Linda Swett, administrative aide for the department of veterinary biosciences, has worked at the UI for 29 years. Swett handles all aspects of human resources for the department and coordinates the graduate student program. She says she works in a “homey environment” and enjoys the personal interaction with people that her job provides.
Tell me about your job.
My job (requires me to be an) ‘all-around person.’ My primary job is human resources for our department. I help with anything from the search process to the hiring of individuals. In addition to that, I help with promotion and tenure papers, vacation, sick leave and mail. I also do some financial things.
What are your daily activities at work?
Most days involve working with human resources like entering information into NESSIE or setting up an appointment in Banner. I go through the whole process so that somebody can be paid on time. If we were hiring somebody new, I initiate a letter of offer and set them up in NESSIE. Once they’ve completed that paperwork, I forward information on an appointment checklist to the campus level and enter information in Banner. Biweekly, I collect time sheets for the student and hourly employees in our department and it gets entered into the payroll system.
How did you start working for the UI and your department?
I started as a secretary III in the Office of Continuing Education for health professionals. We sponsored workshops for health professionals in the community. I really enjoyed that job. Unfortunately, it was on federal funding and the funding ran out. One of the people in my office, who was married to the dean of the veterinary college, told me about the position in the department of veterinary biosciences. I contacted the department head and the rest is history.
What do you like about your job?
I think the UI has an attractive campus. I think that when people come and visit, they get a good impression of the UI and would want to come here. I think the people are friendly here, too. It makes people feel welcomed and wanted. I like the interaction with the people in my department, the college and the campus. I enjoy the day-to-day contact with faculty, staff and students. They ask me questions and I enjoy hearing about their lives. I also work with our graduate students to make sure they’re on track in their graduate programs and help them get all the paperwork together to get their theses deposited. I feel that everyone has a respect for our department and myself as well.
What are some challenges that you face with your job?
In August, five faculty members, including our department head, are retiring. We’re doing some searches for new faculty members and beginning the search for a new department head. It’ll be a challenge getting that new department head appointed and helping them through the learning process of how and why we do things they way we do here.
What are some interesting things that have happened to you at work?
My best friend ended up working in my department for about a year and a half. I had some reservations because we had been friends for a long time and I didn’t want our relationship to change just because I was now her boss. But it worked out fine. It was a challenge for both of us. I think it’s probably unusual to be the boss of someone that you’re friends with.
What do you do outside of work?
I enjoy reading, going to movies, going to antique stores, flea markets and festivals in the fall. I like to see new things and I like the crowds and the excitement. I recently vacationed in southern California and took a cruise. I enjoy spending time with my husband, Buzz. He is now an associate pastor for four churches down in the Shelbyville area. So on Sundays, I do things as a pastor’s wife. I like to visit my daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Missouri. I also have always wanted to go white-water rafting and Buzz and I did it last fall in Virginia. It was so much fun. I want to do it again this year.