November 2012 Archives

Your feet (yes, your feet) matter

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If you have a propensity for wearing sky high heels or summer sandals during a Minnesota winter, your toes may be in need of some serious TLC. You probably weren't aware that a case of chronically swollen feet could actually be an indicator of something serious, like a cardiovascular problem or infection. Here are seven ways for employees to protect their feet. Thanks to OCM's Paula Seeger for suggesting this topic.

The People in Your Neighborhood: Lindsey Konerza

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Lindsey Konerza considers herself a sports nut. She loves hockey, including the Minnesota Wild and the Gophers. In fact, she loves hockey so much that she says one of the reasons she married her husband, Jake, was because of his mutual love for the sport. "I was destined to marry someone who loves hockey as much as I do," Lindsey joked.

Lindsey and her husband will be married six years in January. "Our anniversary is January 13," Lindsey said. "I noticed one day that all of our major anniversaries fall on Friday the 13th. Hopefully, that's not a bad sign." Lindsey and Jake don't have any kids or pets right now, but will "hopefully someday." Right now, they live in Lindsey's home town of Woodbury.

Lindsey.jpg

She also loves Nascar and Indy racing. She has visited the Michigan International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway and also saw the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma County, California.

Lindsey is also an avid runner. For the past five years, she has done the Grandma's half marathon in Duluth with her husband and father-in-law. They are members at two wineries in Washington State and the Alexander Valley region of California. She also enjoys reading, cooking, remodeling her house (which just got a brand new kitchen), bowling, golf, and traveling. She would like to remind everyone that the U of M staff bowling league and golf league are always looking for new members!

Music is also a big part of Lindsey's life. Her husband is a music buyer for Target Corporation, which means that they often get to sample the local music scene. Some memorable moments so far have been Alabama Shakes at First Ave, Zac Brown Band at Target Center...and of course don't forget Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw at the first ever concert at Target Field.

Lindsey graduated from UMD with a degree in biology and chemistry. She recently completed her certification in project management from the College for Continuing Education, which helped her to get a new job in Financial Aid-Information Technology (FA-IT)

Before beginning at the University, Lindsey worked at Metropolitan State University in their Financial Aid Office.

In 2004, Lindsey started working in ASR. Originally, she started out as a One Stop Counselor and moved on to become a Financial Aid Counselor working under Larry Bloom in the Office of Student Finance. About two months ago, Lindsey was hired into one of the backfill business analyst positions for FA-IT.

"I update the batch schedule for various communications we send out," Lindsey said. "Recently, I have been attending the Plan and Discover sessions for the PeopleSoft upgrade."

She is known in her unit as the "resident scribe." Her work focuses on issues related to the student Campus Community side, and the pages in PeopleSoft that are crossing to/from Human Resources.

"My boss at my old job used to say to me, 'financial aid picks you, you don't pick it,'" Lindsey said. "It's not like I woke up one day and said to myself, 'I want to be in financial aid.' We are a small community of people, and our main goal is to make sure we can provide for students and parents to the best of our ability and make that transition easy."

Lindsey's Laws
1. Lindsey's favorite vacation spot is Hawaii and she is going for her sixth time in March.
2. New Kids on the Block was her first concert.
3. She has many favorite books but thoroughly enjoys receiving her monthly FoodTV magazine for new recipe ideas.
4. She knows every line to the movie "Christmas Vacation." Her other favorite movies are "Amelie" and "P.S. I Love You."
5. If she could have any career, it would be a wedding/party planner.
6. Her biggest fear is heights. Though her husband would say it is flying.
7. Growing up, she thought she may have wanted to be a doctor or a dentist, but the cost of school changed her mind.
8. The last book she read was from the Shopaholics series by Sophie Kinsella.
9. She loves the tres leche cake from Cafe Latte on Grand Ave. Secretly, her favorite place to eat is IHOP.
10. If she could be any movie character, she would be the female version of Daniel Craig in James Bond.

Better Know a Unit: Communications team

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If you're in need of a few word and design savvy folks to help get your message out, look no further than ASR's communications team. They're responsible for facilitating and supporting the communication needs of all ASR units. "We treat communications like its own product," Communications Manager, Ingrid Nuttall, said.

She's not kidding. The team of six adeptly adheres to a rigorous list of clients, which includes all ASR units.

While much of the work the team handles is ongoing, they've recently completed several big projects. Graphic Designer, Sarah Hollerich, finished a series of colorful magnets depicting imaginative "monsters" that illustrate different StrengthsQuest talents. She also collaborated with Communications Coordinator, Elyse Paxton, to design flyers and brochures for the 2012 Student Veterans Appreciation Day that took place on Nov. 15.

Writer/Editor, Mandee Kuglin, developed a new ASR intranet, in conjunction with the web team, and she worked with Elyse to edit and communicate the release of the University's new scheduling tool Schedule Builder. Mandee and Sarah also launched and manage the new Live Like a Student Facebook page, which provides money-saving tips for college students. Meanwhile, Communications Coordinator, Kate Sophia, established the ESUP student project work stream website.

