July 2012 Archives

Hot off the Internets! The "Live Like a Student" financial literacy campaign was just awarded the MARGO award from the Communicators Forum. This award is presented to the "most elegant solution within the means available." That means we did a great job communicating our messages with the least amount of money. Hooray!

Good questions for check-ins

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Paula Seeger in OCM passed along some useful information regarding staff and supervisor check-ins from The Management Center. Here are the three top questions they recommend to "get beneath the surface" during check-ins:

1. What makes you say that?

This is a good follow-up to all kind of statements -- from "things are going fine" to "The venue seems like they're not going to budge on the price." The idea is that you don't just want the surface statement -- you want what lies behind the surface statement, and this question gets at that.

2. What do you think?

If a staff member isn't sure how to handle a problem or move forward on a project, before you suggest a path to try, ask this question first. You might learn that your staff member suggests that solution herself -- or a better one.

3. What are you most worried about?

This question can open the door to all kinds of information and concerns that you might never hear about otherwise. You might think that staff members will tell you their worries without being asked -- but many won't.

Again, thanks to Paula (and to The Management Center) for these helpful tips.

Construction in Williamson begins next week

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To accommodate the move and required space reconfiguration for the new One Stop in Williamson Hall, the front doors and reception area will be closed starting August 1 through August 6 for construction.

If you are coming to meetings in 160 Williamson, you will need to use the side doors to enter the office. If you don't already have your U Card programmed to work in the card swipes in Williamson, please work with Debbie Henderson to have your card activated for the doors. Or, you will need to wait in the hallway for your meeting convener to meet you and bring you into the space.

If you are holding meetings in one of the 160 Williamson meeting or training spaces, you will need to inform your guests to wait in the corridor until you come to bring them into the space for the meeting.

CTS amplifies the Land Grant Ice Cream Social

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On Friday, July 20, ASR's Classroom Technical Services (CTS) unit played an important role in the celebration 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1862. CTS provided the audio that made the amplification of President Kaler and others possible.

The Morrill Act is the legislation that laid the groundwork for the public research university's ongoing mission of learning, discovery, and engagement for the common good.

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A few ASR staff members, Goldy, and Honest Abe Lincoln (signer of the Morrill Act).

The people in your neighborhood: Rebecca Kroening

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Rebecca was born and raised on a farm in Morris, Minnesota in a family with two sisters. Growing up, she learned to ride horses, bale hay, and milk cows. She said farm life made her independent. "You are isolated, so you find ways to entertain yourself," Rebecca said. "I feel growing up so close to the land made me a more serene and centered person."

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Rebecca received her bachelor's degree in speech communication in 2000 from the U. She switched majors from art history to speech communication because she felt it was a more marketable degree. However, she has always had a love for the arts, especially architecture. Her favorite architect is Antoni Gaudi.

In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys making her own jewelry and reading. She enjoys well-written fiction, but really loves the thrill of a good mystery book. "I love puzzling things out," she said.

Traveling is an essential part of Rebecca's life. Twelve years ago, she took a month-long trip to Barcelona, Spain and had the pleasure of seeing her favorite architect's work in person. She frequently travels to Phoenix to visit her mother and has also traveled to Mexico, Munich, Venice, Salzburg, and Florence. When it becomes more affordable she would like to travel to Scotland, England, and the Netherlands.

As a One Stop counselor, Rebecca answers phones, responds to emails, and mans the One Stop counter. She also conducts the tuition audit and manages the academic calendar.

Rebecca specializes in multi-institutional students and her favorite part of the job is assisting students. "I have always had a job that involved helping students," she said. "There are so few jobs where you hear that you have made a difference in someone's life."

In her time at the University, Rebecca has worked in the Office of the Registrar and One Stop Student Services. She remembers when she worked at the old Information Desk in Williamson Hall.

"One time, these two young ladies asked me how to get to an appointment they had in the Darland Administration Building," Rebecca said. "I didn't know how to tell them that their appointment was actually on the Duluth campus."

After over 30 years of service to the University, Rebecca still loves her job. "The University and One Stop is such a pleasant place to work," Rebecca said. "I have had such incredibly good people as supervisors and coworkers, and I am happy to come to work. Life is too short to have a job you don't enjoy."

Fun Facts About Rebecca:

1. Her first concert was David Bowie.
2. She loves classical music, especially Bach.
3. She does not have a computer at home.
4. If she were wealthy, she would hire a personal chauffeur and cook.
5. She can't watch slasher films.
6. She had a cat who lived to be 21 years old.
7. When she was younger, she thought she may have been a lawyer.
8. She admires journalists like Bill Moyers
9. She has never married and has no children.
10. She loves science fiction movies.

When the funding for the PeopleSoft upgrade was approved earlier this month, Cedar Crestone was also approved as our implementation partner. For more information about Cedar Crestone, including short biographies of several of their consultants, check out this PowerPoint presentation.

