Archive | December, 2011

HR Launches New, Simpler Performance Evaluation Forms

By Pamela Gorsuch

Performance evaluation forms at Towson University have been evolving for years. In their current iteration, there have been separate forms for exempt and non-exempt staff. Exempt staff were rated on a 3-point scale, whereas non-exempt evaluations used a 5-point scale. Once thought to offer supervisors more options for reflecting employee efforts, the scales have recently been a source of misunderstanding as ratings became inflated and employees began expecting the highest rating. HR is now hoping to clear up that confusion by implementing a new and simplified evaluation form which will be used for all regular exempt, non-exempt and contingent II staff employees. According to Associate Vice President for Human Resources Phil Ross, the form’s straightforward approach will be more intuitive for supervisors and employees alike.

“I think the new forms will make it easier for supervisors to do evaluations,” Phil said. “They will be easier for employees and supervisors to understand, so we expect to have more consistency in the ratings across the board.”

The new forms were approved by President’s Council earlier this year and will be used for the current performance evaluation period ending this February. Over the past month, Employee/Employer Relations Manager JoAnn Joseph has met with university leadership and several departments to review the form and provide training onthe use of performance evaluations. She says feedback to the form has been mostly positive.

According to JoAnn, the change to the evaluation forms will not affect the way that merit is distributed to employees because merit allotment and performance evaluations are separate processes. However, JoAnn does believe that the new forms will change the way employees look at their performance.

“It’s nice because it takes away the anxiety of employees looking at it as a report card of sorts, with the ‘outstanding’ rating being an A” JoAnn says. “That was a misnomer—a grade isn’t given for the work we do as employees. Both exempt and non-exempt employees will be evaluated based on whether or not they are still the outstanding employee TU originally hired. Employees are either meeting the expectations of the department or not.”

The new performance evaluation forms will be available on the forms repository in January. JoAnn is available to review the forms at departmental meetings; an online training video for supervisors has also been developed. This February, JoAnn will conduct a workshop on “Performance Management: the Supervisor’s Role.” Registration for the workshop is available on HR’s Training and Development site.

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Meet the Staff: HR Operations Associate Cindy Andrews

By Robbi Hairston-Flood

For more than 14 years, Human Resources Operations Associate Cindy Andrews has supported the TU community from a small cubicle in the Office of Human Resources. Cindy has held several roles in the HR office during her time at Towson. She first came to HR as a typist/clerk before moving on to processing regular and adjunct faculty transactions. After that, she performed duties within the Employment, Classification, and Compensation Unit and now helps to facilitate the new hire session and process staff personnel transactions for campus departments. Cindy says she enjoys talking to the variety of people that she comes into contact with through her position.

“I enjoy meeting new staff,” Cindy says with a smile. “They come to Towson from all walks of life and have a lot to bring to the campus.”

Cindy’s time at TU hasn’t just been confined to the walls of HR office. She finds time to participate in various activities and attend many of the educational and cultural opportunities the campus has to offer. In 2010, Cindy earned her Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from one of the USM schools.

“I received a bachelor’s degree in Office Administration and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Morgan State University,” Cindy said. “Those degrees were at my expense, so to have the benefit of tuition remission, workshops, training and staff development at Towson is priceless!”

Cindy Andrews

Cindy has also been involved in the Towson University Staff Council (TUSC), which she was elected to serve on as an A&F representative in 2008. During her three-year term Cindy was very involved in staff awards, working closely with Richard “JR” Rathjens to create Towson’s Top Tiger award; a monthly award that shows appreciation for the dedication of TU staff. Cindy says her involvement with TUSC it was a great opportunity to make a difference on campus.

While Cindy is always looking to participate in staff leadership; she is now focusing her sights on student-centered activities, and hopes to eventually become an adjunct faculty member.

“I’ve been here a long time,” Cindy says. “At some point, I hope to enrich the lives of the students and provide quality instruction.”

Cindy Andrews is definitely one of Towson’s Top Tigers!

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Meet the Staff: Deneice Fusco

By Briana Cabibbo

Every employee at TU interacts with the Office of Human of Resources in various ways throughout their time here.  OHR is the first department many new employees come into contact with on campus, from the application process and interviews to new hire orientation.  When an employee needs to change their insurance policy, make a change of address after buying a new home, or wants to advance in their career and develop their skills, again they come to OHR.  Assisting in the management of all of these responsibilities requires a special set of skills, something Deneice Fusco, the associate director of the Office of Human Resources, knows a lot about.

