Staff

Staff on the Move February 2015

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departure for February 2015.

Newly hired
Michele Matera was hired as office assistant in the President’s Office on Feb. 16.
Joseph Buchino was hired as an athletic facility maintenance person on Feb. 23.

Departure
Dashaun Outlaw, public safety officer

Opalacz, LaPlant Honored with Cardinal Achievement Awards

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Jennifer Opalacz, assistant director of alumni and parent relations, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her efforts in taking on greater responsibility for several high-profile, time sensitive projects that were critical to the success of the University Relations team. Opalacz also stepped up to take on additional project ownership for a team member who was out on leave.

“Jen is among the most conscientious, organized, and upbeat individuals with whom I’ve worked. She is well deserving of a Cardinal Achievement Award,” said Thomas Diascro, director of alumni and parent relations.

Lisa LaPlant, assistant to the president, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her initiative in coordinating the efforts of several individuals who were working independently on the Sasaki project into a cohesive group, which resulted in an extremely well organized and successful event on campus.

It took extraordinary effort to coordinate this event over a ten-day period. She pulled together all of the Sasaki meetings including a luncheon for more than 100 staff, faculty and students with talks by President Michael Roth and Sasaki principals. The luncheon was followed by workshops with six different groups focusing on particular questions. She coordinated meetings the next morning with Trustees and again at the formal meeting of the Board.

“She not only pulled all of this together and was there overseeing everything, she did it all at the second busiest time of the year – the winter meeting of the Board, on which she worked tirelessly,” said Charles Salas, director of strategic initiatives.

This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. Award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors.

Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Cardinal Achievement Award website. Recipients will continue to be recognized in News @ Wesleyan. See past Cardinal Achievement Award recipients here.

Cummings, McQueeney Honored with Cardinal Achievement Awards

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Linda Cummings, administrative assistant in the Sociology Department and for the Public Affairs Center, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her efforts in taking on the responsibility of cleaning the PAC basement storage rooms. These large rooms were so full of old furniture, papers, books and assorted other items that it was almost impossible to enter them. Cummings worked with Physical Plant to arrange for multiple rounds of removal of usable furniture, assisted current and emerti faculty with review of their stored materials, arranged with the university archivist to remove historical files of interest to the university, and arranged with the shredding contractor to make special pickups of sensitive material. This process took four months to complete.

“We now have clean usable storage space for short-term and medium-term faculty projects. This was a challenging and complicated special project, and Linda took initiative at numerous points to make sure the process moved forward. In addition, she was always cheerful and helpful during the process,” said Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics and dean of the Social Sciences and director of global initiatives.

Kris McQueeney, administrative assistant in the Government Department, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for assisting three professors with a complicated office move. McQueeney took it upon herself to reconfigure the office space to accommodate three workstations in one office which included space for storing the books and papers for each of the professors. She worked out how to reconfigure the phones and computer lines and drew up a careful floor plan so as to be able to fit all three into one space.

“Thanks to Kris’s careful management of the process, the move was completed in a timely manner,” Jacobsen said.

McQueeney also monitored the storage space situation in the PAC basement areas that the Government Department had traditionally controlled, and took good advantage of the larger basement cleaning project this fall so as to clear out excess furniture in these rooms as well.

“Kris is always hardworking and efficient and I appreciate her willingness to pitch in and take responsibility to make sure challenging projects that require much coordination are completed on schedule,” Jacobsen said.

This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. Award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors.

Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Cardinal Achievement Award website. Recipients will continue to be recognized in News @ Wesleyan. See past Cardinal Achievement Award recipients here.

Mlozanowski Author of Night Flying

Joy Mlozanowski, library assistant/accounting specialist, is the author of Night Flying, published by Port Yonder Press in January 2015.

Abstract: In her diary, Mae questions God as she and her husband confront the news of an abnormal pregnancy and agonize over the decisions they face. Needing time away to think, she visits her childhood home and reconnects with Will, a deaf friend who taught her to sign when they were young. After her visit, Mae and Will continue an intimate written exchange in which she confides her despair, while Will shares his own struggle to honor the wishes of his dying father, and reconcile his mother’s reluctance to let go.

