Categories
March 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

If you’re like me, you are feeling the weight of those snow days. We had a few extra days off, but we have been busy ever since. Mason has become a hot spot for visits from presidential candidates. Traffic gets heavier, but the campus is invigorated. All of these things are generating a bit more chaos in our day to day lives. And yet, we’re still here!

What staff do for the university is important. The tasks we complete are part of a greater mission, and I am reminded of that mission when I walk through the Johnson Center. It is easy to stay holed up in our offices (particularly during the winter months), but if we don’t get out, we might miss the mission.

The students’ education and achievements are ours, as well. The sense of accomplishment we feel when our students walk across the stage at graduation is something to celebrate. We did it! Thousands of student success stories occur at Mason every year, and staff are a huge part of those stories.

Staff Senate will host its first-ever Spring Into Town Hall on Tuesday, March 8. Administrators from around the university will join me in a conversation with staff. We have put this event together based on the requests received in our survey last summer. Senators will be available to speak with you after the Town Hall at the Staff Appreciation Event.

I look forward to seeing you next week!

Nicole Roth
Chair, Staff Senate
nroth@gmu.edu

Categories
March 2016

Upcoming Staff Appreciation Events

Staff Senate Coffee Klatch at the Arlington Campus. Photo by Alexis Glenn/Creative Services/George Mason University
Staff Appreciation Event at the Arlington Campus. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Join the Staff Senate at its upcoming Staff Appreciation Events! Take a break to enjoy light refreshments, participate in the raffle, attend the information fair, and take our interactive survey.

Fairfax: Tuesday, March 8, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (immediately following the Spring Into Town Hall event), Research Hall, Room 163
SciTech: Thursday, March 10, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Bull Run Hall, Atrium
Arlington: Tuesday, March 15, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Founders Hall, Multipurpose Room

Bring Mason business cards and/or your Mason ID for entrance and the raffle! Open to Mason classified and non-student wage employees. For questions, contact Amanda Corrigan at acorrig2@gmu.edu.

Categories
March 2016

Spring Telework Week at Mason: March 7-11

Have you ever contemplated teleworking? Now is the time to try it out! From March 7–11, Mason will be celebrating its own Telework Week over the university’s Spring Break. An abbreviated, one-page agreement is available at hr.gmu.edu and on the flexible work website at flexwork.gmu.edu.

Note that those who participate in Telework Week are doing so under the Flexible Work Policy, #2202. Signing the abbreviated agreement binds the employee/supervisor to the terms and conditions of the complete telework agreement.

For questions, contact worklife@gmu.edu.

Categories
March 2016

From Our Friends in Human Resources and Payroll

Save Some Green: New Discounts
Check out the Life/Work Connections discount page. Discounts can be a helpful way to price shop and save. As with any purchase, find the deal that is right for you. Three new Mason discounts have just been added:

  • Bellini Salon & Spa (Vienna, Virginia) – Faculty, staff, and students receive a 10% discount on any salon or spa service.
  • Ties.com – Not surprisingly, Ties.com sells ties, but they also have tie racks, tie bars, socks, and pocket squares. Mason faculty, staff, students, retirees, and alumni receive 20% off purchases (excluding sale items) by using the code provided on the Life/Work discount page.
  • Ticket Monster Perks – Discounts available to the entire Mason community (faculty, staff, students, retirees, and alumni) on sports, concerts, and theme park tickets nationwide. Follow the three easy steps on the Life/Work discount page to start saving.


Physical Well-Being Seminar: Organization and Self-Reliance – Stepping Stones on the Path to Success in Elementary and Middle School

Looking for ways to keep your child organized? Join Charlotte Foster, English Department Chair at Westminster School, on Monday, March 7, at noon as she focuses on the best ways to enable your child to take ownership of his/her homework, assignments, and belongings.

