A&F V.I.S.I.O.N. NEWSLETTER - February 2024 Issue
02/27/2024, 03:35:01 PM

Comprised of Division features, accolades and achievements, as well as valuable "In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)" news you can use, each edition of the newsletter highlights key information and resources across the Division's departmental, operational and service unit areas. Subscribe to the A&F listserv.

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Dear Colleagues:

Student success outcomes are always top of mind and at the heart of everything the Division of Administration and Finance does daily. In this month’s newsletter, there are articles that highlight how the division is working hard to support student success outcomes. These include features on the many student organizations that took part in UH Dining Services’ Lunar New Year celebration, student savings through the Cougar Textbook Access Program, and the soon-to-be opened RAD (Retail, Auxiliary, and Dining) Center.

Other notable items in February’s newsletter includes:

  • A feature story on the university’s In-Plant Copy and Print Department celebrating 75 years in operation.
  • A feature story on how UH Dining Services Farmer’s Market is helping student and alumni entrepreneurs.
  • A look at the past University of Houston Police Chiefs.
  • A reminder about the upcoming divisional Staff Appreciation luncheon and awards reception.
  • A reminder from Human Resources that ePerformance documents for calendar year 2024 are now available in PASS. Supervisors should now be meeting with their employees to discuss and document employee goals for 2024.

Please read and explore all the divisional updates, accolades, and reminders in this month’s newsletter.

Thank you for all that you do every day to support the success of our division and strengthen student success.

Highlights & Features

Copy, Print and Delivery Services 75th Anniversary

Since 1949, the University of Houston’s Copy, Print, and Delivery Services department has provided many stationery and delivery services to the campus community. In 2024, the department celebrates 75 years in operation at UH. As the university has grown in size and population, so has the department’s output. Read more about Copy, Print, and Delivery Services’ 75th anniversary.

RSVP | A&F Staff Appreciation Event

A reminder to RSVP for the A&F Staff Appreciation Event scheduled for April 4 at 11 a.m. in the Student Center South, Houston Room. This event is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the 2023 accomplishments of A&F staff plus recognize employee service to the university. Learn more about the A&F Staff Appreciation Event and how to RSVP by visiting the event website.

Student Organizations Play a Role in Lunar New Year Celebration 

The Cultural Event Series from the University of Houston’s Dining Services has been a mainstay on campus since its inception in fall 2022. The series, which celebrates the diverse makeup of the campus community through culturally themed meals at the dining halls along with education, arts, and entertainment, allows students an opportunity to experience different cultures. 

To ensure students get the best cultural experience, UH Dining Services partners with subject matter experts on campus such as student organizations and university departments. Read more about how student organizations play a role in these cultural celebrations.

Student and Alumni Entrepreneurs Succeed at UH Farmer’s Market

For the past six years, the University of Houston’s Dining Services has hosted monthly farmer’s market on the campus grounds. The farmer’s market brings different types of vendors to campus, from artisanal soaps, vintage clothing, and fresh desserts to name a few. 

Aside from introducing unique businesses to the campus community, the farmer’s market also provides UH students and alumni entrepreneurs with an opportunity to succeed. According to UH Dining Services, its current roster of vendors includes 4 student vendors and 3 alumni vendors. Read more about how the student and alumni vendors have fared at the farmer's market.

Meet UHPD’s Past Police Chiefs

The University of Houston Police Department has had seven police chiefs in its long and rich history dating back to 1966 when the university announced the first one. Recently, UHPD added a page to its website providing details about its past police chiefs to showcase the department’s history.

Visitors to the page can learn tidbits about the past police chiefs, such as one being a former security planner for The Beatles, the longest-tenured chief in UHPD’s history, and one who used to patrol the streets surrounding UH during his time with the Houston Police Department. Visit UHPD’s Past Police Chiefs page to learn more.

CTAP Participation Numbers for Spring 2024

The University of Houston’s Cougar Textbook Access Program (CTAP) has been a success in large part because of the savings passed on to students. In fall 2023, the CTAP program moved from a course-by-course model to a flat-term fee for undergraduate students, with students' savings in 2023 totaling $6.825 million. In Spring 2024, students have saved $5.558 million across the entire University of Houston System. CTAP is an example of an equitable access course material program and showcases how beneficial they are to a university. Learn more about the CTAP program and the value of equitable access programs.

