Thursday, April 25, 2019

Take a Peek: What's New in the Community is where it's all happening!

Adaptive Insights Pilot Project

UVAFinance is working to address a known pain point related to the planning and budgeting process through a pilot of Workday's Adaptive Insights with selected schools. 

Read more in the Community.

FST Update for Fiscal Administrators

At the April 17 Fiscal Administrators Meeting, James Gorman presented an update on Finance Strategic Transformation. 

Check out the slides and share your questions/thoughts!

New Titles in the UVAFinance Book Nook

We just added many new books to the library in the corner of the coffee area in Carruthers.  Drop by and check them out (literally!).  

Two titles worth noting include books by two of our 2019 UVAForward speakers: 
  • Humility is the New Smart, by Edward D. Hess and Katharine Ludwig
  • The End of Diversity as We Know It:  Why Diversity Efforts Fail and How Leveraging Difference Can Succeed, by Martin N. Davidson

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Finance Strategic Transformation Welcomes Mary Wagamon

Mary Wagamon joined the Finance Strategic Transformation (FST) project team early this year as an administrative assistant. In her role, Wagamon supports the project team as they progress through FST, a widespread and intense change effort that touches nearly every part of UVA.
Mary Wagamon

Besides her skill set and experience, one of Wagamon’s strongest qualifications for the position may have just been that she knows a thing or two about change.

After earning her Bachelor of Arts in English and racking up a few years of experience working in a variety of professional administrative roles, Wagamon uprooted her life and moved to Scotland to pursue a graduate degree in English Literature from the University of Glasgow.

“I chose to study English Lit because I’ve always enjoyed work that had to do with communications,” she says.

“I like writing, and I like talking to people. I chose to pursue my studies in Scotland because I’d studied a month there during undergrad, and I loved what I saw while I was there researching literature and culture. I decided I wanted to go back someday.”
A snapshot from Wagamon's
time at the University of Glasgow

After finishing her studies, Wagamon moved back to her home state of Virginia. Although she misses the conveniences of being in a big city, she’s enjoying being back in the area, working at UVA and writing fiction.

Wagamon’s talent and training in writing and editing has served her well in her career, which includes positions at the Library, the Department of Music, and the Department of Computer Science. In addition, she finds her love of working in academia to be a strong motivator in her administrative work.

“I like trying to make my part of the University more efficient and improved, and I like meeting new people and hearing their stories.” she says.

In her new role, Wagamon has already gotten to meet a variety of people from all over Grounds, as the effort she’s a part of involves so many stakeholders.

We’re glad she’ll be part of helping to write this next chapter in UVAFinance’s story!

Bake Off Winner (and winning recipe)

Iris Roberts of Student Financial Services was the winner of UVAFinance's Bake Off at the April 10 Potluck.  Her pecan bars had long been popular with her family -- her daughter even requested that her mom make them for her wedding.

Roberts, who says she doesn't try any recipes that look hard to make, says she entered the contest because "the bars are easy to make and these kinds of interactions between our departments are important."

Congratulations to Iris and thanks for bringing something sweet to the UVAFinance culture!

View the winning recipe here:

New on the Pod: The Employee's Survival Guide to Change

Surviving Change Part One: Finance Matters

Welcome to part one of a series on Jeffrey M. Hiatt's book The Employees Survival Guide to Change. The book is a short, pithy read with lots of great insight into change and change theory. We'll walk you through the book's practical suggestions for succeeding in times of change. 


Surviving Change Part Two: Finance Matters

We're back for part two of our two-part series on Jeffrey M. Hiatt's book "The Employee's Guide to Surviving Change." This pod focuses on the ADKAR method, and how we can assess where we are in the process: Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement. ADKAR is a practical framework for working through change yourself and helping your team to navigate it. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Town Hall Video Available

Did you miss the UVAFinance Town Halls?  Want to refresh yourself on something you saw/heard?

Check out our video recording of one of the sessions!

Brought to you by the UVAFinance Culture Crew. 
More information about the Culture Crew can be found here.

United we stand!

You may know that Carruthers Hall has a Stand-Up Meeting Room -- Carr-Collab 2.

