Job of the Week: Clerical Aide

This week’s job of the week posting is a temporary Clerical Aide (Posting 699226) position for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). 

This position is in a fast- paced, customer service environment. Responsibilities include answering and directing phone calls; interaction with clients (veterinarians, veterinary technologists and animal owners) by telephone and in person; data entry; editing using software programs; and preparing purchase requisitions. Other duties involve working on a video display terminal 90 percent of the time with some walking, bending and stooping.

The ideal candidate can multitask and prioritize while completing tasks and is a team member that communicates well with a wide range of audiences within the CVM, MSU and beyond. You should be well-organized and detail- oriented professional who can work under pressure. Other desired skills include being team-oriented, collaborative, customer service focused, and maintaining a professional demeanor. 

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits

OPD Course Spotlight – Maximizing the Spartan Experience: Customer Service Training

“All of your customers are partners in your mission.” – Shep Hyken

In higher education, we serve an enormous variety of customers — everyone from colleagues to students to granting agencies. Realizing the importance of high-quality service and effective communication can lead to increasingly satisfied customers. MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department offers a live, virtual course designed to help you take your customer service skills to the next level and provide what’s referred to at MSU as “The Spartan Experience.”

Maximizing the Spartan Experience is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for November 8, 2022, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

This updated and engaging version of the popular The Spartan Experience training provides a foundational perspective related to enhanced customer service delivery and is based around high, clear, and concise customer service expectations that are the key to maximizing opportunities in engagement, inclusivity, and Delivering Outstanding Spartan Experiences (DOSE).

In this OPD course, you will learn how to:

  • Communicate effectively with customers
  • Create a positive first impression
  • Develop and maintain high customer service standards
  • Plan for great customer service

Todd Bradley, MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist, brings his trademark positivity and extensive expertise when facilitating Maximizing the Spartan Experience, explaining, “High morale, enthusiasm, and positive engagement are all desired outcomes of this course.” For a quick preview, check out Todd’s recent Todd Talk video regarding this topic.

Recent course participant, Christie Provost-Perkins, Operations Coordinator for the MSU College of Nursing, shares, “I truly enjoyed attending Maximizing the Spartan Experience. The class reinforced essential customer service skills but also took a deeper dive. It expanded on the topic in new and interesting ways. I also appreciated how well the content was delivered in the virtual format. Real world examples and discussion added to an engaging presentation. This was one of the first professional development courses I’ve been able to attend, and it set a high bar.”

Ready to learn more? Register for an upcoming Maximizing the Spartan Experience session in the EBS Portal, or contact OPD at or 517-355-0813 for additional information.

Jobs of the Week: IT Purchasing Agent and Purchasing Agent

This week we are featuring two postings from University Procurement and Logistics, an IT Purchasing Agent (700245) position and Purchasing Agent (700310) position. If you’d like to be considered for both positions, please note you will need to apply to each posting separately. Applications close April 27, 2021

IT Purchasing Agent Position (700245)

For the IT Purchasing Agent position, you will be a part of a team of buyers who are responsible for purchasing information technology, such as software, hardware, Saas and related commodities. Responsibilities include procuring complex commodities and services that require extensive knowledge and expertise; collaborating with university stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure MSU gets the best value when spending public funds;  evaluating purchase requisitions; writing and soliciting proposals; determining suppliers to be solicited for information, proposals and quotations (RFIs, RFPs, RFQs); carrying out public bid openings to prepare and evaluate bid analyses and approve the selected vendor. 

You will be expected to frequently communicate, collaborate and interact with Purchasing Department management, campus clients, current/potential suppliers and be an active participant on campus committees. 

The ideal candidate will have the knowledge equivalent to that of completing a four-year university and/or degree program in supply chain management, business or communication with relevant courses in purchasing, materials management and inventory control, information technology or related field. Desired qualifications include three to five years of related or expansive work experience in purchasing products and services, an economic and accounting business methods, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Read the job posting for a full list of responsibilities and desired qualifications.

