5 questions with…Staff Advisory Council’s new chair Barb Juknialis

Barb JuknialisBarb Juknialis may be new to her position as chair of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), but she certainly is not unfamiliar with the university. In fact, for nearly 50 years, Case Western Reserve has been part of Juknialis’ day-to-day life.

She started at Flora Stone Mather College in 1964 and graduated in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian. She then pursued a master’s degree in Russian, which she earned in 1970.

She worked for the university in the 1970s until leaving for a position not too far from here—at University Hospitals. Even there, she continued to work closely with the university through her administrative work in general internal medicine.

Then, in 2001, Juknialis returned to Case Western Reserve, where she took the position of administrative director in the Department of Bioethics. In this role, she manages finances, research applications and administration, human resources administration and myriad other tasks that come up—including keeping the department’s plants thriving, she noted. (It’s a skill she hones at home, as Juknialis also is an avid gardener.)

When she arrived back on campus, Juknialis almost immediately got involved with the Staff Advisory Council.

“I started attending meetings of the Fringe Benefits Committee of SAC almost as soon as I started working in bioethics,” Juknialis said. “I have been an elected or volunteer representative ever since.”

Recently, Juknialis was elected chair of the council and began her one-year term on Monday. During the course of her term, her hopes to build on the group’s three-fold mission:

  • To serve as an advisory group with both administration and staff to suggest, comment and provide feedback on policies and raise awareness of issues that affect the university and the people it serves;
  • To establish and maintain a forum for communication between university staff and administration on all levels; and
  • To establish and maintain a forum for communication among staff of the university.

Juknialis also will help implement the university’s new strategic plan as it relates to staff members, and she hopes to raise awareness of the council on campus and encourage more employees to get involved.

“I really enjoy the people who participate in SAC,” Juknialis said. “I am always impressed by how many talented employees work at Case Western Reserve.

When Juknialis isn’t working in the Department of Bioethics or leading SAC, she enjoys gardening, reading, movies, theater and “anything that involves animals”—especially caring for her eight cats, she noted.

Read more about Juknialis in this week’s five questions—and then stop by SAC’s Steps4Staff today from 3 to 5 p.m. at Veale Center to support the employees of Case Western Reserve.

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I have to say that I really enjoy living in Cleveland. It’s a great cultural center and the cost of living is moderate. Plus, if you don’t like the weather you just have to wait a few minutes and it will change.

2. What was your first concert?
I really didn’t start going to concerts until I found a friend who likes country music.  I think Alan Jackson was featured at the first show we attended.

3. Where is your favorite spot on campus and why?
My favorite spot on campus is Eldred Theater. When I was an undergraduate student here, I volunteered there. I had the privilege of working on costumes and scenery. It was a wonderful time in my life. I loved the people and the atmosphere.

4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I actually hope to still be working at Case Western Reserve University.

5. What is your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
I love the feeling of community. I get a real sense of everyone working together with the common goal of making things better. Working with SAC has also given me new insights into the hard work involved in maintaining the spirit of cooperation and collegiality that exists on campus.