Around Mason: Week of March 9, 2021


Faculty/Staff Announcements

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Deadline is close of business Wednesday for inclusion in the following Tuesday's edition.

Campus Updates

Apple Federal Credit Union Ends Contract

Apple Federal Credit Union has informed Mason that it will terminate its contract to provide branch and ATM services on its campuses effective June 30, 2021, due to multiple factors, including the pandemic. They will serve current members and the Mason community at their 20 local branches and via digital channels. Mason has valued the long-standing partnership with Apple FCU and respects their decision at this time. Business Services, in conjunction with other interested departments, is working to engage another banking partner as soon as possible to minimize interruption of services. We will keep the Mason community informed throughout this process.

Contact David Atkins, Business Services, at with questions.

Virtual Staff Appreciation Event

Take advantage of Mason's "Meeting-Free Week" to attend the Virtual Staff Appreciation Event on Wednesday, March 10, 1:30–3 p.m. This event is open to classified staff and non-student wage employees.

The Staff Senate has partnered with District Trivia to host a fun game of trivia. Even if you are not caught up on your Mason facts, this event will have questions for all, covering many genres.

While the usual in-person refreshments cannot be provided this year, the Staff Senate Events Committee has selected a few easy recipes for snacks and mocktails that can be prepared and enjoyed during the event.

This is a family-friendly event, appropriate for all ages. If you are teleworking, children (and pets) are welcomed.

RSVP by Tuesday, March 9, at noon. A Zoom link will be sent to registrants. For registration after March 9, email

Mason Meeting-Free Week, March 8–12

Spring break has traditionally provided faculty and staff a departure from the daily and weekly rigors of the semester. As no such hiatus will occur this semester, the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Senior Vice President have collaborated with Mason’s Faculty Senate leadership and come up with a suggestion that will provide the opportunity for some necessary “refreshing” during the semester. 

March 8–12, which had previously been allocated for spring break, has been designated as Mason Meeting-Free Week. Unless there is a critical need to do so, faculty and staff are encouraged not to schedule regular and routine meetings during that time period.

Mason Meeting-Free Week will provide an opportunity for faculty and staff to take time to refresh despite ongoing classes, open residence halls and student support services, and other activities taking place across the university.

Proposed Changes to Metro Service: Provide Feedback by March 16

If Metro buses or trains are part of your commute to Mason, WMATA is proposing service cuts to area transportation in its FY22 budget proposal and is currently seeking public feedback on the proposal.

Key changes that would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, under this proposal include:

  • Closure of up to 22 Metrorail stations, including Clarendon, Virginia Square-GMU, Arlington Cemetery, and East Falls Church
  • Elimination of 50+ bus routes serving Northern Virginia, including Metroway, Metrobus 38B, Metrobus 5A, and others
  • Reduction in Metrorail service with trains operating every 30 minutes on all lines

To provide feedback, take WMATA’s survey and provide comments by March 16 at 5 p.m.

Virtual public hearings (scroll down for dates/times/topics) are scheduled for the week of March 8. Public comment closes on March 16 at 5 p.m. WMATA’s Board of Directors adopts its final budget in April.

For questions, contact Mason Transportation at

Card Access Reader Replacement

Starting this summer, the Card Access Security Office (CASO) will upgrade older card reader technology (swiping a card) to the new, smart card standard (presenting/tapping a card). This provides increased security at readers and allows for a contactless user experience by tapping the Mason ID at a reader.

This process is solely a reader upgrade, as Mason has been utilizing a dual-technology Mason ID card that has both a magnetic stripe and contactless smart card element. This card currently has a picture of the Johnson Center on the front. See examples here. The Mason Card office has been issuing this card since the summer of 2014.

This process will be seamless for users. Existing Mason ID cards will work on new readers without any user intervention. Staff will go from building to building across campuses, replacing these older readers. Each reader will be tested to ensure proper functionality.

For questions regarding this upgrade, reach out to

Celebrating 30 Years of Employee of the Month

The first-ever George Mason University Employee of the Month was honored 30 years ago in March 1991. Mason’s Employee of the Month award highlights the hard work and achievements of faculty and staff members who embody the values of the university.

To celebrate 30 years of this wonderful Mason tradition, the university will share Employee of the Month memories, photos, and stories on social media. Follow the month-long celebration of the Employee of the Month program on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Prescription Drug Drop Box Available at Mason Police Headquarters

Do you have unused prescription medications that you no longer use or need? Visit the Mason Police Department lobby to drop off medications in the CVS Drug Drop Box available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

The Mason Police and Safety Headquarters is located on the Fairfax Campus, in front of the Rappahannock Parking Deck.

Needles or sharps of any kind are not accepted.

