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HR Bulletin | March 2021

Timekeeping for Winter Storm Closure

If you have not already entered your time during the university closure, please review the timekeeping guidelines and update your time entry in SAP Employee Self Service as soon as possible. It is important that this time entry is done promptly for processing insurance and FEMA claims for the university.

Bobcat Balance is Here for You!

Daily challenges bring changes to our lives, including stress and anxiety. We want to remind you of the resource available to you: Bobcat Balance, your Work Life and Employee Assistance Program! Bobcat Balance can help you manage anxiety and stress or help you cope with grief or loss by providing individual and/or family counseling or connecting you with support groups within your area. Whether you need an appointment with a counselor or want to talk to a representative to connect you with other Work Life services, to include disaster resources, call Bobcat Balance at 1.855.884.7224.

New Talent Acquisition Website on the Way!

The Office of Institutional Inclusive Excellence - Faculty and Staff Initiatives is excited to announce that a new website will be launched soon!

What You’ll Find:

  • Hiring Manager’s Corner which includes links to PeopleAdmin User Guides and the Staff Diversity Hiring Toolkit.
  • The Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Program including helpful tips on how to enroll in and complete the certificate program.
  • Other helpful resources: such as forms, employment checklists, and much more! For more information website launch date, please contact the Talent Acquisition team.

The Office of Institutional Inclusive Excellence Presents:

The Bobcat J.E.D.I. Program Inaugural Class!

The Bobcat Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Program was launched in November 2019 in collaboration with University College, HSI STEM Programs, Hispanic Policy Network, Institutional Inclusive Excellence-Student Initiatives, Office of Disability Services, Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff Alliance, and the Office of the Provost. The program offers faculty and staff the opportunity to build competencies that will support a more inclusive environment at Texas State by offering courses related to diversity, inclusion, ability, social justice, and equity. Participants have the option to register for Track 1, which requires the participant to complete 7 trainings or  Track 2, which requires the completion of 9 trainings. The sessions include a variety of topics: Diversity 101 & 102 which are the introduction and the capstone courses; Allies for Individuals with Disabilities, Supporting Transgender/Non-binary People in Higher Education, From Foster Care to College Student, LGBTQiA Allies Training, Understanding International Student Need, and Helping Student Veterans Succeed at Texas State, and many others.

Since the program’s launch, 182 faculty and staff have registered for the program. Collectively, the 13 awardees have completed a total of 116 training courses which resulted in 266 training hours, all related to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.Texas State University is committed to building and supporting an inclusive university community. It is through the commitment of our partners, facilitators, and the interdepartmental collaboration that we can offer this certificate program to elevate diversity, equity, inclusion, and access at Texas State University.

Please join the Bobcat J.E.D.I. Team in congratulating the Inaugural Bobcat J.E.D.I. Class!

“The Bobcat J.E.D.I. Program not only offers a safe space to ask questions, challenge ideas or question preconceived notions but also an amazing opportunity to meet a wonderful group of diverse, open and talented people."

-Illona Weber (She, Her, Hers)
Math CATS coordinator
Completed Track #2


“If we better understand the experiences of our peers, we can be better allies and truly do the work to lift each other up. I highly recommend the Bobcat J.E.D.I. program to anyone who celebrates diversity and wants to create a more inclusive environment at Texas State and in the world.”

-Jessica Schneider (She, Her, Hers)
Research Coordinator, College of Liberal Arts
Completed Track #1


“I am glad we finally have Diversity and Inclusion Training. Hopefully, we will see more action and change at Texas State University”.

-Nabila (Nay) Aikawa
Senior Administrative Assistant, College of Liberal Arts
Completed Track #2


“I recommend the Bobcat J.E.D.I. Program to anyone who wants to learn more about our diverse Bobcat community. The workshops provide an excellent space for learning and reflection. I’m grateful to the workshop presenters and to my colleagues in Institutional Inclusive Excellence for making this program possible.”

-Margaret Garry (She, Her, Hers)
Associate Director, HSI STEM IMPACT Program
Completed Track #1


“The J.E.D.I. Program at Texas State has helped me grow in my capacity to foster equity and inclusion in my classroom and to better serve my students as they prepare to be future teachers in Texas”.

