March 2019

Message from the Chair

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

At the Staff Senate General Meeting on February 6, Assistant Chief of Police Brian Cozby presented information about the array of services offered by our Police Department. Check out the presentation here.

At our March meeting, we hosted two guest speakers. First, Shernita Rochelle Parker, acting vice president, HR/ Payroll and Faculty/Staff Life, presented the results of last year’s Quality of Work Life (QWL) survey. Click here for a video of her presentation.

Next, Ashley Ludwig, store manager, talked about the process for departmental purchases through Patriot Tech. She also shared that faculty and staff can now use payroll deduction for personal purchases of certain items at Patriot Tech. If you are interested in making work or personal purchases at Patriot Tech, read through the PowerPoint presentation.

The following guest speakers are scheduled for our upcoming General Meetings:

  • April 3: Cathy Pinskey, program director, Facilities, will share updates on the Core Campus Project
  • May 1: President Ángel Cabrera
  • June 5: Mark Smith, executive director, State Government Relations

Stay tuned for more details about our upcoming meetings.

Last week, we all received an email from the Office of the Provost about upcoming Campus Conversations on Online Learning. If you have questions concerning your employee tuition exemption benefits, please consider attending one or more of these sessions. Now is the time to attend and ask. The Staff Senate has received questions on these topics, which we will ask on behalf of our constituents. However, we may not have your specific question in mind. Either sign up to attend or fill out an anonymous contact form on our website so that we can ask your very important questions regarding online education, new ventures, and other innovation-related topics. includes work options such as compressing your work week, flextime, job sharing, remote work, and telework. The process for setting up a Flexible Work Agreement has been streamlined through a new online form. If you are interested in any of these options, check it out and discuss it with your supervisor. Employees can complete the new form online and have it automatically sent to supervisors and department heads for signatures. More details are available on the website.

The Faculty Senate has asked the Staff Senate to look into a modified holiday schedule. In cooperation with the Faculty Senate, we have reached out to the James Madison University Employee Advisory Committee, as they have been on this schedule for over 15 years. We wanted to know what they think. This measure consists of giving up a day off (coming to work) on Labor Day, in exchange for a full week off during the week of Thanksgiving. The Student Government has also completed research on this measure and have concluded reasons for considering this change. We will discuss this measure at our April General Meeting for all those interested. A motion may be put to vote to include this measure in our July voting as an amendment, for all staff to weigh-in on. The Staff Senate will not be making a final decision on this measure without first hearing from our colleagues. Even then, we will only present the voting results to University Leadership, the Faculty Senate, and Student Government for further consideration.

Thank you!

Very Respectfully,

Christopher J. Maier
Chair, Staff Senate

March 2019

Pint-Sized Patriot Winners

Ava. Photo submitted by her mom, Christina Frasson, Information Technology Services

The Mason Staff Senate celebrated Homecoming Week by publishing a collection of photos on our Facebook page. Classified staff and non-student wage employees submitted photos of their spirited kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews. The photo that received the most likes by Monday, March 4, was selected to be featured in our newsletter. We are delighted to share our winner and runner-up!  

Congratulations to Ava for winning our Pint-Sized Patriots contest by receiving the most likes on her photo! Ava “rattled” the hearts of our fans, as evident by the over 80 likes her photo received!   

Ava is currently nine months old, her favorite color is blue, and her favorite food is applesauce. Her favorite activities include: riding in her firetruck, crawling up the stairs, dancing, pulling all of her books off the shelf, and playing with her grandparents, uncles, and aunt. She likes kicking her soccer ball so much that she wants to be a professional soccer player when she grows up. Her favorite sports team is D.C. United, U.S. Soccer, and of course, the Mason Patriots!    

Ava’s photo was submitted by her mom, Christina Frasson, videoconference technology specialist, Enterprise Collaboration, Information Technology Services. 


Charlie (Charlotte). Photo submitted by her mom, Nikki Ouellette, School of Business, and her dad, Michael Ouellette, Mason Athletics.

Charlie (Charlotte) was voted our runner up for receiving over 50 likes on her picture! Those cheeks were just too cute not to like!  

Charlie is now 17 months old. She does not have a favorite color yet, but green and gold do suit her well! She loves swimming and going to the park, and her favorite food is blueberries. Charlie’s favorite sports teams are the Mason Patriots and Clemson Tigers. Charlie is an aspiring pilot, based on her love of airplanes.

Charlie’s photo was submitted by her mom, Nikki Ouellette, associate director of advancement and alumni relations in the School of Business, and her dad, Michael Ouellette, academic coordinator for Mason Athletics. 

March 2019

Patriot Pets in Honor of National Pet Day!

In honor of National Pet Day, the Mason Staff Senate will be collecting photos of your furry, feathered, or otherwise friends! Send all submissions to, post on our Facebook page, or tag us on Twitter @gmustaffsenate.

In your submission, include the name, age, and breed of your pet (if applicable)! Feel free to also briefly share their adoption stories. Bonus points are awarded if your pet is showing off their Mason spirit! The deadline for submissions is April 10. 

Look for an album to be published on our Facebook page on April 11 to display our Patriot Pets.

While we love our pets all year round, National Pet Day encourages us to appreciate our pets and also other animals who may need a home. In addition to celebrating our pets on our Facebook page, we encourage our constituents to also take supplies to local shelters or consider adopting or fostering a pet from a local shelter. Locate your nearest shelter by visiting Petfinder’s shelter list. 


