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2015-16 Staff Quarterly Newsletter Archive

Staff Council News + Highlights

If you are new to JCU in the last couple of years, you were probably given the opportunity to connect with another staff member over the course of your first three months on the job to help orient you to the university and to help you network with the community here on campus.

This program, known as “Campus Colleagues,” is a project spearheaded by the Mission, Advocacy and Orientation Committee of Staff Council, working in collaboration with Human Resources. The purpose of Campus Colleagues is to help provide new employees with a contact person for all the small questions that come up when starting a new job (Where on earth do I go to pick up my parking pass? What’s a Banner number?), and to help welcome new employees to the JCU community.

Brian Hurd, JCU Police Chief, serves as the chair of the Mission, Advocacy and Orientation Committee. “It was a good collaborative model for how Staff Council can work with Human Resources,” he says of the Campus Colleagues program. “It was born out of our committee just as we [Staff Council] were starting out; we took it to HR and now we have this great collaborative program.”

Hurd, along with committee members Julie Myers, John Brautigan and Eddie Carreon, works closely with Leslie Beck and the rest of the Human Resources staff to pair incoming employees with existing “campus colleagues.” Since August 2015, 49 new employees have been paired with 26 campus colleagues. Both partners in these pairings have found the program helpful. “It helped me with networking,” says one new employee, while a campus colleague states, “I think it’s a great idea… so nice!”

Moving into the next academic year, the Mission, Advocacy and Orientation Committee is planning to change its title to “Mission and Advocacy,” dropping the “Orientation” piece of its charge. Why make this change? “We can drop the orientation part now,” answers Hurd, “because HR has really taken that on since our committee was formed. We all felt that it was lacking when we started; we were asking, how do we onboard people and help them feel more welcome here? HR has now taken that on and there’s been quite a bit of progress for welcoming new people.”

Will Campus Colleagues continue even as the committee drops the “Orientation” part of its charge? Absolutely, says Hurd. “It’s been a very cooperative effort. It’s going to be fluid; our approach has to be that we’ll always do our best to collaborate where it makes sense.”

What will be next for the Mission and Advocacy Committee? The committee will continue taking the lead on ferreting out the answers to questions submitted by staff to the comment/question page on the Staff Council website. In addition, says Hurd, the committee will continue to find ways to engage more deeply in the mission and advocacy work of Staff Council. “We’re finding our identity. We’re trying to focus more on mission and advocacy and deciding what that looks like, what that means for us.”

“This is an exciting time,” he says. “There are possibilities for Staff Council to be more involved in governance. We’re not a decision making body, but we have a seat at the table, which we didn’t have before. We have to be ready to step up to the plate whenever we’re asked.”

What does a Campus Colleague do?

  • Meet the new employee on their first day
  • Take the new employee to lunch the first week
  • Follow up with the new employee on a weekly basis
  • Attend the coffee segment of the New-Hire Orientation
  • Help the new employee integrate with the University in regards to culture, norms, and expectations
  • Make introductions and help establish networks
  • Establish rapport and provide open, positive communication

Campus Colleagues are still needed!  Sign up online to volunteer here: campus colleague program/

One of the primary purposes of a Council is to foster better communication with and for its constituents – in the case of Staff Council, this is the broader staff of John Carroll University. There are many components involved with communication, and among Staff Council, a small group of members work hard to make it happen: the Communication committee.

The 2016-2017 committee consists of four members – Connie Brooks, Samantha Cocco, Troy Field, and Megan Wilson-Reitz. The inaugural council included former staff members Mike Pasquale and Kevin Hatgas. Kevin served as the first vice-chair of the committee and was integral in its development.

While some other committees do various types of programming and inter-departmental work, the Communication committee helps shed light on these efforts through a number of different media, including the Staff Quarterly newsletter. Troy Field does an incredible job putting the piece together each month – while all committee members write and edit articles, Troy is the mastermind behind the attractive design and graphic elements.

Additionally, committee members record minutes of meetings (their own committee, Executive committee, Staff Council, and all-staff meetings) and collect minutes from other committees. All minutes are posted to the Staff Council website in a timely manner. Recently, Megan Wilson-Reitz developed a way to live-stream the all-staff meeting for staff members who were unable to attend.

The website is a huge piece of the work of the committee. It contains all current and archived meeting minutes, the roster of members, the constitution, all newsletter pieces, and much more. Connie Brooks keeps the web events updated so staff can find information about exciting upcoming opportunities. Other ways the committee helps JCU staff keep in the know are through Inside JCU postings and regular direct emails to staff.

