Faculty Staff Assistance Program
By: Alex Long
The Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is an assessment, referral, coaching, consultation, and short-term counseling program located in the Health Center. It was started 33 years ago as a free and confidential resource for faculty and staff members and their families. FSAP’s services are provided by Tom Ruggieri, who is the creator and Coordinator of the program, and Joan Bellsey, who joined as Assistant Coordinator in 2000. FSAP can see full and part time faculty and staff members for up to 10 sessions on a variety of topics in order to help them work through personal issues that may be preventing them from doing their job. According to Ruggieri, about 30% of the people who come to FSAP do so to address anxiety, depression, or stress. Another 30% are seeking support for issues related to work life, such as an interpersonal conflict where a client could benefit from encouragement training or skill development. Sometimes faculty and staff members also need help navigating difficult conversations. FSAP also provides support for substance abuse and offers family therapy, where family members can receive counseling as well.
While the bulk of FSAP services constitute individual (or family/couples) counseling, they also consult with supervisors, chairs, deans, and directors about complicated human resource issues. FSAP can assist in situations where a supervisor feels that difficulties in an employee's personal life are causing a deterioration in their work performance. In the rare situations in which a faculty or staff member is unable to function properly due to intoxication, drug use, dementia, or a mental health crisis, FSAP can provide immediate support through Fitness for Duty Evaluations. Supervisors or colleagues can bring the employee to the Health Center to be evaluated by a physician and given immediate help. FSAP’s goal is to help employees recognize there might be a problem, point them in the direction of treatment, and provide continued support. According to Ruggieri, the FSAP philosophy is that, “we understand that life gets in the way of human beings, and employees are going to bring that to work with them, so rather than expecting everyone will be able to drop everything at the door, we provide a resource for them to address these issues so that they can perform at their best possible level that we know they are capable of.” In addition to counseling and consultation, FSAP holds debriefings, in which they visit a department, usually after a traumatic event, and facilitate conversation amongst colleagues to provide support about a specific issue.
Recently, FSAP has had to adjust their services to accommodate changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. FSAP’s successful Emergency Loan Fund, through which employees could borrow money in emergencies, has now been shut down by the state of Maryland due to the pandemic. The pandemic has also necessitated changes in FSAP’s service model, which now operates virtually as well as in person. Further, FSAP has increased group sessions to accommodate greater demand. One of the first questions Ruggieri often hears from faculty and staff members who contact him is, “what’s the matter with me?” Ruggieri emphasizes “you may be experiencing some uncomfortable emotions, but there isn't anything wrong with you. You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.” These groups are important because bringing people with similar issues together normalizes the challenges that they may be facing and decreases the fear that there is something wrong with a person who experiences stress, anger, anxiety, or depression.
The most recent group presentations have focused on the challenges of telework and shifting back to in-person work on campus. Ruggieri shared that many employees have found that they prefer telework. In response to that employee feedback, FSAP is working with different groups around campus to try to encourage implementation of more creative and flexible work schedules to help retain valued employees. FSAP is hugely beneficial to employees—65% of the people who see FSAP report that the problems they presented to FSAP had a negative impact on their ability to do their job, and 66% of people who see FSAP reported that their performance improved as a result of coming in. While improving work performance is not the primary goal of FSAP, interpersonal problems can often bleed into job performance and satisfaction.
A big change coming to FSAP is that Ruggieri is retiring in July. Ruggieri has been an invaluable member of the UMD community and will be greatly missed for his brilliance and compassion. Laura Rosenthal, the Director for Faculty Leadership, has brought Tom Ruggieri to speak at many faculty and leadership development programs, and reports that she learns something new every time. Ruggieri is committed to help find someone to take over his role. More information about FSAP can be found at health.umd.edu/fsap.
Faculty Success - December 2021
Faculty Success/Digital Measures: Updates
As the 2021 calendar year comes to a close, the Faculty Success platform is ready to document your 2021 activities. This month provides an update on what to expect with the 2021 Annual Activity Report submission process using Workflow.
2021 Annual Activity Report Submission Timeline
All tenured and tenure-track faculty members must complete their 2021 Annual Activity Report between January 18, 2022 and March 11, 2022. While all professional track faculty members are invited to use Faculty Success to document their activities, expectations for their mandatory participation in 2021 annual reporting will be set at the local college/unit level.
Starting with this reporting cycle, librarian faculty will also report their annual activities. Librarian faculty should follow preparation and submission instructions provided by their FMARC team.
Faculty in the iSchool will use Faculty Success for their annual activity reporting, using iSchool-specific Workflow templates. The overall set of steps for submitting through Workflow will be similar to what is described below; however, the set of documents being submitted may differ for iSchool faculty.
Preparing Your 2021 Annual Activity Report
Submitting your annual activity report is a fairly straightforward process:
- Log in to Faculty Success
- Enter your Activities on the Faculty Success platform for the calendar year 2021
- Go to the Workflow section (available in the top red bar) , select the UMD Annual Faculty Activity Review task from the Inbox and review the guidelines for report preparation. You also have the option to add a personal statement for the year by attaching a file.
- Submit your report and personal statement to your unit approver.
You can learn more about the submission process by reading the Annual Activity Report Submission - Faculty Instructions. Training sessions via Zoom are also available.
A Few Things To Remember
The system is open now for your use; you may begin documenting your 2021 activities immediately. In fact, Faculty Success is available for you to enter your activities at any time - you do not need to wait until the required reporting period. Please note that courses taught, course evaluations, completed thesis/dissertation committee involvement, patents, inventions and ORA-managed proposal and award data will be auto-populated for 2021 by January 25, 2022.
Faculty Success integrates with several citation management systems and supports BibTeX file import. This is a great way to bring in your publications. The Libraries have a guide on how to use the Publication Import feature in Faculty Success. BibTeX files can be created using ZoteroBib, AnyStyle.io, or a number of other citation managers.
- ZoteroBib (zbib.org) - Enter DOIs, PMIDs, arXiv IDs, ISBNs, URLs or titles for publications, to generate a BibTeX file for import into Faculty Success
- AnyStyle (anystyle.io) - paste a set of citations from your CV into the website, review the citation tags it automatically assigned -- adjusting as necessary -- to generate a BibTeX file for import into Faculty Success. Train AnyStyle to recognize your citation format and accelerate the tagging on additional sets of your citations.
Also, as you work on manually adding your activities, be sure to remember to save each record. The Rapid Reports tool lets you preview your activities in the annual report as you are entering them. You may also find the duplication feature is a timesaver.
New this year is an improved summary screen for each activity data screen. Activity records are presented in a tabular format, where users control which columns are included in their summary view (by activity). Records can be sorted, filtered and searched, making activity data review and update easier. This 3-minute video gives an introduction to the changes.
Learn More About Faculty Success
The Faculty Affairs Activities Data website is not only your starting point for logging in to Faculty Success; it is also a self-service resource with short how-to videos, extensive user guides, and contact information for the Faculty Success team. Platform support is available through email at email@example.com, and by phone (301.405.7681).