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August 19, 2022

Dear Business and Finance Colleagues,

As the fall semester arrives, I want to thank you for making this week's move-in the best we've had. Your unending dedication to see our students return to campus to a vibrant and well-organized setting is so appreciated!

In Business & Finance (B&F), we serve our constituents and lay the groundwork for the broader University to thrive, and that was on full display this week. Our strategic planning and timely execution of projects, prudent and effective management (and growth) of resources, automation and simplification of processes, and strong customer service orientation make us a force to reckon with. All with a human touch, as we diligently strive to safeguard our colleagues and students and put them at the heart of all we do. That is all because of you and your drive and enthusiasm. It also makes us well prepared to start the year with a sense of "greater urgency, sharper focus," as the CEO of Alphabet reminds us, and the capacity to find innovative and collaborative ways to do "more with less." Let us continue to embrace our strengths and propel the University towards Our New Century! As in past updates, find below some of the high-level highlights of our achievements since our students left campus in May.

Fall 2022 Campus Reopening

  • A radical change to the way our students receive their 'Cane ID cards was planned and implemented. In collaboration with Student Affairs, Financial Affairs (FA) 'Canes Central, Facilities Operations and Planning (FO&P), and Information Technology (UMIT) deployed the color ID tool, enabling students to upload photos online for the issuing of 'Cane Cards pre-arrival to campus. In total, 91% of undergraduates and 84% of graduates uploaded their photo in advance of their arrival. 'Canes Central estimates that the improvement saved between 20 minutes to one hour of waiting time at check-in, both for students and staff. KUDOS!
  • Just in time for the start of what will surely be a huge season, our Miami Hurricanes football team has a brand-new, state of the art locker room. Their previous space has been transformed into a modern area. Each locker features fully reclining seats and drying compartments and is personalized with individual player pictures. The experience is enhanced by sound and lighting systems. GO 'CANES!
  • UMIT improved the UMiami mobile app to include orientation, alumni, and multicultural student affairs, by consolidating individual applications for these groups and connecting everything in one app. This resulted in a drastic increase in UMiami app usage, as new students were onboarded to use it early on. We have seen approximately 8K returning users within the UMiami app—which is more than double the total of returning users in the past. FANTASTIC!

Financial Stability

  • To fund the University's strategic capital projects, including Centennial Village, UHealth Tower expansion, and the SoLéMia and Doral Medical Centers, Financial Affairs executed the largest new bond issuance in the University's history and at the lowest interest rate in the current debt portfolio. This process was completed by the Investments/Treasury team in Financial Affairs in less than four weeks vs. the average of 8 weeks, to take advantage of lower interest rates. WOW!
  • Our Purchasing team was able to achieve nearly $750k in cost savings and avoidance in purchasing services and goods for the University. Our Risk Management team also achieved over $200k in savings by transitioning to a new insurance company, United Educators. WOW, again!
  • UMIT worked diligently to produce a new rate model for network and communication services and equipment. This new rate reflects a departure from recurring cost based on telephone lines to an annual cost per business unit, based primarily on headcount. KEEPING IT SIMPLE!

Diversity and Inclusion

  • The 2022 Forbes list of Best Employers for Women ranked the University of Miami as one of the best. Determined by an independent survey, the recognition positions the University among the top employers in Florida. Read more. I AGREE!
  • Over 400 leaders and staff are currently enrolled in the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Certificate Program curated by Human Resources (HR). These unique learning opportunities are designed for you to become immersed in the University's commitment to diversity and participate in programs that support a culture of belonging while exposing you to ideas, people, and topics. (I am registered for the DEI certificate program and encourage all to join me!)
  • UMIT has been realigned to serve five key areas of focus: student and faculty experience; research computing and innovation; information security; digital transformation and data services; and IT talent development. In the process of realignment, 21% of all UMIT personnel have been strategically placed in new offices or roles that will help develop their talents to better serve the key areas of focus and aid in the collective growth of the organization. 64% of promotions due to this realignment were women in the workforce. GO 'CANES!
  • The UMPD Community Affairs Unit continues to bridge community and police relationships. Over the past several months, the team has been meeting and participating in events with the LGBTQ+ Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, and many other campus groups to promote positive interaction between police and the community. I hope I speak for us all when I say how grateful we are for the officers, (and Thunder and Lightning, of course!) who serve our campus within UMPD.

