By Leland Orfield
Managing University Centers involves a cooperative effort of an efficient team of people. The Associate Director and Business Manager of University Centers, Jeanine Rossow, allowed me to observe the work that she does in order to help maintain the smooth operation of the many University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s services on campus.
Having just started her job at University Centers this year, Rossow explained that her previous work experience at the University of Wisconsin-Stout as a business manager of general services helped her adjust to her new position, as she was able to work in a similar college setting. Also, despite having a new position on campus, Rossow is familiar to the surrounding area because she lives in Eau Claire with her husband, Jeff.
During the time that I spent with Rossow in the University Center’s offices located on the second floor of the Davies Center, she showed me some of the projects and tasks she is responsible for. Being the associate director requires the undertaking of primarily financial matters. She explained to me that she is in charge of monitoring expenses and the general budgeting of University Centers, as well as being the supervisor of many employees and students involved with monetary aspects of the organization.
Currently, Rossow is most focused on completing the guidelines for what are known as “Request For Proposal”, abbreviated as “RFP”, forms. She showed me a large binder that was filled neatly with the hundreds of pages that composes the guidelines, many of which were tattooed with pen marks and post-it notes regarding the document’s revision. The purpose of this handbook is to relay the university’s expectations of performance and quality to prospective food contractors who wish to take over concessions on campus next year, since the seven year contract with the current vendor, Sodexo, ends in May, 2016.
After reviewing the RFP documents with me, we attended a meeting with the Director of University Centers, Charles Farrell. Farrell and Rossow discussed the revision process of the RFP handbook, specifically the editing of section headings and text alterations. They bounced ideas back and forth off of one another and worked well together. When the RFP material was covered, Rossow concluded the meeting by examining a scheduling issue of a room in Davies to a student group. According to Rossow, managing the schedules of the rooms and halls in Davies is vital to the production of events and meetings on campus.
After Rossow and I left Farrell’s office, I finished my job shadow with Rossow by asking her what personal skills she thought were essential for a management job like her’s. “Communication is key in any job,” she said. “I prefer to do a lot of the communication in person around the office, because it is quick and the most effective in means of productivity.”
Below, you can listen to Jeanine Rossow describe more about her position as associate director.