Categories
October 2014

Have You Visited Prince William?

Hylton Performing Arts Center | Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     The interior of the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center on the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     The interior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The Occoquan Building at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Biomedical Research Laboratory or BRL at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of the Prince William campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Beacon Hall. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Hylton Performing Arts Center | Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Have you been to the Prince William Campus? There is a wealth of opportunities for staff to enjoy at Prince William. From the Hylton Performing Arts Centert to the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center and everything in between, there is plenty for you and your family to enjoy on the Prince William campus. Check out a listing of events below:

Oct. 2 – Nature Visions Gallery Reception at the Hylton Center

Celebrate the opening of the Nature Visions Photo Expo at the Hylton Center with a free Gallery Reception from 6-8pm. Featuring light hors’doeuvres, wines by Cana Vineyard and Winery of Middleburg, and a talk with the artists. RSVP to Hylton@gmu.edu

Oct. 20-26 – Community Appreciation Week at the Freedom Center

Enjoy free admission all week for Prince William County and City of Manassas Residents, a Saturday Family Fun Day, Raffles, Giveaways, a movie in the pool, and special speakers! Click here for more information!

Subway is now open!

Check out Prince William Campus’s newest dining addition, in the retail space on the first floor of Beacon Hall. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Find out even more about what is happening in Prince William by visiting today.gmu.edu.

Categories
October 2014

Budget Forum Scheduled for October 1

Provost David Wu and Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance J.J. Davis will hold an open budget discussion on Wednesday, October 1, from 10:00 – 11:00 am. All members of the university community are invited to attend. The budget discussion will provide an opportunity for the Mason Community to learn more about the budget climate and will serve as a follow-up to the budget forum that was held in early September.

The Budget Forum will be accessible as follows and will also be archived for online viewing after the event:

  • Fairfax:  Research Hall, Room 163
  • Prince William:  Bull Run Hall, Room 254
  • Arlington:  Founders Hall, Room 322
  • Front Royal:  Academic, Room 219
  • Loudoun:  Signal Hill, Room 101

The previous budget forum held on September 4 may be viewed online.

For further information, contact Laura Bell at lbell@gmu.edu or Kathy Jayne at kjayne@gmu.edu.

Categories
October 2014

Getting the Most Out of Your Performance Review

With everything that has been going on it is probably hard to believe that it is performance evaluation time once again. (Reminder: Classified Staff Employee evaluations are due to HR & Payroll October 24.) However, before we know it, each of us will be sitting down to have a conversation with our supervisor, or those we supervise. In a time of a great deal of change, and admittedly a lot of stress, the performance evaluation conversation can be daunting. However, we don’t believe it has to be. Here are few tips to keep in mind that we believe help encourage a productive and beneficial feedback conversation:

  1. Be engaged. As the employee, we may go into the performance evaluation simply waiting for the feedback and feeling as if we have little control over the discussion. This may lead us to “check out”— the meeting has very little conversation, and we participate very little. One helpful tool that can encourage us to take part in the conversation is the Employee Self-Assessment. By taking a moment to reflect back on our past accomplishments, challenges, and future developmental goals, we arrive at our performance evaluation conversation invested and ready to have a discussion.
  2. Be open to constructive feedback. While the performance evaluation conversation should take time to acknowledge and explore the successes of the past year, a fair and balanced evaluation also provides feedback on the areas where we may have fallen short on reaching or meeting an expectation. It can be our tendency to “tune out” this feedback, but this feedback is important and often contains an opportunity for our individual and professional growth.
  3. Be future-focused. A large portion of the performance evaluation process has us looking “in the rearview mirror,” so to speak. But, while a lot of helpful information may be gained by looking at the past, it is critical that we utilize the evaluation conversation as a time to look forward as well. Employees and their supervisors should talk about the employee’s professional development goals and the goals/vision for the future of the school, college, or department in which he/she works. Specifically, discuss what tools or resources are available to support your developmental plans and how your position and professional growth is part of the growth of the area in which you work.

We recognize performance evaluations can feel like one more thing to do, but remember there is value in this process. Keeping the conversation about where we are currently in our performance and where we are trying to go is helpful as we build our careers. Additionally, these conversations help support the open communication that serves to build strong work relationships and increase our engagement in the university.

For additional information or any of the forms related to the performance evaluation process, please check out the HR & Payroll website.

Your Employee Relations Team

Categories
October 2014

From the Staff Senate Chair . . .

Autumn in Virginia and at George Mason University is spectacular. The changing fall foliage never fails to amaze and surprise us. New and returning Patriots arrive and the campus is abuzz with the excitement of the start of the fall semester. As the semester progresses, it’s clear that this year will be both challenging and exciting.