Administrative Excellence and Innovation

  • Several exciting above and underground projects are taking place around the Coral Gables campus. The Skyline from lake Osceola has changed to make space for the Centennial Village. With the demolition of Hecht residential college, our Theater Arts program was displaced from the residence hall creating an opportunity to develop new temporary and permanent physical spaces. The historical church will be the temporary home for Theatre Arts featuring an intimate theatre and a dance studio. EXCITING!
  • The University is implementing an enterprise risk management (ERM) function, with the leadership of Audit and Advisory Services and University Compliance Services (A&AS and UCS) to assist management in tracking and assessing risks and related mitigation activities. The ERM function will also include the implementation of a best-in-class technology tool to help facilitate communication and reporting of risks and mitigation activities to leadership and the board. EXCELLENCE!
  • A&AS and UCS also made various enhancements to the user interface of PolicyStat (the central electronic repository of University policies) during FY22. The enhancements provide users with a more seamless accessibility on desktop computers, tablets, and cell phones. A separate policy library was implemented for students to be able to access only student-related policies. COMPLIANCE!
  • The UMPD has improved officer safety by implementing GPS tracking in police officer radios. The system layers current resources to help identify officers' locations, improve officer safety for emergency assistance, and enhance our public safety resource deployment in the event of a critical incident. SAFETY!
  • UMIT's Innovate Team worked with the College of Engineering to propose and secure a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant for "Transforming Engineering Mechanics Using Augmented and Mixed Reality." AWESOME!
  • The Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS) team created or modified 650 reports for both HR and Finance audiences, and the Office of Research Administration. They created 28 worksheets for Flu and Covid compliance, HR, Compensation, Recruiting, Financial Planning & Analysis, HR Metrics Dashboards for HR executives on both campuses, and enabled a Recruiting Hub to allow recruiters to easily manage candidates and requisitions. OUTSTANDING!
  • Earlier this month, a group of Tulane University leaders visited the University of Miami to share their experiences and insights on preparations and recovery from Hurricane Ida one of the most powerful and rapidly intensifying storms to hit the United States, delivered days of misery and destruction—from the time it made landfall in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina to the torrential rains that pummeled the Northeast. Additionally, our University leadership and FO&P worked with this group to make critical decisions during a hurricane tabletop exercise. PREPAREDNESS.

Looking Ahead

  • HR invites you to celebrate during the upcoming employee appreciation football games. We look forward in recognizing you as the Miami Hurricanes take on Bethune-Cookman on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Duke on Saturday, Oct. 22. Read more. GO 'CANES!
  • In late 2023, UMIT will launch Modern Campus—a platform that enables the Division of Continuing and International Education (DCIE) to promote upcoming course offerings and allows students to select and pay for courses, register, and seek financial aid. STUDENTS FIRST!
  • Financial Affairs will evaluate and select a new financial modeling, planning, and forecasting tool to support faculty, operating, capital plans and balance sheet planning, and reporting. PLANNING!
  • This year, Open Enrollment runs from Monday, Oct. 17 through Friday, Nov. 4. This is your annual opportunity to enroll in or make changes to your benefits. Stay tuned for additional details on informational sessions and our 'Canes Toward Rewards Fair (return of an in-person event) to learn more about your benefits. DON'T MISS IT!
  • Since our last message on the Hybrid Work Pilot Program for the Gables/Marine campuses, we have completed a full spring semester. I really want us to move forward with lessons learned while continuing to support flexibility in terms of work opportunities and maintaining the highest level of service to our students, faculty, and staff. As we continue to pilot this program again this semester, we will explore ways to evaluate its effectiveness. 'CANES CARE FOR 'CANES!

As you have read, there is so much we can be proud of as a B&F team. We have kept a steady hand on the wheel, achieving stability and consistency in our operations, yet were never afraid to ask questions when needed, face the roadblocks ahead, and continuously improve. For this, I am deeply grateful to each member of our team. As the world around us continues to evolve and challenge us, let's keep working as the B&F team that we are. Ever stronger. Ever bolder. Ever brighter.

With 'Canes pride always,


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