Category Archives: General

Congratulations to the 2017 Cohort of Trained Staff Mentors

Ann Kitalong-Will, Business Operations and Chair of the WorkLife Advisory Committee, is proud to announce that Michigan Tech’s second cohort of trained staff mentors completed the university’s Staff Mentor Training program on September 27, 2017. These mentors join our first cohort of staff mentors who are available to partner with staff wishing to develop professional knowledge and skills, create strategies for effective home-work blending, get to know Michigan Tech and the Keweenaw, or grow their networking skills.

Michigan Tech’s WorkLife Connections Office developed the Whole-life Mentoring Model, which is based on the philosophy that assisting employees to grow both personally and professionally empowers our employees to grow in their careers and to give back to our university and local communities. The Whole-life Mentoring Model was developed with funding received from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

If you are interested in being mentored, please submit a Mentoring Interest Form (click HERE). New staff members and union employees (UAW, AFSCME, POA) are especially encouraged to apply to partner with a mentor.

The 2017 Mentor Cohort graduates are:

  • Sharon Attaway (Career Services)
  • Nancy Banfield (IT–Operations)
  • Bobbie Dalquist (Financial Services & Operations)
  • Stacey Donnelly (Career Services)
  • Shelley Farrey (Career Services)
  • Jodie Filpus-Paakola (School of Business & Economics)
  • Beth Frederick (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Wendy Hackman (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Laura Harry (Memorial Union)
  • Kristi Kesti-Pieti (Sponsored Programs Office)
  • Karen Maki (IT–Business Operations)
  • Tanya Maki (Human Resources)
  • Tammy Monette (Facilities Management–Custodial Services)
  • Josh Myles (IT–Operations)
  • Kimberly Puuri (Compliance, Integrity, & Safety Office)
  • Brenda Randell (Office for the Associate VP for Administration)
  • Michelle Reed (School of Technology)
  • Heather Sander (Office of Advancement)
  • Lori Weir (Facilities Management–Administration Services)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that your holiday season was filled with love, laughter, and happiness. Now is the time of year to make some New Year’s resolutions, and actually keep them! Did you know that only eight percent of people successfully fulfill their resolutions in a year? Here are a few tips that could help you become a part of that group.

o-NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS-facebookWhen making your resolutions, it’s important to remember that it is all about quality, not quantity. Be sure to limit them to things that you really want to accomplish. Resolutions should be things that you really want to do, rather than things you should do. By doing this, you might be more motivated to achieve them. Your resolutions should also be specific. The more detail you put in, the easier it will be to accomplish. Once all of your resolutions are made, it’s time for you to make an action plan. We all know how easy it is to fall behind on resolutions, but if you have a specific plan, it is much easier to keep up with them. For example, a common New Year’s resolution is to exercise more. Instead of saying just that, decide the days and times that you will exercise throughout your week and mark it on your calendar. If you plan your work out times and write it down somewhere that you see often, you can get that constant reminder which will help you keep motivated.

There are many things that you can do to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions. If you work hard and stay motivated to achieve your goals, 2017 just might be your best year yet!


Knitting Can Create Mindful Spaces in Stressful Times

By Morgan Laajala, WorkLife Connections Intern

WorkLife Connections and Employee Wellness hosted a “Knitting for Wellness” Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, October 5 in Memorial Union Ballroom B3. The Lunch and Learn had a great turnout, with about 31 attendees. The presentation was given by Silke Feltz, a knitting enthusiast and Humanities PhD student.

Silke talked about Knitting at Michigan Tech, StreetKnits (an international knitting charity), how knitting can be beneficial to your mental health, and provided resources for other knitters. Studies have shown that regular knitting and similar

Silke Feltz, humanities PhD student, discusses the wellness benefits of knitting at the 10/05/16 Lunch & Learn.
Silke Feltz, humanities PhD student, discusses the wellness benefits of knitting at the 10/05/16 Lunch & Learn.

needle work activities produce benefits for knitters, including creating mindfulness, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, helping quit a bad habit, improving cognitive function, and increasing happiness. Silke loved sharing her passion with others, and said that doing the presentation “was like a spa treatment for [her] soul.”

When Silke is taking a break from PhD work, she enjoys walking her dog, spending time outside, doing yoga, and of course, knitting. She explained that even during her busiest days, she takes her knitting with her and will take five minute breaks between grading papers to knit. This helps her to keep calm, relax, and focus on the task at hand.

Silke’s advice to other knitters is to realize that it’s just like any other skill that requires practice and commitment. If you keep practicing, you will eventually be able to knit without even thinking about it. Most importantly, give it a try, commit to it, and don’t get frustrated.

If you would like to learn more about StreetKnits or donate needles, yarn, or knitwear, check out their Facebook page or e-mail streetknits2013@gmail.com. If you have questions for Silke, e-mail her at shfeltz@mtu.edu.

