June 2016

Message from the Chair

Nicole Roth, Staff Senate. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University
Nicole Roth, Staff Senate. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Congratulations! Graduation has come and gone, and the university is experiencing the post-spring-semester calm. Things got quite hectic in May, but we made it! I hope you are settling into the routines of summer nicely and with minimal stress.

As staff, we take on many roles in our day-to-day jobs. As the university has grown, we have stayed the same: constant and dedicated. The thousands of students who walked across the stage at graduation have a myriad of individuals to thank for their success: their peers who helped them through school projects, the faculty who imparted on them the wisdom to take into their fields, the advisors who showed them how to invest in their strengths, and the staff members who served them in countless ways. Each person working at Mason has an investment in student success. Their achievements are our achievements, and in the final, stressful days of the spring semester, we can celebrate all of our accomplishments.  

The assistance staff provide to students is priceless. We guide them through paperwork and help them with tough times. We let them know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we teach them the skills they will need in the workplace. We create a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment where they can learn and live. We are a part of their success.

And with all that said, I would like to thank you. Thank you for your tireless efforts this year to ensure that Mason students meet the world with all the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed. Thank you for sticking with Mason and making a difference. Thank you for letting the Staff Senate know when there is a problem, and thank you for being a voice in university town hall meetings and other public venues. Thank you for making Mason shine. Your work is important, and I hope you can see that.

You are the best of Mason.

Nicole Roth
Chair, Staff Senate

June 2016

The Future is Bright! Celebrate Summer in the Faculty/Staff Lounge

The Future is Bright_June 30 eventPlease join us in the Faculty/Staff Lounge in the Johnson Center (formerly the Bistro) on June 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as we celebrate the end of one academic year and look forward to a bright future together at Mason.

Bring your lunch or just come for dessert and enjoy some free giveaways, while supplies last!

June 2016

From Our Friends in Human Resources and Payroll

Interest Meeting: Adult Caregiving Support Group
If you are a Mason faculty or staff member currently caring for an adult loved one, join Wendi Carroll and Courtney Ashmore from Human Resources and Payroll for a meeting on Thursday, June 9, at noon in Merten Hall, Room 4102 to gauge interest in an on-campus adult caregiving support group. The sessions will provide an opportunity to share stories and strategies, as well as offer insight into the challenges of providing care for adult loved ones (adult children, spouses/partners, and parents).

Questions?  Contact Wendi Carroll at 703-993-6229 or

DMV2Go in Fairfax Taking a Summer Break
DMV2Go’s next visit to the Fairfax Campus will be on August 22. The 2016 schedule for their visits to Arlington, Fairfax, and SciTech is available here. A list of DMV2Go services and their schedule in the region is available on the DMV2Go website.

Compressed Schedules and Holidays
If your faculty and staff are utilizing the compressed schedule flexible work option, they may wonder how to handle the upcoming summer holidays (Independence Day and Labor Day). With supervisor approval, they can go off their compressed schedule for the week, work eight hours each day, and take the eight hours of holiday leave. (Note: These examples are based upon a full-time schedule; it would be prorated for part-time).

If they choose to stay on their compressed schedule and the holiday falls on a day when they would normally not work, when they complete their timesheet, enter eight hours under Comp Time Earned. They then have eight hours of comp time that can be used, with supervisor approval, anytime during the 12 months after the holiday.

If the holiday falls on a day when they would normally work, remember that they receive eight hours of holiday pay for the holiday. If they are on a nine-hour or ten-hour compressed daily schedule, they have to account for the full amount of their work day on the holiday by working during that week or taking leave.

If you or your faculty and staff have any questions, call the Human Resources and Payroll Customer Service Center at 703-993-2600 and ask to speak to a member of the Life/Work Connections team.

Wellness Wednesdays from CommonHealth
CommonHealth, the wellness benefit for all Commonwealth employees, has a Wellness Wednesday program. Visit their site at and take the Wellness Wednesday pledge to receive a weekly email with activities and ideas to help you in the area of wellness. For example, a recent CommonHealth email:

For the month of May, we are focusing on being thankful and expressing thanks.