This collection of correspondences between Mae and Will form a powerful, nonjudgmental narrative around faith and the controversial topics of abortion and end-of-life care. Their story is one of understanding and hope, and promises to deeply touch anyone who has faced these difficult and heartbreaking choices.

Mlozanowski has an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University, and also is a visual artist and the assistant editor for Pith Journal. Read more: www.joychristine.com

Jazz Quartet Stanley Maxwell to Perform World Premieres March 1 at Russell House

Jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell will perform at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House.

Jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell will perform at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House.

Wesleyan’s “Music at the Russell House” series concludes with a free concert by the Connecticut-based jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House. The group plays music that blends tight arrangements with intricate group improvisations. The concert at Wesleyan will feature acoustic arrangements of original tunes from the past decade, including several world premieres.

Stanley Maxwell's Andy Chatfield, pictured second from left, composed several original tunes for the group that will make their world premier at the March 1 concert. (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)

Stanley Maxwell’s Andy Chatfield, pictured second from left, composed several original tunes for the group that will make their world premiere at the March 1 concert. (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)

Stanley Maxwell features the CFA’s Press and Marketing Director Andy Chatfield on drums, Mark Crino on bass, Eric DellaVecchia on alto saxophone, and Evan Green on piano.

The group has built a grassroots name for themselves at colleges and festivals throughout the northeast since 2001, combining the virtuosic and the simple into a visceral concoction, which helped lead to their winning “Best Jazz Band” in the Hartford Advocate’s Grand Band Slam Readers’ Poll in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

“Mousetrap,” an 11-bar blues written by pianist Evan Green, was influenced by Thelonious Monk, and was featured on Stanley Maxwell’s debut album Don’t Wake The Baby!  The band’s recording of the composition attracted international attention, including “Mousetrap” winning “Best Jazz Song” at the 7th annual Independent Music Awards in December 2007. The band also won the Relix Magazine November 2007 “JamOff” contest for unsigned artists, with “Mousetrap” featured on that month’s Relix CD sampler, included with over 100,000 issues of the internationally distributed magazine, dedicated to jam bands and improvisational music.

Staff on the Move January 2015

The Office of Human Resources announces the following new hires, transitions and departures for January 2015:

Newly hired

Christopher Chenier was hired as a digital design technician in the Art and Art History Department on Jan. 5.

Rebecca Foster was hired as the technical director and production manager of theater/manager of ’92 Theater in the Theater Department on Jan. 5.

Public Safety Holds Rape Aggression Defense Training for Staff

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Officer Kathy Burdick.

Lt. Jay Mantie, in the RAD protective suit, attacks Sergeant Kathy Burdick.    (Photos by Cynthia E. Rockwell)

The meeting ran much later into the evening than usual, and you are walking back to your car alone. The parking lot is both dark and deserted. Suddenly a figure steps out of the shadows not five feet in front of you. What do you do?

Thanks to a special training course on campus, a dozen members of the Wesleyan community have a new set of skills to use in both assessing and responding to threatening situations like the one described above.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mante and Officer Kathy Burdick.

Public Safety Lt. Jay Mantie and Sgt. Kathy Burdick are teaching the Rape Aggression Defense class.

Rape Aggression Defense—or RAD—training, was recently offered to the university’s female staff members, coordinated by Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, a residential life area coordinator. Lieutenant Jay Mantie was the lead trainer, assisted by Sergeant Kathy Burdick. Officer Melissa Widlack is also a RAD trainer and works with the team. The three earned RAD training credential by passing an intensive four-day training course on the core fundamentals of RAD training.

“There was a physical component and a mental component to the training,” Mantie said. “We were given a tough and comprehensive test at the end to ensure we knew the material well.”

It’s clear that he, Burdick, and Widlack passed the week-long intensive with flying colors. While Mantie explains RAD through its mission statement (“The goal of RAD is to develop and enhance the options of self defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked”), he also underscores a key result of learning the physical techniques.

“The training empowers women through self-defense,” said Lt. Mantie, “and leads the trainees to realize that they can defend themselves if attacked, and that they can be responsible for their own safety.” The result is women with confidence because they now have a tool that they can effectively use if needed. The course is not limited to sexual assault defense, and Mantie encourages the class to consider other instances in which it may be an important asset. “RAD training also provides defense against abduction, domestic violence, or any other form of aggression towards women,” he noted.

