Message from the Vice President 

 

November 12, 2020

DFA Colleagues,

We’re halfway through fall term, and 2020 sure has been a year for the history books, as they say.  Yet, I continue to be impressed by your resilience and persistence. You overcame unprecedented challenges in 2020 just to keep the university running, and at the same time, DFA units made good progress toward our goals, as described in some of the news updates below.

The events of this year have brought issues of racial justice to the forefront. We all must do our part to understand the challenges faced by many in our community and take actions to make change. The DFA senior leaders and I are committed to learning more about diversity, inclusion and social justice. We were recently inspired by Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones discussing what people can do about racism in public health in this lecture hosted by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. We also have the dates circled on our calendars for the amazing speakers featured in this year’s Provost’s Lecture Series. These lectures are open to the public—consider holding a virtual watch party and discussion with your work team or personal network.

I look forward to celebrating our accomplishments with you at this year’s DFA Annual Awards & Meeting on Nov. 19 – see below for more details about the event and out to register. Over the next several weeks, as we wind down fall term and enter the holiday season, I encourage you to plan to take some time off to rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy time with friends and family, all appropriately socially distanced of course.

Here's the DFA news for fall 2020

All DFA employees are invited to register now for our Annual Awards & Meeting on Nov. 19 at 8:30 am. Join Vice President Mike Green and the Division of Finance and Administration senior leaders to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and recognize division employees who have exceeded expectations in the course of their work. This year's event will be fully remote via Zoom.

The vice president will comment on the division’s direction for fiscal year 2021 and beyond. Special guests President King Alexander and Provost Ed Feser will talk with Vice President Green about how DFA units help advance OSU’s plan for transformation, excellence and impact (Strategic Plan 4.0). DFA employees can submit questions in advance when registering and during the event’s open Q&A time.

University Human Resources is partnering with the Central Payroll Office to host a series of monthly informational forums about operational topics of interest to the administrative community at OSU. Live Zoom webinars will be held on the second Friday of each month from noon to 1 p.m. To register, please contact Sheri Lopez. Recordings and materials from previous sessions are posted here.

Kicking off the series in September, Bonny Ray was the main presenter and provided an update on a variety of employee benefit topics, including plans for virtual Open Enrollment activities for the PEBB and Graduate Health Plans, upcoming HR Flu Shot Clinics, changes in the PERS retirement system related to SB 1049, state and federal protected leave expansions related to COVID-19, and information about the Beyond Benefits Employee Assistance Program.

In October’s forum, Heather Horn highlighted details of the new collective bargaining agreement that are of significance relevance to human resources and business professionals. They covered specifics such as notice periods, minimum pay rates, two year contracts, development of teaching workload guidelines and more.  

In November, Kendra Sharp will be presenting on OSU employees who are working in foreign countries, and the complexities of navigating national security, payroll, and the required steps hiring units must take to employ someone in a foreign country.

Upcoming topics are Leave Administration, Inclement Weather and University Closures and other areas of interest to the administrative operations teams across campus.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is engaging the OSU community in a dialogue about how we provide for public safety on OSU’s Corvallis campus, as we manage the transition from Oregon State Police providing law enforcement services. As we take these steps, we assure the community that public safety services will reflect the university’s values and vision while supporting OSU’s teaching, learning and research mission. With this in mind, the DPS team has updated community dialogue and engagement plans to further embrace input into the design of public safety programs and law enforcement services.

University leaders and the OSU Board of Trustees have determined that in order to best address community needs and support public safety, it is important for the university to direct the management  of law enforcement services consistently with OSU’s values and principles and educational mission. Given the requirements to implement police services—and to ensure thorough and thoughtful community engagement—OSU extended its agreement with OSP for Corvallis campus law enforcement through the end of this year.

To prepare OSU to provide its own law enforcement services on Jan. 1, 2021, the implementation team has been focusing on the following areas:

Recruitments. OSU is in the process of hiring qualified leaders and officers to staff newly-required positions.

