Five Questions with PSU-AAUP Treasurer Alice Pearman

Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your “PSU story” – your history with the institution, the nature/quality of your work here?

I joined the Lamson Library faculty seven years ago. It seems a short time compared to some of my colleagues, but this is the longest amount of time I’ve ever held any position. I think that must mean I like it here. Currently I am the Collection Management Librarian and the library budget manager, which means I spend a lot of time behind spreadsheets, but you’ll see me teaching information literacy at the reference desk and in the classroom, too.

What’s the formal “job description” of your position?

The Treasurer oversees the receipt and deposit of all monies due the Chapter and oversees the payment of bills. I provide monthly financial status reports to the Executive Committee, and annually present a financial report to the membership. I also lead budget preparation for the upcoming year and present it for a member vote each spring.

What have you learned in this position? Has anything surprised you? Is there anything you think would surprise readers of this interview?

When I accepted this position in 2019, I really wasn’t sure how this responsibility would play out in practice. I looked up Robert’s Rules of Order to learn exactly what a monthly report should look like! I learned what kind of nonprofit organization we are (we’re a 501(c)(5)), and what our tax professional needs to know to file our annual returns.

I learned there is a lot of trust in this position. Many people aren’t accustomed to reading financial reports. It’s important to me to ensure I am providing as much transparency as possible in both my written and verbal reports to the Executive Committee.

I think some people are a little afraid of handling money for an organization, but in practice, it’s not unlike a household budget. If you’re good at keeping track of spending and saving written records, it’s difficult to mess it up.

What about serving in this position has been rewarding for you personally?

The opportunity to be a positive force for our faculty. I work with some fantastic people on the Executive Committee. We genuinely care about our colleagues and are focused on ensuring everyone is treated fairly and equitably. Having a voice in that conversation is very rewarding.

What would you tell a union member who wants to be more involved, but is nervous about running for an elected position?

Member involvement makes our union a strong union. The more involved you are, the stronger we will be. I understand that a two-year commitment can seem like a lot. But there is respect for the fact that some of us have more bandwidth than others. I’ve found my work as treasurer to be very manageable, and enjoy volunteering with other initiatives when I am able.

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