May 2012 Archives

What do you want to see in News & Notes?

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Our last issue of N&N included the briefest of all surveys asking you what content you might like to see in future issues. Specifically, staff were asked if they would like to see more individual profiles and staff recognition. Because the number of respondents was too small to gauge interest, the survey is included in this issue one more time so the editors can make a more informed decision about future content. Please complete the survey and let us know what you would like to see in News & Notes.

Communications team on ServiceNow

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The ASR communications team has moved to ServiceNow. Please email all communications requests to; the RT ticketing system will be retired. The communications request form on the ASR website will forward to ServiceNow but the old email ( should not be used.

Find your strengths

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Are you interested in discovering your strengths and learning how you can leverage them for your professional and personal growth? As an ASR staff member, you have the opportunity to take the StrengthsFinder assessment and sign-up for a follow-up StengthsQuest session to help you interpret your results. Read complete information about the opportunity, including a link to RSVP for a code to take the assessment and/or attend a follow-up session. The deadline to sign-up for either is May 29. All staff who indicate they need a code to take the assessment will receive it after the May 29 deadline.

Better know a Gus Donhowe

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We've been learning a lot about ASR units. Now, let's take a more in-depth look at a former University staff member and how he contributed to the institution.

For two short but productive years, a caramel-roll-loving, bow-tie-aficionado financial manager was the Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations at the University. The late Gus Donhowe, born Gordon Melburn Donhowe, served in both the private and public sector, but he preferred to use his skills for the greater good of the public.


Gus Donhowe with bow tie, sans caramel roll.

Donhowe received his bachelor of arts in history from St. Olaf college in Northfield, Minnesota in 1951. Afterward, he attended the University and received his master's in economics. Aside from academics, Donhowe also spent two years in the Army (1953-55) as a corporal.

After his military service, he joined Pillsbury Company for 27 years, ending his tenure as the Vice President of Finance. Under former Governor Rudy Perpich, Donhowe became the Minnesota State Commissioner of Finance from 1983-85. In 1985, he became Chief Executive Officer of the Fairview Hospital system.

During President Nils Hasselmo's tenure as president, Donhowe was named senior VP in January 1989 for a temporary one-year appointment. This caused some campus controversy, because he was not one of the finalists recommended for the position by a University search committee. In fact, he was a member of the search committee itself, charged with finding a candidate for the position for which he was hired. Some thought President Hasselmo's decision was politically charged, because Perpich (Donhowe's friend and adviser) threatened to withhold funding until the University addressed financial management problems.

In reply to this, President Hasselmo was quoted in the Minnesota Daily on February 8, 1989 saying, "It became clear to me that this assignment requires a person who comes down sprinting--not just running."

After a national search, Donhowe was named the senior VP in May of 1990. By all accounts, Donhowe was a humble, intelligent, efficient businessman, and one that people respected and liked. A Minnesota Monthly article from April 1989 said, "Donhowe dismisses much of the praise he's gotten, saying he will not be able to simply 'wave a wand' and make the University's fiscal credibility problems disappear."

After only two years as senior VP, Donhowe passed away in January of 1991 from a brain aneurysm while skiing with his family in Wisconsin. A Daily article from January 23, 1991 said, "'The University of Minnesota has lost a tough leader and a devoted friend,' President Hasselmo said. 'Donhowe was key in the U's restructuring and reallocation efforts,' Hasselmo said, 'and the best way to honor him is to 'get on with the unfinished agenda he has left us.'"

In his two year tenure, Donhowe accomplished the following:
- Played a large part in helping the University redirect its resources as part of an overall restructuring of programs
- Guided the revamping of the University's budgeting processes
- Begun an investigation into alternative sources of steam to heat and cool University buildings
- Appointed a task force to examine University health insurance
- Led implementation of a computerized financial system
- Helped lead work toward a renovation and construction of new athletic facilities at the University (new arena and improve Williams Arena without relying on state money)
- Led the most successful charity donation program in the University's history in 1990

A "Bow Tie Club" was formed by those who reported directly to Donhowe. Assistant Vice President Neil Bakkenist presented bow ties to President Hasselmo and Regent Chuck Casey in honor of Donhowe. Also in memory of Donhowe, his love of bowties and caramel rolls was commemorated at the University when the "Bowtie Bakery" was named after him in October 1991.

Before Donhowe ever came to the University, though, he had ties to it. He met his wife Ruth at the University's Northrop Auditorium. The two of them both enjoyed living near the St. Paul campus in St. Anthony Park, of which Donhowe was a resident for more than 30 years. In his honor, there is an annual Gus Donhowe Memorial Concert held in St. Anthony Park.

At the time of his death, Donhowe had two daughters, Margit Shippee and Lis Christenson, a son Michael, and one grandson.

