Monthly Archives: November 2013

Discussion with Vice Chancellor Ron Mitchelson

On November 25th, the Research and Graduate Studies Division Staff Senators and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion Vice Chancellor Ron Mitchelson.  The meeting was well underway when I arrived (I had one of those silly “right time, wrong place” moments) but Dr. Mitchelson was extremely gracious as I explained my tardiness and he immediately helped me to feel at ease as he began telling me how supportive he is of Staff Senate. 

Prior to my arrival there was discussion regarding Sustainability and the Conflict of Interest Policy and how to better inform and include the Staff Senate on these projects.  We had some discussion about the Sustainability Staff Forums and it was mentioned that there was limited attendance, which led our discussion into how the Staff Senate might be able to better encourage participation and attendance at staff-centric activities such as these.  Ideas included giving away free stuff, maybe having a door prize that participants could register to win, and figuring out ways to communicate better both internally to the staff senate as well as externally to each of our constituents.  Rick suggested creating a half-sheet flyer with the main topics of interest each month and having several copies available for senators to pick up at our monthly meetings and pass out in their divisions.

As we were sitting there with the Vice Chancellor, I realized how comfortable and relaxed I was.  Dr. Mitchelson has this easy nature to him that reminded me of that commercial about the “Most Interesting Man in the World.”  He is so genuine and interesting that I could probably get lost for a week just sitting and listening to what he has to say.  As our conversation continued, it seemed apparent that the staff felt very comfortable in his presence as well, and I feel like our “meeting” could have easily taken place around a fire or in a restaurant, because it felt more like talking with friends than colleagues.  As much as I hate to admit this, I was so drawn in by Dr. Mitchelson that I forgot to take notes!  So I am definitely not slighting the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, with a shorter post, I just enjoyed myself a little too much!

After our meeting, Rick took me around the Sponsored Programs offices, and introduced me to his Director, Barbara Gray and ERS Specialist, Angie Wade before showing off his own office, which by the way, if you have not visited Rick’s office, you may want to put that on your to-do list; it’s VERY unique!  Rick then passed me off to Suhail and Christina and they concluded my tour with the Grants and Administration Offices and introductions to EPAF Business Coordinator, Rosalie Farley and the Director of Grants and Contracts, Ms. Cathy Hall.  It was a very interesting day as I gained perspective of how much goes on in these two departments!  I know all of our departments are over-worked and under-staffed, but I was truly impressed with the amount of work they do with such limited staff!  Way to go you guys!!!

Many thanks to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies for allowing me to join in their meeting, and especially to Rick Smiley, Christina Kennedy and Suhail Guzman for the wonderful departmental tours and introductions. 

For those of you in the Division of Academic Affairs, your opportunity to have a discussion with your Vice Chancellor is coming up on Monday, December 2nd, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there!

New Pirate Perks – PetFrenzy and Marveloptics

We have TWO new Pirate Perks!
Provides: Many pet products, everything from dog beds to pet doors.
Discount: 10% off entire online store.
Coupon Code: PETFRENZY-EDU10

Provides: Prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and fashion eyeglasses.
Discount: 10% OFF all purchases. One Coupon per order.  Not valid with other offers, promotions or discounts, and used only on website.
Coupon Code : ECU10

Be sure to check them out!

Discussion with Athletics Director, Jeff Compher

On November 20th, the Athletics Division Staff Senators, joined by myself and Lisa Ormond,  had the opportunity to sit down and have a discussion the Athletics Direcot, Jeff Compher.  This meeting was casual and relaxed as Mr. Compher began by expressing his appreciation and commitment to ECU Staff and stated he would like to do anything possible to support better inclusion with ECU Athletics as well as his desire to see staff included in other campus events and activities.  Jeff has experience with many different college campuses and shared his thoughts and experience about staff recognition programs.  Some of his suggestions included:

  • An annual Staff Recognition Award – Where a staff member would be recognized for their contributions and dedication to ECU.  He even suggested giving the recipient a year of free parking or a designated parking place (sign me up for that!).
  • Efforts to recognize the Staff Senate Chair during athletic events and maybe even having the Chair raise the NO-QTR flag or attend the pre-game activities.
  • Efforts to include the Staff Senate in the Athletics Social Calendar Events

Mr. Compher went on to mention that staff and faculty athletic ticket sales has declined in the past few years and said he is committed to finding ways for staff and faculty to participate more.  Other topics discussed were:

  • Information about the inclusion of Athletics in the ECU Orientation Program.
  • A question about providing a campus-wide education/orientation to the athletic coaches in order to better help them “sell the school” and not just the athletics program (Jeff thought this was a great idea and said he would look into this).
  • Initiatives for staff programs that arrange travel groups for away games – Mr. Compher stated he can see the value in this and is willing to help facilitate transportation as long as there is an appropriate amount of vested interest  (sorry Penney, I tried 🙂 ).