  • Associate Vice President for Public Safety & Chief of Police. The search committee will provide recommendations to Paul Odenthal and the top two candidates will participate in community engagement sessions in mid-November.
  • Operations Lieutenant. The search committee will review candidates and start first round interviews in mid-November.
  • Sergeants and Officers. This is an ongoing, open recruitment until the initial cohort has been hired. To date, five applicants have received a preliminary offer and are undergoing an extensive background check with a projected start date near the end of November. 

Dispatch. OSU will transition to a secondary Public Safety Answering Point system, as of January 2, 2021.  The team is working to complete state requirements and training employees. Additional dispatchers will be recruited to ensure sufficient coverage for the center. 

Training. The transition team is working with university partners to develop a comprehensive public safety training plan that includes certification requirements, professional development and OSU-specific training in inclusivity, bias prevention and education and victim support. A comprehensive training schedule is being developed for both initial onboarding and to meet long-term DPS needs.

Record Management System. This is a critical information system to document and record police activities. OSU joined a regional law enforcement consortium that provides access to a shared software license, which includes comprehensive security and expert system support. University and DFA IT teams and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office are currently configuring the system to meet OSU’s needs.

Community Wellness, Education and Safety Network. OSU is forming a network that will take a holistic approach to addressing the health, wellness and safety needs of our community. The program will improve OSU’s coordination and delivery of crisis prevention, response and support service and help to ensure the most appropriate response resources are engaged during a crisis. Next steps include:

  • The Public Safety Advisory Committee will incorporate community feedback from engagement sessions into its recommendations.
  • The transition team will continue discussions on future collaboration with local agencies.
  • OSU will develop a plan for funding and deploying recommended new student crisis response investments.

Join me in congratulating Kelly Kozisek, Chief Procurement Officer and Director of PCMM, for receiving the National

Association of Educational Procurement’s 2020 Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes contributions of continued and/or extraordinary service to the procurement profession and NAEP at the regional or national level.

It is great to see Kelly receive this national honor, since we already know about the extraordinary contributions she has made to Oregon State University throughout her career here. Kelly has carried her commitment to excellence into leadership and service in the professional procurement field. Kelly, you’re an inspiration to your DFA colleagues!

The DFA Project Portfolio Management Office is helping cross-unit work groups advance our priorities and support OSU’s strategic plan. Here’s a status update:

 

DFA Framework for Success

  • Unit Level Metrics.  DFA units have been developing unit-level key activities and metrics. Teams are now going deeper into their unit metrics to sort out the details of where the data will come from, how often it will be pulled, who will be responsible for collecting data and what other stakeholders need to be involved. Simultaneously, Dr. Calvo and his research team are working with the DFA Leadership Council to calibrate and align the full framework as a division-wide system. Next, the project team will work with beta groups and design a phased implementation plan.

Beaver Works

  • Travel Redesign Project.  Progress on the Travel Redesign Project continues to pick up speed as the contract for a new software provider draws closer to completion. The Travel Redesign Project Team has re-started planning workshops intended to surface critical design and configuration decisions that will need to be made when the contract is finalized. They will engage stakeholders to address unique travel considerations within athletics and international travel.
  • Over the next month, a travel advisory group will be formed, comprised of stakeholders from every college and department across campus. The travel advisory group will be a critical pathway for collecting feedback about the design and configuration of the new travel program, changes to the OSU’s credit card and travel management programs, and updates to the Travel and Expense policies. A dedicated project website will launch soon. In the meantime, you can learn about opportunities to participate with the advisory group and other project information https://fa.oregonstate.edu/project-update.
  • Business Analytics. The OSU Impact Studio is managing the University Financial Management (UFM) project, which is creating tools to help Oregon State University academic units forecast costs and revenues in a strategic, optimized manner. The UFM Working Group recently proposed a solution to OSU leadership that includes a suite of resources centered around a business forecasting tool. Development of the forecasting tool depends on phase two of the UFM project: engaging stakeholders in the development of position management, budget reports, and enrollment management tools.  