Recently, the Communication committee administered Staff Council’s first assessment of staff needs and is in the process of sifting through the results. They will have a report together in January 2017 to share with the staff.

There have been some exciting changes to the JCU Staff Council!

On June 1, 2016, the following personnel changes took effect:

  • Deanna DePenti (Coordinator of Commencement and Continuing Education in Provost & AVP’s Office) completed her term as Immediate Past Chair. Deanna will not serve in any official capacity on Staff Council in 2016-2017.
  • Mike Richwalsky (Executive Director of Marketing & Creative Services in IMC) will serve as Immediate Past Chair.
  • Rory Hill (Facilities Coordinator) will serve as Chair, following the completion of term of Mike Richwalsky.
  • Lisa Brown-Cornelius (Director of Residence Life) will serve as Chair-Elect, following the completion of term of Rory Hill.
  • Kevin Hatgas (Assistant Director of Alumni Communications in Alumni Relations) completed his term as Vice Chair of Communication. Kevin will not serve in any official capacity on Staff Council in 2016-2017.
  • Samantha Cocco (Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Center for Service and Social Action) will serve as Vice Chair of Communication.
  • Megan Dzurec, Lisa Ramsey, April Skurka, Ross Carbone, Autumn Petti, and Jamie Spitznagel completed their terms as Members-at-Large and will not serve in any official capacity on Staff Council in 2016-2017.
  • Troy Field has renewed her term as Member-at-Large.
  • Megan Wilson-Reitz, Marianne Cicirelli, Salomon Rodezno, Adam Green, John Brautigan, and Julie Myers were elected to serve as Members-at-Large.

For a full listing of Council members and the committees they serve, visit

In 2016-2017, meetings of the Staff Council will take place in July, September, November, January, March, and May. The first All-Staff Meeting is scheduled for August 2016.

With its first meeting taking place this week, the Council will be determining their direction for 2016-2017. A needs assessment to be distributed to all staff to help determine this direction. This is anticipated to come out in August – watch your email inbox!

The Membership, Governance, and Finance (MGF) Committee of Staff Council is charged with a number of important tasks in accordance with the Staff Council Constitution. MGF conducts an annual review of the constitution, ensuring that all needs of the Council are represented and documented. Throughout the year, MGF oversees the Council’s budget and approves all expenses. MGF keeps abreast of all incoming and outgoing members of the Council, including their term expirations and limits, and coordinates and executes the election process to bring new members onboard. As new members are elected to the Council, MGF oversees their new member orientation. Finally, this committee ensures that the Council conducts business according to Robert’s Rules of Order, published in 1876 by Henry Martyn Robert as a guide for conducting meetings and making decisions as a group, also known as parliamentary procedure.

The committee is currently coordinated by its Vice Chair, David Wong of the Provost & Academic Vice President’s Office. Members-at-Large include Andrew Fronczek from Purchasing, Debbie Nixon from Education, and Jamie Spitznagel of Information Technology,

During its inaugural year, the committee developed the initial budget for the Staff Council and completed a review of and updates to the Staff Council Constitution. The revised Constitution will be disseminated when Rev. Niehoff approves the amendments. MGF just finished overseeing and executing the Council’s second election process to fill the vacating positions of Staff Council Chair-Elect, two Vice Chairs, and seven Council Members-at-Large. The committee has now begun working on the Council’s budget for next fiscal year.

The Staff Recognition Committee comprised of committee members Jane Evans, Megan Dzurec, Courtney Farver and Vice Chair Eric Eickhoff have been hard at work bringing opportunities to campus for Staff to connect. It isn’t often staff members have the opportunity to take a break from their daily work schedule to gather together and take a moment to mix and mingle. Staff members were able to do just that on January 4th by joining together on Keller Commons for the strEAT Mobile Bistro Food truck which served delicious free soup. Additionally they were able to hold a Staff Ice Cream Social in May with the East Coast Custard truck.

One of the more popular opportunities the committee has worked on implementing were the Blue and Gold days which allowed staff members to wear their blue and gold gear with pride on days the university had a home game. The committee currently working on continuing this tradition by establishing dates for 2016 with Rich Mausser in the Finance and Administrative Services office.

An upcoming event that staff members have to look forward to is the JCU Night at the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, January 21st 2016 when the Cavs take on the Los Angeles Clippers. On behalf of all members of Staff Council, thank you Staff Recognition Committee for all of your hard work!