What you may not know are the benefits of standing meetings:

Stand-Up meetings are a popular way to start the day for many project teams. Usually, they take around 15 minutes, with the focus on keeping the meeting short and to the point. With that in mind, everybody goes through a series of routine questions:
The members of George Washington's first cabinet
appeared to enjoy the stand-up meeting format.
Can you spot Thomas Jefferson?
Read more about this image.
  • What did I accomplish yesterday?
  • What will I do today?
  • What obstacles are impeding my progress?
Stand-Up meetings are an effective way to get everyone up to date and to identify potential roadblocks ahead, and they could lead to fewer emails, less unfocused hour-long meetings, fewer interruptions, and more flow time. 

You can make the speedy flow of a stand-up meeting easier to follow by using a kanban board.  Check out the basics of kanbans here.

If you'd like to learn more about stand-ups, find out how to implement kanbans, or just chat about history, contact Brenda Nalley  (she's the one who noticed Washington's Cabinet standing to meet).

April is Earth Month

If you haven't already thought about how you can take an extra step or two to help out Mother Earth this April, it's not too late. Check out the UVA Office of Sustainability's Green Tips (and all the other great resources on their site, too!)

Did you know?

We participate in many sustainable activities.

  • We've recycled over 100 pounds of waste through our participation in Grounds to Grow on in the coffee area.
  • Through work with our partners at Printing and Copy Services, we participate in the Print ReLeaf program, aimed at neutralizing the affect of printing.
  • We contribute to UVA's Reusable Office Supply Exchange (ROSE) Program, which collects new and gently used items across Grounds. Those items are then offered free to UVA staff, faculty, astudents and community members. Looking for a specific item? Give them a call/email to see if they have it: 434-982-5050 or

Brought to you by the Carruthers Hall Green Team

Monday, April 22, 2019

Productivity Hacks: How do you juggle multiple tasks?

In this video, a few of your UVAFinance colleagues share how they stay on task and stay productive on a day to day basis.

We want to hear from you!

If you've got a strategy that works for you, please consider sharing it for our UVAForward 2019 panel discussion.  Email your ideas, tips, and questions to 

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Spring Fling 2019

All UVAFinance team members are invited to our annual “Spring Fling” scheduled for Tuesday, May 14 from 11:30am-1:00pm, (rain date May 15).  This event is held in the lower north lot of Carruthers Hall. 

Menu:  Fried chicken, hamburgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, macaroni and potato salads, baked beans, chips, cookies, tea, lemonade and water.  Catered by the Virginia Catering Company.

Tables and chairs will be set up in the parking lot (a smaller area than before due to parking needs); feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit in the grass.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Effective Meetings: Things to Consider

Earlier this month, we covered Ground Rules for Effective Meetings (view the video here).

Today, we're fleshing out how effective meetings happen (hint:  it's not by accident!).  Having a productive, effective meeting takes a little bit of forethought and planning.

Here are some things to consider before your next meeting that might make for better results.

  Thanks to Tanya Rahman for contributing these thoughts!


1. Define the meeting objective:  What exactly are we meeting about?

2. Who is invited?
  • Who needs to be there? Not everyone under the sun…
  • Keeping the numbers to the bare minimum will ensure you are not wasting anyone's time
  • Depending on the context, you may need an independent facilitator - someone objective who can keep tempers in check
  • Depending on who is invited, you may want to include a dial-in and screen-share option in the meeting
3. Think details
  • What information, background or context can I provide to the attendees beforehand?
  • How long does the meeting need to be?
  • How can you structure the meeting to be the most effective?
4. Location location location
  • Is the space large enough?
  • Do you have all the props you need? Whiteboard, post-it notes, sharpies
  • Have you tested the technology in the room?
  • Is the room comfortable enough?  Light, temperature, etc.?
5. Break the ice - people may not know each other well. Name tags, introductions, and/or ice breakers might be needed

6. Encourage participation
  • Co-create and explicitly agree on ground rules
  • Request people's thoughts before the meeting
  •  Make it fun with prompts, flashcards or even role-playing
  •  Use Parking Lot to park off-topic items
7. Keep the momentum going: Use open-ended questions to keep it moving

8. Have an open mind - be prepared to be challenged and to challenge other's ideas
  • Be flexible
  • Open to possibilities
  • Things do not always go as planned
9. Review next steps and action points
  • Make sure everyone leaves the meeting with tangible action items
  • Circulate meeting minutes afterward
  • Rate the meeting on Respect, Communication, Participation and Creativity (The four parts of a positive culture that Brene Brown highlights in her new book, Dare to Lead are: Respect, Communication, Participation, and Creativity.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

UVAFinance: Let's pull together!

