Friday, March 27, 2009

Reflections on Communications

Dear FAS Colleagues:

I hear our FAS Division meeting held Wednesday was yet another huge success! My sincere thanks and appreciation to Mary Hinchman and her Brightest, Finest, Stars; Katy Rees, Sara Quinn, Russ Decker, Dan Zorn and the Accounting and Technology Services team. A very wise mentor who guided me in my early days as a leader shared with me the following:

“The test of how well your organization runs is not how it operates when you are there, but how it operates when you are not there. “

I knew the meeting would be fantastic and thought about everyone while I was at the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. Even though I found the BOT meeting to be an interesting experience (and will share some thoughts later), I did miss everyone and look forward to our next division meeting. J

I would like to congratulate Ed Johnson, Dean Manship and Steve Holbrook for winning the State of California’s energy efficiency campaign “Flex Your Power” award in the category of Peak Demand Response. They recognized the opportunities on our campus to reduce peak power use and protect California’s power grid during times of high demand by shifting loads, shutting down systems and taking immediate conservation actions. The result….a 9% savings in peak demand. Congratulations to Ed, Dean and Steve!

Our MPP Award to Staff recipients for this meeting were Mary Kollmeyer and Yasuko Shirakawa. As a member of the Parking and Commuter Services team, Mary makes sure the financials are in order and as a self-support operation, those pennies count! The leaders in her area commend Mary for establishing a high level of trust with many campus staff as well as the numerous vendors she interacts with on a regular basis. For her professionalism and humor, I congratulate Mary and am proud to say she is “one of us”.

What would life be like if we didn’t understand our benefits? It is easy to calculate your salary; the benefits are a bit more complicated and Yasuko understands it all! Our campus’s implementation of the PeopleSoft module Benefits Administration went live in September 2008 without as much as a hiccup due to Yasuko’s analytical skills to ensure that instead of “garbage in, garbage out”, we had “data in, reliable information out”. Congratulations Yasuko!

I also want to acknowledge Deb Schmidt of Parking and Commuter Services for her recent award given by the SANDAG Board of Directors for her work as the Commuter Coordinator for CSUSM. She has built momentum on campus for carpooling, vanpooling, biking and the use of public transportation by students, staff and faculty. On behalf of CSUSM, Deb will receive SANDAG’s 7th Annual Diamond Award. We are very proud of you, Deb, and keep up the great work!

Switching gears, I would like to share a few thoughts on the CSU Board of Trustees. The meeting this week was my first experience and it was definitely unique. I did get a few stares as I sat in Dr. Haynes’ chair which were both amusing and entertaining. I think I even saw a few individuals put their glasses on to be sure President Haynes didn’t change her hair color or somehow get a little taller.

I can share the following:

- The Chancellor’s Office and the Board of Trustees do care about students, staff and faculty.
- They understand the mission of the CSU and regularly visit campuses to interact with the campus community to learn about the opportunities and challenges we face with growing demand and shrinking state support.
- Campus presidents are present at every BOT meeting to answer questions and share success stories…this meeting focused on services to former foster youth, remediation, and EOP. CSUSM has programs in all three areas that were shared as part of the presentations.
The CSU is facing unprecedented budget challenges; however, we continue to move forward!

Lastly, the BOT approved the schematic design for our future Parking/Police Services building! Congratulations to Russ Decker, Brad Fenton, Belinda Garcia, Chief Hackenberg, Robert Williams and of course, Ms. Dora Knoblock (who will always be associated with Parking) for their leadership in designing a building that will be an anchor for the east side of the campus and a gateway from the Sprinter station.

Happy spring break everyone!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Excitement….Did I Miss Out?

For the month of February, our guiding principle was excitement. So, VP Hawk, where is your blog on excitement? I guess I was so busy participating in exciting events on campus that before I knew it, we were already in March. However, I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to share my thoughts and perspectives on excitement so here we go….

Speaking of exciting activities on campus, the proposed University Student Union project has been receiving a lot of attention from faculty, staff and students. For those of you who were able to come out to an open forum, I appreciate your time and be sure to send us your feedback since we want to hear from all the voices around the table. There is a wealth of valuable information about the project at
www.csusm/usu so please visit the site and provide us with your thoughts using the online feedback form.

How do we create excitement in our work groups? The places most exciting to go visit are those we have yet to see. The questions most intriguing are those to which we have yet to find the answers. This is as true of a departmental meeting as it is of a vacation. The attraction to and avoidance of the unknown excites our energy.

Work groups often rise to the challenge of working together to meet a plan or cooperatively to execute a strategy. In our hectic world, even being able to complete a meeting on time with all agenda items covered can be exciting! However, even though energy is generated, it does not compare to stepping off the edge of our organizational map into unchartered territory. Doing this with a group of committed people can be a life-altering experience. The unknown is a reliable source of individual and group energy—not comfortable, but reliable. Many people respond to the excitement, the mystery, the fear, the possibility that the unknown offers. Our collective challenge is not only to generate the excitement but to release it.

Think about those things around us that have brought excitement….what is it about them that made everyone come alive? Pay attention to those things that bring life to you and your work groups such as a new University Student Union; the potential to build student housing through a public/private partnership; a weekly Farmer’s Market on campus; winning Recyclemania for the 5th year in a row; or participation in the Leadership Academy. Discover what excites you and your work groups by bring those ideas to work and making them a reality.