Purchasing Agent Position (700310)

For the Purchasing Agent position, you will be responsible for procuring complex commodities and services requiring extensive knowledge and expertise; collaborate with university stakeholders and subject matter experts; evaluate purchase requisitions; write and solicit proposals; formulate specifications for large-scale purchases and determine suppliers to be solicited for requires for information, proposals and quotations (RFIs, RFPs and RFQs). Other responsibilities include conducting big openings and preparing and evaluating bid analyses; managing supplier relationships and monitoring supplier performance for commodities and/or suppliers; negotiating prices, terms and conditions with suppliers and writing, approving, issuing and administering purchase orders for MSU.

This position also requires frequent communication, collaboration and interaction with Purchasing Department management, campus clients, current/potential suppliers and to be an active member on campus committees.

A successful candidate has the knowledge equivalent to that of a four-year university and/or degree program in supply chain management, business of communication with relevant courses in purchasing, materials management and inventory control or related fields. The ideal candidate has three to five years or related work experience purchasing products, an economic and accounting business methods, or a combination of education and experience equivalent to that. For detailed information on all the responsibilities and qualifications visit the job description. 

For more details on the responsibilities of these position, and to view all our current postings, visit

Leadership Blog Series: Unmasking and Addressing Unprofessional Behavior

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development

Unprofessionalism often masquerades as interpersonal conflict. Left unchecked, this disruptive behavior can destroy relationships, create a toxic environment, reduce productivity and increase errors. On a personal level, unprofessionalism can be career-limiting for the individual and demoralizing to the whole team if not handled well or left unresolved.

As a leader, when you have a challenge with an individual regarding unprofessional behavior, you must address it. The behavior you tolerate becomes the culture. Many times, the person is unaware of the effect of their behavior, and the issue can be resolved with a conversation. Often, though, the thought of confronting the person can induce fear. It can be hard to summon the courage to take the first step, and we often excuse the behavior or hope it will go away on its own — even when we know it likely will not.

People are counting on you. If you don’t address unprofessional behavior, you simply promote more of it. So, take a deep breath and lean into it. Use the following ideas to successfully navigate these conversations.

  • Envision success. Think about the benefits of resolving the issue.
  • Check your conflict style using the Conflict Management Styles Quiz.
  • Choose the right time.
  • Be calm. Keep your voice even.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Write them down. Practice what you want to say.
  • Stick to the facts.
  • State your intended outcomes.
  • Be compassionate. What might be happening you don’t know about?

It can also be helpful to analyze the patterns of unprofessional behavior to determine your response. Consider the following scenarios.

Was it a single incidence?

Have an informal conversation as close to the situation as possible, in private. Ask open-ended questions and invite the individual to offer their version. Acknowledge it as an isolated incident and that you trust they are aware that unprofessionalism is detrimental to the team and their own career.

Is this a pattern?

Use data to help illustrate to the person what is happening. Your goal is to raise awareness and invite them to help solve the problem based on facts. State the pattern. When does the behavior arise? Are there discernible triggers? All of these can invite the employee to be reflective and cognizant of the issue. State the impact on the team, colleagues and you as the leader. Ask the employee for their solutions. Follow-up with a letter acknowledging the conversation. This is not a disciplinary process or even a hint of further action — it is simply a way to capture what you talked about and the agreements going forward.

Does the behavior continue to persist?

Despite our best efforts, additional support and intervention are sometimes necessary. At this stage, you will be documenting the conversations and likely engaging with your dean, HR professional or Employee Relations for further guidance. Remember, the goal is to correct the behavior so that your organization can create an environment to achieve great things and not be distracted by the few.

It’s important to remember that if the individual also intimidates others by shouting, being disruptive, blocking their path, or touching another person, this heightens the seriousness of corrective action and must be dealt with immediately.

