WorkLife Success Stories at UC Davis

Randi Herrera, Undergraduate Student, Biological Sciences

Amanda Sanderson with son

Amanda Sanderson, Undergraduate Student, Managerial Economics

Like a proud parent, UC Davis is happily sharing the reorganized child care funding program’s “report card”:

In the program’s first year, the university provided child care support for 425 children of 324 parents who are students (graduate-professional and undergraduate), from the fall through spring quarters of 2013-14. The program provided child care support for 158 children of 120 parents during Summer Sessions.

“The first year was a real success, and we are very proud of the financial commitment leadership has made in support of our student parents,” said Susan Gilbert, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources.

The program works on several levels: enabling students to be successful both in school and at home, and furthering the campus’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“I am truly fortunate to receive financial assistance through the subsidy program,” said Amanda Sanderson, mother of Bradley, 2½, who attends La Rue Park Child Development Center.

“This program has become an integral component of my endeavors to complete my college education,” added Sanderson, who said she expects to graduate in June 2015 with a major in mangerial economics and a minor in psychology.

“My son, Bradley, has learned so much at his tender age by attending La Rue Park CDC, a loving and educational day care."  [Read More...]


Scott Yates, Communications/ Project Manager

He isn’t doing it because of Fix 50 (although he’ll beat the traffic, for sure). He isn’t doing it simply for the exercise (although he’ll get plenty). And he isn’t in a marathon (he’d have to go 6.2 miles more).

Scott Yates of Human Resources is running 20 miles from the Sacramento campus HR office to the Davis campus HR office to show how they are closer together than people may realize and connected under the new banner “One HR Community,” inspired by One UC Davis.

“And I’ll be running for the fun of it,” Yates told Dateline UC Davis.

He’s also selected a special day for his run: June 4, National Running Day. [READ MORE...]


Buster Porter, Physical Therapist, Ergonomist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Occupational Health Services

Should I stay or should I go?

That was the question in September 2011 when my wife retired from UC Davis and moved back into our house 125 miles away. Should I try to maintain my employment at UC Davis and my marriage from a distance or should a resign my position as Physical Therapist at Occupational Health Services after 7 years of service and move back home with my wife and find employment elsewhere? Prior to her retirement she and I had many long discussions about what the future would hold, how we would manage our lives if she did indeed retire, and what would our indicators be as to whether things were or were not working out. We knew one thing, and that was we did not want to lose our 22 year commitment to each other. So I found myself facing quite a dilemma. Do I leave a job that I genuinely enjoy and appreciate; complete with a group of likeminded coworkers that together create a great work environment and one that doesn’t often cycle around in a person’s career? Or do I pack up and start over again with another company. Should I stay or should I go?

I was leaning towards going. I did not want to risk my marriage. Fortunately for me and I suppose UC Davis, my boss and Medical Director of Occupational Health Services, Roger Belcourt, MD, MPH, had experience with just this situation. He had a good friend, physician friend, who after many years of working and living in a traditional format, (drive 20-40 minutes to and from work 5 days per week) found himself commuting about 125 miles to work. He worked a 4 day, 10 hours per day schedule. He was meeting his professional and personal obligations without unacceptable compromise. He rented an apartment where he stayed during the work week then drove back home for the remaining 3 days of the week.

Dr. Belcourt, having seen this balanced WorkLife schedule executed successfully before, felt that I could meet the requirements of my job at UC Davis on a 4 day x 10 hours per day work schedule. He explained the predicament his friend found himself in and how he was successfully negotiating the demands in his life. Dr. Belcourt offered a trial of this schedule before I made a decision to change employers to see if we could strike a balance. After a discussion with my wife, noting the pros and cons associated with either decision to stay or go, we agreed that I would try the 4 day x 10 hour day schedule.

Fast forward to November 2012, over a year later. I am still happily married and I am still happily employed full time at UC Davis. I am grateful to my employer for letting me be outside the box while I continue to meaningfully contribute to the mission and vision of the University. I have more pride in my employer and higher job satisfaction than I ever had in the previous 7 years of working at UC Davis. I also value my marriage more than ever and I think I’m actually a happier person since finding myself in the should I stay or should I go dilemma! So the answer is, I should stay.