-Becca Hemenway (She, Her, Hers)
Senior Lecturer, Department of Curriculum & Instruction
Completed Track #2


“The courses offered through the J.E.D.I. Program have been invaluable to my work with graduate students as a fellowship advisor. I would strongly encourage all faculty and staff to engage in the workforce training offered by DE&I.”

-Dr. Andrea Hilkovitz (She, Her, Hers)
Research Coordinator, Graduate College
Completed Track #2


“The courses offered through the J.E.D.I. Program have been invaluable to my work with graduate students as a fellowship advisor. I would strongly encourage all faculty and staff to engage in the workforce training offered by DE&I.”

-Stacie McGee, LMSW-IR (She, Her, Hers)
Lecturer, School of Social Work
Completed Track #2


“For as long as I can remember, I’ve noticed injustices in the world, but I didn’t always have the language to describe what I was observing. Participating in the various diversity and inclusion trainings through the Bobcat J.E.D.I. program helped me to learn the words to better communicate what was going on in the world. Having the language also made me more confident in having conversations about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Thank you to the training facilitators for reminding me that the work of justice is for
everyone, not just those deemed to be in diversity-related roles.”

-Karina Ogunlana (She, Her, Hers, Ella)
Residence Director, Housing and Residential Life
Completed Track #2


“Courses in the J.E.D.I. program challenged me with new perspectives on diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and guided me to be a better ally to our students.”

-Hana Rubanka (She, Her, Hers, Ella)
Student Development Specialist, Project Maestros
Completed Track #2


‘One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, and compassion’ (Simone de Beauvoir).
I think this sums up quite nicely the principles inherent in the J.E.D.I. program and the DE&I principles we are working towards as a university.”

-Annalisa Turner (She, Her, Ella)
Affirmative Action Specialist, Institutional Inclusive Excellence - Faculty & Staff Initiatives
Completed Track #2

 Not available for testimonial:

  • Katie Alonzo, College of Education
  • Dr. Carolyn Chang, South Texas Doctoral Bridge
  • Ahmad Islam, HSI STEM & Bobcat J.E.D.I Program


TexFlex Updates

There have been important updates regarding TexFlex Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 allows for the following changes:

  • Carryover limits have been temporarily removed.
  • You have more time to use remaining funds after you leave employment or stop participation in the program.
  • You can make changes to your TexFlex elections without a Qualifying Life Event (QLE).
  • You can submit dependent care claims for children up to age 14.

Please visit the TexFlex website to read more about these new provisions.



Save the Week!

Staff Resources Virtual Fair!
Rescheduled for April 12 -15 | Microsoft Teams

Staff Educational Development Leave Program

Are you thinking about going back to school? Did you know that the Staff Educational Development Leave Program provides a wonderful opportunity each fall and spring semester for up to seven full-time benefits-eligible staff who have been part of Texas State for one year to receive special support for degree work?

What are the benefits?

  • Paid leave: If you are a benefits-eligible, full-time staff member who has been employed with Texas State for one year, you may receive up to 20 hours per week of paid release time for courses taken at Texas State or other accredited higher education institution.
  • Credit hours: Selected employees can earn nine to 12 credit hours for an undergraduate program, and six to nine hours for the graduate program.
  • Tuition and fees waived: And guess what? Fees and tuition are waived! Plus, even though you have the option to work part-time, you will keep your full-time rate of compensation.

Where can I find more information?

For more information, please visit our Staff Educational Development Leave website. We have launched a new video, which breaks down the program. You can also reference. UPPS 04.04.35 Professional Development and Educational Opportunities for more details.

How to apply?

We’ve launched a new form! Participants can complete our new and accessible Adobe Sign form. The new form will be routed automatically to the appropriate channels. (Please note that we have updated the former Word application to an accessible and user-friendly word document. Either version – Adobe Sign or Word document - is eligible for submission for the Fall 2021 semester.)
Each semester members of President’s Cabinet nominate employees within their division for a chance to participate in this program. Nominations are due to your cabinet member by March 8. Check with your division for any possible deadline extensions due to the winter storm closure.

Who to contact?

Please contact Elizabeth Cruz at 5.2283 if you have any questions.