Channeling the positive energy of conflict that focuses on problem-solving can foster innovation, creativity and greater engagement. Utilize the ideas above to help build a culture of trust where issues can be raised and resolved and in which all members of a team are valuable to achieving success.


Adkins, R., 2006.  Elemental Truths blogspot.

Hickson, Gerald, B., Pichert, James, W., Webb, L. E., Gabbe, S. (2007). A complementary approach to promoting professionalism: Identifying, measuring, and addressing unprofessional behaviors. Academic Medicine. November 2007. Volume 82. Issue 11. Ppg 1040-1048.

Tremper, K. K., How to manage disruptive colleagues. RCL Papers. Department of Anesthesiology,   University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Job of the Week: Professional Aide

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Professional Aide (Posting 699373)  performing phlebotomist or medical assistant duties for a research team doing home visits near Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is a temporary position paid per hour. 

You will be responsible for measuring study participants’ blood pressure, height and weight, drawing blood following venipuncture protocols, collecting other personal samples from participants, labeling samples and submitting accurate payroll time sheets. Other responsibilities include adhering to COVID safety protocols and maintaining professionalism by being punctual and polite. 

The ideal candidate is required to be an experienced phlebotomist and/or medical assistant, trained and experienced conducting veinous blood draws, has a high school diploma or equivalent and must be able to pass a criminal background check. Desired qualifications include completion of over 50 successful blood draws and experience with pediatric phlebotomy.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits

Job of the Week: Camp/Conference Aide

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Camp/Conference Aide (Posting 695385) for MSU Extension in Oakland County. MSU’s Tollgate Farm and Education Center is seeking staff with a background in one or more of the following areas: education, agricultural science, cooperative games, music, food science, entomology, forestry, gardening, fisheries and wildlife. 

As camp/conference aide, you will be responsible for performing various duties in support of summer camp and conferences such as responding to participant concerns, questions and emergencies, maintaining/monitoring campus rules, checking in and out of participants, and attending meetings. This position may involve overnight supervision of participants. This is a 12-week temporary or on-call position ranging from June 7 to August 27. 

The ideal candidate has experience working with children in formal and informal settings (school, summer camp, scouts and others) and works effectively with individuals from diverse communities and cultures. Desired qualifications include having a current CPR/First Aid certification OR willingness to participate in training before the first day of camp. Candidates should also possess knowledge of the natural world and work closely with wildlife and farm animals. Ideal candidates must be physically active for an eight-hour shift and be able to life 50 pounds. They should also demonstrate commitment, reliability, punctuality and responsible behavior at previous jobs.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits Applications close May 9, 2021.

Cultivating and Maintaining Good Habits

Written by Andrea Williams, HR Organization and Professional Development

You’ve likely heard more and more talk about the next phase of our personal and professional lives — be it resuming our pre-COVID routines or creating new ones going forward. Although none of us know exactly what the future looks like, now is an excellent time to consider the changes we may have made over the past year that we’d like to carry forward — perhaps prioritizing our health, creating new family traditions, or learning new skills.

As we navigate the next phase of our lives, University of Southern California research psychologist, Wendy Wood, points out, “We’re going to be faced with two sets of habits: pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. And we’ll have to choose which to repeat.”

Don’t leave your habits to chance. Take this opportunity to make deliberate choices about which habits you want to maintain going forward and any new habits you want to form. Here are some tips to help you cultivate and continue the habits that best serve you and others.

Take it one at a time

Focus on one habit or goal at a time to reap the most reward. When you have the foundations for the first goal in place, you can then move to the next one. When you have integrated the second goal into your schedule, you can then work on the third goal and so on. Set yourself up for success and remember that slow progress is better than no progress.

Understand your habit’s function

Our habits typically meet an underlying need, such as the need for comfort, to feel safe, or to feel cared for. Understanding the significance behind our habits can help us better evaluate whether these habits still serve a real need. We can then opt to further cultivate a habit or design a new, healthier one.

