Archive | February, 2011

Five Questions on the PACS project with Project Manager Sandy Mryncza

Sandy Mryncza has been guiding the Personnel Authorization Consolidation Site (PACS) project for the past year and a half. As the project enters the go-live phase, we caught up with Sandy to see how things are going and how the campus will be affected.

Could you give us an update on how the project is progressing?

We are in the middle of overall project implementation and in the final stages of implementation at Towson, which is the first university to go live with PACS. Eventually, all six universities involved in the project will go live, utilizing Towson as the consolidation site/hub for routing personnel transactions to the Central Payroll Bureau (CPB).

Over the last two months the project team completed technical development, OHR training, testing, and a test cycle validation between Towson (the consolidation site) and CPB.  We are securing all final approvals and executing our go-live plan.

What is the next major step in project implementation?

There are 2 major components to the current project implementation; Towson PeopleSoft/Human Resource enhancements and PACS implementation.

Starting on March 4, Towson will begin doing single data entry of personnel transactions into our PeopleSoft system. At this point, the university will no longer have to dual-enter the same transactions into a separate online application supported by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).  Transactions will be extracted from PeopleSoft on a scheduled basis and sent to PACS for consolidation and transmission to CPB.  To accommodate this change, business processes have been updated and technical enhancements were implemented this past week.

The second component includes implementation of the PACS itself with related processes and procedures. The consolidation site will receive, process, and send transactions to CPB from Towson initially, with subsequent schools implementing the same procedures over the next 15 months.   Once implemented, Consolidation Site Manager Terry Love will be responsible for operations and will serve as the central point of contact between CPB, Towson and the other PACS schools, which include Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Frostburg University, Salisbury University and University of Baltimore.

The PACS technical components are being implemented this week in preparation for the transition to Towson as the consolidation site and liaison with CPB.

What is the rollout schedule for the project?

The following notes actual and projected go live schedules for the PACS consolidation site and each of the institutions included in the project:

  • PACS Consolidation Site – March 2011 (actual)
  • Towson University – March 2011 (actual)
  • Salisbury – Summer 2011 (projected)
  • Frostburg -  Summer  2011 (projected)
  • Bowie –  Fall  2011 (projected)
  • Coppin – Winter 2012 (projected)
  • University of Baltimore – Spring 2012 (projected)

How will the project affect the average TU faculty or staff member?

There should be no noticeable changes for the majority of end users, though there will be minimal changes to business processes within the Office of Human Resources.

When is the project expected to conclude?

We expect the consolidation site to be fully operational and the last participating school to begin sending transactions to Towson as the consolidation site in spring 2012. At this point, none of the six participating schools will have transaction processing with DBM.

 

For additional information on the PACS project and future PACS implementations, contact Sandy Mryncza at x4-2630. For information on PACS production support, contact Terry Love at x4-5933.

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Tip of the month: e-mailing nVision reports in PeopleSoft

Sharing nVision budget reports can become a time-consuming process when you have to separately run, download, and then attach to an e-mail. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Below, Financial Systems Specialist Gina Peach shares her tips for automatically emailing nVision reports from within PeopleSoft Financials.

  1. Log in to PeopleSoft Financials
  2. Go to Run nVision Report Book page
  3. Select report(s) to be run and select as of date
  4. Select the Run button and you will be taken to the Process Scheduler Request page
  5. In the type dropdown, select email
  6. In the format dropdown, select XLS.
  7. Click on the blue distribution link to set up email information.
  8. Fill out the subject line and message text that you want on the email
  9. Most importantly, enter the email addresses of recipients in the email address list section. Note:  You must separate each email address by a semi-colon or the email will not be sent.
  10. Click OK then click OK again on the next page and you will be taken back to your Report Book page
  11. Once the process runs successfully, instead of the system saving a copy of your report(s) in report manager, a copy of the report(s) will be automatically emailed to whoever you set up under the distribution hyperlink. A sample set-up is below.

