Archive | May, 2011

VoIP Bringing New Phones, Functionality to Campus

The university’s legacy phone system will get a much-needed upgrade this fall when the current PBX system is replaced with Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a data-based phone service that will provide increased functionality for all campus phone users.

The new VoIP phones have all of the features available on current university phones, as well as a color LCD display that allows users to search the faculty/staff phone directory from the phone itself. The phones also have a history feature that shows missed calls and recent callouts (similar to a cell phone), allow for conference capability for up to six users, and accommodate up to three rollover lines on one phone. In addition, the VoIP phones make it much easier for faculty and staff to forward calls to multiple devices—an often-requested feature according to OTS Director of Infrastructure Projects and Operations Jim Monroe.

“Right now, it’s difficult to forward calls to another device, like a cell phone or a home line, and that’s something that a lot of users want,” Jim said. “The new phones make it a lot easier for staff who want to get their phone calls wherever they are.”

The upgrades will be installed on a departmental basis beginning this October, with installation expected to be complete by the end of the year. When it’s time for a department to upgrade, Office of Technology Services (OTS) staff will install the new phone alongside the current one, with calls going to the current phone until all VoIP phones have been installed for departmental staff. Once all phones are installed and staff members have received phone user guides, OTS will transition the department to the new phone system during off-hours to minimize phone service disruptions. Employees’ phone numbers will remain the same.

“Our goal is to make this as seamless as possible for faculty and staff,” Network Project Engineer Brenda Yarema said. “Users will be able to do the same things as before—there just might be a different way of doing it.”

To that end, Brenda and her colleagues are planning to host a series of training sessions to get users accustomed to the new system. There will also be quick reference guides available online, as well as hard copy user guides.

The project is currently in its pilot phase, with about 20 OTS staff testing for functionality. Next, the system will be tested by a wider, non-technical pilot group before being rolled out to campus. The testing may seem overly thorough, but the project has been four years in the making, and Jim says that they want to get it right.

“We’ve known for some time that the current phone system was nearing end of life, so we’ve been planning this for a while,” Jim says. “This is the next iteration of professional phone systems and it’s the way the industry has been moving. We think it’s the best option to meet the needs of campus users.”

For more information on this project, go to www.towson.edu/phones.

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Programming Note

As a reminder, the Dollars, Cents and Common Sense blog only posts weekly during the fall and spring semesters. The blog will return on June 3, 2011 with biweekly articles until the beginning of the fall semester. Stay tuned for new articles throughout the summer!

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Service Awards Recap

The 2011 Service Awards Ceremony was held Thursday, May 5 in the University Union’s Chesapeake rooms. At the ceremony, more than 70 A&F employees were honored for their service to the university. Below are photos of the A&F honorees who attended the ceremony. A full list of award recipients is available here.

35 Years of Service

Adela Lombardi, Facilities Management

Rick Walsh, Facilities Management

30 Years of Service

 Laura Jackson, Fiscal Planning & Services

  Toni Serruto, Fiscal Planning & Services

Tammy Weichseldorfer, Fiscal Planning & Services

25 Years of Service

 Bob Campbell, Auxiliary Services

 

Linda O’Connor, Fiscal Planning & Services

 

Carolyn Scott, Fiscal Planning & Services

20 Years of Service

Harry Hughes, Facilities Management

 

 Angela Rehrmann, Fiscal Planning & Services

15 Years of Service

Sammy Featherstone, Facilities Management

 

Lee Warner, Fiscal Planning & Services

10 Years of Service

Donna Auvil, Fiscal Planning & Services

 

 Karen Carmer, Facilities Management

Jerome Chandler, OTS

 

Susan Fata, Auxiliary Services

Joanne Forrester, Auxiliary Services

Dana Hall, Auxiliary Services

 

Herbert Hollidge, Facilities Management

 

Glenda Pierce, Facilities Management

Dorothy Proctor, Fiscal Planning & Services

Nancy Propst, Auxiliary Services

 

 Freddie Samuels, Facilities Management

5 Years of Service

Debbie Asbury, Fiscal Planning & Services

 Heather Bishop, Facilities Management

 

 Susan Brown, Auxiliary Services

Lucy Slaich, Fiscal Planning & Services

 Vanessa Topping, Auxiliary Services

 Gail Vogel, Facilities Management

 Dineli Weerasooriya, OTS

Congratulations to all of the recipients, and a sincere thanks for your service to the university!