However, Mantie also gives the trainees a caveat. “No program is capable of adequately preparing or training an individual in every situation,” he cautioned, “so there is a mental component to the training as well.”

This part is risk management, with four key tenets: risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance. In other words, the trainees are taught how to identify potentially high-risk situations, and make informed decisions to avoid or mitigate this danger.

Mantie explains, “We teach trainees to identify a bad situation before it turns worse. For example, walking alone to your car at night and seeing a van parked in the spot next to yours in an otherwise empty parking lot. It is important not only to identify this as a risky situation, but also to know what you can do to lower the chances of a confrontation.”

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Officer Burdick.

Lt. Mantie sneaks up on Sgt. Burdick.

Another important part of the risk management training is awareness. Mantie noted that one purpose of RAD training wasn’t to make its trainees paranoid, but rather, to help them be able to quickly identify the times and places one has to be more alert. “We provide them realistic, real-world scenarios that they could potentially face in the future,” he explained.

On the last day of training, each woman is able to practice the moves on a male attacker in a protective suit. “I can easily feel if the women use the moves correctly,” said Mantie. “The protective suit keeps me safe, but I can tell that if I weren’t wearing the gear I would be in a lot of pain.”

Dean for Equity and Inclusion Earns a Doctorate in Education

Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion.

Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion, is exploring ways to better understand the experiences students have that interfere with success and wellbeing. She has a deep commitment to social and environmental justice, conservation and environmental sustainability.

In this Q&A we speak with Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for equity and inclusion.

Q: Renee, when did you come to Wesleyan and what was your first position? When did you join the Office of Equity and Inclusion?

A: I was hired in 1998 to be the associate director of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. The Office of Equity and Inclusion was established in 2013 following the hiring of Vice President Antonio Farias. Prior to his arrival, I served as dean for diversity and student engagement from 2009-2013, and the associate coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program from 2000-2013. I also have held the following positions at Wesleyan: assistant dean for student academic resources from 2005-2006, and assistant to the dean of the college from 2000-2005.

Q: How would you describe your role as the dean for equity and inclusion?

A: The dean for equity and inclusion promotes access, education and compliance through collaboration with students, faculty, staff and alumni that engage the campus community in developing all students’ capacity to achieve at the highest level.

Hurteau Earns Cardinal Achievement Award for Planning Library Project

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Linda Hurteau

Linda Hurteau

Linda Hurteau, library assistant, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for her work in anticipation of moving the Art Library collections into Olin Library. Hurteau created a plan to make space for and integrate transferred books from Olin Library into the Science Library.

She planned the project, supervised student employees to do a major shift of the Science Library’s monographic collection, and had the space allocated and ready when professional movers relocated the books. The planning work that Linda did resulted in significant savings to the library and the university. Hurteau also planned and initiated a project to create a separate oversize book area. The oversize shelves will help to preserve these materials by reducing the costs associated with rebinding books that are damaged by shelving them on edge or torqued when squeezed onto shelves of inadequate height or depth.

Lastly, Hurteau also undertook a project to integrate seven separate small collections into one when it became apparent that users were having difficulty locating individual items.

“Linda’s proactive approach to cost-savings and dedication to customer service deserve recognition. She is always looking for ways to improve the Science Library and the services we offer,” said Melissa Behney, science librarian.

This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. Award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors.

Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Cardinal Achievement Award website. Recipients will continue to be recognized in News @ Wesleyan. See past Cardinal Achievement Award recipients here.

Green Team, Sustainability Office Help Promote Plastic Water Bottle-Free Campus

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Wesleyan employees, from left, Jayana Mitchell, Anika Dane, Dawn Alger, Valerie Marinelli, Bill Nelligan, Jen Kleindienst, Anita Deeg-Carlin, Blanche Meslin and Roslyn Carrier-Brault, helped coordinate the installation of a new water filtering system in Woodhead Lounge. The water system eliminates the need to have bottled water provided at meetings held in the popular campus event space. (Photo by Olivia Drake)