Tips from the Training Corner

Adapting to Change When You’re Tired of Change

As we approach our one-year anniversary of “unprecedented times,” one could say we have all had to adapt to change at this point. But...what if you didn’t want things to change? What if you’re, quite frankly, burned out and tired of change? You are not alone. A 2020 survey supported by Harvard Business Review found that 89% of over 1500 respondents said their work life was getting worse. This is a multifaceted issue that we can’t solve in one sitting. However, we can all teach ourselves how to get through this – together. As author, speaker, and mathematics professor, John Allen Paulos, once said, “Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” Knowing we are navigating through the unknown future together, how do we train ourselves to lean into change – and perhaps embrace it?


What’s Happening in Your Brain?

Understanding why change can feel so uncomfortable or difficult is a great place to start. Author, Psychiatrist, Executive Coach, and Brain Researcher, Srini Pillay, explains what happens in our brain when we are faced with uncertainty at work in just under three minutes! In short, that uneasy feeling that sets in when you feel out of the loop is a natural reaction to change. And there are multiple ways you can train yourself to embrace or reframe this feeling that, let’s face it, is hard to work through at times.

How to Help Yourself

To shift from understanding why change can feel difficult to what you can do about it, consider scheduling 30 minutes this week to participate in Preparing Yourself for Change. This free course explores the psychology of change, along with strategies for you to thrive in change. This training is applicable to multiple aspects of your life, both on and off the work clock.

Quick tip: The short chapter quizzes and exercise files for Preparing Yourself for Change are quick wins to help you learn and use your new skills effectively. Sometimes, the best way to help yourself adapt to unexpected change is to DANCE. While physical dancing does count as a wellness activity, which can certainly help you feel better, we’re using DANCE as an acronym today. Shared by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and authored by mindset coach George Carroll, ‘dancing’ encourages us to consider:

Discover adopted patterns we believe about change
Awareness creates choice in what we do or believe
No to negativity which consumes our energy
Condition new habits as the key to adaptation
Eliminate stress to maximize adaptability

This mindset, detailed in DANCE: Becoming More Adaptable in a World of Change, is another approach you can try on when it comes to readily adopting changes in your life and workplace.

How to Help Your Team

Often, how others around us adjust (or don’t adjust) to change has a tangible impact on our own adjustment. If our colleagues or teammates are not adjusting well, it is difficult for us to attempt doing so on our own. Whether you’ve been leading a team for years or are the newest member of a team, Communicating Internally during Times of Uncertainty is a 30-minute training worth your attention. While this training is geared toward leaders in management positions, if you’re not in a formal leadership role right now, invite yourself to review it and consider what tips you can apply to your role as a member of a team.

We’re in this together, right? If you are currently in a management position, ATD’s 6 Communication Tips to Keep Employees Engaged During Change has practical steps to walk you through communicating change with your team, even when you don’t have all the answers yet. The best way you can help your team during uncertain times is to keep your lines of communication open and honest. When is the last time your team had an open conversation, one where they could safely ask questions about changes that are occurring? If you are not sure, this might be an engagement opportunity that helps your team cope with uncertainty more confidently, and help your team succeed overall.



Remember those SMART goals we learned how to create in January’s Training Corner Article? Creating a SMART goal focused on your relationship with change can help you follow through and succeed in our ‘unprecedented times’ ahead. As a friendly reminder, you do not have to attempt coping with change alone! You have benefits available to you that can also help you thrive, versus survive, these uncertain days we find ourselves in. We’re truly all in this together! We may not know when- or if- things will “change back” to the way they were a year ago. What we do know is that understanding why change feels uncomfortable and trying out different approaches to feel empowered throughout change, is worth the effort. Change is certain; train yourself to welcome and thrive through the challenge.



Join us in welcoming our new employee Bobcats!

Employees hired between January 1 - January 31

Joshua Alcala, Assistant Coach, Soccer

Trisha Barney, Academic Budget Specialist, Mathematics

Christina Bernal, Coach, Strength and Conditioning

Sara Butler, Administrative Assistant II, Round Rock Campus

Sandra Cagle, Administrative Assistant III, St. David’s School of Nursing

Matthew Callaway, Assistant Coach, Soccer

Cynthia Hernandez, Vice President, VP for Student Affairs

Lauren Hoelscher, Administrative Assistant II, St. David’s School of Nursing

Courtney Keeney, Nurse Practitioner, Student Health Center

Zackary Khordaji, Graphic Artist II, Football

Michael Kocay, Plant Mechanic II, Utility Operations

Shelly Malagarie, Account Clerk II, Accounting Office

Lisa Mignerey, Major Gift Officer, VP for University Advancement

Katherine Riley, Grant Specialist, Edwards Aquifer Research Center

Louis West, Dispatcher, University Police

Jessica White,Testing Lab Coordinator, Testing  Evaluation & Measurement Center

We remind all new staff employees hired during the past month that N.E.W. is designed to provide useful information to new staff regarding the resources, benefits, and opportunities associated with employment at Texas State University. For more info and to connect with other new bobcats access the official new employee website.

