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UC Merced’s De Acker named Staff Advisor–designate to the UC Regents

UC Merced's De Acker

Deidre “De” Acker of UC Merced has been appointed Staff Advisor-designate for 2014–16, UC President Janet Napolitano announced last week.

Acker, UC Merced’s ombuds, joins Donna Coyne of UC Santa Barbara, the 2013–15 staff advisor, after a systemwide search. Coyne will be the Staff Advisor, replacing Kathy Barton of UC Riverside whose two-year appointment ends June 30.

“De’s depth of understanding of staff issues and her broad experience as a UC staff member make her an ideal candidate for the Staff Advisor role,” Napolitano said. “I look forward to working with her during the next two years.”

Napolitano, in consultation with Chair of the Regents Bruce Varner, selected Acker from finalists recommended by a selection committee that included current and former staff advisors and other staff from campuses and the Office of the President.

“I care deeply about the experience of all employees in the UC system, and I’m interested in working to help UC be the place where people want to work and build their careers,” Acker said.

Acker brings a long and deep connection to UC to the position. She has been a UC employee for more than 25 years, first at UC Santa Barbara, where she held a variety of positions, including director of the UC Santa Barbara Women’s Center for 12 years. In that role she supervised the sexual harassment and violence prevention education programs, helped to establish a campus mediation service, served as co-president of the Professional Women’s Association and established a campus resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

She first came to UC Merced as a volunteer, helping to coordinate staff from around the system who helped with the campus’s first student move-in day. Soon after, she took a position as assistant dean of the School of Natural Sciences. In 2012, Chancellor Dorothy Leland named her the first ombuds for the university.

“I’ve learned to be a good listener,” Acker said. “I’m eager to visit the campuses, medical centers and labs and learn about how we’re the same and how we’re different.”

Acker has also served as a volunteer mediator, mentor and investigator at both UCSB and Merced. “I’m very interested in improving climate for staff, “ she said. “Having worked on two campuses, in three divisions and as a student employee, I’ve seen a lot. I’m very interested in creating and supporting inclusive environments for our increasingly diverse population.”

A California native, Acker graduated from UC Santa Barbara and later took advantage of UC’s tuition discount to earn a master’s degree in education while working fulltime. In addition, her father and brother are UC Berkeley graduates. She hopes her sons, ages 17 and 13, will someday join them as UC alums.

As staff advisor–designate, Acker will bring the voice and perspective of staff and non-Senate academic employees to Board of Regents deliberations. She will participate as a non-voting advisor on seven Regents’ committees.

Learn more about the role of the Staff Advisor to the Regents.

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