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January 31, 2022

Dear Business and Finance Colleagues,

As we welcome students to campus, I would like to emphasize my gratitude for all that you do. I recognize many of you are excited to return to work on-site, while others may still feel a bit anxious. With the easing of the omicron variant, widespread use of vaccinations (including boosters), proper safety protocols, mask-wearing, and weekly testing, we have demonstrated that we are ready to implement our hybrid work model. I know this update cannot cover all the wonderful work you contribute to the University, but my hope is to highlight high-level points of pride as we look forward to a successful spring semester.

Spring 2022 Campus Reopening

  • The Financial Affairs' (FA) 'Canes Central team continues to support our students with a high level of care. In the last quarter of 2021, the team handled 6,650 cases and 9,606 calls with an average speed of answer of nine seconds!
  • The Information Technology (UMIT) team and Facilities Operations and Planning (FO&P) have been working collaboratively with the Office of Classroom Management, Undergraduate Education, and faculty representatives on the Classrooms of the Future project, re-imagining teaching spaces across campus. UMIT delivered computer equipment in preparation for upcoming hybrid work arrangements and also enabled Prevalent, a vendor risk management application for centralized vendor security risk.
  • The Human Resources (HR) team wrapped up another flu vaccine season last semester and partnered with Financial Affairs' Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS) team to create a new dashboard to monitor COVID-19 booster compliance.

Financial Stability

  • Financial Affairs and its Treasury team completed the University's annual rating evaluation conducted by Standard & Poor's (S&P). When the pandemic first arrived, S&P had downgraded their outlook for more than 150 universities to Negative. This year, S&P upgraded its outlook on the University from Negative to Stable, and reaffirmed its A- long-term rating, noting that the outlook revision reflects the exceptional operating performance in fiscal 2021 despite the pressures of the pandemic.
  • UMIT is working with the College of Engineering to replace the aging ViaComp system with a combination of virtualized applications and license servers, which will be more affordable, stable, and scalable.
  • In early December 2021, the Kronos timekeeping system, used in our clinical operations at UHealth, experienced a global cybersecurity incident that disrupted the Kronos Private Cloud. The HR-Total Rewards, UMIT, and EBS teams have done an incredible job supporting UHealth with alternative timekeeping solutions to mitigate financial risk and ensure our employees were paid.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • HR will shortly announce the launch of an exciting new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Certificate Program that builds on the foundational training and inclusion programming already in place at the U by recognizing employees who participate in these offerings.
  • HR, in partnership with EBS, will launch new Workday features reinforcing our commitment to an inclusive working environment for all employees. Faculty and staff will be able to voluntarily self-identify their pronouns, gender identity, and affiliation with the LGBTQ+ community in Workday.
  • HR offers a series of training and inclusion programs, including customized sessions of Understanding our Unconscious Bias for 244 UMPD and UHealth Public Safety Officers, and a special session for LEAD participants with Dr. Mosby-Tyler on Inclusive Leadership.
  • Financial Affairs is advancing the University's Supplier Diversity Program. Over 100 faculty and staff have participated in six sessions of the "Purchasing from Diverse Supplier" training that was launched last quarter. Also, the University partnered with the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce for member inclusion in contract and bid opportunities with a specific focus on recruiting minority suppliers.

Administrative Excellence and Innovation

  • Several above and underground projects are taking place around the Coral Gables campus. External walls for the new Knight Recital Hall have been installed while interior work will begin at the end of the spring semester. The state-of-the-art building is slated to open in the spring of 2023. Many of you may have also noticed that work has begun around Hecht Residential College in anticipation of demolition as we begin phase one of our Centennial Village Project when students leave campus in May.
  • In September 2021, The Arbor Day Foundation honored the University with a "2020 Tree Campus USA" designation reaching new heights in its efforts to build a greener U.
  • With a continued focus on safety and security, the FO&P team has implemented new procedures for the termination of access, and return of Cane Cards, for all members of our 'Canes community when their time at the University ends.
  • The University Compliance Services' team hosted an educational session in November 2021 in honor of Compliance and Ethics Week. In partnership with the Title IX Office, this session addressed the important topic of understanding the definition of sexual harassment and misconduct and how to cultivate compliance.
  • Managed by UMIT, the University's Zoom Meeting and Webinar (ZMW) Service has received a 100% satisfaction rate.
  • The Financial Affairs' EBS team launched Workday Endowment functionality in December 2021, which provides tracking and support for the faculty positions that are funded by gifts from donors.
  • Financial Affairs' Student Accounts and Treasury teams led the launch of a new online international payment option with the support of UMIT. Student Accounts partnered with UMIT on the mobile app and website upgrade to launch the 'New Self Service Look' this semester.
  • HR's Talent and Organizational Development (TOD) launched an Emotional Intelligence workshop with 165 participants and completed two series of the Manage and Lead Bootcamp graduating 105 leaders.

Looking Ahead

  • A Managers' Toolkit for Hybrid Work was distributed in the summer with tips and training links for successfully leading a hybrid work environment. The pilot program starts today, and we will evaluate the outcomes in the coming months.
  • In partnership with the Registrar's Office, UMIT will be deploying the Highpoints Degree Planner tool, which will allow students and advisors to effectively manage and optimize the academic degree planning tasks and provide schools and colleges with an ability to plan course offerings based on forecast demand. In collaboration with Student Affairs and FO&P, UMIT will also be deploying the Color ID tool, which will enable students to go online and upload photos for the issuing of Cane Cards. UMIT will deploy Touchnet, a new e-Marketplace solution, in collaboration with partners across the University to greatly increase the e-commerce capabilities and to foster continuous improvement of our student experience.
  • Diversity and Inclusion
    • On, February 15, 2022, HR will host a Black History Month "Leadership Insights" webinar.
    • A Supplier Diversity website and interactive training were launched to serve as a valuable resource to the University community and diverse suppliers.
  • The FA team is also piloting a case management platform with several student-service units across the campus.

Exciting work and projects are blossoming across our campuses thanks to your continued work and dedication. In this evolving world of shortages, I am thankful I can continue to count on you to keep getting 'one day better' and to bring your best for each other, our students, and our faculty. Hope to see you around campus this semester.

With 'Canes pride always,


Jacqueline A. Travisano, Ed.D.
Executive Vice President for Business and Finance & Chief Operating Officer