-22 academic year.

Once these officers are in place, staff can get involved by sharing their thoughts or ideas with their elected senator. And, of course, our new executive officers are always interested in hearing from staff and can be reached by emailing You can also visit the Staff Senate website for more information.

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