UM-St. Louis student begins duties as Board of Curators student representative
Mulderig was selected out of three finalists and appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Feb. 18.
Apr. 09, 2014
UM-St. Louis graduate student Tracy Mulderig has been selected as the new student representative to the UM System Board of Curators. Her term will run from 2014 to January 2016.
Mulderig, who was appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon on Feb. 18 and confirmed by the Senate on March 6, will attend her first Board of Curators meeting April 11 at Missouri University of Science & Technology.
Mulderig said higher education falls in line with her work in studying industrial organizational psychology at UMSL.
“It’s always been very natural to me to think of higher education when I’m studying things related to my field,” she said. “It allows me to blend my interests in higher education with my professional interests and speak out on behalf of the students.”
Mulderig did her undergraduate degree in psychology and math at Truman State University. She is now seeking opportunities to be more involved on the UMSL campus.
The student representative position was a good place to start, she said.
“I wanted to get more involved on campus and in the system,” she said. “My graduate training is on organizations, and people in organizations, and I initially became interested in that field while studying at Truman.”
When her name was among the three submitted to the governor’s office for final review during the six-month application process, Mulderig said she wasn’t initially sure she would make the cut.
“Initially, I didn’t really think I’d get selected,” Mulderig said. “So it was a pleasant surprise because the competition is pretty fierce.”
Mulderig said the six-month-long application process entailed submitting an application with a résumé and three letters of recommendation. UMSL students were also asked to submit two short essays about their qualifications and views on the issues facing students today.
After the materials were reviewed, the applicants were interviewed in two phases. Cuts made at the first round narrowed the pool down to six, and the second round narrowed it down to the three who would be assessed by Nixon.
The three students traveled to Jefferson City for interviews with the governor’s staff, but they were not the only people Mulderig spoke to about the process.
Amy Johnson, UM-Kansas City senior and student representative from 2012 to 2014, said Mulderig went out of her way to speak with her predecessor.
“She was the only candidate who asked to talk to me in the interview process,” Johnson said. “She reached out to me and wanted to know more about the position, even before she applied.”
When Mulderig was selected, Johnson gave her handbooks of information about the position, complete with everything she said Mulderig would need to know for the start of her term. Johnson said she filled these handbooks with information she wished someone would have told her before she began her term in January 2012.
“This role has no handbook,” Johnson said. “There was no ‘what to do and how to do it.’ My struggle was that I wanted to make the most of my term, and that’s why I wrote the handbook (to help Mulderig). And Tracy will also add a lot to that as well.”
In her role, Mulderig will add an increase in social media usage.
Her official Twitter handle, @UMStudentRep, will see much action because, she said, she believes social media accessibility can be a force for good.
“I think it’s important for students to be involved about decisions from the board,” Mulderig said. “And I think Twitter is the easiest way for me to reach out to the student body and for them to reach out to me about anything work-related.”
To complement the Board of Curators’ live-tweeted updates, Mulderig hopes to engage students by answering any questions they have about actions that could affect them.
“I feel that my responsibility is to listen to the students across the system and really push for what’s important to them,” she said. “I am more of the mind that it’s important to listen in this role and find out what the individual student governments would like to see happen at a system level.”
UM System General Counsel Steve Owens said in a Feb. 13 email interview that the role of student representative is crucial to bridging the gap between curators and students.
“I … appreciate it when they can balance their duty to act as an advocate for their constituency group with their duty to act in the best interests of the entire institution,” Owens said in the email. “The views are of a student representative are always appreciated on issues directly involving students, and it has been my observation that their views on non-student matters carry equal weight.”