Friday, February 23, 2018

Participate in a UBI Finance Focus Group!

The UBI team is working hard to complete all the development work required to meet the April 30th Discoverer Sunset.  The team is aiming to enhance what is already available, uncover new requirements, create new reports and analysis, and consult and collaborate with YOU.

Please sign up for a focus group session so that your voice is heard on what gets prioritized next.

A variety of focus groups are scheduled between March 2 and March 8, in a variety of locations.  The sessions are short and snacks are provided.

Please visit the UBI Community to RSVP.

Questions?  Need a different time?  Contact Jessica Rafter.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

From Melody's Desk

Dear Colleagues,

Since his arrival in August, Vice President for Research Ram Ramasubramanian and I have been collaborating closely for additional improvements and the optimal organization for research administration. Based on our observations, industry best practices, and consultant recommendations, we are moving forward with the realignment of the Office of Sponsored Programs to report to the Vice President for Research (VPR).

For the past two years, UVAFinance has been focused on building a community from previously disparate organizations. We look forward to extending that community, that network, to the VPR.

At a recent visit, Pres-elect Ryan asked the VPs: What is one thing that doesn’t cost anything that we can do to make UVA stronger?

Answers given included: better collaboration, working across boundaries, build institutional trust. All of these are great answers, but Rick Shannon, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, summed it up most succinctly: build commitment to a common mission.

This re-alignment represents all of those thoughts. OSP will reside with the VPR, with a common alignment of the research mission, building a more cohesive, stronger research support community, and UVAFinance will continue to be part of the extended family and supporting network. We will all work together with a commitment to being valued and trusted partners, extending that foundation even beyond UVAFinance.

OSP will begin to report to the VPR this spring. Given the Post-Award Accounting Team’s emphasis on financial compliance, accounting, and financial systems, we will establish a dotted reporting line through the AVP for Finance Operations, Jerry Burke, to the Office of the Vice President for Finance. This is particularly important as the University undergoes a finance transformation, emphasizing service delivery, process improvement, and strong financial accounting systems. OSP will remain located in Carruthers Hall.

OSP has many notable achievements in its recent past, in the form of ResearchUVA, Juice, improvements in Oracle, stabilization of the pre-award queue, and much more. A number of important objectives remain as we continue to strive to have a best-in-class research administration function, and UVAFinance looks forward to working collaboratively with OSP and the VPR to see those goals become reality.

Questions that are just as important as answers

The first book chosen for UVAFinance’s book club is “Wait, What?: And Life’s Other Essential Questions” by incoming UVA President James Ryan. One of two discussion sessions on this book is remaining – all are invited to join us at our March 15 Book Club session, held from 12 – 1pm in Carruthers – 2. The book is brief, touching, and inspiring!

We’ve recapped Ryan’s main points in the graphic accompanying this post, because even if you don’t read the book (although we highly recommend it!), you might want to pause for a moment and think about how these questions might help you ensure understanding, generate new ideas, inspire progress, encourage responsibility, and remain focused on what is truly important.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The forecast is looking pretty “CHILI”

UVAFinance, do you have March 23 saved on your calendar? We want everyone to join us for the 2nd Annual UVAFinance Potluck Event.

We’re also excited to announce that this year, we’ll again have a Chili Cookoff. Do you make a racy red chili? A great green chili? A va-va-voom veggie chili? All chili types are welcome, and collaborative efforts are fine, too.

Because it’s a potluck event, please consider what side dish or dessert you might want to share with your colleagues.

A sign up for both chili and side dishes will come to your email inbox very soon – be on the lookout!

Questions? Contact

Office of Financial Planning & Analysis Welcomes Palvi Sharma

Palvi Sharma
Palvi Sharma joined the Office of Financial Planning & Analysis this January as a Senior Financial Analyst. In her role, Sharma works with schools and units doing cost analyses for the Facilities and Administrative (F&A) rate.

Sharma comes to UVA Finance from the UVA Health System, where she worked as a Financial Decision Support Analyst. Her work in that role was similar to her current job: she was focused on cost accounting, assessing fixed and variable costs even down to the patient level so that administrators could make appropriate budget decisions.

Although she wasn’t that interested in cost accounting during school, Sharma says she’s come to love it, citing her ability to help decision makers see where there is room for improvement, and where resources can better be allocated. 

