DeJong makes pitch for building concierge volunteers


The new building concierge program beginning Sept. 7 is going to require 1,250 two-hour shifts each week by volunteer staff and faculty on the Pittsburgh campus alone, announced vice chancellor of Human Resources Dave DeJong at the latest Staff Council meeting on Aug. 19.

“This is a very heavy lift,” he said of the program, which is seeking volunteers via an online signup, to work 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays in the following buildings, often at several entrances: Alumni Hall, Barco School of Law, Bellefield Hall, Benedum Hall, Cathedral of Learning, Chevron Science Center, Clapp Hall, David Lawrence Hall, Forbes Tower, Langley Hall, Petersen Events Center, Posvar Hall, Graduate School of Public Health, Salk Hall, Sennott Square, University Club, Victoria Building and William Pitt Union.

Pitt also has hired professional security provider Landmark to join student workers and volunteers at the concierge stands, where the teams will be responsible for “making sure people are tapping in, wearing a mask, getting their temperature taken, and (for) answering questions,” DeJong said. Volunteers also will be charged with giving out paper masks to those trying to enter a building mask-less and providing hand sanitizer.

About 30 more stations will be staffed at regional campus buildings, he said. Pitt will provide free parking for those who volunteer, as well as training and identifying T-shirts and lanyards.

“We are hopeful that people will be open to this and support it,” he said. The service will continue at least as long as each Pitt campus is in the elevated or guarded COVID-19 phase.

Mark Burdsall, assistant vice chancellor for consulting services in HR, said other departmental programs begun long before COVID-19 are continuing to develop as well.

Ten responsibility centers, out of more than 40 at Pitt, have yet to give all employees a performance evaluation, he reported. The University is “still following up with them” and expecting 100 percent compliance with such evaluations.

Supervisor training is now being tested by both new and experienced supervisors, Burdsall added, with the aim of rolling it out at the end of September in three areas: diversity and inclusion, performance management and interpersonal communication.

“We’re going to have a core curriculum” but will be adding fresh elements later, he said. “We’re looking at this as not being a one and done. We’re looking to continually provide resources” to supervisors.

“Part of this is education but part of this is accountability,” he explained, encouraging staff to report problems with supervisors or to suggest areas where improvement in training is needed.

Staff Council also welcomed 11 new members at its August meeting:

  • Liza Allison, program administrator, Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Center for Industry Studies

  • Shawn Artman, senior machinist, departments of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences

  • Adam Clevenger, business manager, Student Organization Resource Center, Student Life, Student Affairs

  • Heidi Davis, assistant to the chair, Computer Science, School of Computing and Information

  • Barbra Klipa, financial administrator, Division of Renal-Electrolyte, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine

  • Dianne Mares, administrative assistant, Student Organization Resource Center, Student Life, Student Affairs

  • Carolyn Mazzella, financial administrator (post-award), LITES, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine

  • Patricia McGrane, communications manager, Dietrich School

  • Laura Miller, senior program manager, Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research and Training

  • Tasha Peacock, assistant director, Enrollment Services, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

  • Tyler Puhatch, Contract Services, Pitt IT

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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