UofL News sat down with Kevin Ledford, a staff member of over twenty years who is beginning his new role as the chair of the Staff Senate. Here he enlightens us on the nature of the opportunity as well as his goals.
UofL News: You have served at the University of Louisville for 24 years. What is it about the institution that has compelled you to continue investing in this community?
Kevin Ledford: I served the university first as a student temporary worker, and then later as a full-time employee for the past 18 years. If I had to pick one thing that has compelled me to continue to invest in the UofL community, it would be the people. I see daily how passionate everyone is about the vitally important work we do in educating future generations. During my years, I have interacted with departments and people all over the university and they are almost universally dedicated and passionate about the work we do, and their role in it.
UofL News: Some may not understand or appreciate the purpose of a staff senate. Can you describe the significance of its impact, along with some distinguishing features of the UofL Staff Senate?
Ledford: To me, UofL’s Staff Senate provides a voice and representation of staff community, gives feedback to administration and advocates for staff outcomes that will hopefully improve conditions that help make the university a better place to work. We work collaboratively with administration and the other shared governance bodies, such as the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association to help accomplish these goals
UofL News: How do you plan to use your new position to develop changes in ways that uniquely leaves your mark?
Ledford: I want to use my position to advocate for investment in our human capital, our employees. One of the key issues I have heard repeatedly is how we struggle to get and keep good talent in the staff areas and to maintain staffing levels that set us up for success. I think by advocating for that investment in our staff, we can improve the ability of our staff to support the goal of educating our students, providing them and the faculty who teach them a better experience.
UofL News: What would you say are the greatest factors in your life that have brought you vocationally to where you are today?
Ledford: I am an Information Technology person by profession. My IT background tends to make me approach things in a very process-and-systems-driven mindset. This has really been a benefit to me as I am in the role of Staff Senate chair. I am a firm believer that if you have good systems in place and your process is well designed, then it should be easier to adapt and innovate. IT also must be very collaborative and communicative, so those are skills I try and use as much as possible.
UofL News: Everyone loves telling and hearing a good story; what is one of the most memorable moments you have from your time on staff thus far at UofL?
Ledford: A very personal story comes to mind when you ask that question. In 2009, I ended up with a very bad case of swine flu, that became pneumonia and eventually ended up with me in a medically induced coma for a month. During that time, the people who I worked with and worked for, were amazingly supportive. I didn’t have a lot of sick time built up at that point, so I ran out of it quickly while dealing with that and my recovery. Those I worked with and even folks I didn’t know very well donated sick time. It is a lot of why I think that program is so important for supporting those in need, and I encourage those with time to donate to the Shared Leave Program. It also shows the heart of the folks who work here and how they will come together to support each other in times of need. We have great folks, and it is amazing when you get to see them at their very best.
To learn more about the Staff Senate and what they accomplish for the work culture of the university, visit the Staff Senate website.