Phone list updated. Book it, Dano.

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The phone list has been updated (as of May 17). Get your revised copy now!

So, what's with that video?

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Nearly 200 ASR staff gathered in STSS on May 16 for our third annual mini-conference. One of the Development Team's projects that debuted at the event was a video designed to show others how ASR's services support the student experience. There are still some tweaks to be made, but you can watch the video that was shown at the event. The audience for this video is primarily external to ASR and could include new employees and campus colleagues.

Organizational changes

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The following is an email sent by Sue Van Voorhis on May 11 regarding some current and upcoming organizational changes in ASR:

Good afternoon,

I am writing to inform you of some significant organizational changes within ASR. During the past year, the ASR directors and I have analyzed how we can improve our services, work more efficiently, and prepare for future changes. We have also engaged many of you in this process.These upcoming changes are related to projects that are large scale and ongoing, such as the PeopleSoft upgrade, Business Intelligence (i.e., reporting), and the graduate education transformation. Also, a move of many of our offices to Donhowe will happen at some point in the future. Rather than wait for that time to restructure, we believe it is best to prepare now to ensure that we can continue to seamlessly serve the University community.

Location of graduate education staff
As you know, three staff members from the Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) and one staff member from Graduate School Data Management (GSDM) will join ASR in July. The GSSP staff (Amber Cellotti, Renae Faunce, and Stacia Madsen) will be located in 160 Williamson Hall; this move will take place some time before fall 2012.

New student services center in Williamson Hall
Before the conclusion of 2012, a new student services center will be located in Williamson Hall. This location will include services and staff from One Stop, Third Party Billing (Shelia Rhody, Dawn Demaske, and Doreen Knutson), and graduate education student services. This new service will require space modifications in Williamson, and the most significant of which will be the reconfiguration of the current reception area into a One Stop counter. Ultimately, this change will mean that staff in Williamson will need to greet guests and meeting attendees. There will also be space changes to accommodate student contact and staff workstations. This new center is a pilot to gauge its effectiveness before a similar center would open as part of a future move to Donhowe.

Classroom Management updates
The closing of the reception area in Williamson will mean that Kurt Neiswanger, Office of Classroom Management (OCM), will no longer serve as the receptionist and will have different workspace in Williamson. Kurt will continue to work in OCM's scheduling unit as an event scheduler; he will take on some additional duties as well. Adam Howard recently joined the facilities operations unit, increasing OCM's role in the field (i.e., direct contact with customers) in order to provide better service. The Classroom Hotline has also reduced its staff by one position but will continue to provide the full range of current services to the Twin Cities campus community.

Staff changes in One Stop, the Office of the Registrar, and ASR-IT
Dan Delaney has accepted the position of Operations Analyst in the Office of the Registrar's (OTR's) academic records unit. Dan will report to Emily Holt and serve as a student academic records expert to support staff within OTR, collegiate units, and the coordinate campuses. Part of Dan's role will be to provide quality assurance of student records data and project support. Heather Peterson will serve as the Interim One Stop Manager for the Saint Paul One Stop location, in addition to her management duties at the West Bank location. As noted in an email you received last week, there have been several organizational changes in ASR-IT. In case you missed it, you can read the original email on the News & Notes blog. A new development since that email is that Travis Trautman has been appointed as the lead business analyst for student records.

We realize that some of these changes have staffing implications. The upcoming PeopleSoft upgrade will likely have an impact on our staffing as well; as current staff transition to that project full-time, we will need to continue to keep up with daily tasks with temporary assistance. It is our plan to fill positions as either new staffing lines, consultants or, in the case of the upgrade, as temporary backfill for positions.

I know change is challenging and even concerning. I hope this message has provided you with a clearer picture of a broad range of developments in ASR. If you have any questions about any part of this message, please contact your director or me directly.

Thank you for all your good work.


Tell ASR what you think

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The final mini-ASR employee survey is now open. If you haven't already done so, please take five minutes and complete the 2011-12 ASR Employee Survey #4. As always, the survey is anonymous, and your thoughtful feedback is requested. Please help ASR by completing the survey by Friday, June 8.

Harried hyphens

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If you often wonder whether you need to hyphenate a compound word, take heart in knowing that hyphens can be annoyingly tricky, even for the best writers and editors. The Chicago Manual of Style advises that you first look up the compound word in a dictionary. If you can't find it, try to figure out the grammatical function of the word. Is it a noun, an adverb, or an adjective that modifies a noun? If so, there's a pretty good chance it's hyphenated.

Here are some examples: a four-year-old ate the cookie; the blue-eyed girl smiled; a full-time student at the university. You can also reference this helpful hyphenation guide from the Chicago Manual of Style. Or, you can always jump on YouTube and check out this Schoolhouse Rock video.

