A&F V.I.S.I.O.N. NEWSLETTER - May 2024 Issue
05/23/2024, 01:45:01 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:

May is an important month for the Division of Administration and Finance. As always, A&F team members were pivotal in supporting the 19 commencement ceremonies held this month, where an amazing 6,655 Coogs received their diplomas and commemorated the occasion with family and friends.

I am proud of the many divisional departments and employees who worked tirelessly before, during, and after the ceremonies. I encourage you to view the Commencement Photo Gallery, showcasing the support provided by the divisional departments for this important university event.

As the summer sessions begin on campus, it’s also important to remember the university will host many orientations and camps, and there will be increased traffic in campus buildings and dining locations. Please plan accordingly as you move around campus.

Also, this month, the newsletter includes articles highlighting National Bike Month and First Responders Appreciation Month. I encourage you to learn more about on-campus bicycle/scooter safety and about our divisional first responders and their important roles.

Other notable feature items in this month’s newsletter include:

  • An introduction to the new UHPD Assistant Chief of Police, Ryan Erwin.
  • A recap of this year’s Finals Mania event, held at the Cougar Woods dining hall for the first time.
  • A reminder from Human Resources about the summer enrollment opening in June.

These are just some of the highlights in this month’s newsletter. Please read and explore all the divisional updates and accolades to learn more about updates and key dates from A&F departments and services.

I am so grateful to each of you and all that you do to support our community. Thank you for bringing your best to your work every day.

Highlights & Features

A&F Supports Commencement Ceremonies

Commencement season has come and gone at the University of Houston, and departments from Administration and Finance were once again pivotal in ensuring the ceremonies went smoothly.

Departments like Copy & Print, the UH Campus Store, Parking & Transportation, the University of Houston Police Department, and Campus Safety were instrumental before, during, and after commencement. Their hard work allowed new Coog graduates, their families, and friends a safe and joyous commencement ceremony.

View the Commencement Photo Gallery to see how these departments assisted with UH’s commencement ceremonies.

A&F Celebrates Divisional Graduates

The fall and spring semesters saw many A&F employees walk across the stage to receive their well-earned degrees, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. The employees range from interns, student employees, directors, and managers, to name a few. Learn more about these A&F graduates, their role within the division, and why they pursued their major.

Finals Mania’s New Location Proves to be a Success

Since its inception in 2008, Finals Mania, a tradition that provides free meals to students before the final exam period begins, has been held every semester at M.D. Anderson Library, apart from 2021, when the event transformed into a drive-thru version.

A new era of Finals Mania launched this spring when the event shifted to the Cougar Woods Dining Commons, with 883 students in attendance. There was an even mix of residential and commuter students, graduate and undergraduate students at the event. Even though the event space was new, the longstanding tradition of opening Finals Mania with the Spirit of Houston Marching Band and Shasta and Sasha continued. Read more about how the new Finals Mania location was a success.

F/CM Builds Partnership through Established Connections

Facilities/Construction Management is pleased to announce that we have a new partnership with FCC Environmental Services for our single stream recycling. This new service contract gives the University of Houston the ability to recycle glass through our recycling receptacles across campus. This relationship came about through a series of trusted networking.

“Facilities strives to meet the needs of the campus community and we are happy to be able to increase the sustainable efforts for UH,” said Supervisor Deanthony Thomas. Read more about this new partnership.

Stay Cougar S.A.F.E.

Meet University of Houston's First Responders

First Responders play a crucial role in everyday life as they are often the first to arrive and provide aid, whether responding to safety, fire, medical, hazardous materials, or other similar emergencies. At the University of Houston, the departments designated as first responders are ready to assist the campus community at the drop of a hat. Meet the first responders on campus and learn about their important role in keeping the UH campus community safe.

Parking & Transportation, UHPD Celebrate National Bike Month 

Since 1956, May has been designated as National Bike Month and Bicycle Safety Month in the U.S. This month focuses on the many benefits of bicycling and refreshes people on safety measures when using bikes. 