JCU Staff Connections is an exciting new opportunity for staff to interact and network with other staff across the university who share similar hobbies, passions, interests or favorite pastimes. Research shows the employees who are have positive relationships with their colleagues are more engaged and productive at work.

On Thursday, 10/22 from 2-3pm in the LSC Conference Room, everyone is invited to participate in a fun and energizing event where staff will be connected with others with similar interests to create JCU Staff Connections! Prior to the event, the Staff Development Committee will be sending out a quick survey to collect all of the main interests/hobby areas from staff. Shortly following this survey, staff will be invited to register for the event. When you register, you will select one interest/hobby area for the JCU Staff Connections event on 10/22. At the event, you will be matched with all of the other staff who also selected that interest area. Together we will enjoy good food and conversations!

Please contact any member of our committee if you have any questions! We look forward to your participation and creating more JCU connections!

Campus Highlights


Take a walk anywhere on campus and witness fall’s beautiful colors amid the university’s clean and healthy learning environment.  John Carroll University strives to make an impact on our world through its commitment to a sustainable campus.  The month of October is dedicated to this national initiative which aims to slow the effects of climate change and its impact on the poor.

John Carroll’s support of this initiative, launched by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, is affianced through the St. Francis Pledge, which asks that individuals, parishes, organizations, and institutions:

  • PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s creation and protect the poor and vulnerable;
  • LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change;
  • ASSESS how each of us —as individuals or within our families, workplaces or other organizations—is contributing to climate change (i.e. consumption and conservation);
  • ACT to change our choices and behaviors contributing to climate change and;
  • ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact the poor and vulnerable.

According to the Sustainability @ JCU website, John Carroll’s own strategic initiatives include the following:

  • Conserve natural resources and reduce waste, energy usage and our overall carbon footprint.
  • Identify, promote and implement sustainable practices in all aspects of our operations.
  • Directly support the University’s culture of continuous improvement and enhance the University’s overall Catholic character and commitment to the environment.

At the All Staff Council meeting held on October 5, Facilities Scheduler Rory Hill, who also serves as Chair of Staff Council and Chair of the Recycling Committee, explained more about John Carroll’s efforts.  “John Carroll recycles,” expressed Mr. Hill.  The University sorts paper, glass and cans, and waste.  Evidenced by over 50 compartmented containers throughout campus, recycling is becoming a way of life for students and staff.  Using clear bags for recycling and black bags for waste, John Carroll’s trash removal is done by Rumpke, the University’s sole provider.  

According to Rory, “if you don’t give people a choice, they’ll just use the closest (container).”  New signage will roll out soon to help everyone understand where their recyclable goods and waste end up.  The “Fate of Your Waste” signage will stick to walls but not remove the paint.  

Although food recycling has been suspended because the University is too small, Aramark has their own system of managing food waste.  Leftover food goes through a waste pumping system.  The system uses water to break down waste to a slurry, which is mostly liquid, and about 5% solid waste.  An extracting machine removes the liquid and the rest go to a compostable disposal.  JCU composts nearly 24 tons each school year.

WFF Facilities Services Group, the University’s housekeeping and custodial services provider, also plays a role in the University’s commitment to sustainability.  Under recent changes in management, WFF provides office cleaning once per week and maintains the cleanliness of each building including recycling.  According to Gerald Freeman, JCU Site Manager, “WFF is aggressive in protecting the environment. From the design of our operational programs and chemical usage, to the equipment we use daily, WFF uses green products whenever and wherever possible.”  As for the students’ participation in recycling witnessed by WFF staff, more efforts could be made.  Hopefully the new signage will contribute to more awareness.  Both Staff Council Chair Rory Hill and Andrew Fronczek, Executive Director of Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, ask to be contacted with any issues or suggestions concerning WFF Facilities Services Group and housekeeping.

There are many more ways to help with the University’s sustainability commitment.  View the University’s Sustainability Asset Map to discover campus locations for battery recycling, water bottle refill stations, recycling containers, LED lighting, and much more.  For more information on how you can help, visit Sustainability @ JCU.    

The office of Campus Ministry encourages students, faculty, and staff to integrate personal faith into the academic and social environment of the University. However, this integration doesn’t stop at the gates of our campus community. Immersion Experiences allow students to engage in the realities of the world, reflect on values of human dignity and servant leadership and be exposed to unique cultures and environments.

While these opportunities are certainly an integral part of our students Jesuit Catholic education, they have also proven to be invaluable to the staff members that have accompanied students in past immersion opportunities. Although it may not be widely known, immersions are also open to of staff and/or faculty members who wish to embark on this life changing experience.

