Town halls bring campus updates to University employees

first_imgIn a series of town halls over the past two weeks, representatives from the University administration discussed updates to the construction schedule and results from the NDVoice survey — the survey that Notre Dame employees take to show their satisfaction with working at the University. Most notably, the administration discussed the survey result revealing women feel less comfortable working at the University than men. “Anytime we get a disparity like this, it makes me uncomfortable, because we shouldn’t have one division where people feel their work experience is less than people in another division,” John Affleck-Graves, executive vice president of the University, said. The NDVoice survey, a confidential survey that measures employee satisfaction and allows employees to answer questions on a variety of topics, showed generally good results for Notre Dame, Affleck-Graves said. Notre Dame scored a score of 3.95, out of five points, across all categories in all departments, he said. “So 3.95 is a really good score, and so I don’t want to play down that we’re [doing] really well,” Affleck-Graves said. “I still think we can do better. We’re Notre Dame, and we can push up that 3.95. But I do want you to know that’s doing pretty well.”The survey results revealed that, on average, women are less positive about their Notre Dame experience than men, Affleck Graves said. “OK, so there was some level of dissatisfaction, but do you know what, we were equally dissatisfied, and that’s a goal we should have,” he said. “And as we’ve gone over time, we’ve drifted up, but we can see that men have become more positive about the work experience and women have not increased at the same rate. And that’s a concern. Now there is a gap. There’s a gap of .14, which I think is a big gap. It’s growing, getting bigger over time and I am not comfortable with the fact that a woman feels less positive about her experience at work than a man feels about his experience.”Affleck-Graves said that this disparity in work experience was an issue that the University would be looking into both understanding and combating in coming months.  “This is the single issue that’s going to be the major focus for me,” Affleck-Graves said. “And I’ve spoken to Fr. John [Jenkins, University President], we’ve put together a group, we’re gonna meet with you, we’re gonna hear from you, we’re gonna try to understand what’s driving this difference. … I’m very concerned about the difference, so that’s something we’ll be working on.”Affleck-Graves also said that while scores within departments are good, survey questions on the topic of inter-department collaboration got lower marks. “We get this in almost every division: people feel very comfortable about their immediate work environment,” he said. “We’ve got great results on immediate manager, we’ve got great results on coworkers, we’ve got great results on ‘we know how our work helps … the University.’ What we get a bad score on is working across departments and working across divisions.”At the one of the town halls, Affleck-Graves also discussed the timelines for various construction projects on campus, including the newly named Baumer Hall. The hall is set to open in August 2019 and will house the men from Dillon Hall while their hall is renovated. A new women’s residence hall is also being constructed on the east side of campus and is scheduled to open in August of 2020. “We have to do this residence hall because we are now requiring all undergraduate students … to stay on campus for six semesters, so we’ll have more students on campus,” Affleck-Graves said. Affleck-Graves also said the University plans to renovate Brownson Hall to create more space for the Alliance for Catholic Education, and to renovate McKenna Hall. The administration also discussed plans to add to the second phase of the Eddy Street project and to renovate married student housing off of Douglas Road, though these projects will be completed through an outside contractor. The renovation of Corby is scheduled to be completed next spring, Affleck-Graves said, and the renovation of Rolf’s as the new men’s and women’s basketball facility is currently underway. “[Rolfs has] wonderful spaces for where the team can meet, students can sit and do some work, and talk about their practice or their game,” Affleck-Graves said.These town halls were the last for Affleck-Graves, who will be retiring in June, ending his 15-year tenure as executive vice president. He said he felt he had seen the University change for the better and he addressed the staff of Notre Dame and thanked them for their role in the University’s success. “I think back this year on when I came in [1986], and where Notre Dame is today and what’s changed the most in my view is just the tremendous opportunities we now offer the young men and women … and the tremendous step up we’ve made in research,” he said. “I hope as you look across it, you get an enormous sense of pride in the role you’ve played in making all of that happen.”Tags: baumer hall, Campus Construction, EVP, John Affleck-Graves, ND Town Hallslast_img read more

