Last week in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Donald R. Boomgaarden, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Loyola College in Maryland, wrote an article entitled "Managing from the Middle." In the article, he listed five 'Rules' that struck me as worth remembering. So here are Boomgaarden's Rules with some commentary from me.
Rule1. Everyone you work with is important.
I hope we already know this one, but it bears repeating. Not every phone call, question or issue has equal consequences--and yes, if the call is from the President or the UT System office, it often rises to the top of the 'to-do list'--but that reality doesn't change the value of the person making the call, asking the question, or raising the issue. Each person we meet with, talk to, or e-mail deserves the best we can provide them in the circumstances in which we find ourselves. That best could be an explanation for the delay instead of an immediate response, but that is still a recognition of their importance. Each person who helps us merits our appreciation. Each colleague, whether their 'Blue' ribbon is long or short, appreciates a friendly word. Everyone we work with is important.
Rule 2. Be on a mission.
I'm going to quote Boomgaarden here because I think he states this very well.
"Every day you will have to make decisions about small and large matters. You may not always have all the facts you need. But what you should have with you at all times is a vision of what you hold most dear, and ideally, how it links up with your institution's goals and plans."
"Confronted by daily events that challenge your abilities and patience, you may find it easy to forget that there is a higher mission in what you do. Remembering that higher mission, and keeping it a part of your daily interactions with others, will give life and joy to your work. It will make coming in on those especially tough days much, much easier.”
Our mission is important, remembering that does help.
Rule 3. Stop, look and listen.
How many times have you wished, after the fact, that you had followed this simple rule we learned when we started to cross streets? When something makes us crazy and we put all that frustration in an e-mail, how much better it would be to stop, look at what we wrote, and listen to our better self, or at least our better sense of self-preservation. What if in the heat of the moment, we stop, look for the bigger picture and listen deeply to what is being said? I'll speak for myself and say I do know my responses are better and more helpful when I manage to do that. It may be that the most important skill for professional advancement is to increase our range here - learn to stop, look and listen in more and more difficult circumstances.
Stop, look and listen (and I'll add, take a deep breath - it makes you feel better) and then decide what action, if any, is helpful.
Rule 4. It's not about you.
Boomgaarden tells a story on himself that helped him gain perspective on this hard reality. As he puts it, "We are part of something much larger and that simple truth can help put what we do in perspective."
Or, as some people put it, what difference will it make in a hundred years? Whichever version makes sense to you, the reality is most of the decisions that frustrate us the most have nothing to do with us. And, our programs don't need to be perfect because we like perfection; the programs need to meet the needs of our constituents. It's not always a fun reality, but remembering that can also ease a lot of self-imposed pressure.
Rule 5. Be courageous.
Courage isn't something we think about often as we go about our daily work. Maybe it isn't even something we need every day. But the work we do can be very challenging, especially when we have to tell someone 'no' or deliver hard news, or work on a project with colleagues who see the world very differently than we do. It really does take courage to express yourself. It may also take courage to refrain from that expression.
So there we are. Five simple rules. Perhaps you’ll think they’re worth remembering too.
Be in the “know” about our university’s smoking policy…
Did you know it also pertains to common paths of travel?
Smoking is permitted outside any building as long as it is 20 feet or more from the entryway, doorway or common path of travel, with one exception:
At the Recreation and Wellness Center, the permissible smoking distance is 100 feet from any outside entrance or doorway. This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, and visitors.
See http://utsa.edu/hop/chapter9/9-36.cfm for more information.
Call for Commencement StaffingDear University Colleagues,
As you all know, Fall Commencement is just around the corner. This is a time of great celebration for the entire campus community and a chance to acknowledge the students who have dedicated so much to graduate from UTSA! Please help us make the upcoming commencement ceremonies the best.In order to make this joyous event run like clockwork, we need you to sign up to provide staffing at one or more of the five ceremonies held on December 18, 19, and 20. The dates/times are listed below. Faculty members and college staff members have already been requested to participate in providing staffing.
