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.

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