Message from the Vice President
August 25, 2023
It’s been a hot summer at OSU! And not just because of the weather…. Our division wrapped up a very productive fiscal year 2023 (the annual report is under development now). Among the division’s important work, major capital projects continue to advance, with the Completing Reser Stadium project and welcome center opening this fall (and a new health services facility, now open); the Cordley Hall science building renovation, which is expected to wrap up in early 2024; and the exterior of the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts (PRAx) nearly complete—the building is scheduled to open in spring 2024.
Most of you are aware that the university is in the process of updating its strategic plan and the actions that will advance the plan. The Strategic Plan Committee has included the DFA Senior Leadership Team in its process since early in spring term. As our team finalizes the DFA’s strategic focus for fiscal year 2024, you can be confident that our actions will be in alignment with the university’s next strategic plan. We will talk in more depth about the division’s FY24 priorities at the DFA All Staff Fall Kick Off meeting on September 14. The university’s new strategic plan will be presented to the community at OSU’s October Board of Trustees meeting.
I’m excited about the latest evolution of the DFA Framework for Success (F4S)—our division’s platform for supporting informed decision-making and monitoring progress toward goals. The Framework helps people understand how their individual jobs impact the wider community and allows people with vastly different work to collaborate more effectively. After laying a strong foundation over the past couple of years, we now need a way to manage the care and feeding of the program well into the future.
So, I’m launching a team of Framework for Success Champions to help units solidify the use of the Framework tools and metrics and strenghten their impact within your operations. Because of the need for a permanent resource, and because of the close coordination with division-level strategic planning, performance reporting and communication efforts, I have decided to name Melanie Rose as the division’s Framework for Success Champion Lead. Melanie will incorporate this role into her current position of manager of strategic initiatives for the division, and my office will absorb the extra workload. Unit-level F4S Champions will be announced at the division’s fall meeting. We plan to work closely with Dr. Javier Calvo-Amodio and his team of graduate research assistants as they continue their research projects related to the Framework, though they will no longer directly support the F4S program.
Another exciting area that’s heating up is OSU’s Administrative Modernization Program (AMP), led by our former division colleague Heather Riney. Heather, Provost and Executive Vice President Ed Feser, Chief Information Officer Andrea Ballinger and I have been hosting a series of open forums to provide more details on the effort, answer your questions and hear your ideas. I strongly encourage all DFA employees to attend so you can engage in these important discussions. Catch one of these upcoming sessions:
- Wednesday, September 20, 9:00-10:00 am
- Monday, October 9, 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Additional details can be found here: https://uit.oregonstate.edu/amp/amp-open-forums.
With so much happening across the division, I know there is a lot of excellent work being done by DFA employees. I encourage everyone to take a quick moment to recognize and appreciate the great things our colleagues do for one another. It’s easy to use the DFA Hurray! system. When you do, your note of gratitude is elevated to the person’s supervisor and members of the leadership team—including me. It’s a great way to let people know their work contributions are valued. Each month, DFA Hurray! recipients are entered into a drawing for a prize.
Please take a few minutes to read the stories below about much of the amazing work that happened across the division over the last several months. My favorite part is always the kudos stories from our partners across the university highlighting the outstanding support they’ve received. I also really enjoyed learning about OSU’s arboretum and the new plant identification app, and watching Landscape Manager Todd Cross’ short video about the century-long perspective that team takes in their work. (Scroll all the way to the end to find that story.)
Thank you for everything you do to help each member of the OSU community excel. Stay cool as you enjoy the rest of your summer! And read on for more DFA news…
Summer 2023 News from DFA Units
Kudos (noun): /ˈk(y)o͞oˌdäs,ˈk(y)o͞oˌdōs/ - praise and honor received for an achievement
From time to time, our campus partners are so impressed by the work of people in the DFA that they reach out to the leadership team to give a shout-out about their excellent experience. Sometimes the stories reflect work of our team on are big, multi-faceted projects and sometimes they are about more everyday work, but they always involve someone exceeding expectations. (In addition to these external kudos, division employees can use the DFA Hurray! system to share notes of recognition with colleagues.)
We’re sharing the “kudos” stories below as examples of how your division colleagues are putting the DFA guiding principles into action. As you go about your daily work, whatever your specific projects or decision points are, one or more of these principles will be useful to helping you determine the best course of action.
- Generate effective results through structured and inclusive decision-making.
- Convey and confirm intent and respect for all OSU community members through communication and engagement that is responsive, clear and transparent.
- Improve effectiveness and efficiency through process consistency balanced with flexibility.
- Provide for OSU community members’ success through community safety, support for well-being and respect for all.
- Ensure the long-term success of the university through proactive stewardship of resources in alignment with OSU’s strategic plan.