March 2019

Give a Little, Get a Latte: Complimentary Coffee on Giving Day

Your commitment to Mason makes the university a great place to work and study, and we’re always striving to do even better. Gifts made by faculty and staff demonstrate that we are truly invested in our students, programs, and each other.

Whether your gift is large or small, monthly, or a one-time donation, it helps bring more top-tier opportunities to students, faculty, and staff. Your gift expresses your confidence in the educational experience we offer.

In addition to giving online, you may also make your gift via payroll deduction, or stop by one of our faculty and staff Giving Day events

Thursday, April 4
9 to 11 a.m. (Starbucks coffee, Sugar Shack Donuts, and DIY parfaits)
2:30 to 4 p.m. (ice cream sundaes and smoothies)

Both FREE events will take place in the Mason Club. RSVP today!

March 2019

Freedom and Learning Forum: Racism in Virginia and Opportunities for Change

RSVP today for the next Freedom and Learning Forum, featuring Dr. Gail Christopher, visionary and architect of the Kellogg Foundation-led Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort for America:

Racism in Virginia and Opportunities for Change: Moving Toward Truth and Transformation
Monday, March 25
4 to 5:30 p.m.
The Hub, Ballroom

Join us for a conversation between President Ángel Cabrera and Dr. Gail Christopher, who is widely recognized for designing holistic strategies for social change.

She is the visionary for and architect of the Kellogg Foundation-led Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort for America. TRHT is an adaptation of the globally-recognized Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) model. TRHT evolved from the decade-long America Healing racial equity and racial healing initiative, designed and led by Dr. Christopher.

Gail Christopher is the former senior advisor and vice president of the Kellogg Foundation and past executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

For more information and to RSVP, visit

March 2019

Upcoming Performances at Mason


Sunday, March 17, at 7 p.m.
Center for the Arts, Concert Hall, Fairfax Campus

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an authentic Irish music experience the whole family will enjoy! Take a musical journey across the Emerald Isle with one of today’s leading traditional Irish ensembles as they perform timeless Celtic works along with fascinating, powerful new melodies. The award-winning Danú features lush vocals and poetic lyrics sung in English and Gaelic and impressive virtuoso playing of traditional Irish instruments—flute, tin whistle, fiddle, button accordion, and bouzouki.

Tickets: $50, $43, $30
50% off youth tickets (through grade 12)
Purchase tickets

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Hylton Performing Arts Center, Merchant Hall, Science and Technology Campus

A beloved classic makes its way off the page and onto the stage. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 lovable puppets, faithfully adapting four popular stories by children’s author Eric Carle: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show—The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Recommended for ages 3–7.

Tickets: $15 adults, $10 children
Purchase tickets

March 2019

April Staff Senate Meeting: Core Campus Project (Updated Location)

The construction of the new academic building and the improvement and expansion of Wilkins Plaza will change the Fairfax Campus in remarkable ways.

The April Staff Senate meeting will feature guest speaker Cathy Pinskey, program director, Facilities. Cathy will discuss recent progress and updates related to the Core Campus Project.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
10:30 a.m. to noon
Fairfax: Research Hall, Room 163 (updated location)
Arlington: Founders Hall, Room B119 (videoconferenced)
SciTech: Colgan Hall, Room 221 (videoconferenced)
Front Royal: Academic, Room 219 (703-249-8067)
WebEx: / Meeting Number (access code): 648 314 965  / Meeting password: 2ktMam99

The Staff Senate represents all classified and non-student wage employees at George Mason University. Working closely with university administration, we address concerns that have an impact on the quality of work-life for the Mason community. The work of the Senate is accomplished through open and continuous communication with its constituents.

All are welcome to attend the Staff Senate general meeting.

Submit your questions for the Staff Senate:

To promote dialog at the Staff Senate general meetings, the Senate is collecting questions/comments from constituents. Submit your question using the online submission form or email your question to You may include your name, or you may ask to remain anonymous.

All who attend the Staff Senate general meeting are welcome to ask questions in-person during the session.

For questions, contact

March 2019

Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) Roundtable Discussion

Join the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) for an information session for unit administrators working with sponsored projects.

The session will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 11 a.m. in Merten Hall, Room 1202.

Topics will include updates on policies and procedures, as well as anything new related to sponsored projects. If you would like to attend, please register at Mason Workshops.

If you have any questions, contact

March 2019

Senator Highlight: Joanne Zimmerman

Joanne Andersen Zimmerman, Biology, COS. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Serivces/George Mason University

Before coming to Mason, I worked as an admin for a company that did court filing and process serving for lawyers in California. I originally came to Mason to study sociology.

I joined the Staff Senate because I wanted to be able to interact with staff from all over campus. I also wanted to make a difference in my work environment.

The most rewarding and surprising experience from my time on Staff Senate has been learning about all the different jobs on campus. We can get so isolated in our day-to-day jobs. It has been fascinating to learn about all the different things that we do to keep Mason running!

I serve on the Events Committee, which plans the Staff Appreciation Events on the Fairfax, Arlington, and SciTech Campuses. We also coordinate the holiday toy and food donation drives to benefit INOVA Children’s Hospital and the Patriot Pantry.

Some things I love to do: Reading, binge-watching old TV shows, and going on road trips!

Joanne Andersen Zimmerman works as the HR and academic administrative specialist in the Biology Department. 



March 2019

A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship

Follow your Patriots at the A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship by visiting Tournament Central.