The new academic year means a new suite of jackets, polos, tees, and other merchandise at the University Store. Marketing and Retail Services Manager Katie Simmons-Barth shared some images of her favorite just-in items, plus gave us the scoop on upcoming sales and fall trends.
Thanks, Katie! All items above can be found in the store or online. You can also follow the University Store on Facebook or Instagram (@TUstore) to get access to brand new merchandise and pop-up sales.
Interview by Pam Gorsuch, photos by Katie Simmons-Barth
It’s surprising but true: summer can be just as busy (and sometimes even busier!) than the rest of the year as staff head out for vacations and return to anxiously prepare for the year ahead. The bustle can make it hard to stay in touch with even the most compelling campus projects. Here are five you’ll want to know about, including a major improvement to software you use every day.
1. Order online, take food to go
Beginning this fall, Dining Services will allow you to skip the lines by ordering food via the new Tapingo mobile app. The app will let you order select menu items from several dining facilities, including 7720 Grille. You pay directly through your mobile device (both OneCard and credit cards are accepted), then pick up your meal and head back to your desk—no waiting in the order or checkout lines! The app is free and will be live by the beginning of the fall semester, with additional dining locations added by the spring.
2. Office upgrade means more space, better functionality
For many of us, access to Microsoft Office is as essential as access to a computer itself. If you’re a Word, Excel or Powerpoint junkie, you’ll love the Office upgrade kicking off this fall. The project will increase H drive size by five times, increase email storage by 200, and give you the ability to access your files from wherever you have internet. Basically, it’ll make it easier for you to do your work when and where you want, plus collaborate with others and then save that work without fear of maxing out space (goodbye, archiving!). Stay tuned for project updates in T3 over the coming months.
3. Single maintenance request system to open for entire campus
Submitting a maintenance request is getting much simpler. In the past, access to submit online maintenance requests was limited to building coordinators, so a staff member with a request would have to email the coordinator, who would submit the issue using one of three different forms. Beginning this fall, there will be one online system for submitting all routine facilities-related requests, and anyone can use it. To submit a request, you’ll simply log in with your Net ID and password, then complete the form to enter the location and nature of the task. If a service you need isn’t listed on the form, simply contact Work Control (x4-2481, firstname.lastname@example.org) and a staff member will guide you through the process.
4. Wireless access, simplified
Currently, faculty, staff and students needing wireless access for a campus guest have to sponsor them personally, filling out a web form to get a temporary username and password. Not difficult when you have just one visitor, but a pain when you have multiple vendors needing access. Beginning this fall, that pain will be gone when OTS replaces the current TU Guest wireless network with TU Open Access. The new network, available to all visitors, will not require a username and password. OTS Associate Director of Communication Services Eric Cannizzo says TU Open Access will make wireless easier to use and more accessible on campus. “The changes will simplify access for campus visitors and reduce the administrative overhead,” he says. Faculty, staff and students should still use “TU Secure” to access the wireless network because it has extra security to protect University data, but sponsoring access to the guest network is one thing they can check off their list for campus visitors.
5. New goals for A&F departments
Assessment isn’t just for academics anymore. Based on accreditation requirements, beginning this year each TU department is being measured and assessed on achieving quantifiable goals that tie to a TU2020 theme. For example, one of Human Resources’ goals is to provide supervisory skills to university supervisors, aligning with the TU2020 theme of serving as “a model for leadership development”. The first draft of A&F’s departmental goals were presented and reviewed by a cross-section of faculty and staff earlier this month and received great reviews. The President will report on the university’s overall assessment progress at her Fall Address this September. Staff members are encouraged to remain aware of their departmental goals, since as assessment evolves it will touch everyone.
By Pamela Gorsuch
Work on a college campus ebbs and flows with the season. For some, academic breaks are a time to catch up and prepare for the semester ahead. For others—like Parking and Transportation Services drivers—it means less work hours and fewer wages.
“Most of our drivers go 3-4 months over the year without any income or have to find second jobs during the breaks,” said Pamela Mooney, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “Obviously this is difficult–most people need steady income.”
