Archive | January, 2011

Did You Know…

  •  54.8% of TU’s unrestricted, non-auxiliary FY 2011 budget expenditures are going toward regular wages, salaries and fringe benefits (pg 8 )
  •   51.5% of TU’s unrestricted, non-auxiliary FY 2011 expenditures go to Academic Affairs (pg 8 )
  •   36.9% of FY 2011 revenue comes from tuition and fees; 23% comes from state appropriations; 24.8% comes from auxiliary enterprises; 10.3% comes from restricted funds, and 5% comes from self-support. (pg 6 )
  •   TU’s state-assisted FY 2011 budget is $232,040,125 (pg 7 )

These are just a few of the many significant data points presented in Towson University’s FY 2011 Operating Budget and Plan, which was published this December. The document is available for review online at, and hard copies can be requested by emailing

For more information on Towson University’s budget, go to the Budget Office website.

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Meet the Staff – Human Resources Associate Mary T. Casterline

 Human Resources (HR) management is centered on the most valuable asset to a company, organization or institutionits people. HR Associate, Mary T. Casterline, has been aiding and improving relations among the staff at Towson University since 2004.

Mary T. grew up locally in the town of Bel Air, Maryland. She attended John Carroll High School and the University of Delaware before transferring to Towson University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education.   She came to TU in 2004 after taking some time off of teaching to raise her daughter.

“It was the perfect opportunity,” said Mary T. “I had taught for six years [after graduating college] and really wanted to get back to training and helping others.”

Mary T. has two positions within Human Resources: Employee/Employer Relations and Training and Development Associate. As the Training and Development Associate, she assists in the transition of incoming employees to the university and helps organize programs that improve career skills among staff members. Based on the performance evaluations from staff members’ supervisors, she makes recommendations for training workshops that can help staff  with their personal and professional development needs. These courses can include anything from project management to customer service or writing skills. Mary T. also helps to organize and register new hires for the university’s new employee orientation. 

“We strongly recommend that new employees participate in the orientation; it is very beneficial to them,” said Mary T. “It gives a detailed history of the university, a tour of the campus, a breakdown of the various resources available to our students and staff, as well as an excellent presentation of our master plan.”

In addition to the orientation, Mary T. helps new employees by assisting in the organization of the mentor/mentee program, which pairs experienced staff members with new employees for guidance and support. Staff members may register to participate using an online application which helps to gauge compatibility between the mentors and mentees.   Mary T. uses the results to pair mentors with their mentees.

Although Mary T. dedicates much of her time to aid in the training and development of employees, she also plays a substantial role in helping improve the relationships among them. In her role with  Employee/Employer Relations, she assists Employee/Employer Relations Manager, Jo Ann Joseph by conducting exit surveys of employees leaving the university and dealing with cases involving disciplinary actions such as suspensions, reprimands and employee disputes. The cases are completely confidential and the HR staff works to find the most reasonable and fair solution for all cases.

“If an issue arises, we usually meet with those involved, listen to their concerns and try to assist with resolution, using policies and experience as a guide,” she said. “Each of the cases is treated on an individual basis. You really can’t make blanket statements; we have to consider all aspects in the situation before making recommendations and decisions.”

While Mary T. helps resolve any disputes among staff members, she also plays an influential role in bringing faculty and staff together for more positive reasons. Currently, she and Training and Development Manager Mike Noll are in the process of organizing the Service Awards Ceremony, an annual event in which approximately 300 faculty and staff members are awarded for their time and service to the university. She also organizes the Calvin Rodwell Elementary/Towson University (CRES/TU) Partnership.   The CRES/TU Partnership is a volunteer program that allows staff members to visit Calvin Rodwell Elementary, a title one school in Baltimore City, to mentor students. 

“Five to six volunteers go at a time and get the opportunity to read with students, help them with writing and participate in other activities such as fun day, which is their version of a field day,” said Mary T.  “It’s a great opportunity to help out and make a difference.”

From all her work within the university and beyond, it’s clear that Mary T. loves to make a difference. She has even implemented a new program to help teach staff members in HR basic sign language skills so they can properly communicate with deaf faculty, staff and students. Bridging the gap of communication between staff members and those who are deaf is just another one of the many ways that Mary T. strives to make a difference.

“Working with staff members, faculty and students is what I love,” she said. “It really makes me feel good knowing that I’m able to help someone out.”

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Personnel Announcement

Wondering what’s going on in the lives of your colleagues? Check out the information below to find out. If you’d like to contribute an item to the personnel announcement, e-mail

January Birthdays

All birthdays listed are based on the contributions of divisional staff. If you would like to have a birthday added to or removed from the list, please e-mail

January 1 – Angie Rehrman, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 5 – Karen Eaton, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 7 – Christine Trzcinski, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 7 – Mark Turner, Facilities Management

January 12 – Brooke Jacobs, Auxiliary Services

January 14 – Andy Bell, OTS

January 14 – Lynn Perkins, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 15 – Harry Hughes, Facilities Management

January 16 – Patrick Hyde, Facilities Management

January 17 – Debbie Asbury, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 17 – Patrick Rohe, OTS

January 20 – Stuart Heilman, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 21 – Tom Hodges, Facilities Management

January 21 – Debbie Koman, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 22 – Mary Anne Czyz, OTS

January 22 – Paul Thomas, Facilities Management

January 23 – Rebecca Prell, Auxiliary Services

January 25 – Phil Butler, Facilities Management

January 26 – Robert Walton, Auxiliary Services

January 27 – Laurie Jones, Fiscal Planning and Services

January 28 – Paula Clark, Auxiliary Services

January 29 – Raza Hasan, OTS

January 31 – Ben Patterson, Facilities Management

Announcements and Reminders

Winter 2011 classes end today, Friday, January 21. Classes for the spring 2011 academic year begin Monday, January 31 and will end Tuesday, May 17, with exams extending until Tuesday, May 24.