Want to be a part of this opportunity? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Immersions are open to all staff and faculty members
  • Your participation in an immersion must be approved by your direct supervisor
  • You are not expected to pay to attend the immersion opportunity
  • You may be required to obtain certain vaccinations based on your immersion location
  • You are not required to plan or organize any aspect of the immersion, just participate unless there is an emergency that requires your attention
  • You are asked to attend at least half of the preparation meetings to get acquainted with your immersion group
  • It is best to show your interest in participating 6-9 months in advance to allow the campus ministry office to prepare

Apart from the eye-opening experience that an immersion offers, staff members have also been able to take the challenges that they were faced with and apply what they learned in their everyday work.

If you are interested in hearing more about immersion experiences, please contact Andy Costigan, Coordinator of Immersion Experiences at 216.397.1506 or

If you wish to express interest in participating in an upcoming immersion, please click here to fill out the interest form.

The John Carroll University Facilities department thrives on change. They constantly serve the university community by providing needed services that keep our campus clean, beautiful, and functioning. These services include maintenance support, housekeeping, facilities scheduling, and groundskeeping. However, the university community never fails to notice the incredible enhancements to our campus environment –the driving force behind which is the hardworking Facilities department.

Most of us have noticed the major construction and renovation projects happening all over campus – the scaffolding surrounding the Boler School, the closing of the parking spaces near Rodman and Murphy Halls – but there are many other equally exciting projects happening on campus this summer as well.

Upgrades to the ADA compliant status of the Recreation Complex (RecPlex) in the D.J. Lombardo Student Center , led by Rich Bretz, is an important project. This upgrade will provide greater accessibility for those entering both the Men’s and Women’s public locker rooms and showers and provide a converted style of storage lockers. Additionally, certain toilet and sink areas will be adjusted to meet ADA compliant guidelines.

The Kulas Auditorium improvements led by April Skurka and funded by a grant have been 3 years in the making, and will certainly be noticed by those utilizing the space this fall and beyond. The previously flat floor has been reconstructed at an incline to allow for better viewing ability. Interior paint, new carpet, reupholstered seats, a new stage curtain, updates to the lighting and sound system have breathed new life into this previously worn-out  space.

The South Belvoir parking lot paving project has been one of the more well-known endeavors undertaken by Facilities. This venture, also led by Rich Bretz, began 3 years ago. Over time it has come to include an ADA-compliant pedestrian upgrade with the help of Cuyahoga County and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), which helps fund safety and road projects. More defined crosswalks, signals, and lights have been put in place on South Belvoir, and the parking spaces have been shifted to encourage pedestrians to walk with traffic instead of against it. Additionally, a stairwell and ADA compliant ramp were put in place along with more accessible parking spaces along the natatorium wall.

Additional summer 2016 projects carried out by the facilities department include:

  • The John & Mary Jo Boler School of Business masonry restoration project, the purpose of which is to replace failing mortar joints and lentils and also cover the building in a water repellent solution that will help prevent further damage to aforementioned areas.
  • The Thomas P. O’Malley Center for Communications and Language Arts summer update project, which has updated the space to include all new common area and classroom carpeting, paint, and lounge furniture, as well as enhanced lighting and updates to the elevator. Additionally, the new Tim Russert “Meet the Press” Set was unveiled during the University’s Reuinion Weekend 2016 celebration on Saturday, June 18. The display features real portions of NBC’s “Meet the Press” set and exerpts from historic interview he conducted during his era at the network.
  • The Millor Hall fire protection system upgrade, which was recently completed and signed off in early July.
  • The Administration building exterior rail addition project, which began as a part of a safety initiative to ensure pedestrians are clear of potential weather hazards presented during the winter months. This project includes railings to be placed on both sides of the stairwells as well as the center archways.

This department certainly knows how to stay busy! Undoubtedly,  there will be many more improvements to our already stunning campus. On behalf of the entire staff of John Carroll, we would like to extend a warm thank you to all Facilities employees who have worked so hard to enhance our campus environment.

Visit the department’s published project schedule here to see more of the work that they have been completing across campus.

John Carroll strives to foster a campus environment that offers students enriching events and activities to create a more holistic and fulfilling collegiate experience. These opportunities wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of many members of the staff who are committed to enhancing the quality of the student experience through programming efforts in their departments and across the campus.