Parking and Transportation Services planned and executed bike-related activities for May at the University of Houston. One activity was a bingo card that Parking and Transportation used to inform students about the Bikeep stations, bicycle registration, and general bike safety tips. Read more about National Bike Month

UHPD Introduces new Assistant Police Chief

The University of Houston Police Department has a new assistant chief, and the new hire is excited that his return to law enforcement is at the University of Houston. Ryan Erwin, a law enforcement veteran, returns to university police work after spending the past three years working in corporate security. Before then, he spent 17 years with the University of Texas Medical Branch, ultimately serving as the assistant chief at this institution.

Erwin plans to focus on building relationships with the UH community, focusing on strengthening the network of safety and security. To learn more about the new UHPD Assistant Police Chief and campus safety and security, please visit the Stay Cougar S.A.F.E. website.

UHPD Honors Training Advisory Board Member

The University of Houston Police Department recognized UHPD Training Advisory Board member Bill Wheeler for his 15 years of service to the board and to celebrate his recent retirement from the department.

UHPD Chief Ceaser Moore, surrounded by fellow UHPD officers, presented Wheeler with an award and certificate of recognition for service on the UHPD Training Advisory Board. Moore applauded Wheeler for his dedication to the board, adding that Wheeler was a role model for the department on the importance of volunteering. Read more about Bill Wheeler’s commendation.

UHPD Hosts The Clery Center for Three-Day Training

The University of Houston Police Department hosted The Clery Center at the UH Hilton for a three-day training with 40 attendees from across the Unites States. The Clery Center is a national non-profit dedicated to helping college students and university officials meet the standard of the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires universities to record campus crime statistics.

UH System Police Departments were represented by UH-Clear Lake Assistant Chief of Police Andrea Black, and UHPD was represented by Captain Damon Hines, Lt. Anthony Davis, Lt. Frederico Perez, Sgt. Jack Henderson, Sgt. David Gonzalez, Sgt. Edward Romo, UH System Clery Compliance Coordinator Wiley Graham, and Executive Assistant Christine Diaz. Attendees better understood Clergy Geography, which details where a crime occurred (on campus, off campus, public property), and received a refresher on information needed to file a report.

UHPD Attends PLECET Conference

UHPD Crime Prevention Officer Felipe Gutierrez represented the department at Atlanta, Georgia’s 2024 PLECET (Professionalizing Law Enforcement Community Engagement Training) Conference. Attendees learned about the best and most promising community outreach practices and resources while networking with other law enforcement professionals working in similar roles across the nation. 

“I learned a lot and what I brought back to the department is not only a network of connections from across the United States, but also the importance of community engagement. Proactive efforts to build positive relationships with students, faculty, staff, and the broader campus community,” said Gutierrez. “By actively engaging with the community, department strives to enhance campus safety, prevent crime, and build a strong sense of community ownership and responsibility for campus security.” 

Fire & Life Safety provides Fire Safety Training to Sigma Nu Fraternity Members

Did you know that 80 percent of university students' fire-related deaths occur in off-campus housing? One of the primary reasons for that high number is that most off-campus housing residents never receive the fire safety training that on-campus residents receive.

Recently, the University of Houston Deputy Fire Marshal, Philip Rey, spent the afternoon with the Sigma Nu fraternity at their new off-campus fraternity house located on Polk St. Rey conducted a fire and life safety inspection of their house, taught general fire safety, and let the fraternity members practice putting out a fire with a fire extinguisher. These activities help fraternity members build a stronger foundation of fire safety. Learn more about how to schedule a fire safety training course for your department.

OEM attends Fort Bend County Ready Expo

Fort Bend County hosted its Ready Expo, showcasing diverse organizations dedicated to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery within the community. The UH Office of Emergency Management, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, the US Army, and Texas Search and Rescue are just some of the representatives who attended.  

Throughout the Expo, community members had the opportunity to meet with these representatives, learn valuable emergency information, and receive emergency-related freebies and resources to guide them toward creating emergency plans for their families. Maia Solomon, a UH Office of Emergency Management Specialist, represented the department and shared information with residents on emergency-related training and activities that the UH Office of Emergency Management provides for UH campuses (including UH at Sugar Land and UH at Katy). 

