Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest Blogger: Dora Knoblock

I have asked each of my FAS Leadership Council members to guest blog regarding their three commitments. Dora Knoblock is the first guest blogger, sharing her thoughts for improving the workforce.

What does it mean to act? When we act, we deliberately and knowingly do something. Our actions can be positive or negative, but our actions always result in an outcome.

When VP Hawk asked her leadership team to commit to three things they would each improve upon in the coming year, the acronym A.C.T. seemed fitting: ACCESSIBILITY, CELEBRATE and TEAMWORK. What outcome can we hope to achieve by following these three simple guidelines?

When we are accessible to our co-workers and those who report to us, we effectively say “You are important and what you have to say is important.” We keep the lines of communication open, which in turn fosters trust, respect and collaboration. We send a clear message that “you” really do matter and “your” actions are valued.

When we take the time to celebrate our victories and to commemorate both small and large, we are making a statement that top-notch service is important and that our day-to-day activities do count. We acknowledge our coworkers and recognize that each of us has something important to contribute. We are proud of our accomplishments and staying on top of our game. We say, “We want to be the best!”

When we create an environment that fosters teamwork, the benefits are well worth it. If we embrace teamwork rather than resist it, we find that our communications and working relationships are strengthened and creativity thrives. We allow ourselves to be comfortable taking reasonable risks in communicating and taking action. A group can capitalize on the individual and special strengths of each member, blending them to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and genuine engagement in the team’s purpose. Teamwork offers us the opportunity to develop trust. Effective team members understand that having respect for themselves and others in their group is vital to the success of the team, and to sustain the team’s momentum. These skills spill benefits into our lives outside of work too. After all, none of us are in this game of life alone!

What would it look and feel like if each of us were to commit to these A.C.T. principles and how would it translate into a better overall picture of our shared workplace, our “pioneer-spirited” campus, and our personal reputations? As we begin yet another year, this is a perfect time to ponder what it is we most want to accomplish, what new opportunities lie ahead and what outcome we would like to see and then make a conscious choice to base our actions accordingly—to A.C.T. because these three simple guidelines really do matter. Make it an awesome 2011!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Committed to Improving our Workplace

Since the October Division Meeting was the last time we all came together, I thought it would be beneficial to follow up regarding the Values Survey and my three commitments for improving the workplace. As you may recall, during the division meeting, I, along with each AVP, shared what we will do to improve our work environment based off of the Values Survey results. To refresh everyone’s memories, my three commitments are:
  • I am committed to getting out more, having more department visits to see how you all are doing
  • I am committed to coaching and mentoring all my current and aspiring managers to be strong leaders 
  • I am committed to providing professional growth opportunities, when and where possible
I’m dedicated to achieving these commitments and improving our workplace, and I’d like to share with you how things have been going so far.

Back in October, I began meeting 1:1 with all of the managers within FAS as well as meeting collectively with each department’s staff members. I have met with all managers within FAS, and I will continue meeting with each department until I have met with every group within the division. These meetings should conclude by the end of the year and will open up time for me to have more unscheduled department visits to see how all of you are doing. During both the manager meetings and the staff meetings, I have received open and honest feedback, and I certainly have enjoyed the opportunity to hear from each of you, listen to your concerns and feedback, and share information with you. Being able to understand your perspectives and see your work environment through your eyes has been more valuable than I can express.

As I have mentioned during the meetings, I will not be sharing the details of the feedback, but please know I appreciate the honest feedback, and

I heard you.

I will be using your feedback to help me coach and mentor current and aspiring managers to be strong leaders, to help me support my leadership team, as well as ensure I am dedicated to supporting the professional growth opportunities, as possible.

I look forward to working with all of you, as we transform the workplace!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How Green Can We Go?

Over the past six years, CSUSM has made great strides in energy conservation and reducing the carbon footprint of the campus. The energy management team has had some notable achievements as they have invested their time in making CSUSM a green campus. And “Going Green” is no easy feat, as it takes incredible planning and a portfolio approach, which looks at the entire campus to ensure every aspect is considered when new programs are developed as well as ensures that those programs and planning efforts are appropriately diversified.
Energy Management has celebrated some huge successes over the past few years, especially with the renovations of the Central Plant. This renovation has enabled the Central Plant to increase its capacity so much so that the expansion will easily and quickly pay for itself in energy savings. The anticipated energy savings was 20% from the project however, last year, the energy savings was 33% which equated to approximately $1,000,000 in avoided costs at last years utility rates. The avoided costs will be less this year since the utility rates have also decreased even though the energy savings will be the same.

