Thursday, February 18, 2016

From Melody's Desk

Thanks to EVERYONE for participating in the Discovery Phase II sessions last week. I am so amazed at each of you for finding time in your crazy busy work weeks to convene with your colleagues to appreciate what you have done and dream about what you can do together – we gathered so much great feedback. Be on the lookout for a summary of the patterns and aspirations that we collected, which will inform the team that convenes next week to Dream and Design. We will also provide an update on the Dream and Design session in the next blog update.

I know there has been a lot of discussion about the Carruthers Hall renovations, so I thought I would answer a couple of questions I have heard…

1. What is planned for Carruthers Hall?
You may have seen one of several preliminary drawings. Keep in mind that all drawings to date are conceptual; we have just begun formal planning so all is subject to change. We have a working committee reviewing the planning and an advisory committee to help consider finishes, colors, and furnishings. When the renovation plans are formalized, we will post these drawings publicly and seek feedback as possible, particularly from the groups most impacted. We will keep building occupants informed by way of the Carruthers Managers group and this blog. Communication will be frequent and transparent.

There are three phases. Phase 1a has already started, with the adjustment to smoking areas and the addition of security upgrades that have been put in place over the past month. You will soon see new painting, handrails, and tiles in the south staircase up to OSP as this wraps up.

Phase 1b includes exterior improvements that have been funded and will commence as soon as the weather allows. These changes include: repairing cracked sidewalks along the upper north corner to front entrance; expanding the terrace at the upper north corner and upgrading the picnic tables; expanding the terrace at the front door and adding benches; and upgrading landscaping. We will pay particular attention to putting in place landscaping and lighting that provides a more open, safe, and well-lit pathway.

For Phase 1c, we have requested support from the University’s Grounds Improvement Fund to develop an expanded lower west terrace, with improved bike parking and landscape. The existing concrete walk along the building wall will be widened and a level and hard surface created for new (accessible) picnic tables and benches (no more mud!). The ailing pines will be replaced with new trees between the picnic area and Emmet Street. There are also plans for planting beds along the south entrance to provide a more attractive entrance and a new awning to better direct students coming to SFS and the Registrar’s Office.

Phase 2 has been approved to proceed by Pat Hogan and will occur over the next 9-10 months; this phase will focus on Carruthers’ second floor. We will improve the public spaces near the front door by adding a receptionist area, a coffee and collaboration space, and 2 modern and technology-equipped conference rooms that can be opened up to create one large space. These will replace the current conference rooms A and E; the old conference rooms will be converted into work spaces. We will upgrade work areas in the Comptroller’s area and adjust to accommodate the move of my team and the budget office team into Carruthers. We will add open and enclosed collaboration and innovation spaces, improve the flow, upgrade furnishings in conference rooms F and G, and add a kitchen/sink/vending area.

Phase 3, also approved by Pat Hogan, will occur following the completion of phase 2 and will focus on Carruthers’ first floor. In this space we expect to add another large meeting area with capacity for at least 75. We will upgrade the former printing and copying services space, the former CafĂ© Carruthers area, the external auditors’ room, and look to improve the SFS and Comptroller’s IT spaces.

2. Are you moving to Carruthers? And, if so, why?
Yes, I am! I am excited for the opportunities to integrate the finance functions of procurement and budget with sponsored programs, student financial services, the comptroller’s office, and outreach and compliance. I believe for the team to perform at its best, we should all be located together. One of the most important roles that I serve is to be your advocate – when things need attention (like the exterior landscaping), I can facilitate that attention; when we need partner with other areas, I can help build those bridges; when there are collaboration opportunities (like developing quarterly financial reports and dashboards), these will happen more quickly if we are near one another. And, when we have successes, I want to be nearby to celebrate wins with you! As we all learn to utilize systems (like Qlik), improve employee training and development, and establish standardized operating practices, we can do this better if we are side by side. Plus, I’m addicted to Zoe’s hummus… :)

That’s probably enough for now. But if you have other questions, please ask away in the comments below or by sending an email to

Have a great week and enjoy the warm weather on Saturday!

PS. The Board of Visitors meets this week, with tuition up for approval on Friday afternoon. I’ll also be providing a quarterly financial report and an update on the Managerial Reporting project. Thanks to everyone who has helped me prepare for these topics. You can watch live here.

Bookmark This: BBA Stage Data Model

Want to see how data is interrelated?

The MRP team created an interactive data linkage visualization tool to demonstrate how the many Budget Balance Available data elements link to each other. Each of these linkages must be developed in the data warehouse; this tool helps us see our progress establishing these connections. As an example, “Calendar Date” is a new table that establishes various time parameters. View the linkage tool (visible in IE or Chrome browsers), and then click on the data point for “Calendar Date” to see the vast data linkages between this new table, and the many other data points feeding into the new Data Warehouse.

2015 CVC Final Results

Thanks to all who participated in the 2015 Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign.  The final results are in and the facts are terrific:

  • Nearly $1 million donated by UVA employees this year.  More than $13.5 million donated by UVa employees since 1999.
  • More than 1/3 of all contributions from state employees came from UVA; UVa remains the #1 contributor to the CVC.
  • The charities in our community that benefitted the most include:
    • Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
    • Charlottesville Free Clinic
    • Hospice of the Piedmont

Within the UVAFinance team, our newest teams took the prizes.  The Budget Office has nearly 78% participation from its employees; Procurement employees donated more than $5,500. Wow!

In addition to the employee donations, many of you participated in the craft/bake sale and cornhole tournament.  Proceeds from both of these events went to support the campaign. Thanks so much for all your generosity!! And thanks to Stacey Rittenhouse, Dolores Hildebrand, and Connie Alexander for leading the campaign for us.

