Thank you to Carol Kissal, senior vice president, Finance and Administration, who joined the Staff Senate on June 3, to discuss planning strategies for fall 2020. The recorded session is available for review. Below you will find answers to additional questions not addressed during the session. Thank you to René Stewart O’Neal, associate vice president for Strategic Planning & Budgeting, and Lester Arnold, vice president, Human Resources and Payroll, for addressing answers to the following questions:
My role on campus: I have worked in the English Department since 1996 and was one of the co-founders of the Staff Senate. I am serving a fourth term as senator.
Mason journey: I started out as a transfer student graduating with my B.A. in English in 1988. I left to work for a variety of companies and projects as a contractor and also traveled. When I was hired at Mason, I had no inkling of the extraordinary experiences I would soon have.
Lead from the front: Mason President Alan Merten wanted to start a Staff Senate just as the Staff Advisory Council was forming. Dr. Merten and Senior Vice President Morrie Scherrens joined us for many work sessions to answer questions and have lunch with us. They gave us full independence to create the organization we felt was going to foster innovation and partnerships. I served as vice chair from 2001-2002 and then was elected chair from 2002-2006.
Senate impact: The senate has been instrumental in the hiring decisions of many of our highest-level positions. We have influenced decisions such as how the Child Development Center was designed. We were involved in facilitating peace roundtable discussions after the 9/11 attacks. We reached out to the Virginia Tech Staff Senate after the mass shooting in Blacksburg. We have partnered with Mason Police to figure out ways to build community and outreach. We have successfully lobbied for the increase in tuition waiver hours from six to 12 per academic year, among many collaborative successes.
COVID-19 transition: Resilience is a Mason trait. We are rising to the challenges of a time of tragedy and grief the way we did after 9/11. I am not surprised by how the entire university has pulled together despite what seems like profound and overwhelming circumstances. I know Mason will not only survive but will be an example to the world of what it means to be the best of humanity.
Best thing about working at Mason: The spirit of community and the belief that humanity can be better than the sum of its parts. We are unique because that universality extends to our community. My years serving on the Quality of Work Life Task Force as well as countless search committees and other advisory committees has helped me build a love for and pride in Mason that I would not otherwise feel. My experiences have inspired me to stay here for the duration of my career. I will retire here.
Why serve on Staff Senate: It is an opportunity to build professional relationships and friendships, and to become an integral part of the Mason vision. It is a chance to try out new ways of interacting and innovating.
At the end of the day: I am grateful for the years of these amazing experiences. Mason is special. When I leave Mason, I will feel that this was my greatest personal and professional contribution. My senate colleagues have elevated the senate to a level that has exceeded my greatest hopes.
Have lingering questions about the Staff Senate nomination and election process? Need some ideas to help brainstorm your candidate statement? The Staff Senate will be hosting virtual office hours to address any questions related to the 2020 election and nomination process.
Monday, June 15
1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m.
gmu.webex.com / Meeting number: 120 286 7908 / Password: staff1 https://gmu.webex.com/gmu/j.php?MTID=m0b4213afc1d9d6
Join by phone: +1-415-655-0003 US Toll / +1-202-860-2110 United States Toll (Washington D.C.) / Access code: 120 286 7908
Please drop-in anytime between 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. and individual questions will be answered. No formal presentation will be made.
In addition, each month, the Mason Staff Senate:
- Presents the Employee of the Month with a gift
- Attends Human Resources and Payroll’s New Staff Orientations to welcome new employees and introduce them to the work of the Staff Senate
- Recognizes the service of Mason retirees with a letter of appreciation.
- Publishes a monthly newsletter distributed to classified staff and non-student wage employees.
If you were not able to join us for our Prospective Staff Senator Information Session, we hope you will review the recording to find out more information regarding how the senate operates and our mission.
The senate accepts nominations each June, and elections are held in July. Terms begin in August and are for two years. 2020 dates are below:
- Nominations accepted Monday, June 15 through Friday, June 26, 5:00 p.m.
- Elections held Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 24, 5:00 p.m.
To nominate yourself or a colleague, download and complete the Staff Senate nomination form. Completed forms are due to the Staff Senate administrative assistant by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 26. All nominations must be submitted electronically to email@example.com.
If you need further assistance with your nomination form, we will host Virtual Office Hours on June 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can drop-in to ask questions related to the nomination form and candidate statement. You may also use this time to ask any further questions related to senate responsibilities.
The next Mason Administrative Professionals Happy Hour will be held on Tuesday, June 9 at 4:30 p.m.
gmu.webex.com / meeting number: 161 592 2576 / password: HAPPY
or join by phone / 1-202-860-2110 / access code: 161 592 2576
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Questions? Contact email@example.com
Do you work with an incredible Mason administrative/professional faculty member, classified staff member, or wage employee who goes the extra mile, collaborates with their colleagues, and supports the university?
If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.