Facilities Management has the opposite problem: their workloads increase while they accomplish as much as possible without the tumult of students on campus. Both departments had a need, and after working with the Budget Office, Human Resources and Payroll, they developed a solution that benefited the departments and their employees.
The agreement is simple: interested Parking and Transportation Services drivers lend a hand to Facilities Management during academic breaks. As a result, both departments get the help they need during critical times, and their employees get consistent work. To date, eight employees have taken advantage of the agreement. One participant, Driver Robert Bucklew, says he’s thankful to TU for keeping drivers employed.
“Splitting time between driving and working for maintenance has been a good experience. My co-workers and I appreciate the effort to keep us working through the slower summer season, and the maintenance staff—especially Tom Durange —has been great about offering guidance and direction as we learn our new jobs.”
Having employees work for two departments is certainly unconventional, but it offers consistency, helps Parking to better attract and retain staff, and expands the pool of available staff during emergencies. When either department needs additional help, the time is given to drivers who want more hours.
By Lindsey Morgan
With seven full-time staff managing more than 25,000 active OneCards and distributing more than 100,000 event tickets a year, the Auxiliary Services Business Office (ASBO) has its hands full. Below, ASBO Manager Brett Collins shares the department’s mantra for growing effective student staff, plus their plans to expand the use of OneCards.
What does your department do?
I like to say that we’re three offices in one. Our OneCard Office is the administrative arm of the department—they handle inquiries, administer meal plans and audit meal points. Our Business Office handles money, accepting payments and giving refunds for retail/dining points, parking permits, etc. The Ticket Office manages ticketing for campus events and petty cash for the SGA and campus housing.
What major projects are you working on right now?
We’re looking at expanding the services offered by OneCards, which could potentially mean reissuing updated cards to the entire campus…no small feat!. We’re also moving toward a new system that would enable event tickets to be printed online and scanned at entrances.
What’s it like to work for the Business Office?
It’s really familial – many of our staff have been here for years and we’ve learned how to communicate with one another. Sometimes we disagree, but we embrace that as stemming from caring so much about what we do. We’re very open about sharing ideas and we always find a way to move forward.
We’re also big proponents of hiring and promoting students. Our office typically has 10-15 student employees plus several graduate assistants, and we’re a great stepping stone for them to get full-time employment. One example: we hired student employee Ashley McAvoy as a contractual employee after she graduated, and later brought her on as a full-time regular employee. Just recently she was hired by Enrollment Services. We’ve groomed quite a few other students who have gone on to great positions all over campus. It’s important to us that we give all of our staff opportunities to grow in their careers.
What are your departmental traditions?
We have big potluck lunches throughout the year. Everyone contributes a dish, and it’s great to see our different backgrounds come out in the foods we bring. We also celebrate our new hires with lunches welcoming them to the crew! It’s nice to get them started on the right foot.
What does your department do better than others?
We pride ourselves in great customer service. A few examples:
A customer and eight of her family and friends rushed to the ticket office after getting stopped at the SECU Arena gate trying to get into the Harlem Globetrotters show. She had accidentally bought tickets for the wrong show day! We were able to transfer her tickets so the whole group could see the show that night. The customer was so relieved she burst into tears!
There’s also a lot of stress and excitement around folks trying to get tickets for commencement. We had a graduate’s mother call because she was having trouble printing her tickets. After going back and forth for an hour, we discovered the source of the problem: her son had given her the wrong Towson email address for accessing the tickets! We confirmed the correct address for her and she printed the tickets just fine.
Whenever someone comes to us stressed and leaves excited, it’s a great thing.
What’s misunderstood about ASBO?
The variety of customer groups we work with is staggering. In the span of one day, our staff could be negotiating with local business owners for the OneCard off-campus program, helping parents make meal plan decisions, talking students through vending machine issues, issuing OneCards to new faculty and working with internal staff to ticket an event.
Do you think your work makes a difference?
