Contests posts displayed by category

Quantum Financials

The Voters Have Spoken!

We have a winner! UMB’s new financial system will be known as Quantum Financials. The name was submitted by Chiradeep Mukherjee, enterprise wide application specialist in administration  and finance.

Chiradeep’s entry also included a tag line, which inspired the contest team to create one for the new name as well: Quantum Financials | A leap forward. Transforming systems. Empowering people!

Dawn Rhodes, CFBO and VP, commented that she likes the image of “leaping forward” with the new system. She continued, “Enhancing and improving UMB’s financial tools and reporting capabilities is one of the primary goals of this project. While development details and tactical project plans are still being finalized, one thing is certain. Many of you will be asked to become involved in the project as we further define, configure, test and deliver Quantum Financials.”

Thanks again to the hundreds of you who participated by submitting an entry and by voting for your favorite. We’ll keep you posted here and other places as we announce more ways to stay involved with this initiative.

  
Robin Reid Contests, TechnologyJuly 20, 20170 comments
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SSW’s Parkent Is June Employee of Month

When Patricia Parkent, director of sponsored projects at the School of Social Work, was named UMB’s June Employee of the Month by President Jay A. Perman, MD, she was asked to sit at the head of the table for the ceremony.

It’s a well-deserved place of honor, say her colleagues in the School of Social Work, where Parkent began the Office of Research Administration in 2006 with just an administrative assistant for support and now boasts 12 employees with research funding exceeding every school on campus except for the School of Medicine.

“It really could be Employee of the Decade from the School of Social Work’s perspective,” said Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, one of 16 Parkent supporters on hand for the ceremony June 21. “I did a little bit of calculating to figure out just how much you have done in this decade in addition to hiring the complete staff and building an office from scratch. Looks to me like it’s around 1,500 proposals that have gone out for about $500 million from across your desk. So, thank you for doing all that and doing it with such humanity.”

Indeed, the way Parkent goes about her job is as impressive as the results she achieves. When Perman praised her for being “the major piece” in creating the platform “so that these research grants can be properly presented, properly received, properly expedited, properly monitored,” Parkent gently corrected him, saying, “Well, me and my team.”

“The mark of a true leader,” Perman replied. “You know what they taught me a while ago? A leader gives credit, takes blame,” eliciting laughter from those assembled.

After Parkent received her plaque and was told there would be an extra $250 in her next paycheck, supervisor Gene Severance, MS, associate dean for administration, thanked her for her investment in her colleagues.

“Pat continually works hard at developing the capabilities of her staff and has been outspoken in the need for staff development for both exempt and non-exempt employees,” said Severance, who in his nomination also mentioned the late nights and weekends sometimes asked of Parkent. “You have really invested in them and almost all of them have advanced in their professional careers, have taken on more responsibility because of your leadership. That’s what has impressed me the most.”

Later, after the celebration had ended, Parkent said supporting colleagues is a win-win for both sides.

“Well, the more knowledgeable the staff are the better job they can do,” she said. “It’s important to know all of the laws that we need to deal with, and abide by. If you don’t have them memorized that’s OK, but you need to know where to go to look them up. And then be aware that they exist. I think every one of my staff now has had a promotion,” she said, smiling proudly. “The promotions have been well-deserved, and the staff has been able to move forward as the school’s moved forward. They are great people.”

Parkent couldn’t be prouder of the School of Social Work in general, especially the “warm and fuzzy” projects that cross her desk as signatory for the school. “The stories have to touch your heart,” she said. “A few years back I’m reading a Family Connections proposal where they wanted to purchase a dinette set because the family did not have any furniture. They needed somewhere just to eat their meals. Kids were sitting on the floor.

“This touched me so much that I got ahold of the social worker who was on this case and I said I want to do something for this family. We went to a secondhand shop and I bought them a living room set and told the social worker to give this to them for Christmas. I just wanted them to have furniture. Anybody should have furniture. Those are the stories you come in contact with at this school. With the kind of work we do, it’s so rewarding to serve behind the scenes because you see the good that comes out of it. It’s just amazing.”

And Parkent, who came to UMB in 2001, originally working at the School of Medicine, also thinks it’s amazing she is UMB’s June Employee of the Month. She recalled the little handwritten list of six grants and projects that then-associate dean Jennie Bloom, MSW, gave her when she started. At present, Parkent is responsible for the administration of over 200 active grants.

“We’ve come so far and it’s really nice to feel appreciated,” she said. “There are a few things that I feel like I need in my job, and, of course, money keeps you going. But you want to feel like you’re respected and appreciated and I do feel those things, so that makes this award very worthwhile and meaningful to me.”

