May 2013 Archives

Successful staff event

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ASR's spring staff event last week hit it out of the park. The half-day event included a recap of ASR priorities, updates on ESUP, a helpful reminder to take advantage of a vacation day every once in awhile to avoid burnout, and an ASR staff video.

Staff were also treated to a presentation from Brave New Workshop where improv challenges illustrated ASR's priorities of embracing and navigating change, as well as maintaining effective communication. Late morning breakout sessions gave ASR members a chance to explore professional development ideas, things to do in the Twin Cities, and how to prioritize the people and things that mean the most to them.

AACRAO insights

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Tina Falkner, Director of Continuity and Compliance, attended the AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers) annual meeting April 14-17. Here, she reflects on her biggest takeaways from the event.

Several ASR staff members attended and presented at AACRAO. They presented on topics ranging from Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) to data usage to title IV audits. I also found a few sessions really resonated with me. For instance, one session focused on how campuses are using preferred name for students, faculty, and staff. Most schools are doing what we currently do (or hope to do in PeopleSoft 9.0): offering students the option to select a preferred name for their diploma, but using their official name on transcripts, and modifying their student information to reflect a preferred name on class rosters, class schedules, and other "external" facing documents.

The other session that really gripped me was an incident that hits close to home. External pressures on Dickinson State University in North Dakota caused some administrators to bend policies for international students. Though the requested actions "felt wrong," some members of the campus still chose to engage in behavior that was contrary to policy and procedure because they were told to do so. This really made me think about how easy it is to get caught up in the moment and to consider making an exception. It's important we all continue to follow our policies and procedures, bring up issues if they seem improper, and to be mindful that we have policies in place for a reason.

Performance appraisals

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With annual reviews right around the corner, it's nice to know exactly how our job performance will be appraised. Check out the ASR Employee Performance & Development Appraisal Form to see how your job expectations will be assessed, and don't forget to update your IDP!

A look back in time

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Have you ever wondered what ASR was like more than a hundred years ago? Think handwritten student records and the advent of scholarships and loans. Take a peek at the ASR history timelines to see where our office started and how far we have come.

New survey tool

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Qualtrics, a new survey tool, is now available systemwide to University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and students. The tool is more robust and user-friendly than UMSurvey, which will be decommissioned Aug. 2.

MOOC madness

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Massive open online classes (MOOCs) are up and running among the higher education realm. Coursera, a leading MOOC platform, has some big numbers to boast: more than three million users worldwide and free courses from 62 colleges and universities. Click here for more information about the latest news on MOOCs.

New ASR templates

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Check out the new ASR PowerPoint templates that have been created. Now we can all be on the same page when it comes to preparing presentations!

Summer music

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Looking for some cheap entertainment this summer? Northrop will be hosting free outdoor concerts on Northrop Plaza beginning June 7, as part of its 59th Annual Northrop Summer Music Festival. Concerts are held on selected Wednesdays at noon and Fridays at 7 p.m. during June and July. Free food and beverages will be featured throughout the series from various local vendors. For more information and the full schedule, see Northrop summer concerts.

Online training videos

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If you're looking to bolster your software, design, or business skills, look no further than Students, faculty, and staff can log in with their x.500 and register for high-quality, online training videos for all skill levels. Check out some of the topics you can learn about. (Thanks to Christa Nicols for sharing this useful info!)

On the move

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Third Party Billing will be closed on Monday, June 3 as they will be moving to their new location, 169 Fraser Hall. Movers will be in and out of Williamson 160 throughout the day.The office's email address, phone number, and payment address will not change. However, the mailing address for third party authorization sponsors will change to the following:

Third Party Billing, Office of Student Finance
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
169 Fraser Hall
106 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

The i's have it!

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If you're not sure of the difference between the words complementary and complimentary, you're not alone. It's a tricky one, and one simple vowel change is the only thing that denotes which definition of the word is correct. Complementary (with an "e" not an "i") means completing something, forming a whole. Complimentary (with an "i" not an "e"), on the other hand, means flattering or praising.

Food for thought

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Wise words: "There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself." -- Anthony Rapp

Portal priorities survey

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If you haven't already, take a moment to fill out the 10-15 minute survey for the U's new Enterprise Portal. The deadline is May 20th.

This survey is just one tool to allow the Portal team to begin to gauge the "opportunities" that have been identified so far. They are still listening and collecting, and will continue to do so, so it's important to continue to give them your feedback, ideas, and thoughts. They want to deliver the best possible portal and can only achieve that by hearing from everyone. Please share the survey widely with your networks.