Juggling each client can be a challenge. "It's difficult to keep all the plates spinning," Kate said. Adapting to other units' business processes and often working under tight time constraints is also demanding for the team, as each project requires an exemplary level of creativity and attention to detail. The intricate and often complex details of financial aid are also a continuous learning experience for the Communications staff.

One of the biggest misconceptions of the team is not what you may think. "It isn't just writing well," Ingrid said. The ability to work collaboratively--often with little direction--and produce a high quality product requires innovation, imagination, and resourcefulness. The writing and/or designing is the byproduct. "We're constantly learning new ways of doing things," Kate said.

The team's diversity is ample, both in terms of personalities and approaches to work. But somehow it all works out. "We're all very different, but we all gel," Ingrid said.

Communications/OE Coordinator, Matt Tveter, agrees. "There's a genuine desire to get along and a mutual feeling of respect. No one says that something is a bad idea."

For Sarah, this type of collaborative team environment is a first. "I've never had a job like this before," she said.

Communications staff:
Ingrid Nuttall, Communications Manager
Matt Tveter, Communications/OE Coordinator
Kate Sophia, Communications Coordinator
Elyse Paxton, Communications Coordinator
Mandee Kuglin, Writer/Editor
Sarah Hollerich, Graphic Designer

Apples to... apples?

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If two words look similar and sound similar, they probably have similar meanings... right? Not always. For example, take the words "appraise" and "apprise." Only one letter is missing from the latter, so how could the two words not be close to meaning the same thing? Well, actually, appraise means to estimate the monetary value of something (appraise the value of a house, for example) or to estimate the importance of something (such as to appraise the writing of Shakespeare). Apprise, on the other hand, means to give notice to or inform (for instance, to be apprised of a friend's travel plans).

Take charge of your IDP

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Your supervisor may have mentioned doing an individual development plan (IDP), and if you haven't, now is the time to do so! It's not meant to be homework but rather a way to grow personally and professionally. Start by jotting down some of your goals for the next year or two. Ask people in similar positions (or in a position you'd like to have) about what they've done to succeed. If you're thinking of grad school, see if you can meet with an adviser or professor in the subject area you're interested in. There's no "right" way to fill out your IDP--it's up to you!

Get to know the Williamson Hall Cluster HR team

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The HR team that is part of the Williamson Hall Cluster may be small in number, but they do much to serve ASR. The unit's three staff members make up Cluster 5 of the 40+ clusters that provide finance/accounting and HR services across the University. They serve several different departments, which include Admissions, McNamara Academic Center, University Counseling and Consulting Services, University Honors Program, and ASR.

The HR team is a local partner to the central Office of Human Resources and provides services on a local level to the ASR staff and managers.

Team members Marit Gladem, HR specialist, and Olga Kavun-Wozniak, HR/Payroll cluster lead, are responsible for many tasks. "We post open positions, provide consultation during the search process, perform background checks, and meet with new employees to review policies and benefits," Marit said. They also appoint staff, maintain and update employees records in PeopleSoft, manage different types of leaves, and assist managers with performance management issues. Melissa DeWees, principal office & administrative specialist, is responsible for posting student job openings, student hiring, entering the biweekly payroll, and processing employee absence requests.

The Williamson Hall Cluster was created in 2007. Prior to that, Marit and Olga had different roles within ASR; Marit worked in the Office of Student Finance as the department's HR contact, and Olga worked in Continuity and Compliance. Melissa joined the cluster in 2008, shortly after the cluster was formed. "The purpose of the cluster was to support one or two large departments, as well as a few smaller ones, to help provide more adequate HR staffing." Olga said. In addition to HR, the Williamson Hall Cluster also provides finance/accounting services and has four accounting employees.

The team is most busy with recruiting efforts and the hiring of student workers in April for summer employment. The month before school starts in the fall is also hectic. Fortunately, their work is mostly steady rather than having the peaks and valleys that other positions may experience.

Keeping track of changing policies, procedures, and benefits is the biggest challenge the team faces. That, and helping employees understand that the HR staff are not the rule makers. "We're just the enforcers," Marit said.

And sometimes being the enforcer is a delicate matter. "It's hard because we act as employee advocates, but we also support management," Olga said. "We really have our feet in both worlds."

Each of the five departments that the unit serves has its own set of policies and procedures, which the team must continuously be aware of. For example, ASR places a strong emphasis on professional development. As such, after six months of employment, ASR employees are allowed four hours per week to use to attend a class on campus. This is harder for smaller departments to do, however, because of coverage loss.

But, at the end of the day, it's all about making life as easy as possible for employees. "The best part of my job," Marit said, "is knowing that you helped someone, and that person didn't have to go to five different places to find the answer."