Deneice has been at Towson since March 1994 and has worked in several different capacities for OHR.  She started as the employment manager, then managed the employment classification and compensation unit before taking her current position of associate director.  Prior to coming to Towson, she worked at various corporations as a training and development specialist and in recruitment.  However, Deneice’s career didn’t start out in human resources.  It started in the classroom as a middle school a science and social studies teacher.

Although many may think human resources and teaching middle school have nothing in common, Deneice saw otherwise.  When she started working in HR she found herself relying on a lot of skills she developed as a teacher.  Instead of teaching sixth, seventh and eighth graders in a classroom, she was teaching business professionals in a corporate setting.  Regardless of the age of her students though, Deneice says the most important thing is to engage people.

“In HR it’s important to have good problem solving skills and to be able to make people feel engaged.  When people are engaged on a project they’re working on they feel like they’re an important part of it and it’s easier for them to accept the change the project will bring,” Deneice said.

As the associate director of HR you won’t find Deneice teaching training and development classes anymore.  Now she is responsible for overseeing the management of HR operations and employment, classification and compensation.  In addition, Deneice is a member of various campus-wide committees, working with employees to solve problems and develop policy.  She also contributed to the completion to two major OHR projects: the online application and the Payroll Authorization Consolidation Site (PACS) project.

“I love working in academia.  I get to work with different people across campus from a variety of different departments,” Deneice said.

Given her background it’s no wonder Deneice feels Towson is such a perfect fit for her.  She is able to incorporate the aspects of HR she enjoys, such as being creative and working as a part of a team to achieve a major goal, in an academic setting.

“I’ve worked in other industries and none of them compare to working here,” Deneice said.  “At Towson, I feel like I’m part of a small city where people care about your work and they care about you on a personal level.  I’m proud to tell people I work for TU!”

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OTS Employee Manages Technology, Travels the World

By Lyn Kimmel

We often see the cool stuff OTS creates but rarely see the faces behind the applications.  For 27 years Senior Applications Developer/Analyst Jeanne Lambdin has been one of those faces.  Jeanne started with Towson in July of 1984 as a VMS VAX systems manager.  She was key to the maintenance and support of the FRS, SIS and HRS systems.  When Towson chose PeopleSoft to replace these systems, Jeanne quickly learned the new tools and became a key part of the implementation team.  She even custom-made the Towson Internship Management System (TIMS) within PeopleSoft; an application used by many people around campus.

At work Jeanne is a quiet, hardworking programmer; but during her free time she’s a world traveler.  Jeanne has traveled to Alaska, a number of states and National Parks, and several places in Europe. Her favorite vacation spot so far has been Italy, but her dream is to go to the Amazon.

In addition to her travel Jeanne regularly volunteers with charitable organizations.  On several Saturdays each month Jeanne can be found working at the CARES Food Pantry in Govans.  The pantry provides food staples to individuals in need, helping as many as fifty individuals on a busy Saturday morning.  Jeanne helps the organization by interviewing potential clients to help determine their needs.

During the holiday season Jeanne collects donations for the adopt-a-needy-family program from The House of Ruth, a shelter for battered women and their children.  Jeanne says she got the idea to volunteer as she went to donate food at the Senator Theater several years ago.  She said she thought about how truly fortunate she is that her circumstances are pretty good.  That led her to think about how she could go about helping those less fortunate than her.  Since that time she began collecting food and donations and assisting volunteer organizations.

Towson is a family tradition for the Lambdins. Jeanne’s brother Mike also works in OTS as a telecom specialist. He too has a long history with Towson spanning more than 35 years.

Jeanne speaks often of places she’d like to go once she retires. But for now she is busy acting as technical lead on the PeopleSoft Financials upgrade and helping to train new programmers while she prepares for her next adventure!

Jeanne in Italy, on one of her many traveling adventures.

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‘Twas the Year TU met the MBE Goal: A Holiday Ode from Procurement

by Barb Hufnagel

by Barb Hufnagel

‘Twas the month before year’s end and doing
reports, the MBE Liaison entered lists of all sorts.
With ratios that hung near the goal by a thread,
while we hoped that a 25% result lay ahead.

Every buyer was hard at work on a bid,
each of them wondering how well TU did.
The Director at her desk, and support staff close by
had just settled in when they heard Barbara cry –
 
Then out in her cube there arose such a clatter,
that Lucy sprang up to see what was the matter.
Down the long hallway she flew like a flash,
and when she arrived, she was glad that she’d dashed!
 