- Balance innovation and compliance through active assessment and management of risk.
- Remove barriers to success and expand access to services through clearly defined and integrated policies, standards and processes.
- Improve the satisfaction of OSU community members through empowering employees with appropriately delegated decision-making authority.
David Horn, Radiation Protection Technologist with EH&S – David was recognized for his excellent work and attention to detail by a professor with the Department of Chemistry. She reported that David’s support had enabled her department to expand their capabilities. “He has been really great as we have started working with a new isotope.” With David’s support the lab team feels “reassured that we will do the right thing and not contaminate workspaces or if we do, we’ll get it taken care of quickly.”
David’s story shows us how DFA team members can help the community balance innovation and compliance through active assessment and management of risk. Congratulations on this recognition, David!
Anne Gillies, Search Advocate Program director with University Human Resources—Anne received kudos from folks external to the university who have participated in OSU’s Search Advocate training.
An enrollment management officer from Gonzaga University expressed gratitude for Anne’s “time, experience and knowledge and for providing space to make new connections” with other people across higher ed. A colleague from the Oregon Health Authority praised Anne’s teaching of a range of “valuable and applicable tools,” saying that the experience has made serving on an interview panel “much more collaborative, inclusive, respectful and curious.”
Anne’s positive leadership advocating for inclusive search processes is an example of the ways people in DFA can provide for community members’ success through community safety, support for well-being and respect for all. We appreciate your dedication, Anne!
Jane Waite, Director, Social Justice Education Initiative—A postdoctoral scholar with the Department of Mathematics wrote to praise Jane and the SJEI program for providing some of his “fondest and most impactful learning experiences” and leaving him with context to better understand the world. He appreciated Jane’s dedication, saying she “made a significant impact on my work here at OSU as well as on my being/personhood.”
Jane’s open and sensitive approach to teaching social justice expresses shows us how positive intent and respect for all OSU community members comes through communication and engagement that is responsive, clear and transparent. Thank you, Jane, for your ongoing efforts in this field!
Erik Chavez, undergraduate student employment specialist with University Human Resources—A hiring manager in the Basic Needs Center shared compliments about Erik’s work, saying that he “is such a huge help to me and to my department. Erik has a flair for explaining how things work, what to do, and what things mean -- in a way that makes sense.” His clear, comprehensive explanations reassured the Basic Needs Center team. Especially appreciated were “Erik's timely responses, friendly tone, helpfulness, clear answers, and knowledge base. A real asset to OSU!”
This praise for Erik reminds us that we can convey positive intention and respect through communication and engagement that is responsive, clear and transparent. Thanks for providing great example to all of us, Erik!
Andy Cadotte, Director of Tech Solutions at DFA IT—An assistant provost from University Information and Technology commended Andy for his collaborative work, saying, “Andy has been with us every step of the way” in implementing the Riskonnect tool for OIS and assisting with the GRC module. Andy “committed to its successful roll-out, has been a thought-partner and a willing collaborator in making the vision of this tool a reality. Thank you Andy!"
Andy’s work is helping ensure the long-term success of the university by collaborating on the proactive stewardship of resources in alignment with OSU’s strategic plan. Keep up the great work, Andy!
Kurt Hill, compliance consultant with Insurance and Risk Management Services—A staffer with the Washington County Extension needed help with a certificate of insurance following confusion from their external partner about the specific needs for the insurance coverage. Kurt Hill took time to explain the coverage that was required in the contract and made sure the certificate of insurance adequately reflected the requirements. The staffer could not thank Kurt “enough for the time you spent reviewing and responding with specifics regarding the contracts and COIs.”
This is a great example of how DFA employees can help remove barriers to success and expand access to services through clearly defined and integrated policies, standards and processes. Way to be proactive, David!
Justin Fleming, Motor Pool manager with Transportation Services—The College of Forestry Dean praised the fast response of Jason Fleming and the Motor Pool team when the "Lookout Fire,” located within the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, broke out over a recent weekend. OSU co-administers the research forest’s headquarters with state and federal partners.
With uncertain conditions and high fire danger, Justin led the Motor Pool team in support of efforts to retrieve computer servers, artwork, archival materials and equipment. One forestry colleague explained that the HJA program “for decades has relied on motor pool vehicles for short trips and for entire summer field seasons… Yesterday and today the staff went well above and beyond – with no notice they found us four suitable vehicles to aid our evacuation efforts and today Justin Flemming volunteered his Saturday to spend 12 hours driving, packing, loading, and unpacking.” Justin also helped HJA staff shop for crates and packing supplies, and followed up the next day with hand trucks, straps, tools, and a cooler full of water bottles. The dean expressed his deep appreciation, wanting to “share with Justin just how much of a difference he made for our folks.”