 

Benny Hire

  • In October, the project team completed the development of Phase III-Student Change Process, which covers the job termination process and individual changes to hourly student positions. Both solutions will be tested and rolled out to users in November. 
  • For additional information on Benny Hire, including recorded training sessions and other resources, please visit the Benny Hire website.

 

Talent Management Initiative

The Talent Management Initiative is continuing with great progress in several key areas:

  • In September, OSU welcomed our first Talent Acquisition Director Bill Weber. Bill has been meeting with stakeholders across the university and will be instrumental in leading and re-imagining how OSU engages, searches, recruits, hires and onboards talented people across the university.
  • The project team partnered with Alex Aljets from University IT to map the talent management ecosystem, develop a “customer journey map” for the Performance Management pilot project and to develop customer personas that will be used to re-imagine process, services, programs and solutions from the perspectives of managers and employees.
  • Currently in its beta phase, the Training Portal consists of an inventory of 90 training and development programs from Faculty Affairs, the Office of Institutional Diversity and University Human Resources. Employee focus groups were engaged in October to assess the navigability, functionality, and practicality of the Portal. This feedback will inform improvements to the portal prior to next project phase, which will include a broader inventory of training and development programs available to employees across campus.
  • A working group was gathered to develop an OSU Managerial Competency Framework. The framework and competencies were vetted with focus groups to gather feedback and insights. A recommendation will be presented to senior leadership in November. Next steps will include mapping training and development opportunities to the competencies and discussions of implementation strategies.  The goal is to establish a training framework for managers at OSU to help ensure their success and the success of their work group.
  • A project team was formed to conduct a pilot project to redesign the performance management process and system. The pilot will focus on University Information Technology and the Controller’s Unit, within the broader context of the OSU Talent Management Initiative. The team will develop, communicate, and implement a clear, consistent and customer-focused program using the best available tools and technologies. The outcome will form a roadmap for a university-wide implementation of a broad Performance Management Project. To date, the project team has been defining aspects of Performance Management for OSU and has created a current-state customer journey map within the scope of UIT and the Controller’s Unit. The team is now identifying a future state proposal for the pilot that will be shared with the project sponsors and stakeholders for further development.

 

Global Banking Project

OSU’s Treasury team within the Controller’s Unit is leading a project to update OSU’s banking services, coinciding with banking changes at the State of Oregon. The goals of the project include adding value and flexibility to OSU’s banking services; implementing efficient, automated processes; and providing modern service options to students, faculty and staff.

  • OSU has engaged JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in an independent banking relationship as an additional service provider to the university for select banking services. The project started in spring 2020 and will continue in phases through 2021, starting with accounts payable, student refund and deposits processes.

The UHR Employee Benefits team has been hard at work pivoting to meet the needs of OSU employees during the past quarter, resulting in some great outcomes including these:

Convenient appointment system

In October, the team adopted Microsoft Bookings to better accommodate the benefits consultation needs of OSU employees regarding health benefits, retirement, protected leave and work-life balance. Employees can now use the HR website to make individual appointments with the benefits team expert you need to consult with. 

2020 Virtual Benefits Fair

Associate Director of Employee Benefits Bonny Ray organized a virtual Benefits Fair and shared the content with the benefits administrators of all seven Oregon public universities to post on their websites the week of October 5, 2020. The other universities were coping with furlough and turnover in their HR teams, so this was a tangible way for OSU to support professional colleagues to the benefit of all higher-ed employees in the state.

The Virtual Benefits Fair included over 25 webinars, new benefit year plan information, door prizes and appointment times for employees to interact with over 30 benefit vendors. OSU’s Virtual Benefits page had 888 visits and the webinar page had 679 visits. OSU hosted many of the webinars that happened during that week, including PERS trainings attended by 300 employees and Protected Leave training for both employees and supervisors on protected leave expansions.