Video of the Month | Finals Mania Recap

Relive the first Finals Mania held at the Cougar Woods Dining Commons by watching the recap video below from UH Dining Services.

Administration and Finance Accolades

Cougar Cudos

To nominate a fellow staff member, fill out the Cougar Cudos Nomination Form.

UH Fire Marshal Selected for Texas Fire Marshals Association University Committee

Executive Director of Fire and Life Safety/Fire Marshal Chris McDonald was recently appointed to the Texas Fire Marshals Association’s University Committee. He is one of ten committee members chosen from several Texas universities and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The committee exchanges safety information, code enforcement, and technical developments. It also fosters better understanding between local and state governmental agencies and develops high professional standards among university fire marshals.

OEM Director elected Secretary of the State Office of Risk Management’s Continuity Council 

Ginger Walker, Director of Emergency Management, was recently elected to the position of secretary for the State Office of Risk Management’s Continuity Council. The council is a forum consisting of federal, state, local, tribal, and private entities.  The council allows members to share ideas, concepts, best practices, and participate in presentations and conferences to strengthen continuity of operations planning programs among agencies of the State of Texas.

Dana Wimer Nabs Award at NACAS South Annual Conference

Dana Wimer, Director of Facilities with the Office of Administration, received the New Professionals Award/Scholarship at the NACAS South Annual Conference held at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. The award grants Wimer full conference registration for the 2025 NACAS South Annual Conference. 

Wimer’s nomination letter pointed out her immediate impact in supporting various facilities in the auxiliary services division. Although she has been employed for less than a year, she has been able to step in and implement several internal processes supporting university policies aimed at achieving greater operational efficiency. 

Matt Oltremari Receives Award at NACAS South Annual Conference

Auxiliary Services Program Director & Analyst Matt Oltremari received the First Timers Award/Scholarship at the NACAS South Annual Conference held at Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. The commendation grants Oltremari full conference registration and hotel stay for the 2025 NACAS South Annual Conference.

Oltremari’s nomination letter brought attention to his role, first as a Communication and Outreach Manager, and now as a Program Director & Analyst with Auxiliary Services, and his selection to be a presenter at NACAS South CX for the session titled, “The Rise of Campus-Wide Access Programs: Evolving from Pilot to Equitable Access.”

Dr. Esmeralda Valdez Presents at NACAS South Conference

Dr. Esmeralda Valdez, Executive Director for University Services, moderated the opening keynote panel at the recent NACAS South Conference held in Orlando, Floriday. Valdez moderated the keynote panel, How Can Auxiliary Services Help Achieve University Goals for Enrollment and Retention as We Face the Enrollment Cliff? The panel featured enrollment experts discussing the ways that auxiliary services can support their university and students.

Cougar Card Services Receives NACAS Outstanding Collaboration Award

Cougar Card Services was honored at the NACAS South Conference with the Outstanding Partner/Collaboration Award. Cougar Card Services shares the award with Atrium, a campus card management system. The award recognizes a unique, innovative, or distinctive partnership that benefits the university, its respective community, and business partners.

Cougar Card Services began using Atrium a year ago and has seen positive effects, such as 93 percent of new on-campus residents having their card by the first day of the Fall 2023 semester. Additionally, the partnership has allowed students to manage their meal plans and card balance more effortlessly by creating Cougar Card Connect.

Cougar Card Services Director Featured in NACAS College Service Magazine

Rosie Ashley, Cougar Card Services Director, was featured as a Member Spotlight in the NACAS College Service magazine. Ashley shared the advantages she received being a member of NACAS, her most significant professional accomplishment, and which NACAS member has impacted her professional development. Read more about Ashley in the NACAS College Service Magazine.

Copy & Print Wins Three ACUP+ Awards

The Copy and Print department received three Production & Impression awards from ACUP (Association of College and University Printers). The awards were announced at ACUP’s 2024 Conference held in Rochester, New York. 

Copy and Print won Gold in the Offset Single-Page category for its President Suite Ticket Holder and Gold in the Offset Multi-Page category for its History Magazine—Agents of Change. The final award Copy and Print received was in the Offset Multi-Piece category, where it nabbed Gold for its Happy Holidays Card—Document Solutions. 