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Meet the Staff: Director of Planning Kris Phillips

While  construction plans around the country have slowed due to the economic downturn, Towson University has continued to expand and improve its facilities to meet a growing student population.  Since 1997, the campus has completed more than $250 million of construction projects, with another $300 million planned during the next five years. Director of Facilities Planning Kris Phillips is involved in these projects first hand, from their inception to completion.

“It’s great to see all of the components of a project come together and be a part of the transformation of campus,” Kris said.

After graduating from Penn State with a major in structural design engineering, Kris worked in the private sector managing various educational construction projects in the Baltimore and Washington DC area. Kris was later drawn to Towson University when he learned of the potential for a period of tremendous construction on campus. He arrived at the university in 1997–the same year that construction growth began.

“Professionally [TU] is such a great place to be,” Kris said. “It’s fast paced, challenging, and tremendously rewarding.”

As Director of Planning, Kris is directly involved in all aspects of the conceptual planning, programming, and budgeting of campus construction projects.  He insures that all projects are consistent with the campus master plan, a framework of the university’s vision for the future development of campus. The campus master plan is updated every five years, and most recently in 2009. Kris played a significant role in the design and development of the master plan, which he says is the first critical piece to the completion of a successful construction project.

“Everything ties back to the master plan. It gives us a point of reference and a future framework for all campus development,” Kris said.

The first step of making a building a reality is program planning. In the state of Maryland, programming consists of two major components.  The first component is the justification of the project, which is a detailed analysis describing the existing campus conditions that necessitate a project.  This document is based on quantitative and qualitative factors relating to the existing facility space conditions and future projected growth of a program, department or college.

The second component of program planning details a project’s specific requirements and specifications. This document covers all aspects of the potential construction project, from the detailed site plan to the integration of supporting infrastructure, and even a detailed page (called a space sheet) for each room planned in the building.  Together, these two planning documents will become the basis for the contractual agreement between the university and the project design team.

Once construction is underway, Kris helps to insure the project’s programming details are met and works on any necessary program modification requests.  Towards the end of the project, Kris and his team manage the design, procurement and installation of most all of the building’s furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE).

“In the life of a project, we get to take a leading role in the beginning of a project’s life, a supporting role during the design and construction, and then become more involved again at the end,” Kris said.

The continuous and ongoing cycle of construction projects–the process of transforming, planning, studying and conceptualizing of projects from their birth to their completion–is what Kris enjoys the most about his job. It is something he has had the opportunity to experience frequently at his time at Towson.

“We are going through a tremendous period of growth, with 10 new facilities and 7 major building renovations on campus over the past 14 years,” Kris said. “It’s very rewarding to   contribute to and be a part of the team that is overseeing the largest construction build out in the university’s history.”

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Did You Know…

The West Village Garage is nearly 70% done! When complete, the nearly 500,000 square-foot parking facility will have six stories and contain 1,500 parking spaces for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

See a photo of the garage below. For more information on campus construction, go to www.towson.edu/currentconstruction.

 

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Tip of the Month: Using the Conversation View in the Outlook Web App

The new Outlook Web App groups conversation histories in a format called Conversation View. This format is similar to those in several web-based email programs such as Gmail. The conversation view will group together all conversations that share the same subject, regardless of the time and date of the e-mail. Conversation view is turned on by default in the Outlook Web App, and will be visible when you log in.