When you finalize your goals for this year, don't forget to add the following UVAFinance-wide goal, which was developed by Melody’s leadership team:

Support the UVAFinance mission and the University’s strategic plan by taking steps to further develop a culture of trust within UVAFinance and beyond, joining and contributing to cross-functional teams, supporting and executing continuous improvement activities, participating in employee development and engagement activities, and improving service delivery. We aspire to demonstrate high performance by establishing, measuring, and reporting on operating metrics that highlight delivery and improvement of service to our partners across the University.

 What you can do to meet this goal this year?

Here are some ideas, specifically around development and engagement.

Help plan and coordinate professional development and/or social activities like:

  • Lunch and Learns
  • UVAFinance Book Club
  • Get Grounded “Field Trips”
  • Finance Shirt Fridays
  • Employee Appreciation Breakfast
  • Special Interest Groups
  • Fall CVC Event(s)

We need your help to continue to have such wonderful events!

Want to know more about the activities?  See the Culture Crew page on this blog.

Did you miss the Town Hall?  Check out the video!

UVA Forward: We want your productivity tips!


Everybody wants it, and there's no lack of advice on how to get it.  But what really works?

Put this date on your calendar!
For UVAForward 2019, we're planning a panel discussion on productivity, and we want to hear from you:
  • What are your best productivity hacks? (Doesn't matter how high or low tech they are!)
  • What questions do you have about the best way to get things done?
  • What source do you look to for productivity tips?
  • How do you stay motivated and on task?
  • Would you be interested in being on our panel to share/demonstrate your tips?
Please send your productivity thoughts and questions to 

The more responses the better!

Continuous Improvement Tips

Brought to you by the UVAFinance Continuous Improvement Committee 

As we increase our focus on continuous improvement in UVAFinance, we want to share ideas that can make your personal transformation more approachable. Here are some tips to help you think about continuous improvement in your work day:

1. Focus on your customer. No matter what you’re doing, someone is a “customer” in the sense that they benefit from your effort. So, focus on your customer first. Your customer might be people in the schools and units, or it might be your colleagues. Whomever they are, think about delivering the best value to those people first. Without them, we wouldn’t have jobs!
to see upcoming sessions available and register now!

2. Outline your process. Before you can make improvements, it helps to have a clear idea of your current process - including, ideally, any steps that happen upstream and downstream of your work. It’s possible that a minor change to a process before it even gets to you could make a huge difference overall! Make a chart that helps you visualize all the steps in your process, so you can see areas of wasted time, effort, and resources.

3. Take out the trash. Once you have mapped your process, you can identify problems and solve them, and remove activities that don’t add value – or in some cases even result in waste or defects.

4. Keep going. Nothing will change unless you change it, but change can be unsettling to those on your team. Be prepared to help them understand the changes you’re suggesting, both the whys and the hows.

5. Stay committed to change and flexibility. Continuous improvement requires a lot of change. Put yourself in the shoes of your teammates – know that change is scary sometimes. Be prepared to dispel their fears by showing how change can make our work more impactful.

For more info on Continuous Improvement, including upcoming classes from Finance Outreach and Compliance, visit us on the VP Finance website!

ASG Gets Lean (not mean!)

Jack Jensen and the ASG team get ready to move mountains.
When the downstairs construction was slated to begin at Carruthers Hall, Local Support Partners Mike Hayton and Linda Estepp knew they had a challenge before them. Their cavernous office space downstairs was full of computer equipment, parts, repairs in progress, and new machines awaiting setup. It wasn't going to be easy, to say the least, to move all of their necessary items into a new, smaller, temporary space and still stay functional as a team providing service to UVAFinance.

Not only did they have to move to a smaller space, they had to do it on a condensed timeframe.

"Not only were we downsizing significantly and being further away from our storage space, we thought we had a whole month longer to make this move than what we had," says Estepp.

Luckily, Hayton and Estepp are members of the UVAFinance Administrative Services Group, so they had a supportive team to rally behind them and help with the move.
Lean methodology makes complicated processes easier.
Not only did they have their team members, they also had the power of Lean, in the form of Jack Jensen, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt extraordinaire, from Finance Outreach and Compliance. Jensen's job was to help the team develop a strategy for deciding how close they needed to keep specific types of equipment based on how often they needed to reference it.