ASR StrengthsQuest 2

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Have you ever met an "Arranger"? How about an "Includer" or "Maximizer" or a "Restorative" person? JSYK, you're probably surrounded by them as we speak.

These are just a few of the 34 themes that describe you and your coworkers according to StrengthsQuest, a personalized inventory and assessment tool that's all over campus these days. ASR was among the early adopters of StrengthsQuest at the U. Many of us have completed the online assessment to learn more about our talents and how to think strategically about our careers. Bottom line: It's totally rad and highly recommended.

If you've joined ASR since our last StrengthsQuest free-for-all, or if you missed out last time around, we're looking directly at you: RSVP below to get your free code!

Do it for the insight

You should take the StrengthsQuest assessment because it will help you use your strengths in your daily work. You'll identify action items to further develop your innate talents. And, you'll learn how your team can use their mix of signature skills to work in concert together. Aaaand, you have to do something related to your Individual Development Plan in June, anyway, right? Use StrengthsQuest to jumpstart your IDP!

Then join us for treats and follow up!

To help you get the most out of your StrengthsQuest assessment, ASR will host sessions to interpret your results and follow up with development plans. Sessions are planned for late June/early July. These fun and interactive sessions will be facilitated by an OHR representative who knows the scoop on ASR, IDP and StrengthsQuest.

There will be refreshments at the sessions. For those who are game enough to share their 5 signature strengths, there will even be a super special SWAG gift!

Who's springing for all this?

ASR staff like to give back. Remember last year when we won the Professional & Academic Senate's Outstanding Unit Award? Well, the honor came with a small cash prize (enough to cover half the cost of codes and the gift goodies). The P&A folks in ASR can think of no better way to spend an award recognizing our collective awesomeness than to promote additional staff awesomeness. This opportunity is open to all ASR employees, regardless of job classification. So get in on this and help us celebrate personal and professional development!

RSVP by May 29

If you have been won over by our undeniable Woo strength, please RSVP online by May 29. We'll follow up accordingly to send you an access code, help you retrieve the results on an earlier StrengthsQuest assessment, or add a meeting to your calendar for the session of your choice. The RSVP form is also the place to share your top 5 themes in order to get your SWAG gift.

TCOB on behalf of your ASR P&A pals,
Dianne Danov, Dan Delaney, Sue Johnson, Jody Seiler-Peterson, Bob Quinney, Nate Thompson, and Travis Trautman.

Latest employee survey results

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The results and recommendations from the third 2011-12 ASR employee survey are now available. The survey team (Anya Norton, Ingrid Nuttall, Maggie O'Neill, and Travis Trautman) reviewed and analyzed the responses from the survey, developed tag clouds from the responses to the qualitative questions, and presented the recommendations to the ASR directors based on the data. The fourth mini-survey will be sent the third week in May. It will seek feedback about the revised survey format and follow-up questions for implementing some of the recommendations.

Tiny Desk Concert in Fraser

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The University's Tiny Desk Concert is an opportunity to connect University music students to staff, faculty, and others through live musical performances and a brief discussion of their work. One of these wee wonders took place this week in B20 Fraser Hall during the financial aid-IT unit meeting.

Tiny Desk Concert 1.jpg
Departmental master's cellist Christa Saeger enraptures her audience.

To train or not to train (on Google Apps)

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Last year, two sessions were offered on Google Apps tips and tricks. There has been some renewed interest in these sessions, especially following the advent of Google +. Please indicate if you are interested. There needs to be enough people to warrant a session or two, so if you're interested, make your vote count!

Another day, another senator

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Senator Amy Klobuchar followed in the footsteps of Senator Al Franken and visited the University to talk with students, staff, and others at a round table about federal financial aid. ASR's own Kris Wright and Julie Selander were in attendance, as was Bob McMaster (vice provost and dean of undergraduate education). In fact, the Minnesota Daily covered the visit and promoted One Stop's Julie Selander to a new position in a non-existent department. See if you can spot it.

By the way, the senator loved the "Like Like a Student" financial literacy campaign. Two high-powered Washington insiders down, 98 to go. 99 if you count the vice president, since he's the president of the senate.

Senator with students.jpg
Senator Klobuchar with students

Future News & Notes content

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As you can tell, News & Notes is a fairly conservative publication in that it is limited largely to the nuts and bolts of business. Well, we're thinking of branching out, but we'd like to know your thoughts. Please complete this incredibly brief survey and let us know if you think we should shake things up a bit.

Get to know the Academic Records unit

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The academic records unit in the Office of the Registrar (OTR) on the St. Paul campus is a busy team. They provide oversight of all student academic records, including change of college, special exams, dual degree, degree application and clearance, and degree verification. The department also manages the ordering and processing of transcripts and diplomas for the entire University. It's a big job. A staggering 69,000 transcripts and 15,500 diplomas are processed each year.

