Archive | March, 2012

Meet the Staff: Craig Turkington

By Lyn Kimmel

Craig Turkington is one of the OTS folks who successfully handles a nicely balanced life. He is talented in many spheres–professional, adventurous and creative.  But most of all Craig is family focused and demonstrates a solid understanding of life’s priorities.  

During the past 16 years Craig held several technical and management roles in OTS, including Data Base Administrator and Analyst and Computer Programmer. He completed his education at Towson University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Baltimore.  He majored in math, computer science and law.  In addition to his technical certifications, he maintains attorney credentials and practices intermittently.  

Craig Turkington

Outside of work Craig is a Mason in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and volunteers at the Masonic Lodge for a variety of programs. He helps run the “CHIPS” program, which allows parents to have their children’s fingerprints, pictures, cheek swabs and other identifying information taken and placed on a CD to have in theevent they go missing.  He volunteers for PTA fundraisers at Free State Montessori School; he’s served as Santa at the school’s Winter Craft Fair; he’s even helped coordinate Girl Scout activities and sold Girl Scout cookies. 

Craig also fundraises for the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech & Language Center in Baltimore.  When Craig isn’t volunteering for one of those great causes, he’s teaching new Masons information they need for initiation and progress in the lodge.

When called by TU for emergency support, Craig may answer from places like the roof of a shed he is building for his family.  Craig is a bit of a handyman.  He built his granddaughter a cradle and his son an art studio.  His latest family project is a hand-crafted solid walnut dining table!

Even with all these activities, it’s well known that Craig’s favorite past time is caring for his granddaughter. He routinely picks her up from school; takes her to New York annually and attends the American Girl doll birthday luncheon with her; he speaks of her frequently with a happy smile. Craig also enjoys traveling with his wife, biking, hiking, and rock climbing. All in all, Craig is a caring family man who adeptly manages a balanced life of family, work and adventure.

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Get in Step with EPP!

By Lucy Slaich

Since the 1980s, conversations about “green” procurement emphasized recycled-content products, like paper. The goal was to divert waste from landfills and create markets for all the materials we so carefully separated for recycling.

Early mandates to “buy recycled” were met with limited success, given the higher cost and lower quality of products that were first to market. Since then, however, increased demand has driven prices down and greatly improved product performance.

As the university moved from sorting to now single-stream recycling, the approach to “buying green” also evolved into Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, defined as “procurement of goods and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods that serve the same purpose.” It can be expressed mathematically as:

 EPP = Environment + Price + Performance

 While our Procurement Department has always focused on price and performance, we now look beyond just “recycled content” to consider a product’s total environmental impact, including:

  • Renewable/sustainable raw materials – agriculture, forestry, mining
  • Socially responsible labor and manufacturing processes
  • Energy efficient equipment and lower life-cycle costs
  • Minimal packaging – recycled/recyclable and reusable
  • Avoidance of hazardous chemicals and pollution
  • Efficient transportation – including buying locally whenever possible

Of course, the most “environmentally preferable” purchase of all is the one you never need to make – whether through conservation of supplies, thoughtful repurposing of furniture and equipment, or acquisition from surplus. Managing “lean” is good for tight budgets and good for the planet.

You’ll hear more about EPP in the months to come. The just-published Maryland Green Purchasing Guidelines note that USM already practices “sound environmental stewardship,” but we anticipate new recordkeeping and reporting requirements, as well as continued emphasis on LEED-certified buildings, energy-efficient lighting, HVAC and IT equipment, composting, and recycling.

Meanwhile, here’s an easy first step to EPP:  Before you make your next internet purchase, ask Procurement  if a Maryland-based small or minority-owned business offers the product you need.  You’ll help support the state’s economy and save on shipping costs, while conserving fuel resources and reducing air pollution.

Remember:  THINK GLOBALLY, BUY LOCALLY!

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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.

April 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.