In addition to the Central Plant expansion, the energy management crew was busy with several other energy saving projects, such as
  • Revamping the HVAC systems in Science Hall I and II
  • Making renovations to Craven Hall to improve the control and monitoring systems
  • Instituting the monitoring base commissioning program to ensure that buildings are constantly being tracked and issues are being addressed in a timely manner.
  • Worked with IITS to make the computer systems more efficient by putting computers to sleep when not in use - - - computers produce as much heat as someone’s body, doubling the room demand for the air conditioning system, and making the system work twice as hard. This collaborative effort saves electricity and air conditioning costs.
  • Worked with IITS to purchase a package that increases the efficiency and capacity of the campus servers, reducing the number of servers needed, in addition to saving electricity and air conditioning costs.
  • Set up a new sprinkler irrigation control system in place which monitors and predicts water being used and needed
  • Implemented waterless urinals, which saves 45,000 gallons of water per urinal per year
  • Updated campus lighting quality throughout the campus
  • Replaced code blue lights in Parking Lots with 4 watt LEDs, which equates to better visibility, huge energy savings, and lights that will not have to be replaced for twenty years
  • Piloted solar panels on electric carts to increase the battery life and length of cart driving
  • Developed a control sequence to tighten energy tolerances. Now thermostats that are connected to the energy management system can be pulled up on a computer and reviewed to maximize consumption based on occupancy
  • Installing a Monitored Demand Control Ventilation system (Airquity) into the science labs, which is a device used to measure the composition of air in the labs since the labs have to be ventilated 24 hours a day/7 days a week. This project will not only lead to huge savings, but a safer environment, as the airquity system will measure whether people or chemicals are in the room and will adjust the conditioned air accordingly.
So with all of these great programs and initiatives being worked on and implemented to make CSUSM a green campus and friendly to the environment, where else do we need to go. In talking with Ed Johnson, there is still so much that can be done. The future of energy management at CSUSM is to become a net zero energy campus, meaning that we will be producing as much energy as we use. Talk about reducing our carbon footprint!

So how do we get there? How do we become a net zero energy campus? As you can imagine, this would be a huge win and a financial victory for our campus!

As with the current approach to energy management, CSUSM will move forward, taking the same holistic, portfolio approach to ensure everything is considered and all of our eggs are not invested in one basket. Because as we all know, technology is changing quickly, especially in this field, and we need to keep our eye on all of the possibilities and potentials of our campus to ensure we are not focused on one fuel source, but instead multiple options to achieve the environmental and the budgeting goals. So what are some of possibilities over the next few years to get us to net zero energy?
  • Maintaining the current systems efficiency and ensuring issues are being resolved quickly and effectively
  • Continuing to update and enhance buildings to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible
  • Continuing to monitor what chemicals and materials are being used as building are being constructed
  • Continuing research in solar power, as the power carts are updated with solar panels
  • Considering options for solar power on buildings. The new police building is already slated to receive photovoltaics, and there is potential for other areas of campus, such as the library, University Hall, Science Hall, the parking structure, and maybe even parking lot J. The benefits of solar power are that there would be no upfront costs to the university and as technology is changing so quickly, this may be the most cost-effective way to go
  • Looking into fuel cells. Electricity can be produced by injecting biogas into the fuel cells at the Central Plant, which would create renewable energy for the campus
  • Begin researching wind power and measuring speed to understand capabilities of the campus to invest in this type of technology
  • Ensure that new construction exceeds Title 24 energy requirements by 30%
  • Consider water options for the athletic fields, such as using ground water via wells instead of purchasing water. Groundwater could be used to water fields, percolating back down into the ground to regenerate the wells and reused. Determining water and mineral rights of the campus will play a major part in this capability
There is still much to be done. Additionally, I would like to recognize Floyd Dudley for his outstanding contributions to energy management. Floyd has been named Young Energy Manager of the year by the Association of Energy Engineers. This is an impressive accomplishment and an incredible honor – congratulations, Floyd, and we’re glad you’re part of the FAS team!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Ballad in Memory of Furlough Fridays

And now....since tomorrow's our last furlough day, I am proud to announce the following song penned by our very own Candace Bebee! Feel free to sing along by clicking on the following karaoke link. It's set to the song, "To All the Girls..." by Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.

To the all furlough days that have come and gone
Never before have I enjoyed getting up at dawn
All the errands, chores and trail rides taken….
It all made me forget I was bringing home less bacon
To the all furlough days that have come and gone

With no one working there were no emails piling up
I had so much fun spending time with my pups
Those 4 day work weeks were just so nice
Even though my checking account did pay a price
To the all furlough days that have come and gone

The work week’s changing and I am cryin….
No furlough Fridays come my way
At least my paycheck’s gonna be growin
Bye Hamburger Helper, hello filets

But the gift of time, there is really nothing like it
I enjoyed each day, every minute of it
If I could have a wish
It would be furloughs minus being impoverished
Oh furloughs you will now be gone...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Value Your Opinion

It’s time again for the annual Values Survey, and this year, I want to take you behind the scenes, and share with you just how useful this data is for me when it comes to determining the health of our organization. The results obtained from the Values Survey provide me with an understanding of the overall climate for our entire division as well as the climate of each department individually. This data helps gauge where we are currently successful and where improvements need to be made so that we continue to be the finest division within the CSU.

