Newsletter Archives

Pumpkin Survey Results

Pumpkin Survey Results
By: Mistie Maskil

92% said “yes”, the remaining 8% said “no”, they are a fan of pumpkin season.


We had a few participants leave comments:

  • "Only seasoned pumpkin seeds."
  • "Love the cooler weather, leaves falling, and it seems to be more activities and life events."
  • "Love the varieties available and the great recipes that come from pumpkins; soups, baked goods, veggie chili."
  • "I love the cooler weather and it signals the start of Thanksgiving and Christmas!"

Love the cooler weather, leaves falling, and it seems to be more activities and life events.

Creative Spaces & Services

UTA Library Resources - Creative Spaces & Services

By: Lauren McLain & Mistie Maskil

Creative Spaces and Services, which you may know as the UTA FABLAB, is not only a space for faculty and students but it is also a space that staff may utilize as well, whether for personal or professional projects. We had the opportunity to get the details from Lauren Stutler, the Director of Creative Spaces and Services. All it takes is a little training, which you can get from student workers or expert staff, or more structured training for specific equipment. You can request consultations to assist in your project. FabLab users can provide their own pre-approved materials or pay only the price of materials via MavMoney.

The Creative Spaces and Services (CSS) is a dedicated department nestled within the UTA Central Library. It strives to empower students, faculty, and staff, regardless of their experience level, by offering a plethora of resources and opportunities for crafting an array of digital, tangible, and imaginative projects. The space is broken up into three sections: The Studios, The FabLab, and The Basement.

Image of the FabLab side of the Creative Spaces and Services Photograph

The Studios
A hub for inspiration and innovation, where you can bring your digital art and audio projects to life. This area is located on the northside of First Floor. Offerings encompass green screen facilities, photography studios, sound recording spaces, poster design and printing, and drone building. Access to expert guidance is available from both students and dedicated full-time staff.

Sign Printing Area Photograph

Audio Sound Booths Photograph

The FabLab
A dynamic maker space designed to foster project-based, experiential learning for individuals across all disciplines and skill levels. The FabLab offers a comprehensive range of resources, including a workshop, 3D and vinyl printing, textiles, glass and ceramics studios, sewing equipment, and hands-on training to support innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors. The Work Shop will require more training due to specialized equipment such as plasma cutter, CNC router, welding and numerous power tools.

Glass & Pottery Area Photograph

Sewing Area Photograph

Workshop Area Photograph

Green Screen Room Photograph

Vinyl Sign Area with 3-d Printing in Background Photograph

Tech Lending Display Table Area Photograph

The Basement
A recreational zone designed to unwind and build connections throughout the day. Skilled students and staff are on hand to offer guidance in game development, while various gaming opportunities are available, including tabletop games, electronic gaming, console gaming, and PC gaming.

Basement Game Lounge Photograph

Basement Gaming Center Photograph

Additional information can be found on the CSS website or email them with specific questions.



26 Years of Service

26 Years of Service – Soccer Mom Extraordinaire by Lauren McLain

Mari Duncan is a lifelong Maverick who started with the University in August of 1997. It has come full circle for Mari, who started as a hall director in Trinity House and is now a director in the Residence Life Division. Trinity House as a dorm no longer exists but the building was rebuilt to accommodate OIT, faculty and administration. As a matter of fact, the view from Trinity Hall Room 104 is the same as Mari’s office back in 1997. She lived on campus as a Housing staff member for 10 years.

Residential life is cyclical in nature, but it is balanced with the unpredictability of 4,000 students living on campus. Mari reflects on her time at UTA as chapters in a book. With a tenure spanning 26 years, Mari has worked with many unforgettable people and forged numerous life-long friendships. Will Parker was one such person. He was the VP of Auxiliary for 40 years and was a solid rock for the institution. Another colleague with whom Mari worked with is Jared Peters, whom she considers as her “little brother.” He is now Dr. Jared Peters and a principal at a local school. She also appreciates the relationships she has with her longtime campus partners such as Eric Leidlein, Sharon Carey, Don Lange, and Molly Albart, all of whom she has worked with for many years, not to mention her current team within the Apartment and Residence Life. With so many people leaving lasting impressions, it is hard for Mari to choose with whom to have lunch with, but one person stands out – Chris Fulton, Executive Director of IT for Campus Operations. Mari has known Chris since she worked in Trinity House. Mari considers Chris to be brilliant, funny and quick witted, someone who looks at things through a different lens. So, savor the good times here on campus with the people you enjoy spending time with.