In order to enhance and streamline programming efforts and further contribute to the intellectual, cultural, and social well-being of the JCU community, the Programming Work Group was established in the fall of 2015. Led by Lisa Ramsey of the Office of Student Engagement, this group was formed with the primary goal of fostering relationship-building by creating and supporting activities planned across campus represented by different backgrounds, interests, and experiences.

This group includes a diverse list of staff and faculty members who have participated in programming on campus in their areas of expertise:

  • Amy Wainwright (Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center)
  • Courtney Farver (Department of Recreation)
  • Jane Evans (Athletics)
  • Julie Myers (Campus Ministry)
  • Kyle O’Dell (Office of Student Engagement)
  • Lisa Ramsey (Office of Student Engagement)
  • Mark Onusko (University Counseling Center)
  • Mary Ann Hanicak (Vice President for Student Affairs Office)
  • Megan Dzurec (Health Promotion and Wellness)
  • Nakiya Findley (Residence Life)
  • Nikki Marzano (Center for Career Services)
  • Salomon Rodezno (Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion)
  • Samantha Cocco (Center for Service and Social Action)

Because the group is still fairly new, it first focused on supporting and generating excitement around events that were already slated to happen. The group recently helped plan and publicize for “GUTS Week,” sponsored by the Department of Recreation. GUTS challenged students in teams of four to complete a series of mental, physical, and team-building challenges in order to win a prize. The Programming Work Group successfully beefed up the excitement around this event and provided ongoing support as needed.

The group is happy to announce that they are currently in the process of planning their first major program series. The focus is on “Voices,” and the week is set for October 24-28. This series will include a Singing Competition, Youth Vote Discussions, Poetry Showcase, Movie Night, and more.

Although still in its infancy, it is quite obvious that this group of talented individuals have grand plans for programming on John Carroll’s campus. We are all very excited to experience the new and innovative ideas they present.

As a Jesuit Catholic university, John Carroll inspires individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service in the region and in the world. Since our mission is student focused, everything we do at JCU is mission related in some way – from registering students for classes, to helping them excel at a sport, to programming events to help them feel connected to their peers. However, JCU offers specific paid time off to encourage staff to participate in activities that specifically advance or enhance the service and spirituality components of Carroll’s mission. This paid time offered is known as Mission Leave.

Nearly three years ago, a group of staff and administrators developed and encouraged the Human Resources Department to adopt a Mission Leave Opportunities policy to provide paid time for JCU staff members to participate in service, retreat/reflection, and immersion activities. Ryan Armsworthy in Human Resources explained that there was the need for a clear policy regarding how to mark time that is neither in-office work time nor other types of leave like vacation or sick time. He added that the existence of the policy works to communicate the importance of JCU’s mission to the University staff, encouraging them to seek opportunities to utilize this time. In the development of the policy, Armsworthy noted that the group looked at other Jesuit institutional policies and found that many did provide for that type of leave.

In 2015, 159 hours of Mission Leave were reported. Staff members are encouraged to utilize and report the time provided when engaging in any of the following activities that are distinguished as approved for Mission Leave: Living the Mission Day, Fatima Fun Day, We the People Year-End Events, Days of Reflection, and opportunities for staff members who host international students.

It should be noted that Mission Leave is limited to events sponsored by the University during the workday that have been pre-approved by the Vice President for Mission & Identity, Ed Peck, Ph.D., and the Director of the Center for Service and Social Action, Sr. Katherine Feely, SND. As such, it is not intended to cover the service and spiritual activities staff members may do on their own personal time. Dr. Peck explains that staff members are encouraged to suggest new Mission Leave opportunities at any time by contacting him or Sr. Katherine directly.

Although the policy includes “Immersion Trips” as a type of Mission Leave, there is a bit of clarification needed. When a staff member accompanies a student group on a University immersion experience, this should not be counted as Mission Leave. In this case, the staff member is fulfilling the role of a chaperone and resource in the event of an emergency situation. Staff members should codify this time as regular working time. However, if the staff member accompanies the group as a guest and not as an official chaperone, or if the immersion experience is made up of staff members, then the time may be used as Mission Leave.

Dr. Peck explained that one of his goals for the future is to offer more short-term opportunities that may only consume a few hours of a staff member’s time so as to accommodate staff members who are unable to participate in day-long activities. During Ignatian Heritage Week (January 25-29), for example, the O’Dea Room will be open to all community members as a place to reflect on the call to peace and justice in our lives. The room will be open all week long, and all staff members are encouraged to take an hour of Mission Leave to visit the room and reflect. Other upcoming opportunities for Mission Leave include a Spring Break half day of reflection and a full-day retreat in May.

