The December edition of the Staff Senate newsletter is now available. Check it out!
Gain insight into resiliently managing work and life as Mason’s University Life (UL) associate deans share their struggles, successes, and the importance of prioritizing well-being during uncertain times.
- Rachel Wernicke, Associate Dean and Chief Mental Health Officer, University Life
- Creston Lynch, Associate Dean, University Life
- Sally Lorentson, Associate Dean, University Life
- Lewis Forest II, Associate Dean, University Life
This webinar is presented by the Supervision Collective, part of UL Professional Development.
Contact Rebecca McCrory at email@example.com with questions.
George Mason University celebrates its faculty and staff for the work accomplished this year under extraordinary circumstances. Although we cannot celebrate in person with our annual holiday party, we want to spread cheer throughout the Mason community.
Join the virtual celebration filled with something for everyone. Participate in what interests you the most, and you might even win a prize!
Mason Holidays at Home will have ongoing opportunities to participate culminating in live events on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Visit the Mason Holidays at Home website for details.
A special thanks to our panelists:
- Carol Kissal, Senior Vice President, Administration and Finance
- Lester Arnold, Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll
- William Dracos, Associate Vice President, Business Services
- Dave Farris, Executive Director, Safety and Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety
- Julie Zobel, Assistant Vice President, Safety, Emergency and Enterprise Risk Management
If you missed the session, you can check out the recording.
Role: The Office of University Events oversees events on campus including commencement, groundbreakings, and the annual holiday party. I assist departments across our campuses in making their events a reality! I help them determine what their event needs are and how to achieve their goals. Sometimes this is by consulting and other times by managing their event. I am also the contracts coordinator for University Events. In this role, I work with community members who want to hold events on campus. These events range from small meetings to large-scale political events and are central to the university’s role as the cultural and educational anchor of our region.
Mason journey: I came to Mason in 2008 as a graduate student in the Arts Management Program. I started working with the Center for the Arts as a development assistant and assistant to the executive director. In 2010, I joined the College of Visual and Performing Arts full-time as their scheduling coordinator. In this role I also helped launch Series25, now 25Live, for the university by coordinating its use for the Center for the Arts and CVPA.
In 2016, I joined University Events in my current role.
COVID-19 transition: Our office had to 100 percent change how we do things when COVID-19 hit. Everything we did prior revolved around the personal connection of events and meeting in person. We shifted our team to fully remote and we have worked with our partners across campus like ITS, Enterprise Collaboration, GMU-TV, and others to assist our colleagues in transitioning to remote events. This has not always been easy, and we had challenges at the beginning, but I am proud to say that we have found ways to compromise and collaborate on some really great events. Examples are our virtual commencement and our annual holiday party. The events connect us as a campus community and help shape the Mason culture. In many ways, these events took on an even greater unifying role this year with so many of us working or studying remotely for most of 2020.
Best thing about working at Mason: I love Mason because of our motto in recent years, “Innovation is Tradition.” Mason fosters both individuality and diversity. Because of this, each member of our Mason Nation has a voice and the opportunity to grow outside of their work position. All our individual strengths lie within not only our communal goal, but our diversity. I find our diversity and our dedication to it to be one of the greatest strengths of Mason and one thing that sets us above the rest. Mason is also a family and we work as one family for the betterment of our Mason community.
As an artist/arts activist, in my mind “our football team” is our arts. We have two wonderful performing arts centers and a university-wide mission to support, promote, and cultivate the arts.
Why I serve on Staff Senate: I feel it is important for all staff to not only have an individual voice on campus, but a collective voice which is our Staff Senate. I want to be part of a group that fosters community, involvement, and appreciation in our staff and our university. I strongly believe Mason’s staff is the “heart” of Mason. My hope is by serving I can help those who often feel they do not have a voice, or who have yet to find that sense of community, find their voice and understand that staff is valued just as much as our students and faculty.
Unique fact: I grew up in East Tennessee, Oak Ridge, and moved to Auburn, Alabama upon graduating high school to pursue a degree in marine biology. While there I marched in the Auburn University Flag Corps and started taking theatre classes. I have always had a passion for the arts, but after three years of venturing into the arts I decided to make it a career. I moved back to East Tennessee and took a few years to “catch up” and earned my BA in theatre from the University of Tennessee. Come college football season you will often hear a dual “War Eagle and Go Vols” come out of my mouth!