Mari received her Master and Doctorate degrees while working at UTA, and she juggled it with a family of four. Talk about work-life balance! Mari has started the tradition of touring colleges with her son. And she is the epitome soccer mom, who enjoys going to the games and cheering on one particular player. She takes great pride in watching her daughter play and grow as an avid soccer player at school and on a club soccer team.

We all know of Mari’s dedication to the university, but did you know that she likes to read historical non-fictions? Her favorite book is called The Boys in the Boat, a story about the US rowing team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Another couple of unknown facts about Mari is that she is a bargain shopper - who doesn’t like a good deal? - and she hasn’t drunk soda or caffeinated drinks for 18 years. We wish for many more chapters left in Mari Duncan’s tenure at UTA and wish for her, a happy ending.

Maverick Momentum Program

Elevating Success Through Collaboration in Mentorship: The Maverick Momentum Program 
By: Sara Pezzoni 

The Office of Talent, Culture, and Engagement’s (TCE) Belonging & Engagement division has developed a new collaborative mentorship program geared towards furthering professional development of Staff Advisory Council (SAC) committee members. Launching January 2024, the Maverick Momentum program is designed to develop a culture of belonging and engagement through mentorship, knowledge-sharing, and professional growth. The six-month structured mentorship program pairs SAC council member mentees with mentors that are managers or directors who have completed the MavsManager program.

Each mentee will be assigned a mentor that is well-suited for their strengths, skill set, and experience.  

Prior to this program, the only mentorship program available to UTA employees was geared towards faculty, the UTA Faculty Mentorship Program offered by the Division of Faculty Success. The Maverick Momentum program’s facilitator, Veronique Jones, said this program fulfills the need for a staff-centered mentorship program. "Like the mentorship program offered to faculty, the goals of this program are to make sure participants in the program have an increased sense of engagement; to increase networking capacity of all involved; and encourage and facilitate professional growth. The feedback we received from the UTA People and Culture Survey showed that the biggest opportunities for growth involve employees feeling that others care about them and feeling that their opinions count,” Jones said.  

Initial sessions of the program will include discussion of the mentee’s professional goals, establishing that the mentor-mentee relationship is rooted in achieving those goals. The sessions will then center around five themes: setting personal goals, personal marketing and branding; autonomous engagement; topic of solutions-orientation; and feedback and growth. Jones said that the goal for these sessions is to “really maximize on those conversations—they're not just informal conversations but they are conversations geared towards growing professionally.”  

To join the Maverick Momentum program, mentees must be employed at UTA for at least six months, serve as a current SAC member, be in good standing with the university, and have supervisor approval to participate. Mentees are set to meet monthly with their assigned mentor for a minimum of one hour throughout the duration of the program, with a session conversation guide provided for each session. The program begins with a kickoff event to provide resources and tools needed for mentees to have a successful relationship with their mentor. At the conclusion of the six-month program, mentees will receive recognition for their participation at a capstone celebration.  

According to TCE, participants in mentorship programs are five times more likely to be promoted than non-participants, and mentorship programs increase engagement, performance, and retention for mentees by 22 percent. For those interested in participating in the Maverick Momentum program, applications will reopen in the Fall semester. For more information, contact Veronique Jones at or visit TCE’s Training & Development website:

Inside SAC

Inside SAC: A brief discussion with Christopher Templeton, Chair
By: Ashleigh Johnson

In a virtual meeting via Teams, I had the privilege of engaging with Christopher Templeton, Chair of the Staff Advisory Council (SAC), to delve into pressing questions that have been at the forefront of our collective thoughts.

One of the things that Chris mentioned is that right now, there are 20, yes 20, SAC representative positions available across campus. SAC can only operate so much without having the much-needed staff to fill these positions. There is a place on the SAC website to view the open positions but to make it easier, here they are:

  • District 3 VP of Administration and Economic Development-7
  • District 4 VP of Business Affairs-1
  • District 8 Provost/VP of Academic Affairs-2
  • District 9 VP of Research and Federal Relations-2
  • District 12 Dean of the College of Education-1
  • District 15 Dean of the College of Science-2
  • District 17 Division of Student Success and Dean of the Honors College-2
  • District 20 Dean of the Library-3

One thing very important to Chris as Chair is to have an open line of communication with the Community and with UTA Leadership. This means ensuring SAC is following procedures and setting up systems to allow for monitoring incidents/issues that are brought to SAC so that patterns are easily established and are then able to be addressed. Ideally, the goal for SAC meetings is an information-driven session, focused on problem-solving, and an open line of communication for sharing information, “Keeping a careful eye to limiting distractions that can take away from SAC making a true impact.”