Absolutely. We make it easier for students to achieve their goal of a college degree by offering the tools to live and learn comfortably. Whether it’s easy access to retail points for laundry, permits for parking on campus, or meal plans for eating in the dining halls—we worry about the things students need so they don’t have to.
By Pamela Gorsuch
For one weekend out of the year, people with physical and intellectual disabilities compete in front of cheering crowds as the stars of the show. For 37 of the past 44 years, TU has made that weekend happen. Below are the stories of a few of those stars–including a blind man who runs track–plus the scoop on the behind-the-scenes action that makes the Maryland Special Olympics Summer Games a reality.
(Click the arrows on the bottom right of the slideshow for a larger version)
Photos by Steve Ruark and Pamela Gorsuch
In higher education, printing presses have typically been reserved for only the privileged: Cambridge, Harvard, a handful of others. Now, thanks to the Espresso Book Machine, TU professors, students and community members alike can benefit from the cost and time savings of a printing press located smack dab in the middle of the University Store.
TU is the first university in the state to own the unique machine, which prints bound bookstore-quality books quickly and at a low cost. Customers can self-publish their own books, print out-of-print titles, or print bound course packets, all right on campus. Thus it’s no surprise Store Director Stacy Elofir has been vying for the machine for years.
“Book stores are changing, and customers expect access to a wide variety of titles quickly and at competitive prices,” Stacy said. “This machine gives us access to a variety of books without physically having them on the shelves. The Towson University Press undergoes better quality control, is more cost effective and enables textbook money to stay on campus.”
The process is simple and guided by Custom Publishing Coordinator Jeremy Ottley. Customers provide a PDF to Jeremy, who reviews the print measurements to align the cover for layout. Then, with a few clicks of the mouse, the machine is sent to the press where the inside pages and cover are printed simultaneously, bound together by glue, and pressed together while the glue sets. Minutes later, the machine delivers a paperback into Jeremy’s waiting hands for final inspection and delivery. The process is quick—and cost efficient. Customers pay a $35 set-up fee, then a small cost (10 cents or less) per page. Course packets are printed for the cost of materials and copyright fees; out of print books are printed at market value.
To date the press has produced nearly 50 books, the very first of which came via Cataloging Librarian and Copyright Liaison Rick Davis. A student approached Rick in need of a rare 18th century book for an English class. Rick discovered that the book is not available online, and because of its scarcity is not lent out by other universities. Luckily, the owner of the book collection—which would have cost the university tens of thousands of dollars to purchase in hard copy—had made the book available for Espresso Book Machines. In less than 24 hours and at a cost of $25, Rick was able to put this rare find on Cook Library’s shelves.
Other books—both personal and professional—have been printed by students, faculty and community members. With the machine, anyone who can type can print. Stacy and Jeremy are gathering writing, editing and graphic design resources for the campus community to empower potential authors to create and publish works. Their vision is a campus-wide effort to bring creativity to life—all made possible by one unique machine.
Written by Lindsey Morgan
For some, career paths are a question; for others, they’re a destiny. University Child Care Center Director Sarah Fike is firmly in the latter category. For her, there was never a question that she would work with children.
“When I was eight, I was asked to write an essay about what I would be doing at 21,” Sarah said. “I wrote that I would be a teacher.”
Indeed, “Ms. Sarah,” as she is known to her students, was teaching by the age of 21. And even before that, her jobs centered on preparing her for the role. She was babysitting at 13 and nannying not long after. The roles came naturally to her–and perhaps just as importantly, they were fun.
“I love young children’s enthusiasm and honesty, and I love how they’re always questioning and soaking up everything around them with no inhibitions,” Sarah said. “I’m fascinated with how they learn, think and speak, and I enjoy helping them develop. That’s why I do what I do.”
When you are that passionate about what you do, it can take you to places and people you never imagined. Originally from the United Kingdom, Sarah came to the U.S. as an au pair nearly 15 years ago. She met her husband while working, married him eight months later, and has called this country home ever since. She says moving here enabled her to pursue her dreams in a way she couldn’t have in the UK.
