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Staff Senate elects co-presidents for 2011-12

6/1/2011 —



Breaking with tradition, Karen Harlan, multi-media specialist, and Debbie Hoch, staff assistant for business services, were elected co-presidents of the Penn State New Kensington Staff Senate for the 2011-12 academic year.

The incoming dual functionary arrangement is a first for the staff board that represents non-faculty members of the campus community.  The new system supersedes the solo executive format of outgoing president Elaine Zarichnak, campus nurse, whose one-year term expires June 30.

The unique partnership blends the experience of the "seasoned" Hoch, who joined the campus community in 2003, with the contemporary ideas of the "green" Harlan, who assumed her position in January. While Teyve in "Fiddler on the Roof" bemoaned the loss of tradition, famously noting that "without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof," Harlan and Hoch see it as way to bring new enthusiasm and a fresh approach to the position.

"We bring different perspectives to the board and that will make us a productive board," said Hoch, who served as president during the 2007-08 year. "Productivity will be the operative word during our term."

"With the full board relatively inexperienced, it will be good to draw on Debbie's leadership experience," said Harlan, who previously worked in the Student Affairs office at Penn State University Park.

Rounding out the new slate of officers are Kevin Churik, information technology specialist, vice president, and Tina Sluss, staff assistant for Development, secretary. Both are making their initial foray into campus leadership roles.

The senate is the voice of the campus staff and acts as a channel in providing staff with the opportunity to make suggestions to the administration for the betterment of the campus. The incoming co-presidents can be reached at knh125@psu.edu and dlh53@psu.edu via e-mail.

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