 

 

For more information and tips on PeopleSoft Financials and nVision reports, go to the PeopleSoft Financials Training website or contact the PeopleSoft Financials Team at psteam@towson.edu or 410-704-5599, option 2.

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Save the date: Spring and summer campus events

The campus is already gearing up for a busy spring and summer. Below are a few events planned for the coming months. Save these dates, as they will be here before we know it!

 

27th Annual Employee Benefits Festival

Friday, April 15, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

University Union Potomac Lounge

 

Environmental Conference

Monday, April 18, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

University Union, 3rd floor

 

CLA ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house

Tuesday, August 30, 2 to 4 p.m.

 

West Village Commons ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house

Wednesday, July 27, 2 to 4 p.m.

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Meet the Staff: Web Developer Andy Bell

In April 2010 alone, there were four million, nine hundred and ninety-five thousand visitors to Towson University’s website. That number marks a jump of nearly 1.5 million since the university began monitoring monthly site traffic in 2007. One of the people credited with that growth is Web Developer Andy Bell.

“We’re hoping to break five million in one month this year.  That was the closest we’ve come so far,” Andy said.

Andy is part of the Web Development team, which helps to drive the overall structure and growth of the Towson University website.  He works with the systems engineers on the infrastructure of the site and University Marketing on the look and feel of the website.

Andy and the Web Development team respond to numerous Web requests on a daily basis. These requests can range from creating web forms to fixing broken pages or assigning permissions on the server. Some of these daily projects require the use of Cold Fusion, the primary programming language used by the Web Development group.

“Cold Fusion projects are my favorite type of project that comes in through the door,” Andy said. “Those projects are challenging and very rewarding when it all comes together.”

Andy is also working on several long-term projects such as programming a new layout for the website and a new content management system. The content management system would serve as a key support structure for the site, making it much easier for the marketing team and other departments to edit their Web pages without having to worry about sever connections or uploading files. The system would be just another one of the many improvements to the website that Andy has been involved with since he began at the university.

“When I started, every department and college was responsible for its own website design, and they all looked completely different,” Andy said. “In 2005, we were tasked with uniting all the sites under the same design. By February 2006, we had half the colleges launched.”

By the end of 2006, all of the department and college pages were under a unified web design. Today, Andy, the web team and University Marketing are credited with the unification, template and structure of over 15,000 pages within the university website. Andy and fellow developer Jennifer Wicklein are responsible for the daily maintenance of the pages, which can range from page breaks and issues with links to photo updates or changes requested by staff.

Andy has assisted in the transformation of the university’s website for more than ten years. The growth and development of the website mirrors the evolution of its medium – the internet. The constant change of the internet and its development possibilities are what keep Andy going.

“It keeps me on my toes,” he said, “It’s always changing, and developing applications for people to help solve their problems is what I really love.”

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Did You Know…

Out of 586 total employees in the Division of Administration and Finance, 272 have 10 or more years of service to Towson University. That means more than 46% of divisional staff have at least a decade of experience serving the campus community! The breakdown of employees (including exempt, non-exempt, part-time and full-time) by years of service is listed below.

 

  • 2 employees have 40 or more years of service
  • 7 employees have between 35 and 40 years of service
  • 27 employees have between 30 and 35 years of service
  • 23 employees have between 25 and 30 years of service
  • 52 employees have between 20 and 25 years of service
  • 49 employees have between 15 and 20 years of service
  • 112 employees have between 10 and 15 years of service
  • 106 employees have between 5 and 10 years of service
  • 208 employees have less than 5 years of service

 

Having employees with such longtime service is a rarity in today’s world. Kudos to all A&F staff, and especially those who have spent decades serving the university.