Read more in UVAToday.

Excel Tips & Tricks: SmartArt

When can you use SmartArt graphics? 
Use SmartArt whenever a visual representation might reinforce or clarify your ideas. You can use them in Microsoft Excel, but they are also very effective in PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook. Start here.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

From Melody's Desk

Good afternoon,

Spring is on the way, at least according to Punxsutawney Phil. What perfect alignment for our ongoing strategy planning process – we kicked off the process at the dawn of the new year and are progressing forward with the exciting next steps on as we move into spring.

Next week, at our Discovery Phase 2 meetings, we will share the stories of accomplishment, gather our hopes and deliberate on the aspects of our history we most value and want to bring into the future.  These conversations will provide the foundation for the success of UVAFinance over the next 5 years.

Our experiences at UVA are stepping-stones, leading from our first day to our present roles that support the education, the research, and the service missions of the University. As we invest ourselves in the second phase of the Discovery process and look forward toward a vision of success, we may just discern the next stepping stones that will take us toward that future.

In the language of Appreciative Inquiry, the final phases are Dream, Design and Destiny.  Next, we will build upon the knowledge collected to DREAM new possibilities for UVAFinance and the University. Our images of the future are a direct result of our answers to the interview questions, with which we paint a compelling picture of what we can become.  We will dialog, debate, craft, create, and ultimately DESIGN how we will bring to life this future, in light of the University’s culture, systems, processes, and structures. Finally, we will take action to achieve our DESTINY.

DREAM, DESIGN, and DESTINY will take place on Friday, February 26. We will provide more information and provide an opportunity for you to volunteer to participate in these phases during the Discovery Phase 2 meetings next week.

Have a terrific rest of the week!

Appreciative Inquiry Updates

A Phase 1 Conversation
One of our UVAFinance teammates and their partner, a stakeholder, shared a summary of their conversation. They and their partner both expressed a strong belief in continuous improvement and, with that in mind, see an opportunity for a culture shift toward risk-taking:

“We both enjoy having the freedom to take initiative when we see something that could be improved. We both have experienced the satisfaction of identifying a solution and implementing it – with great success!”

Further Reading
We have a list of books for further reading on Appreciative Inquiry, as suggested by our strategic planning consultant, Dan Saint. A few of these books are available to read online, and we have ordered 10 copies of The Thin Book of SOAR for UVA Finance use.

TravelUVA is “Flying High” After Its First Month Live!

TravelUVA, the University’s comprehensive new travel program, successfully went live to the entire University on January 4! For those who would like help learning the new booking tool, the TravelUVA Team will be offering lab sessions at 918 Emmet Street on the following dates in February. To learn more and register for a lab session, please visit “Learner Home” under “Employee Self-Service” in the Integrated System:

  • Thursday, February 11
  • Friday, February 19
  • Friday, February 26

For more information about TravelUVA, including new policies and links to the online booking tool, please visit:

February Brown Bag Training Sessions

Brown Bag Sessions are lunch-time training offerings led by subject matter experts on topics of interest to UVA business and finance professionals, and are held bi-weekly on Wednesdays, 12-2 p.m. Bring your lunch and bring a colleague!

This month’s Brown Bag Sessions are:

February 10: Expense Management at UVA
Dolores Hildebrand, Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services, and
Sue Clements, Enterprise Applications, Information Technology Services
Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall Auditorium

February 24: Recharge Centers: Everything  you Need to Know
John Wallace-Smith, Office of the Comptroller
2400 Old Ivy Rd., Room 189

In upcoming sessions, we will cover topics such as Effort Reporting, Record Retention, Purchasing–Preparing for Year-End, Export Controls, Preparing for an Audit, Emergency Preparedness and more. Thank you to those who participated in the January 13 session, How do I Get Help? Resources for Users of the Integrated System. We are going to offer this session again on May 4, 2016, so if you were interested and unable to attend in January, you have another chance! If you have ideas for future sessions, please let us know at

Visit the Finance Outreach and Compliance website for further information.  Registration for Brown Bag sessions is not required, but is available in Employee Self-Service. A link to register is also available from the “Events” section on our website.

Comptroller: Cardinal, BOV Reporting, Hellos & Goodbyes

Cardinal Update
The Commonwealth went LIVE with Cardinal on February 1st. The transition went relatively smooth with only a few minor technical glitches. Now comes the challenging part of getting proficient with the new Cardinal (PeopleSoft) program. Interactions with the State occur each day and at month-end when all state expenditures are uploaded to the system. The state will continue to “dual-process” transactions in both CARS and Cardinal, and UVA’s accounting services department will be in charge of ensuring the two systems agree. This dual processing will continue until 6/30/16 at which time CARS will be deactivated.

Enhanced BOV Reporting
The University produced for the first time a CONSOLIDATED, modified accrual-based interim financial statement showing both Academic and Medical Center financial information for the six months ended 12/31/15. This took the effort of several folks on both the Medical Center and Academic sides. These reports will enable upper management to see better financial information for the entire University on a more timely basis.

Saying Hello…
The Comptroller’s Office welcomes Michael Hayton to our Computing Systems Support group.  Michael comes to us from the Fluvanna County School system where he worked for 13 years, most recently as the Network Administrator for the division.  He has been very busy getting to know our systems and our people, and we are glad he is here!

Saying Goodbye…
It is with sadness, but excitement that we say goodbye to Susan Herod, who will be leaving the Comptroller’s Office to become the Assistant Dean for Finance in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, effective February 8th.  Her central office knowledge and experience will greatly benefit SCPS and promote collaboration between central offices and the school.  Our loss is a tremendous gain for SCPS and the University as a whole.  Best wishes Sue…we will miss you!