Visit the website for other Employee of the Month stories.

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 5, 20170 comments
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contest

Vote for the Name of UMB’s Cloud Financial System

You overwhelmed us by submitting over 260 creative ideas. Now it’s time to vote for the name of UMB’s new cloud financial system. To make your job easier, we’ve narrowed the field down to a few choices. Here’s how to vote for your favorite.

  • You must have a UMID to vote.
  • To record your vote, you will simply click on your favorite name.
  • You may change your vote as many times as you like. Only your last vote counts.
  • Voting is open from 12:01 a.m., Monday, July 3, through 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, July 11.

Get ready. Get set. Go!

VOTE NOW

  
Robin Reid Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Contests, People, Technology, University LifeJuly 3, 20170 comments
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June President's Message

June President’s Message

Check out the June issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on his State of the University Address, a story on Police Chief Tony Williams’ retirement, a look back at Commencement, a story on Matt Hourihan’s federal research budget forecast, part of the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a primer on why philanthropic investment in UMB is so important, a look back at year 2 of the UMB CURE Scholars Program, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s Q&A on June 19, which will include a discussion of the campus climate survey, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

  
Chris Zang ABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJune 8, 20170 comments
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contest

Can You Name It?

As we told you a few weeks ago, eUMB Financials and RAVEN will be retired when UMB’s new cloud financial system goes live. That means that the new system needs a new name.  You could be the person to come up with that name! The winner will receive an Amazon Tap Alexa-enabled portable Bluetooth speaker with several accessories.

The sky’s the limit! Are you ready? Do you have a name you’d like to propose?

Here’s what you need to do:

  • UMB Employees or Affiliates may submit entries by email to fssystems@umaryland.edu.
  • Submissions must Include the following information:
    1. Submitter’s first and last name
    2. Campus email address
    3. Campus Phone Number
    4. Your suggested name for UMB’s new cloud-based financial system. (You may include more than one suggested name per email.)

Submit your proposed name(s) NO LATER THAN the end of day on Wednesday, June 28.

Here’s what happens next:

  1. The contest committee (who cannot enter, by the way!) will review all entries and select the top names.
  2. In the July 10 issue of the Elm Weekly, we will share the top submissions and ask readers to rank your favorites by July 18.
  3. The winning entry will be announced in the July 24 issue of the Elm Weekly.

The Fine Print

The winning entry becomes the property of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Background Information on the New System

To get some ideas flowing, here’s a little more background on the new system.  When it goes live, the financials cloud system will transform how we work with administrative systems at UMB. The decision to move our financial system to the cloud places UMB at the forefront of our industry – both with peers in higher education and within USM.

The new system will improve reporting and analytics and make it easier to access to UMB’s financial application since the cloud application will be available on mobile devices as well as on desktop computers. The new cloud system will allow UMB to take advantage of the best practices and process solutions built in to the software. The more frequent delivery of updates also provides the ability to stay current with these best practices and processes.

So go on…get creative! Come up with your unique idea. And make your mark on UMB systems history.

  
Robin Reid Bulletin Board, Contests, People, Technology, UMB News, University AdministrationJune 8, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

Matthews Steps Up, Named Employee of Month

For someone who was born across the street at then University Hospital and raised just around the corner, Arnold Matthews has come a long way at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

On April 27 he took paperwork to the President’s Office as part of his “daily run” only to be met by his Francis King Carey School of Law colleagues Dean Donald B. Tobin, JD, Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, JD, MS, Mary Jo Rodney, Joanne Macenko, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, who told Matthews “you are the UMB Employee of the Month.”

Perman went on to tell Matthews some of the wonderful things in his nomination form. For instance, when the other member of the two-man Carey Law facilities team had to go on medical leave “you worked extra hard, you never complained, you did your job, and more,” Perman said. “That’s an extraordinary example for all of us.”

After the president, dean, and supervisors had left the conference room, Matthews let out a sigh, smiled, and said he had just done his job while his colleague was ill. “I figure if I had gone down [sick], my co-worker would have stepped up. I don’t feel I did anything different than anyone else would have done,” said Matthews, who has worked at the law school since 2006. “OK, I might have put in a couple more hours, but that’s not here or there. It needed to get done and I did it.”

That kind of “can-do” attitude has ingratiated Matthews to his Carey Law colleagues. Hohing, director of administration and operations, said in her nomination, “Arnold is a joy to work with; he has a terrific attitude and no job is too big or too small. He is extremely dependable. He does whatever is needed, timely and efficiently, and works to make sure the law school is always seen in a good light.”

