Here is the August wrap-up sent by Sue Van Voorhis to ASR staff on August 31, 2012:
Dear ASR staff:
The summer is winding down, which means everything is ramping up in ASR. Here are a few of the things that I (and many of you) have been working on, in addition to all of the preparation for the start of the term:
Working with advisers and student service staff
August always starts off with the expanded Registrar's Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting. This whirlwind meeting is an opportunity for us to inform a broader advising and student services audience about issues our office is working on that relate to their working with students. As we inch closer to starting the 9.0 PeopleSoft upgrade project, we provided some high-level information on the upgrade and their anticipated involvement. The undergraduate advisers in attendance were provided with a financial aid update to help support our efforts to graduate students in four years.
Working with the coordinate campuses
This summer, I have spent much time engaging our coordinate campus colleagues as we prepare for the upgrade. With new staff in several key positions at two of our campuses, it has been a good time to strategically examine our policy and procedure differences and identify areas where we all can 'bend' and make our students' lives better; outline strategies for collecting input for decision-making; underscore our shared values and commitment to each other; and come to consensus on future directions. Some of these conversations have been difficult and will require sustained attention over the coming months, but I know we are all committed to the same goal of supporting our students.
The ASR supervisors met in early August to get a preview of the upcoming ASR Customer Service Training event on October 24. The Customer Service Training Program Committee emphasized that we aren't doing customer service wrong in ASR, but we want to continue to develop our skills to continue to provide the best service we can to each other and the University community. Additionally, supervisors spent some time reflecting on giving and receiving performance feedback. As I mentioned in the July wrap-up, feedback is indispensable to creating a good work team and even more important to developing leadership and management skills. I know it is hard and sometimes uncomfortable giving your boss (or even your boss' boss) feedback: however, I encourage you to do so. We are committed to establishing concrete ways to do this more often and readily. If you have any suggestions, please send them to me.
The ASR directors and I have used several of our August directors meetings to examine our career families and their associated knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). It has been about three years since we have taken a comprehensive look at these. Overall, the families appear to be in good health, still represent the work that we do in ASR, and reflect the values inherent in our office. As would be expected, some emerging skills and abilities need to be added and some dated language needs to be changed. Additionally, we will be examining each position in ASR to determine if it is still mapped to the appropriate job family as we know jobs and job duties change over time.
August is also the time of the year when I review the previous fiscal year and see how closely our actuals matched our budgeted amounts. In most instances, we were remarkably close, and this is good. We are entering the new fiscal year with a carry forward (meaning, we spent less than we budgeted); this is good because we are never fully funded for our salary and fringe and depend on carry forward to cover the difference. I anticipate sometime in mid-September I will be asked to prepare our budget request for the next fiscal year. This is always a tough task because we have so little of the current fiscal year under our belt upon which to estimate. After we have submitted our budget, I will hold budget brown bags as I have the previous two years to share what we asked for and provide an overview of the process.
One Stop center, Third Party Billing, and Graduate Student Services and Progress
The The One Stop Student Service center, Third Party Billing (TPB), and Graduate Student Services and Progress (GSSP) opened their doors in the new Williamson Hall location on August 13. I am pleased to report we have seen fairly steady traffic for One Stop and GSSP, as well as the expected amount of traffic for TPB. I expect numbers will continue to rise. If you haven't yet visited the Williamson location or met the staff, please make the time to do so. I know it was a bit awkward for some of you to either use the side doors to enter or to meet your guests for meetings, but I do appreciate your patience while we all adjust to new processes.
If you've made it to the end of this message, I hope you feel that you have a sense of some of the things that went on during the month of August. I know I've said it before, but I work with the best people on campus. Thank you all for everything that you do, and I wish you a wonderful start to the term.