January 2013 Archives

People in your neighborhood: Mike Arieta

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Being a social worker in a financial aid office may seem like a strange fit, but Mike Arieta makes it work.

"Having a background in social work helps me connect with students on a different level," Mike said. "I can talk to students about sensitive topics pretty easily and make them calm down. Also, financial aid is a system that is hard to navigate, just like any other government system social workers typically navigate."

Mike has a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His master's degree in social work is from the U. He is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

Mike has been in for ASR for 13 years: two years in Client Services (now One Stop Student Services) and 11 years in the Undergraduate Services office in the Office of Student Finance. For all 11 of those years, Mike has worked for his manager Larry Bloom.

"Larry often tells me that you will either really love this job or really hate it," Mike said. "I never thought that this was the direction my career would go in, but I'm loving it."

Mike is responsible for "mining the ISIR suspense files." Mike digs out the student records from the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) that were not loaded during the first process due to issues with name, date of birth, and/or social security number. He takes a look at these records and loads them into the system when the information has been corrected. He also does dependency overrides for students who have issues with the dependency status they were assigned.

"I work with students whose situations require a lot of attention," Mike said. "The best asset I have in my job is the amount of time I spend working with students. It makes my job worth it."

Previously, Mike worked multiple jobs in social work. He was a mental health counselor for a local addictions program for a few months and also worked at Eastside Neighborhood Services as a social worker to teens. His last job before coming to the U was in a nursing home for chemically dependent patients.

When asked why he would choose to be a financial aid counselor if he has a social work background, he replies, "Wouldn't you have wanted a financial aid adviser who had a background in social work when you were in school?"

Other than work, Mike enjoys spending time with his fiancee, a special education teacher for St. Paul schools. They have been together for 5 years, and have been engaged for about a year. They are thinking about getting married this summer. Currently, Mike spends his time between his place in Minneapolis and his fiancee's place in Apple Valley.

Mike also loves to travel. He has been to many places across the U.S., especially different, out of the way places like small towns. He likes to see how other people live in different areas. He has not had the chance to travel outside the country as much as he would like.

When it comes down to it though, Mike really enjoys working at the U. "I love the diversity of students we have here. I learn something new everyday," Mike said. "Students often have underlying issues beyond finances. I just help them understand finances and debt and navigate their options."

Mindful Mike:
Mike's favorite movie is Waiting...
His biggest fear is leaving his wallet somewhere.
If he could be any character for a day, he would be Indiana Jones. "He has a no-nonsense personality, but he likes to explore and find interesting things."
Growing up, Mike thought he may be a physical therapist or a doctor.
His favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
He loves modern rock music.
His first concert was Amy Grant.
The last book he read was Addictive Behaviors, third edition.
If he could be anything, he'd be a wolf.
Mike has five tattoos.

When PeopleSoft is giving you trouble, who you gonna call? Why, the Student Records Training and Support Team, of course.

A fount of knowledge, Gary Andersen, Nancy Killian, and Heather Micek make up the Training Team. They provide comprehensive training, production support, and documentation for PeopleSoft Student Records and related web applications for all University of Minnesota campuses.

HEUG conference-Training Team (1).jpeg

The Training Team provides support for One Stop, ASR Business Analysts (BA), and OCM staff on a regular basis. But their work doesn't stop there.

"We provide training and support for all departments on system campuses," Gary said. "We're basically the public-facing service team to colleges and departments, just like One Stop is for students."

The Training Team also supports many different applications and processes, including PeopleSoft Student Records, PeopleSoft UM ECS, Grading, ECAS, PCAS, and Management/UM Reports.

University staff and faculty can receive help from the team by phone, email, or in-person. The team also offers training through workshops or staff meetings (by request).

"I think people would be surprised by the volume and variety of calls we get," Heather said. "We average over 400 phone calls and 200 ServiceNow tickets per month. We handle 95 percent of our tickets and phone calls on our own."

The team considers themselves the helpline for instructors so they are very busy at the start and end of semesters and during registration time. Because they are the helpline for the U, they say that it is often hard to hold their tongue when people call and are frustrated.

"People aren't calling to say PeopleSoft is working great," Heather said. "They are calling to report a system issue so they are frustrated and that makes it difficult to talk to them sometimes."

The team also strives to put a positive spin on the University systems. They say they are the PR arm for the system. Nancy has learned that the best way to deal with people who are frustrated is to get them laughing. "When someone calls and is frustrated with how the system is working (or not working), I'll say, 'Well the gremlins are having a good day in the system," Nancy said.