Something else we discussed was about equity vs. equality. How you can approach your supervisor with “How can you provide equity for me as an employee within this department.” While every position in a department will not be the same, there are ways that you can work towards having equity in your role. Track your tasks and roles and gather data. Make sure that you’re showing what you can do in the office, or if you’re able to work from home. Chris had suggested (upon approval from the general body of SAC), providing resources for employees to be able to track their work, discuss with their supervisor, etc.

As someone who has never been involved with SAC and has only heard mundane things about it in years past, I really see a positive change coming with Chris and the Executive Board of SAC. There is a sense of urgency to correct, advocate, listen, challenge, and overall be what the UTA Staff needs.

While preparing for this article, I did some digging and learned that SAC does not currently have a Mission Statement. I was surprised but got to work with some new verbiage and will present it at the next SAC meeting for discussion and potential adoption of a new Mission Statement, so stay tuned to see what we create.

If you’re reading this and you’re not a part of SAC, but you have the passion and desire to help the University, send us an email to Let us know you exist. Find your district and get more information on how to become a SAC member. Without SAC, the staff voice isn’t loud enough. Even if you are not SAC eligible yet, you might be new, I would encourage you to get yourself on SAC's radar. SAC doesn’t know you’re out there unless you talk to them.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Chris regarding his role as Chair with SAC, “As SAC Chair, I want to forge new partnerships across the University and fortify long-lasting partnerships with new energy. The reason for this is so the Staff at UTA can have a far-reaching voice." 


Sharing Your Voice: Submit Your Suggestion

Sharing Your Voice: Submit Your Suggestion
By: Mistie Maskil 

Dear SAC Community,

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) is built on the foundation of collaboration, communication, and community. It's about empowering the voices of our staff members, ensuring that their stories, experiences, and insights are heard and valued. To further this mission, we're excited to invite each and every one of you to contribute to our collective narrative.

Your Stories Matter: Share Your Interests

Each member of our SAC community has a unique perspective, a wealth of experiences, and a treasure trove of insights. Whether you have a compelling personal journey, an innovative solution to a common workplace challenge, or simply a topic that you believe merits discussion – your input is invaluable.

We're pleased to introduce the "Interest Story Suggestion Form," a platform designed with you in mind. This form allows you to propose topics, themes, or areas of interest that you'd like to see featured within our SAC Newsletter. It's your chance to suggest stories, articles, or discussions that resonate with you and our diverse community.

Why Your Input Matters:

Your suggestions are the lifeblood of our community. By sharing your interests, experiences, and ideas, you contribute to a more vibrant and responsive SAC. Your stories can inspire others, shed light on important issues, and spark meaningful conversations.

Furthermore, SAC is committed to amplifying your voices and celebrating your contributions. We aim to feature selected interest stories on our website and newsletters. Your insights could have a positive impact on our entire community.

Get Involved Today:

We encourage each member of the SAC community to take a moment to visit our website and submit an Interest Story Suggestion Form. This is your opportunity to help shape the content and direction of our communications, making them more relevant and engaging for everyone.

We believe that every story shared brings us closer together and enriches our community. Let's continue to build a SAC that represents the diverse experiences and perspectives of our staff members.

Thank you for being a part of our SAC journey, and we look forward to hearing your story suggestions.


Years of Service – Resident Tree Hugger

Years of Service – Resident Tree Hugger
By: Lauren L McLain

Our Campus Composter, John Darling, started with the University in 1963 when it was known as Arlington State College. John was a biology sophomore work-study student whose main duty as an unofficial Collection Manager was to prepare specimens and catalogue them. They remain today in the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center by the stadium. One memorable person with whom John worked at the university was Dr. William Pyburn, who was a professor in biology. John joined him on a trip to Mexico as a research assistant in the summer of 1966. This inspired John to get his master’s in biology from the University of New Mexico. 

John’s biology background naturally progressed to his love for nature, and he wanted to do more to save it. After taking a City of Arlington composting class, he realized the value of composting. Sir Albert Howard, who was a pioneer in organized composting and is considered the father of modern organic farming, is someone whom John admires and would like to share a meal with. 

In his current role, John aims for accomplishing two things daily: to divert waste from the landfill and to make a useful product from that waste for UTA - the compost which is used in landscaping throughout the campus. As part of the Facilities Grounds Shop, John Darling is an old nature lover who has fallen into a perfect job that combines his passion for conservation with a nice level of physical activity. When not working, John likes to bird watch with his wife Grace, who came to the US as a Cuban refugee. Grace’s 30+ years as a medical editor for UTSWMC has afforded them many opportunities to see birds in their native environments. 