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Spotlight on the TUPD Patrol Bureau

Location: General Services

Commander: Robert Novak

Number of employees: 33 (26 Police officers, 6 police aids and one K-9 dog)

What the Patrol Bureau Does:

The Patrol Bureau’s primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of TU faculty, staff, students and visitors. The Bureau has a minimum of three officers and one supervisor on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The officers patrol campus, respond to reports of crime and enforce traffic and crosswalk laws. The bureau also provides security for on-campus events that require a police presence, such as Tigerfest, tailgates and sporting events.  In addition, the Bureau’s Operations Team (comprised of two Corporals) investigate and pursue leads on crimes that have been committed on campus.

In certain cases, Patrol Bureau officers assist in the investigation of and response to off-campus crimes. The Baltimore County Police Department will occasionally ask the TUPD for assistance, particularly if the off-campus crime was near the university or involved a student. Last year, a Patrol Bureau officer made an arrest in the robbery of the Subway on York Road.

2010 Patrol Bureau Stats:

Police reports completed: 1,087

Adults arrested: 160

Juveniles arrested: 4

Traffic citations issued: 305

Traffic warnings issued: 482

 

For more information on the TUPD, go to www.towson.edu/police.

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Red Cross Honors HR Employee

Late last month, the Senior Medical Officer from the American Red Cross presented Benefits Specialist Gail Price with a certificate of appreciation for her dedication to organizing blood drives at Towson University. Over the past 16 years, Gail has organized more than 160 blood drives on Towson’s campus, enabling the collection of thousands of blood donations which have saved lives across the state. Associate Vice President for Human Resources Phillip Ross says Gail is more than deserving of the award.

“[It’s] indicative of Gail’s spirit and her commitment to helping the internal and external community,” Phil said.

In the past ten years, approximately 7,000 donations have stemmed from TU blood drives. Those donations have the ability to help more than 21,000 people.  Gail says that it’s this positive impact that feeds her dedication to the drives.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s something that I feel good about doing,” Gail said.

The next blood drive will be held from March 28 to 30 in the University Union’s Potomac Lounge. The drive will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30. To sign up, go to http://www.towson.edu/adminfinance/hr/ and click on the Red Cross registration link in the upper right corner of the page.

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Financial Services Employee First to Complete New Building Bridges Cohort

When Financial Services Supervisor Lorraine Hart graduated last month, she didn’t receive a diploma. Instead, she was given a small pin of a bridge attached to a poem that reads in part, “In life and in work, connection is everything.” The gift was fitting for the culmination of the first supervisor cohort of Building Bridges, a six-month professional development program that connects employees from half a dozen local institutions.

Building Bridges began in fall 2008 as a way to encourage non-exempt employees to network and share best practices with their counterparts at other colleges and universities. During the program, five administrative employees from Towson—one from each division—joined colleagues from The College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Goucher College, Loyola University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the University of Baltimore for monthly professional development workshops held at each of the participating institutions. According to Training & Development Manager Mike Noll, response to the program was so positive that a supervisor version was created.

“After talking with supervisors and their direct reports it was apparent that this type of professional development was needed and desired across the university—for both exempt and non-exempt employees,” Mike said. “We developed a unique program for the supervisor cohort with the theme ‘Managing in Turbulent Times’. The workshops in the cohort centered on giving the supervisors tools and techniques that could be used on the job almost instantly!”

Lorraine was the A&F representative selected for the supervisor cohort. The program kicked off in June 2010, and from then until this past January she and the rest of her cohort attended monthly half-day workshops on topics ranging from situational leadership to project planning and management. Many of the workshops contained elements of reflection, which Lorraine said enabled her to identify her strengths and weaknesses as a supervisor.

“A lot of ideas came to light because we had the time to really think about issues and discuss them in-depth,” Lorraine said. “Things can get so busy in the office that you don’t take the time to think strategically, so it was nice to take a step back and do just that.”

In addition to giving her time to think about management styles and strategic planning, Lorraine says that Building Bridges allowed her to gain new perspectives from colleagues outside the university who have a similar position and often experience similar workplace issues. She says that this interaction—as well as the ongoing camaraderie between the cohort members—was the most valuable piece of the program.