Despite this, everyone on the team loves providing customer support. "I like talking to someone and helping people learn things," Nancy said. "We'll hear from people a lot at first and then they call back just to say hi after they have figured everything out. We've worked really hard to make personal connections with our customers."

The team says one of their strengths is the connections they have to people in all departments and campuses. "We train people and talk to people on the phone. We help people by documenting training and production support," Heather said. "We're kind of popular."

In fact, the team has even been recognized outside of the University setting. "I've been on vacation and had people come up to me and say, 'Hey, you're the PeopleSoft guy.'" Gary said.

Other than phone and email support, a big part of their job is providing training to the system campuses. There are PeopleSoft and PCAS training sessions available to all campuses. Student Data Inquiry is the most popular class.

There are also various workshops that people can attend every month. The topics vary, but by far the most successful workshop was the Big Picture workshop, which helps people understand how all the systems work together. When it was held two years ago, the workshop had more than 100 attendees.

The team has recently finished up quite a few projects. They went live with the transition of maintaining training records in PeopleSoft enterprise learning management system to a new system called ULearn.

They also completed a project set to provide PCAS for graduate programs. Originally only available for undergraduate departments, the team provided training to different Graduate School units to ensure a smooth transition. They have also been training the same units on adding a Leave of Absence to a student record.

The one major project underway is the Enterprise System Upgrade Program (ESUP). Heather is the representative from the Training Team for ESUP. The team will potentially be providing training on the new PeopleSoft, depending on how different it is from the older version.

"We are not sure if everyone will have to be retrained, but there will be some sort of training system in place with the new system," Heather said.

The Student Records Training and Support Team
Heather Micek, trainer/analyst
Gary Andersen, trainer/analyst
Nancy Killian, trainer/analyst

Many thanks!

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A warm thank you to all ASR staff who donated a gift card to the Student Parent Help Center. Together, we collected $640 for our student parents. If there's a cause you're passionate about, we want to know! It's never too early to start planning for our next service opportunity. Send ideas to Tina Falkner.

Unavailable meeting rooms

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The Student Project in the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program ESUP is about to head into phase two: Interactive Design and Prototyping (IDP). This process works best when there is dedicated space for each team to work in. To accommodate this, two rooms in Fraser Hall will no longer be available for scheduling starting February 1: B20 and 261.

The ESUP Project Management Office is working on preparing another space for IDP work that would allow 261 to be available for departmental scheduling again. B20 will be offline for the remainder of ESUP.

Those who had meetings previously scheduled in B20 and 261 Fraser rooms have been notified that they need to find an alternate location. If you received this notice and need assistance finding a new location, contact Kate Sophia.

We did it!

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Publish the 2012-2014 undergraduate catalog, that is. If you have a chance, check it out! After months of revamping the look and feel of the archival PDFs, we finally finished. Woohoo!

Get your read on

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Ever wonder what U publications you don't know about? (There's probably a lot more than you'd think.) No need to go digging. University Relations has compiled a nice, tidy list for you. How nice is that? (Thanks to Paula in OCM for suggesting we share this link.)

Fiesta Bowl famous

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Amber Manke, a Pat Tillman Military Scholar at the U, recently participated in a charity flag football game for the Pat Tillman Foundation. It aired during the 2012 halftime show of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Amber rubbed elbows with former football players Urban Meyer, Kurt Warner, Marcus Allen, retired coach Bobby Bowden, and actor Owen Wilson. In the video, Amber is the person interviewed briefly at the end and the one getting gatorade dumped on her. Go Amber!

Food for thought

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Wise Words: "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try." -- Seth Godin

Ask thyself

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Whether you're a leader on your team, or you'd like to develop leadership qualities, asking yourself the right questions is the right start. Here's a great article that lists the most critical questions to address while creating your IDP. Grab some paper and a pen and get the creative juices flowing! (Thanks to Paula in OCM for suggesting this article.)

Oops, just kidding

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In the last issue of News & Notes, we mentioned that new personal web space folders will no longer be created as of Dec. 31, 2012. That was an unintentional goof on our part. Based on feedback from the University community, the collaboration and web content team will continue to offer the service until further notice. Additional questions or comments may be sent to help@umn.edu. Many apologies for the error.

Busy break

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Classroom Technical Services (CTS) was busy over winter break! Several classrooms
received a facelift by getting new projectors, upgraded smart podiums, and other cool tools to help teaching and learning. Updates were made to selected Akerman, Mechanical Engineering, Alderman, and Humphrey classrooms.