Environmental Health & Safety Observes Lab Safety Week 

Lab Safety Awareness Week is an annual event held in February that fosters the opportunity to recognize the efforts of laboratory health and safety programs. In 2024, Lab Safety Week fell on February 12-14. The Environmental Health & Safety department observed Lab Safety Week by hosting meet and greets across campus to answer questions, provide pertinent safety information, and quiz students on lab safety. Visit Campus Snapshots to look at EHS’s Lab Safety Week in pictures.

Office of Emergency Management Hosts FEMA Courses on Campus

The Office of Emergency Management hosted two comprehensive training sessions in collaboration with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and Rice University’s Emergency Management. The sessions are intended to serve as a vehicle to share proven incident management strategies and practices, as well as to enhance teamwork and coordination among the agency’s mid-level managers and command staff directly responsible for emergency response to all-hazards incidents in which the Incident Command System (ICS) is utilized. Read more about the FEMA courses OEM hosted.

UH Recertifies as a StormReady University

The University of Houston has been recertified as a StormReady University through the National Weather Service. Maintaining a StormReady certification is vital for strengthening the university’s preparedness in effectively managing various forms of extreme weather. Read more about UH being recertified as a StormReady campus.

Campus Safety and UHPD Tour the Fertitta Tactical Training Center

Members of UH's Office of Emergency Management, Fire and Life Safety, and the UH Police Department recently toured the Fertitta Tactical Training Center. The training center is a facility dedicated to advancing the training of the Houston Police Department by providing an environment most similar to the real world. The center has a diverse range of rooms created to mimic everyday settings such as a bank, classrooms, apartments, convenience stores, and an intersection.

The tour provided an opportunity to witness the cutting-edge resources and training methods utilized by HPD. UH will also be able to utilize the facility, under the direction and supervision of HPD, for future training, exercises, and tactical training. This collaborative effort not only strengthens ties between UH and HPD but also emphasizes a shared dedication to creating a safer and more resilient UH community.

Body Armor Activation on Campus

BodyArmor, the beverage brand owned by Coca-Cola, held an on-campus activation in February, where they introduced a variety of new flavors, such as orange cherry lime, fruit punch, and lime. More than 1,440 bottles were dispersed at the sampling event, with students also participating in games on BodyArmor’s Flash I.V. Interactive vending machine for a chance to win prizes. 

Video of the Month | New Era Thrifted 

New Era Thrifted, a vintage clothing store featuring handmade clothes from the 1930s to classic Adidas and Nike attire from the 1990s is now open in the Welcome Center, next to McAlister’s Deli. Take a visual tour of New Era Thrifted below. Watch the video to learn more.

Staff Spotlight

Cougar Cudos

February Cougar Cudos goes to Mia Thomas, Emilion Ontiveros, Chris Truong, and Malka Kirshner. To nominate a fellow staff member, fill out the Cougar Cudos Nomination Form.

Dr. Emily Messa Receives Fulbright Specialist Award to Kuwait at American University of Kuwait

Dr. Emily Messa, University of Houston System Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and University of Houston Senior Associate Vice President for Administration, has received a Fulbright Specialist Program award. Dr. Messa will soon complete a project at the American University of Kuwait in Kuwait to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the U.S. and overseas through educational and training activities. Read more about Dr. Messa’s Fulbright Specialist Award.

UHPD Sponsors Security Officer for Police Academy

UHPD Security Lead Officer Nicholas Blake has been sponsored by UHPD to attend the Police Academy at UH Downtown. Blake has been with UHPD for seven years and before that, spent 14 years as a police officer in his home country of Jamaica. Blake said he’s anxious about the challenge but is ready to hit the ground running. UHPD wishes Blake good luck as he embarks on this endeavor.

UH Deputy Fire Marshals Complete Fire Investigator Certification Class

The Fire Marshal’s Office taught a Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP) fire investigator certification class. This class consists of 200 hours of training covering topics related to conducting origin and cause investigations, evidence collection, courtroom testimony, and scene documentation.

Deputy Fire Marshals Ernest Johnson and Antwyne Johnson, along with James Williams from UH-Victoria, successfully passed the class on January 18, 2024. Campus Safety congratulates all three for their dedication to keeping the University of Houston and the University of Houston Victoria safe.