Justin’s story exemplifies how the DFA can improve the satisfaction of OSU community members through empowering employees with appropriately delegated decision-making authority. Thank you, Justin, for your ongoing dedication to the OSU community!
Everyone can use the DFA Hurray! system to send quick notes of gratitude for people across the Division of Finance and Administration who exceed your expectations. When you do, they will receive a thank you message from the Office of the Vice President, with copies to their supervisor and the senior leader for their unit. Each month, DFA Hurray! recipients are entered into a drawing for a prize. I am pleased to share this list of your colleagues who have been recognized over the last six months:
Curt Black, University Business Services-Accounts Receivable
Lewis Walker, Human Resources Classification and Compensation
Denise Fox, Controller's Unit: Student Accounts
Greg Balck, Controller's Unit: Student Accounts (2)
Steve Schofield, PCMM, Materials Management
Ken Nutefall, Human Resources
Stephanie Pearse, Controller’s Unit
Dwight Brimley, Controller’s Unit
Heather Hesano, Treasury
Kristen Bradford, Controller’s Unit
Brian Kinsey, PCMM
Danny Hough, EPPMO
Bonny Ray, Human Resources
Susie Barba, Department of Public Safety
Tracy Oulman, EPPMO
Tamara Gash, PCMM
Rebecca Currier, Controller’s Unit
Keith Foster, Risk Services
Sue Sutherland, Public Safety
Lake Larsen, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Kelsey Herman, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Betty Buck, Human Resources
Lewis Walker, Human Resources, Classification and Compensation
Lissa Perrone, Business Services
Jonah, Koerner, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Matt Stoye, DFA IT
Kristen Weber, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Kim Calvery, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Carolyn Warfield, Human Resources
Katy Pope, Facilities Services
Kim Cholewinski, Human Resources
Lewis Walker, Human Resources, Classification and Compensation
Cole Hansen, Business Affairs
Scylise Little, Capital Planning and Development
Andy Cadotte, DFA IT
Morgan Koch, DFA IT
Katie Vorderstrasse, Insurance and Risk Management
Zachary Bishop, DFA IT
Erin Martin, DFA IT
Christina Saechao, Human Resources, Employee Benefits
Brittney Holcomb, Human Resources, Employee Benefits
Alex Sims, Controller’s Unit
Christina Saechao, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Pete Lepre, EH&S Hazardous Waste Team
Pete Schoonover, EH&S Hazardous Waste Team
Anna Gorman, Human Resources, Classification and Compensation
Erik Chavez, Student Employment Service Center
Maria Davila-Ash, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Cameron Cox, Facilities Services
Karen Ahonen, Student Accounts Services
Denise Fox, Student Accounts Services
Bill Gardner, Accounts Payable
Gwen Frye, Accounts Payable
Laura Frye, Accounts Payable
Emma Wellborn, Human Resources
Tracy Elmshaeuser, SAVPA
Katrina Robson, OSU Police Department
Jamie Bridenstine, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Christina Saechao, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Morgan Hatch, Payroll
Owen Markley, DFA IT
Andy Cadotte, DFA IT
Emma Bramwell, Human Resources
Virginia Kestler, Financial Strategic Services, Controller’s Unit
Russell Brown, DFA IT
Scott Bond, Capital Planning and Development
Carrie Trant, Capital Planning and Development
Rebekah Pike, DFA IT
DFA IT team members Zach Bishop, information technology consultant, Polly Harrell, director of business architecture, and Ben Wessel, senior director, were recently recognized by OSU’s CIO Andrea Ballinger for their outstanding work in the IT space, moving forward the ambitious goals set by OSU IT. The three DFA IT team members received the prestigious CIO Award, dedicated to acknowledging exceptional work done in the OSU IT community.
Bishop received the CIO Award for going above and beyond in supporting Benny Buy for OSU and providing excellent customer service to stakeholders. Harrell was recognized for her work across the UIT and DFA IT space, including her work helping create OSU’s Women in IT community. Wessel received the CIO award for his key work in developing the OSU IT Recognition program. Ballinger also praised Wessel for his leadership during COVID operations resumption.
Ballinger recently presented the awards to Bishop, Harrell and Wessel and thanked them all for contributing to a community of excellence, within DFA, University Information and Technology and OSU.
Environmental Health & Safety’s hazardous waste team was named winner of the 2023 Innovation Award for Process Improvement by the Campus Safety, Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA).
Hazardous Waste Safety Officer Machelle Bamberger and EH&S staff members Pete Lepre and Pete Schoonover were nominated for their exemplary waste management strategies including Schoonover’s implementation of the “Rinsinator,” a tool he invented to clean chemical containers and recapture the rinse water for safe disposal. Schoonover also invented a sticker gun system to mark and date containers of hazardous waste, so that materials can be tracked easily within the system.
