December 2017

George Mason University’s Faculty and Staff Holiday Party 2017

Faculty and staff are invited to the 2017 university holiday parties:

Fairfax Campus Holiday Celebration: Tuesday, December 19, 1:30 to 4 p.m., Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall

Toy drop off for INOVA Children’s Hospital and food drive for the Patriot Pantry will be located in the Cinema lobby during the event.

SciTech Campus Holiday Luncheon: Monday, December 11, noon, Beacon Hall

Arlington Campus Holiday Reception: Tuesday, December 12, noon, Founders Hall, Multipurpose Room

December 2017

Message From the Chair

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Staff Senate, I’d like to wish you the happiest of holiday seasons. Here’s hoping you find time to relax, visit with family and friends, and travel safely.

This is also a good time for each of Mason’s 3,200 staff members to reflect on the valuable role we play at a university that continues to grow in size and stature, and to remind ourselves how we can best support each other as colleagues.

The Staff Senate did just that as a group at our December general meeting. We participated in a visioning exercise led by Shernita Parker and Laura Titkemeyer from Mason’s HR & Payroll Organizational Development, Learning, and Coaching office.

Shernita and Laura asked us to fill in this blank as it pertains to our jobs at Mason: “When things work well, it looks like….” Instead of voicing our answers as frustrations, we were encouraged to frame our answers in a positive light. The responses incorporated autonomy, trust, humor, efficiency, personal growth, flexibility, civility and many, many others. (You can read them all by enlarging the accompanying photo, which I like to think of as an organizational thought bubble of sorts).

I know this might look like a list of abstract and aspirational terms destined to be forgotten by lunchtime. But that wasn’t the case. This exercise provided clarity on how each of us can play a role to support each other as colleagues and feel a sense of satisfaction in the workplace.

We recommend reaching out to the Organizational Development office to schedule a group exercise for your unit. Just by taking part in crafting a shared vision, you gain a better understanding of how you can transform your workplace into a great place to work.

Happy Holidays, and enjoy your time off!


Very Respectfully,

Christopher Maier – Chair, Staff Senate

Christopher Maier, Staff Senate. Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University
December 2017

This Month in History: December

  1. George Mason IV was born on December 11, 1725.
  2. During debate on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and due to illness, George Mason was absent from the Committee of Safety for several weeks and did not attend the fourth convention, held in December 1775.
  3. George Mason was one of seven men, in December 1786, the Virginia General Assembly elected as the Commonwealth’s delegation, to attend a meeting in Philadelphia the following May, to devise amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would result in a more durable constitutional arrangement.
December 2017

December Mason Administrative Professionals (MAP) Meeting

The next Mason Administrative Professionals meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 12 from 11:30 – 12:30 in The HUB VIP II.  

Since the holidays can be a stressful time Shernita Parker, Director, Organizational Development, Learning, and Coaching, Human Resources/Payroll, will be joining us to lead a mindfulness session.   

If you would like to attend, please RSVP to … the MAP group welcomes anyone working at George Mason who considers themselves to be in an administrative professional role.

December 2017

Senior Vice President to Host Mason Financial Update

Photo by Creative Services/George Mason University

Senior Vice President Jennifer (J.J.) Wagner Davis will host “Java with J.J.” on Wednesday, December 20, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Merten Hall, Room 1201. J.J. will provide an initial review of the Governor’s newly released proposed budget and the financial impacts to Mason. The floor will be open for questions after this brief presentation.

The University Financial Update forum can be accessed as follows:

Fairfax: Merten Hall, Room 1201 (live)

Videoconferencing will be available as follows:

Arlington: Founders Hall, Room 720

SciTech: Bull Run Hall, Room 254

Loudoun: Signal Hill, Room 101

Front Royal: Academic, Room 219

Contact Jennifer Wilson at with questions. We hope to see you there!

December 2017

Mental Health First Aid Training

Counseling and Psychological Services and University Life are pleased to offer Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training to members of the university community.

MHFA is designed to provide participants with basic skills to help someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. MHFA helps you to learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns. The session covers depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

The next training session will be held on January 9 and 10, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. Register online.

Direct questions to Katie Clare at

December 2017

12 Days of Holiday Giveaways from shopMason

Start the holiday season right by participating in shopMason’s 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways!

Every day is a new chance to win, from December 1–12.

Follow shopMason or We Are Mason on Facebook to enter to win.

For questions, contact David Atkins at or 703-993-3402.

December 2017

Steps to Set Up Your Out of Office Notifications for Winter Break

With the winter break just around the corner, the Staff Senate wanted to provide you with helpful tips on how to set up a temporary out of office voicemail and email messages.

To set your temporary out of office voicemail, follow the steps below.

1) Access your voice mailbox by either pressing the Message key on your desk phone or dialing 703-993-7900 if you are off campus.

2) Press 8 – 2 – 3.

3) Press 5 to record your message, then hit the # key to save.

4) Press 9 to set the expiry date.

5) Enter the expiry month, then hit the # key to save.

6) Enter the expiry day, then hit the # key to save.

7) Enter the expiry time (military time can be used), then hit the # key to save.


To set your temporary out of office email replies, follow the steps below*.

On a PC, open Outlook and click on File, then select Automatic Replies (Out of Office).

On a Mac, open Outlook and click on Tools, then select Out of Office.

On Office365, open Outlook web client and click on the Settings gear button, then select Automatic Replies.

When you have opened the Out of Office option, you can select the appropriate start and end dates and times. Make sure you have an updated outgoing message for both internal and external senders as these programs do not always update both.

*You can set this up ahead of time and set the dates for it to be in effect.

December 2017

University Records Management Training: December 15

Questions about managing your physical and electronic records?

Join University Records Management for a two-hour training session. Bring your questions, and pick up boxes for records storage.

The last training session for the fall will be hosted in the Collections Research Seminar Room (Fenwick Library, Room 2400) on December 15.

Register by emailing at Seating is limited.

University Records Management assists with the retention and disposal of non-permanent university records, regardless of format. It minimizes the space, equipment, and personnel required to store and maintain records. Records Management assists with the timely disposal of records in full compliance with university policy, state retention requirements, and federal law.

For questions, contact Samara Carter at or 703-993-2251.

December 2017

Mason Night at Arena Stage

The College of Visual and Performing Arts announces Mason Night at Arena Stage on Thursday, December 14, at 8 p.m.

Join Mason faculty, staff, alumni, and friends at the hit musical The Pajama Game featuring Ed Gero (professor, Mason School of Theater) and Heidi Kershaw Quick (alumna, Mason School of Dance).

This spectacular night of theater includes a performance with prime seating and a private post-show discussion with the Mason cast, crew, and staff members involved in this critically-acclaimed production.

Discounted tickets for the Mason community are $50.80. Purchase tickets online.

Questions? Contact Ryan Braaten at 703-993-8641 or