Toggling through messages within a “conversation”

  1. Click the right arrow adjacent to the Subject Heading in the Message View.
  2. The list of messages that have the same subject heading will appear in chronological order below the message.
  3. Click the arrow again to collapse the message view. Messages will now collapse and appear hidden with just the Subject Heading of the most recent message available.

Warning: If you delete the subject heading of the message, all messages within that conversation will also be deleted.

 

Disabling Conversation View

  1. To disable the conversation view, click the dropdown arrow next to the View command in the Message Menu Bar. A dropdown menu will appear.
  2. Under the Group by Conversations component, uncheck the Use Conversations option.
  3. The message list in the View Pane will return to a single chronological view.

 

To view a movie tutorial on this topic, go to the OTS Training website.

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Financial Services Wins Black & Gold Contest

Last week, more than sixteen TU departments dressed up their offices with tiger colors for the Black and Gold Office Decorating Contest. Seven A&F departments participated in the contest, including Copies Plus, the University Store, Parking and Transportation, Human Resources, Financial Services, the Budget Office, and Procurement. Two of the A&F departments placed in the top three of the contest! Human Resources won second place for their “heartbeat of tiger spirit” decorating theme, which included a massive tiger whose mouth you walked through to get into the “tiger’s jungle” lobby, as well as representations of how HR supports Towson’s community, athletics, faculty, staff and students. Financial Services took home first place for their elaborate representation of campus departments. Their areas were set up as a mock Wellness Center, a mock Center for the Arts, a mock Sustainability Office, a mock construction area, a mock Athletics Department, etc.

Congratulations to Financial Services and OHR on earning the top spots, and to all participating departments for showing their Towson pride! Photos from the contest are below.

Ria Zimmerman, decked out in black and gold, stands with Financial Services’ Towson Pride banner.

 

Erna Kesler poses inside her cube, which represented the Nursing Program.

Jennifer Shear and Keith Brown pose inside their work space, which represented the Wellness Center.

 

The athletics area.

 

A group shot of Financial Services.

A large tiger over the entrance to the Office of Human Resources.

The HR lobby, aka the tiger’s safari.

 

A few of HR’s safari guides.

 

Amy Rinnier and Deneice Fusco dressed as a chef and a professor.

 

The HR group dressed in black and gold.

 

One part of the Budget Office’s decorations.

One part of the Procurement Office’s decorations.

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Post Office Unveils New Equipment

The Post Office recently held two open houses to unveil new equipment which will dramatically improve the university’s capability to print, compile and send bulk mail. The new Halser equipment, located in the Print Center, has the capability to print addresses on a wide range of materials, as well as sort, compile, and address the material, and apply an indicia for postage. The equipment works hand-in-hand with Sartori Bulk Mailer software which double-checks mailing lists for duplicate entries and other addressing errors. It also cross-references against the national change-of-address directory. According to Bulk Mail Supervisor Leslie Lewis, the equipment not only reduces the instance of misguided mailings, but saves customers time and money as well.

“In the past, many groups would get together a group of staff and students to compile direct mail pieces,” Leslie said. “They would have to stuff each envelope by hand, apply the address label, and apply the postage. Now  all they have to do is send me their mailing list, and our equipment can do all of that—addressing, folding, stuffing, and sealing. It saves a lot of time.”

A few photos from one of the open houses are included below. For more information about the new equipment and large and bulk mailings, contact the Bulk Mailing Office at bulkmail@towson.edu.

Staff gather at the bulk mail open house, held late last month.

The new bulk mail printer, which is attached to a conveyor belt with fans to prevent addresses from smearing on glossy print materials.

 

Another piece of the new bulk mail equipment, this machine puts clear tabs on self-mailers and booklets to prevent them from opening during mailing. 

This piece of the new bulk mail equipment sorts, folds, stuffs and seals direct mail materials.

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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.

May 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.