Check out Unstuck: A Practical Guide to Gratitude to find out more about the practice of being thankful or grateful and get some ideas on how to add more gratitude to your life.

If you are on Facebook, try posting a gratitude status each day—regardless of what the day was like, find something to be thankful for and write about it! Hey and while you are there, go to the CommonHealth Facebook page and like it!

Use a blank index card and insert a note of appreciation in your kids’ lunches or in their backpack.  We know you are packing lots of healthy food for them.

Take a moment to say:

  • You are a fantastic daughter
  • You are becoming a great softball (volleyball/soccer) player
  • I have the best son in the world – and it is you
  • How about adding some self-esteem in that lunch.  You are only limited by your imagination!
June 2016

Who’s Walking Wednesday? Join the Staff Senate on June 8

Undergraduate Research Scholars Program student Luke Faraone. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University
Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Join Nicole Roth, chair of the Staff Senate, as she leads Who’s Walking Wednesday at noon on June 8. Meet in the Wellness Circle in front of Merten Hall for a 30-minute walk around the Fairfax Campus. Enjoy a break from the office and learn about Staff Senate. Hope to see you there! 

Who’s Walking Wednesday is a great opportunity to exercise your leadership. Head to and scroll to Who’s Walking Wednesday to sign up to lead a future walk.

Is walking good for you? It sure is – check out this article from the American Heart Association!

June 2016

Watch President Cabrera’s Meeting with Staff Senate

President Cabrera was the guest speaker at the May 11 Staff Senate Meeting. In case you missed it, catch all the topics and updates President Cabrera discussed with the Senate and constituents through the video recording available here.

June 2016

Virginia Governmental Employee Association’s ForeSight Newsletter 


Check out the latest issue of the Virginia Governmental Employee Association‘s ForeSight Newsletter. This is a special General Assembly wrap-up issue, packed full of legislative news, issues, and most importantly, successes!

Click here to read the latest issue of ForeSight!

June 2016

Study Abroad with Mason Cultural Tours 

Cuba_Page_1Reserve your space by June 30 to travel to Cuba during Winter Break! Cuba’s unique political and cultural history has long made it the subject of rich intellectual discussion and debate. Economic, political, and social reforms have signaled a time of transition since the 1990s. This year’s diplomatic opening between the United States and Cuba promises to profoundly impact the island’s future.

Witness history in the city of Havana as you immerse yourself in the daily life of one of the world’s most unique and vibrant cities. You will engage with Cuban scholars from across the social sciences from the University of Havana, in order to understand the complexity of the island’s experience from the 1959 Revolution to the present.

For more information and other program offerings, visit or contact Rita Rowand at or 703-993-5146.

June 2016

Summer Flex: Explore Mason’s Flexible Work Options

Sunflower in front of Southside. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Sunflower in front of Southside. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Have you tried any of Mason’s flexible work options? Summer Flex runs through August 20. Flexible work options can have a positive impact on productivity and morale. They can also be a terrific management tool for continuity of operations.

Now is a great time to get your agreements and technology in place and test everything out. Get started at

Contact the Life/Work Connections team at or 703-993-2600 with questions.

June 2016

Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship

stack-of-books-with-apple-on-topMason is offering a competitive $250 book scholarship for faculty and staff, created with the $25,000 endowment received from TIAA-CREF’s 2010 Raise the Rate contest. The application deadline is Wednesday, June 15, and applying is easy!

For details, check out the Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship FAQ page and the Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship Application.

Contact Reward and Recognition at or 703-993-2600 with questions.

June 2016

Summer Mindfulness Series

Students and staff post messages detailing what they are grateful for on Well-Being Day. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University
Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University

Explore how to apply mindfulness practices at work and at home to promote well-being. Each 60-minute drop-in session will be highly experiential. We will explore formal and informal mindfulness practices, including mindful movement, and engage in themed discussions on mindfulness as it relates to promoting well-being in our daily lives.

Special consideration will be given to exploring the ways we can develop our capacity for mindfulness in service to Mason’s commitment to being a model well-being university.

Upcoming sessions will be held on June 13 and June 20.

Beginners and those with a daily mindfulness practice welcome. RSVP online.

Contact Brandice Valentino at 703-993-5049 or with questions.