Mrs. Tamara Foster

University of California, Berkeley

Contact Details

University of California, Berkeley



I have been a member of the Technical and Reporting Advisory Group (TRAG), (formerly the TAG), since 2014. On August 31, 2020, I will be stepping down as I am leaving Northwestern University.

Being a member of the TRAG has been immensely rewarding for me as I have had opportunities to contribute to the community and collaborate with people and institutions across the US and the world. In my first year I was not sure if I had anything to contribute and I struggled to find my place in the group, but I persisted and continued to look for ways to add value. I continued to raise my hand and volunteer when I saw an opportunity. I started hosting Webinars during the year, and panel presentations at Alliance. Those activities gave me the confidence to take on more.

In my first term with the TRAG, I served on the PeopleTools working group, the User Experience working group, as well as being a communications coordinator. In my second term I continued to serve as a Communications coordinator for another year, while also being part of the User Experience working group. In the last 18 months, I have had the privilege of serving as Vice-Chair and I am currently serving in the Chair position.

None of this would have been possible if my manager, Maureen Knight-Burrell (HEUG Hall of Fame 2020), had not encouraged me to apply to be part of the TRAG seven years ago. I began as a PeopleSoft developer in 2002, after ten plus years developing Northwestern’s Web presence and creating a database (Oracle) for Course and Teacher Evaluations, class descriptions, and a calendar application for the University. Maureen urged me to present at Alliance, post and learn in the HEUG Forums, and soon she began to encourage me to apply to the Technology Advisory Group. I am constantly looking to improve on design and solutions that make a better user experience and the PeopleTools team continues to provide solutions that allow all of us to improve the experience for our user communities; and as I learn, I want to share. This is really the core value of the HEUG and the Advisory Groups; discovering and sharing. As I volunteered in the TRAG (TAG), I continued to learn and was able to bring that knowledge back to Northwestern. While being on an advisory group is not at all about promoting your institutions’ agenda, there is ultimately a benefit to the institutions that allow their staff to volunteer for advisory groups as we are in near constant contact with members from other institutions which then  naturally leads to a broadening of our knowledge over time. It is important to have your institutions’ support to be an advisory group member because it does require your time and energy, but the value added to your institution clearly creates a win-win situation, and I am thankful for having had a manager who understands the value of the HEUG and the value of allowing a portion of my time to be used for serving on the TRAG over the last seven years.

If volunteering for the HEUG TRAG sounds like something you would want to do, either for one term or for two, please consider applying this fall as elections open.