ASR employee mini-survey #5

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This week's question is important and we didn't want to limit your answers, so we left it open-ended. Please take a few moments to share your ideas on how teamwork can be improved in both your individual department and in ASR as a whole. ASR poll questions are always anonymous, so please feel free to respond as you see fit.


Last issue's poll asked if respondents felt communication within their department was effective. Overall, 65% of respondents felt that it was, 24% didn't feel strongly either way and 11% felt that it was not effective.


The last poll also determined which decade's music we'd be listening to prior to the ASR staff event in October. It was a very close vote. The 60's and 90's both had strong support, but not strong enough to put them in the top three. The top three of the 70's, 80's and 2010-now all finished within three votes of one another. Take this week’s poll question to find out which decade came out on top.

International students have been using peerTransfer, the University's new international payment servicer, during the current billing cycle. So far, approximately $1,175,000 has been applied to student accounts through peerTransfer. A total of 111 students have made payments through peerTransfer; those students transferred money from 27 different countries using 13 different currencies.

New phone scam

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An ASR employee recently received a suspicious phone call where the caller ID came up as "US Government." When the employee answered, someone claiming to be a police officer from New York threatened to arrest the employee. While doing so, the caller brought up public information about the employee that may have been accessed through the University's website. No private personal information about the employee was mentioned. The employee filed a report with the University of Minnesota Police Department and wanted to make the rest of ASR aware in case anyone experiences something similar. The University of Minnesota Police Department can be contacted at 612-624-COPS (2677).

OIT Outstanding Service Awards

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Congratulations to Aileen Lively and Toni Pangborn who both won IT Outstanding Service Awards!

Several general purpose classrooms received environment or technology updates during the summer. Magrath 4, Peik 165, and Peters 145 were upgraded to full video conferencing and class capture capabilities. Major renovations were conducted in Amundson B75, Smith 231 & 331, and Blegen 415, 425, and 435. These rooms received new furniture, finishes, and lighting updates. Technology feature upgrades were completed in more than 50 rooms. Room features can be found on the room inventory page.

Additionally, the Keller Atrium and Humphrey 50 were added to the inventory of study spaces and completely renovated. New fixtures include display monitors and tables for individual study and small group work.

The first week of the semester proved to be extremely busy for the One Stop staff. In just the first week alone (Sept. 2-5):

  • 2,381 calls were answered (average wait time was 3:46 minutes)
  • 2,310 emails sent
  • Walk-ins
    • 3,077 (STSS One Stop; HelpingU desk; Veterans Services)
    • 193 (St. Paul)
    • 414 (West Bank)

The top 5 CRM categories were:

  • Student account (billing/payment): 698
  • Financial aid (loans): 594
  • Financial aid (packaging): 351
  • Student Accounts (refunds): 192
  • Financial Aid (Disbursement): 115

Healthy Cooking Class

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The College of Continuing Education is now offering multiple sessions of a 7-week course, Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives - Cooking for Wellness. UPlan members may be reimbursed for $200 of the $210 course fee and earn 50 Wellness Points; more information is available here.

Work Tip: Avoid Meeting Pitfalls

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Meetings can often be the most effective way to communicate to a group or solve a problem. Other times, they can zap participants’ energy. The ASR Project Management Round Table identified some common meeting pitfalls and tips to avoid them. Try out some of the suggestions for your next meeting!

  1. Solicit feedback from the group before a meeting. Define what needs to be addressed, who needs to be involved, and the best format to address the problem before the meeting.
  2. Always have an agenda that attendees can review before the meeting. Plan for how long each topic should be discussed.
  3. Call for agenda items before a status meeting/check-in. Are there topics to discuss? If not, cancel the meeting.
  4. Assess the value of standing meetings on a regular basis and make adjustments accordingly. Can your weekly meeting become a bi-weekly?
  5. Try switching your Google Calendar settings to default to 50 minutes. You will likely be able to accomplish in 50 minutes what is typically scheduled for an hour.
  6. Respect the meeting constraints. Do what you can to start and end on time.
  7. Be a courteous scheduler. Check where participants are traveling from before you schedule them. You can’t start your meeting on time if everyone arrives late.
  8. Exercise defensive calendaring by blocking off travel time between meetings.
  9. If needed, delegate roles in the meeting. For example, if you are facilitating, ask another participant to handle the Google Hangout or take notes.

Something Fun!

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Need a moment of fun or a stress reliever now that the term has started? We recommend a moment of watching tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos.

Appraise vs. Apprise

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Sometimes similar sounding words get used interchangeably, even when they have different meanings. For example, appraise and apprise have different meanings despite their similar sound.  Appraise means to estimate the monetary value of something (appraise the value of a house, for example) or to estimate the importance of something (such as to appraise the writing of Shakespeare). Apprise, on the other hand, means to give notice to or inform (for instance, to be apprised of a friend's travel plans).

Recent Comments

  • edwar027: How about something healthy, like fruit, veggies or yogurt? read more
  • e-piju: Sounds like the old days (84-95ish) the FAIC - Financial read more
  • rcraven: So, what about specific systems at the University? What is read more
  • e-piju: I love these little grammar tips. Thanks Eleanor read more
  • jesill: Hey Julie, Brittany already challenged me to a handwriting contest, read more
  • goode021: I want to see this handwriting of yours! read more
  • campo035: Bat symbol? John's been holding out on us. read more
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  • kurs0010: We love working with you too Danielle!! :) read more
  • epaxton: Hi June, I'm sorry you're unable to open the PDF. read more

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