April 2 – Michael Devoe, Facilities Management

April 3 – Mike Franklin, Auxiliary Services

April 3 – Lucy Slaich, Fiscal Planning and Services

April 4 – Tim Byrnes, OTS

April 11 – Brian Cooney, OTS

April 11 – Virgil Lemaster, Facilities Management

April 12 – Donna Taylor, OTS

April 13 – Barry Pina, Facilities Management

April 14 – Jeff Koerber, OTS

April 14 – Carol Watts, OTS

April 15 – Cheryl Webb, Auxiliary Services

April 16 – Kim Dugent, Fiscal Planning and Services

April 17 – Craig Fringer, Office of Public Safety

April 18 – John Propst, Facilities Management

April 19 – Julie Leary, OTS

April 21 – David Mayhew, Facilities Management

April 22 – Adela Lombardi, Facilities Management

April 24 – Dana Hall, Auxiliary Services

April 26 – James Norman, Facilities Management

April 27 – Marie Weber, Facilities Management

April 28 – Rich Sullivan, OTS

April 28 – Jay Taffel, OTS

April 29 – Eric Cannizzo, OTS

Awards and Honors

Frances Kateley, Auxiliary Services, completed the Management & Supervision Certificate, one of five noncredit certificates offered by the Office of Human Resources. This certificate is designed for those currently working in or interested in moving into management. Click here to learn more about competency focus and certificate programs available to all faculty and staff.

New Hires, Retirements & Resignations

Effective this week, Karen Michalak joined the OTS Information Systems team in the role of manager of Financials Application Development and Projects.  She is transitioning to OTS from the Financials functional department where she was successful in her role as Financials PeopleSoft specialist.  Congratulations on the new position, Karen!

Jack Nye has left the University after almost 20 years of dedicated service.  His last day was March 27 and he will begin his new job with an enigneering firm in Fells Point in April.  He will be missed!

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TUPD: On Campus and in the Community

By Susanna Craine

I have a confession to make: TUPD caught me driving without my seatbelt.  I was departing campus on a late afternoon and traveling down Cross Campus Drive, that newly surfaced, beautifully smooth county road. But I paused too long before I struggled into the seat belt, and lo and behold a campus police car was flying after me.   The jig was up… and it should have been.   I was not wearing a seat belt and an eagle-eyed officer had spotted that.   I had violated Maryland law on a Maryland road which, luckily for us, is policed by TU’s own sworn police force.  And then there was a ticket.  In the afterglow I can bend the knee to that!  I deserved it and I’m glad our alert force is on the job.  They can protect me from my own bad habits as well as those of others.

Now imagine this.  You are on Towson Town Boulevard at the northern-most perimeter of TU’s boundaries.  You need to make haste to get to the Beltway and your next destination.   You step on the gas.  You’re doing 50 M.P.H., heading west, and have turned onto north bound Charles Street.   Then, all of a sudden, a siren and lights and in the rearview mirror what do you see?  Not a Baltimore County police car, but there is TUPD writing you a ticket.  Yes, a real ticket that must be paid to the State of Maryland.  Towson police can patrol beyond the campus boundaries when the instigating event has started on campus or when they are called on by the County police to do so.

That’s not all the Towson police are responsible for.   TU police are also responsible for monitoring parking lots, such as Lot 21 near Towson Center, which bring in outsiders who sometimes leave cars there for extended periods, even days.  Given the gift of new technology, however, they can use the License Plate Recognition system to identify tags that are “hot,” flagged for offences such as revoked licenses, stolen plates or failed emission testing.  Behold another potential ticket, but this time not for you.

Why is this information important?  Some of it should inculcate pride in our hosting a police department which has sworn officers who can patrol the same way the County and City police can.  Their scrutiny and quick response to what is around them rewards us with a more orderly universe.  That is a gift to us.

For others, those outside our boundaries but sharing perimeters or road access, there is a highly visible caution that provokes good behavior in and near Tigertown.  That is a gift to everyone.

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Nicole Vasanth Shows Support for Education Programs in D.C.

By Briana Cabibbo

At the end of last month while most of the members of the division were going about their regular business, A&F employee Nicole Vasanth was visiting Washington, D.C.  But this was no ordinary visit to our nation’s capital.  Vasanth, the lead teacher of the three’s class at the University Child Care Center and alumni of TU’s graduate program in education, was there to speak with politicians about education policies.