Contact information for some ASR teams

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With the advent of ServiceNow, many units and teams in ASR are using a central email address to manage work requests. Here are the central email addresses of teams in ASR that have moved to ServiceNow:

Coordinated IT Services Unit (CITSU) -- citsu@umn.edu
Web Team -- asrweb@umn.edu
DARS Support -- apasle@umn.edu
Imaging and Files -- asrfiles@umn.edu
Communications -- asrcomm@umn.edu

Beginning August 1, these two groups will be using ServiceNow:

Student Records Training and Support Team -- srhelp@umn.edu
Student Records Business Analysis -- srhelp@umn.edu

If you contact a group who is using ServiceNow, you can expect to see more automated email messages from the system. Also, when a team member using ServiceNow writes you back that your request is complete, you should resist the temptation to write back with a "Thank You," as this will re-open the ticket. It's always good to say "Thanks," but send your appreciation in a separate email or by way of a phone call for these groups.

More teams will be hopping on the ServiceNow train in the coming months, so you can expect to see more central email addresses popping up. For more information on ServiceNow, contact Matt Nuttall.

ASR picnic on August 9

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The annual ASR picnic will take place on August 9 on the plaza by STSS. More details include the exact time and menu will be forthcoming, but you can count on it being sometime around the lunch hour. One thing for sure: no soup.

On April 27, a new unit joined the ASR family--the Project Management and Coordination unit. The unit was created to aid ASR staff members in completing projects effectively and efficiently.

Right now, this unit consists of Santiago Fernandez-Gimenez, unit leader, and Christa Nicols, administrative assistant. Both report to Grant Clavelle, director of ASR-IT.


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Previously a member of the ASR Web Team, Santiago's years at the U and in ASR have prepared him to manage projects where it is often difficult to plan ahead. He has a master's degree in strategic communication, has been the chair of the Project and Change Management Collaborators network, and is a certified Scrum Master, a practice for managing software projects. This summer, Santiago is working on a certification from the Project Management Institute.

Christa has been in ASR since January 2011. She works partially in Imaging and ASR-IT as an administrative assistant. "Right now, I am managing my first project," Christa said. "I am working to redesign the way ASR tracks and monitors project progress."

In order to determine if the direction of this unit is going where staff want, Santiago and Christa have monthly round table discussions with current project managers (PM) to create a community of practice. The round tables are show, share, and learn sessions with staff tasked with PM duties.

"We have captured what we learned and will fold that into our coaching on future projects," Santiago said. "We are hoping to better match techniques, methods, and resources to the actual business needs of the individual projects."

When a project reaches a size and scope where it has an ASR manager as a sponsor, or will take over 2-3 months to complete, Santiago and Christa want to know about it. They can help facilitate and coach PMs to complete a project efficiently.

A standard tool kit will be provided for PMs to track, monitor, and communicate project progress. "Having the Communications Team involved early in projects is a predictor of success and keeps us user-focused," said Santiago. "The practice of regular communication of project status makes staff feel more informed and connected to ASR projects."

Christa is working to make the project tracking and monitoring process more efficient. "We want to help PMs have a standard way to report what is being worked on so there is increased visibility on project progress," said Christa. "The goal is to put better data in front of decision-makers, and increase transparency in ASR."

This standard tool kit will be done through Google Docs and will allow for PMs to fill out status reports that will update a main dashboard for ASR managers and other staff too look at. Ideally, this tool kit will automate the project tracking for PMs.

Overall, the goal is to aid staff in project management techniques. "Project management isn't rocket science, but we aren't getting things done as efficiently as we could," Santiago said. "By learning from each other, we want to facilitate excellent projects in ASR."

If you are currently acting as a PM and would like to participate in the round table, or want help facilitating and managing a project, you can email Santiago.

New One Stop center: we have a date!

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Reconfiguration of space in Williamson Hall to accommodate the new One Stop Student Services center (including GSSP and Third Party Billing) will start on August 2. That means staff should be able to move sometime during the week of August 6 and begin providing service shortly thereafter.

Note that it will likely be a bit noisy and cluttered in the 160 Williamson space while this work takes place. As a reminder, the 160 Williamson Hall front doors will be closed during the build, so please plan to meet your guests at the side doors to the space.

Food truck!

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This just in from a faithful News & Notes reader! The Cave Cafe Food Truck will be serving up Afro-Italiano fusion (you read that right) on the Williamson Hall plaza on Monday and Wednesdays from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook to see where they'll turn up next. Nom nom.

Funding approved for the upgrade

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Funding for the PeopleSoft 9.0 upgrade was approved at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday (July 11). This means work plans can continue to move forward; formal work on the upgrade is expected to begin later this summer.

One Stop is going mobile

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We've just made life a little easier for students on the go. Putting their collective genius together, representatives from One Stop Student Services, the ASR web team, and the communications team have developed a mobile site offering One Stop's most useful content in a nice, tidy, easy-to-read format. (No squinting or constant scrolling over, promise!).

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With so many students using their cell phone as their primary way to access the internet on campus (54% by our latest survey), One Stop's mobile site makes perfect sense. According to Google Analytics, onestop.umn.edu received 126,161 visits using mobile devices during a 60-day period ending March 11, 2012.

The mobile site includes timely and helpful "News" and "Contact Us" tabs, as well as a full site version for those preferring to view One Stop content in its entirety.

The site's launch date is scheduled for July 23.

About this Archive

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

June 2012 is the previous archive.

August 2012 is the next archive.

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