Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance


by Carla Hall

Businesses appear to no longer aim for the personal touch in the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. However, you do not need to be concerned with feeling like a number with the Office of Human Resources.  At Towson University, OHR strives to have a positive initial and ongoing encounter with faculty, staff and the public at large.  One way OHR accomplishes this goal is by merging the Operations Unit and Training Unit’s New Hire Session and New Employee Orientation, Connections.

Connection is a word of inclusion, linked with association and relationship.  Sounds very personal?  Great! It is the intention of OHR to relate to new hires rather than merely employing them.  Our desire is that new employees’ first days “would be a positive, One Stop-Shop Experience” says Mike Noll, Training Manager.

This vision of Connections was introduced by Noll in 2009.  Mike shared his vision with Karen Stukes, Operations Manager of OHR, herself newly hired at the time.  Together they systematically began to organize this new and exciting concept to merge the New Hire Session and the New Hire Orientation into one entity.   New Hire Orientation surveys were collected during a 90 day period and were then compiled by OHR’s graduate assistant Tara Ritchey. Surveys were then analyzed by Mike Noll, Karen Stukes, Dave Curtis and Lisa Schmith to determine the specific needs of new hires and to formulate the best process possible.

This huge undertaking required the cooperation and inclusion of several departments, namely: the Office of Facilities Planning, Towson University Police and the Office of Diversity.  In June 2012 the very first session was introduced.  The session begins at 8 a.m. with warm welcomes and greeters that will guide new hires through the Connections process.  The session highlights:

  • Taking Care of Business – Overview of required paperwork
  • Welcome: Our Culture, Strategic Plan, and Your Role
  • Leave, Timekeeping, and Benefits Overview
  • A delicious lunch at no cost to the new employee
  • Creating a Safe and Comfortable Place to Learn, Work and Play
  • Towson University Tomorrow
  • Diversity:  An Institutional Commitment
  • Evaluations/End of Connections

More detailed information on the above topics can be found on TU’s website http://www.towson.edu/adminfinance/hr/training/neo/connections.asp

The session ends promptly at 2:30 p.m. and the new hires are released to begin their new and exciting role at Towson University.

During the new hire transition, the main goals of OHR and the Connections sessions are: (1) Every new hire whether they are faculty or staff feel connected to Towson University.  (2) Each new hire understands the vision and the purpose of the University and how they play a very important role to fulfill the vision.  (3) Remember the necessity of working together as we are uniquely connected, striving for Towson University to be an excellent institution of higher learning.  Our future plans for Connections, per Mike Noll’s vision, are to “refer to feedback to make a few tweaks if need be, move things around for the good of the true “Connection,” and make sure faculty and staff succeed.”

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