Sneak peek inside TU in Northeastern Maryland

Towson University in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE) will kick off student orientations next week, marking the completion of a project more than eight years in the making. Below, we got a sneak peek inside the new building before its doors open to the public:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


By Pamela Gorsuch

Leave a Comment

5 projects you need to know about

It’s surprising but true: summer can be just as busy (and sometimes even busier!) than the rest of the year as staff head out for vacations and return to anxiously prepare for the year ahead. The bustle can make it hard to stay in touch with even the most compelling campus projects. Here are five you’ll want to know about, including a major improvement to software you use every day.

1. Order online, take food to go

Beginning this fall, Dining Services will allow you to skip the lines by ordering food via the new Tapingo mobile app. The app will let you order select menu items from several dining facilities, including 7720 Grille. You pay directly through your mobile device (both OneCard and credit cards are accepted), then pick up your meal and head back to your desk—no waiting in the order or checkout lines! The app is free and will be live by the beginning of the fall semester, with additional dining locations added by the spring.

2. Office upgrade means more space, better functionality

For many of us, access to Microsoft Office is as essential as access to a computer itself. If you’re a Word, Excel or Powerpoint junkie, you’ll love the Office upgrade kicking off this fall. The project will increase H drive size by five times, increase email storage by 200, and give you the ability to access your files from wherever you have internet. Basically, it’ll make it easier for you to do your work when and where you want, plus collaborate with others and then save that work without fear of maxing out space (goodbye, archiving!). Stay tuned for project updates in T3 over the coming months.

3. Single maintenance request system to open for entire campus

Submitting a maintenance request is getting much simpler. In the past, access to submit online maintenance requests was limited to building coordinators, so a staff member with a request would have to email the coordinator, who would submit the issue using one of three different forms. Beginning this fall, there will be one online system for submitting all routine facilities-related requests, and anyone can use it. To submit a request, you’ll simply log in with your Net ID and password, then complete the form to enter the location and nature of the task. If a service you need isn’t listed on the form, simply contact Work Control (x4-2481, and a staff member will guide you through the process.

4. Wireless access, simplified

Currently, faculty, staff and students needing wireless access for a campus guest have to sponsor them personally, filling out a web form to get a temporary username and password. Not difficult when you have just one visitor, but a pain when you have multiple vendors needing access. Beginning this fall, that pain will be gone when OTS replaces the current TU Guest wireless network with TU Open Access. The new network, available to all visitors, will not require a username and password. OTS Associate Director of Communication Services Eric Cannizzo says TU Open Access will make wireless easier to use and more accessible on campus. “The changes will simplify access for campus visitors and reduce the administrative overhead,” he says.  Faculty, staff and students should still use “TU Secure” to access the wireless network because it has extra security to protect University data, but sponsoring access to the guest network is one thing they can check off their list for campus visitors.

5. New goals for A&F departments

Assessment isn’t just for academics anymore. Based on accreditation requirements, beginning this year each TU department is being measured and assessed on achieving quantifiable goals that tie to a TU2020 theme. For example, one of Human Resources’ goals is to provide supervisory skills to university supervisors, aligning with the TU2020 theme of serving as “a model for leadership development”. The first draft of A&F’s departmental goals were presented and reviewed by a cross-section of faculty and staff earlier this month and received great reviews. The President will report on the university’s overall assessment progress at her Fall Address this September. Staff members are encouraged to remain aware of their departmental goals, since as assessment evolves it will touch everyone.

By Pamela Gorsuch

Leave a Comment

A&F pioneers employee share

Parking and Transportation Services drivers lend a hand, painting Towson Town Garage.

Jacks of all trades: Parking and Transportation Services drivers lend a hand painting Towsontown Garage.

Work on a college campus ebbs and flows with the season. For some, academic breaks are a time to catch up and prepare for the semester ahead. For others—like Parking and Transportation Services drivers—it means less work hours and fewer wages.

“Most of our drivers go 3-4 months over the year without any income or have to find second jobs during the breaks,” said Pamela Mooney, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “Obviously this is difficult–most people need steady income.”

Facilities Management has the opposite problem: their workloads increase while they accomplish as much as possible without the tumult of students on campus. Both departments had a need, and after working with the Budget Office, Human Resources and Payroll, they developed a solution that benefited the departments and their employees.

The agreement is simple: interested Parking and Transportation Services drivers lend a hand to Facilities Management during academic breaks. As a result, both departments get the help they need during critical times, and their employees get consistent work. To date, eight employees have taken advantage of the agreement. One participant, Driver Robert Bucklew, says he’s thankful to TU for keeping drivers employed.