These and other Mission Leave opportunities are listed at Staff members are also encouraged to check Inside JCU regularly for opportunities. Dr. Peck added that, in his time in his role as vice president of mission & identity, “it has been impressive to witness the generous spirit that our community members exhibit to engage in these types of opportunities.”

Human Resources is currently undergoing the process of reviewing all policies and inviting input from the University community. Two sets of policies have already been announced as open for consideration and review, and Mission Leave will be included in a future set of policies. Staff members are encouraged to review the Mission Leave policy at any time and provide comment or questions to Human Resources. The full policy can be found on the Human Resources website under Policies; Absences and Leave. Alternatively, access the policy by clicking here.

“John Carroll sees [Mission Leave] as an opportunity to communicate that service and reflection are significant parts of our mission and our commitment to our students as well as our employees,” Armsworthy noted. “They are important parts of what it means to be a member of this community.”


When Alex Teodosio arrived at John Carroll University as the assistant vice president of human resources, he formed a group charged with developing initiatives that assist and engage employees.

“I challenged my team to tie everything we do back to employee engagement,” Teodosio says.

This transition began with the launch of the 2015-2016 Employee Engagement Initiatives, which cover programs and training focused on topics such as clarifying employee benefitssupervisory training, and employee recognition. After just six months, it’s evident this philosophy has significantly impacted the University’s overall HR operations, thus increasing employee support.

After the implementation of the Employee Engagement Initiatives, each division was assigned an HR representative with whom they could communicate and engage. An important part of this relationship has been the ability of HR to survey focus groups to better serve the University .

Although the HR staff has worked ardently creating and implementing these initiatives, Staff Council also has played an important role in advocating for and collaborating with the HR staff.

“Initially, I wasn’t sure how HR would work with Staff Council because it was so new, but it has worked out well and they’ve become a phenomenal resource,” Teodosio says.

Staff Council has contributed to the success of the Employee Engagement Initiatives by collaborating with HR. One example is Blue Gold Days, an opportunity for staff to wear blue and gold clothing to increase school spirit, pride, and morale.

Additionally, the Mission Advocacy and Orientation Committee of Staff Council helped develop the Campus Colleagues Program with the support of Human Resources Coordinator Leslie Beck. This program pairs new university employees with veteran employees to help ease the transition to John Carroll by providing them with the necessary tools and introducing them to their co-workers through various activities.

Staff Council also played a key role in supporting and promoting the Supervisory Training Series, which provided all John Carroll supervisors with a detailed understanding of their role on campus and applicable tools to take back to their departments. The series was launched in July.

With several successful collaborations under their belts, Human Resources and Staff Council look forward to the next opportunity to provide more programs and services to JCU employees to educate, develop, and improve morale. Both groups are excited to work together to help John Carroll employees become more engaged.

Staff Highlights

Dan Fotoples

Most JCU staff members put in their work hours and then return to their homes off campus. For the Area Coordinators in Residence Life, however, “home” is on-campus.

For this issue’s Staff Highlight, we interviewed Dan Fotoples (pronounced “Fot-OP-o-lous”), Area Coordinator for Murphy and Bernet Halls, about maintaining work-life balance in Residence Life, working all over the Midwest, and getting good food on and off campus.

Tell us about yourself. You just started at John Carroll?

Yes, I came back several months ago. I graduated from JCU in 2010. I always hate giving the ‘this is where I went to school’ speech because I don’t feel like that really tells people who I am.

What have you done in the intervening years?  

I originally wanted to be a high school history teacher. The educator piece of me has been there since I started. I was a history major, graduated with a history degree, then went to law school at Notre Dame because my mom thought I’d be a good attorney. In law school I lived in the residence halls as an Assistant Rector.  I really appreciated the mentorship and pastoral piece of it, and I think that got back to my educator roots, so when I graduated from law school I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney, so I went up to Michigan and pursued a Master’s in Higher Education. Now I have all my receipts on the wall that tell you all the places in the Midwest I’ve been. I came back to JCU last summer and I’m hoping that Cleveland is a permanent landing spot.

How do your degrees in law and in higher education help you in your work in Residence Life?

I love being able to advocate for students who otherwise might not have a voice. I can’t help but do my work through that lens… coming to each new institution with different policies, practices, traditions, trying to work through that and understand why things are done the way they are, and question whether things can be done better.

Your home and office are in the same building. Tell us about that.  