This spring, CTS will focus its energy on installing technology systems in the new Biomedical Discovery District.

A or E, what gives?

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Ah, the old affect vs. effect condundrom. Even experienced writers need an occasional refresher on this tricky grammar rule. Here's a tip to remember the difference between the meaning of each word. Affect means to act on or to produce a change in. Think "a" for affect and "a" for act on. (Ex: The hot weather affected the flowers.) Effect, on the other hand, means something that is produced by a cause or result. (Ex: The effects of the snow caused major traffic delays.) Now hopefully, the effects of this little lesson will affect what you write!

Speak like a pro

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There's a reason why one of peoples' top fears is public speaking. It's scary to have a room full of people all looking at you. But the good news is that public speaking, whether at a team meeting or a large conference, does not have to be super stressful. Repeat with me: Public speaking does not have to be super stressful. Here are 10 steps to overcome anxiety about public speaking. Probably the two biggest takeaways are to know your stuff and relax. Sounds harder said than done, but practice makes perfect!

Tech update

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On Sunday, Jan. 13, the latest product release for ServiceNow will be installed. During the installation, which will occur between 7 and 8 a.m., ServiceNow will be unavailable for approximately 30 minutes. This isn't expected to cause any issues, but give 1-HELP a call if you notice anything amiss.

The People in Your Neighborhood: Matt Tveter

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A few months ago, Matt Tveter started working for ASR's communications team as a Communications/Organizational Effectiveness Coordinator. He is the main communications contact for the Office of Student Finance (OSF).

Matt has his bachelor's in English and cultural studies and comparative literature from the U. Recently, he received his master's in strategic communication from the U as well. This experience has aided him in his work in ASR.

"My job is to make sure things are implemented as smoothly as possible," Matt said. "I work more on an interpersonal level and make sure everyone understands the process, that everyone's concerns are heard, and that everyone is aware of what is happening."

Matt says that the most important attribute to bring to this job is having a broad understanding of how ASR and the University work.

Working in a school environment is not unfamiliar to Matt. Previously, he worked at the Northwest Suburban Integration school district for seven years. He was responsible for helping them streamline processes, such as moving from paper-based formats to online.

Matt also taught English abroad for a few years in Spain and Taiwan. He worked primarily with kids and teens. His wife also taught abroad with him.

"It was an interesting job. I think the kids thought of me as a well-meaning, easily-confused troll because I have hair everywhere but my head and that fascinated them," he said. "I really enjoyed working with the kids though. They learn quickly at that age."

From teaching in two different countries, Matt is somewhat of a world traveler and an adventurer. He once went on a jungle trek with his wife through northern Lao. "It was an awesome experience. We went to various Hmong villages during the dry season, though it rained the whole time," Matt said. "Because of all the rain, leaches would attack us whenever we stepped in water."

He also vividly remembers when he almost walked into a bird-eating spider's web.

When he's not treking around the world and encountering frighteningly large spiders, Matt enjoys reading, watching movies, and going to museums. He loves to spend time with his family and go to concerts. He also enjoys writing. He has even written a science fiction book that is the process of being published. He especially enjoys doing anything in his favorite city: Minneapolis.

Though born in Fargo, North Dakota, Matt has adopted Minneapolis as his hometown. He moved around as a kid from Grand Forks to Minneapolis to Dallas, but Minneapolis is his favorite place to live. Currently, Matt lives in Northeast with his wife Holly and his two kids, four-year-old Layla and eight-month-old Sam.

Matt Picture.jpg

Though Matt has only been at ASR and the U for a few months, he has enjoyed his time immensely. Matt says that the best thing about working here is the atmosphere. "It's very supportive and positive," Matt said. "People are happy to be here and care about doing a good job. Being new, it's nice to know that I can ask for help and get it, without question."

Matt's favorite movie is Brazil.
Matt would love to be in Prince's shoes for a day because then he could "play the guitar and dance."
Matt is a Certified Thai Masseuse, something he says his wife convinced him to do (smart woman).
He wanted to grow up to be a baseball player.
If he could be anything, he would be a giant golden eagle.
The Rolling Stones in 1994 was his first concert.
Matt loves cured and dried meat. He also loves Asian and spicy food.
Matt loves musical artists with a unique sound.
In fourth grade, he once dressed up as the Hunchback of Notre Dame for Halloween.
He is a certified reverend and officiated a wedding.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

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