“Splitting time between driving and working for maintenance has been a good experience. My co-workers and I appreciate the effort to keep us working through the slower summer season, and the maintenance staff—especially Tom Durange —has been great about offering guidance and direction as we learn our new jobs.”

Having employees work for two departments is certainly unconventional, but it offers consistency, helps Parking to better attract and retain staff, and expands the pool of available staff during emergencies. When either department needs additional help, the time is given to drivers who want more hours.

By Lindsey Morgan

Leave a Comment

Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the division? Look no further—upcoming events, recent new hires, and next month’s birthdays are listed below. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail

Sonny Luebben, a longtime Facilities Management employee, retired from TU with more than 25 years of service this month. Please join us in wishing him a happy retirement.

New Hires
Give a warm welcome to these new A&F employees:

Heather Dorr, Environmental Health & Safety Insurance Administrator
Dorothy Hersey, Assistant Transportation Manager
Chatema Hilliard, Lead Parking Customer Service Associate
John Kaisler, OTS Support Specialist
Stephanie Puryear, University Store General Assistant
Jacob Sandruck, Facilities Planner
Andrew Webster, University Store General Assistant
Thomas Williams, Parking Control Aide
Donna Yeagle, Human Resources Benefits Manager

The Ball Up Streetball Tour will bring innovative basketball skills to SECU Arena August 9.

Explore the universe over time at the Planetarium Show in Smith Hall Friday, August 15.

Tickets are now available for the captivating Ailey II dance performance in the Stephens Hall Theatre September 20.

August 3 – Mark Clark, Office of Public Safety
August 3 — Michelle Dacey, Human Resources
August 4 – Dylan Missimer, Facilities Management
August 4 – Susan Brown, Auxiliary Services
August 6 – Bill Kerfoot, Facilities Management
August 6 — Debbie Phillips, Human Resources
August 8 – Steve Cullum, Facilities Management
August 9 – Rob Neff, Facilities Management
August 10 – Sharon Freedman, OTS
August 10 – Dineli Weerasooriya, OTS
August 10 — Stephanie Flanagan, Fiscal Planning and Services
August 12 – Michael Lewis, Facilities Management
August 12 – Channon Young, Auxiliary Services
August 16 – Becky Mundschenk, OTS
August 16 – Tyra Thomas, Facilities Management
August 17 – Gregory Yackley, Auxiliary Services
August 20 — Mike Bradley, OTS
August 22 – Craig Turkington, OTS
August 22 – Rene Florendo, Facilities Management
August 22 – Levi Weathers, Facilities Management
August 23 – Tom Rose, Facilities Management
August 24 – Don Miller, Facilities Management
August 25 – Tracie Rusnak, Facilities Management
August 27 – Paul Clutter, Facilities Management
August 31 – John Hook, Facilities Management
August 31 – Yvonne Stevenson, Auxiliary Services

Leave a Comment

The department that embraces disagreement

With seven full-time staff managing more than 25,000 active OneCards and distributing more than 100,000 event tickets a year, the Auxiliary Services Business Office (ASBO) has its hands full. Below, ASBO Manager Brett Collins shares the department’s mantra for growing effective student staff, plus their plans to expand the use of OneCards.


Staff in the Auxiliary Services Business Office

What does your department do?
I like to say that we’re three offices in one. Our OneCard Office is the administrative arm of the department—they handle inquiries, administer meal plans and audit meal points. Our Business Office handles money, accepting payments and giving refunds for retail/dining points, parking permits, etc. The Ticket Office manages ticketing for campus events and petty cash for the SGA and campus housing.
UGrad Union 0207What major projects are you working on right now?
We’re looking at expanding the services offered by OneCards, which could potentially mean reissuing updated cards to the entire campus…no small feat!. We’re also moving toward a new system that would enable event tickets to be printed online and scanned at entrances.

What’s it like to work for the Business Office?
It’s really familial – many of our staff have been here for years and we’ve learned how to communicate with one another. Sometimes we disagree, but we embrace that as stemming from caring so much about what we do. We’re very open about sharing ideas and we always find a way to move forward.

We’re also big proponents of hiring and promoting students. Our office typically has 10-15 student employees plus several graduate assistants, and we’re a great stepping stone for them to get full-time employment. One example: we hired student employee Ashley McAvoy as a contractual employee after she graduated, and later brought her on as a full-time regular employee. Just recently she was hired by Enrollment Services. We’ve groomed quite a few other students who have gone on to great positions all over campus. It’s important to us that we give all of our staff opportunities to grow in their careers.

