At Your Service

Write, Write, Market

Are you, like so many of us, short on funds for a faraway summer vacation? Do you sometimes feel like writing about this – and other frustrations? Or perhaps putting it all into a novel or a short story?

And then learning how to market your writing?

If so, you might want to consider an early June “vacation” in Manhattan, attending CUNY’s Fourth Annual Writers’ Conference at the Continuing Education Programs at Hunter College.

Granted, it’s not free. If you register before May 25, it is $225 for the conference, $570 for the conference plus three intensive sessions on fiction, memoir and literary agenting, and $405 for the “intensives” alone.

Depending on where you live, a Metrocard can take care of travel costs, and there is a 10 percent discount on conference and intensive costs for all CUNY employees; 20 percent for Hunter employees.

Notably, the conference will include keynote addresses and sessions led by some of the best, most respected – and most compelling – authors in the country.

For example, one keynote at the conference on June 7 will be from James McBride, author of the classic, bestselling memoir The Color of Water and, more recently, the novel The Good Lord Bird, which won the 2014 National Book Award. The other keynote speaker is the prolific and award-winning Nicholson Baker, author of fiction and nonfiction and a writer for the New Yorker. Malachy McCourt will be leading the memoir intensive. Kitty Pilgrim, a former CNN correspondent and anchor – and a novelist – will lead the fiction-writing intensive. And Rita Ronsenkranz, who founded her own agency in 1990, will lead the agenting intensive.

Click here for more information on participating authors and to register.


On-Site Training Courses

CUNY’s OFFICE of Professional Development and Learning Management is having a banner year when it comes to on-site training for University employees at community and senior colleges.

The office – better known as PDLM – is part of CUNY’s Office of Human Resources Management. Its “on-site” courses include those that deal broadly with workplace effectiveness, management and supervision and workplace communication.Titles include: “Authentic Leadership,” “Customer Care,” and “Working with Generations X, Y & Z.”

It also offers certificate program courses.

This year PDLM will have coordinated 42 sessions of half- and full-day on-site workshops, including the newly developed Computer Information Services Professional Development Program. During 2012-2013, PDLM coordinated 30 such sessions.

Click here for more information on courses offered.


Sharing Sick Leave

Being part of CUNY’s community means working together. Sometimes across hallways. Sometimes across departments or schools.

And sometimes across boroughs from one school to another.

Recently, three CUNY human resources professionals from two schools did just that to help each other help another employee in need.

“Human resources directors as a group are always willing to help each other no matter what the issue is,” said one of the three, Kingsborough Community College Director of Human Resources Mickie Driscoll. “If we are not here to help each other what are we here for?”

Some background: In 2010, CUNY implemented a dedicated sick leave program. With this plan, employees can donate unused sick and vacation time to a colleague who is ill and who may have exhausted his or her own number of allotted days. There are certain requirements for donating but about 80 CUNY employees have been helped so far.

Until recently, no one at CUNY Law School, located in Long Island City, had needed to use the dedicated sick leave program.

Then an employee became very ill. The school’s Human Resources Director Elizabeth Johnston and a Benefits Specialist Sondra Brereton reached out quietly and confidentially to employees who had said previously they would be willing to help if such a situation arose. They donated four-and-a-half months’ time. But the employee, his family’s sole breadwinner, needed an additional six weeks and was in jeopardy of losing his salary.

So, Johnston and Brereton contacted human resources colleagues at other campuses. Within a day, a call came from Brooklyn – from Driscoll at Kingsborough. Ultimately, her school’s staff donated 22 sick days and 10 vacation days to the Law School employee that made all the difference.

CUNY also has a new Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank, which operates in a different way but also helps employees who are ill and need more time.