It may seem like a simple process: a survey comes through your inbox; you complete the survey; and then the results appear. However, there is quite a bit more to this process than seen on the surface.

I want you to know that I take these results seriously and spend hours reviewing every comment that is entered on this survey - - - the comments are the most telling piece for me. I want to know what you have to say. Your feedback provides me with a window into your department and gives me an understanding for what is going well and what is not. The feedback helps me to see where I need to take action.

And I do. Each year, after I review the survey data, I discuss the results with my direct reports. I discuss with them areas where improvements are needed and I commend them for the praise they receive. As always, we do not discuss who may have written a comment or provided a certain answer. The survey is anonymous - your identities are unknown because we choose not to collect that information. We don’t collect IP Addresses and we have even stopped asking the questions relating to whether you are a manager or staff member to avoid the possibility of identifying an employee.

I want you to feel comfortable sharing your feedback with me
, I am making an additional change to the survey this year - - - I am the only person who will see the comments in their raw form. Once I have reviewed them, I will work with my quality improvement team to scrub the comments and pull out general themes. My direct reports will only see the generalized themes.

Rest assured, we take anonymity seriously and will ensure that employees cannot be identified for their comments and survey responses.

The survey will be administered on June 1st and we (I take the survey too) will have three weeks to complete it. Please take the survey and share your comments with me – the good, the bad, and the in-between. I cannot make changes and improvements without knowing what is going on in your departments - - - utilize this survey as a way to share your thoughts with me.

Be watching for the survey to arrive in your inbox!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lots of Reasons to Smile

April is all about our guiding principle of laughter. I have a lot to be happy and smiling about these days, as the awards and milestones accomplished by the FAS Division keep coming in.

Another year passed by and I’m proud that our campus won Recyclemania for the sixth year in a row! As you may know, RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a challenge between two universities to increase recycling on their campuses. It has grown to 607 colleges and universities, spanning 49 states and Canada. This year’s 10-week contest occurred from January 17 to March 27. Our campus claimed the Grand Champion title with a percentage of overall waste recycled of 71.82%. I am proud that recycling has become a way of life at our university not just during this contest period, but throughout the year. Many thanks go to Gary Cinnamon, Ed Johnson, the Facility Services Blue Crew: Cesar Aguilar, Danny Aguilar, Jim Dimartino, Rafael Lopez, Gilbert Munoz, Mike Tili, and Carl Hanson, everyone in Facility Services, and our entire campus community.

I’m sure you have all seen our beautiful new parking structure. It’s almost complete and will open in May. It just received the “Project of the Year” award from the American Public Works Association. Parking Structure 1 will provide spaces for 1640 vehicles, and another 200 spaces in its outside lots. It’s six stories tall, and connects to the campus via a pedestrian bridge. The floors are color coded inside for way finding. Some other fun facts: the structure will provide 30 Alternative Fuel Vehicle parking spaces, has 22 emergency blue phones, four elevators, and 52 security cameras. Many of you assisted with this project including Belinda Garcia, Robert Williams, Brad Fenton, Dora Knoblock, Doug Miller, Linda Leiter (retired Associate VP), and staff from Parking and Commuter Services, University Police Department, Planning, Design and Construction, IITS, and Facility Services. Thank you for your creativity, dedication, and excellent work on this project.

With all our incredible accomplishments, I can’t wait to celebrate at this year’s Spring Fling. I hope all of you join us this Friday in recognizing and rewarding our fine employees for their outstanding contributions to the campus. Candace even promises to wear matching shoes!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

FAS - What a Fine Division!

The strength of the team is each individual member… the strength of the member is the team. - Coach Phil Jackson

I don’t have to tell people that FAS has the finest employees around; you all prove it to them on a daily basis. CSUSM was just awarded two very prestigious awards that I need to brag about – The San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE) Award and the Governor’s Employee Safety Award (GESA). These awards not only demonstrate the importance of our labors, but how we have earned the admiration and respect of our community. People want to be like us. We are not the standard; we are what others strive to be. The sense of pride I have to be a part of it is overwhelming.

The objective of the San Diego Excellence in Energy (SANDEE) Award is to recognize outstanding organizations, projects and activities that have achieved significant energy savings and/or contributions toward the goals of the San Diego Regional Energy Strategy 2030, through the implementation of energy efficiency, energy conservation, or renewable energy measures. CSUSM won the SANDEE Award in Outstanding Organizational Achievement.