We would appreciate it if you would choose one or more of the times below and e-mail John Kaulfus by Monday, December 8, 2008 at email@example.com to schedule your time(s). Your final assignment(s) will be e-mailed to you on Monday, December 15, by 5 p.m.
Please Note: Employees who are authorized to work during one of the Fall commencement ceremonies and who work beyond their regular work schedules will be compensated as indicated below. Since working one of these ceremonies may result in accruing compensatory time, approval from your supervisor is required. Supervisors must ensure that any compensatory time earned by employees is recorded on the employee timesheet and DEFINE.
- Classified non-exempt employees are eligible for federal overtime and/or state comp time.
- Classified exempt employees are eligible for state comp time.
- Administrative and Professional are not eligible to earn compensatory time.
For questions to determine compensable time, please contact the Human Resources Department at 458-5771 or 458-6647.
Commencement Staffing Needs:
Saturday, December 20 – Ceremony #4 (COLFA II & COB I)
11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. - 6 staff still needed
Saturday, December 20 – Ceremony #5 (COB II & COA)
3:30-7:30 p.m. - 6 staff still needed
Thank you all so much for your time and dedication to UTSA.
Dr. Gage E. Paine
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Texas at San Antonio
Business Procedures Tips
Small dollar amount reimbursements for items purchased by staff can cost the university more in processing time and costs than the actual reimbursement.
Instead, we recommend using a departmental ProCard for this type of purchase. Using the ProCard for these purchases is more efficient, staff won’t have to wait for reimbursements, and is a “cleaner” transaction. (Additionally, if something has to be returned/exchanged, then there is no issue of reimbursing UTSA who reimbursed an employee.)
If you have a business procedures tip, please email Bob.Miller@utsa.edu
Just in Time for the Holidays….Campus Rec will be selling gift
certificates for massage therapy and swim/stroke lessons. If you
are interested in purchasing swim lessons please contact Nicole
Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org, or Steve Kudika
email@example.com for massage therapy information.
Campus Recreation is also gathering information for spring and summer fairs and appearances. Please email Amy Dalrymple: firstname.lastname@example.org with any requests or information
Watch Alert from the UTSA Police Department
Subject: Burglary of vehicles
Date: Nov. 13, 2008
Alert # CW2008-003
The UTSA Police Department wants to alert the university community to an increase in the number of vehicle break-ins (burglary of motor vehicle) at the 1604 Campus. Most of the vehicle break-ins have occurred during daylight hours in the commuter parking lots. Please be aware of suspicious activity and follow these suggestions to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime:
DON'T LEAVE VALUABLES IN PLAIN VIEW -- Don't make your vehicle a more desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight. Most of the recent burglaries have involved this.
LOCK YOUR VEHICLE -- Approximately 20 percent of all vehicles broken into on campus were left unlocked.
COMPLETELY CLOSE VEHICLE WINDOWS WHEN PARKING -- Don't make it easier for a thief to enter your vehicle.
ENGRAVE AND RECORD INFORMATION ON EXPENSIVE ACCESSORIES -- Engrave personal ID numbers on vehicle stereos, cell phones and other electronic items so a thief will have difficulty selling them.
View a UTSA Police Department safety video (select “Parking Lot Safety Tips"):
If you observe suspicious activity that makes you think someone is committing a crime, immediately call UTSAPD at (210) 458-4911. An officer will be dispatched to the location to determine if a crime is being committed. Suspicious activity includes looking into vehicles, roaming the lots for unknown reasons or vehicles passing up legitimate parking spaces.
CRIME WATCH ALERT EMERGENCIES – CALL (210) 458-4911
Non-emergencies: (210) 458-4242
View video of SECC show 'UTSA's Got Talent'
"UTSA's Got Talent 2008"
The second annual "UTSA's Got Talent" spotlighted employee performances Oct. 24 at the 1604 and Downtown campuses. Employees received tickets to the show by donating to the university's State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC), which benefits more than 500 nonprofit agencies.
UTSAToday Article... with realplayer video...
Pizza Celebration (PDF)
HUB Recognition Program on November 18
Honors Student Affairs Staff
Congratulations to Patricia Patnode, Cindy White and Maria Smeltzer, Student Affairs staff who were chosen the top three HUB Small Dollar Employee Advocates of the Year.