The report was complete, and soon TU would know
that we DID meet the goal, and did not fall below.
After 10 years of striving, the challenge was met–
we achieved what we’d scarcely dared even to bet!
 
The Towson team had done exceedingly well
in buying from MBEs things that they sell.
25.52% is where things are at,
because each of you has stepped up to bat.
 
On Facilities! On Auxiliary Services — and more!
Don’t forget SBRs that have knocked on your door.
That ratio came in slightly lower, you see,
and they’re just as important as those MBEs.
 
If you need our support, know Procurement is there,
just loaded with vendors and products to share.
And as for those goals, let’s never lose sight
of the teamwork it took to get everything right.
 
So we thank everyone for good effort and thought
to help TU reach for the goal so hard-fought.
Keep striving and searching and doing what’s right.
happy holidays to all – and to all a good night!
 
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Meet the Staff: La Tonya Dyer

By Briana Cabibbo

With more than 1,500 faculty members at Towson there is bound to be a demand for technology in the classroom.   That’s where CIAT, the Center for Instructional Advancement and Technology, steps in.  CIAT is a department within OTS dedicated to helping faculty incorporate technology into the classroom, including providing web support and training for new applications.  La Tonya Dyer, an instructional designer/trainer, is one of the key players working in CIAT to make this happen.

La Tonya has worked in the technology field at various USM institutions since 2001.  While working on her master’s degree she took an elective on instructional design and fell in love with the field, so much so that she cancelled her plans to become a database administrator and decided to pursue a master’s in instructional design instead.  In late 2007 La Tonya joined the Towson University community, bringing her skills and passion for instructional design to campus.

In her role at Towson La Tonya has a wide range of responsibilities.  La Tonya provides faculty training on different technologies and acts as an instructional design consultant, guiding faculty through the process of improving their courses and integrating technology into the classroom.   She also researches new and emerging technologies and often develops pilot programs to test them on campus.  In addition to all of this, La Tonya manages the digital media classrooms where faculty can go to record lectures for online or face-to-face classes.  She is also responsible for administering and managing Towson’s WebEx accounts which allow faculty and students to attend online meetings with both audio and video as well as PowerPoint and documents.

While La Tonya’s job may seem tech-heavy, in reality it is very much driven by personal interaction.  This is part of the reason La Tonya was drawn to the field—she saw it as an opportunity to combine three of her loves: technology, people and education.

“I really enjoy working with faculty members and empowering them with the skills, knowledge and information they need to improve their classes,” La Tonya said.

La Tonya and CIAT strive to ensure that all faculty members are educated on the myriad of ways to use technology in the classroom.  This is done using online advertisements, Daily Digest messages, workshops, brochures and events like Towson Spark.  Towson Spark provides an opportunity for collaboration among faculty members from different colleges and disciplines.   During the event faculty members host five-minute presentations to share how they use technology with their students.  While the information and technology is out there, often times La Tonya is faced with the challenge of working with a faculty member who doesn’t have much experience using it.

“I try not to overwhelm them with technology,” La Tonya said.  “I tell them that developing these methods didn’t happen overnight and neither will integrating the technology into their lessons.”

That is one of the aspects of her job that La Tonya enjoys the most though: turning skeptics into believers and providing support to faculty innovators. Every day she looks forward to getting new requests and working with clients who have different personalities, backgrounds and knowledge bases.

“Overall, it all boils down to the challenge of interacting with different faculty members and meeting their needs and I often find that I learn just as much from them as they learn from me,” La Tonya said.

For more information on CIAT and the services they offer go to www.towson.edu/CIAT

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TU Staff Help Keep Baltimore City Children Warm This Winter

By Mike Noll

This fall, staff showed up to attend the annual Towson University Staff Council (TUSC) Staff Development Conference with a check, scarves, hats and gloves in hand.  Why would they bring such items on a warm day? Because this year’s conference service project gave them the opportunity to join forces with Operation Warm to help provide Baltimore City children with clothes to keep them warm this winter.

Operation Warm’s mission of “inspiring hope and empowering communities by manufacturing and distributing new winter coats to children in need through partnerships with donors and community organizations.” resonated with the TUSC conference planning committee. They decided to make it the service project for the conference and contacted Operation Warm’s Baltimore office for help. Operation Warm offered to provide 2,000 coats for local children and asked TU to collect scarves, hats and gloves to be paired up with the coats.

During the conference a number of people brought the requested items, while others told TUSC staff that they forgot their items at their office or at home but wanted to help.  TUSC decided to extend the collection one week to allow staff members to interoffice or drop off items to the Office of Human Resources, where the donations were stored for pick up by a representative of the Baltimore City School District.

