The UCSB Chancellor’s Staff Advisory Council will host several events commemorating the university’s faculty as part of its annual Staff Celebration Week.

The council is working alongside the UCSB Staff Assembly, the Professional Women’s Association and the Academic Business Officers Group to organize a weeklong series of activities including Wednesday’s Staff Social and Thursday’s Staff Cookie Contest. The event series began with a kick-off luncheon last Friday at the Faculty Club Green, where 10 staff members were awarded $500 Staff Citation of Excellence Awards for their outstanding service.

Ryan George, co-chair of the chancellor’s staff advisory council, said the events encourage staff interaction and recognize notable achievements of university employees.

“The events are opportunities for staff to experience aspects of our campus that they might not know about and to take a little time to celebrate themselves,” George said. “Besides highlighting outstanding contributions from staff, we want to promote teamwork. These are rough times, but we will continue to meet our goals by working together, by supporting each other and by collaborating to come up with new ideas.”

UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said the celebration is especially important this year in light of the university’s growing financial constraints.

“Each and every year, it is an opportunity to come together, enjoy one another’s company and celebrate the relationships and friendships that make our campus such a wonderful place to work and learn,” said Yang in an e-mail. “As the state’s budget difficulties continue, recognizing the outstanding work that we do in support of our academic, research and public service missions is tremendously important.”

Mark French, head coach of UCSB women’s basketball for 21 years, will present his keynote address, “Staff Coming Together as a Team; A Gaucho Tradition” during Wednesday’s Staff Social.

George said the council expects the speech to see a large turnout from the campus community.

“I look forward to hearing Mark French speak and to make some connections at the various social events throughout the week,” George said. “The planning committee feels this has the potential to become a very popular event.”

The Professional Women’s Association is sponsoring the celebration and will host their 15th annual conference on Wednesday. Professional Women’s Association Vice President Margaret McMurtrey said the program highlights female staff members’ work.

“This year we have 16 interactive workshops, a key note speaker, a noontime motivational speaker, Networking Happy Hour, and we will be honoring our Unsung Heroine Award Winners during lunch,” McMurtney said.

This year’s final event is Friday’s first annual Chef’s Showcase, featuring three UCSB chefs preparing a three-course cooking demonstration to showcase their culinary skills.

A full calendar of scheduled events is available on the Staff Assembly website at