On February 28 and 29 she attended a public policy forum as a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), representing both the state of Maryland and Towson University.  At the forum there were NAEYC members from every state in the country, including Vasanth and the other Maryland representatives.

The first day of the trip was filled with forums and speakers discussing the legislature affecting education across the United States.  Several prominent guest speakers were in attendance to speak to Vasanth and other attendees.  Administrators in the Head Start program, a national program which provides educational programming for preschoolers from economically disadvantaged homes, spoke as well as President Obama’s educational advisor, Roberto Rodriguez. 

All of the speakers and discussions were preparing the NAEYC members for the next part of their visit: a trip to Congress.  The following day Vasanth and the other representatives from Maryland met with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Senator Benjamin Cardin’s staff.  Important issues such as the Race to the Top program and the national education budget were discussed. 

Race to the Top is an a national incentive program in which states compete against each other with their test scores and education programs for government grants.  Maryland was recently awarded a grant as a top performing state.  While the money can go towards early childhood educational programs it cannot be used to fund individual children through childcare subsidies.  Currently, about 1,500 families in Maryland are on a wait list to receive federal help because they unable to afford child care.

“It really made me think about those moms and dads who can’t continue their education, maybe here at Towson, without programs that receive funds from the federal government,” Vasanth said.

This is why Vasanth and other NAEYC were stressing to the Senators’ office how important it is to ensure that all of the $825 million budgeted for education goes to education.  With the current proposed budget Head Start and other voucher programs will be maintained for another year.  There is no room to expand programs, but at least there will not be any cuts made. 

Although it was Nicole Vasanth’s first trip to D.C. with NAEYC, it surely won’t be the last.  As long as there are children, there will be educators advocating and fighting for their rights.  Thankfully, the University has employees and graduates that know just how important it is!

Nicole Vasanth (second from left) and the other NAEYC members from Maryland

For more information on the National Association for the Education of Young Children and their mission, visit http://www.naeyc.org/policy/excellence.

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Tip of the Month: SharePoint Sites Connecting Your Calendar to Outlook 2010

You don’t always have to log in to a SharePoint site to check on the status of a calendar. Instead, connect the SharePoint calendar to Outlook.

1. In SharePoint, open the calendar you want to synchronize with Outlook.
2. Click the Calendar tab on the Ribbon and click the Connect to Outlook button in the Connect & Export group.
3. A dialog box appears to verify that you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer.
4. Click Allow.
5. A dialog box appears to verify that you want to connect to Outlook.
6. Click Yes.

The connection takes a few moments to establish. When the connection is made, the SharePoint Calendar appears in Outlook. Any changes made to the list are synchronized.

To sign up for free technology workshops or view additional materials related to software training, visit OTS Training online at http://www.towson.edu/otstraining.

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OHR Honored at President’s Diversity Awards

By Briana Cabibbo

Year round, TU’s faculty, staff and students aim to celebrate and educate individuals about diversity all over campus.  Some members of the Towson community go above and beyond with this mission.  Luckily, each year at the Multicultural Conference, students, faculty and staff, as well as academic and administrative departments, are recognized for their efforts at the President’s Diversity Awards.  This year the ceremony was held on March 1 and the Office of Human Resources (OHR) was honored not only with a nomination, but with an award as well!  

It wasn’t the first time OHR was considered for the award.  In 2011 former Vice President and CFO, James Sheehan, nominated the department for their outstanding contributions to diversity on campus.  OHR didn’t take home the award that time, but Dr. Fran Luther, Assistant Professor of Educational Technology and Literacy, felt they deserved another shot.  The department received word of their second nomination on February 14, Valentine’s Day. 

“It was interesting that I received the notification from President Loeschke on February 14,” said Phil Ross, Director of OHR. “When I shared it with one of my staff she commented, ‘What an appropriate Valentine’s gift!  Devotion to diversity has to begin with a heart.’”

And when it comes to diversity the employees of OHR certainly are devoted, and the activities and events the department participates in at Towson are many and varied.  They have collaborated with Financial Services several times over the past few years to host events that focus on other cultures’ food, customs, music or dress. 

