Categories
June 2021

Patriots at Work: June 2021

 

As I come to the end of my term as chair of the Staff Senate, I am reflecting on the past two years. Serving in this role has been the greatest privilege of my time at Mason.   

Out of the turmoil and challenges of the past year, we have crafted new ways to live and work. As our lives start to feel a little more “normal,” many of us are trying to find our way back to a baseline of well-being.  

The continuation of flexible work is an important way to support staff well-being. Though a return to campus is exciting, many staff want to balance their time on campus with a flexible schedule or regular telework days. In the post-pandemic workplace, this is an essential practice to recruit and retain talent.

In the context of a university, we must resist the idea that telework is contrary to a vibrant campus culture. We’ve proven over the past year that we can connect with each other no matter where we are. At Mason, we have always existed together across campuses and distances. We can certainly modify our work schedules to ensure both in-person activity and telework. Flexible work options positively impact employee well-being and also reduce our carbon footprint. Mason strives to be innovative. To be seen as a leader, we must continue to use telework as a means of supporting employee well-being and protecting our planet.

As Mason shapes its plans, it is vital that staff be included in these discussions. Last year, the senate submitted a proposal to the Board of Visitors (BOV) requesting the addition of a nonvoting staff liaison to the board membership. The BOV unanimously approved this change in December 2020. The inclusion of a nonvoting staff liaison establishes a permanent seat for staff at the highest table of university decision-making. 

Staff are motivated and committed to Mason’s success. In our annual Staff Senate election last year, we received more nominations than any other year in recent memory. This was remarkable, considering the context of that engagement. The extreme demands of life and work during the pandemic drove Mason staff to become even more involved in the university’s organizational success.

Mason staff have worked incredibly hard—whether on campus or at home—to keep Mason safe and operational over the course of the pandemic.

As my term comes to an end, I am thrilled to pass the baton to Erin Iacangelo Rogers, incoming chair of the Staff Senate. I am grateful that this recurring column was published on the Mason News website during the past year. Future columns from the chair will be posted on the Staff Senate website 

This summer and fall, I hope we can all work toward that baseline of personal well-being. Let’s apply the lessons we’ve learned to build a new, and even better, “normal” at Mason.

Lauren Clark Reuscher
Chair, Staff Senate 

Categories
May 2021

Message from the Chair: May 2021

This week, Mason is celebrating its graduates both in-person and virtually. As we honor their accomplishments, remember that your work as a staff member is also reflected in our students’ success!  

This year was unlike any other. Mason staff have gone above and beyond to work under challenging circumstances, keep our campuses safe, and help our students succeed. You did it, and I hope you take a moment to reflect on everything you have accomplished this year. 

In June, the Staff Senate will start accepting nominations for the annual senator election in July. Last year, we had more nominees than any year in recent memory. This was remarkable, considering the challenges of 2020. I hope you will consider nominating yourself or a colleague. It’s a great way to get involved at the university and contribute to a positive work-life experience at Mason. 

Lauren Clark Reuscher
Chair, Staff Senate 

Categories
April 2021

Message from the Chair: Patriot Pathbreakers

Lauren Clark Reuscher, Staff Senate. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

Mason’s Outstanding Achievement Awards give us an opportunity to recognize the exceptional work of our colleagues. The Patriot Pathbreakers Award, established this year by the Staff Senate and Human Resources and Payroll, honors high-performing teams that embody the Mason value “We Thrive Together.”

This year’s Pathbreakers award winners include:

  • Office of Admissions’ Relationship Management Team
  • Student Health Services and Housing and Residence Life
  • University Life Emergency Funding Team

Read more about the work of these exceptional teams.

There were 26 team nominations for this award, which speaks to the incredible work accomplished by Mason staff over the past year. I want to extend my congratulations to all the award winners, along with my appreciation to everyone who recognized the work of their colleagues. Recognition in every form is such an integral part of our community of colleagues at Mason.

Lauren Reuscher
Chair, Staff Senate

Categories
December 2020

December Edition of the Staff Senate Newsletter

The December edition of the Staff Senate newsletter is now available. Check it out!

