School of Medicine: Training the Trainers (and training, and training, and training)

With over 40 departments and faculty and staff based everywhere from McKim Hall to the Ray C. Hunt building and many points in between, ExpenseUVA Ambassadors Ben Baer and Unique Braxton of the School of Medicine (SOM) had their work cut out for them from the beginning. 

Baer, SOM Assistant Controller, knew that to properly train SOM staff and faculty, he’d need more subject matter experts than just himself and Braxton. 

Baer began recruiting his own team of subject matter experts back in December by asking each department head to submit the names of a couple of people who he and Braxton could train on ExpenseUVA and who could go back and work with their departments. 

The SOM department heads were more than helpful when it came to providing names, said Baer. 
“Almost everyone recommended three to five people instead of two,” he said.

Never daunted, Baer and Braxton scheduled training sessions for their large Ambassador pool.  They held the sessions in the library computer lab so that everyone could see the system and practice working in it.  It took about 13 sessions of 10-15 people each to accommodate the entire Ambassador group.

“We blocked two hours for each session, but it usually took the whole time, because there were a ton of questions about the approval process and its effect on faculty,” he said.

From there, Baer and Braxton communicated constantly with their newly-trained subject matter experts.  As those individuals took their new knowledge back to their work spaces, more department-specific questions cropped up, and Baer and Braxton found themselves scheduling at least two departmental visits per day in the last few weeks leading up to go-live. 

It’s been a big time commitment, says Baer, but one that makes a lot of sense. 

“Unique and I are happy to focus on getting this rolled out.  Everyone’s got to learn this, which can present a challenge, but once we do, it’s going to streamline a lot of things and make things easier for a lot of people.”

Because they’ve gone above and beyond in training a localized team, Baer and Braxton feel pretty good about that April 17 go-live date.

“I think we’re going to have a smooth transition.  Of course there will be hiccups as we go, but we’ve told everyone to expect that.  It’s not a big deal; we’ll just make adjustments as we go.  Unique and I know we’ll get a lot of phone calls, visits, and requests for help with reimbursements after go-live, and we’re happy and ready to do that,” he said.

“Everyone keeps asking us if we’re planning vacation for that week,” he laughed.  “But we’ll be here, happy to help get people on the right track.”

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