As our meeting was winding down, Mr. Compher reiterated that he wanted the Division of Athletics and the Staff Senate to have a good working relationship and he invited the Staff Senate to attend their monthly “All Hands on Deck” meetings.

After our meeting, Harold Robinson gave us a guided tour of the Football Building, Team Meeting Rooms, the Football Locker Room and the Weights Facility.  During our tour, Harold went out of his way to introduced us to as many of the ECU Football Coaches as he could find.  I would like to thank Head Coach McNeil and Coaches Smith, Wiley, Yellock, Price, Riley, Doll, Kirkpatrick, Nicholes and Jones as well as Jeff Connors, Athletic Director, Strength and Conditioning, and Brian Overton, Football Operations, for their generous hospitality as they welcomed us into their “home” (they spend as much time in the Football building as they do at home…maybe more!).  Even when we “crashed” the Offensive Team and Defensive Team meetings, these guys welcomed us in and shared some light offensive/defensive banter with us (when I say crashed, I mean literally crashed – they were meeting behind-closed-doors and we walked right in!).

If you have not introduced yourself and had a conversation with Harold Robinson, I would highly recommend you do so.  His passion and commitment to athletics literally oozes from every cell of his body.  I was so impressed with his knowledge of ECU Football and his dedication to preserving the history of the program!  I learned more about football in one short hour with him than I have learned in my entire life, and he is so charismatic he literally draws you in!  Admittedly, I rarely watch football (to my defense, I have small kids and rarely watch ANYTHING) but after spending time with Harold I was truly excited about football and especially our ECU Football program!

As I was heading back to work, I was reflecting on my experience.  For all intents and purposes, our ECU Football program is very dynamic and moderately sized, yet this division has managed to maintain “team” environment (pun intended 🙂 )!  I don’t know how they do it, but it was very obvious, from the moment mr. Compher walked into the room and said “hey, today is Rick’s birthday, be sure to get with him,” that the atmosphere in the Athletics Division has more of a familial-relationship-feel than a professional-business-feel….this team really works!

Thanks again to the Division of Athletics (and especially Harold and the Football program) for welcoming us in!

For those of you in the Divisions of Research and Graduate Studies and Student Affairs, your opportunity to have a discussion with your Vice Chancellor(s) is coming on Monday and I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there!


Holiday Payroll Adjustments 2013

As usual, we will be getting our last paycheck of the year early.  The December Payroll dates this year are December 13th (Friday the 13th, if you’re the superstitious kind 😉 ) and then we’ll get our “end of the month” check on December 23rd. 

A big difference this year is that Direct Deposit is mandatory.  If you happen to be one of the few that still receive paper checks, your payroll will be mailed.  BIG NOTE – Make sure the payroll office has your correct address!  The payroll office will be closed until after the holidays, so if there is a problem with your paycheck, there will not be anyone available to assist you until AFTER THE HOLIDAYS! 

If you are an employee that still receives a paper check, and you DON’T want to wait for the mail or take the chance that something could go wrong, you can complete the direct deposit form (click here) from now until December 4th.  But, you must get your direct deposit set up BEFORE DECEMBER 4th, to ensure your December 23rd paycheck is processed.


Here is the Official Information from the Payroll Office:

Official notice has been received from the Office of the State Controller regarding final payroll dates for December.  ECU employees will be paid Friday, December 13th and Monday, December 23rd, not Friday, December 20th as anticipated.

This means that direct deposits will be available to the receiving banks no later than 12:00 a.m. Monday,  December 23rd.  Direct deposit funds are posted at the discretion of the receiving bank. Employees may contact their banks to learn the exact time that direct deposits will be posted to their accounts.

Because this is the first day of the ECU Holiday break, the Payroll Office WILL NOT be open on 23 December for check pick-up.  Further communication will be sent directly to those employees currently receiving paper checks.

We will be working closely with new employees to ensure that we have their Direct Deposits set up in Banner prior to finalizing payroll on the December 17th

Please feel free to contact the Payroll Office at 252-328-6955 with any questions.


We are currently inside the 10-day window for Thanksgiving 2013!   You will have to forgive my excitement…Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday!  Many people think I’m weird for loving Thanksgiving so much, after all, it’s not a commercially celebrated holiday, there aren’t any gifts to be given or received, and there are obligations to spend the entire day with family members that you may or may not care for.  Thanksgiving has gotten a really bad rap (Don’t believe me?  Check out some of definitions of Thanksgiving in the Urban Dictionary here).

