Feature Story: The UCO Experience

Jill Robertson, Employee Experience Specialist

As 2020 comes to a close, we begin to wonder what 2021 will bring. We faced challenge after challenge this year, and there are still many unknowns in the months to come. What we do know is that we can only overcome the challenges when we are well; both as humans and as an organization.   
For those of you who don’t know me, I started in Employee Relations in January 2019. My role has shifted over the last year and my title is now “employee experience specialist” instead of employee relations specialist. What does this mean exactly? It means I get to do what I’ve always wanted – care about the people who make an organization go. People like you.  
In 2018, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. The program changed me in a lot of ways. I discovered I’m super fascinated with organizational dynamics and how people are treated within the organization. I’ve experienced firsthand the incredibly unique dynamic that higher education is known for. I have over ten years’ experience in higher education, working in advising, student life, public relations and, now, employee relations.  
In October, my role shifted even more to focus on engagement and communications with UCO faculty and staff. I’m not afraid to say we have some room for improvement. UCO has seen a lot of changes over the last several years, and each of you have been impacted by these changes in some way. I’m interested in learning more about that from you directly.  
I wanted to take this opportunity to let each of you know I’m available to hear your feedback as a member of the UCO team. Hit me up for a virtual coffee chat, meeting or casual email exchange. My inbox is always open! There is nothing I want more in this role than to build genuine relationships with you as my colleagues.  
My role also manages UCO faculty and staff appreciation efforts on campus, including recognition and reward. I want to take a moment to remind you of existing options to recognize your colleagues for their amazing work. Submit a Broncho Brag to be featured in future issues of The Broncho Beat. Broncho Brags are kudos or congratulatory announcements to employees who are celebrating personal and professional accomplishments. Employee Relations also has a “swag closet” where those who supervise faculty or staff can send their superstars to pick out a new UCO-branded swag item. Just email Employee Relations to arrange a time to do so. Staff are also eligible for the Exceptional Performance Award both quarterly and annually. Learn more about our efforts to appreciate and recognize UCO faculty and staff on the Hub.  
Additionally, my role oversees care and support efforts. There are so many resources available to you as a benefit of being a member of the UCO community. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Deer Oaks is available to you, free of charge, as well as your dependents and household members. The UCO Cares benevolence fund might also be an option for you if you have faced unexpected and unavoidable financial hardships and emergencies. There is a whole host of resources available to you through The Hub on the Care and Support page as well.  
Again, I’m super excited to hear from you. Email me anytime.  

Inclusive Community: Native American Heritage Month

MeShawn Green, Inclusive Community Advocate

November is Native American Heritage Month. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is celebrating the month with several events. Native American Heritage Month events include:

  • 12:30 p.m. Nov. 10, Mental Health Panel, via Zoom
  • 3 p.m. Nov. 11, Seminole History, via Zoom 
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 12, The Conversation x The Center Round Circle, via Zoom
  • 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18, Red Dress Panel, via Zoom
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, NAHM Closer and Last Gen Body (in-person), Nigh University Center. Will Rogers Room (421)
  • The month of November, Native American Art Exhibit, third floor of Old North

For more information, visit the Native American Heritage Month webpage.

Broncho Brags

Big Kudos to Sarah Ward!

Sarah has been working extremely hard the past month tacking on extra job roles. She has been part of the hiring committee for the digital media/web coordinator, scheduling and interviewing candidates, fulfilling the job duties of the digital media/web coordinator, and of course, fulfilling her duties as the communications and marketing coordinator. Even with all the additional duties she’s taken on, she still finds time to help others in the office. When asked how she was able to complete all this work with a positive attitude, she responded “I enjoy what I do, and I want to help my coworkers as much as I can.”  

Broncho Brags are kudos or congratulatory announcements to faculty and staff who are celebrating personal and professional accomplishments. If you or someone you know is worthy of a ‘broncho brag’, send your submission to jrobertson13@uco.edu.

