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OPSA: A space to make your voice heard

The OP Staff Assembly (OPSA) is a staff-led and -organized affinity group. Assembly activities are a space in which staff at all levels make their voice heard on topics of mutual interest that affect all staff, and provide feedback to senior leadership on policies and programs.

OPSA fosters an understanding of the university’s mission and OP’s connection to campuses, hospitals and laboratories by providing networking opportunities to encourage the exchange of knowledge in all aspects of the OP community. All UC campuses, labs and health care facilities have staff councils that serve similar roles.

While the OPSA technically includes all UCOP employees, governance happens at the Steering Committee level. This committee, explains OPSA Chair Matthew Leet, serves as “a conduit between staff and senior leadership to promote the interest and welfare of all UCOP employees.” At OPSA Steering Committee meetings, elected staff leaders discuss “large-picture, institutional agenda items, such as performance evaluations, position succession and education benefits,” says Leet.

The current Steering committee is made up of Matthew Leet (Building & Administrative Services Center), Sylvia Bhatia (Risk Services), Juliann Martinez (Systemwide HR – Employee Relations), Allison Hill (Risk Services), Nikki Lopez (Procurement Services), Miles Magbual (UCPath Center), Angela Hom (OGC), Mindy Matthews (UCPath Center), Bobby Cook (ITS-Information Technology Services) and Carol Lake (Risk Services).

Driving systemwide change

Each quarter, two OPSA members attend the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA), at which delegates from staff assemblies across UC research and address topics of concern to systemwide staff. CUCSA delegates form intercampus workgroups and report their findings and policy recommendations annually to the UC Regents.

Among the issues CUCSA has researched is the employee onboarding process. In their report, Onboarding Workgroup members from UCOP and other locations suggested that new employee orientation could be enhanced by “sharing campus priorities, like sustainability, making mentoring connections, or reviewing values-related information.”

Recommendations from the report have since been implemented by OPSA, ensuring that financial planning advice is offered to new employees, offering new hires a campus-branded token or small gift and holding mixers for new and existing staff.

The report also highlighted the important role that staff assemblies play at locations like UCOP. In the Onboarding Workgroup Report, participants commended their colleagues, “a network of dedicated passionate workers, who are very willing to share their knowledge with others.”

OPSA Social: Building community at UCOP

This Friday, in partnership with Employee Engagement and Diversity Group (EEDG), OPSA will host the Spring 2019 Staff Appreciation Event. Festivities, which will take place from 12 – 2 p.m. on the fifth-floor Franklin Roof Garden, will include a potluck lunch, live entertainment, costume contest and networking and career development opportunities.

“The focus of OPSA social events is community building,” says Sylvia Bhatia, OPSA chair-elect. “It is about having fun while connecting with others in our UCOP community.”

Among the events OPSA has hosted are Berkeley Art Museum visits, pop-up happy hours at the Franklin rooftop garden and, most recently, its annual Mardi Gras celebration. As state funding policies restrict UCOP’s support of “employee morale-building events,” OPSA collaborates with senior leadership to fund many of the events it hosts.

“When I joined OPSA in 2012, there was a real need to bring staff together,” Leet says. “These events are a relaxing way to get to know your colleagues outside of a typical work environment.”

OPSA Career: Professional Development Program (PDP) debuts this year

In addition to enhancing a culture of collaboration, OPSA creates opportunities for employees to hone professional skills. “OPSA career resources support the professional growth of UC employees,” Bhatia says.

This year, Bhatia and Leet are thrilled to launch the OPSA Professional Development Program (PDP) — financial awards that will support staff who wish to attend conferences, enroll in classes, purchase books or pursue other opportunities related to their professional growth.

The awards, funded through proceeds from last winter’s OPSA-sponsored poinsettia sale,  were inspired by similar programs across UC. “I’ve always been so jealous of campuses that could offer scholarships,” Leet says. “The PDP will help supplement staff contributions to their professional development to improve and further their careers at OP.”

“I am extremely proud of all that hard work involved in putting together this program and the funds to support it,” Bhatia says. “The OPSA Steering Committee rallied behind this effort and staff were very supportive. We raised almost $1,500.”

PDP applications were initially open until through March 31, but OPSA is now accepting applications through August 31, 2019. To apply, submit an application to You can also view answers to frequently asked questions. After PDP awards are allocated, OPSA may use leftover funds to host OPSA Career workshops that will be open to all staff.

Bhatia joined the OPSA Steering Committee to make a difference at UCOP. The progress she and fellow committee members have already made in advancing professional opportunities for UCOP employees have been a great source of pride.

And, participating in OPSA has helped Bhatia to her feel more connected to the UCOP community while gaining a greater understanding of how UC works as a whole.

“Through OPSA I have met all sorts of interesting people with roles throughout the University,” she says. “It has provided me with a network that has helped me find my way.”

Join OPSA to make a difference

If you would like to get involved with OPSA, here’s how:

  • Join OPSA for the Spring 2019 Staff Appreciation Event at Franklin on May 3.
  • Attend monthly OPSA Steering Committee meetings on the second Wednesday of each month. All UCOP staff are invited to attend in Oakland or via Zoom. The next meeting will take place on May 8.
  • Volunteer to help out at an OPSA event. Contact to share your interest.
  • Run for the OPSA Steering Committee. Elections are coming up soon — Link will share details as they’re available. Committee member terms are two years.

Questions about OPSA? Contact


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