Besides delivering materials all over campus, his duties include making sure instructors have all the supplies they need, monitoring the building every day for needed repairs and safety issues, moving furniture, handling small handyman projects, distributing mail and maintaining the postage equipment, changing toner in printers, delivering copy paper, summoning University helpers for things he can’t fix — “all the little things to help keep the law school running,” Matthews said with a smile.

Dean Tobin clarifies that there is nothing “little” about Matthews’ contributions. “Arnold is truly amazing and is essential to our success,” Tobin said. “He is a hard worker who cares deeply about the institution and members of its community. Basically Arnold will do anything asked to make something great.”

That includes Matthews’ favorite part of the job: helping with events. He takes pride in making sure they come off without a hitch, not only preparing rooms for dinners, receptions, and meetings at the law school, but doing whatever is needed to guarantee the event’s success. “There’s a lot of things going on over there,” he said. “Sometimes I bartend, other times we set up food and help with the decorations,” said Matthews, whose multiple talents are appreciated by his co-workers.

Rodney, Carey Law’s director of special events, said, “Words alone cannot express how grateful we are to have Arnold on our events team – not only is he an effective member of the team, he is truly a wonderful person.”

Matthews, who received a plaque and an extra $250 in his next paycheck, appreciates the platitudes, but says he’s just doing his job — a job he likes a lot.

“I came from construction, it’s a lot better than carrying bricks,” said Matthews, who also worked in a factory and served in the military. “I did construction of some sort — plumbing, irrigation, bricklaying — for like 16 years before I came here. Now sitting at a desk I never thought – I just always said I’m not that kind of person. I’ve got to be outside doing things, you know? But this is much easier on my body.”

Not that he spends much time sitting. He’s only at his desk long enough to check his emails to see where he is needed next.

Told that Dean Tobin had mentioned his “friendly, customer service-oriented approach” Matthews replied, “Well, that’s the job. When you’re working with the public you’re supposed to put on a good face and [create] a good atmosphere. Being grumpy and mean all the time — that isn’t me because then the other person is mean. If you show you’re a good person the other person will show they’re a good person, too.

“Things work smoother that way,” Matthews added with a smile. “That’s the way I was brought up.”

Photo caption: Arnold Matthews accepts his plaque with law school colleagues (from left) Mary Alice Hohing, Barbara Gontrum, Dean Donald Tobin, Mary Jo Rodney, and Joanne Macenko.

  
Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, Education, Research, UMB News, University LifeMay 8, 20170 comments
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May President's Message

May President’s Message

Check out the May issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on changing our logo from “The Founding Campus” to “Baltimore,” a story on Malinda Hughes, who gave her $1,500 Employee of the Year prize to the UMB CURE Scholars Program, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10 and commencement on May 19, a National Mental Health Awareness Month reminder about UMB’s Employee Assistance Program, a safety tip on the UMB Police Force escort service, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, including a special section on global health interprofessional projects.

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 8, 20170 comments
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Local Food COnnection

$500 Prizes for Supporting West Baltimore

The BEST Buyers initiative (Building Economic Sustainability through Buyers) is a competition among all University departments to maximize the positive impact of their spending on the local community. Two departments will each win $500 prizes at the end of the competition, but the real winners will be the neighborhoods that benefit from your thoughtful spending.

Here’s how it works:

Every department on campus should use the Local Food Connection website to find local vendors that can cater for meetings and events. Buyers can also use the Foodify website to look for vendors with the “UMB Buy Local” identification. Whenever possible, pay for food directly using the University pro-card. This is the fastest way to pay a small business, and pro-card data from the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition will be used to determine the competition’s winners.

The office that spends the highest percentage of their pro-card purchases on food at West Baltimore merchants between May 1 and June 30 will win $500 to spend on catering in FY 18.

For example: If the Department of Community/Public Health (CPH) Nursing spends $5,000 on catering between May 1 and June 30, and $4,750 is spent at local caterers, their local spend is 95 percent. If the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Science Research spends $10,000 on catering during the same period, but only $2,000 at local caterers, their local spend is 20 percent. Despite having a smaller budget, CPH nursing spent a greater percentage of catering locally, and would win $500 to spend on local catering in FY18 if no other office has a higher local spend.

