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Administrative assistants keep campus departments running

Posted on 11.20.2013

At the University of Indianapolis, administrative assistants are found in every department and are responsible for tackling duties such as scheduling appointments, organizing supplies, receiving visitors and many other tasks at any given moment.
Administrative Assistant for the International Division Cora Heck said that beyond the traditional tasks that people might think of, she performs many other tasks to help the international student population.
“I do services for international students such as writing address verification letters and keeping track of immigration information,” Heck said. “I also send out packets of information to potential students who may be coming in for future semesters. I do a lot of data entry for the international purposes. I also maintain their health insurance.”


Cora Heck

English Department Administrative Assistant Deborah McGary also tackles work from the religion and philosophy departments. She has a wide variety of tasks that contribute to morale and organizing the departments.
“I assist the faculty,  keep up the group list, supply ordering, directing students, shoulder to cry on if need be. I guess I do just about a little bit of everything you can imagine,” McGary said.
President Robert Manuel’s Executive Assistant Shanna Brinegar said that her role can be a little different.
“My job is to support President Manuel in our daily activities. I make sure [that] all the meetings are set and that he has all the materials for each meeting. I try to anticipate his needs so that they are just there and available and he doesn’t have to ask,” Brinegar said. “Of course I do the copying and ordering supplies. I also support the board of trustees by coordinating the minutes and attending every meeting.”
The assistants agree that there are plenty of positive things to keep them motivated to walk into their offices every morning,  including watching the students grow through their years at the university.
“It’s just very neat watching all the students come in as young 18- or 19-year-olds and leave as mature, well-educated, young adults,” McGary said. “You can just tell that they have many years of success ahead of them. That’s my favorite part.”
Brinegar does not work with students as much in the President’s Office but said  that she values the personal connections with others on campus that UIndy’s small size facilitates.
“The people here are really great. You don’t find this at bigger universities. Like there is no walking across campus to deliver something. So we have a lot more face-to-face interaction here.”
Brinegar knows the contrast between UIndy and a larger school first hand, because she worked at Purdue University for three and a half years before coming to UIndy. Many of the assistants had previous jobs before they arrived at the university.


Shanna Brinegar

“I was a teaching assistant at an elementary school, and then I came here because I wanted the benefit of free education for my children,” Heck said. “I have sent three kids to college because of it.”
Adminstrative Assistant for the Theatre Department Jodi Bush explained that she had a long career before coming to UIndy.
“I call this my second career. I worked in sales for 25 years, and I was a casualty of the 2008 downturn of the economy. I stayed home for a few years and always thought I would enjoying being here.”
Director of the International Division Mimi Chase said that faculty members in each department lean heavily on their administrative assistant.
The International Division depends on Heck to keep the department running in several ways.
“Her work benefits everyone that walks through the door. Cora’s work is pivotal, and everything we do depends on where she is. She knows what all of us do in our different roles and keeps things functioning smoothly when one of us is missing,” Chase said. “She can keep us on task with what we need to accomplish.”


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