June 2012 Archives

The people in your neighborhood: Cheryl Johnson

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Ever wonder what your co-worker's favorite movie is or what they wanted to be when they grew up? Get the scoop on your ASR colleagues with our new individual profiles--The People in your Neighborhood. In the first of many ASR staff profiles, we present you Cheryl Johnson from the Office of Student Finance.

Cheryl grew up in Richfield and went to high school in Alexandria, MN. She's lived in Minnesota her entire life and has no intention of going anywhere else. "Why move?" Cheryl says, who is now a resident of Bloomington.

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She has three grown children and "seven perfect grandchildren," who range in ages from 6 months to 12 years. All of her children and grandchildren live in the Twin Cities area, so she has the chance to see them regularly.

Cheryl loves sports, including biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities. A few years ago, Cheryl and her husband completed the MS 150 bike race, a two day, 150 mile bike ride that starts in the Duluth and ends in the Twin Cities. To prepare, Cheryl and her husband trained for two months, biking 40-50 miles a day on the weekends. "The last two miles were a pill, but once you get to certain point, it's sheer willpower and determination to finish," she said. "I would absolutely do it again."

Pictures of Cheryl's favorite vacation spot, the North Shore, decorate her office in Fraser Hall. She enjoys hiking and snowshoeing there and recommends that potential North Shore visitors go to the Devil's Kettle waterfall and hike over to the Naniboujou Club Lodge to sip their french onion soup.

Cheryl once thought that she may want to be a fashion designer. Her mother used to sew, and Cheryl used to make her own clothes and her children's clothes.

But a design career was not meant to be. After accepting a job at St. Olaf College, where she worked for 22 years, Cheryl fell in love with higher education. She joined the ASR team three years ago. Her 25 years of experience in higher education have largely been in financial aid.

Cheryl is responsible for the independent/dependent student status verification process and also handles some Special Circumstances Appeals.

"I love feeling as though I'm helping other people achieve their educational goals," Cheryl said. "That's why I love higher education and why I've stayed. This is my dream job."

Fun facts about Cheryl:

1. Her favorite movie is A Man for All Seasons.
2. Her favorite book genres are biography and history.
3. Cheryl doesn't really watch much TV, except the news.
4. Her first concert was The Beatles at Metropolitan Stadium (where the Mall of America now stands).
5. She has her bachelor's from the U in child psychology and master's from Mankato State University in college student affairs.
6. Cheryl loves dogs, but she doesn't have any right now.
7. For Halloween one year she sewed a Pink Panther costume for her daughter.
8. Her oddest job was working part time as a test evaluator. She evaluated the written essays from standardized exams.
9. Cheryl enjoys knitting, cross stitching, and sewing.
10. She has season tickets for Gopher football and volleyball, and has partial season tickets for the Twins.

Live Like a Student is on Facebook

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The financial literacy campaign that is second to none has finally joined the Facebook crowd.
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Since its official launch two weeks ago, more than 200 people have "liked" Live Like a Student (LLAS), and more are following every day. Friends of LLAS will find daily deals, tips for saving money, and some stuff that's just plain fun.

Following the retirement of Wayne Seigler, Rachelle Hernandez has been named interim director of admissions for the University's Twin Cities campus. A national search will be conducted to name a permanent director.

On June 26, new online workflows (i.e., online forms) will be available and will replace the current processes for initiating and updating graduate and professional students' committee information and graduate students' adviser assignments. These workflows are part of a larger project to automate Degree Program Form processes. As a result, a revised Degree Program Form will also be launched on June 26 and renamed the Graduate Degree Plan.

News & Notes (brief) hiatus

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News & Notes will take a week off between issues, returning to your inbox on July 12. If you have story ideas in the meantime, send them to asrcomm@umn.edu.

Top "10" ASR priorities

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When you have a moment, review the top "10" ASR priorities, available on the ASR website under "About ASR" and then "Accomplishments." This document was recently shared with Bob McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education. It evolves throughout the year as new projects come our way and resources change but, as of today, these are the unit's priorities as they stand.

Hit 'Send' by mistake? You can take it back!

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The News & Notes team could hardly wait to share this Google gadget. How many times have you hit 'Send' on an email only to realize you forgot to include someone, included someone by mistake, or made a most unfortunate word misspelling? Well, now Google lets you manipulate time and space by 'undoing' a sent email. Here's what you do:

1. Go to your mail settings (that little gear thing in the upper right-hand corner)
2. Select "Labs"
3. Scroll down to "Undo Send"
4. Click "Enable"
5. Bask in the glory that is now

You have about 10 seconds (counting Mississippies) to take the message back. Send yourself a test if you want. After you send the message, you'll see a yellow bar at the top of your inbox that says "Undo." If you click this, it will take you back to your original message and you can fix whatever errors and your recipients will be none the wiser. Now, if only we had an undo for talking. Get on that, Google!

