When Heidi Wolfbauer ’85 (Business Management), administrative specialist for the Faculty Senate, first came to California State University, Northridge as a student in 1980, she saw the campus as a stepping stone to what she thought was a future career as a teacher. One change-of-major and 32 years later, she’s happily still here.
“I was a student assistant in the graduate studies office,” said Wolfbauer. “I came to CSUN right out of high school. I was in school for five years and worked in the same office all five years.”
Her boss at the time, Charles Bearchell, professor emeritus of marketing and former dean of Graduate Studies and International Programs, urged her to consider majoring in management in order to expand future career opportunities.
Shortly after graduation, she was approached by one of her management professors who became interim associate dean of the College of Business and needed an assistant. She suggested Wolfbauer apply for the position.
“I said, ‘Are you sure?’ I was 22-years-old. She said, ‘I think you’re very well qualified.’ I applied and got the job in 1985.”
Wolfbauer spent about 20 years in the College of Business. She started as the assistant to the associate dean and later became assistant to the dean of the college. “I grew up in the College of Business; they’re like my extended family.”
In 2005, she assumed her current position with the Faculty Senate, a group of approximately 75 faculty members who represent the faculty at large and are responsible for developing, reviewing and voting on policy. As the “go to” person for all administrative happenings related to faculty activity, Wolfbauer routinely has multiple irons in the fire. Planning for the annual spring Faculty Retreat begins in the fall. Spring brings Faculty Senate elections, honored faculty awards and the honored faculty reception. In between, she is responsible for monthly Faculty Senate and Senate Executive Committee meetings.
An admitted perfectionist, Wolfbauer spends summers looking for ways to streamline projects. “I have to try something every summer,” she said. “I look around and say, ‘I don’t want to do this this way anymore. How can I do it better?’” Her most recent summer accomplishment involved learning the questionnaire function of Moodle in order to transition the senate from paper ballot to online elections.
In her down time, Wolfbauer, an avid reader, can be found poring over books or crocheting an array of scarves, gloves and hats. True to her perfectionist nature, when she gives away a pair of gloves, she solicits feedback for improving the next pair. A mother of two, her experience working on a university campus lends her a special expertise when it comes to offering suggestions to her own college-age children. Her son is a marketing major at CSUN and her daughter is a freshman at the University of California, Irvine.
By the time she retires, she will have served under the administration of at least four different presidents, worked for four different deans in the College of Business, watched the campus rebuild following a major earthquake, and can even say she was one of the first people in her office to attempt to use a computer – long before the days of email and the Internet.
“My favorite part about this job is that I work with everyone,” Wolfbauer said. “I meet faculty across the whole university. I work with all the administration – the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Faculty Affairs, University Advancement. It’s very central. The thing I like most is getting to know people across the whole campus. I’ve made some really good friends here.”