Photo: Dr. Gage Paine (2nd from left) with award recipients: (L-R) Patricia Patnode, Cindy White and Maria Smeltzer.
Some exciting news about Risk Education, Alcohol and Drug Programs:
Be A Responsible Roadrunner Consultant and President Mayllyn Luz (L) and Kelsey Bratcher (R) attended the BACCHUS Network General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio November 12-17, 2008. UTSA was selected with two honors at this National Convention!
Student, Mayllyn Luz was selected as the BACCHUS Network Area 6 (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and Arkansas) Student Advisory Committee Student Chair.
During the Assembly Awards Banquet, Be A Responsible Roadrunner won Outstanding Creative Publicity for an Event with Keep It Dry.
Keep It Dry shower tags were distributed throughout Laurel Village and Chaparral Village prior to the fall student move in. Each resident shower had a tag that shared the “Keep It Dry” message and the Housing Alcohol Policy.
On Move In Day, Be A Responsible Roadrunner Consultants provided a booth that explained more about the Keep It Dry campaign. Consultants answered questions from students and parents about the alcohol policy and violations.
The Keep It Dry campaign was made possible through the collaboration of Be A Responsible Roadrunner and Campus Housing along with a grant awarded by UMADD and the Carmax Foundation.
Adopt a Family – Reminder & Request! an>
UTSA Student Affairs adopted 21 families this holiday season! Please remember to bring your gifts and donations to the VOICES/Volunteer Services Office (UCIII 1.216) beginning December 8th and no later than December 10th at noon.
Due to the overwhelming (and truly inspiring) response, drivers are needed to help take items to the Family Service Association Wednesday, December 10th at 2:00pm.
If you have an SUV or truck and could volunteer an hour or so of your time, please email me! Additionally, if your department has several large items and you have someone willing to deliver your department’s items sometime that day, please contact me and I will get you the directions and information.
Please contact Jennifer Lilly (458-4770) or Misty Kelley (458-4160) with any questions. Thank you again for your generosity and participation!
Student Affairs Continuing Education Committee
The Student Affairs Continuing Education Team is working hard to provide Student Affairs staff with educational resources and training opportunities. Our goal is to offer a one-day conference-style workshop in the spring that will provide staff with opportunities for professional development. The purpose of this survey is to determine what topics would be of most interest to you and to determine which month would be most suitable for you to attend. Please complete this quick survey by next Tuesday, December 9, 2008.
This is a short, five-question survey, so please take the time to complete it so that we can best meet your needs.
Thank you for your time and input.
Eric Cooper and Joe DeCristoforo on behalf of the Student Affairs Continuing Education Team
TRUE COLORS(C) - Keys to Professional Success in Student Affairs Update
The Education Team has held 14 True Colors (c) workshops this fall. Over 350 staff members have attended to date. The last class this semester is scheduled for Dec 18 and a make-up class will held in January.
Comments from participants:
Which part did you find the most valuable?
- The value of each color
- Self assessment
- All the colorful conversation!
- Conversations among tables, entire groups
- Learning what my co-workers are
- A better understanding
- Others' personality- understand group
- Learning to blend the colors
- Creating a color-based environment
- It was fun!
Here are some examples of class participation and activities…Photo Gallery.....
UTSA Staff Council Minutes (PDF) – October 23, 2008
Student Regent Benjamin L. Dower visited the UTSA campus on November 24
Benjamin Dower, a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Student Regent on The University of Texas System Board of Regents, has actively participated in Student Government.
Dower has served as a member of the UT System Student Advisory Council and on the UT Dallas Tuition and Fee, Student Fee, Parking and Transportation Committees.Photo: (L-R) Fabian Vasquez, SGA Treasurer; Christina Gomez, SGA President; Derek Bell, SGA Secretary, Christian Menefee, SGA Vice President, and Benjamin Dower.
Joseph Granado is Student Leader of the Month
The UTSA Office of Student Activities announces junior biology major Joseph Granado was selected as the LeadUTSA Student Leader of the Month for October. Congratulations and thank you to Joseph for being an active member of the UTSA community.