Join the next Development Team

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You've attended the all staff events, right? Now is your chance to volunteer for the team that puts on these wondrous gatherings. If you haven't already, speak with your supervisor about joining the next ASR Staff Development Team. The team meets for one year, beginning in August. The time commitment is roughly two hours a week (give or take, depending on the activities the team plans and if you volunteer to be a team co-lead). Once your supervisor and unit director have approved your participation, submit a professional development request. If you have questions about the team or the process for volunteering, please contact Ingrid Nuttall.

Coming soon: staff profiles

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Thank you to everyone who responded to the reader's survey in the last News & Notes. The feedback has been carefully analyzed, gone through, and read (yeah, those all kind of mean the same thing) and there was overwhelming support for including staff profiles in future issues. Here's how it will work: individual staff will be asked to participate in a brief interview session, the product of which will be a profile to be used in News & Notes. You can decline the invitation or postpone it for another time. Staff names will be selected at random. Stay tuned for your first profile, coming June 21!

Better know the Development Team

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For the past six years, a Development Team has assembled with a representative from each department and one director to plan what we all know and love--the ASR all-staff events.

The past two years, co-chairs have been appointed to the teams. The 2010-2011 co-chairs were Tara Fricke and Shelley Parker. The 2011-2012 co-chairs were Kim Doberstein and Paula Seeger. Ingrid Nuttall in Continuity and Compliance also serves on the team annually as an administrative resource.

Each year, a fall event (scheduled in December) and a spring event (scheduled in May) are held. Typically, the fall event is short and informative, often including a talk from Sue Van Voorhis, director of ASR. Recently, the spring event has resembled a half-day "micro-conference," incorporating multiple sessions that pertain to the interests of ASR staff.

"Planning the fall event was much harder than spring, even though it took longer to plan the spring event," Tara said. "It takes time to 'gel' together as a group. Once you begin planning the spring event, you've already been working together for quite awhile and have a better understanding of how to plan a successful event."

To plan the ASR staff events, post-event feedback from participants is taken into account. A "lessons learned" document is created from the previous year's Development Team and surveys are sent out to ASR staff for feedback after each event.

"Once we had some things planned, we put out a feeler survey to see if what we had planned was in line with what ASR staff wanted," Kim said. "Utilizing News and Notes and surveys were huge communication tools."

Shelley and Tara said they also utilized News and Notes, but also made general announcements at various meetings, including the ASR-IT all staff meeting, to receive input from staff.

The planning of the events differs with each group. Tara and Shelley's team first met in August, but didn't start planning until October for the fall event. They planned both the fall and spring events at the same time and even had so much content that they planned summer brown bag events. Kim and Paula's team began planning in August, but they created more content for fall and, if it wasn't used, they moved it to spring.

"Each committee is made up of the same areas, but the events are always different because you bring in different people with new ideas and interesting perspectives," said Shelley Parker, co-chair of the 2010-2011 Development Team.

Paula added that not only is it a different staff compilation, but the focus and goals change with each team. "We spent considerable time developing a team charter and goals for the year. This was where we could really put thought into how to align ASR mission, vision, and values with the development demands and requests of staff members."

Both teams found it challenging to balance their everyday workload and the planning of the events. Most team members also have little event planning experience.

Members of the team plan two events, but also inadvertently develop working relationships with new people.

"I had never really worked with anyone on the Development Team before, but I found professional reasons to interact with my fellow team members that I would not have known about previously," Shelley said. "You learn about everyone's unique contributions to ASR and how you can utilize their skills in the future."

All four former co-chairs said they would join the Development Team again. "It was a chance for me to branch out and show my leadership skills," Tara said. "It got me involved and helped me to learn what other people do in ASR."

Though there are co-chairs on each team, Shelley, Tara, Kim, and Paula stress the importance of the team as a whole. "We were co-chairs, but we put a tremendous amount of effort to make sure everyone was heard on the team," Shelley said. "The entire team and their unique contributions are incredibly important to the success of these events."

Do you want to join the next Development Team? To become a member of the Development Team, speak with your supervisor and submit a Professional Development Request. A representative from each department and one director is selected. If you have specific questions about what it's like being involved with the team, feel free to speak with a co-chair or member from a previous year, or Ingrid Nuttall.

"Being on the Development Team gives everyone an opportunity to have a true professional development experience," Shelley said.

2011-2012 Development Team:
Melissa DeWees, The Cluster
Kim Doberstein, ASR-IT, Web Team
Nastassia Leigh, One Stop Student Services
Sue Johnson, OTR, Academic Records
Ruth Newman, OSF, Fiscal
Ingrid Nuttall, ASR, Continuity and Compliance
Paula Seeger, OCM, Classroom Support
Julie Selander, One Stop Student Services (representing ASR directors)

What is an implementation partner?

