October 2017

Message from the Chair

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

Dear Fellow Colleagues,

One of the primary roles of your Staff Senate is to focus on issues that affect the more than 3,200 staff members at Mason.  We ask questions to find answers, and we work diligently to have a voice in key University initiatives.

For this reason, we invited President Ángel Cabrera and Vice President for Communications & Marketing, Frank Neville, to address the Staff Senate and field questions at our Oct. 4th general meeting.  We greatly appreciate their time and acknowledgment of the critical role that staff play at Mason.

An hour-long discussion with Dr. Cabrera covered a variety of topics of interest to staff, including compensation. Salary competitiveness for Mason faculty and staff – who he noted live and work in the most expensive region in the state – remains a top priority when he meets with state lawmakers and explains to them the challenges of hiring and retaining faculty and staff at George Mason University.  Dr. Cabrera also answered staff questions about a variety of other topics, including the relative lack of diversity among faculty and staff to match that of the student body, initiatives to eradicate campus sexual assault, dialogue about the idea of staff evaluations for supervisors, and how your Staff Senate can help find feasible approaches to boost staff satisfaction and well-being.

Mr. Neville, who also continues to serve as Dr. Cabrera’s chief of staff, talked about the challenges to better define Mason’s strategic plan, and branding both within the University and externally. We plan to continue this discussion and provide additional feedback after our next general meeting.

Something new is on the horizon.  To engage more staff members, we recorded our October general meeting live on the Staff Senate’s Facebook page (you can still watch it there) and solicited questions beforehand, to present to Dr. Cabrera.  Our goal is to engage more directly with Mason staff members at meetings, reviving our use of Facebook and Twitter. You can contact us here anytime.  Soon, we will be moving over to the new WebX platform, as it becomes readily available.

Better yet, as a staff member, you are always welcome to attend a meeting in person.  You can even ask questions and bring issues to our attention.  Our next meeting is at 10:30 AM, Nov. 1 in Merten Hall 1201.  I’m pleased to say that we had several constituents at the October session.  We’re more than happy to pull out additional chairs!

Very Respectfully,

Christopher Maier – Chair, Staff Senate

October 2017

November 1st Staff Senate Meeting

Frank Neville, chief of staff and vice president of communications and marketing, will return to the November Staff Senate meeting to further discuss communications in the University structure.

Wednesday, November 1
10:30 a.m. to Noon
Fairfax: Merten Hall, Room 1201
Arlington: Founders Hall, Room B119 (video-conferenced)
SciTech: Colgan Hall, Room 221 (video-conferenced)

Submit your questions for our guest speakers:
To promote dialogue 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 Mason staff! Submit your question in advance using the online submission form or email your question to You may include your name, or you may ask to remain anonymous.

Staff Senate reserves the right to determine which questions are asked during the meeting. Any selected questions that are not asked during the session due to time constraints will be emailed to the guest speaker, and the responses 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

October 2017

From Our Friends in HR


DMV2Go on the Fairfax Campus
Take care of your Department of Motor Vehicle business at a convenient Mason location!  DMV2Go will be on the Fairfax Campus on Tuesday, October 10 from 9am-4pm in the Merten Hall Parking Lot.  The remainder of the 2017 schedule is available at; find information on DMV2Go services at

Financial Well-Being Seminar: Lifetime Income and TIAA
Please join us on October 17 as Benny Goodman, Vice President and Senior Actuary at TIAA, provides an overview of annuities and guaranteed lifetime income. Benny will discuss life expectancy and illustrate the difference between selecting a lifetime income option from an annuity versus taking systematic withdrawals. You’ll learn more about the features of the TIAA Traditional Annuity—and how selecting lifetime income from TIAA Traditional can help cover basic living expenses without the risk of outliving your income. You do not have to be a TIAA member to participate.

To register for this session, please visit for a special registration link or visit directly.

2017 Performance Evaluations
Friendly reminder that the 2017 Performance Evaluations are due on October 24th.  Although we just completed evaluations for some newly hired faculty and staff to be eligible for the recent VA State Increase, those were for the 2016 evaluation cycle. For more information, please review the 2017 Performance Evaluation Memo on our website. Any additional questions can be sent to

Dulles Regional Chamber: Young Professionals Event
On October 13th, the Young Professionals of Dulles Regional Chamber has put together a networking event for young professionals. This is a professional development event that will focus on how to make the most of business gatherings by developing their networking skills. The facilitator is Tammy Bjelland, chair of the YP Professional Development Subcommittee, TEDx speaker, ATD-certified Master Trainer, and founder and President of Learning in Bloom. Date: October 13th, 2017 Time: 8:00 am – 9:15 am Click here to register

October 2017

Upcoming Eagle Bank Arena Events

We thought you might be interested in checking out these upcoming events taking place in the Eagle Bank Arena.

