Friday, September 19, 2014

Goal Setting

Last fall, Bryan Garey from UHR led the Finance supervisors in a series of exercises to develop a set of consistent division-wide definitions related to the performance evaluation process. I believe this was helpful for all of us to consider how to be more consistent throughout the organization in our conversations and evaluations around performance. One take-away I heard from that process is that employees – whether developing their own goals or reviewing, in the role of supervisor, the goals of the employees – would appreciate a training session on how to develop good, strong, and measurable goals. I know that I often struggle balancing project-based SMART goals and with goals and expectations related to normal work responsibilities.

I have asked Christina Landes and Lindsey Reese, of UHR’s Center for Leadership Excellence, to develop custom Goals Setting sessions for Finance employees that will be held over the next two months. Through these small sessions, each of us should walk away with a better understanding of how to develop an effective goal, how goals and competencies work individually and together, and with at least one goal drafted for the 2015 performance management cycle. Christina and Lindsey will also tailor a session specifically for supervisors so we can better understand how to work with an employee through the stages of drafting, developing, and finalizing effective goals in a manner that will help employees develop and progress. 

You should have received an Outlook calendar invitation from Stacey Rittenhouse to one of these goal-setting sessions. If you have not, please let me or your supervisor know.  I hope that you find these sessions beneficial.  As a reminder to all, I have reproduced our Finance area performance rating definitions below.


Update from Managerial Reporting

Phew….Am I right? Seems like yesterday managerial reporting was kicking off the summer and here we are soundly into fall. Our orange data and process improvement teams have been analyzing, we’ve continued the forward movement with the Hyperion (HPCM) project, and we’ve continued to expand our team.

Orange Data and Process Improvement Teams
The orange teams have spent the summer tirelessly doing analysis of the current environment, talking to users, and envisioning the future. Their work culminated in a list of recommended scope and future improvements.   On September 4th, we had over 50 orange team members come together for a half day sessions to collaboratively discuss and work on initial prioritization of recommendations.  Once prioritization is complete, teams will work on implementation. We look forward to this new phase!

Hyperion Tool
The summer was a whirlwind on the Hyperion front we moved through the development, QA, and production environment. The real BIG news, though, is that this week serves as the official launch!  We have rolled the tool out to a small group of users, and we will be completing user training through early October.

More People, More Fun!
We’re a little sad that our summer interns left us in early August but were able to recover with the addition of new Reporting and Budgeting Analyst Jennifer Hale.  Jennifer comes to us from GE. She will be partnering and co-located within the University Budget Office, providing analytical expertise and leadership in developing reporting and budgeting improvements as part of the managerial reporting project scope. Since arriving in early August her efforts have been focused primarily in supporting the team and project in translating the budget into UFM terms. Many of you have already met Jennifer, but I hope you’ll join me giving her a big “happy you’re here, you’re awesome” welcome! 

We also have a great position open. The Data Stewardship Lead will manage the complex current state business process mapping and assessment for university wide data stewardship in support of improvements in the overall management of the availability, usability, and integrity of decision support information across grounds. This position requires a depth of technical acumen, leadership in financial operational data analysis along with the ability to work cross functionally within the University community, the core project team and engage with external professionals where applicable to support the common understanding of the data definitions within the reporting environment.  Check out the job posting at Jobs@

From Melody's Desk: September 18

What a great day for Day of Caring yesterday!! Thanks so much to everyone who participated… this is one of my favorite activities at U.Va. Not only does it exemplify the public service spirit of being a part of U.Va., but I always gain so much from the day. Aside from tired muscles and perhaps a sunburn, I enjoy stepping away from my desk to spend time with my colleagues working to solve a different sort of problem, while having fun and getting to know them better. Not to mention how refreshed I return to work after taking a mental break from meetings, emails, and the daily norm. I hope that those of you who participated also feel these intangible benefits.

I had a great time visiting those of you who spent the day at the SPCA – trimming bushes, spreading mulch, and pruning briars from the dog walking paths – and at Scottsville Elementary School – sanding and refinishing picnic tables and painting “traffic lanes” for the children rushing from the school building to the playground. 

I hope that at future Day of Caring events, we can continue to increase the number of participants to expand the impact to our community and to ourselves.  Enjoy these pictures from the day…


Thursday, September 4, 2014

From Melody's Desk: September 4

I know that many of you have heard by now of the budget planning exercise that Governor McAuliffe has asked all state agencies to undergo for this year.  I thought it would be helpful for you to see the message that the President has delivered to the VPs and Deans regarding this budget reduction which is copied in below.

Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:12 PM
Subject: Message from President Sullivan to Deans & Vice Presidents - Budget Reductions FY 15 & FY 16

Dear Colleagues,

The Governor has recently asked all higher education institutions to plan how we would return 5% of our FY 15 state appropriation and to plan for a 7% reduction in FY 16.  For the current year, this amounts to about $6.5M.  We were also instructed not to consider a mid-year tuition increase nor to reduce financial aid.  When the Board of Visitors meets next week, we will discuss with them our approach to reducing state funds.

Budget cuts in the middle of an academic year are always difficult.  Our main objective will be to protect instruction and other services to our students. We are not planning for across-the-board cuts in the current year and you will not receive specific reduction targets.  We have salary increases programmed for implementation in October to keep us competitive in the market.  These increases will not be affected.

The reduction for FY 16 increases to $9.14M.  We will incorporate conversations about targeted areas to produce these savings during the budget development process for FY 16 which will kick off shortly.  We will need each of you to bring your best ideas forward and I would encourage you to begin thinking about the lowest-priority activities or programs that are not mission-critical and can be scaled back or phased out in the near term.

Terry Sullivan
This message is forwarded by Chief of Staff Nancy Rivers on behalf of President Sullivan

The important take-away is that we will not have across-the-board cuts this year and the upcoming University staff and faculty merit increase will proceed.  It is also important to remember that we are a critical part of the strategic plan for the University in both pillar 2 (“will enhance institution-wide infrastructure and services”) and pillar 5 (“steward resources to promote excellence and affordable access”).  

For FY16 as we will be asked to consider where we can reduce expenditures, we will all need to be cognizant of activities and programs that we do that are not the most critical and could perhaps be phased out.  It will be our jobs to continue to ask ourselves:  How can we extend our organizational excellence efforts, improve business processes, deploy effective and essential managerial reporting tools, support research and student activities, and provide high value business and financial services in the best possible way?