The December edition of the Staff Senate newsletter is now available. Check it out!
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.
- 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.
Contact Rebecca McCrory at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
George 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.
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
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?
- A: Mason’s Revised FY2021 Budget was presented and approved by the Board of Visitors on Oct. 1, during the Finance and Land Use Committee meeting. You can view the presentation here (starting around the seven minute mark). The state legislature is currently still in session and has not yet finalized any budget changes.
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.
One of the Staff Senate’s top priorities is to advocate for the inclusion of staff voices throughout the different levels of decision-making at the university. This past year, the Staff Senate has worked with university leadership to assign staff representatives to the Presidential Search Committee, the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force, and the University Master Plan Committee, just to name a few.
In the same spirit of inclusion, this month the Staff Senate submitted a proposal to the Board of Visitors (BOV) that the Staff Senate chair be added to the BOV as a non-voting representative. With faculty and students both having at least one non-voting representative on the board, this would be an important way to show that staff voices continue to be valued in the university conversation. The Staff Senate is interested in working with the Board of Visitors to continue making Mason an outstanding place to work and learn.
Chair, Staff Senate
Here we are in August, getting ready for a new semester to begin—but in a way we never could have imagined. This fall is going to look a lot different for all of us, whether we are continuing to work from home, working on campus to support university operations, or some combination of both.
The fall also marks the continuation of a difficult situation for working parents. With local school systems offering virtual school and many young children home from daycare, the pandemic has brought incredible challenges to working families. The Staff Senate is trying to identify ways it can support Mason parents, perhaps by sharing resources or creating new channels to connect with other parents. We want to know what might help you as a working parent. Please reach out and tell us your ideas. We are collaborating with HR/Payroll and the Working Moms and Dads groups on this topic—all of which are here to support you.
We know the challenges of this pandemic also extend to those who do not have children at home. Staff members who do not have dependents, or do not qualify for high-risk accommodations, may be feeling pressure to return to campus or take on additional projects. The Staff Senate wants to hear from you, too, so we can stay informed of these issues and connect you with resources for assistance.
In July, we held the annual Staff Senate election. It was a very competitive race, with more names on the ballot than any of us remember in recent years. I am so impressed by the tremendous amount of interest in joining the senate right now. During a time when so many of us are working harder than ever, there are staff members who want to do more—talented and passionate people who want to help Mason through these challenges and sustain a positive work-life culture at the university.
I want to thank all those who were on the Staff Senate ballot this summer. Congratulations to all our new senators, and a sincere thank-you to all our outgoing senators for their service to Mason.
Chair, Staff Senate