Learn test and quiz strategies, as well as ways to manage long-term assessments like exams and projects. Finish the school year with less stress and get your child on the path to better organization! This session will be videoconferenced to Arlington and SciTech. To register, visit hr.gmu.edu/learning. For more information, view the flyer.

 

Additional News from Westminster and Mason: A Merit Scholarship Opportunity for Children/Grandchildren of Mason Employees
In collaboration with George Mason University, Westminster School is offering a scholarship opportunity to children/grandchildren of Mason faculty and staff. The renewable Merit Scholarship is in the amount of $8,000 per year and is open to students entering grades 3–7.

Westminster School is an independent school located in Annandale, Virginia, just minutes from the Beltway. To find out more about this opportunity, visit Mason’s Life/Work Connection website or the Westminster School’s collaboration scholarship page.

 

Spring Telework Week at Mason: March 7-11
Have you ever contemplated teleworking? Now is the time to try it out! From March 7–11, Mason will be celebrating its own Telework Week during the university’s Spring Break. An abbreviated, one-page agreement is available at hr.gmu.edu and on the flexible work website at flexwork.gmu.edu.

Note that those who participate in Telework Week are doing so under the Flexible Work Policy, #2202. Signing the abbreviated agreement binds the employee/supervisor to the terms and conditions of the complete telework agreement.

 

Take Your Kid to Mason Day: Monday, March 28
The Working Moms Support Group and Working Dads Group, in collaboration with Human Resources and Payroll and several other Mason offices, have come together to create a new pilot event for faculty and staff with school aged-children. In the spirit of the popular “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” special programming will occur on the Fairfax Campus on Monday, March 28. This is a scheduled Teacher Workday in Fairfax and Prince William County public schools, so children will not miss school to participate.

Formal programming is scheduled for the morning, while the afternoon is left open to allow your child more direct job shadowing experience in your department and around campus. You may also want to check Around Mason for any additional opportunities taking place that day.

To participate, complete the Take Your Kid to Mason Day Consent Form and fax to 703-993-2601 or email a scanned copy to worklife@gmu.edu.

Take Your Kid to Mason Day Schedule of Events:

  • 9:15 a.m.: Welcome and Remarks by President Cabrera
  • 10 a.m.: Campus Information and Tour – Admissions Office
  • 11:30 a.m.: Optional lunch at Ike’s (free for participating children, reduced rate of $8 for participating parents)

Please note the following details for participation:

  • Parents must accompany their minor children at all times while on campus, per University Policy 2228
  • Supervisor approval is necessary for participation
  • Complete the Take Your Kid to Mason Day Consent Form and fax to 703-993-2601 or email a scanned copy to worklife@gmu.edu
  • While there is no age requirement, this event is most appropriate for school-aged children between 8–12 years
  • This is a pilot event. Your participation and feedback are important if we hope to develop it for years to come!

 

Save the Date: 20th Annual Victims’ Rights 5K Run/Walk on April 1
Join us on Friday, April 1, at noon outside Merten Hall for the 20th Annual Victims’ Rights Run/Walk. The proceeds of this event support Mason’s Victims of Violence Fund and the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Program. The Victims’ Rights Run/Walk collaborates with the Aimee Willard Endowed Scholarship Fund. Aimee was a Mason student/athlete whose life was tragically cut short by a brutal act of violence in 1996. To learn more about Aimee, the endowed scholarship in her name, and to register for the race, visit vrrw.gmu.edu.

 

March Well-Being Seminars
March well-being seminars are just a click away!  On-site classes for March (videoconferenced to Arlington and SciTech) include:

  • March 7: Organization, Self-Reliance, and Time-Management: Stepping Stones on the Path to Success in Elementary and Middle School (flyer), presented by Charlotte Foster, Westminster School
  • March 17: Advanced Directives, presented by the Anthem Employee Assistance Program
  • March 21: Building a Portfolio for Any Weather, presented by Jeff Jones, Fidelity Investments
  • March 30: Working with the Mind-Body Connection to Improve Physical Well-Being, presented by Shernita Rochelle-Parker, Human Resources and Payroll

All sessions held at noon. For a description of each session and to register, click here.