“I like the more analytical piece of what I do – it’s a challenge every day, and there are really
practical implications to the work I do in cost analysis,” she said.

Sharma and her husband Ashish, an Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Surgery, live in Charlottesville with their two sons, who keep them busy with basketball and soccer season.

UVAFinance Welcomes Mara Hilliar

Mara Hilliar
Mara Hilliar will join the UVAFinance team on March 5 as Executive Assistant to the Vice President. With over 20 years’ experience in executive-level assistant and office manager positions, eleven of which have been in higher education, Hilliar comes to UVAFinance most recently from the School of Architecture, where she was assistant to the dean.

A 1984 graduate of UVA, Hilliar has experience as a liaison with elected officials, cabinet secretaries, the Governor’s office, local and regional officials, and the business community, and has coordinated the development of a college-wide budget and has conducted budget analysis and planned and executed college-wide events.

Hilliar will be located in front of the VP Finance suite beside Stacey Rittenhouse. She looks forward to meeting her new colleagues, so please don’t hesitate to stop by and say hello!

Transforming the Way UVA Manages Sponsored Awards

Historically, information collection and tracking related to UVA’s sponsor awards has been limited. To manage and grow the University’s research portfolio in support of its strategic imperatives, we need a level of insight and intelligence into our sponsored awards we’ve not had before. The Pre-Award team is working with ResearchUVA developers to build a formal infrastructure for the setup and ongoing management of sponsored awards. 

This work will help us better understand the overall institutional funding portfolio (from the big picture down to more detailed perspectives), improve our ability to make accurate projections, and manage multi-year funding opportunities efficiently and effectively. These changes will also enable us to more accurately track and report on various elements in Juice, the sponsored programs dashboard. Read more.

Feeling a little weighed down by process improvement? Try Lean Lite!

Are you interested in learning more about the Lean approach to process improvement? Perhaps you’ve thought about completing the Leading a Lean Transformation certificate program, but want to learn some fundamentals of Lean before you commit to completing the full program.

Many others in UVAFinance and across Grounds have become “Lean-certified” through this program and if you don’t understand the concepts or know the terminology, it may seem like they are speaking a different language. 

The training team in Finance Outreach and Compliance will offer a 3 hour blended (some online work followed by an instructor-led facilitated presentation, discussion and activities) on April 11 in the afternoon. The class will be held in Carruthers Hall, Carr-1 and Carr-2.  This pilot session will be open to UVAFinance, but subsequent sessions will be open to anyone on Grounds.  If you're very interested in checking out the April 11 pilot session, contact Patty Marbury.

The exact time, a course description, and enrollment information will be in the next blog digest. If this interests you, hold the date now and look for more details to come!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Call for Volunteers: Travel and Expense Expo 2018

The Travel and Expense Expo is lots of fun:  great info, giveaways, networking, and prizes.  With over 400 attendees, we need a few extra hands during the event.  If you would like to pitch in, please check out our Sign Up Genius link below to let us know where you can assist.  We really appreciate your help!

Look for an email invite to attend the expo to land in your inbox soon!

Organizational Excellence Quality Core Event Schedule

The new Quality Core Event schedule from OE is available.  Check out their offerings below, and register at

Thursday, February 8, 2018

It’s Goal Time: UVAFinance Goals due by February 23

The first draft of your goals are due in Lead@UVA by February 23. Although you won’t enter it in Lead@UVA, you should also identify one professional development opportunity to discuss with your manager by February 23.

It’s February, and many of us may be struggling to adhere to the resolutions we made for the New Year (you’re not alone if you are – research suggests only 8% of Americans keep those resolutions). It’s also the time of the year that we in UVAFinance need to consider our plans and goals for the workplace and our careers. Here are some guidelines to help you set smart, achievable goals that will advance your career and help us all be successful.


What will you achieve this year and how will you incorporate the UVAFinance core values [Impeccable source of information * Service excellence * Innovative action * Collaborative partner * Valued, high-performing teams] in your daily work? By aligning your goals to the UVA core values, you can enhance both our organization and your individual performance.

When setting your goals, think about making them SMART goals and setting at least one “stretch” goal.

UBI Introduces the Travel & Expense App

As the UBI reporting tool advances, new modules and module enhancements are added to make reporting easier and more responsive than ever before. The upcoming release of UBI 14.0 introduces the Travel & Expense app, which was created for managers, administrators, and users looking to analyze data sourced from their submitted and approved expense reports and expenses.

