The May 2016 Staff Senate Newsletter is now available!
Every semester’s end comes with a tumult of energy on campus and in our offices. This semester is certainly no different. I hope that you are finding this time not too crazy and know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel! Summer is almost upon us, and after Commencement this month, we will experience all of the calmness that (most) of us experience between semesters.
The next few months will offer interesting opportunities for Mason staff to contribute their opinions. In this newsletter you will find a survey to gauge your interest in a Faculty and Staff Club. The survey is an excellent opportunity to engage with administration on a proposed plan, brought forward by a few faculty members, to recognize and provide a space for faculty and staff to convene.
Staff also have an opportunity to ask questions and share opinions anonymously with President Cabrera. In a new approach to our typical speaker model, the Staff Senate invites you to submit any questions or comments you may have in advance of the meeting. With this information, we will focus our conversation and get answers to some of the most pressing questions around the university. Staff Senate will compile your queries and select some to ask during our meeting on May 11. Any questions left unasked due to time constraints will be sent to Dr. Cabrera after the meeting. I urge you to take a moment and let your voice be heard!
Chair, Staff Senate
Becoming a Staff Senator is a great way to get involved with the university community and have an impact on your workplace. The Senate provides many opportunities to learn about how the university works and to network with administrators and staff members outside your unit.
Join us for the Becoming a Staff Senator Information Session on Wednesday, May 4, 2016, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. to learn more about Staff Senate and this opportunity to get involved on campus! The meeting will be held at the following locations:
Fairfax: Johnson Center, Room 311D, (located in the Collaborative Learning Hub)
Arlington: Founders Hall, Room B119 (video conferenced)
SciTech: Bull Run Hall, Room 254 (video conferenced)
Front Royal: Academic, Room 219 (video conferenced)
A recording of the session will be posted here no later than May 11.
The Senate accepts nominations each June, and elections are held in July. Terms begin in August and last two years. Important dates are below:
The Staff Senate nomination form can be found here: Nomination Form 2016. Completed forms are due to the Staff Senate administrative assistant by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 24, at 5 p.m. All nominations must be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, May 11
12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Fairfax: Merten Hall, Room 1201
Arlington: Founders Hall, Room B119 (video-conferenced)
SciTech: Bull Run Hall, Room 254 (video-conferenced)
Our guest speaker will be President Ángel Cabrera.
Guest speaker begins at noon, followed by time to ask questions, express concerns, or offer accolades about issues concerning the Staff Senate. Questions for the guest speaker may be asked in person or submitted in advance. Contact email@example.com with questions.
To promote a dialog with guest speakers at the Staff Senate General Meetings, the Senate is collecting questions from constituents. This is your opportunity to ask university leadership about things that are important to you as a staff member!
Our May 2016 speaker will be President Ángel Cabrera!
Staff Senate reserves the right to determine which questions are asked during the meeting. Any selected questions that could not be asked during the session due to time constraints will be emailed to the guest speaker, and their response will be published in the Staff Senate newsletter at a later date.
All who attend the Staff Senate general meeting are welcome to ask questions in-person, during the session.
For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A club for faculty and staff has been proposed for the Fairfax Campus. The university and a faculty group are exploring various options. In an effort to better understand faculty and staff interests and preferences, Auxiliary Enterprises asks you to take a few minutes to complete a brief survey. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Take care of your DMV business at a convenient Mason location. For the 2016 schedule at Arlington, Fairfax, and SciTech, click here. For a list of available services with DMV2Go, visit the DMV2Go website.
Physical Well-Being Seminar from HR & Payroll
Join Amy Moore of CommonHealth on Wednesday, May 4, at noon for Dial It Down: Stress Less. Learn how to identify some tools and tips to help you manage stress. The session will be videoconferenced to Arlington and SciTech. To register, visit hr.gmu.edu/learning/hr.php.
TIAA’s Square Up Your Savings
Test your financial knowledge with Square Up Your Savings from TIAA! Running through May 12, faculty, staff, and students can participate in a fun financial mission game. There are two versions: one for faculty/staff, and the other for students. Each version has you completing ten financial missions on a range of topics, from the impact of inflation to the cost of living in your favorite retirement spot. It is a great way to pick up some financial information while having a little fun. The faculty/staff version has an incentive — you will be entered into a drawing for one of three $25 gift checks from TIAA. (The student version does not offer this incentive.) For more information and to register to play, visit the following site:
I first started working at Mason in spring 2013 as a Technical Writer and Editor in the Office of Global Strategy. Now I work as a Communications and Marketing Specialist for Mason Online (the Office of Distance Education). I’m also a Mason alum— I completed my Master’s in English (concentration in professional writing and rhetoric) at Mason. Currently, I am enrolled in the Higher Education Administration graduate certificate— though I am hoping to apply to the Education PhD program for spring 2017. (Fingers crossed!)
Before coming to Mason, I mostly worked in food service positions. I came straight from undergrad at Christopher Newport University (CNU) to Mason as a full-time grad student, so the flexibility of bartending and serving tables helped me pursue my studies. Also, my parents have owned a restaurant since I was eight, so you could say that food service comes naturally to me!
I joined Staff Senate because I was interested in getting to know as many people at Mason as possible. It can be difficult to meet new folks outside of your direct working environment. Senate meetings give me a chance to get out and meet new folks and motivate me to get involved in committees and initiatives across campus that deal with staff needs.
As a member of the Events Committee, it has been an absolute pleasure to help coordinate different events and initiatives for the Senate. I was really excited to see the turnout of staff members at our inaugural Town Hall event this semester. Of course, my favorite experience would have to be volunteering with fellow Senators during the Toys for Tots collection drive before winter break. I was truly impressed by the number and variety of toys we received!
Outside of work, I’ve had an exciting year: I recently got engaged! Planning a wedding while working and taking classes may just drive me crazy, but I’m looking forward to it, nonetheless. And if anyone is looking for great ideas, Pinterest is the place to go . . .
Another fun fact about me: Last year, I thought I would give lifting weights a try. And now I love it! I used to run for exercise, but I have found that I really enjoy the variety of movements and challenges of lifting. Whether perfecting form or adding just a tiny bit more weight each week, it really helps me to stay motivated to become a stronger and more confident me.
The Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions would like to congratulate Smriti Kansal of Electrical and Computer Engineering for being Mason’s 2016 Academic Advisor of the Year. This award is given annually to recognize excellence in advising across the university. This year, we received 683 votes for 115 different advisors across Mason (record numbers for both votes and nominated advisors).
Smriti received a total of 74 votes (7 from faculty/colleagues, 3 from alumni, and 64 from current students). Click here to read comments from students, faculty, and alumni who nominated Smriti for this award.
Congratulations Smriti, and thank you to all the wonderful advisors across Mason!