What are your departmental traditions?
We have big potluck lunches throughout the year. Everyone contributes a dish, and it’s great to see our different backgrounds come out in the foods we bring. We also celebrate our new hires with lunches welcoming them to the crew! It’s nice to get them started on the right foot.

CBE commencement 57

What does your department do better than others?
We pride ourselves in great customer service. A few examples:

A customer and eight of her family and friends rushed to the ticket office after getting stopped at the SECU Arena gate trying to get into the Harlem Globetrotters show. She had accidentally bought tickets for the wrong show day! We were able to transfer her tickets so the whole group could see the show that night. The customer was so relieved she burst into tears!

There’s also a lot of stress and excitement around folks trying to get tickets for commencement. We had a graduate’s mother call because she was having trouble printing her tickets. After going back and forth for an hour, we discovered the source of the problem: her son had given her the wrong Towson email address for accessing the tickets! We confirmed the correct address for her and she printed the tickets just fine.

Whenever someone comes to us stressed and leaves excited, it’s a great thing.

What’s misunderstood about ASBO?
The variety of customer groups we work with is staggering. In the span of one day, our staff could be negotiating with local business owners for the OneCard off-campus program, helping parents make meal plan decisions, talking students through vending machine issues, issuing OneCards to new faculty and working with internal staff to ticket an event.

Do you think your work makes a difference?
Absolutely. We make it easier for students to achieve their goal of a college degree by offering the tools to live and learn comfortably. Whether it’s easy access to retail points for laundry, permits for parking on campus, or meal plans for eating in the dining halls—we worry about the things students need so they don’t have to.

By Pamela Gorsuch

Leave a Comment

Behind the scenes: MD Special Olympics

For one weekend out of the year, people with physical and intellectual disabilities compete in front of cheering crowds as the stars of the show. For 37 of the past 44 years, TU has made that weekend happen. Below are the stories of a few of those stars–including a blind man who runs track–plus the scoop on the behind-the-scenes action that makes the Maryland Special Olympics Summer Games a reality.

(Click the arrows on the bottom right of the slideshow for a larger version)



Photos by Steve Ruark and Pamela Gorsuch

Leave a Comment

U Store changes the publishing game

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In higher education, printing presses have typically been reserved for only the privileged: Cambridge, Harvard, a handful of others. Now, thanks to the Espresso Book Machine, TU professors, students and community members alike can benefit from the cost and time savings of a printing press located smack dab in the middle of the University Store.

TU is the first university in the state to own the unique machine, which prints bound bookstore-quality books quickly and at a low cost. Customers can self-publish their own books, print out-of-print titles, or print bound course packets, all right on campus. Thus it’s no surprise Store Director Stacy Elofir has been vying for the machine for years.

“Book stores are changing, and customers expect access to a wide variety of titles quickly and at competitive prices,” Stacy said. “This machine gives us access to a variety of books without physically having them on the shelves. The Towson University Press undergoes better quality control, is more cost effective and enables textbook money to stay on campus.”

The process is simple and guided by Custom Publishing Coordinator Jeremy Ottley. Customers provide a PDF to Jeremy, who reviews the print measurements to align the cover for layout. Then, with a few clicks of the mouse, the machine is sent to the press where the inside pages and cover are printed simultaneously, bound together by glue, and pressed together while the glue sets. Minutes later, the machine delivers a paperback into Jeremy’s waiting hands for final inspection and delivery. The process is quick—and cost efficient. Customers pay a $35 set-up fee, then a small cost (10 cents or less) per page. Course packets are printed for the cost of materials and copyright fees; out of print books are printed at market value.

To date the press has produced nearly 50 books, the very first of which came via Cataloging Librarian and Copyright Liaison Rick Davis. A student approached Rick in need of a rare 18th century book for an English class. Rick discovered that the book is not available online, and because of its scarcity is not lent out by other universities. Luckily, the owner of the book collection—which would have cost the university tens of thousands of dollars to purchase in hard copy—had made the book available for Espresso Book Machines. In less than 24 hours and at a cost of $25, Rick was able to put this rare find on Cook Library’s shelves.

Other books—both personal and professional—have been printed by students, faculty and community members. With the machine, anyone who can type can print. Stacy and Jeremy are gathering writing, editing and graphic design resources for the campus community to empower potential authors to create and publish works. Their vision is a campus-wide effort to bring creativity to life—all made possible by one unique machine.