Assistant Chief of Police Nominated for 911der Woman of the Year

Assistant Chief of Police Chandra Johnson has been nominated as a 2024 911der Woman of the Year candidate. The honor recognizes the incredible achievements and dedication of women working in the 9-1-1 industry. Johnson’s nomination highlighted her over 35 years of experience in law enforcement, the last 10 of which have been spent at UHPD, where she instituted an evidence tracking system and helped the department become an accredited police agency with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.

F/CM receives AssetWorld Steve Deines Achievement Award

Facilities/Construction Management received the AssetWorld Steve Deines Achievement Award at the AssetWorld Conference in Allen, Texas. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in facilities and workplace management using innovative technologies that improve AssetWorks’ suite of products. F/CM received the award after successfully upgrading to a new CMMS software from AssetWorks and best utilizing it to deliver effective results for the department. Read more about how F/CM has used FIXIT to generate meaningful key performance indicators.

Parking and Transportation Earns International Accreditation

University of Houston Parking and Transportation Services has been designated an Accredited Parking Organization (APO) by the International Parking and Mobility Institute (IPMI), a milestone that only 44 parking programs have reached. IPMI is the world's largest association of parking, transportation and mobility professionals and uses professional development, research and data collection, advocacy and outreach to advance the parking and mobility profession.

According to the IPMI website, "the accreditation recognizes best practices in responsible parking management and operations, access management, customer service, professional development, security, sustainability and more." Read more about Parking & Transportation’s new accreditation.

News You Can Use

EAP Mental Health & Well-being Webinar Series

To help and care for others, we must take care of ourselves! Now through June, visit HRs Healthier U Calendar to participate in a live Mental Health & Well-being Webinar Series offered specifically for UH employees by the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Deer Oaks. No registration is required; mark your calendar and simply log on to attend. 

Human Resources encourages faculty and staff to take full advantage of the University’s EAP by visiting them online to access confidential counseling services and other resources such as unlimited telephone consultation with an accredited financial counselor, free 30-minute telephone/in-person consultation with a plan attorney, and more. Remember, the EAP is a free benefit available 24/7 to you, your dependents, and household members.

Mental Health Virtual Visits

HR POWER UP wants you to know that you can consult a licensed mental health professional any day of the week online. A mental health Virtual Visit is like an outpatient visit to a mental health provider’s office, but the visit is conducted online via video conference. Mental health Virtual Visits through Doctor on Demand® and MDLIVE® are covered at 100% if enrolled in HealthSelect of Texas®, HealthSelectSM Out-of-State, or HealthSelectSM Secondary. If enrolled in Consumer Directed HealthSelect, you pay 20% of the allowable amount after the annual deductible is met. Get the health care support you need from the comfort of your home. Learn more details about the Mental Health Virtual visits.

Events & Reminders

Summer Open Enrollment Will Be Here Soon

HR Benefits is pleased to announce that the University’s SUMMER BENEFITS ENROLLMENT PERIOD will be from June 24, 2024, to July 5, 2024. This two-week period will allow you to log onto the ERS website to review your selections and make any changes to your benefits for the upcoming plan year.

Date Set for HR's Annual Wellness & Benefits Fair

Mark your calendar and plan now to attend Human Resources' Annual Wellness & Benefits Fair for faculty and staff set for Wednesday, June 26, 2024, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM in the UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. This year's theme, Surfing the Benefits and Wellness Wave. The fair will allow benefit-eligible employees will get to visit various university departments and community vendors to learn about the many services and resources available to them.

Attendees will have access to popcorn, soda, a fun photo booth, t-shirts (while supplies last), and more. Plus, bring a canned good to donate to the Cougar Cupboard and be entered to win a Grand Prize. Look for an announcement regarding the Wellness and Benefits Fair coming soon!

UH Dining Summer Hours 

The end of the spring semester signals new hours of operation for many UH dining establishments. Before heading out for lunch, review the summer hours of operation. New student orientation sessions and camps will also be active in the summer. Faculty, staff, and camp and conference coordinators are encouraged to schedule any camps and conferences ahead of time with UH Dining Services to avoid conflicts with increased demand for dining commons on orientation dates.

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