A constant driving force in Sarah Woodside Bury’s life has been an awareness of systemic inequity and a desire to create a more just and equitable world. When she read the job posting to be part of a team opening two new colleges at UC Santa Cruz, she saw an opportunity to merge her passion with her professional work. Colleges nine and ten would focus on International Global Perspectives and Social Justice and Community, respectively. And she already knew about the university’s longstanding commitment to social justice and sustainability.
“A theme throughout my life has always been learning how I can make the world a better place and how I can use my privilege, especially my white skin, my cis-gender, my physical ability to really make an impact, to plant seeds that can ultimately create some of the changes I would like to see in our world to make it more peaceful, more sustainable, more socially just,” Woodside Bury said.
Just over 20 years later, Woodside Bury is the Senior Director of College Student Life at four residential colleges at UC Santa Cruz: Cowell College, Stevenson College, College Nine, and John R. Lewis College (formerly College Ten) recently dedicated. Together they address some of the most difficult and pressing issues facing us today as individuals and as a society. “I would like to hope that my work helps us continue to shed light on these areas of concern and how we can think differently and better about this world and the state we live in,” Woodside Bury said.
Woodside Bury is the 2022 recipient of the UC Santa Cruz (OSA) Outstanding Personnel Award. The award recognizes staff members who provide distinguished service to students, staff, and faculty on our campus every day.
“Sarah Woodside Bury has long been a tireless leader and wonderful team player for College Nine and John R. Lewis College, whose generous spirit and deep dedication to her work shines through in everything she does” , noted the dean of the Division of Social Sciences, Katharyne Mitchell. “I am delighted to see her receive this well-deserved recognition.”
“Woodside Bury’s commitment to our campus, work ethic and emotional intelligence is unparalleled – she leads with heart, intentionality, empathy, care, professionalism, vision and insight,” said Flora Lu, Provost of Colleges Nine. and John R. Lewis. “A consummate professional who exemplifies UCSC’s principles of community, Woodside Bury is respected across campus. People like her are the glue of our university community – those who make the effort and take the time to reach out, pick up the phone, meet and participate.
Woodside Bury began her work at UCSC in 2001 as Residential Education Coordinator at College Nine and later became College Programs Coordinator for College Nine and College Ten. Three years later she moved to Crown College as Associate Principal and in 2010 returned to Nine and Ten Colleges in the same position. Woodside Bury also served as Acting Program Director of College Housing and Educational Services (CHES) Student Diversity and Inclusion Program.
“What I love about my job is that I work with students who are at the very beginning of their university experience all the way to the beginning. I can see that trajectory and the changes they go through and the learning that takes place. I feel lucky to be able to witness and be a part of it,” she said.
In the midst of this work, Woodside Bury retired to start a floating international study abroad college called The Scholar Ship, where she was the cross-cultural residential counselor-coordinator. A year later, she returned to UC Santa Cruz and to the position of Associate Principal.
In 2019, Woodside Bury was selected Senior Director, co-lead the four colleges with the provosts – Flora Lu; Alan Christy, Provost of Cowell College; and Matt O’Hara, provost of Stevenson College. It supports the overall theme of each college – international global outlook, social justice and community, seeking truth in the company of friends, and self and society – through its functions which range from administration from business, finance and logistics to philosophical and curricular studies. approaches. Working from a holistic perspective for students, Woodside Bury brings academic lessons from the classroom to everyday life, creating opportunities that transform students into leaders and agents of change.
“My work is on the side of student life, taking the themes introduced in the core course and bringing them to life outside of the classroom,” she said.
“Woodside Bury’s passion for working with and supporting students is reflected in the programs it creates and nurtures,” said Alex Belisario, general director of college student life.
“Her influence can be seen in the lives of the thousands of students she touched, in the relationships with staff and faculty she nurtured, and in her ongoing work to create a more just and equitable world. She so deserves this award!
Outstanding Staff Award
For more than two and a half decades, the Staff Advisory Board (SAB), the UCSC Alumni Association and the Chancellor’s Office have worked together to honor a member of staff through the annual Outstanding Staff Award. Applications are solicited campus-wide.
“The award is an opportunity to recognize the efforts of all of our excellent staff,” said Ryan Ervin, SAB President-Elect. “It is an honor to serve on the OSA committee, read all the nominees and learn how these members go above and beyond for our university community. Selecting a winner is not an easy task.
Opening of John R. Lewis College
Woodside Bury played a leading role working with Emeritus Professor of Sociology and civil rights activist John Brown Childs, Provost Lu and others for more than a year on the naming and dedication of College Ten as John R. Lewis College. “With intention and sensitivity, we have reached out to John Lewis’ loved ones to humbly ask for their permission for this naming,” Woodside Bury said. “We are committed to forging lasting and meaningful ties with his community and his constituency,” Woodside Bury explained.
“It’s both an honor and a responsibility. He held both the unwavering commitment to civil rights and social justice and equity while always bringing his whole human being to the table – building that community, building relationships, and building bridges.
Dean Mitchell noted that “Woodside Bury’s efforts have been pivotal in this year’s dedication to John R. Lewis College, and she remains a strong advocate for continued efforts to help the college live up to the legacy of Lewis”.
This work, along with her tremendous workload during the pandemic, was recognized when she received the Social Sciences Division’s Outstanding Personnel Award in June.
Woodside Bury says her successes are possible because of the exceptional members of staff who work with her in taking ideas, visions and plans and putting them into practice. “I see the commitment of our incredibly dedicated staff who work tirelessly to create the kind of communities where students feel safe, comfortable and whole. I am especially grateful to my staff. This award is for everyone who supports me. I wouldn’t be here without them. »
“Woodside Bury has functioned as the compass by which our department makes sense of our work and has done so while maintaining a transparent, honest, diligent and hard-working pace,” said Alec Santos, assistant director of residential education at the John R. Lewis College. . “Woodside Bury makes me feel heard, seen, understood, challenged and inspired to do better for myself and for my team. I have never worked in my career in an environment where I felt one of those feelings, so I’m extremely grateful to her for her and for all that she does.
Woodside Bury’s gratitude goes beyond the people she works with every day. “I am thinking of all the invisible, often unnoticed, extremely dedicated and committed staff who work day in and day out to support our campus.”
Even with Woodside Bury’s heavy workload, she continues to find time to learn more. “I am a learner. I hope that I am constantly in a state of learning and expanding my understanding and perspective. She completed UCSC Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program and the Sustainability Certificate Program and was named Sustainability Champion of the Month in June by the Office of Sustainability. Woodside Bury also participated in the Social Justice Training Institute and other workshops and conferences outside of UCSC on the topics of intercultural education and social justice education.
Every time she walks into the courtyard of Cowell College, Woodside Bury feels the support of the campus and her familiar surroundings. The world begins to open up as she walks out onto the patio and looks across East Field to Monterey Bay.
“I continue to be driven by this driving force for positive change at a time when it is so needed. The beauty of this place and the people here support and inspire me in my continued commitment to making the world a more socially fair, sustainable and inclusive.