“I returned to school for my Master’s in Education,” Sarah said. “Here, you can go back to college at any age and study for fun or for a new career! In the U.K. you just get one shot at your chosen field.”
Sarah has now been a teacher for 27 years–eight of them at the Child Care Center. And if her graduates are any indication, she’s made quite an impact during her tenure. She still keeps in touch with the families of students who graduated more than 15 years ago, and has even been invited to weddings! After moving to California, the family of one student came back to visit her on their first return trip to the area more than two years later.
These stories represent the mark of a truly exceptional educator—one who does not only teach, but touches the hearts of her students. It doesn’t come easy. As one of Sarah’s colleagues said, “When she’s not working, she’s working.” In her free time, Sarah contributes to education journals, takes graduate courses and participates in local education organizations. She’s writing a science textbook and is an adjunct for the College of Education and the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Geosciences, where she teaches an upper level science and math methods class.
And yet Sarah’s most ambitious work is dedicated to the Child Care Center. After becoming Director last August, she set out to expand family participation in the Center’s programs, create a nature- and arts-based curriculum and design a new nature playscape on the center grounds. She hopes to achieve national accreditation for the Center and reinstate a state-accredited kindergarten.
They’re ambitious goals–especially for a person with two young boys of her own at home–but for Sarah, it’s simply fulfilling the dream she’s had since she was born. I think her 8-year-old self would be proud.
Written by Tyler New
How’s this for a spring renewal: TU’s shuttle buses are getting a new look. By this summer, all 18 of the university’s shuttle buses will be painted shiny black and feature one of two designs—the classic TU swoosh or the athletics Tiger. The first bus was finished early this year following a more than month-long overhaul which included removing the old graphics, completing any necessary body work, painting, drying and ventilation, and applying the new graphics.
In addition to replacing the worn-out paint on the existing buses, Parking and Transportation Services Director Pam Mooney says the new design aims to help draw attention to the shuttles, thereby increasing ridership. Take a look at the new designs above!
Spring is here and A&F is hard at work on some major projects. From developing a robust mobile app to giving a voice to victims of crime, click through the slideshow below to see what 13 of your A&F colleagues are working on right now. Descriptions are typed out below for anyone having trouble reading the signs.
A big thank you to the staff members who let us take their photos and to those who helped coordinate the photo shoots!
In order of the slideshow:
MaryAnn Davenport, Management Advisory and Compliance Services: “Working with external auditors on various audits. Conducting reviews to promote efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance”
Brian Raley, OTS Instructional Services: “Coordinating the design and installation of classroom technology in TU’s Northeastern MD building”
Larry Holbrook, Donna Auvil, Sherry McKendry, Kelly Crispo, Nick Gingue, Paul Thomas, Jerri Sumwalt, various departments: “Planning and coordinating the Employee Appreciation Picnic”
Lisa Taylor, Construction Services: “Renovations to Burdick Hall”
Phillipa McQueen, James Andrew, and Jeff Russell, Parking and Transportation Services: “Reaching Our Goal of 95% On-Time Service”
Debbie Reid, Glen Dining Hall: “Preparing for Nutrition Month at the Glen”
Zeeshan Aslam and Steve Kettinger, OTS Information Systems, “MY TU Mobile Student & Faculty/Staff Self Service Mobile Application”
Frank Hubbard Butler, Office of Public Safety: “Building the campus-wide Chemical Inventory Database”
Robert Rankin, Event and Conference Services: “Prepping SECU Arena for yet another event in an ever expanding schedule!”
Corporal Kia Williams, TU Police Department: “Preparing for National Victims’ Rights Week”
Michael Scribner and Julie Leary, OTS Client Services: “Repurposing decommissioned lab & classroom computers on campus for those in need”
Kerry Spence, Facilities Planning: “Refurnishing the Kinesiology Department in Burdick Hall”
Michael Noll, Office of Human Resources: “Effective Supervision Program – Consistent theory and application training for TU Supervisors”
What’s your big project this spring? Leave a comment below and let us know!
Photos and article by Lindsey Morgan