Written by Lindsey Morgan

Leave a Comment

From the UK to TU: Child Care Center Director Sarah Fike

Sarah Fike with a student

Sarah Fike, Director of TU’s Child Care Center, with one of her students

For some, career paths are a question; for others, they’re a destiny. University Child Care Center Director Sarah Fike is firmly in the latter category. For her, there was never a question that she would work with children.

“When I was eight, I was asked to write an essay about what I would be doing at 21,” Sarah said. “I wrote that I would be a teacher.”

Indeed, “Ms. Sarah,” as she is known to her students, was teaching by the age of 21. And even before that, her jobs centered on preparing her for the role. She was babysitting at 13 and nannying not long after. The roles came naturally to her–and perhaps just as importantly, they were fun.

“I love young children’s enthusiasm and honesty, and I love how they’re always questioning and soaking up everything around them with no inhibitions,” Sarah said. “I’m fascinated with how they learn, think and speak, and I enjoy helping them develop. That’s why I do what I do.”

When you are that passionate about what you do, it can take you to places and people you never imagined. Originally from the United Kingdom, Sarah came to the U.S. as an au pair nearly 15 years ago. She met her husband while working, married him eight months later, and has called this country home ever since. She says moving here enabled her to pursue her dreams in a way she couldn’t have in the UK.

“I returned to school for my Master’s in Education,” Sarah said. “Here, you can go back to college at any age and study for fun or for a new career! In the U.K. you just get one shot at your chosen field.”

Sarah has now been a teacher for 27 years–eight of them at the Child Care Center. And if her graduates are any indication, she’s made quite an impact during her tenure. She still keeps in touch with the families of students who graduated more than 15 years ago, and has even been invited to weddings! After moving to California, the family of one student came back to visit her on their first return trip to the area more than two years later.

These stories represent the mark of a truly exceptional educator—one who does not only teach, but touches the hearts of her students. It doesn’t come easy. As one of Sarah’s colleagues said, “When she’s not working, she’s working.” In her free time, Sarah contributes to education journals, takes graduate courses and participates in local education organizations. She’s writing a science textbook and is an adjunct for the College of Education and the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, where she teaches an upper level science and math methods class.

And yet Sarah’s most ambitious work is dedicated to the Child Care Center. After becoming Director last August, she set out to expand family participation in the Center’s programs, create a nature- and arts-based curriculum and design a new nature playscape on the center grounds. She hopes to achieve national accreditation for the Center and reinstate a state-accredited kindergarten.

They’re ambitious goals–especially for a person with two young boys of her own at home–but for Sarah, it’s simply fulfilling the dream she’s had since  she was born. I think her 8-year-old self would be proud.

Written by Tyler New

Leave a Comment

Personnel announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the division? Look no further—upcoming events, recent new hires, and next month’s birthdays are listed below. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail

Ria Zimmerman at her retirement celebration. Ria will retire June 30; please join us in wishing her a fond farewell!

Ria Zimmerman at her retirement celebration.

Financial Services Help Line Supervisor Ria Zimmerman is retiring June 30 with nearly two decades of service to the university. Please join us in wishing her a happy retirement!

New Hires
Please join us in giving a warm welcome to these new A&F employees:

Charles Blount, Technology Generalist, OTSTaylor Cubbler, SECU Building Manager, Event & Conference Services 
Nathaniel Leonard, Technology Generalist, OTS 
Caitlin Malpass, Parking Control Aide, Parking & Transportation Services
Andrew O’Donnell, Financial Systems Specialist, Financial Services
Christopher Passas, HVAC Associate, Facilities Management
Johnatan Rodriguez, HVAC Mechanic, Facilities Management
Robert Winpigler, Property Control Supervisor, Materiel Management

Represent TU at the Towson area Fourth of July parade and receive free breakfast and a t-shirt.

Join the Healthy Campus Task Force for a lunch time walk and knock two tasks off your list: networking and exercise.