Get to Know a Broncho

Sydney Wood, Employee Relations Specialist

What is your background? 
I graduated from UCO with two bachelor’s degrees: one in Human Resource Management and the other in Legal Studies. I started working as the Employee Relations Assistant at the beginning of my senior year, so when the opportunity to intern over the summer came up, I jumped on it! Fortunately, a full-time position opened in the department and I was able to stay on as the Employee Relations Specialist. I’m very excited to be staying at UCO! 
Tell me how you first got involved at UCO. 
Growing up in Edmond, I have always been surrounded by UCO—whether that be attending high school football games in Wantland stadium or learning to drive in its empty parking lots. Eventually, I ended up enrolling at UCO as a student in the fall of 2015. During my time as an undergraduate, I participated in many on campus activities and organizations: BronchoThon, Big Event, and Alpha Delta Pi to name a few. I loved my time as a student at UCO, and now I’m excited to continue my Broncho journey as a staff member!  
What would you say your strongest beliefs are about your contribution to the University? 
I feel passionately about creating an inclusive work environment that empowers faculty and staff to bring their best selves to work every day. I get to work with an incredibly dedicated team that works to support the University and the Broncho Community. While a major part of my job involves enforcing University Policies & Procedures, I also get to participate in the very rewarding job of recognizing our faculty and staff for all of their hard work and dedication.  
What do you do when you are not working?  
In a pre-COVID world, I enjoyed going to the movies, trying new restaurants with friends and traveling. Now, you can find me watching too much Netflix (and Tik Toks), ordering a lot of Postmates and searching for hidden gems around Oklahoma with my friends and girlfriend. 

Tuesday Talks are Back: Support for the Season

Saasha Reese, Training and Development Specialist 

As the season changes and we glide into winter, we also will notice the shift in our own rhythms and responsibilities on and off campus. The winter season, like all the seasons this year, will present its own unique challenges and opportunities and we as a community want to come together to offer one another a smile, a suggestion and a little winter cheer.   

The Employee Care & Support Team invites you to join us for a virtual Tuesday Talk on Support for the Season on Tuesday, November 10 at 10 am. Please join us for a conversation about how to connect with community and cultivate joy in the chilly season. Register in advance to attend this virtual conversation.  

Unconscious Bias in Recruiting

Paige Buchanan, Recruitment Specialist 

In last month’s Broncho Beat we discussed three forms of unconscious bias in recruiting: Affinity bias, Ageism and Attribution bias. All of these biases are unintentional and occur when we make judgements based on readily available criteria rather than objective information. This week we discuss three different forms of Unconscious Bias: Confirmation Bias, Conformity Bias and The Halo Effect.  
1. Confirmation Bias

Inclination to draw conclusions about a situation or person based on your personal desires, beliefs and prejudices rather than on unbiased merit. This can occur when a hiring manager or interviewer forms an initial opinion on a candidate (based on their name, where they’re from, where they went to school, etc.) and then uses the interview process as a way of confirming these beliefs rather than getting to know the candidate. 
Ways to Avoid Confirmation Bias: 

It’s important to ask standardized, skills-based questions that provide each candidate with a fair chance to stand out. Helps prevent the screening committee from asking too many random questions that may lead to confirmation bias. 
2. Conformity Bias

Tendency people have to act similar to the people around them regardless of their own personal beliefs (aka peer pressure). This occurs when the screening committee comes together to review a candidate’s application and/or the interview. The conformity bias can cause individuals to sway their opinion of a candidate to match the opinion of the majority. However the majority isn’t always right and it may cause the team to miss out on a great candidate because individual opinions become muddled in a group setting. 

Ways to Avoid Conformity Bias:

Before everyone gets together to review the candidate, have everyone write down their notes on the candidate and submit the feedback individually. Then everyone can come together and review everyone’s submissions. 
3. Halo Effect

This can come into consideration at any point of the hiring process. Perhaps you see a candidate worked at a highly regarded company or graduated from an elite school. However, we shouldn’t judge a candidate based on their name-brand education. 
Ways to Avoid Halo Effect Bias:

This can be dangerously blinding when it comes to reviewing candidates. When reviewing a stack of applications, you are probably looking for something unique that makes a candidate stand out from the rest. When you do this, also consider the candidate without that one gleaming attribute and see how their experiences, skills and personalities compare to other candidates who may not have had the same privileges or opportunities.