Hayton says, "The lean methodology was a little like decluttering . . . we kind of 'Marie Kondo'd' our equipment."

With Jensen's lean tools and guidance, the ASG team rolled up their sleeves and dove into the process of organizing, categorizing, and moving the LSP team's equipment in a way that would streamline their work and creating an environment that was conducive to success. They were able to bring the right equipment with them to their new, temporary cube space, and they also created a cage storage area that was easy to navigate (even with a cart) and friendly to daily use.

Overall, this event made what could've been a cumbersome, exhausting mess, instead an opportunity to improve.

These type of events are referred to by Lean practitioners as "lean events," and they're one of the best examples of the immediate and tangible value produced when lean principles are applied to daily work.

Hayton and Estepp agreed that the process would've taken the two of them at least a week to accomplish, but with Jensen's help and the extra hands of their ASG teammates, the process only took about five hours.

"I've participated in, led, or facilitated many of these types of events in my previous life before UVA," says Judy DiVita, Director of Shared Services and leader of ASG, adding that this event was as good or better than many she'd experienced.

"This shows the power of the lean tools when coupled with a small group that can make rapid decisions and pull in needed sponsors and resources," she says.

What can Lean do for you and your team?

If you'd like to learn more about Lean, or just more about Continuous Improvement, UVAFinance has resources for you!

Continuous Improvement Bright Spot: Transparency in Subcontracts

A key part of continuous improvement culture is "finding the bright spots" -- looking at who has had success making changes and operating differently.  Small changes can make a big difference!

Our first "Bright Spot" involves a collaboration between OSP, Audit, and PSDS with the aim of making life easier for our researchers and research administrators. 

The Issue: Principle Investigators (PIs) and research administrators wanted greater visibility of the sub-award commitments on their research projects. In the past, new projects were created for each sub-award, which were funded from the main research project. The department research administrators ran multiple reports to provide the financial status of sub-awards to the PIs.

The Solution: The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) reviewed industry practices and decided on using the Oracle Purchasing system to create an encumbrance for the sub-awards on each PI’s research projects. OSP and the PIs could review and release payments for sub-award invoices through already established “three-way-matching” process. Then OSP partnered with colleagues in Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services (PSDS) and the Audit Department to ensure that this process improvement solution would comply with UVA, state, and federal requirements.

The Improvement: In the new process, the department creates a requisition for the subaward for an amount authorized by the sponsor and approved by the PI. The requisition is routed to OSP through Oracle workflow for creating a Purchase Order (PO). OSP negotiates the sub-award agreement with the sub-awardee and, once fully executed, creates the PO. OSP reviews the subaward invoices to ensure compliance and enters them in Oracle; they are then receipted by the PI’s department administrator after obtaining approval from the PI. 

The Benefits: This new process eliminates the need to create additional projects in Oracle for each subrecipient, and therefore reduces the number of monthly project reconciliations required in Recon@. There is greater transparency in past payments and future commitments for each sub-award, which means that sub-awards can be managed more effectively in relation to the total award budget. By eliminating the payment vouchers and more accurately tracking payments, the likelihood of duplicate and missed payments are reduced. There will be a significant reduction in cost transfers required for correcting sub-award expenditure types entered by users. In addition, there’s a three-way match for payments for each subrecipient invoice, confirming both OSP and departmental oversight. Also, the PI has the option to authorize payment to sub-award invoices either by email or signing the invoice.

The bottom line: PIs and their research administrators now have increased visibility over sub-award expenditures and commitments, using established systems (Oracle & UVA Marketplace).  In addition, research administrators, OSP, and PSDS have increased accountability and tracking oversight.

Got a bright spot to share?  Email!

Doing more for our students: Peer Financial Counseling

By Dustin Ciraco

“We could be doing more.”

That simple and decisive thought by Student Financial Services’ Communications Manager Chris Doran many months ago has led to the creation of UVA’s Peer Financial Counseling program, a student-led initiative that officially launched in February.

“Our staff in SFS has always done a wonderful job of working with students to combat their financial concerns as they arise,” said Doran.

Melvin Walker (right), a PFC counselor,
meets with studentMy'kal Lofton (left) 
“But it seemed like there was a missed opportunity for students at the University to involve themselves in their personal finances before reaching the ‘crisis’ stage.”