I like the Webster’s definition MUCH better!:

Thanksgiving : the fourth Thursday in November in the U.S. or the second Monday in October in Canada celebrated as a legal holiday for people to be thankful for what they have

“For people to be Thankful for what they have.”  Maybe that’s why so many people don’t like Thanksgiving; in our materialistic society we have been programmed to always want MORE.  It’s not often that we’re asked to be thankful for what we already have….I mean, if people were thankful for what they have, why would they stand in line over-night to purchase the new iPhone, right?

This year, I plan to take full advantage of the 4-day break and especially Thanksgiving Day.  BUT enough about me – let’s get on to the good stuff!  Whether you are a Thanksgiving lover or hater, here are some ideas to help you make the most of YOUR Thanksgiving this year!:

  • Slow down and reflect on what is truly important.  Here are some Inspirational Quotes to help get you in the mood, then maybe you could share your Thanksgiving spirit by:  Creating a  Thankful Tree, a Gratitude Jar, or starting a Thanksgiving tablecloth.
  • Celebrate or create new family traditions – They don’t have to be serious or have some deep-seeded cultural significance, some of my family’s favorite traditions are watching the Macy’s Parade and sucking the canned cranberry jelly through straws (don’t ask me why, but the entire family looks forward to doing this and we all get the best laugh from it!).
  • Cook a Turkey feast!  If you are an experienced cook, get some additional inspiration here, here and here.  If you are not so experienced, check out these quick and easy recipes here, here and here.  Still not convinced it’s do-able?  Check out these retailers, so you can buy one and fake it!!  BoJangles, HoneyBaked Ham, Harris Teeter, and Lowes Foods (there are probably many more, but this was all I could find).
  • Break out the “good” dishes – If you don’t have a set of “good” dishes, pick-up some Thanksgiving placemats to dress up your everyday dishes, or just get festive disposable ones!
  • Start the day with a mimosa – Check out recipes here, here and here!
  • Drink wine with your feast!  Did you know Thanksgiving is the #1 holiday for wine sales?  I read that somewhere, but cannot find the source now…anyway, Check out some affordable wine options here and here.
  • Take an afternoon nap!
  • Watch a football game – Check the Thanksgiving NFL schedule here.
  • Start a family or neighborhood football game (what a great way to work off some of those extra calories!).  Find a Flag Football Set to purchase here or learn how to make your own here.
  • Get in the holiday Spirit – Thanksgiving night is the kickoff of the holiday season in our family.  We bring down all the holiday decorations from the attic, break out the holiday music, watch Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course), set up the DVR to record all the old claymation movies (like Frosty and Rudolph) and we enjoy turkey sandwiches and the other leftovers from the turkey feast!

Here’s hoping you and yours find many ways to enjoy Thanksgiving for what it is!  You still have 9 days to make your plan!!


Discussion with Vice Chancellor Phyllis Horns

On November 4th, the Health Sciences Staff Senators had the amazing privilege to sit down and have a discussion with our Vice Chancellor of Health Sciences, Dr. Phyllis Horns.  This meeting was casual and relaxed as Dr. Horns had discussions with individuals as well as the group.  Dr. Horns made a point to ensure we all officially introduced ourselves and then she addressed each of us by name during the meeting.  In 13 years of employment, I have never been afforded an opportunity such as this and I am so glad I was able to participate.

Dr. Horns began our meeting with a reminder for each of us to complete our HealthCare Enrollment. Open Enrollment has been extended to November 15th, 2013, so there’s still time!  Dr. Horns joked that she had to enlist help from Christy in order to complete her enrollment, but assured us that the difficulties have been addressed and the enrollment process should be smooth now.

There were some in-depth discussion regarding:

  • The new Health Sciences Student Center –  Construction should begin soon with an anticipated opening of 2014-2015.  This facility will include meeting and fellowship spaces for the Health Sciences Students, as well as a Student Recreation Center, and an “official” dining hall.  Dr. Horns then went on to explain that the scheduling for construction has been a bit soft, because they are making sure that the Health Sciences Student Center project will be in tandem with a new Student Center on main campus; no preferences given to either side.  Dr. Horns also mentioned that this project will cost approximately $160 million and will be completely “Fee Funded” by the students.
  • Recognition and Celebration of CMAs, CNAs, MOAs and MAs – These folks work in the clinics along side the providers and nurses.  They are credentialed and certified and would like to have recognition in the form of a week to celebrate them and others in these professions (like Nurses Week).

Many people brought specific concerns and questions to Dr. Horns’ attention, such as the lack of lighting in the Dental School parking lot; the current Health Sciences parking situation and the possibility of a parking deck (Dr. Horn’s stated with the price of a parking deck being 9X’s the price of surface parking, that Health Sciences would be taking advantage of all the space possible for surface parking before considering a parking deck, however a parking deck is not out of the question.).  There was also discussion regarding confusion about the Community Service / Child Involvement Leave Policy and a question about the plans to have a School of Public Health (anticipated to open in 2017 with accreditation in 2020 (multi-year planning process); and inefficiencies around the University such as the travel system, Pro Card System and EPAFs.