Within the T&E app, the Dashboard provides high-level data such as Total Spending, Average Report Spending, Compliance Percentages, and can be filtered by Year or by Month. From there, users can analyze their organization’s Spending by Category, Compliance Exceptions, Expense Reports, Credit Card Usage, and Detail Reporting.

UBI developers created the app with the intent of an accessible, user-friendly – and analytical – tool that allows users to make decisions regarding their organization’s travel and non-travel expenses. With the full transition to UBI for data reporting well underway, this app streamlines processes. More users are familiar with UBI and are aware they don’t need to learn a new reporting tool or design their own reports.

The planned release date for UBI 14.0 is February 9, 2018. Please read more about UBI 14.0 on the UBI website and the UBI Community. Professional Development on demand

Now with playlists curated by Finance Outreach and Compliance! is a library of online courses you can take, anytime, anywhere, and at no cost to you (other than your time and effort). There are thousands of courses available on topics such as communications, change, managing employees, leadership, project management, business skills, performance management, and software and technology.

It can be quite overwhelming to begin a search and choose the courses which will be most beneficial to you from the many that are available. To help, the UVAFinance training team in Finance Outreach and Compliance has identified and vetted the best courses has to offer and arranged them in the following playlists:
  • Business Basics
  • Project Management
  • Customer Service
  • Business and Financial Acumen
  • Communications
  • Change Management
  • Management and Leadership
  • Software and Technical Skills
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Performance Management for Managers
Links to the playlists can be found on the Finance Outreach and Compliance training page, We will continue to add to and edit our playlists, so visit our page often to get the most up-to-date information.

CVC 2017 Update for UVAFinance

Don't forget: Register to Preview and Give Feedback on the new HR Technology!

"We are excited to preview Workday and to get feedback from the University community before the July 2018 launch. There has been significant collaboration across the University to define and configure effective and efficient processes. These sessions provide an opportunity to showcase the results of our combined efforts, while the feedback received helps to ensure that the technology is responsive to our unique needs. We truly appreciate the community’s partnership and dedication to the success of our HR transformation."   --Sean Jackson, Ufirst Executive Director

Don't miss out on this chance to see Workday, 
share feedback, and win prizes!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Cool new Office 365 tools available now!

The following Microsoft Office 365 tools are available for faculty and staff at UVA.  Check out the useful new features available for storage, collaboration, and file access!

  • Share and simultaneously edit Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) with colleagues and peers across UVA academic and medical areas and outside the University 
  • Save files with 5 terabytes of online cloud storage, and access them from anywhere on your computer or mobile device (mobile app available in Android/iOS app stores) 
  • Learn more here and take a UVA Evolve OneDrive Skill Track

Office Online
  • Create and access files from anywhere with OneDrive integration, using lightweight, browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 
  • Collaborate in real-time on Microsoft Office documents and share from your browser 
  • Learn more here

Microsoft To-Do

  • Manage your to-do list from a smartphone, tablet, or computer with cloud-based task management tools
  • Utilize existing Outlook task functionality with a simplified user experience, a new web interface, and new mobile apps available in Android/iOS app stores 
  • Learn more here

Access these new tools by logging into the Office 365 Portal at

Want to learn more about these tools? One Drive and Office Online Demos are planned for February and March; go to for details and to register.

Save the date: UVAFinance Potluck Event!

Read more about last year's event here

Upcoming FEAP Seminars: Open to all!

The Faculty and Employee Assistance Program (FEAP) has released their upcoming spring/summer seminars. These sessions are free of charge to University Faculty/Staff, as they are included in the University’s contract with FEAP.

These sessions are good personal/professional development opportunities for managers and staff; please take a look!
  • February 20th 9:00AM-10:30AM The Science and Practice of Compassion
  • March 29th 12:00PM-1:00PM Tools to Stop Negative Chatter
  • April 25th 12:00PM-1:00PM Understanding Anxiety
  • May 22nd 12:00PM-1:00PM Understanding Depression
  • June 5th 9:00AM-10:00AM Introduction to Mindfulness
  • July 25th 12:00PM-1:00PM Considerations in Elder Caregiving

To register for FEAP Seminar,  visit:

Sponsored Programs welcomes Kate Kaminski to the Contracts Team

"It's exciting and amazing to be a part of a process that saves
lives and advances medicine."  - Kate Kaminski
In her new role as a Senior Contracts Negotiator working within the School of Medicine (SOM), Kate Kaminski will apply her deep background in education law and policy in a new realm. Although her work now involves negotiating contracts and agreements for SOM, she is already finding that the impact of her work is similar to when she worked with school law.