Some of TU's donations to Operation Warm.

Thanks to the extra week, staff donated 20 scarves, 40 hats and 93 pairs of gloves! We also collected $330 dollars which will be used to purchase winter coats for 16 children.

My appreciation goes out to the campus community for banding together to support a great cause. For additional information about Operation Warm or to help their mission, please go to www.operationwarm.org or www.facebook.com/operationwarm.

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And the finalists are…

By Pam Gorsuch

The 9th Annual ACE Award Presentation will be held Thursday, December 15 from 2 – 5 p.m. in the West Village Commons Ballroom. Nominations for the award were accepted earlier this month and narrowed down to a group of finalists by the division’s associate vice presidents. This year’s finalists for the Administration & Finance Commitment to Excellence (ACE) award are:

Non-exempt category:

-          Financial Services Executive Admin Assistant Victoria Napper
-          HR Operations Specialist Lisa Schmith
-          Auxiliary Services Executive Admin Assistant Jerri Sumwalt

Exempt category:

-          Facilities Management Energy Manager Stephen Kolb
-          Bursar’s Office Supervisor of Collections Dawn Kuessner
-          Financial Services Business Systems Manager Alberto Lagos
-          OTS Head of Multimedia Services Ron Santana
-          HR Employment Specialist Jennifer Stano
-          HR Operations Manager Karen Stukes

Join us on the 15th to find out who the winners are!

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Dedicated Parking Services Employees spend Thanksgiving at TU

By Marc Stephan

The 92nd annual Turkey Bowl between rival high schools Calvert Hall and Loyola took place at Johnny Unitas Stadium this Thanksgiving Day, with Calvert Hall coming out on top 34 – 17. In recent years the game was held at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, but since the Ravens had a home game this Thanksgiving Towson University was chosen to host the televised event.

In keeping with the university’s tradition of providing great service to internal and external customers, several Parking & Transportation Services employees, including Operations Supervisor Richard Herbert (pictured), volunteered to take time out of their Thanksgiving holiday to work the Turkey Bowl event. Richard and his colleagues directed traffic during the event, helping to ensure a safe and smooth process for fans traveling to the game.

The Turkey Bowl has been an important tradition in Baltimore for a long time,” notes Richard.  “When I found out that Towson was going to be hosting the game this year, I was happy to help out.”

Richard Herbert was among the parking employees who worked at the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl.

The Turkey Bowl is one of more than 1,000 events handled each year by Parking & Transportation Services employees who bear wind, cold, heat, snow and rain to ensure that campus visitors get to events smoothly. Next time you see a Parking & Transportation Services employee manning an event, make sure to give them a pat on the back!

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A&F Staff Work Diligently to Facilitate Presidential Visit

By Susanna Craine

After numerous meetings with the Secret Service last week (yes, the real, secret- Secret Service) the big moment came. On Saturday, November 26, U.S. President Barack Obama visited Towson University.

Three helicopters marked with the presidential seal flew over the southwestern portion of campus in the late morning hours. At a point they separated—one flying off into the clouds, another landing near the tennis courts, and the third coming to a stop close to the Towson Center. From the third helicopter emerged not only the President, but First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia and Michelle’s mother Marian. Their visit would attract more than 3,000 attendees to the TU basketball game. The Tigers’ opponent for the day, the Oregon State Beavers, was being coached by Mrs. Obama’s brother Craig Robinson.

The Presidential visit didn’t guarantee a win for our team, but it provided a whole series of other, more priceless benefits, including handshakes, and lots of them.  There was one for upcoming President Maravene Loeschke; two for alumnus and former regent David Nevins; and a very fervent one for actor/director Bill Murray, despite the fact that he was there supporting his son, who is an assistant coach for the Tigers.

Much work was done by A&F staff members to facilitate last week’s Presidential visit. Many TUPD Officers canceled their previously-scheduled Thanksgiving leave in order to ally themselves with the Secret Service, Maryland State Police, and Baltimore County Police and make sure that our president was well-protected during his visit. There were metal detectors, covered windows and strict controls around crowd arrival and departure.

Team Towson came together for the visit just as it did for the hurricane several months ago. Employees not only from the TUPD, but also Facilities, Event & Conference Services, and Parking Services dedicated many hours to coordinating the details and visit. They did their jobs supremely well, and the great success of the visit is a testament to their hard work.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take in a TU basketball game. (Image taken by Kanji Takeno for Towson University)

 

 

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