Zoom to shift to ‘partner-only’ model in China, suspend direct sales

first_imgZoom Video Communications will shift to a partner-only model in mainland China from Aug. 23, suspending direct sales to all customers in the region, the company said on Monday.Zoom customers in China received an email on Monday informing them of the change, and telling them it would provide users with “better local support.”In the email, seen by Reuters, Zoom listed Bizconf Communications, Suiri Zhumu Video Conference, and Systec Umeet – as partners that can offer its commercial service to customers in China. Months earlier, security researchers discovered that Zoom re-routed some calls through its servers in China, even if those calls were placed outside China.The company said that the re-routing took place in “extremely limited circumstances” and that it took its mainland China data centers off of an approved list of backups for users outside of China. Zoom has been distancing itself from its China operations, which had come under the scrutiny of human rights activists and privacy advocates.The company announced in May that it would suspend new free user registrations in China and limit new user registrations to enterprise customers who sign up through authorized sales representatives.But in June, Zoom came under fire when it was revealed it had shut an account belonging to a group of US-based Chinese activists who were attending an online video group chat to memorialize the Tiananmen Square massacre.In a blog post, Zoom confirmed it had temporarily shut down the accounts due to request from China’s government. It said that it had re-instated the terminated accounts and “will have a new process for handling similar situations.”center_img Topics :last_img read more

From Peddler to Degree Holder: How Pauline Wlati Nagbe Demonstrates Possibilities