The team's aim is to simplify and facilitate critical academic and business processes. "One project we're working on is streamlining the degree clearance process for graduate and professional programs by using the PeopleSoft degree clearance pages," said Emily Holt, business analyst. "This will eliminate the need for paper clearances to be routed from the program to OTR and will expedite posting of a student's degree."

The unit recently launched a new electronic transcript ordering and delivery system, Avow. The system, which went live February 8, 2012, allows students to order transcripts more quickly and provides an official electronic copy as a certified PDF. "The system is available for all students, former or current, from all University of Minnesota campuses," Emily said. "It does not require an Internet ID and password to create an order, and it has allowed the University to centralize transcript orders from all campuses to the Twin Cities."

In the coming months, the unit will tackle ways to streamline the Change of College process for students. Since the current application is on paper, the goal is to automate it. This will benefit both students and staff.

The department is also part of the ongoing university-wide Graduate School restructuring initiative, as well as a redesign project related to the setup of courses and classes in PeopleSoft. "The outcome is to improve the quality of data to ensure that end users have clear definitions and intuitive codes when adding information in ECAS and ECS," Emily said.

The office also works closely with the National Student Clearinghouse to verify degree awards. Because many prospective employers now verify a student's educational information, it is critical that the office provide accurate and timely information to the Clearinghouse.

The office has been involved in verifying records of students that are sometimes less than honest. "The weirdest situation was when we were asked to verify a transcript that a prospective employee had provided as proof of earning a bachelor's degree in nursing," Emily said. "Every single course subject on the transcript was nursing, but the best part was the master's and PhD courses they included."

Though the workload can be demanding, the team takes time to relax and have fun, too. "The environment is really a community atmosphere; we're like a family," said Director of Academic Records Frank Blalark. "We meet for breakfast once a term and have potlucks."

Pam Dutchin, executive operations/student services specialist, said people struggle to grasp the scope of work that the team performs. "People would be surprised to know what we actually do, and the amount of what we do," she said.

And there's no room for error. "The biggest challenge for the office is the pressure of accuracy, because we're responsible for the student's record," Emily said.

But, Emily, who has been at the University for nearly 27 years, said the unique interactions she has daily with students, faculty, and staff make the job worthwhile. "I enjoy being part of the University community and working with a wide variety of people," she said. "It's more than just the paycheck and benefits."

Academic Records Staff:

Frank Blalark, Director of Academic Records
Robert Bode, Business Process Analyst
Emily Holt, Business Analyst
Sue Johnson, Functional Analyst
Heather McLaughlin, Business Process Analyst
Brenda Stutelberg, Info Tech Specialist
Colleen Brooks, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Pam Dutchin, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Kathleen Georges, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Bill Jabas, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Robbie Levine, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Deborah Pommer, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Barbara Yungers, Executive Oper/Stud Svs Spec
Sarah Johnson, Student Support Services Asst
Janet Powell, Student Support Services Asst

ASR-IT organizational changes

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The following is an email that was sent to all ASR staff on behalf of Grant Clavelle on May 4, 2012 regarding staff and organizational changes in ASR-IT:

Grant Clavelle, ASR IT Director is pleased to announce a number of ASR-IT organizational changes which will be effective immediately.

Carolee Cohen will become an Interim Associate Director, still reporting to Grant. She will assist Grant in his director duties as well as manage the OSF group of business analysts. Richard Toetschinger will report to Carolee. The intent would be to permanently fill the position of Associate Director in the future.

In the near future Carolee will name a Lead Business Analyst from among the current SF analysts to assist her with SF work direction.

WIlliam Dana will become the ASR Project Director for the PeopleSoft 9.0 upgrade. As we continue to ramp up for the upgrade William will begin to reassign his day-to-day duties with the intent of being on the project 100% when we begin in earnest sometime this summer. As people are moved to the project they will report to William for their project duties.

In the near future Grant will name another Lead Business Analyst from among the current SR analysts to assist with work direction.

Kristeen Anderson will become the Lead for ASR Business Intelligence (BI) initiative and will divide her time between the BI project and the Grad Ed project. Kristeen will now report to Sue Van Voorhis.

Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez will formally move to the Project and Work Management Facilitation group as a Lead. This is a formalization of the work that Santiago has been doing for the past number of years with a particular emphasis in the past year. Santiago will report to Grant.

Christa Nicols will continue to have duties in the Imaging Unit, as well as administrative support. She will also have duties in the Project and Work Management Facilitation group, receiving work direction from Santiago.

If you have any questions relating to these changes, please feel free to contact Grant.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from May 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

April 2012 is the previous archive.

June 2012 is the next archive.

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