Beyond Benefits—new employee assistance program

UHR Employee Benefits is assessing OSU’s first quarter with our new employee assistance program (EAP), launched in July—Beyond Benefits. The new provider offers monthly workshops to OSU employees, with an verage of 150 employees attending on relevant topics such as Mindfulness and Coping with Uncertain Times. From July 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, 997 total services were provided by the new EAP to employees, including live access of services through phone calls and online access through the employee portal. 

Beyond Benefits EAP is hosting a December workshop (details below); interested employees can register here.

Beyond Benefits EAP Presents Managing Holiday Stress

December 2, 2020 at 11 a.m.

Welcome to the holiday season – that whirlwind of gift-giving holidays, marketing blitzes, parties and family dinners and activities galore starting with Halloween, through Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas and ends with New Year’s festivities. While this season is meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, it’s also a harbinger of lots of stress. And this year, in particular, adds its own element of celebrating during a pandemic.

Workshop Objectives: Discuss some ways to manage your emotions and expectations

  • Hear some suggestions for shopping and finances
  • Learn about new travel considerations during this time
  • Understand the importance of self-care during the holiday season
  • Consider some new traditions that can make this holiday season a wonderful time

In mid-October, OSU Corvallis became the first campus in the state to use autonomous delivery robots, as a fleet of 20 units

started delivering food orders to students, staff and faculty across the 500-acre campus and beyond. It’s the ultimate in contactless delivery! OSU started talks with San Francisco-based Starship Technologies at the beginning of the year. The coronavirus delayed negotiations slightly, but also provided another reason to bring the service to campus and reduce contact between people during the pandemic.

Steve Hoelscher, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Finance & Operations, thanked multiple DFA units for providing critical assistance in finalizing the service partnership, including PCMM, AABC, Transportation Services, University Land Use Planning, Facilities Services, the ID Center and Business Operations IT. Steve recognized Jennifer Koehne, Procurement Contract Officer, for her phenomenal work throughout the contract negotiations, which set the stage for what we expect to be a productive, mutually beneficial, student focused, and exciting partnership with Starship.

The service was immediately popular on campus, filling a long-standing need for a cost-efficient and effective food delivery option that covers the entire campus. UHDS has a goal of serving 150 orders per day, but recently saw a peak of 500 orders in one day. The early success levels have been so high that Starship has had to send us extra robots within the first month of the program launch. If you see the robots while you’re driving on campus, don’t stop for them. They are programmed to be extra-cautious in traffic, and they won’t cross the street if they sense a vehicle nearby. Go to the Food@OSU website to learn how to get your next meal ordered by a robot. Make sure you load your ID card with Orange Cash first; credit card payments will be accepted in the future.

At its September meeting, OSU’s Board of Trustees authorized the university to issue up to $366 million in general revenue bonds as a financial strategy that would provide funds to refinance existing outstanding debt, provide liquidity during the next several years as we recover from the pandemic, provide liquidity to allow for the establishment of a long-term reserve to repay outstanding debt as it becomes due, provide funds for capital projects on the 10-year capital forecast, and provide flexibility for strategic investment as we come out of the pandemic into a new normal for higher education.

In the process of issuing the bonds for sale, Moody’s Investors Service affirmed OSU’s positive Aa3 credit rating and stable financial outlook—a big accomplishment for a higher education institution this year. In October, OSU successfully issued just over $302 million in bonds, borrowing at a rate of 3.42% for 40 years.

OSU hosted Flu Shot Clinics for OSU employees a

nd students in October in Newport, Bend and Corvallis, a joint collaboration between Fred Meyer pharmacy, OSU Student Health Services and University Human Resources. In Corvallis, 500 employees and students were vaccinated on Oct. 1 and 750 people received flu shots on Oct. 14.

Staff at the Memorial Union and other locations did a fabulous job supporting these events. I appreciate all the volunteers who helped to check employees in and guide social distancing protocols. Corvallis volunteers included Bonny Ray, Betty Buck and Emma Wellborn from HR; Sue Jackson, Brian Cooke and Leilani Hill from Student Health Services; OSURA volunteers Charlotte Headrick, Michael Schulyer and Barb Taylor.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year, because it can help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, consider contacting your doctor or local pharmacy for more information.

