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Staff Snapshot: Dennis McIver, 2022 CUCSA chair

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** Editor’s note: Since this profile was originally published, Dennis has taken on a new position as program manager in UCOP’s Office of Workplace Inclusion and Belonging.

If one were to describe Dennis McIver in three words, they would likely be ambitious, creative and connected. He’s only worked at UC for about seven years, but in that time, he’s explored multiple career paths, served as a leader and built solid relationships with colleagues throughout the UC system. He’s also provided a deep level of service to colleagues and the UC community while pursuing ongoing learning and professional development.

This year, in addition to serving as a financial services analyst in UC Riverside’s Graduate Division, Dennis is chair of the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), a systemwide employee resource group. Founded in 1974, CUCSA maintains and enhances communication within the university community on matters of interest to staff employees in accordance with California laws and Regent policy. All UC locations, including UCOP, are represented. CUCSA’s goal is to provide service to the university by advising and providing a staff perspective to decision-makers.

“I encourage everyone to find opportunities to engage, learn and grow through UC,” Dennis says.

Building the perfect career

Dennis first came to UC in 2015, when he got a job as an Athletic Certification Coordinator in the Registrar’s Office. A year later, he transferred to University Honors, where he welcomed and mentored students as a counselor for five years.  

Recognizing his eagerness to connect with others and his community-building skills, Dennis’s University Honors supervisor — a former Staff Assembly president — encouraged him to join Staff Assembly. In his first year, Dennis served as co-director of outreach; since then he’s served as president and remains active. The new network and skills he learned through his participation in Staff Assembly prompted Dennis to also join the UC Riverside Black Staff and Faculty Association, where he also went on to serve in many leadership capacities, including as president.

“Participating in these roles has proven to be crucial in building my networks on and off campus,” Dennis says. “I’ve been fortunate to meet many people with whom I’ve been able to exchange insights and ideas. Participating in these volunteer capacities has also given me opportunities to learn skills that would have been difficult to for me to develop in the course of my day-to-day responsibilities.”

He explains, “Working at the Registrar’s Office and University Honors taught me about working with students. Joining these employee organizations helped me discover my passion for empowering staff. And, my work with Staff Assembly in particular taught me new financial and transactional skills. All of these experiences helped bring me to my current role as a financial services analyst.”

Looking to the future

In his role as CUCSA chair, Dennis works to help his colleagues make progress on the organization’s current goals: Promoting staff retention throughout UC; developing a five-year CUCSA strategic plan; connecting with, empowering and amplifying local staff assemblies; and improving advocacy for staff and UC as a whole. (Watch a video of Dennis explaining these priorities.) In August, Dennis helped launch CUCSA Corner, a new quarterly newsletter to help staff throughout UC stay up to date with CUCSA’s progress, plans and events, as well as to highlight members, alumni and local staff assemblies’ initiatives.

Outside of work, Dennis is pursuing a Ph.D. in leadership studies. “My research focuses on leadership development and emergence for higher-education staff via employee resource groups,” Dennis says. And, being who he is, Dennis couldn’t resist yet another opportunity to build connections — he recently created UCR Staff Scholars, a subgroup of the UC Riverside Staff Assembly, which connects staff who are balancing their careers with academic training for support and camaraderie.

And, Dennis has one more goal: “To visit all the UCs before I finish my Ph.D. studies!”

Dennis McIver (second from left) with Jen Bowser (UC San Diego), John Bodenschatz (UC Irvine), and Crystal Petrini (UC Riverside).

 Photo caption: Dennis McIver (second from left) with Jen Bowser (UC San Diego), John Bodenschatz (UC Irvine), and Crystal Petrini (UC Riverside).

Meet Dennis

Name: Dennis McIver

Title: Financial Services Analyst II

Department/Unit: Graduate Division

Location: UC Riverside

When did you start working for UC? 2015

In five words or less, what do you do for UC? Ledgers, budgets, payroll, purchases, awards

Why do you love working for UC? My favorite component of working for UC is our community. My roles at UC Riverside have allowed me to interact with staff, faculty, students and alumni. In general, I’ve found the conversations very uplifting and positive. People are very willing to share their expertise, which has been tremendously helpful. I’ve also enjoyed having the flexibility and opportunities to grow in different directions and try different career paths — everything from data reporting to event planning to the leadership skills I’ve gained through CUCSA.

What’s something people don’t know about you? I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland. When I first moved, I drove here from the east coast in less than two days!

Who’s your dream dinner guest (living or dead) and why? Fred Rogers – “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was my favorite TV show growing up, and I’m still inspired by his kindness and life lessons.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? It is actually a quote that has stuck with me since college, from the play “Cato, a Tragedy,” by Joseph Addison: “’Tis not in mortals to command success, But we’ll do more, Sempronius; we’ll deserve it.”

Read more about Dennis on the CUCSA website. To stay up to date with CUCSA, subscribe to CUCSA Corner. You can also join CUCSA at an upcoming event.



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