UTSAToday ... (Nov. 21, 2008)--
UTSA changes federal financial aid application process
The University of Texas at San Antonio will change the way it processes federal student loans beginning with financial aid awarded for the 2009-2010 academic year. UTSA will become a direct-lending school through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program.
UTSAToday…..(Nov. 19, 2008)
Student Affairs Name Tag Story
I was heading home last night and decided to stop and get something to eat. My name tag was still prominently displayed on my shirt. As I stopped at the drive-through window, the young man saw my name tag and excitedly told me about his plans to start school at UTSA in the fall.
He has already been admitted and is in the process of completing his Financial Aid form. We talked for a few minutes - fortunately there was no one right behind me in line - and I welcomed him to UTSA.
Even when we're not on-campus we can serve as a positive influence to future students.
Housing and Residence Life Has Open House
Thursday, December 11, 2008
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Laurel Village Conference Room
UTSA to hold Toys for Tots drive at Saturday's women's basketball game Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Release: 12/04/08 Story....
UTSA Spotlight: Laura Groff inducted into Jefferson High School hall of fame UTSAToday....
All Sport Schedule - Area Events
Sat, Dec 6
San Antonio, Texas
Thu, Dec 18
at Edinburg, Texas
Sat, Dec 27
San Antonio, Texas
Mon, Dec 29
Point vs. Prairie View A&M
San Antonio, Texas
Mon, Dec 29
San Antonio, Texas
Title: Senior Editor
Department: Office of University Publications
I edit the university magazine, Sombrilla, and a bunch of other jobs that come through our office. Our office helps create periodicals including the research magazine, Discovery; COLFA’s annual magazine, Ovations; the College of Business annual report; and the quarterly AlumniNotes. Every semester I work with Dr. Graham and the Graduation Coordination Office on the commence-ment program, which is fun but also stressful: that’s a lot of names to get right.
I am an Alabama native. Four generations of my family have attended Auburn University—War Eagle!—so I feel right at home at UTSA where the school colors also are orange and blue (though my family and friends back home are continually amazed that I work at a Division I school with 28,000 students that doesn’t have a football team, yet). After college, I studied magazine publishing at New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute. My husband and I met when we were both working at the now-defunct Birmingham Post-Herald. He grew up in Texas and talked me into moving here. I often feel like Elizabeth Taylor’s character in “Giant,” thought Liz eventually did get the hang of being a Texan, didn’t she? I love San Antonio, but even after being here 10 years, I still don’t think of myself at a Texan. I expect to spend the rest of my career here, but I will never own a bumper sticker that says, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!” Please don’t buy me one as a joke.
My first real job in communications was at a biweekly community newspaper. After two weeks on the job, when I had reorganized all the wedding and engagement announcements into one file, my boss recognized my attention to detail and decided I was editor material, so I became an editor.
In my career, I’ve written stories about debutantes, Chernobyl victims, treehouses, clotheslines, tornado survivors, public restrooms, rock bands, civil rights leaders, people named after Bear Bryant, etc. Two of my favorite interviews of all time were the researcher who taught Koko the gorilla how to communicate in sign language and the designer who made custom furniture for Marilyn Monroe. For a period of time, I ghost-wrote a society column because the actual society editor was, for various reasons, rather unreliable. I’ve been yelled at by restaurant owners, building contractors, members of the Junior League, one woman who named her son after Bear Bryant, another woman who named her daughter WarEagle, and once, a Methodist minister.
Before joining UTSA in 2000, I freelanced as a writer for a year and hated it because I need to have my fingers in the whole editorial process. I interviewed for editor jobs at UTSA and another company here in town and chose UTSA because it was important to me to work someplace that was an integral and contributing part of the community, not just a place that happened to be located in San Antonio but could easily uproot and move its headquarters to another city.
Describe your job:
No matter the stereotype of the nutty professor, I find the Ph.D.s at UTSA far less ornery that most Junior League members, so I think I have it pretty good here.