New Employee Welcome: Friday, March 12, 2021

In accordance with CDC guidelines of social distancing, monthly N.E.W. II sessions will be held virtually via Zoom from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Visit our updated N.E.W. II website for more information.

Contact the Office of Human Resources with questions at or call 5.7899.

Bobcats On The Move

Congratulations to the following employees who were promoted or reclassified. Employees promoted or reclassified between January 1 - January 31.

David Dailey, Promoted to Air Conditioning Mechanic II, Housing and Residential Life

David Darby, Promoted to Air Conditioning Mechanic II, Housing and Residential Life

Kaitlin Davis, Promoted to Senior Administrative Assistant, Technology Resources

Selina Flores, Promoted to Strutters Coordinator, Texas State Cheer

Juan Morales, Promoted to Network Technician, Network Operations


Texas State Employee Discount Program

The Texas State University Employee Discount Program is the exclusive discount marketplace for you and your fellow employees. Thank you so much for all your hard work and continued support!

  • Nike | Get in gear for the beautiful weather with up to 40% off new markdowns on shoes, apparel, and more!
  • HelloFresh | Get 50% off your first box and 15% off ongoing deliveries of easy, seasonal recipes from HelloFresh, America’s #1 meal kit.
  • Microsoft 365 | Save 30% off an annual subscription to Microsoft 365 home or personal for access to apps and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage!
  • Daily Steals | Browse deeply discounted products with an extra 15% off electronics, fashion, home essentials, and more!



January Employee of the Month

Dr. Juan Gomez Ortega, Scientific Instrument Technician, Department of Physics

Dr. Gomez Ortega’s primary duties in the Department of Physics are to support upper-division laboratory courses and research laboratories, and to serve as chief safety officer and technical service provider.  In each of these areas Juan does outstanding work. He juggles diverse obligations, has an amazing on-time record, and is always cheerful and collegial.  Juan takes ownership of tasks large and small and sees that they are done well.  Many times, he does so while also training his student assistants to become, themselves, invaluable technical resources.

Dr. Gomez Ortega goes above-and-beyond in service to the Department of Physics, Shared Research Operations, and for the MSEC PhD students.  He is a major contributor to the university safety leadership by serving on the Radiation Safety Committee.  Juan also serves as the College of Science and Engineering representative on the university Classroom Renovation Committee.

Juan has also been very responsive to the major changes we have all experienced due to the pandemic. He worked together with the Shared Research Operations staff who oversee many laboratories in R.F. Mitte, where the Department of Physics is primarily located, to develop robust protocols for the return to research. Juan was sensitive and responsive to faculty needs to restart laboratory research particularly for pre-tenure faculty.  In his “spare” time during summer 2020, he coordinated with the Shared Research Operations to leverage department and college 3D printing capabilities for producing badly needed COVID-19 test swabs, contributed to designing point-of-use air filters, and served as the ambassador to companies and news agencies for these critical community outreach activities.  “These contributions were outside of Juan’s assigned duties, yet he did them purely out of the need to do our part.”

Dr. Gomez Ortega also took on the primary role in developing instructional support space.  The department has taken the initiative to introduce computer programming across the curriculum.  This is beneficial for students, but also can be taxing as it requires that they have access to computing capability.  Juan has made sure that existing computer facilities were up to date. He took the lead in renovating another space to make it a computational lab.  This include submitting an ACC proposal to acquire the computers needed for the space.  This was not really in his job description, but his leadership on this project provided immense benefit to the students.   

When the Senior Lab Services Technician took advantage of the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program, there was no one to fill that role for a period of a couple of months while a suitable replacement was sought.  Juan stepped up to fill in the gaps left by this departure and did so very efficiently.  Without his help, there would have been problems teaching labs during the summer and at the beginning of the fall semester. Juan truly went above and beyond in filling these gaps.


Congratulations, Juan, on being recognized as the January Employee of the Month!