Oct 6-8 Disney on Ice

Oct 10 Alcanza College Fair

Oct 11 Ricardo Arjona

Oct 13 Mason Madness

Oct 15 Admissions fall Premiere

Nov 1 A Perfect Circle

Nov 2 Fall Out Boy

Nov 5 Ana Gabriel

For more details see the full schedule



October 2017

Toastmasters Open House

Toastmasters: Open House, October 18

Toastmasters is for everyone. Whether your public speaking skills are at the beginner’s stage, or you consider yourself to be a seasoned professional, you can gain experience as a member. Join us for an Open House on Wednesday, October 18, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Johnson Center Room A to experience a Toastmasters meeting in action! Refreshments will be served.

Visit our website for more information.

October 2017

National Cyber Security Awareness Month Contest, Events, and Tips

Information Technology Services (ITS) is hosting an event and contest in observance of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.


  • Keeping Yourself and an Organization Safe from IT Threats: Wanda Gibson, chief technology officer for Fairfax County, will speak on Wednesday, October 25, at 3 p.m. in Merten Hall, Room 1204.

For more information, visit Phishing Emails Tips from a Staff Senator


To be entered in the contest for a gift card, go to and view the video “Avoiding Phishing Scams” by Jess Stratton. After viewing the video, send the completion certificate to Your name will be entered into the drawing for a gift card. The deadline to enter is October 31.

Gift cards are for Mason Money, Starbucks, Target, Amazon, and Chipotle. For more information, view the flyer.

Contact Karen Bates at or 703-993-2906 with questions.


Check out these tips from a staff senator for avoiding phishing scams.


October 2017

October is National Work and Family Month

National Work and Family Month is about supporting healthy work/life strategies.

Throughout October, Mason faculty and staff are encouraged to explore the variety of family resources available at Mason to help create and maintain a healthier and more flexible work and family life.

Visit the Life/Work Connections page at for a resource list.

Contact the Life/Work Connections team at or 703-993-2600 for more information about the options available.

October 2017

Socktober Collection

Participate in Socktober!

Help stock the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter with new socks. We collected 350 pairs of new socks in fall 2016 in memory of Alice Watts, a long-time employee of George Mason University who lost her fight with cancer in September 2016.

This year, we hope to collect even more to honor Alice’s years of service to the university and to help this local shelter.

Donations may be dropped off at the following locations, from October 3 to November 3:

  • Buchanan Hall, Room D217 (College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Undergraduate Academic Affairs)
  • College Hall, Room C211 (College of Visual and Performing Arts, Academic Affairs)
  • Merten Hall, Room 4100 (Human Resources and Payroll)

For questions, contact Katie Clare at 703-993-7078 or

October 2017

Winter Wellness Days Flu Shot Clinics

For faculty and staff who are enrolled in COVA Care, COVA HDHP, COVA Health Aware, and Kaiser Permanente, seasonal flu shots are part of the wellness benefit.

This year, flu shot clinics will be held at Mason on the following dates:

  • Fairfax: October 12, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Johnson Center, Dewberry Hall (and October 26 as part of Faculty-Staff Enrichment Day)
  • SciTech: October 17, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Colgan Hall, Room 110E/Verizon Lobby
  • Arlington: October 19, 3 to 6 p.m., Room TBA

This year, each clinic is drop-in only. No appointments are necessary. For important details about faculty/staff flu shots, click here.

Flu shots will be given to students at the Fairfax Winter Wellness Day, free of charge, while supplies last. Click here for student flu shot information.

Participation is encouraged to ensure community immunity!

Contact 703-993-2600 or with questions.

October 2017

Member Benefit Profiles Available through Virginia Retirement System (VRS)

Annual Member Benefit Profiles (MBP) for faculty and staff enrolled in Plan 1 and Plan 2 of the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) are now available.

Log into your account at MBPs provide information about your retirement and other benefits as a member of VRS.

MBPs are currently not available for Hybrid Retirement Plan members. However, Hybrid members can review account information online in myVRS. A refreshed Retirement Estimator now integrates your defined benefit and defined contribution accounts.

Questions? Contact or call 703-993-2600 and ask for the Benefits Team.