 


An Invitation to Staff to Join Michigan Tech’s Pilot Staff Mentoring Program

The Staff Mentoring Program Committee invites all university staff interested in working with a trained mentor to fill in the Mentoring Interest Form. Forms must be submitted by August 15, 2016 to be considered for participation. Click HERE to fill out the Mentoring Interest Form.

In 2015, Michigan Tech received a grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to develop a staff mentoring program, designed to train mentors here on campus who would like to work with their colleagues to assist with things like:

  • Finding ways to more effectively blend work and home life demands
  • Developing job skills to assist with career growth and advancement
  • Learning about the University and opportunities to become more involved
  • Improving professionalism and communication skills
  • Finding opportunities to network and meet people from other departments
  • Addressing challenging workplace situations
  • Learning more about University resources and benefits

Seventeen mentors have recently completed their training; about two-thirds of these trained mentors are members of the AFSCME and UAW unions. The overall goal of the Staff Mentoring Program is to provide staff with an opportunity to work with a trusted colleague to help with career growth and development here at Michigan Tech.

Questions? EMail worklife@mtu.edu or call Ann Kitalong-Will, Staff Mentoring Program Committee Chair, at 7-1809. See also the 2016 Staff Mentor List.


WorkLife Annual Survey Still Open

We in the WorkLife Advisory Committee appreciate the feedback you have provided to us thus far regarding your concerns and challenges when it comes to work-life integration.

Our first annual survey remains open, and will be open until December 28, 2015. This survey asks for information relating to challenges you face between work-related demands and home-life responsibilities, childcare needs, adult-care needs, and self-care needs. We also ask about what areas of work-life blending you would be most interested in or find most helpful.

Please help us out by taking about 10-15 minutes to provide your feedback. Click here to take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/worklife_connections .

All answers are completely anonymous.

Our goal in the New Year is to develop new programs for you, based on the data provided through the survey.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at worklife@mtu.edu . If you are interested in serving on the committee, please email us as well.

Thank you for your help.


First Annual WorkLife Quality Survey is Open

The WorkLife Advisory Committee invites you to take the first annual WorkLife Quality Assessment Survey by clicking here. (URL: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/worklife_connections)

This survey will provide baseline data to help identify the services that are most needed to support work-life blending, as well as to assess the quality of work-life blending that all of us in the Michigan Tech community experience. All responses to the survey are completely anonymous. The report for the survey will be made available on the WorkLife website.

Your feedback is important as it allows us to address topics of importance and provide resources and services that are valuable to the campus community. The WorkLife Advisory Committee appreciates your assistance.


Meet Amelia, WorkLife Connections Program Coordinator Intern

Amelia Newman, Assistant WorkLife Coordinator Intern
Amelia Newman, Assistant WorkLife Coordinator Intern

Hey there, Michigan Tech. I’m Amelia, the new intern, working on Worklife Program Coordination. My job is to help the WorkLife Committee to organize events and programs, update the website, and help the committee to keep track of projects.

I’m a four-and-a-half year business management student, on my last semester here at Michigan Tech. On the one hand it feels like it’s been a long road, while on the other I often wonder, “Where did the time go?” I have loved what I’ve been studying here at Michigan Tech, and I plan to use my degree even though I don’t know where I’m moving next. I hope to live in the northern or western U.S., otherwise overseas. I also love long outdoor adventures. If it were up to me I’d spend most of my time kayaking, climbing or skiing mountains, or riding horses. I’m also generally very social and enjoy meeting new people, experiencing new-to-me cultures, playing with kids and cute animals, too. For instance, on the side I often help some friends of mine at their growing sheep farm.

One of my favorite experiences was my recent study abroad opportunity in Ireland a year ago. I made many crazy friends there and am going back to visit after graduation. I had a ton of fun in Ireland, of course, and even made time for four upper management courses taught by people with cool accents. In fact, for one of my classes, I researched and wrote a paper about the challenges of work-life integration. My work history includes working at a hotel before coming to Michigan Tech, my sewing/designing hobby on the side, working a summer for DTE Energy, and a continuing office assistance job for the university in the Humanities department.

Here are a few of the things I’m working on as the WorkLife Coordinator Intern:

  • Researching to benchmark other universities’ workplace flexibility policies.
  • Reading through some of your committee work and thoughts.
  • Building and updating the WorkLife Connections website.
  • Attending committee and sub-committee meetings as I’m able.
  • Sharing ideas, documenting the WorkLife Committee’s activities.

 

I am also assisting with scheduling and other day-to-day tasks to help support the WorkLife Connections Office and Committee activities. I’m excited to be a part of this important work, and I’m learning a lot about start-up activities in my work as an intern. I hope to start a business of my own in the future, so working with the new WorkLife Connections Office is helping me learn about some of the details and challenges of start-up organizations. Upon researching, I learned the extent of what other peer universities in the U.S. such as Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Cornell, etc. already have in place regarding flexibility/work-life initiatives. And so I’m catching on to the direction we’re heading, and looking forward to helping WorkLife Connections move toward our goals to help Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and students integrate and blend the many facets of our lives.