Recently in Director's update Category

Sue's monthly wrap-up

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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.

Supervisors meeting
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.


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.


Provost Hanson's "Campus Conversation"

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On April 17, Provost Karen Hanson held an open question and answer session with the campus community. As she fielded questions from the audience, Provost Hanson touched on several issues directly related to the work of ASR. She spoke of the University's use of technology in classrooms, especially our innovation with STSS and the growing topic of eLearning. She also briefly mentioned the proposal for a summer semester and the financial aid hurdles that will need to be addressed if we want to make this a reality (along with a host of other issues). Our own Julie Selander asked about strategies for cost containment for students; Provost Hanson highlighted the importance of growing our gift aid through increased philanthropic dollars. It is clear she understands the pressures on the University and has started exploring some ideas for resolving them. The conversation was videotaped and I encourage you to watch it.

Reviewing the Fit/Gaps

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The ASR directors are engaging our college and coordinate campus partners in reviewing the fit/gaps in preparation for the PeopleSoft 9.0 upgrade. A "fit/gap" is an analysis to determine to what extent the functionality of a new system (in this case, the new version of PeopleSoft) "fits" our business needs and processes; the "gaps" are noted as differences between the new functionality and the way we do things now. A gap isn't always a bad thing. Our goal for this next upgrade is to be strategic about the modifications we choose to implement with the upgrade. Reducing modifications will result in better support for the system and cost (and time) savings, especially during future upgrades.

The move

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Since the Eddy Hall renovation has been delayed, our move to Donhowe will also (likely) be delayed for some time. However, we want to be prepared. Therefore, I have convened a group to determine the space and equipment needs for all ASR staff not located in STSS so when the time to move arrives, we are ready to proceed as quickly as possible.

Supervisor expectations

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Past ASR survey findings have underscored the impact of supervisor behavior on staff in a number of ways, including their morale; feelings of inclusion; understanding of one's role within ASR and the University; and overall job satisfaction. We know people approach supervision in different ways, and that's good; however, there are some universal ASR expectations for supervisors. One of ASR's expectations is that units hold regular staff meetings. These meetings can take a variety of formats (e.g., informal stand-up meetings, walking meetings, regularly scheduled formal meetings) but the underlying principle remains: a consistent venue to interact with colleagues and/or a supervisor and share information on unit projects, ASR projects, and University initiatives. Aside from staff meetings, other expectations include: giving regular feedback on performance (not just at performance appraisal time); bringing ASR staff suggestions forward to management; working to create an environment where staff are comfortable suggesting areas for improvement; and treating staff with respect.

Director's update: Budget information

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We received some good news on the budget front. Here's what I know:

  • We received an internal loan of $2 million beginning fiscal year 2013 (FY13) for physical upgrades to Keller, Borlaug, and Vincent halls, and the study spaces in Willey and Wilson Library.
  • OCM will receive one-time funding ($500K) for high priority maintenance of classrooms and study spaces.
  • Our request for $200K to replace the classroom scheduling system was approved.
  • Beginning in FY13, costs associated with the Consumer Relationship Management (CRM) license will be assumed by OIT.

These items are critical to furthering our mission, but there is still more work to be done. I will keep you informed as I hear more.

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