Thursday, April 16, 2015

From Melody's Desk

Spring has finally arrived!  A quick note of thanks to all of you for your hard work… I sit back occasionally and consider all the balls that we have up in the air.  It is only because of the efforts and the commitment from each team member that we keep the juggling going strong.

I also want to remind each of you about Coffee with a Colleague. This is a great way to step away from email for a moment to connect in a one-on-one conversation with a colleague about a shared issue or interest. It is a simple initiative:  grab coffee with a colleague from outside your office and talk about that retro adjustment or cost transfer expenditure type, learn about how to better use MS Lync, or get an update on the new procurement travel system. We have a pilot program with 100 Free Coffee Cards already purchased – I really hope that you take advantage of this opportunity so that we can continue to offer it.

If you haven’t heard yet, there is a great new Advancing Your Excel Skills class, developed and taught by our team in collaboration with the Center for Leadership Excellence. The class is getting rave reviews and each offering has sold out.  Classes are added regularly and are now open enrollment. To enroll in a class, go to the Integrated System’s Learning Management module. And keep an eye out for the follow-up class which will focus on using Excel for data analysis.

We have wrapped up the evaluation cycle for the long 18 month performance period through December 31st.  This also means that we are nearly 4 months into the 2015 evaluation cycle.  Please make sure that you have worked with your manager to develop your plan for 2015 – what do you want to accomplish this year? I suggest that you try to include one goal about improving a process or daily task; one goal that improves communication with someone from outside Finance (Coffee with a Colleague anyone?); and one specific development goal (Advancing Your Excel Skills or another class offering from the Center for Leadership Excellence).

I want to close by thanking Gerry Kane for his 28 years of service to the University.  He has set a standard for collaboration and working to support the research mission of the University; he has established a solid framework for continuing OSP’s work to streamline and facilitate research administration; he has been a wise and trusted advisor to me; and he has done this all with a great sense of humor.  Best of luck to Gerry and Susan as he begins this new phase of his life!

Bookmark This: Year-End Dates for Fiscal 2015

Year end is approaching and the closing schedules have been posted. The complete list can be found on the Office of the University Comptroller's webpage:

Peer-to-Peer Feedback in MRP

In the spirit of transparency and internal development, the Managerial Reporting Project team is completing a peer-to-peer feedback exercise. By mid-May, each team member will meet one-on-one with every other team member to discuss individual strengths and development needs.  Importantly, each person will also identify critical partnership requirements for each peer—all through a lens of long-term project success. Finally, each team member will seek to share and learn one idea or skill from everyone else on the project team.

How to Write Better Right Now

It's not enough to have great ideas—you also have to express them effectively. This infographic offers a few tips and tricks to help. Click here to download the poster and read more from EAB.

Virginia Historic Garden Week

Each spring visitors are welcomed to over 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during "America's Largest Open House." This 8-day statewide event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia's springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members.

This year's event will be held April 18-25 and the University will have two properties on the tour: Morven Farm and Foxhaven Farm. Click here for more information on Historic Garden Week, or here for information on U.Va.'s participating properties.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Updated: Professional Certifications on the AVPF Team

Below, you will find a list of some of the many professional certifications held by our colleagues in the AVP for Finance area. If you hold a certification that is not listed below, please let your colleagues know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post! (If you are viewing this post in the email digest, please click through to leave a comment on the blog.)

Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC)
Certification for financial counseling and education, including money management, financial goal setting, and overcoming debt. Practitioners must meet educational requirements, pass an examination, complete 1,000 hours of experience in financial counseling, submit professional references, and adhere to the AFC Code of Ethics.
Held by: Scott Miller

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
Certification in complex, multi-dimensional situations with multiple interests. Practitioners must meet a required combination of education and experience and pass an exam.
Held by: Kobby Hoffman

Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP)
Certification in clinical research agreements through the Model Agreement & Guidelines Initiative (MAGI). Practitioners must pass a written exam.
Held by: Hannah Edelen

Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM)
Certification that demonstrates meeting the National Contract Management Association’s (NCMA) highest standards for education, training and experience. Practitioners must have extensive business education and training, a minimum of 5 years of experience, and pass an exam.
Held by: Victoria Poindexter (Lifetime Certification)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
The only licensed qualification in accounting. Practitioners must meet and educational and experiential requirements (in Virginia, 120+ hours of education and a bachelor’s degree or higher in an accounting or similar concentration) and pass a four-part examination covering the areas of financial, auditing, regulation, and business accounting.
Held by: Melody Bianchetto, Randy Ellis, Steve Kimata, Karyn Tancredi, Sara Tarkington, Vivian Xue

Certified Research Administrator (CRA)
Certification that demonstrates a broad understanding in the body of knowledge in research administration. Practitioners must achieve required years of experience and pass a written exam (preparation classes are offered by OSP).
Held by: Greg Ball, Andrew Bedotto, Christine Carrizosa, Virginia Coffey, Vonda Durrer, Kobby Hoffman, Kathryn Kim, Mike Ludwick, Angela Sherman, Colleen Speakman, Vivian Xue

Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
Certification in management accounting expertise. Practitioners must have an accounting degree, CPA certification, 3+ years of management accounting experience, and pass an examination.
Held by: Vivian Xue

Clinical Research Contracts Professional (CRCP)
Certification in clinical research contracts through the Model Agreement & Guidelines Initiative (MAGI). Practitioners must pass a written exam.
Held by: Lynn Koplin

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt
Certification for a professional who demonstrates a thorough understanding of the tools and principles of Lean. Practitioners must complete 2 weeks of classroom training, pass a 3-hour examination, and complete a real-life process improvement project under the guidance of a mentor.
Held by: Mark Anderson

Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS)
Certification for demonstrating a thorough understand of Microsoft Office software. Practitioners must demonstrate proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications and pass a certification exam.
Held by: Edrina Allen

Oracle University
SQL Certified Professional: Certification for advanced PL/SQL design and development. Practitioners must pass 2 examinations. OBIEE Dashboard Design, Repository Design & Development, Advanced Topics: Certification for expertise in design, management, and development in DSS toolset.
Held by: Phil Cook

Procurement and Contracts Management
Graduate certificate through the U.Va. School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Requirements include 8 courses in areas such as Federal Acquisition Regulations, Projects Management, and Intellectual Property.
Held by: Mike Ludwick

Project Management Professional (PMP)
Certification that provides the framework for being a successful project manager. Practitioners must have 2 years of experience, pass an examination, and participate in continuing education.
Held by: Tom Kim, Scott Newman, Forrest Swope

Web Design & Development
Certification that follows completion of a prescribed number of classes held by U.Va. ITS that allow practitioners to design, develop, and maintain websites, interactive forms, and other web applications.
Held by: Del Kolberg

Excel Tips & Tricks: Go-To Resources

For a quick Excel question, the most productive go-to resource is often the person sitting next to you or down the hall. Help from a co-worker who also uses Excel is an opportunity to share different approaches and problem-solve together – you might both learn something new from the discussion!

Since there are usually multiple ways to do a single task in Excel – sometimes the best solution is the most expedient one for a one-time exercise; sometimes the best approach may be more involved to set up, but will pay dividends down the road by making a solution more sustainable for a repeating project. Either way, that colleague down the hall may very well have the Excel answer you need—and recognize the best path to take.

When you need more help, Google is often the best first option – you will find Microsoft help, YouTube videos, Blogs, Forums, etc. You may need to tweak your search terms to dial in the most appropriate answer. For general knowledge, skill building, tutorials, and ideas you may not have thought about, there are a couple of sites that you can visit or subscribe to their newsletter and blog posts:

And as a final reminder for the AVPF team, we have started our Intermediate Excel Skills training course – feedback from the 1st session was very positive so make sure you find a time to attend.

MRP Town Hall Wrap-Up

Nearly 150 stakeholders from across Grounds came to the Managerial Reporting Project Town Hall. Attendees heard the dialogue between two panels of experts, and shared questions or comments about the project vision and roadmap.

Melody Bianchetto kicked off the event by introducing the project, and also participated in one of the panels. Early takeaways from attendees and panels indicate the opportunity for engagement was warmly welcomed.

Departures in OSP

April 17 will be a difficult day in the Office of Sponsored Programs because we will be saying goodbye to two members of the OSP team: Gerry Kane and Victoria Carter Poindexter.

Gerry Kane has served in multiple capacities within the university over his 28 year career. He started in Sponsored Programs in 1987 as a Grants Administrator back when OSP consisted of 10 people using “dumb” terminals, dot matrix printers, and paper ledgers. After two years he moved over to the Psychology department, acting as its research administrator. Returning to OSP in 1993, he became a supervisor, then Assistant Director, and then in 2000 he became Director of Sponsored Programs, heading up the pre-award side of the office. Ultimately in 2010 he was chosen to serve as the Assistant Vice President for Research Administration, directing the entire office.

Gerry remembers his old userid (U993) through which he would access the old FAS system and “enjoyed” the implementation of Oracle. Amidst Carruthers’ brown walls and brown carpet held together with duct tape, he helped review and submit grant proposals and negotiated agreements. The VPR’s office used to provide a courier that would drive the required multiple copies of paper proposals up to Washington DC, and Gerry recounted a time when the courier dropped off NSF proposals at NIH accidentally!  Gerry has seen the roof in Carruthers collapse which resulted in two inches of water on the floor. He saw Y2K fears come and go. He navigated multiple new electronic grant proposal submission systems and assisted countless faculty and administrators along the way, earning their respect. Gerry’s final contribution to OSP is more technological innovation in the form of the soon to be released, ResearchUVA, a web-based portal through which faculty and administrators will have easy access to information about their sponsored awards as well as the actual award documents. In his retirement, Gerry looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Susan, and their dog, Kasey Kane, relaxing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and gardening vegetables and flowers.

Victoria Carter Poindexter began her career at UVA in Procurement in 1998 as a Major Procurements Manager. She negotiated many contracts including the one to decommission the on-Grounds nuclear reactor (yes, we used to have a nuclear reactor!). After 6 years she moved over to Sponsored Programs where she has served as a Senior Contract Negotiator for 11 years. Victoria earned the highest score of her cohort on the exam to be a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM) and recently earned “lifetime certification” status. Negotiating contracts with federal sponsors, one of her major roles, is a complicated endeavor because there is an incredible amount of regulations about which one needs to be conversant, and she was often more conversant than the folks she was dealing within the federal government! Even so, Victoria performed her duties with style and grace, as well as tenacity. Always willing to share her knowledge, she taught the session on procurement and contracts for those preparing for the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) exam.  In addition, Victoria is a certified “Life Coach” who offered career development counseling through UVA Human Resources, helping people identify ways to stay engaged in their careers and be inspired to reach their professional goals. She and her husband, John, are following the sun to Florida, looking forward to new adventures.

A farewell gathering for Gerry will be held in the Kaleidoscope Room of Newcomb Hall on Wednesday, April 15 from 2-5pm. Victoria’s farewell will be held on Friday, April 10 from 1:30-3pm, in Carruthers Hall, Conference Room E. Stop by to bid them both a heartfelt “adieu.”