Compare likely outcomes

When you’re faced with a moment of choice, ask yourself, “If I perform this habit, how will I feel? Where will it put me?” Pause, envision yourself and the outcomes, and notice how you feel. Then ask yourself, “If I instead choose to perform this other habit, how will I feel? What will it get me?” Pause, envision, and notice. Set an intention for what you’ll do and then follow through.  

Be consistent and kind

Strive for consistency in your habits rather than perfection. Many habits take time to integrate to the point that you no longer need to think about them. Until then, when you deviate from your plan, kindly redirect yourself toward the results you want without punishment or judgment. There is debate over whether there is an actual causation or rather a correlation between repetition and the formation and enforcement of habits, but research shows positivity combined with consistency is key. Reinforce the positive and focus on your progress and victories, no matter how small.

Share the experience

Cultivating and maintaining habits happens faster and easier when they’re shared. Friends, family, and colleagues can provide support in the form of accountability, reinforcement, and celebration. If you don’t have a circle you can count on, reach out to a therapist or an organization that fosters community in a particular area. MSU faculty, staff, and their families have access to resources including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Health4U, and the MSU WorkLife Office that can help.

Don’t get discouraged if your first (or fourth) attempt doesn’t stick. Nobody is perfect in forming and sticking with good habits. Focus not on perfection, but rather on the process of trying things, redesigning your approach as necessary, and trying again.


Chua, Celestine. 21 Days to Cultivate Life Transforming Habits Retrieved April 2, 2021 from

Fitzgerald, Sunny (2021, April 5). Pandemic habits: How to hang on to the good ones and get rid of the bad. Retrieved April 5, 2021 from Forbes Coaches Council (2020, July 1). 16 Unique Ways to Cultivate Good Habits and Cut the Bad Ones. Retrieved April 2, 2021 from

MSU Spring Events, Activities and Courses Round-Up

We hope you and your family enjoy this round-up of events, activities and courses around campus.

Outside Activities

  • Get outside and hike the beautiful trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Additionally, check out their calendar of virtual events
  • The W. J. Beal Botanical Garden on campus is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. If you follow the W. J. Beal Botanical Garden Facebook page, you’ll know that spring flowers have started to blossom. The garden is open for you to walk around and enjoy the plants in a beautiful setting, but please follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and stay safe. 


  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has a variety of current exhibitions that are free and open to the public with social distancing and enhanced safety measures in place, including daily limited spots available. Please reserve your free tickets here. Additionally, they are offering many interesting, free online events.
  • The Wharton Center is dedicated to sharing the power of the performing arts with the community by offering Wharton at Home activities for both adults and children.

Learning Opportunities

We hope you all will remain safe and healthy and continue to practice social distancing until we are able to see each other on campus again. In the meantime, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and enjoy these campus activities.

Job of the Week: Professional Aide for the College of Veterinary Medicine

This week’s job of the week posting is for a Professional Aide (Posting 697985) performing writing and project management duties for the College of Veterinary Medicine. This is a three-month temporary position with the possibility for extension. The college includes four biomedical science departments, two clinical departments, two service units and various research units. In 2020, the College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU was ranked third in the U.S. and top 10 in the world

As the Professional Aide, you will be responsible for writing for the Office of Marketing and Communications in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, you will be expected to provide administrative, organizational, editing and research support for a special historical project for the college.

The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism, History or Professional Writing and at least two years of professional writing/project management experience. You will be a proficient, deadline-oriented writer with the ability to adapt your writing style to suit the genre and audience. You must have research skills and be able to understand complex subjects such as medicine, research and science. Candidates must be able to interview subjects and develop creative and frequent stories. Lastly, the ideal candidate should have experience and/or knowledge of generating web and social media content, project management skills and conduct historical research.

For more details on the responsibilities of this position, and to view all our current postings, visits Applications for this position close on April 14, 2021.