Barbara Vandeventer is an office administrator in the department of food science and human nutrition.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT THE UI?
I started in December 1994 as extra help with the Division of Foods and Nutrition, but then in January ’95 I went full time.
I take care of all the timetable issues, class scheduling, setting up classes, helping with registration, that type of thing. I also help Faye Dong, our department head, assign teaching assistant positions. Basically any secretary-type tasks that have to do with the students – I take care of that.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN AN AVERAGE DAY?
During registration I check Banner to see if there’s any situation that I need to address: add more classes, add more seats to a class or change a restriction. Because I’m the departmental scheduler, I’m the person who enters things into the Enterprise System for courses. I have to check with faculty members about which textbooks they might want or if they want the course restricted to only sophomores or if they need to change the grade they’ve assigned to someone – anything that’s related to the classes and the department courses, I take care of. I also help cover the front desk sometimes.
I have a lot of interaction with students. I had a question come in today about how to set up residency in Illinois. If I don’t know the answer, I try to call someone who I think will know or I send a note out to all my colleagues in the college. We have a network of people in the other departments who do the same kind of work I do, so I send an e-mail out to see if anybody knows the answer. We help each other when we can. We network a lot.
I support a lot of committees here in the department, too. Today I sent out the call for departmental awards, and those nominations will come back to me and I’ll prepare a summary for the committee to review. I help with the courses and curriculum committee if we have to change anything. We just had an update to our dietetics curriculum, so I submitted all that paperwork.
ARE THERE ANY FOOD-RELATED PERKS IN YOUR JOB?
It’s a big joke that I’m a terrible cook, so the instructor of FSHN 131 (“Introductory Food Laboratory”) told me there was an opening in her class and let me audit it. I was struggling with just the one class and the other students are taking five. I don’t know how they do it. As a student in the cooking class you get to taste everything that was made. Our grad students have a lot of research projects that need people to sample their products. They really tricked us on one of them: The e-mail said, “Interested in chocolate?” But when we got there for the survey it was evaluating salad dressing viscosity, and they gave us a bite-size candy bar afterward. I know how important it is for the students to get their sensory evaluation, so I try to volunteer. Also, I’m on the same floor as the Bevier Café, so sometimes at the end of the school year if they have extra goodies they’ll bring them down.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Definitely interacting with the students. Because the grad students study here for three to five years, you get to know them. I don’t get to know the undergraduates as well, but I just love talking to the students. They’re from so many different places and I’ve always been here in Central Illinois, so when someone says they’ve been to Indonesia or Switzerland, it’s just so fascinating to me. I love talking to them.
SO YOU GREW UP AROUND HERE?
Yes. I live in Villa Grove. I started off at a Catholic grade school then went to Villa Grove for junior high and high school. I got married pretty much out of high school and started our family. Around 1991, I went back to college at Parkland. I got my associate’s degree in information processing in 1996.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.
We’ve got three kids, and they’ve all graduated college. My oldest daughter is the director of business operations at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; my middle daughter is a lawyer; and my youngest daughter, who just graduated in December, wants to be a high school social studies teacher. I have two grandchildren: Courtney just turned 11 and Carson will be 8 on St. Patrick’s Day. We say it’s his official birthday – not unofficial birthday; he doesn’t get two. My husband and I will have our 35th wedding anniversary in June.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES?
I love crossword puzzles. I also really like needlework; cross stitch is my favorite. I read newspapers every week for Illinois Radio Reader, a service for the visually impaired. My grandmother used to read textbooks to visually impaired people on campus. I thought it’s what she would want me to do. Also, I’d love to travel. I’m looking forward to my retirement. I really would like to explore the United States. There’s so much here I haven’t seen.