At the end of the day: I am a mother (to 13-month-old Sophie), a wife, a daughter, and an arts advocate. I am proud of all the struggles in life and am thankful each day for its blessings. Despite everything 2020 brought, I found time to appreciate the blessing of being able to be a stronger and more present mother to Sophie. I want to be an example to her and those around me. My favorite quote is by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
A special thanks to Shernita Rochelle Parker, assistant vice president for Human Resources/Payroll, and Wendi Manuel-Scott, professor of history in the School of Integrative Studies, for providing updates and answering constituents’ questions related to the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence (ARIE) Task Force.
If you missed the Dec. 2 session, you can check out the recording.
Dear Mason Staff,
This fall, the Staff Senate submitted a proposal to the Board of Visitors requesting that a nonvoting staff representative be added to their membership. With faculty and students already having representatives at the table, we felt this was an important way to show that staff voices are also valued in the university conversation.
I am pleased to share that our proposal has come to fruition. At the December 3 Board of Visitors meeting, the board unanimously approved the following change to Article II of its bylaws:
“The Board appoints the standing Chair of the Mason Staff Senate to serve as a
nonvoting advisory staff liaison to the Board. The staff liaison may participate in all
full meetings of the Board and committee meetings, and may attend closed sessions by invitation at the discretion of the Rector or the respective committee chair.”
Mason staff now have a seat at the table of the university’s Board of Visitors.
This change allows staff to share in the stewardship and oversight of the university at a time when equity and fairness in its various forms are overarching objectives for us as an institution. A staff liaison will contribute ideas and ask questions pertinent to the experiences of staff at Mason.
The board’s unanimous approval of this change is a meaningful show of faith in the contributions of Mason staff. I feel privileged to hold this seat during my time as chair of the Staff Senate.
Wishing you peace and comfort this holiday season and a restful winter break,
Lauren Clark Reuscher
Chair, Staff Senate
Reminder: Virtual Holiday Donation Drive
Would you like to help someone in need? Parking Services has teamed up with the Staff Senate for a virtual holiday donation drive. Through Tuesday, December 15, you can reduce the cost of an outstanding parking citation by $10 or $20 by making a donation to one of the charities on the Staff Senate website at staffsenate.gmu.edu/meetings/events/donation.
For important details, visit transportation.gmu.edu/donation.
Due to COVID-19, DMV2Go is not currently in operation, therefore no visits to Mason’s Fairfax Campus have been scheduled for 2021.
For DMV COVID-19 service changes, please visit dmv.virginia.gov/general/#appointments.asp.
Additionally, limited DMV services are available by appointment at the City of Fairfax’s City Hall. For details, see fairfaxva.gov/government/treasurer/limited-dmv-services-at-city-hall.
Timesheets Are Due Early
Please be aware that timesheets are due early before break:
Semimonthly: For pay period ending December 24, 2020, and pay date on December 31, 2020:
- Submission: December 15 before noon at 11:59 a.m.
- Approval: December 16 before noon at 11:59 a.m.
If appropriate, please record anticipated hours for December 16 through December 24.
Biweekly: For pay period ending December 19, 2020, and pay date on December 24, 2020 (early pay date since December 25th is a bank holiday):
- Submission: December 13 before midnight at 11:59 p.m.
- Approval: December 14 before noon at 11:59 a.m. (Final deadline)
If appropriate, please record anticipated hours for December 14 through December 19.
Inclement Weather/Emergency Guidance
Telework and Inclement Weather
Employees working from home during a university closing are expected to continue working unless it is not possible due to power outages or other conditions that prevent them from working. Teleworkers (if it is their scheduled telework day) and remote workers continue to work even if:
- Classes are cancelled and administrative offices are closed
- The university is on a modified schedule
For more details, visit flexwork.gmu.edu.
Inclement Weather/Emergency Closing Policy
With winter weather fast approaching, please review the Inclement Weather/Emergency Closing Policy.
Stay updated on university closings, late openings, or other weather-related changes to the university’s schedule through Mason’s switchboard at 703-993-1000, Mason Alert, the university’s homepage, as well as local media outlets.