VisionWalk raises funds for ocular disease research

first_imgThe Notre Dame Biology Club will hold the fifth annual ND VisionWalk Sunday to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in its efforts to find a cure for retinal degeneration and other ocular diseases.Jonathan Jou and Sara Hockney, both senior biology majors, are this year’s walk co-chairs. Jou said University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh served as the inspiration for the first ND VisionWalk in 2010.“Five years ago, there was a student named Maria Sellers, who went to visit Father Hesburgh during his office hours and found out he suffers from retinal degeneration,” Jou said. “She started [ND] VisionWalk [after] speaking to Dr. David Hyde, who does retinal regeneration research.”Retinal degeneration occurs when cells in the back of the eye start to die, and gradually cause loss of all central vision, Hockney said.The event is a five-kilometer walk beginning at the Irish Green, where participants can purchase t-shirts and sunglasses and participate in a silent auction prior to the walk, Hockney said.“Our big seller [in the silent auction] every year is a Notre Dame football helmet,” Jou said.All proceeds from the event go to the FFB, which supports VisionWalks all over the country, Hockney said.The FFB’s mission is to “drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by … the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases,” according to its website.Last year, approximately 200 people, many of whom were residents of the surrounding South Bend community, participated in the event, Hockney said. The co-chairs said they set a course that winds through campus to offer a view of campus for visiting participants.“A lot of people are coming who are not on campus very much [and] who want to go through classic Notre Dame areas,” Hockney said.The past four walks have been successful, and last year’s event raised about $10,000, Jou said. This year, the co-chairmen said they hope to raise at least $13,000.Jou and Hockney have been involved in the event for the past few years and assuming the roles of co-chairmen was very important to them.“Research [in retinal degeneration] is making progress, but [this event] is about raising awareness and getting people involved in a cause you care about,” Hockney, whose grandmother suffers from retinal degeneration, said.“I thought [ND VisionWalk] was a way to get involved with doing things now that are going to make a difference,” she said.Similarly, Jou said the ND VisionWalk allows him to make a bigger, immediate contribution to the medical research field.“It was a way to give back to research field,” he said. “Science is trending toward philanthropic funding. I think that events like these are becoming more and more important and will carry more weight in the future.”Tags: Foundation Fighting Blindness, Macular Degeneration, VisionWalklast_img read more

Performance standards – Rule or tool?

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I’m often asked, in my role as a performance strategist, “Should our organization have performance standards in place?” I usually I respond with a question of my own, “Why do you ask?” What follows is a lengthy explanation of why they feel standards would hamper employee performance and engagement.  This says a lot about our views of standards.  Here’s another question, if in fact the success of an organization is directly related to the performance, productivity and commitment of the employee – why would performance standards be a bad thing? While a job description tells us what to do, performance standards provide job function parameters.  Standards are observable behaviors and actions that can be measured and coached to. In other words, they tell the employee what doing a good job looks like. Are you still asking rule or tool? I think you can see where I’m going here.  I believe that when done well, performance standards are a tool that provides your team with the specifics around “how to win”. Let’s hope we’ve hired people with the drive and desire to do a good job and succeed everyday… if not, stop reading this and find an article on “how to hire better people”. Performance standards can very well become a set of rules if not set up correctly with a focus on your employee experience and your member experience.  Avoid these mistakes:Using job performance standards to micro-manage your teamImplementing new performance standards shortly before evaluationsNot keeping your performance standards updated and currentSetting unrealistic job performance standardsLimited creativity with tight performance standardsOn the flip side, if your team understands how to win, they also know where to focus their time and efforts to achieve your credit union’s objectives.Here are the top 6 reasons why performance standards are a highly effective tool:Provides your managers with a way to measure job performance and productivityAllows your employees to measure their own performance and productivityHelps your team understand the expected scope, key responsibilities, required knowledge, skills and duties of the jobSupports equitable evaluations of all employees in the same roleFacilitates communication between managers and employees regarding job related activitiesHelps managers ensure that employees have the resources necessary to do their jobs wellWhat happens without job performance standards?Managers and employees may have a very different understanding and expectation about job requirements and performanceManagers may have difficulty identifying performance issuesManagers and employees may have difficulty separating WHAT should be done from HOW it should be doneManagers tend to lower expectations to avoid confronting employees with performance issuesEmployees may protect themselves from possible failure by performing at a lower (more comfortable) levelManagers may coach and evaluate employees (doing the same job) differentlyWhere to start:Define specific performance standards and measurement criteriaIdentify the top 3-5 job responsibilitiesIdentify specific skills and knowledge needed to perform at a high levelEstablish a method to monitor performanceImplement standards at the beginning of an evaluation cycleSet short-term (90-day) AND long-term goalsDevelop a plan for managers and employees to communicate on a regular basis When done right, setting performance standards will increase understanding of organizational objectives, empowering your team to function at a higher level and at the same time build trust and commitment to your credit union goals. This all leads to growing enthusiasm, engagement and fun!To learn more about member experience strategies, employee engagement or organizational development, email jhitman@cuna.coop or call 608-231-4354.AUTHOR: Jayne Hitman, national relationship manager, CUNA Creating Member Loyalty™ last_img read more

Milan native, bluegrass legend dies

first_imgGreensburg, In. — Milan native, bluegrass singer, entertainer and founding member of the highly-influential Boys From Indiana has died. Reports indicate he suffered a stroke earlier this year and was in a medical facility in Greensburg.Throughout the run of the Boys From Indiana, Aubrey Holt was among the most recognized and admired vocalists in bluegrass. From the 1970s until the early ’90s, The Boys were staples at bluegrass events in the central US with more than a dozen popular recordings on King, Old Heritage, and Rebel Records. Other prominent members had included Holt’s uncle Harley Gabbard on banjo, Paul “Moon” Mullins on fiddle, Noah Crase on banjo, and Jerry Holt on bass.In 2014 Holt was inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Hall of Greats.last_img read more