 

Leading to Well-Being: Cultivating Resilience Conference
Don’t miss the early-bird rates for George Mason University’s annual Leading to Well-Being Conference. Now in its seventh year, this conference gathers the nation’s top experts in leadership and well-being for two days of deep and substantial learning focused on cultivating resilience. Those wanting an even deeper learning experience may be interested in one of the half-day Thursday Intensives. Reduced Mason employee rates are available. Early-bird rates end Friday, March 4, and space for the optional Thursday Intensives is limited, so register soon! Find out more and register at leadingtowellbeing.gmu.edu.

Categories
March 2016

Yoga for Well-Being

Students participate in outdoor Yoga. Photo by Will Martinez/Creative Services/George Mason University.
Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Weekly yoga for well-being practice helps you recalibrate body, mind, and spirit leading to greater focus, productivity, and well-being. No prior experience needed. Please bring your own yoga mat.

Each class is free and open to all students, staff, and faculty. All classes are on a drop-in basis. Beginners welcome!

These weekly well-being practices are part of Mason’s Well-Being University initiative.

Classes are held on the Fairfax Campus on Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Dance Studio. Free yoga classes are available in Arlington on Tuesdays at 12 p.m. For Arlington class locations, contact arlops@gmu.edu.

For a complete list of Weekly Well-Being Practices, visit the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being website.

Categories
March 2016

Global Professional Staff Exchange: A Glimpse into the Experience

Lunch after the mills-Consuegra
Jon Aponte enjoys a meal with his hosts from La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset

by Denisha Hedgebeth

Jon Aponte had the experience of a lifetime when he received the opportunity to study abroad in Toledo, Spain, as a part of the Global Staff Exchange program (GSE).  The GSE is an international professional development exchange experience for staff that aims to enhance global awareness, encourage cross-cultural perspectives, and broaden professional expertise through direct in-service experience with one of Mason’s designated partners by working abroad for a week.

Aponte, the office manager and program assistant in the Cultural Studies program at George Mason University, spent a week abroad and represented Mason at La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, an educational foundation located in Madrid and Toledo, Spain.

“I was interested in the program because I enjoy traveling and experiencing different environments,” Aponte said. “What enticed me about Spain was that it was a logical choice for someone who speaks the predominant language and enjoys the culture.”

Aponte, who is from Puerto Rico, was eager to visit the country that shaped most of the island’s colonial history. “As a child, the bulk of history class dealt with the Spanish ‘discovery’ of Puerto Rico,” Aponte said. “I felt a connection more to the Spain program than I did the other program awarded to the co-recipient.”

Once there, Aponte’s experience exceeded his expectations for the duration of his visit. Aponte went into the program with the notion that he would shadow his counterpart from La Fundación, Ms. Yuki Okazaki, and then glean any successful strategies she employed that he could implement in his own career.

“Instead, my visit to La Fundación was carefully coordinated so that I could experience daily life in Spain much like a visiting student from the U.S. would do as they begin their semester abroad in a Spanish immersion program at La Fundación,” Aponte said.

The staff members at La Fundación discussed their roles at the foundation, arranged for a tour of the town so that Aponte could learn its history, and allowed him to observe several classes. They even asked him to teach in the linguistics class.

“It had been several years since I last taught a class, so I was glad to see I still had it in me,” Aponte said.

The experience gave Aponte the chance to serve as a resource for prospective undergraduate students considering a study abroad program to Spain through the Center for Global Education.

“My visit to La Fundación reinforced something instilled in me,” Aponte said. “And that is my commitment to ensure that the Cultural Studies students have a seamless progression throughout their time in our program.”

Additionally, the experience has broadened Aponte’s professional outreach of cultural studies. Denise Albanese, director of the cultural studies program at Mason, believes that the experience has helped Aponte conceptualize cultural studies as a global phenomenon.