Starla K. Bennett, Executive Asst for Associate Vice Chancellor Susan M. Gilbert-Human Resources

When my husband had foot surgery and was unable to drive for a week, I needed to pick up our girls from school each day. I appreciated the work life balance afforded in allowing flexible hours so I could take care of my family and balance work at the same time. In addition, during the summer months I enjoy the opportunity to work an hour earlier so I can spend that extra time in the afternoon with my family. The balance makes a world of difference to me and my family.


Nicole Morrill, Payroll/Personnel Coordinator, UC Davis Anicole work and familythletics/Physical Education Program

Ever since having my first daughter 7 years ago, my supervisor has been extremely accommodating in allowing my working hours to start and end outside of the normal 8-5 working hours. This has allowed me to drop her off later at daycare or pick her up earlier to spend more time with her. My husband, while not a UCD employee, has also been fortunate to have a flexible work schedule so that for example when I drop off my daughter late and stayed at work later he would have gone to work earlier so he could pick her up earlier in the day. This allowed for her to only be in day care 6 hours a day and then spending plenty of time with us in the morning or afternoon.

Since then I have had one more daughter who is now almost 4 and my supervisor continues to be flexible with my working hours. I have been able to enroll in the START program and reduce my working schedule by 5% which, while it is only 2 hours a week makes a huge difference to get off early on Friday afternoons to be able to get some chores/shopping done before my 7 year old is out of school and before I have to pick up my 4 year old from preschool. I continue to come in early and get off earlier on some days and come in later on other days and get off work later which also allows for either myself or my husband to pick up our 7 year old right after school without having to pay for extended care at the school and once again spending more time with our daughters both in the morning and afternoons while continuing to be productive at work. Additionally being here earlier than 8am on some days and later than 5pm on others days works well for a lot of our employees because many of them are really busy between 8-5 and therefore find it useful that they can come see me or contact me outside those hours.

Additionally, whenever my daughters have events at their schools that I would like to volunteer at or attend my supervisor is very flexible in allowing me to go to those events by either taking vacation time or making up the hours another day. This is another wonderful opportunity for me to be really involved in both of my daughters' schools.

I am very thankful for not only WorkLife Balance at UCD by my very flexible and understanding supervisor that allows for me to lead this balanced life so that I am a happier person at home and at work. :)


Stacey Brezing, MS, RCEP, WorkStrong Coordinator Occupational Health Services

In the fall of 2011 I found out that I was pregnant with my first child – scary news for someone who was dedicated to her career and had been working non-stop since junior high selling candy from the concession stand at little league games! Luckily, I had been introduced to the Worklife Wellness offerings at my UCD New Employee Orientation and knew that UC Davis promoted a work/life balance – one of the reasons I’ve continued to work here! I was excited that I could participate in the classes that would prepare me to be a new mom and more importantly a new “working” mom.

The first helpful appointment was the maternity leave appointment at HR. With all of the different federal, state and UC leave options I was confused until someone sat down with me one-on-one with a calendar and went through it very patiently. Having someone explain the way leave worked face- to- face was incredibly helpful and relieved a lot of anxiety.

I also took advantage of the breastfeeding series taught by the Worklife lactation consultant. This series and the group meetings really prepared me for what I could expect and what was available for me when I did return to work as a breastfeeding mother. I used the materials from the series when I was struggling to breastfeed at home right after birth and I also utilized the free lactation consultations on campus – trekking over to the Heitman Staff Learning Center for a personal one-on-one appointment that would normally cost mothers around $80/hour! As I was desperate for help at that critical time, I was so grateful that this service existed on campus and the lactation consultant was especially helpful with frequent email follow-ups to make sure everything was going well and to give me helpful tips.

After returning to work, I was lucky to have my own office where I was able to plan in pumping times into my work day. I also felt relief that there were lactation rooms around campus so that if I was at a meeting out of the office, I could utilize them if necessary.

Lastly, one of the greatest benefits of working on campus was being able to utilize La Rue Child Development Center which happened to be right across the street from my building at the time! I was only minutes away if my son needed to be picked up for a doctor’s appointment or if there was an issue and this really set my mind at ease. Having daycare on campus really made my work day more efficient and stress free.

The Worklife Wellness offerings are a true benefit to UC Davis employees and I am so glad that I was able to utilize them during a stressful time in my life, making my transition to “working” mom so much easier.

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James Cubbage, Database Systems Manager, Plant Sciences

Currently a Programmer for the Plant Sciences IT Department, James Cubbage has utilized numerous WorkLife policies to achieve a sense of balance between his work, family, and volunteer responsibilities. James is an example of how policies and practices at UC Davis can improve not only family and community, but an employee’s job satisfaction, performance and commitment to UC Davis. When UC Davis invests in an employee, that employee can invest in their family, and community, including the UC Davis community.