Another $500 catering prize will be awarded to the office that increases the percentage of the local catering they purchase by the greatest amount compared to the same period last year (May 1 to June 30). For example, if University Counsel spends 20 percent of catering purchases at local caterers between 5/1/16 and 6/30/16, but spends 80% of catering dollars at local firms between May 1 and June 30, they will have a 60 percent increase in local purchasing. If 60 percent is the highest increase among all offices, University Counsel will win $500 towards local catering purchases in FY18.

Winners of the Best Buyers initiative will be announced in early August. Questions about the competition or about how to spend University funds in ways that support West Baltimore communities? Contact Bill Joyner in the Office of Community Engagement.

Questions about the use of the pro-card should be directed to Kathy Bordenski in the Office of Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition.

Make sure to check out local catering options and the Local Food Connection.

  
Bill Joyner Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, UMB News, University LifeMay 3, 20170 comments
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President's Message April

April President’s Message

Check out the April issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Neighborhood Spring Festival, a story on the generous gift of Drs. Richard and Jane Sherman, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10, a recap of Frank Bruni’s and Goldie Blumenstyk’s lectures, part of our President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to the next lecture in that series, Matt Hourihan on the federal budget on May 2, a story on our CURE Scholars, who advanced in the Maryland Science Olympiad, a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, and a safety tip on not texting and driving.

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAApril 10, 20170 comments
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Golf Tournament

32nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Registration for URecFit‘s 32nd Annual Charity Golf Tournament is now open!

This year’s tournament will take place May 25 at 7:30 a.m. at Oakmont Greens Golf Club and will benefit the Graduate School.

Register by May 5 to get our early bird fee of $360 per foursome, or $98 for an individual. After May 5, prices will go to $400 for a foursome and $108 for an individual. Contact Jacob Pridemore at jpridemore@umaryland.edu if you have any questions.

REGISTER NOW

  
Jacob Pridemore Bulletin Board, Contests, UMB News, University LifeApril 10, 20170 comments
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Wing-a-Thon

13th Annual Wing-a-Thon

Do you like chicken wings? Would you like to raise money at the same time? The 13th Annual Wing-a-Thon is a chicken wing eating contest that raises money for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center!

Registration fee by April 16 (early/late):
UMB students or Kappa Psi Brothers: $10/$12
Others (ex. non-UMB students): $12/$15

Each team of five is asked to raise an additional $75 ($15 per person).

Event Details

April 24
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
SMC Campus Center, Elm Rooms A&B

REGISTER NOW

  
Laetitia N'DriCommunity Service, ContestsApril 6, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month

SON’s Voytek Named Employee of the Month

Donors feel appreciated, nursing students feel hydrated, visitors to the Living History Museum feel nostalgic, and colleagues feel like chirping — all thanks to the efforts of Lorrie Voytek.

Voytek, assistant director of development at the School of Nursing, was surprised on March 20 when what she thought was a group picture at the President’s Office with her development colleagues Laurette Hankins, Stacey Conrad, and Cynthia Sikorski turned into an Employee of the Month celebration for her.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, mentioned Voytek’s work at the museum and on sustainability with GreenSON. “I also know getting back to donors is a point of emphasis with you,” he said. “And making sure that the students who benefit from the donors get to meet them and vice versa. I always tell a story about a donor at Northwestern University [Louise Ploner] who enabled me to go to medical school. I’m forever grateful to her, of course. But I never got to meet her. I never got to say thank you. So I particularly understand the importance of doing that, and I’m grateful you do, too.”

As UMB’s March Employee of the Month, Voytek received a plaque and an extra $250 in her next paycheck. Asked about the award later, she shared the plaudits with the development team (“Cynthia, Stacey and Laurette – that is our team”) and explained why she thought the group picture ruse was totally legit.

“We had 81 endowments that were created when the UMB Foundation offered a 50 percent match, which was the most of any of the UMB schools,” Voytek said. “So I thought the president wanted to thank us for that. I remember thinking ‘why isn’t Dean [Jane] Kirschling here?’ Because she is such an integral part of our success. She hand-writes thank you letters, which I think has made a tremendous impression.”

Voytek also is known for going above and beyond. Before the interview the quasi curator gave a tour of SON’s Living History Museum on the second floor just above the main security desk. The state’s only museum dedicated to nursing, it chronicles the continuing story of the profession.

Voytek, who manages the museum docents and gives tours herself, pointed out the wall of history on the left, education in the back, and research on the right. A 1928 “Flossie cap” is on display that was designed from a pattern given the school by Florence Nightingale, Voytek pointed out, adding how they were starched and fluted. “The new nurses like the antiquated instruments like the Texas Instruments calculator,” on the research wall, she added.

