Bill Shuttleworth, PhD, named chair in UNM's Department of Neurosciences
HSC Forms Executive Support Staff Organization
June 08, 2008
Behind every successful strategist is a highly skilled tactician. While leadership generates revolutionary visions for wholesale impact, someone is tasked with organizing and executing a deliberate and systematic plan to create that impact. Such tacticians must be sensitive to schedules, budgets, personalities, politics and chains of command – plus the imminent snafus, redirections, and cancellations that intrude upon real progress. They also have to be organized, reliable, resourceful, perceptive, loyal and – perhaps above all else – tough. Who Are These Tacticians? “We are executive assistants, assistants to deans, administrative coordinators, board liaisons, unit administrators, and the like,” explains Patrice Martin, executive assistant to Executive Vice President for Health Sciences Dr. Paul Roth. “Although we’re behind the scenes, we tend to be the frontline in the day-to-day advancing of important agendas, goals and missions.” Martin, who believes that this professional group of leadership’s “right hands” has much to share internally, has organized the Health Sciences Center’s Administrative Support Advisory Council (HSC ASAC). “There’s really no organization or network for this layer of executive operations,” Martin adds. “As I’ve met with colleagues over the years, I found it incredibly helpful to share pertinent inner-office experiences, organizational paradigms, scheduling systems, and other institutional nuances that have to be carefully navigated for us to be effective.” And What Are Their Tactics? Since its first official meeting last fall, with the support and encouragement of Roth, the HSC ASAC was established with members who are the assistants to the primary HSC executives. And shortly thereafter, they formed a sub-specialty group that consists of the assistants to the leaders of more than 20 departments within the School of Medicine. The combined membership of nearly 35, represents such diverse areas as UNM Hospital, UNM Cancer Center, School of Medicine, colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy, Office of the Medical Investigator, HSC Legal, HSC Research, HSC Finance, Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center, offices of Community Health, Diversity, and the UNM Medical Group, Inc. ASAC already has developed an informal mission “. . . to develop ways to build camaraderie, share knowledge and streamline communications throughout the HSC administrative support personnel . . .” Its members, which collectively offer more than 300 years of UNM working experience, have created a database and list serve, and initiated the beginnings of a mentoring program. A starter kit is being developed to distribute to new administrative support staff containing member contact lists, HSC and UNM Hospital organizational charts, clinical and basic science department lists and more. ASAC also is planning a dedicated web page with FAQs, links to helpful information, and a library of helpful documents specific to their profession. Developing a list of “Best Practices” for administrative support staff also is on the radar screen. “We can mine a significant depth and breadth of administrative experiences at the Health Science Center, so this process will accelerate professional maturation for us as a group and individually,” Martin offers. “But our real purpose here is advancing the institution’s mission as effectively and efficiently as possible by cultivating more sophisticated ways to serve our leadership.” “We are all extremely proud that the HSC colleges and hospitals have achieved national and international recognition for excellence in many of our programs,” Roth offers. “This would not have been possible without the expertise that Patrice and all of the executive support staff have demonstrated. Patrice has done an outstanding job in taking a leadership role in organizing her colleagues.” For more information on the Administrative Support Advisory Council, contact Patrice Martin atPAMartin@salud.unm.eduor call 272-2398.