ASPA Member Highlight – Bonnie Kraska, Operations Manager, Prince Albert Campus

Written by Karen E. Mosier

Bonnie Kraska has worked for the University of Saskatchewan in Prince Albert for almost 13 years. She started in January 2008 as a CUPE employee in an Administrative Assistant position and in 2014 she joined ASPA as the PA Campus Manager for the College of Nursing. In the fall of 2020, the new USask PA campus building opened which amalgamated a number of existing and new USask operations located in Prince Albert. Bonnie has continued her operations management role in the new facility in support of a broader stakeholder group, including the College of Nursing, the Distance Education Unit, and the College of Dentistry’s on site Dental Clinic.

As Operations Manager, Bonnie is responsible for the coordination of infrastructure and services that facilitate the teaching, research, and administrative work taking place at the Prince Albert Campus.  She works in a self-motivated capacity to proactively meet the needs of local stakeholders in PA and liaise with central Usask units in Saskatoon to promote a productive and quality environment for resident faculty, staff, and students.  She admits, “No two days are ever the same”. Her accountabilities include the coordination of work that connects with many different departments on the main campus.  Examples of these duties include Safety Resources (e.g. LSC (Local Safety Committee), fire and lockdown drills, site inspections), Facilities (e.g. temperature, equipment, furniture, custodial services), Space Utilization and Room Scheduling  (e.g. 25Live, classrooms, offices), IT and Audio Visual Support (e.g. computer setup and troubleshooting, classroom support, WebEx, video conferencing, printer issues, telephones, etc.), student and instructor photo ID cards, Student Association support, employee onboarding, and event planning services.  Though her position requires a high level of autonomy, her work involves collaborating with many USask departments which has been invaluable to promote institutional approaches and solutions at the PA Campus.   Although Bonnie is based in Prince Albert, she is well known by colleagues across the university due to the collaborative nature of her position.  She feels very connected to the University’s strategic mission in her role.

Bonnie is well prepared for her role at USask and is committed to lifelong learning.  She completed her Office Education certificate and Business certificate at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in 2013. She went on to complete many courses through the Edwards School of Business including the Operational Excellence, Project Management, and Leadership Development. She decided to continue her education and started taking classes towards the Edwards Certificate in Business. Although this meant travelling to Saskatoon once or twice a week and getting home late, she believes it was all worth it and ultimately she completed the ESB Certificate in Business in 2019. 

What Bonnie likes most about her job is contributing to the realization of the vision for the PA Campus project, as well as supporting the students, faculty and staff with their day-to-day needs.  Although she has a specific job description, her position is so much more than that!  She adds, “Sometimes there is a lineup outside of my office door of students, employees, or contractors who need help with a multitude of issues. Knowing that my work enables the productivity and success of others is truly rewarding”.  She feels well supported by her colleagues in the various departments on the main campus and she admits, “I wouldn’t be able to do my job effectively without the continuous collaboration with them”.  

When asked what motivates her to give her best, Bonnie replied “Having been involved in the planning of the campus from the very beginning, I have a great sense of pride, ownership, and excitement for this new, beautiful campus and what is signifies for the institution and the communities we serve.  I am very fortunate to be a part of this. The positive impact that Usask has had for Prince Albert students, local health service delivery, and the broader community itself have been remarkable and will continue to grow.”  Knowing that everything is working as it should, and everyone has what they need to do their jobs, is very rewarding.  Bonnie constantly works towards the ongoing improvement of all campus operations which ultimately benefits everyone.

Bonnie believes that her educational background is an asset to her current position. Her education has definitely provided her with many tools that she uses every day.  Her job continuously requires project management, leadership, problem solving and decision making, and effective communication.

Bonnie has been an ASPA member for the last seven years. She appreciates all the benefits and perks available to ASPA members. In particular, APDA enables her to be a life-long learner as she continues to look for professional development opportunities. In addition, the ASPA Tuition Reimbursement Fund has been very valuable to her as she has two children who have recently completed degrees at the University of Saskatchewan and her family has benefited from this program.  She also commends ASPA’s other excellent, no-cost benefits that include a Flexible Spending account that she utilizes every year to promote personal wellbeing amidst a demanding career.

Being an ASPA member has impacted Bonnie’s career as it allowed her to maximize her contributions to the University while leveraging and expanding a comprehensive skill set through ongoing professional development.  Having the Tuition Waiver made it possible for her to complete the Edwards Certificate in Business program with minimal personal expense, and her APDA fund covered the cost of textbooks. She attests, “If it weren’t for these benefits, it would have been much harder to pursue these educational opportunities which have allowed me to further my career”.

Bonnie’s advice to all ASPA members is “We belong to a great union that has excellent benefits.  I encourage everyone to learn about what is available to you as an ASPA member and use them to the best advantage”.

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