This discussion was both enlightening and productive.  Dr. Horns was funny, gracious and very receptive to every issue that was discussed.   Since the meeting, she has already begun to work on some of the items and has requested to schedule another discussion in the spring.

For those of you that have upcoming discussions with the Vice Chancellor’s of your divisions, you definitely have a lot to look forward to!  I would recommend that everyone makes attending such discussions a priority; opportunities such as this don’t present themselves very often, so don’t let yours pass you by!

By the way – When you have your division Vice Chancellor meetings, PLEASE be sure to send me information regarding what was discussed, your Vice Chancellor’s name, etc….so we can post it on the Blog!!  OR if it would be easier, I would be happy to attend as an observer only in order to get the information necessary to Blog….either way.

Ride Without Limits Recap UPDATE!

When we posted the Ride Without Limits Recap, the event coordinator was on a well-deserved vacation and the official statistics were not available.  We have since gotten the following:

Ride Recap: 

-Over 185 Registered Riders (at least 150 actually participated).

-Riders covered courses totaling more than 250 miles, visiting 15 rest stops spread across three counties (Beaufort, Martin & Pitt) – 2 of which were staffed by our very own PIRATES!!!

-Riders and participants were supported throughout the weekend by over 125 volunteers from across the state; the bulk of whom came from the immediate area.

-The event raised $146,775.59 for Easter Seals UCP and the supportive services we provide to children and adults with disabilities and mental health challenges in North Carolina and Virginia  (more than $10,000 MORE than 2012!).

Wow!  Another big WAY TO GO for the volunteers who helped make such a huge difference for this event!!!


American Indian Heritage Month

The Governor of NC has proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month! 

Did you know – North Carolina has the largest population of American Indians East of the Mississippi River and the 7th largest population in America?  According to the 2010 Census, there are 122,100 American Indians in North Carolina! 

American Indians live in each of our state’s 100 counties however, approximately 80 percent of the American Indian population resides in 11 counties – Columbus, Cumberland, Guilford, Halifax, Hoke, Jackson, Mecklenburg, Robeson, Scotland, Swain and Wake. 

With more than 55,000 members residing in Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland and Scotland counties, the Lumbee Tribe is the largest tribe in North Carolina, the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River, and the ninth largest in the nation. The Lumbee take their name from the Lumber River originally known as “The Lumbee,” which winds its way through Robeson County.  Their Tribal Logo is:


Other North Carolina Tribes include:  Cohaire, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, Haliwa-Saponi, Meherrin,  Occaneechi Band of Saponi Nation, Sappony, and Waccamaw Siouan.

Please join our Governor in recognizing, celebrating and appreciating the American Indian Heritage!  For information about the American Indian Tribes in North Carolina visit the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs here.  To learn more about the 18th Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration in Raleigh, click here and if you are interested in attending one of the many Pow-Wows happening across our state click here.

Cherokee Pow Wow

Cherokee Festival Pow Wow

Flu Vaccination Clinic – Wednesday, November 6th

ECU Pharmacy Services is offering the LAST Flu Vaccination Clinic of 2013 this Wednesday (11/06/2013) from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Brody 2W38 – 2W40.

Flu Vaccination Clinics are open to ALL employees and their families (over 14 yrs. of age anytime and children under 14 years from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.), you will just need to provide your Banner ID number and your insurance information (there is no out-of-pocket expense!).

This is your last chance to take advantage of the convenience and affordability (present your insurance card; no additional money required!) of getting your Flu vaccine from ECU Pharmacy Services!!  Don’t miss out on this terrific deal, or the benefit of staying healthy this flu season. 

Statistics say that only 46% of Americans get vaccinated for the flu. If you need some information regarding the efffectiveness and/or benefits of getting a flu vaccine, please click here and/or here.

Continuing Career Development Program

The Student Affairs Continuing Career Development Committee is excited to announce the fourth program for the 2013-2014 professional development series.

ECU welcomes Arlie Honeycutt, former Miss North Carolina and Miss America Contestant and Mandee Lancaster, the Director of Survey Research and Leadership Initiatives within the Office of Innovation and Economic Development at ECU to speak in November!

Ms. Honeycutt and Ms. Lancaster will be guest speakers for a program entitled The Crowning Touch: Enhancing Your Professional Presence held on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 from 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM in Mendenhall Student Center, Great Room 3.  

Registration for this event is on OneStop under the University Training tab.

For more information on this program please review the flyer (below) or contact Dean Smith at 328-4703 or David Gaskins at 328-6387 with additional questions.

Continuing Career Development