Thursday, December 17, 2015

From Melody's Desk

Happy holidays! Are you ready for the holiday party this afternoon? I’m so appreciative to the Finance Social Team (Stacey Rittenhouse, Sarah Doran, Chris Doran, Kobby Hoffman, Trudy Robinson, Mike Holian, Connie Alexander, Rohan Patel, and Ana Lynch) for their work in planning a great party!

I am looking forward to the entire Finance team coming together on January 4th for us to work together to Discover, Dream, and Design our Destiny as a team. We will utilize an approach called Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to help us address our organization’s challenges by uncovering and building on strengths and generating innovation and creativity to confidently confront the future. AI is a genuine paradigm shift for organizational change, grounded in behavioral science. You can read more about it in this post

Finally, I also wanted to mention a recent email that you will have received from Susan Carkeek regarding the kick-off of the 2015 performance evaluation process. The first step is for each employee to complete a self-assessment. I believe that this is a critical step to begin a productive discussion about the past year. How can we expect our manager to take the time to consider our successes, our lessons learned, and future opportunities for improvement if we do not take the first step towards self-reflection over the past year? The self-assessment is a great way to remind your manager of all that you’ve accomplished this year; it is also a way to demonstrate how you may have grown and learned from a challenging situation. UHR has some good hintsfor completing a thoughtful self-assessment. You should complete your self-assessment in Lead@ no later than February 1, 2016.

Have a happy and safe holiday with your family and friends!

PS Please also remind any new colleagues to the Finance Division employees to subscribeto the email digest

Strategic Planning through Appreciative Inquiry

Consider the following questions: If we were truly at our best, what would that look like? Think to a time when you felt a sense of accomplishment in your work; what were the circumstances? As we think about planning for 2016, what is one thing you would do differently if you knew you could not fail?

In early January we will embark together on a journey of positive change that begins with developing our strategic plan.  Each member of UVAFinance will contribute his or her answers to these and other questions, and in so doing define our desired future state. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) will be the process we use to guide us in strategic planning.

AI addresses an organization’s challenges by uncovering and building on strengths and generating innovation and creativity to confidently confront the future. AI is a genuine paradigm shift for organizational change, grounded in behavioral science. Through AI, we will discover the values of our members and other stakeholders and create an aligned vision and mission based on those values. We will follow a process of Appreciating, Imagining and Realizing.

We begin with APPRECIATING our strengths and the circumstances that lead to our highest performance. We will discover the elements and experiences within our past that represent the forces that enable us to operate at our very best. Once we have connected to this positive core, we will move to IMAGINING and visualizing a shared, positive vision of the future that compels us to act. We will then move to REALIZING that vision, as we design and then implement the strategies, processes, management systems, organization structure, behaviors and culture necessary to support our future organization.

What AI is not: we will not be overlooking problems or areas where we need to improve. We won’t be pretending that everything is perfect and everyone happy. We won’t be squelching challenge, conflict or critique.  However, we will be making a choice to reframe our weaknesses and threats in the context of managing those by expanding our strengths and opportunities. We will be making a choice confirmed by modern neuroscience—focusing on our strengths broadens and builds our capability for individual and organizational high performance.

This has been a quick introduction to Appreciative Inquiry and a brief overview of how we are going to complete a strategic plan that taps into the collective wisdom, knowledge and passion of each of us. We will be learning a lot more over the next few months as we come together. I’m confident we will find this work energizing, exciting, and meaningful. Teams that have learn the processes of AI and focus on positive change make life enriching changes in the ways they work together.

Together, we will develop a plan to guide our future. We will set a course of action creating new approaches and opportunities for institutional growth and optimization while leveraging the uniqueness of our culture. When this process is completed, we will each see our ourselves, our roles, and our purpose in serving others that connects the mission of UVAFinance to the University’s Cornerstone Plan.

Bookmark This: Finance Outreach & Compliance

Finance Outreach and Compliance (FOC) was formed in January 2015 to enable the creation of a more seamless and comprehensive approach to compliance and training across the Finance area. The intervening months have been busy as I’ve worked with Melody, her other direct reports, and leaders from around the University to more clearly define the priorities and specific responsibilities for the office. I’ve also had the privilege of building what I think is a truly exemplary team to help me implement our mission which directly supports the pillars of The Cornerstone Plan. In particular, FOC is committed to enhancing university-wide infrastructure and services to encourage and support research, scholarship, creative arts and innovation by faculty and students (Pillar #2) and pursuit of optimal allocation of resources to align with institutional priorities (Pillar #5).

The FOC team is currently working with partners across Grounds to:
  • enhance training programs for the Integrated System and Student Information System finance modules
  • address the IT security needs of researchers required by federal sponsors
  • develop new finance processes. training programs, work aids and guidance documents to address needs identified by stakeholders
  • plan a Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology conference (UVA Forward on May 26, 2016) for University administrative professionals
  • add new functionality to the export control program and website
  • develop training for the new travel booking and expense reimbursement tools
  • update Finance policies
  • look for ways to simplify processes while providing greater assurance of our compliance with state and federal regulations as well as sponsor and donor requirements
  • and many other exciting projects.