OHR employees are always focused on making themselves self-aware by attending workshops and events on campus which discuss topics ranging from autism to transgender students to African Americans in baseball. They’ve even facilitated discussion between members of the department after viewing “Crash,” a controversial movie about race and stereotypes, and worked with the International Student & Scholar Office to learn about issues international students face.

Employees of OHR do not limit themselves to participating in events on campus, as they are also involved in activities throughout the community.  The department has had a partnership with Calvin Rodwell Elementary School in Cherry Hill since 2009.  Employees take time to visit and read to the students, help with math and reading groups, volunteer when needed and collect school supplies for donation. Veterans are another group OHR has been involved with, spending time at the Veteran’s Day ceremony in Parkville, working at the Honoring Our Veterans Career Fair and participating in the Wounded Warrior Transition Unit project.

Though the department is proud of the honor they’ve received it’s clear that that they’re not participating in diversity initiatives just to win awards and recognition. 

When asked to comment on their recent honor, Phil Ross stated, “As I reflect on everything the division has done and plans to do towards advancing diversity, I am reminded the effort requires open minds and open hearts.   So, I encourage us all to continue to think about inclusion and acceptance of others who may be different from us.   That way we will all be winners.”

Kudos to the Events and Conference Services (ECS) Staff  and Mary Fortier in Financial Services for also being nominated in the 2011 President’s Diversity Awards. For OHR, second time was a charm, and we’re confident ECS and Mary can take the honor next year with their continued dedication to diversity.

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President Shares Vision, Goals and Thanks A&F Staff

By Amie Voith

“There is something really good here in the water at Towson.”

So said Dr. Maravene Loeschke when asked why she was eager to return to her alma mater and former employer to become Towson University’s 13th president.

She went on to say, “Thank you for the ability to come back and guide you to a healthy future. At least half of that work will be done by you.”

The “you” she was referring to is the Administration and Finance (A&F) Division staff members. She held two meetings exclusively for A&F last month, sharing her vision for Towson and how the division fits into that plan. She asked, “How can I empower you to do your best work?” and “How can I best serve you as president?”

Approximately 175 A&F staff participated in the open dialogue that touched on a variety of topics, from salary compression to the 2016 strategic plan, and even to Dr. Loeschke’s friendship with Gail Price of the Office of Human Resources since middle school.

If you were unable to attend, here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Currently, Dr. Loeschke is spending a great deal of time in Annapolis at the 2012 legislative session, lobbying to get the university more funding. She said she is especially concerned with salary compression and the need for more faculty and staff positions. However, resources are in demand for many areas across the university, so she said realigning priorities will be necessary until additional funding resumes, which most likely will not be until FY 14 or later.
  • Dr. Loeschke said her decision-making strategy will be based on the needs of the students, who are her top priority. She applauded A&F staff’s current interactions with students, citing one particular student who told her he didn’t mind paying his tuition bill because the Bursar staff were just so pleasant about it. She encouraged us to remember that all of our actions as staff impact students’ lives on a daily basis.
  • She stated three over-arching university goals moving forward:
    • Becoming the premier institution for teacher education in the nation
    • Better connecting our efforts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) with workforce and K-12 education needs
    • Receiving national recognition for leadership development, not only for students, but for faculty and staff as well. A TUSC task force has been convened to look into this on the staff side.
  • Dr. Loeschke also shared her strong commitment to shared governance, which to her means communication, transparency, civility, role modeling, and support of each other as a community.  As such, she will incorporate feedback from her divisional meetings and her recent survey into all action items moving forward. She said an addendum will be made to the 2016 strategic vision in the coming months to bring the initiatives into better focus.

Many thanks to all who took advantage of this rare opportunity to converse with the president in an open and relaxed forum. It is important for A&F to have a voice, and you helped to do just that.

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Tyra Thomas Works Overtime to Serve the Community

By Marc Stephan

Tyra “Ty” Thomas works hard as a Parking Enforcement Associate, but that hard work doesn’t end when his shift is over.  Ty feels passionately about giving back to the community and does so through his involvement with the House of Judah Church in Baltimore City.  Three or more nights a week, Ty will go to the House of Judah after work to assist the church in any way he can.  About the only night you would not see Ty at church is Thursday, when he participates in the TU Faculty/Staff bowling league!