One of the challenges affecting all of Mason is the budget cuts. On October 1, Provost Wu and Sr. VP JJ Davis, will hold an open budget discussion which will provide an opportunity for the Mason Community to learn more about the budget climate. This is follow-up to the budget forum that was held in early September.

The 2014-2015 year also promises to be exciting. There are new Mason staff and administration who have joined the Mason community this summer including Dr. Wu as new Provost, and our new Athletic Director, Brad Edwards. I know I am excited to see what is in store both inside and outside of the classroom. This month, I encourage you to take advantage of some of the new or reinvented activities here on campus including Mason athletic games, Geek Week, Family Weekend or Mason Madness.

Stephanie Payton

Chair, Staff Senate
Admin & Budget Support Specialist, Orientation, Family Programs & Services

Categories
October 2014

From our Friends in Human Resources & Payroll

2013 Happy Heart Walk
Photo by Will Martinez/ Creative Services/ George Mason University
Winter Wellness Day: Flu Shot Registration Now Open

Winter Wellness Day, an all-campus wellness event with flu shots and financial information, will be held on Thursday, October 9, 2014 in Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William.

Flu shots are part of your wellness benefit through COVA Care, COVA HDHP, COVA HealthAware, and Kaiser Permanente. There are multiple ways to get a flu shot this season, including at on-campus clinics. For details about the on-campus clinics and how to make your appointment, please visit Flu Shot Information 2014.

If you have any questions, please call the work/life team at 3.2604.

Bicycle Commuter Choice Available for Part-Time Faculty and Staff

Parking and Transportation is excited to announce that part-time employees are now eligible to receive the Bicycle Commuter Choice benefit, a transportation fringe benefit provided by the University. All part-time employees who bike to work at least two times per week are eligible to receive a $20 voucher per month. All participants (part-time and full-time) are also eligible for two daily complimentary parking passes per month.

To find out more and to sign up, please visit http://transportation.gmu.edu/bikecommuterprogram.html.

October is National Work and Family Month: Family Weekend 10/17-10/19

Faculty and staff are invited to celebrate National Work and Family Month by participating in George Mason’s Family Weekend, October 17-19.  Registration and a complete schedule of events are located at masonfamily.gmu.edu.  Please note, registration closes on Sunday, October 5 at midnight. We hope faculty and staff will consider participating in this long-standing Mason tradition!

If you have any questions, please contact Kaitlin Cicchetti at koyler@gmu.edu.

Categories
October 2014

Senator Highlight: Lindsey Lowenberg

Lindsey Lowenberg
Lindsey Lowenberg Program and Administrative Specialist Office of Distance Education

It may sound cheesy, but one of the main reasons I came to the Fairfax area is because of the weather. Being from New Orleans, the seasons I’m used to are hot and really hot. I love walking around campus during the different times of year and enjoying the seasons. Prior to coming to Mason I taught high school English. I thought my work in education was done until I landed at Mason!

I joined the Staff Senate in 2012 so I could get out and meet people. I joke that my boss keeps me chained to my desk, but that is just the nature of distance education. Staff Senate gives me an opportunity to mingle with folks from all departments around campus. I also get to meet the new staff members arriving to Mason at the bi-weekly HR orientation. Presenting at the New Staff Orientation is my opportunity to tell people why I like working at Mason and encourage folks to use Staff Senate as a venue for those who need an advocate in the workplace.

The Staff Senate committee that I serve on and chair is the Education and Outreach Committee. This committee focuses on communication strategies for Staff Senate, identifying guest speakers for monthly meetings, and reviewing the Staff Senate’s website and brochure. My work on this committee has allowed me to take part in larger university groups including the website audit project, Mason branding focus groups, and the University Communicator’s group.

While I love the work that I do at Mason, I remember that I work to live, not live to work. When I’m not at Mason, I am visiting a new Korean market, catching up on reading, or going to the dog park. People who know me find it ironic that I have a dog as my work space is littered with cat memes. When I retire, I am going to be a cat lady!

Categories
October 2014

You Asked, We Listened . . . and Found the Answer: Parking Rates for Part-time Staff

A Mason staff member recently contacted the Staff Senate asking about parking rates for part-time and new employees. The question:

As a part-time wage employee, I am requesting the university consider reduced parking fees for part-time and intermittent staff. We do not occupy parking spaces as full time staff members, so it would be appropriate and fair if we had reduced parking rates!