A&F In the News

Towson unveils plans to build new arena on campusChicago Tribune, January 11, 2011

Towson University fires up a strict anti-smoking policyWashington Post, January 17, 2011

Awards and Honors

Three A&F staff members have completed Human Resources’ new competency focus in customer service. Congratulations to Mail Services Office Assistant Erin Durange, Copies Plus Photocopy Manager Kathleen Mosier, and Financial Services Supervisor Cyndi Zile for being among the first to complete the customer service competency focus this fall!

Kudos to Environmental Health and Safety employees Larry Holbrook, Paul Parrish and Gregg Wood, who have had their Special Assistant State Fire Marshal certifications renewed for the calendar year 2011. For more information on Fire Safety, go to

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TU Only School in USM with 100% Certified Buying Staff

Becoming a Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) is no small task. To qualify, a buyer must demonstrate at least two years of public procurement experience and commensurate formal education, and pass a 3.5-hour, 175-question exam that has a nearly 30% fail rate. If successful, candidates must commit to a code of ethics and earn continuing education credits to maintain their credentials. In other words, achieving professional certification in procurement is a big accomplishment—one that all of Towson’s buying staff can claim.

Purchasing Agent Carol Wettersten is Towson’s newest certificant. After meeting the two-year tenure mark this summer, she took a CPPB exam prep course and sat for the exam in October. She received news of her passing score last month.

“Carol sat for—and passed—the exam in her first year of eligibility, which is commendable,” Procurement Director Lucy Slaich said. “We’re very proud.”

Carol, who also holds an MBA from the University of Louisville, joins colleagues Stuart Heilman, Barbara Hufnagel and Lorraine Ziara-Denmark, all of whom are CPPBs. Lucy and Associate Director Jeff Sutton hold senior certifications:  Jeff is a Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) and Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM); Lucy is a C.P.M. and Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO). To the layman’s ear, this may just sound like alphabet soup, but its value to the university is substantial—beginning with assurance of good value for the increasingly scarce public funds available to TU.

Certification lends increased credibility with compliance officers and state oversight agencies, which helps ensure approval of contracts presented to the Board of Public Works and USM Board of Regents. The exam preparation and continuing education requirements enhance knowledge and self-confidence, enabling procurement staff to better balance the complex and conflicting issues in the contract award process.

“Procurement often faces difficult decisions,” Lucy said. “Certification helps us make sound, ethical choices from among the many variables involved.”

TU is the only institution in the USM where 100% of the buying staff is certified. Vice President James P. Sheehan said the distinction is an important one.

“There’s no doubt that having a 100% certified buying staff will enable Towson to have continued success and compliance within the purchasing process,” James said. “I commend the department on this great achievement.”

For more information on TU’s Procurement Department, go to

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Stuff-a-Bus Campaign Achieves Record Donations

Towson University’s third annual Stuff-a-Bus campaign garnered record donations for local charities this holiday season. Between December 1 and 16, nearly 800 toys and 6,300 pounds of food were collected for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots and the Maryland Food Bank, respectively. Maryland Food Bank Special Events and Food Drive Coordinator Rebecca Pon said the donations will provide meals for thousands of needy Marylanders.

“[The donations] will provide 4,839 meals for Maryland citizens in need!” Rebecca said. “The results are wonderful. Our appreciation goes to everyone involved.”

Representatives from the Maryland Food Bank and the Marine Corps of Maryland picked up Towson’s donations on December 16, just in time for the holidays. This year’s collections marked a half-ton increase from the amount of food donated last year, enabling more than 750 additional meals to be distributed across the state. Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Joe Oster lauded the community’s efforts in supporting the campaign.

“I am always impressed by the generosity of the Towson University community, especially in these times of economic difficulty,” Joe said.

Parking and Transportation Services’ Operations Manager Ed Gizara and Senior Sales and Events Manager Pam Mathias co-chaired the campus-wide campaign. For more information on donating to Toys for Tots or the Maryland Food Bank, go to or

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Construction Update

What a difference a year makes! Throughout 2010, TU made progress on four major campus construction projects. Below, see photos of how those projects have taken shape in the past year.

The College of Liberal Arts building in January 2010:

The College of Liberal Arts building now, in January 2011:

The West Village Commons building in January 2010:

The West Village Commons building now, in January 2011:

The Lecture Hall Plaza in January 2010:

The Lecture Hall Plaza now, in January 2011:

Phase II of West Village Housing in April 2010:

Phase II of West Village Housing now, in January 2011:

For more information on campus construction projects, go to For information on construction delays and closures, see the interactive construction map at
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