May 1 – Tom Alcide, OTS

May 3 – Randy Peaker, Human Resources

May 4 – Jim Monroe, OTS

May 7 – Nick Gingue, Auxiliary Services

May 7 –Connie Proffitt, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 8 – Joe Oster, Auxiliary Services

May 8 –Dorothy Proctor, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 8 – Dave Schroeder, OTS

May 11 – Phillip Morgan, Facilities

May 11 – Dave Rose, Facilities

May 15 – Jeff Clark, Facilities

May 16 – Karen Michalak, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 16 – Betty White, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 17 – Jonathan Lindhorst, Facilities

May 18 – John Logan, Facilities

May 23 – Andrew Charles, Facilities

May 23 – Susan Fata, Auxiliary Services

May 23 – Ed Millard, Facilities

May 23 – Shawn Rauscher, Facilities

May 24 – Janelle Scrogdins, Auxiliary Services

May 26 – Myron Esterson, Auxiliary Services

May 26 –Sandy Levin, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 26 – Charise Rice, Auxiliary Services

May 26 –Jeff Sutton, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 28 –Lorraine Hart, Fiscal Planning & Services

May 30 – Nisar Ahmad, OTS

May 31 – Rick Morrocco, Human Resources

May 31 – Sandra White, Fiscal Planning & Services

News and Announcements

The ESCO project has begun! To find out when your area will be upgraded, go to www.towson.edu/esco.

Black and Gold Fridays are back! Wear your black and gold every Friday to show your tiger pride!

The last day of classes for the spring 2011 semester is Tuesday, May 17. Exams end a week later on Tuesday, May 24.

Classes begin for the first summer 2011 session on Tuesday, May 31.

Events

Tigerfest is being held Friday, May 6 in Unitas Stadium. Gates open at 3 p.m.; tickets are available through the University Union Ticket Office. For more information, go to www.towson.edu/CAB/. See a few photos from last year’s Tigerfest in the upper right corner of this screen.

Spring 2011 commencement ceremonies will be held in the Towson Center Wednesday, May 25 through Friday, May 27. There will be ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. For more information or to stream the graduation live on your computer, go to www.towson.edu/commencement/.

Honors and Awards

Terry Mullen (Post Office), Karen Stukes (Human Resources), and Cyndi Zile (Financial Services) completed the Management & Supervision Certificate, one of four noncredit certificates offered by the Office of Human Resources. This certificate is designed for those new to or interested in moving into management.

TU has been honored with the Certified Smoke-Free Workplace Award by the American Cancer Society. The award recognizes the university for its outstanding contributions to the global fight against cancer. For more information about the award, go to the TU Newsroom.

TU was recently named to the Princeton Review’s List of 311 Green Colleges. This is the second year that the university has been included in the list. For more information and the complete list of colleges, go to http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx.

Congratulations to all A&F staff who earned Service Awards at this week’s ceremonies! A very special thank you to the following divisional staff who have served 20 or more years at the university:

20 Years of Service

Deborah Bowdoin (Administration and Finance)

Carroll Dowery (Administration and Finance)

Kevin Dunton (Administration and Finance)

Harry Hughes (Administration and Finance)

Angela Rehrmann (Administration and Finance)

Rachele Sievers (Administration and Finance)

 

25 Years of Service

Robert Campbell (Administration and Finance)

Linda O’Connor (Administration and Finance)

Charles Rummings (Administration and Finance)

Carolyn Scott (Administration and Finance)

 

30 Years of Service

Charles Conjar (Administration and Finance)

Mary Anne Czyz (Administration and Finance)

Laura Jackson (Administration and Finance)

Bruce Schuchardt (Administration and Finance)

Antonietta Serruto (Administration and Finance)

Vicki Shifflett (Administration and Finance)

Donna Taylor (Administration and Finance)

Tammy Weichseldorfer (Administration and Finance)

 

35 Years of Service

Harriet Douthirt (Administration and Finance)

Elizabeth Guzick (Administration and Finance)

Adela Lombardi (Administration and Finance)

Patrick Walsh Jr (Administration and Finance)

 

For a full list of Service Awards recipients, go to the HR Training website.

 

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