Congratulations to Economics administrator Randa Posey, who has been nominated for a 2017 University of Washington Distinguished Staff Award. This annual university-wide award is the highest honor presented to staff, recognizing those who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the mission and vision of the UW and its people.
Randa joined the Economics department as the administrator in 2006 following 23 years in the Department of Chemistry, where she started as an accounting assistant and, after four promotions, left as a program manager. Prior to Chemistry, Randa spent a year working at UW Medical Center, for a total of more than 34 years of service to the University.
The job of a department administrator is a multifaceted one with fresh challenges arising daily. Randa oversees all aspects of department administration, the most prominent (and time-consuming) of which are personnel and fiscal management. In managing personnel, the sheer number of people connected to Economics – and thus on Randa’s radar - is noteworthy: 28 regular faculty members, 11 adjunct faculty members, 11 emeritus faculty members, 9 staff, 100 graduate students, 600 undergraduates, 34 advisory board members, and thousands and thousands of alumni and donors.
One of the more complicated responsibilities of an administrator is the creation and maintenance of academic appointments (faculty and graduate students), particularly with international scholars. Randa’s breadth of knowledge in this area is such that administrators from other departments in the College of Arts & Sciences seek out her assistance with the process. Beverly Wessel, administrator for our neighboring Philosophy Department, wrote, “Last year I had to process [my] first H1-B visa application in our department. Randa was incredibly generous with her time assisting me with this complicated process. She sat down with me on several occasions and went over all the steps and pitfalls of securing the visa in a timely manner.”
Randa is particularly adept at managing staff, a trait highlighted in each of her several award nomination letters. Through four department chairs, the economic downturn and its fallout in higher education, the renovation of Savery Hall, and countless other occasions big and small over the years, she has kept staff her top priority. “Randa goes above and beyond to recognize achievements of staff, and values the special occasions in [our] lives,” said Patrick Pineda, Academic Counselor-Senior for the undergraduate program. “Randa values work-life balance, and allows the staff the flexibility needed to continue striving for that balance.”
With four grown kids of her own, Randa indeed understands the competing demands of home and work. She (mostly) jokingly credits raising her children for her ability to effectively manage the competing demands of faculty, staff, students, and alumni in the department. As the eldest of five – all brothers – and with a military family that relocated frequently, Randa learned patience and flexibility early on. A Minnesotan by birth, one need only talk with Randa for a few minutes to see that she retains some of that famous Midwestern sensibility and friendliness.
Randa’s last day in Economics before retirement will be May 11, after which she will be sorely missed. In retirement, she and her husband are planning a move to Kuna, Idaho, where the sun shines often and the pace of life is a bit slower. When they’re not watching the Mariners or working on home improvement projects, they’ll be taking advantage of all that newfound time to travel. First up: a trip to Washington D.C. in September.