For 16 years Kaminski practiced education law, first as the Director of Legal and Policy Services for the Virginia School Boards Association, and thereafter, she worked with the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute and served as a consultant to the Virginia Center for School Safety.

Her new role has her feeling a familiar sense of purpose.

“When I worked for the School Board Association, even though I was advising school boards and superintendents, it all trickled down to what would help students get their best possible education and reach their full potential,” she commented.

Although she’s only been on the job for about a month, Kaminski has already seen how the Contract Team affects the University’s healthcare mission.

“Just yesterday, here in my department, one of my colleagues was working on a compassionate use agreement to get a patient who was not responding to traditional treatments through the legal as quickly as possible get the patient access to a trial drug,” she added.

Kaminski says she looks forward to helping with clinical trials agreements and doing the transactional work that enables the advancement of research and medicine at UVA.

“For someone who’s nonscientific, it’s a way I can be a part of the process of healing people. I drop at the sight of blood, so it’s the only way I can do it,” she laughed.

A 1991 graduate of UVA, Kaminski earned her law degree from the University of Richmond. She enjoys knitting and reading, and is an avid runner, training for her first full marathon in the coming months.

Financial Operations welcomes Ruth Parcells

Ruth Parcells, formerly a "Batman of Accounting"
and otherwise known as "the new BC"
Financial Operations is pleased to announce that Ruth Parcells has joined the team as Senior Payment Card Compliance Analyst. In this role, Parcells is responsible for the University’s credit card compliance program, including setting up and maintaining merchant accounts, working with operational units and ITS on processing solutions, ensuring compliance with laws and data security standards, and acting as UVAFinance’s liaison to internal and external auditors on PCI matters.

Parcells comes to UVAFinance from her most recent role at the UVA Alumni Association, where for almost 11 years, she handled bank account reconciliations, stock trading for donations, merchant services setups, and international wire transfers.

A Certified Fraud Examiner and a notary, Parcells is a Double Hoo (2010 and 2012). She has always loved banking and accounting, she started her career quite early: at the age of 15, she went to work for a credit card bank in Delaware, fighting credit card fraud for five years.

“A bank fraud investigator is sort of like the Batman of the accounting world,” she laughs.

Parcells looks forward to learning all of the intricacies and systems in her new role, and moving from a small foundation to serving a large portion of UVA.

Outside of work, Parcells is an active volunteer: teaching “Our Whole Lives” with the Universal Unitarians and mentoring a first year student at Blue Ridge Community College, as well as volunteering with the Girl Scouts. She is also taking classes at Piedmont Valley Community College in Cyber Security.

She and her husband live in Waynesboro with their five year old daughter, Amelia.

“Improving the research experience”: The role of RAIT in Research Administration

Since 2014, the Research Administration Improvement Team (RAIT) has met regularly to tackle the issues that slow down the progress of UVA’s research enterprise. Inspired by the ambitious goals set before the organization to expand and enhance research, the group, made up of staff members from a variety of schools and units, has improved technology, processes and culture for the greater good of research at UVA.

Historically, the cross-functional group facilitated by Organizational Excellence has been instrumental in improving communication between Sponsored Programs and the units it serves. They have compiled feedback from faculty and staff for use in shaping new processes. One of RAIT’s most lasting achievements has been helping to bring about ResearchUVA, the in-house developed software platform that facilitates business functions in sponsored programs at the transactional level as well as provides a data analytics and visualization platform.

Carey Reinicke, Senior Research Administrator at SEAS and longtime RAIT member, says the group’s aim has always been to do whatever was needed to improve research administration.

“A variety of issues have come up as things have continued to change in the research landscape,” she said.

“RAIT discusses how those things will affect departments and what changes might be needed to help us all improve our work.”

The changes the group has helped come to fruition have reduced paper and centralized documentation, and have steadily increased the transparency of research administration and the research enterprise itself.