That notion gave Doran and Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Services Steve Kimata the go-ahead to begin searching for sources of outside grant funding to assist with the development of a Financial Wellness Education and Outreach initiative through SFS.

Thanks to generous donations by the Jefferson Trust and UVA Alumnus Tim Ranzetta (founder of Next Gen Personal Finance) given in the spring of 2018, the foundation was finally in place to begin building a program in earnest.

During the summer of 2018, a Steering Committee of eight student volunteers gathered for weekly conference calls with Doran to discuss how to best mold content to fit the needs of current University of Virginia students. Five of those students have remained involved for the entirety of the program’s life cycle and are now fully trained counselors.

“Our first group of counselors was involved in almost every facet of program’s creation, from the specific training areas, to the naming of the program, even the hours that the service would be available,” recalled Doran. 

“It was important to us that this program becomes known as a service for students, by students.”

A major focus of the Peer Financial Counseling program resides in its name – counseling. The counselors receive training on a variety of personal finance topics including budgeting, managing personal credit, student loans, and more, but they do not offer advice.

The service is intended to arm students with the proper tools to make sensible and well-informed decisions about their own personal finances. A Peer Financial Counselor will not tell a student how to invest that $100 they got for their birthday, but rather will build a relationship with them over the course of one or multiple sessions, and help them discover what their financial goals and values are.

The initial class of six counselors has already logged more than 25 one-on-one sessions in the Georges Student Center to date. By the spring of 2020, the Peer Financial Counseling program is slated to have 10 fully trained peer counselors on staff.


For more information on the Peer Financial Counseling program, visit

Monday, April 8, 2019

UVA Forms Directory will soon disappear

The forms directory located at has been slated to be retired for quite some time.  Forms once available on the site are located on departmental websites; those forms are currently linked from the UVA Forms Directory.  The site will be taken down by June 2019 - please take a moment to make sure you have the links you need from the site.

If you have questions or concerns, please email Brandi Van Ormer.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Ground Rules for Effective Meetings

Meetings:  You can't work with 'em, you can't work without 'em.  Here's how to get the most out of your meetings!

Please also note:  off-topic conversations between two more meting members wastes time, inhibits group progress, and limits the contributions of individuals to the team as a whole.  Competing conversations in several small groups, even when on-topic, can deprive team members of the insights that the members of the team are discussing.

Watch for more on Effective Meetings in our next blog digest!

Earth Week 2019 - Connecting on Climate

Earth Week is a UVA tradition that celebrates the planet we all share. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are all invited to take part in any of the 20+ events happening April 15-22. Meet your fellow community members, find surprising connections, enjoy the outdoors, and do something good for the Earth! 

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. One event for each day is highlighted below. For the full schedule and event descriptions, visit

Mon 4/15 - Elevate Series: Careers in Conservation & Field Work, 6-8pm, Rotunda Multipurpose Room **
Tues 4/16 - Earth Week Expo: Building Bridges, 11am-2pm, Newcomb Ballroom
Wed 4/17 - UVA Farmers Market, 12-4pm, Central Grounds Amphitheater
Thurs 4/18 - Hoos at the Table: Sustainability Edition, 12-2pm, Garrett Great Hall **
Fri 4/19 - Plogging with the President, 7-8am, Madison Hall
Sat 4/20 - Nature’s Calling: UVA Outdoors Day, 10am-4pm, Walnut Creek Park
Sun 4/21 - Yoga for Earth Week: Connecting to the Earth Within, 3-5pm, Garden I
Mon 4/22 - Soup & Stories: Fundraising Dinner for the Planet, 6-8pm, O’Hill Dining West Terrace **

** Must pre-register for these events as space is limited

Throughout the week, follow us on social media and tag us from the events @SustainableUVA #UVAEarthWeek #OneHellUVAPlanet

New on Finance Matters: The Power of Habit

Patty and Brandi are joined by guest host Chris Doran to discuss Charles Duhigg's groundbreaking book Power of Habit

Do you have habits you want to break? Or do you want to start a new, healthy habit? If so, check out this discussion -- Duhigg outlines a practical framework for understanding your habits and changing them.


Resources Mentioned:

Power of Habit

Charles Duhigg TED Talk (this has the cookie story in it!)

Power of Habit summary -- See especially the Chapter 1 section on the Habit Loop

Nudge, by Richard Thaylor

The Wellness Wheel

Coursera: The Science of Wellbeing