After serving for six years as the inaugural executive director of MSU’s WorkLife Office, Barbara Roberts has announced that she will be retiring at the end of July.
She is unable to return to campus due to family health reasons, and has decided to remain in Canada and retire at this time. Beginning in August, and for the time being, the WorkLife Office will remain in the Office of the Provost and be realigned with Academic Human Resources.
“We are grateful for Dr. Roberts’ encouragement of collaborations with other units to mobilize support for faculty and staff, connect people with resources, and help members of our campus community feel seen, respected, and supported in fitting together their work and personal lives,” said MSU Provost Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. “The university has benefitted from all of the foundational and forward-thinking work that she and her team have accomplished in advancing the WorkLife Office and supporting our faculty and staff.”
During Roberts’ tenure as executive director, she and her team enhanced a broad range of support services for faculty and staff, including expanding dependent care to include elders and other family members in addition to children; researching and supporting the benefits of parental leave; educating and promoting the use of flexible work arrangements; and expanding resources on workplace climate and anti-bullying initiatives, notably the Toward a Respectful Workplace website, which was launched as an international collaboration with Dr. Roberts’ previous university, University of New Brunswick, in Canada.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the WorkLife Office mobilized three months of daily “Coffee Conversations” and webinars and provided live, online support; programs; and resources for faculty and staff as they navigated the many challenges associated with remote work. The WorkLife Office also contributed to the creation of Workplace Decisions Guidance for Units and Supervisors and Consolidated Tips on Creating a “Quaranteam.”