If John has an advice to give to his younger self, it would be to “hope for happy accidents that can give you a meaningful job, one that seems worthwhile and leaves you feeling grateful.” This is evident in his early beginning as a student worker and research assistant, and now as a campus composter. Composting is science at work and John Darling is someone who genuinely enjoys his job! 


Reindeer Deco Mesh Christmas Wreath

By: Lori Danyl Carter
Total Time: 2 Hours

Make my super easy Reindeer Deco Mesh Christmas Wreath this year to hang on your front door. A few supplies and some time are all you need!

Open the Accordians Below for Materials List and Instructions

Materials Needed

  • 1 – 10” Roll Tan/Khaki Deco Mesh from Hobby Lobby
  • 1 Package of Pipe Cleaners (preferably in the same color as the deco mesh)
  • 1 – 16” Wire Wreath Form
  • 1 – Package Reindeer Antlers for Car (Hobby Lobby/Walmart)
  • Your choice of ribbon
  • 1 – package small jingle bells
  • Zip Ties
  • Glue Gun / Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Wire Cutters


  1. Twist the pipe cleaners tightly around your wire wreath form at every break on the inside edge and on the outside edge all the way around. (See photo)
  2. Open your 10” deco mesh, gather the end, and place it on an inside pipe cleaner, twisting it three times and securing it in place. You are going to work around the inside circle first.
  3. Measure out 10 inches, then gather the mesh together with your fingers and come up and put the mesh in the next pipe cleaner on the inside circle and twist tightly three times, making a “poof”.
  4. You will repeat this process until you have made all of the inside circle “poofs”.
  5. Once the inside “poofs” are complete, do not cut the mesh. Now, cross over to the outside circle and continue the process until you have made all “poofs” around the outer circle on your wreath form.
  6. At the very end, on the last “poof”, once you have twisted the mesh in the pipe cleaner, cut the mesh off close to the base of the frame.
  7. You should now have a “poofy” mesh wreath base and ready to add embellishments.
  8. Dab some hot glue on the back of the big red nose and place it on the wreath towards the bottom and then pull the wires through to the back and twist tightly and make sure the nose is secure.
  9. Use wire cutters and cut the hard plastic off the bottom of the antlers.
  10. Dab some hot glue to the back of each antler and hold it down in place towards the top of the wreath.
  11. Once the glue has dried on the antlers, take a zip tie, wrap it around the front, thread it to the back, and pull it tightly to secure the antler/s in place.
  12. Add a bow to the front of each antler. Use the ribbon of your choice. Make it as big or small as you want.
  13. Add a little jingle bell to the point of each antler.


SAC's 5th Annual Staff Conference - Bringing UTA Together

Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2022

The Staff Advisory Council is bringing back its first in-person conference since 2019. The conference connects faculty and staff across campus while providing opportunities for employees to network and learn from each other...Read more about the SAC Conference, click here.

HR Wellness Resources

Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2022

This month, we interviewed Latoya Oduniyi, the University Wellness Coordinator in Human Resources. We asked her a few questions about the current wellness programs and plans for the future of opportunities in wellness for faculty and staff....Read more about HR Wellness Resources, click here.

SAC Membership Information

Posted on Thursday, June 8, 2022

Are you new to campus or only recently hearing about the Staff Advisory Council (SAC)? We sat down with our SAC President, Alicia Gill, to get the What, Why and How of being involved in SAC... Read more about SAC, click here.

Stepping Toward Sustainability with UTA Libraries

Posted on Thursday, April 5, 2022

Milaun from UTA Libraries helps us realize how we can practice sustainabilitywhile we are at home and at work...Read about sustainability, click here.

Mental Health: Spring Cleaning Your Mind

Posted on Thursday, April 5, 2022

In the past two years, many of our lives have changed drastically, and therefore, we have had to reshape the way we think, behave, feel, and react to the circumstances around us... Read more about Mental Health, click here.

The SAC Roundup Newsletter is Now Available

Posted on Thursday, April 5, 2022

Enjoy the Staff Advisory Council's latest newsletter! This edition of the SAC Roundup offers the latest news on diversity, equity, inclusion, and more... To read the SAC Roundup, click here.

Our Core Initiatives for 2022

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) is dedicated to enhancing employee morale, improving the work environment by uncovering opportunities for improvement and offering suggestions that will lead to positive change... Read more about our Core Initiatives.


Delivering a Customer-Focused HR Organization

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Human Resources is expanding its customer-focused organization by incorporating core values, learning and development, and streamlined processes... Read more about Human Resources.

The First Exclusive Glimpse into MavREAD

Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and the UT Arlington Libraries hosted its first MavREAD event, which invited employees to share experiences and insights into the book, The Sum of Us... Read more about MavREAD.