On Oct. 22, the Environmental Health & Safety and Emergency Management teams hosted a training exercise with the Oregon National Guard's 102nd Weapons of Mass Destruction - Civil Support Team. Based in Salem, the 102nd is a unit of 22 full-time Army and Air National Guard members that can be rapidly mobilized to an incident anywhere in Oregon to assist civil authorities with early-detection and analysis capabilities of a chemical, biological or nuclear incident.

The training exercise was held the at EH&S Annex and the Radiation Center, with a goal of minimizing an emergency’s impact on local populations and facilitating requests for follow-on emergency and military support by civil authorities. The photo shows part of OSU’s team ready for action in full protective attire.  

  • So many DFA employees played a part in developing the new Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building in Newport. Check out this short documentary, Rising from the Shore (running time: 09:23), the first in a series to reveal and celebrate different aspects of the new Marine Studies Building, from its engineering to the communities it is designed to serve. Rising from the Shore focuses on the engineering feat of building in a tsunami zone and features the architects themselves, safety experts, and Hatfield and MSI leadership. 
  • The Budget & Resource Planning Office hosts a regular series of lunchtime forums on topics like Budget Planning in Uncertain Times. You can learn more about how the university budget works,  and get your questions answered. The next event is scheduled on Nov. 19 at noon-1pm by Zoom, and you can find the full schedule here: https://fa.oregonstate.edu/budget/budget-conversations.
  • University HR brings us this employee benefit: OSU employees who are interested in learning more about home buying and financing can attend a special workshop with Advantage Home Plus on November 17, 2020 at 12 noon. Click here to register.
  • Read more about how Facillities Services has been busy dealing with wildfire impacts and preparing for safe on-campus classes.
  • Check out the digital display for the Navy ROTC Armory: A digital interpretive display featuring the Navy ROTC Armory, which was removed as part of the Washington Way Improvement Project. The Navy ROTC Armory holds many fond memories for the midshipmen and officers of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program and the digital display celebrates the last of the Quonset huts located on the Corvallis campus.

  • Burt Hall II reached substantial completion Sept 30, 2020. Work includes replacement of research facilities and offices damaged by smoke, water, or heat from the fire that occurred November 30, 2018. Burt Hall II was upgraded to modern building code, including ADA improvements. Capital Planning and Development, CEAOS, Insurance & Risk Management Services, PCMM, a project manager from College of Business, and business centers have worked collaboratively since the fire to ensure that the insurance claims are submitted, that the space is renovated, and that research operations resume. 

  • The Sustainability Office has teamed up with the Faculty Senate Committee on the Carbon Commitment to create an easy way for OSU units to offset carbon emissions that result from travel. Even though most units are not traveling much right now, it’s a good idea to plan for when those activities resume and learn how to reduce the impact of travel.  A carbon offset is an optional added fee to the cost of traveling (by air or ground) to fund a separate project that reduces carbon emissions elsewhere, such as a wind farm or forestry project. Offsets in some cases can make the net carbon footprint of travel effectively zero. Check out the video and visit this page to learn more and get started! 
  • Join the Sustainability Office virtually at the 2021 Washington & Oregon Higher Education Sustainability Conference. WOHESC is a platform for inspiring change, facilitating action and promoting collaboration related to sustainability within the region's higher education institutions. OSU has been a sponsor, co-host or host of this small but impactful conference each year since WOHESC started in 2008. This year, WOHESC will occur February 11-12, 2021 and will continue its focus on sustainability topics through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. At only $50 for the two-day conference, WOHESC is a great deal too. Register today, or contact OSU Sustainability Officer Brandon Trelstad for more information.

Questions or suggestions?

Contact the VPFA Office for information, assistance and requests for signature on documents. 
 

Thanks for all you do,

Mike

Michael J. Green
Vice President for Finance & Administration / Chief Financial Officer

 

Remember: DFA units are ensuring success every day!