Ty has been an active member at the House of Judah for many years and regularly organizes and participates in clothing drives to assist the homeless.  After gathering the clothing, Ty and other House of Judah members distribute the items to individuals in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Ty Thomas

 “When you hand a coat to a small child and see their face light up, it reminds you how important doing this is,” he said.

Another church function that Ty is actively involved in is holiday dinners.  The House of Judah regularly conducts fundraisers to support the holiday dinners and Ty is a key member of the church’s fundraising committee.  He also volunteers his time at the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday dinners that serve individuals from local halfway houses looking to make a fresh start.    

Ty’s involvement at the House of Judah doesn’t stop there!  He’s often referred to as the House of Judah’s resident “Minister of Maintenance” as he frequently conducts plumbing, roofing, drywall, and other repairs at the church.  After evening bible study sessions, Ty regularly walks ladies to their cars to ensure they get home safely. 

Just about the only thing Ty doesn’t do is sing in the church choir.  Even though singing is one of his favorite things to do at church, Ty isn’t allowed to sing in the choir because his voice is so deep!  This does not stop him from belting out the sweet notes from the audience, though.

“The church is huge part of my life,” Ty said.

It is clear that Ty uses his connection to the House of Judah to be a huge part in other people’s lives as well. Parking Services and the Administration and Finance Division is lucky to call such a giving employee one of their own!

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Officer Kia Williams Lives and Breathes Crime Prevention

By Sherry McKendry

Note to bad guys: TUPD Officer Kia Wiliams is out there and determined to protect the faculty, staff and students on TU’s campus!  

Victim awareness programs and crime prevention are both phrases synonymous with Officer Williams, a high energy innovator who constantly seeks to improve safety and provide the campus community with the best methods of avoiding being victims of crime.

Coming from a state correctional facility, Officer Williams recently said one of the reasons she chose to work at Towson was because she wanted to see what it was like working with the good guys, i.e. people who weren’t incarcerated.  Initially a patrol officer, she became TU’s community outreach officer in 2010 upon the retirement of Cpl. George Morgan.

Officer Kia Williams

Committed to crime prevention, Officer Williams adopted some “best practices” from other schools and developed several of her own.  With her help, TU has implemented a personal property registration program that allows employees and students to register online their personal computers, iPods, bikes, etc. using the item’s serial number.  That data is then keyed into a national database and if the registered property is stolen, greatly increases the chances of it being recovered. Available 24/7, this service is free and information can be accessed here.

 Officer Williams also promotes crime prevention using the written word.  She has developed a monthly newsletter to provide basic crime prevention tips to the campus community, called TUPD Times.  Another great place for crime fighting tips is The Crime Prevention and Reporting website, which promotes residential, workplace, vehicular, and identify security.  It even has a section specifically for women!

A student program Officer Williams created for the semester’s end is the “Finals Frenzy.”  Providing coffee and nutrition bars to start the day during those frantic final testing days is her way of making a difference to students too frazzled to think of food. 

In April 2011, Officer Williams started The Citizens on Patrol walk in recognition of National Victims’ Rights week.  The walk has increased awareness of crime prevention with the help of McGruff, the crime-fighting dog.   This year, to further expand this program, she contacted Howard County police officer Bonita Linkins, who suffered for years as a domestic violence victim.  Now a motivational speaker and author of Why Did I Stay, Officer Linkins agreed to come to Towson and will be speaking about her personal journey dealing with abuse.  She will be speaking in the West Village Commons in Ballroom C from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.

In the short amount of time that Officer Williams has been on campus, she has helped the Crime Prevention Unit make a notable difference to our staff and students.  She continues working closely with the Health Center, the Counseling Center, student groups and campus departments to provide crime prevention information and assistance.  

Williams says, “If I can affect at least one person during my day, then my job is complete.” With her concentrated focus on the staff and students here, they could have no better advocate.

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