It’s super convenient when the weather’s terrible…. But it’s important to set mental boundaries. It is nice when I’m trying to, like, cook something in the crock pot for dinner. I can pop back to my apartment and take care of things during the day. I also get a partial meal plan, so I can go over to the cafeteria and get a sandwich on those days I don’t want to cook.

Since I’ve been a professional, I’ve learned how to draw boundaries. I don’t allow myself to take work home or pop back to the office after I’ve finished dinner. I get off campus on the weekends if I’m not on duty. I tell my RA’s not to expect anything from me on off-hours.

It’s interesting trying to describe student affairs to people who don’t do it, and trying to articulate why you live on campus to people who don’t understand. It’s a typical conversation at Christmas, because my extended family doesn’t understand what I do, and they usually ask, “when are you going to go back and practice law?”

How well do the other staff on campus respect the work that you and your colleagues do?

A lot of the things we do are hard. We deal with emergencies at two or three in the morning. Most people respect that. In this department we have a lot of competent, hardworking folks. We are effective team members and we pull our weight well. It’s easy at some universities to dismiss Residence Life departments. In some institutions those departments aren’t so strong, but here it’s good. People are ready and willing to collaborate with us.

I don’t think anybody wants the job of having to live on campus and respond in the middle of the night, so I think they’re like, ‘I’m glad that you do that, because I don’t want to.’”

What’s the hardest part of your job that the rest of the campus doesn’t understand?

It’s really hard to look a student in the eye who’s having a terrible time in their living situation, and know that, as part of the educational process of living with somebody, you need to send them back into that room to try and figure it out, or when you tell somebody that because of a safety issue, you need to move them.

Seeing the lost look that a student has because they don’t know how to deal with the fact that they can’t even go to their room and feel comfortable in it, that’s really hard. It really pushes the boundaries of your commitment to your educational mission and processes, because you’re sitting here with this real person, not just emailing you, but sitting here, impossibly crying, and you have to send them back, and they don’t understand why they have to go back into this room. Why can’t they just move?

You know that this is an experience that’s part of the educational process of living with somebody, and that’s hard, because we’re all “helpers.” When you see someone struggling, you want to make them feel better. A lot of times education exists in uncomfortable spaces, and it sucks when your living situation is that uncomfortable space, because where do you go to feel comfortable?

What do you do for fun?

I like the off-campus social things, because it gets me away from campus. I go to all the happy hours. The sporting events are awesome. I love food, so if anybody ever wants to hang out, I love to go to meals with people. In Chicago, I had a brunch club with some coworkers that went to a different brunch spot every two weeks. I need people to go with who are willing to try new places!  Also, if anybody wants to go to Machu Picchu with me this summer, I’m looking for travel partners.

Staff Recognition and Excellence Awards recognize the professional contributions and service of John Carroll University staff, both exempt and non-exempt, and their integral role in promoting the University’s mission of inspiring “individuals to excel in learning, leadership, and service in the region and the world.

Click here to learn more information about the recipients of the 2016 Staff Awards!

Kelly, could you tell us a little about yourself? 

“Sure!  I’ve been married to my wife, Cheryl, for 31 years. She works at a public relations firm in downtown Cleveland. We have two great kids, Darcy and Riley. Darcy will graduate from JCU this month with her second masters. The first is in English and the second is education. My son Riley is attending Utica College in New York. He’s pursuing a degree in Risk Management and expects to graduate in 2018.”
Do you have any hobbies? 

“I used to race sports cars (SCCA). Nowadays I play hockey in a senior league.”
When did you begin working at John Carroll?

“I got here in 1995 and became part of the Grounds Crew. A few of my friends already worked here and told me how much they loved the job. They were right; I do too!”
So what do you like most about your job?

“Being outside and the change of seasons. Summer’s great, although winter can be challenging in Northeast Ohio.”

What’s your favorite thing about JCU?

“I love watching the students progress and grow in the Jesuit tradition at JCU. I recently had the opportunity to volunteer for the Jesuit Day of Service. I loved interacting with the students at the Fatima Center.”
What’s been the strangest part of your job?

“I had to untangle a deer from the soccer goals at Shula Stadium.”
Finally, what has been the most memorable moment of your life?

“Aside from the birth of my children, watching my daughter graduate from JCU, and seeing my son play i


Say “HELLO” to Adam Green

How long have you worked at JCU and what do you do? I have worked at JCU for about nine years, first as a Circulation Associate, and now as Head of Access Services.