UH Health Inspector Acquires Registered Sanitarian Certification 

UH Health Inspector Teshawna McKnight earned her Registered Sanitarian certification from the State of Texas. This designation requires the applicant to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, including at least 30 semester hours in a basic or applied science and at least two years of full-time experience in consumer health, environmental health, or sanitation. Campus Safety congratulates Teshawna on this hard-earned designation and her dedication to professional development and improving the safety of the UH campus community.

Coca-Cola UH Ambassador Highlighted by the Cullen College of Engineering

Recent graduate and current Coca-Cola UH Ambassador Melissa Rurangirwa was recently profiled by the Cullen College of Engineering. The Fall 2023 Technology Division graduate shared why she chose UH, her dual majors, and her future ambitions. She also shared the best part of her time at UH.

“I would say the job that I do right now with Coca-Cola for Vitaminwater,” said Rurangirwa. “That job has led me to meeting so many more people than I ever would have without it. I had never lived in a big city before I transferred here. I would go to the big campus events, but I also stayed in my room a lot. But with this job, I do sampling events where I get to hand out free Vitaminwater products – usually around 400 bottles for each event.”

Learn more about UH's Coca-Cola Ambassador.

UIT Welcomes New University of Houston System CISO

After an extensive six-month search, the University Information Technology department has named Sven Hahues as its new Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the University of Houston System. Hahues holds two master’s degrees in computer science administration and business administration.

Hahues joins UH from Ft. Myers, Florida where he served as CISO and Deputy CIO at Florida Gulf Coast University. While at FGCU, he demonstrated expertise in cybersecurity, networking, and strategic leadership through various projects like security awareness training, and protocols such as vulnerability management programs and incident report plans.

ICYMI: News You Can Use

RAD Soft Opening to Feature Nook’s Cafe and Market Store 

The university’s newest food hall, the Retail, Auxiliary, and Dining Center, or RAD, will be making its soft opening this spring semester. Once fully opened, the new 41,000-square-foot facility at the site of the old Satellite building will feature six food concepts, indoor and outdoor seating. Aside from food establishments, Auxiliary Services, and Cougar Card Services, will relocate to the RAD Center. During its soft opening phase, attendees will have access to The Nook Café, and a Market Store. Learn more about the RAD Center and view the live construction cameras to see the construction in action. 

Become Benefits Wise with the HR Benefits Team

The HR Benefits team presents monthly sessions on the many benefits the University provides faculty and staff. Most recently Senior Benefits Analyst Deanna Holmes and Wellness Administrator Court Stein presented Be Benefits Wise for the UH Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine Staff Council.

The presentation served as a refresher for employees providing an overview of medical, dental, vision and other important benefits including wellness, disability, life, and retirement benefits.

Visit HR’s POWER UP “Healthier U Calendar” (see all events) to attend future Be Benefits Wise, Retirement 101, Benefits Open Forum, FMLA Brown Bag and/or other helpful health and wellness presentations.

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue | March 21, 8:30AM – 4:30PM

Join a class that teaches powerful skills to help you speak up quickly, directly, and effectively when it matters most. This course, grounded in decades of social science research, introduces the foundations of holding impactful dialogue and takes a deeper dive into mastering the most challenging conversations, at work and at home. This training and others are available in the CATALYST App. The deadline to enroll is March 6th.

Events & Reminders

February is Heart Health Month

HR POWER UP Employee Wellness encourages you to make healthy lifestyle choices to take care of your most vital organ, your heart! Visit BCBSTX HealthSelect online to access wellness resources including two free weight management programs, Real Appeal and Wondr. Each program provides proven strategies to manage your weight and improve overall well-being, including heart-friendly recipes.

If fitness is your focus, consider joining the Fitness Program to obtain one fitness membership good at a variety of gyms. The flexible program offers multiple membership tiers to meet your needs. Join and use code GETFIT2024, Feb 1-March 31, to waive the $19 enrollment fee.

e-Performance Reminder from Human Resources

Human Resources reminder that ePerformance documents for 2024 are now available. Supervisors should meet with employees to discuss goals, and employees should then document those goals in the 2024 documents in P.A.S.S. HR in the AccessUH menu. 

Please note the following dates for the 2024 ePerformance documents:

  • The due date for Employees to enter goals is March 1, 2024.
  • The due date for Supervisors to finalize criteria is April 1, 2024. 
  • The due date for Employee Self Evaluations is December 2, 2024. 
  • The deadline to complete 2024 ePerformance documents will be February 3, 2025. 

Learn more about ePerformance on the HR website.

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