She shrugs off praise for her museum work, saying it falls into “other duties as assigned.” Yet that list has been growing in recent years after some cuts in the development staff. Hankins in her nomination said Voytek “has taken on approximately 50 percent of the duties of the other coordinator position, cheerfully becoming our ‘go to’ person for ordering supplies, paying invoices, reimbursing travel expenses, and helping with our many events.”

Voytek insists she’s just doing her part and is privileged to serve the students, staff, and “amazing” leadership at SON. Putting the students in touch with the donors brings her particular delight. “Most of the students are more than happy to do so and are so appreciative,” she said. “It gives you insight into a group of nurses who are going out into the workforce. I feel very comfortable and confident that we’re in good hands.”

One of the ways Voytek has repaid the students is her work with GreenSON, the School’s sustainability organization, which she co-chairs. It was formed soon after she came to the school 4 ½ years ago. With a degree in conservation and resource development, seven years on the conservation committee in her previous development job at the National Aquarium, and working with the Piney Run Nature Center before that as a stay-at-home mom, Voytek found GreenSON to be a natural fit.

“I shared with them a lot of things we were doing at the National Aquarium that we could be doing here. Slowly but surely we have accomplished several initiatives that we’re pleased with.”

The biggest one is the bottle-filling station on the first floor, so students and employees don’t have to bring bottled water. Filtered water has replaced “those big bottled jugs that would kill your back to lift.” Triple station trash cans are planned to separate trash, one for the landfill, one for cans and bottles, and one for paper. Periodic office swaps allow groups to share supplies, cutting costs and helping the environment.

Voytek, who gets off the Metro and sticks fliers in bikes to promote SON’s third annual free bike repair with Joe’s Bike Shop on April 19 to celebrate Earth Week in the School courtyard, admits conservation “has always been a focal point of my life. It’s important to the students, too. The students are asking for it so we should be providing it.”

So why do Lorrie’s SON colleagues “chirp” their praise of her? “I am a birder, I love to go bird-watching,” Voytek says with a wide smile. “They’re always giving me pictures of birds, bird books. We’ll be having lunch outside and I’ll say ‘did you hear that ovenbird?’ since I can identify birds by their sound. So they get a kick out of that and I appreciate that it makes them more aware of their environment.”

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University LifeApril 3, 20170 comments
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National Public Health Week

Celebrate Public Health

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. For nearly 20 years, APHA has served as the organizer of NPHW. Every year, the Association develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers, and practitioners about issues related to each year’s theme.

Join the MPH Program for NPHW

Sign up now for our events!

Monday, April 3
7:30 to 9 a.m.
Ronald McDonald House Breakfast
635 W. Lexington St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Help relieve one worry for families by preparing a home cooked meal. Join the MPH Program as we prepare a healthy breakfast for Ronald McDonald House residents.

Noon to 1 p.m.
#NPHW Photo Session
SMC Campus Center Lobby
621 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201
Start the trend and spread the word! Join the MPH Program for a fun photo session in the SMC!

Tuesday, April 4
Noon to 1 p.m.
Movie: “Unnatural Causes…is inequality making us sick?”
660 W. Redwood St., Baltimore, MD 21201, Howard Hall 101B
An acclaimed documentary series that sounds the alarm about the extent of our glaring socioeconomic and racial inequities in health and searches for their root causes.
*Snacks will be served.

Wednesday, April 5
Noon to 1 p.m.
“Join the Movement” Walk
School of Nursing, Courtyard, 655 W. Lombard St., Baltimore, MD 21201 (starting location)
Influential leaders, companies, and organizations are taking important steps to create the healthiest nation. We also can build momentum and show a higher commitment to our nation’s public health. Join the MPH Program as we walk with community members around West Baltimore!

Thursday, April 6
9 to 5:30 p.m.
Public Health Research @ Maryland 2017
University of Maryland, College Park, 1220 Stamp Student Union, College Park, MD 20742
The University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, cordially invite you as active participants to explore and learn through poster sessions and panel discussions about recent advances in public health, ongoing research opportunities, and the potential for new collaborations. REGISTER NOW

Friday, April 7
Noon to 2 p.m.
“Got Public Health?” Table Booth
University of Maryland Medical Center Cafeteria, 22 S. Greene St., Baltimore, MD 21201 (1st Floor, South Building)
What are the best sources for public health information? Stop by the public health booth and learn how to get useful preparedness tips, updates, and health alerts.