People in your neighborhood: Sharon Nollan

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Family and running are Sharon Nollan's passions. Sharon and her husband Chris have three children--Michael, Erich, and Victoria. She grew up in Hastings, but has lived in Cottage Grove for over 20 years.

She says that the two things she could not live without are her husband and her kids. Victoria is a junior and Erich is a senior at East Ridge High School in Woodbury. Michael is a junior majoring in education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and plans to become a math teacher.


Sharon's other passion is running. In 1990, Sharon ran her first marathon. Since then, she has run 41 marathons in over 20 U.S. states and on five different continents. She has yet to run a marathon in Africa or Australia.

"I enjoy distance running," she said. "It has given me the opportunity to combine things I love. I love to travel, I love to meet new people, I love to go to new places, and I'm passionate about running."

Sharon belongs to the 50 States Marathon Club and Marathon Maniacs. She travels with both groups to run races in different states and countries.

Most recently, Sharon completed two marathons in a 24 hour period on two different continents--South America and Antarctica. She started her marathon of marathons in Punta Arenas, Chile and ended her trip in King George Island, Antarctica.


"It was pretty incredible. I had to dig down deep to make it happen, but it was an extraordinary experience," she said. "It's an amazing feeling to be elbow-to-elbow with people who come from all walks of life and you're all running to the same goal."

Beyond marathons, Sharon has also completed an Ironman triathlon in 14 hours.

"I was smiling ear-to-ear once I completed the 2.4 mile swim," she said. "The swim was my weakest leg because I had just taught myself to swim about three years before and I'm scared of swimming in open water. So I knew I had it, once I completed the swim."

Sharon is also passionate about giving back to the sport she loves. She volunteers as coaching staff for the Moms on the Run and Girls on the Run. She coaches moms and middle-school aged girls to run their first races.


"I cannot express how rewarding it is to be by the side of a new runner as the cross the finish line of their first race," Sharon said.

After all the marathons Sharon has completed, she has a few favorite memories. She ran a marathon on the Great Wall of China. Sharon also ran a marathon in Walt Disney World. She received a Mickey Mouse medal when she finished.

"My time was awful because I stopped to take pictures with all the characters," she said.

But overall, she says that her favorite one is the Twin Cities Marathon.

After all these amazing accomplishments, Sharon still manages to be an amazing asset to ASR. In fall 2011, she started as a business analyst in the Student Financials Unit in ASR-IT. In January, she joined the ESUP Portal Project team. The team is currently gathering requirements for the Portal and encouraging stakeholder engagement.

"This is a great opportunity to create a dynamic and trend setting portal tool for the entire University," Sharon said. "I enjoy being part of a brainstorming think tank."

Sharon's Strides
1. Sharon loves Italian food. "Lots of pasta for this runner."
2. Sharon has a bachelors degree in psychology and business administration and a master's in software design and development.
3. Sharon has a fear of public speaking, but she is getting involved with the Art of Hosting to help ease that fear.
4. Phil Collins was her first concert.
5. Sharon loves to landscape and garden in her backyard.
6. If she could be anything, she'd be a landscape designer.
7. Sharon's favorite author is Wayne Dyre.
8. Sharon enjoys Jim Carrey movies.
9. Before coming to the U, Sharon worked on the IT web strategies team at Capella University.
10. Sharon loves traveling to the North Shore with her family.

Budget update

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This year, it has been requested through the central budget process that ASR address a required reduction in funds through two specific actions: the first is in the form of a One Stop counselor position that will not be filled once a vacancy is available through normal attrition. The next is an increase of our transcript request fee (a formal communication plan that includes the system campuses is being crafted). A positive outcome from the budget process means good things for the maintenance of our general purpose classrooms and student study space. Over the past several years, the Office of Classroom Management (OCM) has taken significant cuts, both in recurring classroom funding costs and staff positions, in order to save costs for ASR overall. This year, OCM has received a recurring reallocation of funding to cover part of the life cycle cost of classrooms. In addition, ASR received funding to cover the cost of an internal loan assumed last year to pay for classroom upgrades.