Categories
December 2020

Words of the Wise: Worth of Well-Being from University Life Associate Deans

Have you ever struggled balancing work and well-being? Join the Zoom webinar, Words of the Wise: Worth of Well-Being from Associate Deans, on Jan. 15, 2021, from 10:45 a.m. to noon.

Gain insight into resiliently managing work and life as Mason’s University Life (UL) associate deans share their struggles, successes, and the importance of prioritizing well-being during uncertain times.

Featuring:

  • Rachel Wernicke, Associate Dean and Chief Mental Health Officer, University Life
  • Creston Lynch, Associate Dean, University Life
  • Sally Lorentson, Associate Dean, University Life
  • Lewis Forest II, Associate Dean, University Life

This webinar is presented by the Supervision Collective, part of UL Professional Development.

Register today.

Contact Rebecca McCrory at rstauffa@gmu.edu with questions.

Categories
December 2020

Join Us for Mason Holidays at Home

Mason Holidays at Home invitation, showing snowflakes and a cabinGeorge Mason University celebrates its faculty and staff for the work accomplished this year under extraordinary circumstances. Although we cannot celebrate in person with our annual holiday party, we want to spread cheer throughout the Mason community.

Join the virtual celebration filled with something for everyone. Participate in what interests you the most, and you might even win a prize!

Mason Holidays at Home will have ongoing opportunities to participate culminating in live events on Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Visit the Mason Holidays at Home website for details.

Categories
December 2020

Message from the Chair – Dec. 2020

Lauren Clark Reuscher, Staff Senate. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

Dear Mason Staff,

This fall, the Staff Senate submitted a proposal to the Board of Visitors requesting that a nonvoting staff representative be added to their membership. With faculty and students already having representatives at the table, we felt this was an important way to show that staff voices are also valued in the university conversation.  

I am pleased to share that our proposal has come to fruition. At the December 3 Board of Visitors meeting, the board unanimously approved the following change to Article II of its bylaws:

“The Board appoints the standing Chair of the Mason Staff Senate to serve as a
nonvoting advisory staff liaison to the Board. The staff liaison may participate in all
full meetings of the Board and committee meetings, and may attend closed sessions by invitation at the discretion of the Rector or the respective committee chair.”

Mason staff now have a seat at the table of the university’s Board of Visitors.

This change allows staff to share in the stewardship and oversight of the university at a time when equity and fairness in its various forms are overarching objectives for us as an institution. A staff liaison will contribute ideas and ask questions pertinent to the experiences of staff at Mason.

The board’s unanimous approval of this change is a meaningful show of faith in the contributions of Mason staff. I feel privileged to hold this seat during my time as chair of the Staff Senate. 

Wishing you peace and comfort this holiday season and a restful winter break,

Lauren Clark Reuscher
Chair, Staff Senate 

Categories
November 2020

November Edition of the Staff Senate Newsletter

The November edition of the Staff Senate newsletter is now available. Check it out!

Categories
October 2020

October Edition of the Staff Senate Newsletter

The October edition of the Staff Senate newsletter is now available. Check it out!

 

Categories
October 2020

Constituent Time from October Meeting

During the October Staff Senate Meeting, constituents shared questions and comments for the senate in the Zoom chat. Time did not allow us to address each question individually during the meeting. Follow-up information is provided below.

Questions/comments received in the chat:

Q:  During the summer, it was mentioned that Mason’s budget was being impacted/reduced based on the BOV July meeting; Senior Vice President Carol Kissal also mentioned it might be further reduced by a revised state budget meeting in August. I haven’t heard anything other than the July Mason results; is there any update?

Q:  I feel like I’m the only one on campus who wasn’t aware that there is discussion on changing the spring academic calendar, and I do the scheduling for my department. Does anyone know where I can find this information?

  • A:  The Faculty Senate is currently reviewing proposed changes to the spring 2021 academic calendar. Information regarding the proposed changes is available on the Faculty Senate website. The calendar is a topic for discussion at the Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 14. Once the spring academic calendar is approved, an announcement will be made to the university community.