  
Oriyomi Dawodu ABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMarch 15, 20170 comments
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President's Message

March President’s Message

Check out the March issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the UMBrella Coaching Program, a story on Wes Moore’s presentation on accountability in the Core Values Speaker Series, Karen Fisher launching the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a look ahead to Goldie Blumenstyk’s speech on higher education in that series on March 21 and our quarterly Q&A on March 28, a CURE Corner item on the School of Dentistry, and a safety tip on avoiding car theft.

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMarch 3, 20170 comments
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Employee of the Month McLean

Pharmacy’s McLean Honored For Audiovisual Rescue

When William McLean was asked to go to the President’s Conference Room to offer advice on upgrading the audiovisual service there, he thought nothing about it. Problem-solving is all in a day’s work for McLean, who for nearly 10 years has been multimedia manager at the School of Pharmacy.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, listened to McLean’s suggestions for several moments on Feb. 9, then changed the subject, letting McLean know he had been chosen as UMB’s Employee of the Month for February.

“I understand there was a big crisis in the pharmacy school,” Perman said, “and the vendor that you’d been using couldn’t handle the problem and you saved the day.”

“Well, I don’t know about that,” McLean humbly responded. “I just did my job.”

“More than your job,” emphasized Perman, who gave McLean a letter, plaque, and assurances that an extra $250 would be in his next paycheck. After Perman left the room, a smiling McLean told three School of Pharmacy colleagues, “Well, that was unexpected.”

Picking up the Pieces

When asked, he explained in detail the “big crisis” Perman had alluded to. In the summer of 2016, the School of Pharmacy was upgrading its $3 million audiovisual (AV) system and had contracted with a company to take out all the old analog technology and replace it with full digital technology before the fall semester.

“The project went out to bid and we don’t have a lot of control over that,” said McLean, who as multimedia manager handles AV systems for the school, which has a satellite campus and does a lot of videoconferencing, recording of lectures, and interactive applications. Awarded the upgrading project in May, the contractor didn’t begin until the end of June and by late July had only completed the demolition, leaving the 45 to 50 lines running throughout Pharmacy Hall that carry AV signals — content, video, audio, control — still not working.

“Classes start mid-August. So it quickly became apparent, due to the fact I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I knew they weren’t going to be able to get this done,” McLean said of the company, which had the contract terminated with the lines still not functioning.

He learned the day before students returned that the integrated system wasn’t working. “It was interesting,” said McLean, not one to get flustered easily.

Beginning the PharmD classes the next day without audiovisual services was not an option. The school’s satellite campus, the Universities at Shady Grove, is fully dependent on distance-learning technology. Had the classes started in Baltimore and not at Shady Grove in Rockville, there would have been an equity issue. So McLean and his three-person team — Jerry Adney, Erich Gercke, and Brian Hall — jumped in with both feet.

Past Experience

Fortunately, they were not strangers to such disasters. A flood in 2011 almost took out the AV control room at the school. A ruptured pipe in 2015 flooded the north end of Pharmacy Hall, taking out AV service to several of the main lecture halls.

“We had disaster carts we had developed for the old [analog] system,” McLean recalled. “Modifying them, I had to come up with a way to do videoconferencing and recording of lectures in the rooms without an integrated system so I built a series of videoconferencing carts and mediasite recording carts that I then tied into the existing systems in the rooms to get us up and running.”

After some long days and sleepless nights, the crisis passed, with the next-in-line bidder coming aboard to help with the task, which is ongoing.

‘School Is Indebted’

“Bill was up to the challenge and fashioned an improvised AV infrastructure to allow the delivery of PharmD courses, keeping the curriculum on track at both the Baltimore and Shady Grove campuses,” said Tim Munn, assistant dean for information technology, and Shannon Tucker, MS, assistant dean for instructional design and technology, in nominating McLean.

“Bill’s creativity and leadership of the School’s AV group ensured that coursework continued on schedule eliminating any need to consider alternate facilities, compressed course schedules, or an extended semester. The school is indebted to his leadership and technical skills during this trying time.”

McLean said he was honored to be Employee of the Month.

“In a position like mine you tend to hear all the bad things and you don’t very often hear the good things, so it’s just very nice,” he said. “Your story isn’t long enough to thank everyone, but I would like to thank my group for all the hard work they do and making me look good. I’d like to thank Tim and Shannon for nominating me and, of course, Dean Eddington and Bill Cooper [senior associate dean for administration and finance] for agreeing to finance the upgrade and to support our advanced programs.”

— Chris Zang

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20170 comments
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