To keep our momentum going forward and succeed in our mission, we need your help.  Please stay engaged with us, keep your suggestions coming, and stay tuned for new offerings!

- Kelly Hochstetler, Director

MRP: Agile Methodology & Naming the Future Reporting Environment

The Managerial Reporting Project is using Agile methodology principles to structure the team’s work. This approach breaks up deliverables into smaller “chunks,” and enables the team to adapt to shifting work priorities. Some of the team’s behind-the-scenes technology is quite innovative, but will remain transparent to most end-users. Informatica’s Power Center (an Extract, Transform, and Load platform), for example, allows the team to build and maintain robust and accurate data transformation processes, which incorporate validated business logic and allow for future growth. The system will translate and move data from source databases (Finance, HR, SIS, etc.) to the new staging database, and eventually to the reporting databases—which will feed the Qlik reporting environment.

Do you have an original or novel idea for what UVA should call the future Qlik reporting environment? Make your suggestion today!

Legislative Forum December 18

Legislative Forum
Friday, December 18, 2015
12 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Great Hall at Garrett Hall
Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

President Sullivan and the Office of State Governmental Relations will host the University’s annual Legislative Forum, featuring legislators from the Central Virginia region who will share their viewpoints about the issues facing the 2016 General Assembly Session, including those that affect the future of higher education, the health system, and other state and local community issues. Invited legislators include Senator Creigh Deeds, Senator Emmett Hanger, Senator Bryce Reeves, Delegate Rob Bell, Delegate Matt Fariss, Delegate Steve Landes, and Delegate David Toscano. Time will be reserved after comments by the legislators for questions and comments from the public.

For more information, contact Penny Cabaniss at 434-982-2674 or

Anatomy of a Great Meeting

Want to ensure your meetings are always effective and never a waste of time?

Using the poster below, answer a few basic questions to determine if you even need to convene. If you do, use these proven strategies to make your meeting more structured, efficient, and useful. (via EAB)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Procurement: What's Happening

The Travel & Expense team has been holding information sessions and demos around Grounds for the Travel Booking Tool pilot groups. The full University-wide rollout of the Tool will take place starting in January 2016, and the Expense Management solution will be implemented in early spring.

The Strategic Sourcing team has been working on the implementation of two new strategic contracts:

  • Inbound Freight, which directs select vendors to use the University’s negotiated shipping rates and is expected to save 35% in shipping costs annually, and 
  • Promotional Products, which aggregates spending with a single vendor – the University Bookstore – and is expected to save 5% annually in a very low-margin business while also supporting University initiatives through an internal service provider.

The UVA Spend Dashboard has been posted on the PSDS website. The Dashboard provides users the opportunity to view their spending behaviors in a visual way while gaining insights into how PSDS can be a partner in gaining savings. For the Dashboard Collab group featuring instructions and helpful tips, click here.

Terry Tigner from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was December’s MVP – “Most Valuable Purchaser” – for supporting the strategic Office Supply contract with Supply Room!

PSDS and Finance Outreach and Compliance are partnering to develop marketing and online training materials for the travel management program.

Excel Tips & Tricks: Conditional Formatting

When you use data tables, you’re often looking for data that stands out in some way, based on certain conditions. Excel’s Conditional Formatting is a quick tool that can help you see patterns and trends in your data, by applying automatic formatting such as colors, icons, and data bars to cells. Learn how Excel helps create rules that can be based on many kinds of conditions.

"Experience QlikView" Class

"Experience QlikView" provides an introduction to the QlikView reporting tool and an opportunity to get hands-on experience with and provide feedback on a proof of concept “BBA*/Expenditure Detail” reporting dashboard developed by the Managerial Reporting team. One-hour classes will be taught at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on December 3, 10, and 17. Sign up in SSTL>employee self-service>learner home. Or use this link in Internet Explorer.

Comptroller's Office: Staffing Update

Joshua Breeden joined the Office of the Comptroller’s in October as an accountant in the Central Accounts Receivable department. Josh grew up right outside of Charlottesville, in Fluvanna County, before heading off to college at James Madison University. At JMU, Josh was involved in a community service organization and volunteered at the Harrisonburg Salvation Army, then graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an Accounting focus in May 2015. As a long-time UVA fan, Josh is looking forward to delving into all that the University has to offer!

What to Do with Your Hands During a Presentation

"The most-watched TED talks, with an average of 7.4 million views, include an average of 465 hand gestures. In contrast, the least-watched videos (with just 124,000 average views) averaged only 272 hand gestures.

'When really charismatic leaders use hand gestures, the brain is super happy,' says Vanessa Van Edwards, a consultant who studied the TED talks. 'Because it's getting two explanations in one, and the brain loves that.'"

Read the full story in the EAB Daily Briefing.