first_imgIt was a picturesque scene on Tuesday, April 21st when one of Liberia’s prime and prestigious institutions of topnotch education, United Methodist University, graduated five hundred and fifty one Liberians in various disciplines.  Facial smiles, joyful tears, and blissful contentment characterized the commencement convocation as relatives, friends, well wishers and a host of dignitaries rose to the occasion.  In spite of intermittent rainfall, the weather was sunny.  Cool breeze blew across from the Atlantic Ocean while the fresh air from the mangroves floated.  The beautiful landscape and portrait within the statuesque and historic Unity Conference Center ideally located in Virginia City was a perfect match for such ceremony.   For many of the graduates, the road to achieving this milestone did not come on a silver platter, rather through diligence, dedication and deportment.  The struggle for tuition and other fees, tussle for transportation and bank payment, as well as jostle for registration and competing priorities still remain memorable.  Thus, each graduate has a unique story that marked the beginning of their amazing journey towards earning the rights and privileges as a degree holder. It is here and now that I would like to share a humble story about one of the graduates, Pauline Wlati Nagbe, who walked away with a degree of Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. As Founder and Executive Director of a leading grassroots, voluntary driven, and accredited youth-led development organization, Youth Exploring Solutions, I have a great pleasure working with young people all over Liberia towards making people problem solvers as well as tolerant and critical thinkers in the areas of sustainable development, environmental conservation, human rights, education, health and agriculture. However, I have rarely been as impressed or inspired as I am with Pauline Wlati Nagbe.  I believe she is a super star. There are few people that I have met who possess the ability to motivate positive change, inspire young people, motivate women, and who have also overcome exceptional odds by living and growing up in a country torn apart by fourteen years of intermittent Civil War.  I have known Pauline, personally and professionally, for about three years and I must confess that she is among the most capable and talented volunteers of our organization.  She represents a group of young professionals unrivaled in resourcefulness, tenacity, and creativity. Pauline stands among her peers for many reasons. She began her tertiary education through a simple call on the famous JKB Night Show hosted by J. Kolva Beyan of Truth FM.  On the show, Pauline highlighted her eagerness to wash and iron clothes for anyone who was willing to assist her acquired higher education.  Fortunately, that very night, she received calls from some listeners pledging support.  Among the many that made generous contribution was Dr. Julius S. Nelson of the University of Liberia who encouraged and provided opportunity to wash and iron clothes in return for scholarship to attend United Methodist University. For only one semester, Pauline benefited from Dr. Nelson’s benevolent succor.  Howbeit, Pauline refused to be left behind.   She mustered the courage and used challenges as the stepping stones towards achieving her ultimate desirous outcome.  Pauline began to mobilize, organize, and plan innovative approaches to expand her network.  Luckily, she built a wonderful rapport with some staff members of the National Port Authority and eventually obtained a part-time job as a Tally Clerk assigned on a ship.  Pauline utilized remuneration from the job to settle tuition and other arrears in addition to take care of basis needs and sustain her family.   Her ability to continue her academic sojourn did not cease despite being affected by downsizing exercise and subsequent termination of contract. Through the depths of disappointment and discontentment, Pauline nurtured her character, and embraced a life of service to others. She spent one year serving as a Community Based Enterprise Marketing Assistant at Monrovia City Corporation, where she encouraged many people to create community based enterprises in an endeavor to collect solid waste from the community.  In essence, Pauline put her boots on the ground and led a team of diverse multicultural backgrounds to engage, educate and empower young Liberians to become entrepreneurs in the area of solid waste management.  Again, she used compensation from the contract to pay her fees and look after her family.Pauline’s involvement in Youth Exploring Solutions came as a result of a mentorship program organized to train emerging leaders. From there, she expressed interest and continued to work for the organization.  Her contribution in our organization has been beyond our expectations, and she has played crucial role in helping us develop, implement, and design educational and outreach programs in the areas of women’s leadership, gender issues, girls’ mentorship, early childhood education and social justice.  She is the brain behind our Girls’ Mentorship Club, Reading Enrichment Program, and Women’s Leadership and Governance Project.  Moreover, Pauline has developed additional programs in accordance with Youth Exploring Solutions strategic action plan for 2015 which include, but not limited to:  Speak Out Girls Panel, Young Women’s Speech Competition, as well as Giving Women Voices project.  Her experience, wisdom, and professionalism have been a delight for our board, staff, and volunteers to be around. Because Pauline is a 100% volunteer who have not received any stipend from Youth Exploring Solutions that is primarily self-supported, she decided to do something uncanny as a graduating senior in order to liquidate her arrears and care for her family.  She refused to just complain, but decided on an appropriate course of action.  Late one night, she called me and said “Stephen, I have made up my mind to start selling doughnut in Red-light Market.”  It was a complete disbelief for a senior student at United Methodist University to peddle doughnuts in the bustling and teeming Red-light Market.  To my greatest surprise, I saw Pauline selling doughnuts the next morning.  Pauline managed to put aside shame and refused to worry about perception emanating from other people.  She was gradually able to scale up the quantity of doughnut sales and began to save some of her profits.  Eventually, Pauline settled her tuition as well as paid some graduation requirement fees.  Due to the success of the doughnut business, she has begun providing doughnut catering service for small workshops.  Pauline also uses personal scarce resources to support Youth Exploring Solutions and lend her voice to making people achieve their full potential and measure of happiness in aspirating for a better future.Having seen Pauline’s work first hand for the last three years, I am certain that she is capable of doing anything she puts her mind to.  She is a quick learner and most importantly a moral human with a heart full of compassion for people, and the challenges that face them in the 21st Century.  Indeed, Liberia is lucky to have such an inspiring young woman possessing such brilliance and determination to make the World a better place.From the Xenophobia attack in South Africa, to the rising death toll of African migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, to the capture of school girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, to post Ebola recovery in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Pauline story resonates that good things can come from Africa’s oldest republic despite enormous challenges.  It teaches us to look inward and believe in ourselves, and as well demonstrates that possibilities are endless in post-conflict Liberia in spite of overwhelming difficulties.   It edifies us not to give up in life, but look for opportunities in the midst of crises.Now is the time to hold the ladder for Pauline to climb up to success.  The time has come to give Pauline the opportunity and platform to excel in every aspect.  From this moment onward, let us show to Pauline that she deserves a decent job, a country that cares, and a citizenry that appreciates her quest to acquire education, thirst for quality life, and passion to serve humanity.  About the author:  Mr.  Stephen B. Lavalah is an advocate and the Founder & Executive Director of Youth Exploring Solutions (YES), a passionate, non-profit and voluntary grassroots accredited youth-led development organization. For more information about YES’ work in Liberia, please visit http://www.liberiayes.org.   Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more