In 2001, James took advantage of a flexible work schedule to be able to spend time with his family after the birth of his twins. A part-time employee at the time, he was able to front-load his monthly hours to meet a critical deadline, and then have some time off after the twins were born (conveniently, the morning after that project deadline was met). In 2004, James utilized the Start Program which allowed him to reduce his hours to meet family needs without jeopardizing his security, retirement, or leave accrual. When his third child was born in 2008 he was able to use the FMLA to spend some time at home with the new addition to his family. He states that this flexibility has always been a result of supervisors who were willing to accommodate his needs during these short, but critical periods of his life. This cooperation on the part of UC Davis only strengthens James’ commitment to UC Davis.

James actively expressed this commitment by serving on Staff Assembly for the past 6 years and on the Child Care Advisory Committee since 2003. Numerous lunch hours are spent working for these campus entities which benefit the entire university. Additionally, he supports our local community by utilizing the UC Policy for release time for volunteer emergency operations and blood donation. Every 8 weeks, James donates blood at our local Bloodsource, donating over 28 gallons thus far. James is also a rescue diver for the Drowning Accident Rescue Team, as well as a volunteer for the Yolo and Campus Amateur Radio Emergency Network. This organization provides communication for the Red Cross and counties in the event of a loss of communication in an emergency situation. Most of his volunteer time is spent from his personal time, but he is available for emergency services and occasional training from his work day. By incorporating many of the UC Davis WorkLife policies into his life plan, James has been able to fully experience each import aspect of his life—work, family, and volunteerism.


Amanda Caulder, Leadership Coordinator, Student Housing

I’ve always said that one of the best parts of working for UC Davis has been the fact that people care about you both professionally and personally. That means a great deal to me- not only because I have personally benefited from the culture of care that UC Davis provides but that I am in a position to provide that for others. As a proud UC Davis alum, I have found this to be true both on the student and staff levels and despite the fact that many people find it hard to believe that I would leave my hometown of San Diego for this little college town, I can truly say that I love this place. Who our students are outside of the classroom is just as important (sometimes more so!) as who they are inside the classroom and the same rings true for staff members.

In my own attempt to continue to find work/life balance, I have begun an internship with Staff Development and Professional Services- primarily helping out the unit of WorkLife and Wellness. I have always loved my role as a Leadership Coordinator with the Student Housing department on campus and I am looking to go back to school to pursue either a Masters or Doctoral degree. In doing research of what interests me and trying to continually broaden my horizons, I was supported in my efforts to begin working 4 hour per week at SDPS. Not only does this offer me a glimpse into another unit on campus- one in which I fully support their mission and the work that they do- but it also affords me the opportunity to continue to challenge myself in new ways in the work that I do. I am lucky to be in an environment in which my personal and professional ambitions are met with acceptance and encouragement.

My brief time thus far with WorkLife and Wellness has shown me that the scope of people who can benefit from their assistance is endless. Hopefully you were able to check out some of the recent events associated with Food Day, a movement and celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainable foods. Or perhaps you’re going to join us in our efforts to revitalize the “Aggies on the Move” program. The interests of UC Davis employees become the interests of the WorkLife and Wellness unit.

My interests outside of work have helped me cultivate a more effective balancing act for myself; I serve on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Yolo County, serve as the Academic Advisor to a sorority on campus, I’m training for my fourth half-marathon (I completed my first full marathon in June of this year), I maintain a strong social life with friends and family, and try to travel when I get the chance.

I’m thankful to work at UC Davis because the word “balance” seems to be in everyone’s vocabulary and it’s reassuring to work somewhere where my supervisors and peers foster and support this.


Patricia Castillo

Asking questions and seeking answers about immune systems is what Patricia Castillo does as a doctoral student at UC Davis. But as a single parent of two growing boys, she also has to ask a more personal question: How can her children have the care they need while she’s in the lab or classroom?

UC Davis is helping her and other student parents answer that question with newly expanded opportunities to receive financial assistance for child care and more convenient access to that assistance.

“It makes it so much easier,” said Castillo, who is completing doctoral studies and working as a graduate student researcher as she raises Ben, 11, and Blaeton, 7. “You can focus on what you need to focus on." [READ MORE...]