Wednesday, May 22, 2019

From Melody's Desk

Dear Colleagues,

As we move into the relatively quiet period of summer without students in Charlottesville, I’m writing with a few updates that you will be interested to hear.

First, there is good news regarding Finance Strategic Transformation. Last week, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J. J. Davis and Executive Vice President and Provost Liz Magill agreed to serve as executive co-sponsors of FST and have endorsed our proposal to move ahead with Phase 2: Readiness. J.J. and Liz's enthusiasm for the vision we're working toward is exciting to see! You can learn more on the Online Finance Community, but in brief, these are the activities that we are planning for Phase 2, which will continue through December 31, 2019:
  • Financial reporting and analytics strategy;
  • Chart of Accounts (CoA) redesign
  • Documentation of accounting practices and prototyping business processes;
  • Assessing Workday HCM remediation necessary to accommodate Workday Financials;
  • Refining the FST change management strategy
  • Refining the data and IT landscape strategies
  • Exploring the post-implementation support model
At the upcoming Board of Visitors meeting, we’ll share an update on Phase 1: Assessment & Planning and the plans for Phase 2. The project team will continue working through the summer to seek authorization to move forward with Phase 3: Implementation in January 2020. In the meantime, the FST project team will begin mobilizing and adding team members for Readiness, so you will hear more about this shortly

Next, I want to provide an update on several ongoing organizational changes in UVAFinance.

As you know, in January 2019, the position of Associate Vice President for Financial Operations (AVPFO) was posted. This position is soon to be re-launched with the revised title of Associate Vice President for Finance and Controller; the external executive search firm of Isaacson Miller (which assisted in the UVA presidential and EVP/COO searches) has been engaged to assist with this search. We will be adjusting the position description slightly to seek candidates with prior experience as a controller and in working closely with financial system implementation projects. I hope to have someone on-site in this role by early fall. I am very pleased that Judy DiVita has agreed to continue as Interim Associate Vice President for Financial Operations until the leader is on board.

I am also deeply appreciative that John McHugh continues to serve as the Interim Director of Procurement. The national search for this role will also be managed by Isaacson Miller as the executive search firm. We expect to commence this search as soon as the AVPFO winds down, with the hope of making that hiring decision shortly after the AVPFO is on-board.

As many of you are aware, in February 2019, when Jim Matteo left the University of Virginia, the functions of treasury, property and liability risk management, enterprise risk management, and university-affiliated organization (UAOs, formerly foundations) relations were moved to UVAFinance. I have really enjoyed getting to know these teams and seeing how we are all going to benefit from a closer working relationship. You may remember that I took the following actions at that time:

  • Rick Schupp, the former Director of Risk Management retired in April and we launched the Director of Risk Management search toward the end of March. We hope to have a new Director of Risk Management in place by late summer.
  • Julie Richardson was named Interim Managing Director of Treasury and Risk Management. In this role, Julie reports directly to me and leads the treasury and property and liability risk management activities.
  • Phil Porter continues to lead the functions of enterprise risk management and UAO relations. Phil reports directly to me at this time and will eventually report to the AVPFS (described below) when hired.
  • The position of Treasurer was re-structured into the Associate Vice President for Financial Strategy (AVPFS). This position is currently open and the first round of interviews are expected to occur in the next couple of weeks. I am hoping to have someone on-site in this role by the end of summer. The AVPFS will have three primary responsibilities:
    • Primary oversight of a multi‐year master financial framework incorporating all financial plans and activities and highly focused on reporting and analytics.
    • Implement and lead an organization to provide financial advice and support through high‐level service and solutions (including training, communications, and outreach) for schools, business units, and University associated organizations.
    • Oversee and ensure the overall effectiveness of the entire UVAFinance administration.

UVAFinance was also approved to add four new key positions with the 2019-20 budget. Three positions in financial aid will allow us to better serve our students, deliver financial aid awards more quickly, enhance financial aid, and add an early decision cycle to our early action and regular decision admissions cycles. One position has been added to tax and operational contracts as we continue to see more and more academic and international activities that require special handling and review.

I also want to extend my deep appreciation to Dave Boling, who is planning to retire in the next several weeks. Dave has been a dedicated and talented leader in UVAFinance and at UVA in general and will be sorely missed. We wish him all the very best in their retirement!

Finally, I am happy to report that UVAFinance Classified and University Staff employees hired prior to December 31, 2018 are eligible for an upcoming merit increase. The Classified employee merit increases go into effective on June 10, 2019 while the University staff increases are effective July 8, 2019. For more information on the merit increases please visit

Thanks again for all your continued hard work! I hope that you each are planning some time away this summer with your family and friends.


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