- New Hires
- HR News: ITS Share the Knowledge Conference: Call for Proposals; International Bike to Work Day on Friday, Feb. 12; President’s Commissions for Equity Seek Applications for Membership; Required New Hire Safety Information; Considering Technology’s Impact on You: Physically and Psychologically
- Training Opportunities: Training Opportunities with ITS Training Services
- Call for Submissions: Share your hobby or talent!
Please join us in welcoming the following new hire from January:
- Dinakar Mylavarapu, Programmer/Analyst, AIS-Business Intelligence
- Andrew Arvin, IT Project Manager, Data Center Services
- Eric Nulton, Facilities Engineer, Data Center Services
- Joseph Deluca, Programmer/Analyst, IT Communications
- Tracy Colbert, IT Support Specialist, ITS Services & Solutions
- Brian Biller, Systems Admin, Telecommunications & Network Services
- Toby McGonigal, Systems Design Specialist, Telecommunications & Network Services
- Crystal Ramsay, Research Project Manager, TLT-Education Technology Services
- Kathy Jackson, Research Project Manager, TLT-Education Technology Services
ITS Share the Knowledge Conference – Call for Proposals
What are the coolest or most innovative ideas you’ve learned over the past year?
Share your knowledge and experience with other Information Technology Services (ITS) colleagues by submitting a proposal for the ITS Share the Knowledge Conference, taking place Friday, April 29, 2016, at the Founders Lounge in the Bryce Jordan Center.
This year’s theme is “For ITS By ITS,” and each presentation should focus on one of three tracks:
- Tools and technology
Any ITS staff member, director, manager, or team who is excited to share knowledge they’ve learned at other conferences and events or talk about their area of expertise is encouraged to submit a proposal. We are looking for a variety of presentations that appeal to either technical or non-technical staff.
Proposals can be submitted in any of the following time slots:
- 45-minute breakout sessions
- 45-minute panel discussions
- 5-minute lightning rounds
Proposals are now being accepted through February 19, 2016, through the online form at http://itshr.psu.edu/its-stk2016/.
Please send any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
International Winter Bike to Work Day on Friday, Feb. 12
Penn State students, faculty, staff and members of the State College area community are encouraged to participate in International Winter Bike to Work Day on Friday, Feb. 12. Cyclists will meet at 7:45 a.m. on the Old Main steps on the University Park campus to enjoy hot coffee and networking. Active Lions will offer giveaways and a group photo will be taken at 7:55 a.m.
International Winter Bike to Work Day site: http://winterbiketoworkday.org/
The goal of the annual event — organized by Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, Transportation Services, Active Lions and CentreBike — is to celebrate biking as a year-round opportunity. Participating organizations are encouraging students and employees who commute by bike in the warmer months to try out winter commuting.
For more information about the event, contact Anna Nelson via email at email@example.com.
President’s Commissions for Equity Seek Applications for Membership
The Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity (CLGBTE), the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity (CORED), and the Commission for Women (CFW) are now accepting applications for both appointed and affiliate membership. Appointed members serve three- to four-year terms (depending on the commission) and have voting privileges. Affiliate members serve one-year, renewable terms and do not have voting privileges. Appointed and affiliate terms begin on July 1, 2016. The application deadline is Monday, February 29, 2016.
Learn more by visiting http://equity.psu.edu/pce
Required New Hire Safety Information
The Pennsylvania State University is committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees, students, visitors, and the environment. The Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has developed a summary of information which needs to be shared with all new University employees upon hire. Learn more and view this information by visiting: EHS Information for New Hires
Considering Technology’s Impact on You: Physically and Psychologically
A recent message by Jim Bruce, a Senior Fellow and Executive Coach at MOR Associates and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus, and CIO, Emeritus, at MIT, reviewed points made by Amy Cuddy in a recent New York Times article (2015) on the many ways that technology is impacting us – both physically and psychologically.
Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, recently wrote that there are lots of reasons to put your smartphones down – constantly checking and then responding to them takes us out of the present moment disrupting whatever you are focusing on: for example, your conversation with a colleague, your participation in a meeting, your work on a key report, or your engagement at dinner with family or friends.
Adding to the conversation, Sherry Turkle, The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT, believes that our incessant use of smartphones has resulted in a decline of thoughtful face-to-face interaction which has now reached epidemic proportions. In her book Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Turkle argues that we need meaningful conversations in all phases of our lives to help us develop self-knowledge, empathy, and intellectual skills. And, these conversations need to be face-to-face and not via text or phone.
Research has also demonstrated that our excessive use of hand held devices is damaging our physical bodies with our posture of tilting our heads down, stressing our neck, to face our small screens. New Zealand physiotherapist Steve August calls this iHunch. And, this same research has demonstrated that potentially our iHunch posture also results in increased stress, increased negative speech, and makes us less likely to stand up for ourselves when the situation calls for it.
Cuddy puts it this way: “… while many of us spend hours every day using small mobile devices to increase our productivity and efficiency, interacting with these objects, even for short periods of time, might do just the opposite, reducing our assertiveness and undermining our productivity.” And, Turkle would add that the very sight of a smartphone in your line of vision changes the conversation. It decreases both the quality of the conversation and the degree of connection its participants have toward each other. And, in the process empathy is decreased.
So, given that we rely on our mobile devices far too much to give them up, what might we do to reduce the negative impacts of their use? Our authors make several suggestions:
- Work to improve your physical posture. When you are texting or using apps, hold your smartphone in a way so as to not stress your neck. Cuddy reports that improving your physical posture “sculpts your psychological posture and could be the key to a happier mood and greater self-confidence.”
- Consider silencing – no ring, no vibrate – your smartphones and keeping them out of sight when you are in meetings, interacting with others, or are working on projects that require an uninterrupted focus. To catch up, schedule time every couple of hours for reading and responding to text and email messages.
- Hold more face-to-face interactions. Turkle makes a compelling case that employees perform better, students learn better, and children develop better “when their mentors set good examples and carve out spaces for face-to-face alternatives.” Too often, without face-to-face conversations, we turn what are needed relationships into transactions.
- As a leader, model the behavior you want to see from your staff. For example, don’t expect “instant” responses to text messages, all phone calls to be answered immediately, or to receive responses to emails within a short window of time.
- Create specific times and spaces that are device free, places and times for real conversations. This is particularly important for the home and for children. Turkle suggests no phones on the table (or even visible) between you and a conversation partner, and at home no phones in the kitchen or at the meal table. Reserve these places for real face-to-face conversations. She also notes that “Steve Jobs forbade tablets and smartphones at the dinner table and encouraged his family to talk about books and history.
The point I’m trying to make here is that we have let a good thing take too much control over our lives and as a result our humanity is being damaged. But, if we choose, we can do something about it. I hope you choose to!
ITS Training Services
ITS Training Services offers a wide variety of technology training opportunities and resource that can help your professional development goals and make your workday more efficient—no matter how busy your schedule is. For Penn State IT professionals interested in in-depth, multi-day training, 3-5 day training courses are available at a drastically reduced rates on network configuration, Agile, SQL, and hundreds of other popular IT Topics through the Learning Tree voucher program.
If you don’t have 3 days to spare, free technology workshops are available on popular technology tools like Qualtrics, Box, Canvas, and more as well as thousands of free video tutorials at Lynda.com. Divided into convenient, 10 minutes or less videos, Lynda.com courses are prefect for those trying to squeeze in professional development between meetings. Newly added IT tutorials added this past month include Visio 2016 Essential Training, CompTIA Security+ Exam Prep, and Windows Server 2012.
To learn more about upcoming training opportunities for IT professionals, visit the IT Professionals Opportunities page. As always, do not hesitate to contact ITS Training Services with any questions you may have about upcoming technology training.