In The News
TU receives attention for Go Green efforts (The Energy Source)

July 1 – Dave Taylor, Facilities Management
July 2 – Tim Sandruck, Facilities Management
July 3 – Tammy Weichseldorfer, OTS
July 4 – Debra Boettcher, Facilities Management
July 4 – William Stafford, Facilities Management
July 4 – Sara Senter, Auxiliary Services
July 5 – Timothy Blaker, Auxiliary Services
July 7 – Philip George, Facilities Management
July 7 – Lana Rybalnik, OTS
July 7 – Alison Armstrong, Auxiliary Services
July 9 – Barbara Hufnagel, Fiscal Planning & Services
July 9 – Shelly Sievers, Fiscal Planning & Services
July 10 – William Briley, Auxiliary Services
July 11 – Mike Medairy, Facilities Management
July 11 – Michael Roddy, TUPD
July 13 – Lou Chaney, Facilities Management
July 13 – Joanne Kist, Fiscal Planning & Services
July 13 – Lisa Schmith, Human Resources
July 14—Jim McTygue, Auxiliary Services
July 14—Frank Rankin, Auxiliary Services
July 15 – Cynthia Andrews, Human Resources
July 15 – Mike Noll, Human Resources
July 15 – Hassan Sanda, Auxiliary Services
July 16 – Rance Burger, Facilities Management
July 17 — Ryan Peterson, OTS
July 18 – Christopher Betts, Facilities Management
July 19 – Michele Kreider, Fiscal Planning & Services
July 20 – John Harris, Facilities Management
July 21 – Dave Socha, Facilities Management
July 23 – Eileen Strange, Auxiliary Services
July 23 – Matthew Curio, Auxiliary Services
July 24 – Verna Green, Auxiliary Services
July 24 – Andrew Rosenblum, Auxiliary Services
July 26 – Ashley McAvoy, Auxiliary Services
July 27- Tobi Bennet, Facilities Management
July 28 – Ronald Peacock, Facilities Management
July 29 – Jen Streb, Fiscal Planning & Services
July 29 – Jenna Wood, Auxiliary Services
July 30 – Charlie Rummings, OTS

Leave a Comment

The best stories from Commencement

Health Professions Commencement0035

It’s the culmination of dozens of classes, hundreds of tests and countless hours of studying. Commencement is a time of joy and pride–for students receiving diplomas, for families cheering them on, and for TU employees whose work makes it all possible. Below, a few of the 38 A&F spring commencement volunteers share their experience…

fine arts commencement 20140103During the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics graduation, there was a young graduate in a wheelchair who needed the lift to get him up on stage. Once there, and with a determined look, he got up from the chair and used canes to walk across the stage to receive his diploma from President Loeschke.  The applause was deafening. – Lorraine Hart, Financial Services

It’s great to hear how proud & excited guests are; many have never been on campus before and remark on how beautiful it is. This year I drove a little boy dressed in his best suit and hat. When he saw the bronze tiger statue outside of the arena he was in awe!  He said, “Grandma, I’m coming here! Look how cool that tiger is! – Donna Auvil, Budget OfficeAM  May 23 14 0060

I saw members of a family sitting together in a line, each holding glittery blue letter placards on sticks.  I couldn’t figure out what they were until a graduate walked by and they all cheered, holding the letters up to spell ‘S-T-E-P-H-A-N-I-E’.  And yes, Stephanie saw them and started laughing! Nicely done folks. – Kevin Webb, OTS

My job was to ensure foot traffic stopped when golf carts were moving to and from the arena. As I stopped a group, a graduate’s father asked what the golf carts were for. When I explained they transported individuals needing special assistance, he said he was in need of special assistance. I asked how we could assist, and he said, “After going through this for four years I am in need of a Scotch!” We all had a hearty laugh– Jo Ann Joseph, HR

I’ve seen a dapper, 90-year-old grandpa in his shiny suit and hat struggle with a walker, bound and determined to make it inside to see his only grandson walk across that stage.  He arrived at least two hours early to make sure he had “the best seat” in the house and afterwards told me it didn’t matter where he sat, they were all “best seats”. – Donna Auvil, Budget Office

CBE commencement 31It was very nice to see the President give a hug to a few of the graduates as they walked across the stage. The looks on their faces were of pure pride. – Brian Starkloff, Financial Services

We had a family run up to us in a panic because their relatives took a wrong turn and ended up driving towards Atlantic City instead of Towson! We helped them leave tickets at the Will-Call office and they were so grateful! – Randy Peaker, HR

I had a lot of grandparents boasting about the number of grandchildren they’d seen graduate from college. But no matter if they were on their second, third or fourth grandchild graduating, the look on their face showed that they were enjoying it as if it were their first. – Jean West, Office of Public Safety

Here are some other inspiring moments from this year’s Commencement (including Doc graduating and some crazy cap art!), if you care to see:

Leave a Comment

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.