“Spending time in Spain has given [Jon] more insight into the situation of the international students in our program,” said Albenese, who believes that Aponte was an ideal match for the program. “We very much appreciate and want to amplify our sense of the worldwide reach of the field, and Jon, as one of the public faces of the program, can help us do just that by virtue of his time in Spain.”

Though Aponte did enjoy the professional impact of this experience, he said that the trip had an even greater impact on his personal life.

“What made my visit to Spain memorable was not the food, the wine, or the sights, but the people I met and shared things with throughout my time there,” Aponte said. “Nowhere was this more apparent than with the people that welcomed me to La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset in Toledo. They are friends with whom I will stay in contact moving forward.”

For more information on the GPSE, click here.

Categories
March 2016

February Employee of the Month: Gregory Pirog

Greg Pirog, HR & Payroll, as Employee of the Month for February 2016.  Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services George Mason Universtiy
Greg Pirog, Human Resources and Payroll, as Employee of the Month for February 2016. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services George Mason University

Heartfelt congratulations to Gregory Pirog, HRIS Analyst with Human Resources and Payroll, for being selected as the February 2016 Employee of the Month award winner.

Do you know a superstar? Make sure he or she receives the deserved recognition, and submit a nomination for Mason’s Employee of the Month. Additional information can be found on the Human Resources and Payroll awards page.

Contact Reward and Recognition at awards@gmu.edu with questions.

Categories
March 2016

Potomac Arts Academy: Summer Programs Open for Registration

Malia Pereyra instructs Woodburn Elementary students through the Potomac Arts Academy. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University.
Malia Pereyra instructs students through the Potomac Arts Academy. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services/George Mason University.

Summer programs at the Potomac Arts Academy are now open for registration! This summer, the Potomac Arts Academy offers a diverse array of creative programs on Mason’s Fairfax Campus and at the Chain Bridge Road location:

  • Music
  • Visual art
  • Acting
  • Computer game design
  • Dance
  • Film/video
  • Photography

Camps for ages 4-18 (and teacher training programs for adults) include half-day, full-day, and expanded on-campus residential programs for the full university experience. There is something for everyone in the family, including some limited programming at the SciTech Campus and Mason in Loudoun.

Contact 703-993-9889 or potomac@gmu.edu. Online registration available at PotomacAcademy.org.

Categories
March 2016

Faculty and Staff Lounge Now Open in the Johnson Center

A faculty and staff lounge is now opened in the site of the old Bistro in the Johnson Center. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University
A faculty and staff lounge is now open in the site of the old Bistro in the Johnson Center. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

Mason faculty and staff now have a space on campus reserved for their own enjoyment. The new faculty and staff lounge, located in the former Bistro in the Johnson Center, is open for faculty and staff to relax, work, and socialize. A formal name for the lounge is to be announced.

The lounge is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Consider bringing your lunch or coffee to relax and catch up with your colleagues or spend some quiet time. Read more in this Mason News article.

 

Categories
March 2016

Registration for Spring Break Camps Now Open for the Mason Community

The Potomac Arts Academy and Human Resources and Payroll have teamed up to offer a pilot program of exciting and interactive camp opportunities for Mason families during K-12 schools’ spring break. The camps will be in session from March 21-25. Choose from Game Design, Magical Camp, and Theater Camp.

In response to your feedback, we have created an a la carte option for Magical Camp. Now you can put together what works for your family— choose just the camp option, or add before or after care if needed. Spaces are still available for all options.

Click here for information and to register for Spring Break Camps.

These pilot camps are in response to the recent Family Matters Survey where nearly 30% of respondents indicated a need for a child care option during spring break for their school age children. We hope faculty and staff will join us for one of these three exciting options for their kids.  The camps are also open to the community beyond Mason, so feel free to share the information with your families, neighbors, and friends.

Contact Tina Morris with questions at 703-993-5807 or tmorris1@gmu.edu.