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UWSA organizational structure

Board of directors

Collectively, the nine-member Board of Directors guides the high-level strategic governance of the UWSA and provides advice and direction to the Operations Team.

Learn more about being a director.

Operations team

The Operations Team manages the day-to-day work of the UWSA and is led by the president with support from the president-elect and past president.


The president's role

The president has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the UWSA’s employees, its programs and services, and the execution of its mission and strategic plan.

The complete term is a three-year commitment with three distinct positions:

  1. In the first year, the president-elect continues in their regular campus role while also working closely with the president, who helps prepare them to step into the role of president. This preparation may include recommending training to bridge any gaps in knowledge, skills, or abilities.
  2. In the second year, the president position is a full-time one-year secondment to the UWSA during which the president receives their regular UW salary plus a stipend equivalent to 10% of USG 13.
  3. In the third year, the past president supports the president and provides continuity, while returning to their regular campus role.

The UWSA president fills three important roles: They are a leader, an advocate for members, and a spokesperson for the association.


During the second year, the president supervises three full-time UWSA staff (the executive manager, communications officer, and membership and volunteer coordinator), providing operational oversight to ensure that UWSA employees have the resources needed to effectively fulfill their job accountabilities and make progress toward their goals.

The president also serves as the connection between the Board of Directors and the Operations Team, leading the implementation of the strategic plan, delegating work, keeping the board updated on key issues and activities, and ensuring that board adheres to its governance model and meets its responsibilities.

Member advocacy

In all three years, the president sits on the Members’ Advisory Committee, providing support and advocacy for individual staff members.

The president co-chairs Staff Relations Committee, and sits on the Provost's Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation, and the UWSA Staff Compensation Strategy Committee, working to ensure that agreements between the UWSA and the University (such as salary agreements) and policy development centre the perspectives and best interests of members. The president must stay current on issues impacting members and member perspectives, and work with UWSA employees and representatives to develop a strategic approach to resolve concerns.

Representing the UWSA

The president is the official spokesperson for the UWSA, ensures that UWSA has a presence at relevant community events and that stakeholder communications are effective, timely, and in alignment with the Association's mission.

The president must listen to and understand member perspectives through consultation, and then identify opportunities to succinctly and persuasively express those perspectives to decision makers.


The president-elect phase

Throughout the first year, the president-elect is expected to:

  • Prepare for all meetings by reviewing past meeting notes, considering the topic at hand, and establishing a perspective on the topic,
  • Actively participate in all meetings and bring your best ideas to the table,
  • Participate in training and development activities to become prepared to take on the president role, and
  • Represent the UWSA on behalf of the president when needed (typically only near the end of the president-elect term).

Benefits of the role

As UWSA president, you can expect to:

  • Develop your leadership and people skills ​​​​​by supervising three staff and chairing committees.
  • Access professional development training in governance principles, leadership, and meeting facilitation.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the University structure and campus community.
  • Learn about and practice strategic planning, policy development, stakeholder communication and engagement, and financial management.
  • Developing working relationships with colleagues from across campus, including senior members of University leadership.
  • Receive a stipend in year two, when the president role begins, equivalent to 10% of a USG 13 position.
  • Have a voice to propose improvements on behalf of staff.
  • Help staff members directly by supporting them with member advocacy cases.

Time commitment, meetings, and release time

As outlined in the University Service Guideline, the University grants release time to UWSA Members serving the UWSA as a director or president. Presidents can expect to spend the full release time over the course of their term.

  • President-elect: three days a month to attend to UWSA business
  • President: 100% release time (full-time secondment to UWSA)
  • Past president: three days a month to attend to UWSA business

The supervisor of each UWSA member elected to a director or president-elect role receives a letter informing them of the appointment and the release time granted by the University.


The UWSA operates in a collaborative manner with various University partners, which means a lot of meetings. Here's a rough idea of what you can expect in terms of meeting time. People in all three stages of the role attend most of these meetings. These estimates do not include preparation time that is required for full active participation in meetings.


Frequency and length

Provost’s Advisory Committee on Staff Compensation (PACSC)

Monthly for two hours

UWSA PACSC Subcommittee (UWSA representatives on PACSC)


Staff Relations Committee (SRC)

Once or twice a month for up to three hours in total

UWSA SRC Subcommittee


Operations Team meeting*

Weekly for one hour

Members Advisory Committee


Staff Compensation Strategy Committee

Approximately monthly

Staff Enhancement Grant Committee Twice a year for one hour
Staff Excellence Fund Committee Typically twice a term for one hour (president only unless delegated)
UWSA Board meetings Monthly for two hours
UWSA Board agenda-setting meeting* Monthly for 30 minutes
UWSA Area Representatives meetings** Monthly for one hour
UWSA Annual Meeting and special meetings One hour every year; special meetings are rarely called

*Typically, the president-elect is asked to these meetings only in the last few months of their term, and the past president only in the first few months of their term.

**Only the president is required at this meeting and provides an update on the work of the UWSA.

In any of the three years, the presidents might serve on additional committees as a representative of the UWSA (e.g. Copyright Advisory Committee). Many of these roles can be assigned or delegated among the Operations Team as needed.

Skills for success

These are skills that will set someone up for success in the role. It is not an exhaustive list, and possession of all these attributes is not a requirement; candidates with a subset of these skills are encouraged to put their name forward.

  • Familiarity with UW policies and procedures and a willingness to learn
  • Ability to see multiple perspectives, consult broadly, and make reasoned recommendations for the association
  • Ability to set the tone and be a role model for approachability, listening, and responsiveness
  • Ability to effectively manage people and projects
  • Ability to learn and adapt to changing priorities
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives
  • Ability to produce results in a largely self-directed environment
  • A strong sense of integrity and trustworthiness, with the ability to represent UWSA with tact and diplomacy
  • Strong interest in social justice, ethics, governance, and equity
  • Lived experience as a member of an equity-seeking group, particularly candidates who are racialized, Indigenous, persons with a disability, and members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.
  • As president, willingness to mentor and support the development of the incoming president-elect
  • As past president, willingness to mentor and support the work of the president

Experience, aptitude, and/or interest in the following is particularly beneficial:

  • Leading a team
  • Managing projects
  • Chairing meetings and driving committee work
  • Advocating and/or negotiating
  • Public speaking and/or teaching
  • Working with/in not-for-profit organizations

Current president-elect Yessenia Guerrero’s experience:

"I’ve been on campus for many years (as a student, staff member and sessional lecturer), and for many reasons, didn’t feel like a part of the campus community for a long time. It wasn’t until I decided to stop letting things happen to me, that I decided to have a say in what is happening in my workplace, my campus. I never sought out the role of president of the Staff Association; I just started making connections on campus and using my voice to point to injustices that affected others and myself. I stumbled across the UWSA through one connection I made (and I’m forever grateful to her!), and after seeing what it stood for, I joined. And now I’m about to be UWSA President—and it’s not a far-off reality for you to find yourself in the same position.

"My experience with the role of PE has been much like a rollercoaster. The highs of meeting new people, new committees, hearing new ideas; followed by the pregnant pauses reflecting on our campus community, and finally the lows—not to be confused with a low point—the profound and intimate experience of soaking in the breadth of knowledge being shared with me from around campus. If you are looking for an enriching and exciting experience, this is the position for you. The choice is yours; do you want a say? Let’s hear from you—today."