What is the most unusual job related case you have worked on?
I feel like every project that comes through our office is unique and that no job is too small. Remember those three-sided, promotional pens that had the name of one of the UTSA campuses on each side? The first batch got sent back to the vendor because they had misspelled ITC as the Institute of Texas Cultures.
A lot of people would be surprised to know that, as a former food editor, I get a big kick out of proofreading the dinner menu for the President’s Dinner every year.
As far as the most unusual thing we’ve done in Sombrilla, it might have been the dog story we did in 2003. A lot of people might think, quite understandably, that devoting six pages to faculty members and their dogs was a waste of space in a university magazine. I think our alumni readers probably got a kick out of knowing that the professor who gave them such a hard time in his Shakespeare class has a huge soft spot for Yorkies.
What job skills to you use most often?
Participating in Gage Paine’s First Tuesday Conversations Series definitely has helped me to improve my listening skills, which obviously is crucial for interviewing sources for your stories. Like everyone else who works here at UTSA, I have more that I want to do than I can get done in my workday. So I used to try very hard to limit my time interviewing people based on how long the actual article was going to be; I’d get my predetermined list of questions answered and then I was out of there. Now, I’ve learned not to rush through my interviews because you never know what you might learn if you just shut up and listen.
There are so many great stories at UTSA. Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing George E. Norton, assistant vice president for admissions, because this semester George defended his dissertation and will be graduating with his doctorate in educational leadership during the December commencement ceremonies. George’s story is a neat one because he actually began work on a doctoral degree at another university years ago and decided after coming to work at UTSA that he really wanted to finish it; I think that’s a great precedent for an administrator to set. My story about George will be one of the Commencement Closeup stories that will be posted on UTSA Today. It’s very humbling when you think that George is just one of more than two dozen doctoral candidates who will graduate this month, and just one of several thousand students who will walk the stage this commencement. So there are thousands upon thousands of great stories that come through this university, and I wish we had the resources to tell more of them.
How do you unwind?
I read as much as I can. I think you have to be a good reader to be a good writer. I majored in English in college simply so that I would get to do a lot of reading. My favorite job I ever had was as a clerk at Tower Books in Tacoma, Wash. I was in charge of the true crime, young adult and puzzle book sections. I like to think that if I’d stayed, I would have worked my way up to the literature section. Ah, well. Instead, I pored my energies into making sure we had the best true crime section in the city. True crime is really popular in Washington State, probably because of Ann Rule, Ted Bundy, the Green River Killer and other connections. Plus, anyone who’s ever hiked alone in the dreary, damp woods in Washington knows what a spooky setting it is. Any “Twilight” or “Twin Peaks” fans?
Shashi Pinheiro just loaned me “A Suitable Boy,” which is almost 1,500 pages long and should keep me busy through Christmas.
When I don’t have my nose buried in a book, I’m learning, with my 21-month-old son, about the infinite joys of playing with sticks and rocks in the back yard. And teaching him to be a reader, too. Every night before bedtime, we go outside to say goodnight to the moon. And I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that his bedroom is decorated with an alphabet theme; this kid will know how to spell.
What advice would you give to other Student Affairs staff?
Never forget—no matter how many times you hear the words “premier public research university”—that the university is all about people. Behind every lab, center, program, initiative, project, etc., there’s a real live human being who has a story to tell. And the students you serve are the lifeblood of our community—even though they get the worst parking spaces.
Thank You Rowdy has a special mission in Student Affairs - to travel across UTSA recognizing the good work of staff members. Within the Division of Student Affairs, Thank You Rowdy is presented from one Student Affairs staff member to another in recognition and appreciation of work done well - taking extra assignments to provide support, offering unsolicited assistance, or completing tasks in a unique way.
Whatever the situation, contributions like this are made every day and Thank You Rowdy helps us recognize them.
Thank you Rowdy reflects UTSA's spirit of community and reminds us to remember it takes everyone to make UTSA a great place to work and to learn.