New event scheduling software

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On Monday, May 20, OCM will launch a new room reservation system called Astra Schedule. A quick start guide is available that includes instructions on how to request a classroom for an event using the new system. Scheduling staff will conduct demonstrations of the new software's request process and calendar functionality at the following locations across campus:

Saint Paul: Tuesday, May 21, 9-10 a.m., Ruttan B35
West Bank: Wednesday, May 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Blegen 10
East Bank: Thursday, May 23, 9-10 a.m., Nicholson 155

No RSVP is required. If you have any questions about this change, email

Survey results

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The results and recommendations from the first 2013 ASR employee survey are now available. The survey team (Trinity Muller, Anya Norton, Ingrid Nuttall, and Maggie O'Neill) reviewed and analyzed the responses and developed tag clouds to represent data from the qualitative questions. The recommendations were presented to the ASR directors in May. The second 2013 survey will be sent out in early June.

Don't forget to vote!

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The last day to vote for the winner of the Communicators Forum Maroon and Gold MIKE award is tomorrow, May 17! Voting is open to both members and nonmembers. Check out the viewing gallery to browse through the submissions. (Click on titles to view the full entry.) The winner will be announced at the Member Appreciation Event on May 29.

Meeting matters

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Working on your cell phone or laptop during a meeting is as natural as breathing in our current technology-crazed world. But it's a good idea to be mindful that using these devices may make it seem as if you're not paying attention. Even if you're taking notes or checking email, try to limit the amount of time you spend on your cell phone or laptop during a meeting. You may just find you enjoy the break from technology!

Food for thought

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Wise words: "We gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop and look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Get ready for spring cleaning!

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Mark your calendar for the afternoon of Thursday, June 13 for spring cleaning. Recycling and trash bins will be delivered to central workspaces in Coffey, Fraser, and STSS, so get lean and mean with your unneeded stuff!

New neighbors

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Stop by and say hello to the Student Emergency Loan Fund team, who moved to 160 Williamson Hall on April 26. They're located in Paula Seeger's old cube. Renovations are being done to the second floor of Coffman where the team was previously located. This will be their new home!

President Kaler gets new conference room

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In March, CTS installed a new video conference room for President Kaler's office in 238 Morrill Hall. The room will be used by many other offices as well, and it will help the system campuses connect to meetings.


Kudos to the CTS staff for engineering the design and installing the equipment. And a shout out to Justin Myers in OIT who provided staff training for the faculty senate support area of the conferencing equipment. (Thanks to Jeremy Todd in OCM for sharing this news!)

Hangout from afar

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Google came out with a new feature called Hangouts Remote Desktop. It lets you help others by controlling their computer remotely (with their permission, of course). And because you're both in a hangout, you can talk with and see each other during the session. To get started, just start a hangout, and click "View More Apps" and then "Add Apps" and "Hangouts Remote Desktop." (Thanks again to Jeremy Todd for letting us know about this cool new feature.)

Food for thought

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Wise words: "Happiness is mostly a byproduct of doing what makes us feel fulfilled." -- Benjamin Spock

Spring loan exit counseling

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On April 18 and 19, FA-IT sent more than 3,400 emails inviting soon-to-be graduates to complete online loan exit counseling. This is the largest batch of loan exit counseling invitations sent to date. The loan exit team worked hard the past several months to ensure students are able to navigate the new online system, and their hard work paid off. Student Account Assistance has received fewer questions regarding loan exit counseling than in the past, despite the fact that more students have been asked to complete the process.

Classroom upgrades

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The folks in OCM were busy over spring break. Ruttan B36 and CSOM L114 & L118 received a technology equipment update, including replacing the video projector with a widescreen model. They're also gearing up for a busy summer of upgrades, too. Nice!

Workspace ways

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Whether your work space is a wide open cube, or you leave your office door open 24/7, it's important to keep in mind that others are working around you. After all, we don't all need to know your latest news. Though it's great to catch up with co-workers, it's important to be respectful of other around you. Try to keep conversations--both professional and personal--relatively quiet.

'eduroam' WiFi now available

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eduroam (education roaming) is a secure, worldwide wireless network service created for the international research and education community. The cool part is that it's now available for all University faculty, staff, and students on the Twin Cities, Morris, and Rochester campuses. (Coverage for Duluth and Crookston is being discussed.) eduroam allows people from participating institutions to access secured WiFi service when visiting other participating institutions. All you'll need is your U of M login credentials. More info and setup instructions are available on OIT's website. If you have any questions, contact the IT service desk at or (612) 301-34357 (1-HELP on campus).

About this Archive

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

April 2013 is the previous archive.

June 2013 is the next archive.

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