For questions, contact Lt. Michael Guston at

Media, Arts, Design, and Communication Internship and Career Fair

The College of Visual and Performing Arts, Department of Communication, and University Career Services will host Mason’s Media, Arts, Design, and Communication Internship and Career Fair on Thursday, March 18, from 1–5 p.m. on the virtual expo platform Airmeet.

Mason students and alumni can meet with recruiters from more than 30 arts, media, and design employers across the United States including United Talent Agency, W2 Communications, Wolf Trap, Virginia Film Office, and Torpedo Factory Art Center.

After registering at, students and alumni will receive a link to the event.

For more information, contact Ryan Braaten at or 703-993-8641.

Training and Professional Development

University Records Management Coordinator Training

Online Records Coordinator training is available for staff and faculty. University Records Management governs this compliance area for Mason. Improper handling of university records can affect audits, accreditation, litigation, and more.

This workshop will cover:

  • Records management basics
  • A review of local and federal laws that govern information management within the university
  • Services available to university departments and offices
  • Electronic records and data management
  • Creating internal records policies for individual departments

Records Coordinators will receive materials from this workshop to share with their departments. Training dates, times, and registration are available at

Questions may be directed to

Check Out the Stearns Center Digital Learning YouTube Channel for Online Teaching Tips

Want some quick tips for online teaching? Check out the “how-to” videos available on the Stearns Center Digital Learning YouTube Channel.

The channel features short videos created specifically for Mason by the Digital Learning Team. In less than five minutes per video, learn useful tips about online teaching, instructional technology, course design, and multimedia to apply to Mason online courses.

Subscribe to and visit the YouTube channel regularly. Expanded video offerings will be added in the coming months.

Questions? Contact Stearns Center Digital Learning at

Apply to Serve as a Distinguished Mentor for the 2021–22 Faculty Mentoring Communities Initiative

Mason’s Faculty Mentoring Communities is accepting applications for Distinguished Mentors to serve in the program for two semesters. Mentors attend approximately five meetings each semester. Additional planning sessions occur regularly to ensure continuity and provide support.

A total of six to nine Distinguished Mentors are needed and should be tenured faculty. A modest stipend for leadership and participation is included. 

Submit an application by Friday, March 12. View details about the application process. Questions may be directed to

Resources for You

Mindful Mason Moments: Weekdays at Noon

Take a mindful break in your day and contribute to your well-being through Mindful Mason Moments.

These free, online mindfulness sessions take place at noon every weekday through May 14. Monday–Thursday sessions end at 12:30 p.m., and Friday sessions end at 12:20 p.m.

Mindful Mason Moments are open to students, faculty, and staff.

Visit to join any session.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Wellness Resources

Mason faculty and staff have access to Kaiser Permanent’s EAP Wellness Resources, whether they are members of Kaiser or not.  Visit the website to explore a range of self-care tools, tips, and activities to help you thrive in mind, body, and spirit. Find articles, meditations, and other useful well-being resources.

Questions? Contact

Fidelity Retirement Consultation Sessions

Fidelity will host virtual or telephone one-on-one retirement consultation sessions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 11 and March 26.

During the sessions, Ron Seegers, Fidelity retirement planner, can address retirement plan questions and concerns, review investment strategy and portfolio allocation, and discuss retirement planning or other related topics. Upon request, the consultant can also produce annuity income projections.

Go to to reserve an appointment.

ParkMobile at Mason

If you are coming to campus and looking for a convenient way to park, some areas of the Fairfax and SciTech Campuses are linked to the ParkMobile app. 

Check out the list of locations and codes.For questions, call 703-993-2710 or email

Mason Arts at Home: Upcoming Events

Visiting Filmmakers Series Online: Black Lives Matter – TV Writing Hank Jones
Thursday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Virtual Event
Hank Jones is a writer and Mason alumnus. Originally from Ambler, Pennsylvania, Henry “Hank” Jones moved to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for script writing after earning an M.A. in English (Teaching of Writing and Literature) from George Mason University. Jones harnessed his skills working as an assistant on shows like Dear White PeopleThe New Edition Story, and blackish.

Mason School of Theater: Come My Beloved
Friday, March 12, at 8 p.m.
Mason School of Theater presents Come My Beloved, a play about race, intimacy, and Detroit. The play chronicles a Friday night in the lives of three Black and Jewish couples at different points in time—the 1930s, 1970s, and today.

Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Saturday, March 13, at 8 p.m.
One of the world’s premier chamber orchestras, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields invites you to reconnect with classical music in this intimate, pre-recorded digital concert of stirring masterpieces. The re:connect series was launched in response to the current moment, with socially-distanced concerts filmed at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London’s Trafalgar Square and streamed online. $15-$45, Pay-What-You-Wish in $5 increments.