HR staff:
Marit Gladem, HR Specialist
Olga Kavun-Wozniak, HR/Payroll Cluster Lead
Melissa DeWees, Principal Office & Administrative Specialist

The new ASR intranet is live!

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Thank you for your feedback regarding the re-vamped ASR intranet. The site is now live and ready for your use. If you lose track of this link, you'll find the site shared with you under the "Sites" link (next to Calendar) as part of your delivered Google suite of apps. Work to redesign the ASR website into a tool primarily for external audiences will begin in the coming months. Questions about the intranet can be directed to Ingrid Nuttall.

Your help needed at the ASR staff event

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The Development Team is looking for volunteers to help facilitate a strategic thinking exercise at the ASR staff event on December 12. Don't worry, it doesn't involve speaking in front of everyone. Each table will be engaging in a hands-on activity related to the future of higher education and the team needs some volunteers to help make that activity a success. Volunteers will be invited to a brief information session in advance of the event so they know what is expected of them. If you are willing to help, please contact Ingrid Nuttall by November 21.

University turns on all Google higher ed apps

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Google recently released Google Higher Ed apps, and the University has now turned them on for use. If you haven't noticed their availability yet, take a peek. Click on the "More" button on top of your Google email account. If you have any questions, OIT's 1-Help is available to help.

Here are three apps we discovered that may make life just a bit easier:

Bookmarks
Unlike web page favorites that are stored on your computer, Google Bookmarks are stored in the cloud like the rest of your Google Account and can be accessed from any internet accessible computer.

Reader
Google Reader allows you to subscribe to your favorite websites, and new content comes to your Google Reader when it's posted, so you don't need to visit individual sites.

Photos
This is a handy way to upload photos for an assignment or project you're working on. You can choose whether the photos are public or only available to select people.

Check out these apps when you have a chance, and if you find one that's particularly helpful, email us, and we'll publish your tip in a future issue of News & Notes.

People in your neighborhood: Collin Haas

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Originally from Anoka, Minnesota, Collin Haas has three siblings: one older brother and sister and one younger brother. His two older siblings are from his dad's first marriage, and they all live in the Twin Cities area.

Right now, Collin lives in Minneapolis. Collin and his boyfriend recently adopted a Shiba Inu puppy named Dallas. You may even know Collin's boyfriend, Jason Matheson. He is the co-anchor of the FOX 9 weekday morning show, "The Morning Buzz" and host of the "Jason & Alexis" show on the radio station MyTalk 107.1.

"I go along with him on public appearances a lot," Collin said. "It can be a little exhausting, because most weekends are busy."

When Collin listens to the radio show, he will occasionally hear his own name. "He does talk about me on air sometimes," Collin said. "It's interesting. I don't mind it, though."

One year ago, Collin joined ASR as a One Stop counselor. "I help students with any issues or questions they have related to financial aid, billing, and registration," Collin said. "It's nice when you help a student realize what types of aid are available to them that they didn't know about."

Collin also serves on the Strategic Operation Plan committee for One Stop. The committee, consisting of various One Stop staff, meets every other week and each member also serves on a subcommittee with other counselors. Then, the Strategic Operation Plan committee shares what the smaller subcommittees have been working on. "We address issues like employee morale/satisfaction, training/hiring, organizational effectiveness/efficiency, scheduling, and clearly defining policy/procedures and designing a protocol for unique situations," Collin said. "We then work as a group to implement ideas to improve these areas within One Stop."

When Collin first started last November, he worked in the STSS location. But, this July when the new One Stop location opened up, Collin moved over to 160 Williamson along with Jenny Scherber. Since then, Collin has been helping more Graduate Students and now works with Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) staff pretty closely. "I'm a junior GSSP staff member," Collin joked.

Before beginning to work at the U, Collin worked at US Bank as a teller: a job that often sparked some awkward moments. "People tell you more than you need to know about themselves," Collin said.

Growing up, Collin wanted to be a pilot. "I love to fly," he said. "If I could have one superpower it would be to fly."

When Collin isn't working, he enjoys "lazy weekend days where I just watch a lot of 80's movies," he said.

He also loves music. Collin's everyday music of choice are artists like Michael Buble, Jack Johnson, and Ingrid Michaelson. But he also holds a soft spot for artists such as Lady Gaga and Adele. "Any diva will do it for me, really," he said.

Collin even went to Lady Gaga's concert last year and sat in the front row. "It was so amazing," he said. "It was the craziest show I've ever been to."

Collin's Clues:
1. Collin knows every line from the movie Titanic.
2. He loves spicy food, especially Mexican.
3. His first concert was Green Day.
4. If he could be any movie character for a day, he'd be Spiderman.
5. New York City is Collin's favorite vacation spot. "It's my home away from home," he said. "It's only as big as you make it."
6. Collin used to do theater.
7. The "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling and the "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown are two of his favorite books.
8. He wants to be a publicist.
9. Collin is afraid of wide, dark, open spaces and snakes.
10. One Halloween, Collin dressed up as Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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