This award demonstrates the innovative thinking and collaborative efforts of many individuals. As the project manager, Steve Watters ensured the project ran smoothly and stayed within budget. Floyd Dudley took over for Ed Johnson when he assumed the role as energy manager and made sure we met our energy and equipment quality goals. Steve Holbrook, Gerard McQuade, Craig Curtis, David Rodriguez, Larry Russell, and Jim Roscamp all provided contractor support as well as invaluable technical assistance with the mechanical systems. Scott Gorsuch and Ariel Villanueva provided crucial insight before and during the lighting retrofits. In addition, Pat Simpson and Bryan Fisher provided technical support and contractor assistance. Overall, we exceeded our energy goals from 20% to 30%.

In January 2010, California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) was honored as a campus, with a Governor’s Employee Safety Award (GESA) for its exceptional performance in 2008. Our fearless leaders in Risk Management in Safety— Regina Frasca, Bill Thomas, Bruce Bradley, Humberto Garcia, Heather Zarnesky, and Janice Plemons in Workers’ Compensation, provided the tools to empower the campus community to take control of their own risk management and safety. Through their leadership and communication with the campus community, CSUSM faculty and staff performed their work for an entire calendar year without sustaining a lost time injury or illness. This performance was the best in the entire CSU system. A big thank you and congrats to everyone for making this happen.

Are we the best or what? As the finest division there is, we sure have a lot of be proud of.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We're Excited!

The VP’s Blog has been hijacked by the VPFAS Office! This month’s guiding principle is Excitement. See what we’re excited about…

Candace: What am I excited for? Not sure you really want to know but here goes.

1. Spring Break. This week will be the pinnacle of all furlough days. The anticipation is like Christmas morning.

2. The new Parking Structure. I am convinced that once this opens all traffic on Craven Drive will magically reroute to the other side of campus therefore allowing me to cruise up to lot E and find a parking spot with the ease experienced during summer or winter break. My trusty Honda deserves that.

3. The softball team playing their home season on campus. At the heart of every major University is its Athletics program. I can’t wait to see some action down there and the boost to student life on campus.

4. The last season of LOST. Anyone with me on this? What is up with “bad Locke?” How did the polar bears get there? Why did Walt talk backwards? What is with that statue with the 4 toes? Why does Richard Alpert wear guyliner? Tuesday nights just got interesting.

Jennifer: What am I excited for? Oh lots of things . . . especially this week!

1. The Annual Customer Satisfaction Surveys. The surveys have been launched, and we are receiving valuable feedback from across the campus!

2. The PEER Recognition Program. PEER Team TWENTY has kicked off the nomination period, and the nominations have started rolling in – nothing is better than reviewing the kind words that colleagues submit about one another.

3. QI is on facebook! What is more exciting than being the first QI program in the CSU to have a facebook account! In a time when resources are low, we are still capable of bringing our program to new heights by finding innovative ways to communicate and share information!

4. The Policies and Procedures Web Page! On February 22nd, the new Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines Web page will be launched!

5. The Division Meeting! Seeing our division come together brings forward not only excitement, but laughter and the finest employees on campus!

Robin: What am I excited for?

1. The completion and submission of Mid-Year. That’s right! FAS just completed a comprehensive mid-year budget review of all revenue and expenditure activities for all funds, including Operating, Capital & Trusts. Thank you to all budget representatives for your hard work on this.

2. My birthday! It’s coming up and I’m excited to finally turn 21.

3. Survivor: “Heroes vs. Villains”. It’s back on Thursday nights. This time it will feature ten former Survivors known for their integrity— the Heroes and ten former Survivors known for their deception— the Villains. Sound kind of like our state assembly members. I can’t wait.

4. My daughter’s wedding! And you’re all invited . . . I will gladly accept cash, checks or PayPal.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coffee, Anyone?

I know that the past few months haven’t been easy for all of us as we have adjusted to furloughs, dealt with budget reductions, unfilled vacancies, and the worry about future unknowns. In order to make myself available as much as possible, I’m increasing the VP’s Coffee Hours with Staff to twice per month. During these coffee hours, I will do my best to answer any questions you have, discuss your concerns, and share the latest information available.

Staff coffee hours are open to all FAS staff members. Although we will send invitations, the dates are listed below so you may join me at your convenience. As always, please check with your manager for approval and to ensure proper department coverage needs are met.

Coffee hours take place in the Provost’s Conference Room on the 5th floor of Kellogg Library, right above Starbucks. If you would like a drink from Starbucks, you must RSVP at least 2 days in advance to Candace Bebee.

I encourage you to attend these sessions, to provide your feedback, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting with you!

Coffee Hour dates:

Wednesday, February 17
Wednesday, March 3
Wednesday, March 17
Thursday, April 15
Wednesday, April 28