Tech Corner: Keeping Your Online Meetings Safe

Stephanie Edwards, Manager of Web Strategy and IT Communications

If you or a colleague are using Zoom as your webinar platform, it is important to know how to keep your meetings secure from unwanted attendees. UCO has taken preventive measures by enabling passwords and waiting room features for all scheduled meetings, but there are other steps that you can take to keep your meetings secure: 

  1. Don’t publicly share zoom meeting links and passwords;
  2. Schedule a meeting and require your participants to register;
  3. The Lock the Meeting feature keeps new participants from joining the meeting;
  4. Restrict screen sharing to yourself;
  5. Avoid scheduling meetings using your personal ID (PMI); and,
  6. Require participant authentication.

While Zoom is the most likely place to see unwanted guests, it is equally important to keep other webinar platforms secure. The Technology Resource Center will host intro trainings all this week to provide you with the necessary basics to be comfortable hosting meetings using the various webinar platforms and important steps to secure the meeting for each platform. 

Register for training opportunities in the Learning Center. 

If you are ready to take the next step, register now for advanced training opportunities:

For questions, email the Technology Resource Center or call 405-974-5595.

Staff Senate Update

Zachary Hunter, Graduate Admissions Specialist II

Staff Senate Update word graphic

The UCO Staff Senate held meetings on Tuesday, October 6th and Tuesday, November 3rd. The primary order of business was passing the annual reaffirmation No Weapons on Campus resolution.

The Staff Senate will meet again on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 via Zoom. To join this meeting please send a Zoom link request to Staff Senate Webmaster/Historian Zachary Hunter.

For more detailed information regarding meeting agendas, minutes, legislation topics, or to learn who your Staff Senate representatives are, please visit the UCO Staff Senate blog.

October New Employees

Meet our newest employees.

Brent Vogel
Career Development Center

Jacob Staudt
Junior Tutor
Central Community Music School

Judie Meier
Learner Concierge
Connected Campus Student Support

Matt Barnes
IT Manager, Information Security
Office of Information Technology

Amber Willett
Student Financial Services

Lina Betts
Digital Marketing Coordinator
University Communications

Carlos Betts
IT Network Engineer 2
Office of Information Technology

William McKenney
College Transition Coach I
TRIO Education Opportunity Center (UCO CARES)

Austin McCoy
IT Service Desk Analyst
Office of Information Technology

Fayeth Ross

Rachel Long
Academic Programs Specialist I 
College of Graduate Studies

Neil North
Setup & Recycling I Technician

November Birthdays

November Years of Service

33 Years

Mike Kirk

16 Years

Joy Jefferson

7 Years

Morgan Gill
Anthony Fazio
Kok Chan
Reginald Jordan

32 Years

Timothy Rafter

15 Years

Theresa Lute

6 Years

Austin Bolding
Mark Walvoord
Angela Page
April Rutledge

27 Years

Billy Elliott

14 Years

Zahra Khalili

5 Years

Michelle Turner
Darin Hunt
Julie Baker
Ronald Woods
Khari Huff
Christina Kirk
Lawren Krone
Patrick Harrel
Khari Huff
Troy Small

24 Years

Tina Paxton

13 Years

Darrell Stinchcomb

4 Years

Hannah Henley
Candice Muller
Jeffrey Jones
Chelsea Ratterman
Tiffany Bryant
Brian Buckley

22 Years

Dale Knight

12 Years

Robert Bates

3 Years

Adriana Edwards-Johnson
Nataliya Paskova
Teresa Keever
Carlie Deatherage
Tevin Lofton
David Seigman

21 Years

Rod Edwards

10 Years

Brittany Dalton
Pamela Platz
Shannon Watson

2 Years

Gabrielle Jacobi
Victoria Johnson
Brandi Gibson
Timothy Pillar-Little
Mary Springfield
Beth Poston
Matthew Jenkins
Michael Page

19 Years

Carol Williams
Beth Buesing
Thomas Barmann

8 Years

Jeremy Rogers

1 Year

Vinson Liu
Bijal Patel
Drew Stephenson
Brittany Turner
Keisha Jones
Kelly Carter

17 Years

Jerel Cowan