- Gage Paine
Curtis Odle reads Thank You Rowdy's Message to Mary Smeltzer and Norma Scalf
Residence Life Team and Thank You Rowdy Recipients (L-R): Audrey Lallier, Adrianna Alicia-Rodriguez, Ryan Jesberger, Lennon Prothro-Jones, Mary Smeltzer, Curtis Odle, Norma Scalf, Jennifer Fueglein, and Em Delarosa
To: Norma Scalf and Mary Smeltzer
Dear Norma and Mary,
You are awarded the Thank You Rowdy from the housing team of University Oaks, Chisholm Hall, Laurel and Chaparral Village. Thank you for all your help with everything related to the Student Life Office.
Mary - Thank you specifically for all of your coordination with judicial affairs matters and being so prompt to answer questions, manage follow-up issues, and help out with schedules.
Norma – Thank you for your bright personality and smile even over the phone. You are always patient and willing to assist with anything from the critical to the mundane.
Having such helpful administrative staff in the Student Life Office helps the housing team better serve our residents.
The Residence Life Team:
Laurel & Chaparral Village – Em Delarosa, Erik Stein, Audrey Lallier, Ryan Jesberger, Adrianna Alicia-Rodriguez
University Oaks & Chisholm Hall – Curtis Odle, Christina Garcia, Jennifer Fueglein, Lennon Prothro-Jones
Kudos from VP Research area for a late add-on event in the UC!
Thank you for saving the day with the e Polycom videoconference from BSE 2.102 to the UCIII Hidalgo Room 2.214! Attendance was double what we had planned. It helped immensely that we could offer seating in another location. We learned to arrange for overflow seating, just in case.
Thank you for the above-and-beyond, excellent customer service!
Kelly Ann Kam-Watson
From Anne C. (Macintosh) Speights, Office of the Registrar:
A number of people worked with me in a collaborative effort. Our "true colors" worked together to help this former student who is in Denmark. She had a different name while a student, and her date of birth was incorrectly input. She had problems in 2004 at the time of her last request with us, and, with Karen's great record keeping and follow up, she contacted Jennifer R. Bigler (first hired in Records at UTSA and is now in Admissions). Jennifer contacted, me, and with help from others, we pulled everything together to receive this nice thank you that should be shared:
This is just to let you know that the transcripts arrived today, so once the data was set-up in the system it was extremely quick. I am eternally grateful for your assistance and persistence with obtaining the desired results and wish to extend a very heartfelt and huge thank you. I have to add that it is so rare one gets the kindness in the wording that you use in your e-mails which gives the feeling of genuine interest and which is now cemented by these results.
If I ever return to San Antonio I'll pay the school a visit and come to thank you personally.It was always difficult for me to find time to exercise while I was working full time and keeping up with my MBA courses, but I have been a patron of the recreational facility since I earned my degree in 2005. I have witnessed the expansion of the facility and what has remained a constant is the high level of customer service regardless of any obstacles posed by construction or otherwise.
I usually visit the facility at 6:00 AM and I am always greeted by a cheerful student-worker. I find it amazing that they are able to employ students year after year that seem to care about their position. If I ever have any problem, the morning supervisor, Mike Garza, not only takes care of the problem but recognizes and addresses any inconvenience caused by the problem.
I am glad that facilities director, Laura Munroe, realizes the importance of hiring a very capable staff and their training is evident in the day to day operations of the facility. It is refreshing to see that students who normally take a lackadaisical approach to jobs seem to enjoy working at the wellness centers. This attitude is especially welcome since it is how I begin my day.
I support my alma mater as much as possible and I am glad that the institution that I support still contributes to my everyday well-being. Let me know if I can be of any help.
Jose Rodriguez, P.E.
Many thanks to Gerard Bustos, Hermilo Silva, and the rest of the Distance Learning Team for their usual excellent and professional producing talents-- this time for the SECC Campaign's “ You Got Talent” program.
It enabled Student Affairs to showcase our exceedingly talented staff—singing American standards, lip syncing 60’s tunes, performing ballroom dancing, hip hop dancing, and performing magic. We had a great time and raised funds for worthy causes. Thanks also for providing the video for those who were not able to attend. You guys are the best!
- Student Affairs Staff