“There was a lot of idea sharing and relationship building,” Lorraine said. “Some of us developed a bond that continues even now that the program is over.”

For more information on Building Bridges, see previous blog articles here and here, or go to www.towson.edu/buildingbridges.

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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 adminfinance@towson.edu.

February 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 adminfinance@towson.edu.

February 2 – Sheila Tilghman, Auxiliary Services

February 5 – Linda Bohnenstengel, Financial Services

February 5 – Ray Brewer, Facilities Management

February 6 – Joseph Byer, Facilities Management

February 7 – Paul Andrews, OTS

February 7 – George Campbell, Facilities Management

February 7 – Al Lagos, Fiscal Planning & Services

February 9 – Cheryl Harris, Human Resources

February 9 – Pauletta Riley, Facilities Management

February 11 – Al Robinson, Facilities Management

February 13 – Ray Ingman, Facilities Management

February 13 – Toni Serruto, Fiscal Planning & Services

February 13 – Deb Simon, OTS

February 13 – Brenda Yarema, OTS

February 15 – Karen Minor, OTS

February 17 – Jerome Chandler, OTS

February 17 – Frank Fralinger, Facilities Management

February 19 – Paul Parrish, Office of Public Safety

February 21 – Dave Turner, Facilities Management

February 22 – Steve Mittman, Facilities Management

February 26 – Tom Garrison, OTS

February 26 – Matt Wynd, OTS

February 28 – Barbara Vollmer, Fiscal Planning and Services

 

Announcements and Reminders

On Wednesday, February 9, President Caret presented his testimony on behalf of TU to the House Appropriations Committee, Education and Economic Development Subcommittee. On Thursday, February 10, Caret presented his testimony on behalf of TU to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The testimony is available in full here.

A&F In the News

Is the construction worth the wait? – Towerlight, February 3, 2011

Towson now ‘StormReady’Towerlight, February 3, 2011

Towson University sets forum on new arena, – Towson Times, February 2, 2011

Awards and Honors

Congratulations to Financial Services employees Linda Bohnenstengel and Jamie Uppercue for completing the Office of Human Resources’ University Business Certificate! This certificate is designed for University employees responsible for business functions.

Congratulations to Ria Zimmerman of Financial Services, Julie Leary of OTS, and Bernard Allen of OTS for earning the TUSC Top Tiger award! These individuals were nominated for the award by their colleagues and selected through a drawing during the monthly TUSC meeting. Ria and Julie are recipients for the month of February, and Bernard was the recipient for the month of January. For more information or to nominate someone for the award, go here.

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TU Receives StormReady Supporter Certification

Towson University is StormReady. Staff from the National Weather Service and the Baltimore County Office of Emergency Management presented TU with the StormReady Supporter certification at a ceremony held in the Minnegan Room this week. The certification acknowledges the university’s efforts toward the planning, education and awareness aspects of storm preparation.

The StormReady program aims to connect counties and communities in responding to emergency weather events. To receive certification, communities and institutions must meet specific qualifications such as establishing a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; creating a system to monitor local weather conditions, and developing a formal hazardous weather plan. There are also training requirements, which TU Cpl. Joe Gregory is working with Baltimore County Lt. Mark Demski to fulfill.

“Mark did a severe weather training workshop for staff in the Office of Public Safety,” Joe said. “Eventually our goal is to record that training and show it to all faculty and staff, as well as make it available on YouTube for students and the rest of the campus community as part of the StormReady community training requirement.”

TU is the first institution in the state to receive the StormReady Supporter designation. In his certificate presentation, National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Strong said that the certificate is indicative of the active role Towson takes in keeping its campus community safe and prepared.

“TU is doing remarkable things in the areas of emergency planning and notification,” Chris said. “Other colleges and universities across Maryland should use you as a model when developing their programs.”

For more information about emergency preparedness, go to http://www.towson.edu/main/abouttu/emergencypreparedness/index.asp.

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