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From June 4-6, three consulting firms presented their proposals for serving as the implementation partner for the University's upcoming PeopleSoft upgrade. An "implementation partner" serves as a partner (hence the name) throughout the process of a significant software installation (i.e., PeopleSoft 9.0). The partner works with the University and its various entities (e.g., HR, Campus Solutions, Finance) to ensure a successful implementation of the new software. The three firms under consideration shared their experience with campuses of comparable size in implementing the change from PeopleSoft 8.9 to 9.0. For example, each company spoke to how they assisted with the HR/Student Records database split and installing the PeopleSoft Portal. Several ASR staff were invited to the presentations and were asked for their impressions of each company and their ability to serve in this capacity. A decision on the implementation partner will be made in the near future.

Say what? Misused words

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There are some words we use so often that we don't even realize they may not mean what we think they do. Like the word "literally," for example. If you watch the comedy Parks and Recreation, you know how much Rob Lowe's character loves using it. But is he always right? Literally means "the exact meaning of the word(s)" without exaggeration or inaccuracy. So if Rob Lowe says, "I literally flew down the road while running," that means he suddenly sprouted wings.

Or how about the word "less?" We often confuse it with "fewer." Here's the trick: "less" refers to a quantity that can't be counted; "fewer" refers to numbers. Saying there were less vegetables available at the Farmer's Market is not correct. You can count vegetables. Instead, you would say there were fewer vegetables available.

Kind of interesting, huh? To read about some more words that we commonly misuse, check out this fun article. (Note: Princess Bride fans will especially love it.) Thanks to OCM's Paula Seeger for suggesting this topic.

The retirement of the CAH (does it get a party?)

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On June 15, the University will officially retire the Central Authentication Hub (CAH) in preparation for a new identity management system to replace x.500. In preparation for this, ASR made changes to 18 hosted web applications (from the CAH to Shibboleth) and tested code changes for all Pillar applications. Good-bye, CAH. You're a jolly good hub.

A final note from Sue about the employee survey:

Dear ASR Staff:

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.

Thank you for all you do.


ASR monthly wrap-up

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On May 31, Sue Van Voorhis sent the following monthly wrap-up to all ASR staff. A similar message will be sent at the end of each month highlighting some of ASR's accomplishments. If you have items you believe should be included in a wrap-up, email them to Sue.

Hello ASR staff,

Many of you have requested more regular updates about ASR projects and accomplishments, in addition to the information you receive in News & Notes. In response to your feedback, this note is the first monthly wrap-up of news and highlights from ASR's units. (You can expect to receive a similar email at the end of each month.) I know I will miss some things, but I hope you will let me know what they are so I can include them next time, even if they are a bit late.

Organizational changes
As you know, many organizational changes have already taken place in ASR or are underway. I sent an email on May 11 regarding these changes which you can read on the News & Notes blog. Work on the new student services center in Williamson is underway; you can expect ongoing updates as this initiative moves forward.

New scheduling software
We are in the process of selecting a vendor to replace our current centralized scheduling software (i.e., R25). Vendors were invited to demo their product last week. We hope to have a vendor selected this July. Our target implementation date is fall 2013.

Financial aid efficiencies
OSF implemented a change to eliminate duplicate data entry into the NCAA's Compliance Assistant system. OSF staff are hard at work on summer financial aid processes.

One Stop mobile
ASR-IT, One Stop, and communications staff are working on creating a mobile version for the One Stop website. They have surveyed University students to gain a better understanding of mobile One Stop needs and are continuing to refine the interface.

Presenting accomplishments
Every spring, I present a list of some of ASR's accomplishments to Bob McMaster, dean of undergraduate education. While I keep him apprised of our good work throughout the year, I provide Bob a more formal round-up of some of the highlights. We post these accomplishments on our website.

IntraSee Portal workshops
Last week, many ASR staff joined other University staff for a series of presentations by IntraSee, a company that takes out-of-the-box PeopleSoft portal and modifies it to meet the needs of a particular organization. These workshops are the beginning of a much larger and longer journey toward a re-implementation of the portal, an effort that is being led by One Stop's Julie Selander.

Performance appraisals
As many of you know, ASR supervisors have been hard at work completing performance evaluations for all staff. Supervisors submit appraisals to their unit director who read them and then send to me. I also read all staff performance appraisals to look for consistency across teams and units, as well as to ensure all staff receive a timely evaluation. It also helps me stay in touch with where all ASR staff are at in their professional development.

One final note: we will have our annual spring cleaning day on June 7. Recycling and shredding bins will be available. Mark your calendars for the afternoon to take care of your space.

These are just a few of the things that happened this month. If I've missed something you think others should know, send it my way so it can be included in either a monthly update or the next issue of News & Notes. We all work on a variety of tasks and each are critical to fulfilling our mission. I hope this monthly note will be an effective way for you to know what's going on.

As you know, our job responsibilities don't end when spring semester does-- I still have people ask me if I get my summers off because I work in education! We all know that summers can be some of our busiest times. As we begin another one, I hope you also take some time to enjoy the sunshine.


About this Archive

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

May 2012 is the previous archive.

July 2012 is the next archive.

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