We referred the question to Josh Cantor, Director or Parking and Transportation. Here’s his response:

Your email to the staff senate and parking was forwarded to my attention. It is a topic that has been discussed with the senior administration and budget office from time to time. Some schools do have a scale where one’s salary is a factor in parking rates. At Mason and like most universities, Parking & Transportation is a self-funded auxiliary, meaning they do not receive tuition dollars or funds from the state budget. Thus, all of our expenses, which are nearly $16 million per year when you include debt service on past construction, operations, shuttle service, CUE bus subsidy, maintenance and projects, must be paid for by revenue generate by Parking and Transportation. Each year, the aim is to price permits at the lowest level that allows us to create enough revenue to pay all the bills. In many years, the fund has had a deficit of $400,000 to $1,000,000, and we’ve drawn upon maintenance reserves to avoid raising the fees even higher. Those reserves are limited and are needed for millions of dollars in garage repairs that need to be done in the next 10 years.

When the topic of a reduced rate for part-time, wage, or lower paid classified has come up, the concern is if the price is dropped for one group, that’s lost revenue that will require another group to be charged even more. The other concern that has been voiced is that to be fair, one should really take household income into consideration when looking at one’s ability to pay (similar to how financial aid is decided for students), but we don’t want to be in the business of looking at w2’s, etc.

Our Approach is to offer an array of parking options, ranging from the West Campus permit, which is less than half the price of a general permit), the Field House permit, which is $100 less than a general permit,  to the reserved, higher priced options. We also offer free shuttles, free CUE bus rides by showing your Mason ID, and bicycling options. We know that not all options meet everyone’s needs, but the hope is that there is a solution, although one does have to make a choice and weigh his or her convenience, finance, and personal preference into making a decision.

On a similar issue, we have been asked about payroll deduction for part-time, wage, and adjunct faculty. The state sets which classifications can have payroll deductions. We have started to work with Human Resources & Payroll and Fiscal Services on a potential solution in which employees not eligible for payroll deduction could have an automated payment plan.  It would require a lot of resources, both in personnel and in financial systems, but this is something we think is worth pursuing.

Long story short, your question has been discussed but with our financial situation and the desire to hold prices down, decreasing parking rates for part-time employees would result in an increase for full-time employees and students.

Come to the Staff Senate October General meeting to hear more about parking from Josh Cantor, guest speaker.

Do you have a question for the Staff Senate?  Go to our Comments, Concerns, Ideas?  Share them! page. Then check back in future issues of this newsletter for answers.

 

Categories
October 2014

Dining Plans Available to Staff

DiningFor the biggest discount on meals for faculty and staff , sign up for a Byte Plan which is good for meals at five dining halls: Southside, The Bistro, Ike’s, The Globe, and Pilot House.

  • 10 meals/semester for $71
  • 25 meals/semester for $170
  • 50 meals/semester for $319

The Bistro, a faculty and staff favorite, is open for lunch on weekdays from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  The Bistro door price is $7.50 for faculty and staff.

Southside, Ike’s, and the Globe will cost $10.50 for breakfast and $11.25 for lunch and dinner, tax included. There will be no faculty/staff discount at Southside on Fridays.

Get a Byte Plan today at the Card Office in SUB I, Lower Level. For questions, contact Mason Dining at 703-993-3407.

 

Categories
October 2014

Watch the September 4 Budget Forum Online

Provost David Wu and Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance J.J. Davis held an open budget discussion on Thursday, September 4. If you were unable to attend and would like to view the meeting, watch online.

 

Categories
October 2014

Visit Prince William!

Hylton Performing Arts Center | Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     The interior of the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Hylton Performing Arts Center at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center on the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     The interior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     The Occoquan Building at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Biomedical Research Laboratory or BRL at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of the Prince William campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Beacon Hall. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     An exterior of Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University     Bull Run Hall at the Prince William Campus. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Hylton Performing Arts Center | Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Have you been to the Prince William Campus? There is a wealth of opportunities for staff to enjoy at Prince William. From the Hylton Performing Arts Centert to the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center and everything in between, there is plenty for you and your family to enjoy on the Prince William campus. Check out a listing of events below:

Oct. 2 – Nature Visions Gallery Reception at the Hylton Center

Celebrate the opening of the Nature Visions Photo Expo at the Hylton Center with a free Gallery Reception from 6-8pm. Featuring light hors’doeuvres, wines by Cana Vineyard and Winery of Middleburg, and a talk with the artists. RSVP to Hylton@gmu.edu

Oct. 20-26 – Community Appreciation Week at the Freedom Center

Enjoy free admission all week for Prince William County and City of Manassas Residents, a Saturday Family Fun Day, Raffles, Giveaways, a movie in the pool, and special speakers! Click here for more information!

Subway is now open!

Check out Prince William Campus’s newest dining addition, in the retail space on the first floor of Beacon Hall. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Find out even more about what is happening in Prince William by visiting today.gmu.edu.