How did you decide you wanted to work at John Carroll’s Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center? I graduated from here (after going to Lakeland for two years) with a degree in History and Political Science. I was a commuter student so I had spent an enormous amount of time in the library. It was kind of my home away from home in between classes. I always loved the sense of community and family atmosphere that exists on campus. When I saw the ad for the library position, I excitedly applied and hoped for the best. I really wanted to return to JCU and, happily, it all worked out.

What do you love about your job? I help train and supervise about 30 work study students in the Circulation Department. I really enjoy working with and getting to know these students. I think a campus job can definitely be a great learning experience and a vital part of a student’s educational experience. My coworkers are such great people to work with and I love being part of “Team Grasselli”. The library director, Michelle Millet, encourages staff to suggest new projects. This has allowed me to take part in the creation of a Comics collection and in the Textbook Sharing Program. The Textbook Sharing Program purchases selected textbooks to place on reserve to help students save money. I am very proud to be a part of this popular and important program. Being a part of the St. Martin de Porres Corporate Work Study Program is also a highlight of my work life.

What do you love about working at JCU? Again, I think the sense of community and family atmosphere are what really sets JCU apart. Everyone is so friendly, helpful, and caring. It’s a joy to be a part of the team.

Please share a little about working the the St. Martin de Porres students. The St. Martin de Porres Corporate Work Study Program allows high school students to work five days per month with a corporate partner. We currently have four students on campus in the following departments: Information Technology Services, Mail Center, Center for Service and Social Action, and Grasselli Library & Breen Learning Center. These students learn vital job and life skills and they really help us with our workflow. The students are very kind and hardworking. I hope they all decide to come to John Carroll when they graduate from high school.

And finally, could you tell us a little about yourself? I have three cats: Poldy, Ophelia, and S’mores. Before I came to JCU I worked at Petsmart where I was known as the Michael Jordan of stocking dog food. I enjoy comic books, Star Wars, and other nerdy-type things that have always ensured popularity and endless party invitations. And I have hope to eventually further my education and get a Masters in Library Science from Kent State University.

tim story

How long have you worked at John Carroll? When did you start?
I started in November 2011

What is your job in campus? 
I am the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach / Director of Strength and Conditioning for the majority of Varsity Sports here at JCU.

I’m responsible for helping the student athletes become better athletes through strength training, speed development, flexibility, mobility, nutrition, and overall wellness. I incorporate a wide variety of training methods from Olympic style strength/ power training, to traditional movement training. Another big part of my job is to help keep them healthy. I work in close with the Sports Medicine staff (Don McPhilips and staff) to ensure proper training techniques and recovery for all of the athletes (injured and well).

What do you love about your job?
The PEOPLE of JCU. It is an honor to be part of such a great school and athletics program.

Starting with the student athletes. It is a thrill to work with them. Although it is the Division III level, I try to provide a Division I program with atmosphere, methods, programming, and goals. The kids are very receptive and hungry to get better from my system of training and that makes my job easier. The commitment to getting better at JCU is impressive, not just for sport but also academics. This provides the student athlete a work ethic that they can use throughout life. I give the student athletes a ton of respect because its not always easy to balance academics with sports.

Next, the Coaches. They are extremely supportive and trusting in what I do with their teams. We all know that in order for a program to be successful, it must be a TEAM effort, and I believe we all work together in a great way and help each one of us get better as coaches. We communicate frequently to ensure the best for the athletes.

Finally, the Athletic Administration. Laurie Massa, Gretchen Weitbrecht, and Jane Evans do a great job keeping the department flowing smoothly for success. They have also been very supportive of my position.

What do you like about working at JCU?
The People, the Jesuit Tradition, and overall friendly community.

Tell us a little about yourself
I grew up in Euclid, Ohio and went to Catholic schooling up through my undergraduate degree. I graduated from St. Joseph HS (now Villa-Angela / St Joe) and then the University of Dayton. I received my MS from Ohio U in Sport Physiology. I played High School basketball at St. Joe’s for Coach Mike Moran and it is an incredible honor to coach for his team in Strength & Conditioning here at JCU. He has been a major influence in my coaching career.

My father graduated from JCU in 1966 and M.S. in 1968 and taught Mathematics here part-time for 25 years, so JCU has a special place with my family and me. He passed away 4 years ago and I know he would be proud I am coaching at his alma mater.

In addition to coaching here at JCU, I am the Founder and Owner of Speed Strength Systems. Since 2000, Speed Strength has been providing performance training to athletes from 8 year olds to professional athletes. In my “off-season” from JCU, I am very active with my business and helping athletes get better at Speed Strength.

I stay very active with performance training myself. I enjoy running, lifting weights, cycling, and just staying healthy.