Both innovations helped earn EH&S high praise and a perfect score during an unannounced inspection from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality in 2022. In their inspection report, DEQ called EH&S’s hazardous waste management system “an excellent example to share with other institutions for higher education in Oregon.”
EH&S’s hard work and creative problem-solving did not go unnoticed. After DFA IT’s Web and Communication team wrote an article about the DEQ visit in January, a reader nominated the Hazardous Waste team for the CSHEMA award. Laboratory Safety Officer Jenette Paul accepted the award for EH&S at the annual CSHEMA conference in July.
This is a wonderful example of how DFA teams can create innovative solutions that help mitigate risk while also staying in compliance with regulations. Great job, team!
On July 27, Facilities Services staff discovered a generator failure at Kelley Engineering Center during routine testing. The electrical shop responded and coordinated a multi-part repair effort, resulting in full restoration of the generator by August 1.
Maintenance Mechanic Willie Doerr and Electrician Chad Garner were performing routine, annual testing of the backup generator at Kelley Engineering Center when they discovered the problem. OSU has invested in very large backup power generators for many buildings. They are critical because if there is an unexpected outage on the electrical grid, generators come to life to energize life safety systems, emergency lighting, and HVAC to maintain proper temperature and functions in research labs and server rooms. Without generators, building occupant safety is compromised and important data and research may be damaged or lost. That is why Facilities Services tests all OSU generators once per year to ensure that they are able to supply the building’s power needs in case of emergency.
In this case, Doerr and Garner called in electricians Alan Ulibarri, Kyle Chastain, Scott Drahn and Mark Esbenshade to evaluate possible options. They quickly arranged for a rental generator and installed it at Kelley that same day, and coordinated repairs to the main generator. The generator came back online on August 1.
The incident and rapid response illustrated the importance of these annual generator tests, which occur at buildings all over the Corvallis campus every summer. Known as “load bank testing,” the process involves running the generators at maximum capacity to make sure they can handle the electrical load in case of an emergency power outage. Testing catches impending mechanical failures before they occur and ensures that the campus can transition to backup power seamlessly during emergencies.
The Facilities team shows us that whatever DFA department or unit we work in, it’s always worth it to be strategic and plan ahead.
The division’s DEI Advancement Committee started meeting regularly over the past quarter, with the full group coming together in May, June and early August to organize around the action plan priorities. The committee co-chairs, Christine Atwood (Procurement, Contracts and Materials Management) and Keahi McFadden (University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations) have been meeting with staff from the Office of Institutional Diversity and other groups to prepare a learning curriculum for committee members. This will allow the group to establish a shared language and a common understanding of the issues.
The role of the DEI advancement committee is to develop recommendations for incorporating the division’s DEI action plan as unit leaders and teams implement strategic and operational projects.
Several subcommittees have organized around the initial priorities established together with the DFA senior leadership team. They are meeting regularly outside the full committee meetings to advance this work.
Priority: Embed Equity and Inclusion in Everyday Work Experiences
- Current focus—Use existing materials created by or available to OSU to establish DEI training program that all DFA employees would be expected to complete on a scheduled basis, starting first with the leaders and supervisors.
- Sub-committee members—Jessica King, Melissa Medina, Aviva Rivera (Co-Lead), Shoshana Shabazz, Carrie Trant (Co-lead)
Priority: Employee Appreciation and Recognition at the Unit Level
- Current focus—Explore current programs for ways to improve usage and explore other options for peer-to-peer employee appreciation.
- Sub-committee members—Christine Atwood (Co-Lead), Keahi Mc Fadden (Co-Lead), Penny Pinard, Monika Watkins
Priority: Establish Inclusive and Equitable Hiring Practices in the Division
- Current focus—Expand OSU recruitment guidance and support for search committees and chairs.
- Sub-committee members—Jamie Bridenstine (Co-Lead), Mary Joslin (Co-Lead), Maile Moore, Manmeet Khetarpal Singh, Stephanie Smith
Priority: Foster a Welcoming DFA Workplace Climate that Increases a Sense of Belonging and Inclusion
- Current focus—Create a plan to assist employees beyond the initial onboarding and orientation process, such as a peer sponsor program and/or networking resources tailored to the nature of their position.
- Sub-committee members—David Belton (Co-Lead), Tracy Elmshaeuser (Co-Lead), Stephen Nelson, Melanie Rose
Committee co-chairs Christine Atwood and Keahi McFadden are developing a framework and annual work plan that will allow the committee to operate on a self-sustaining basis over time. They also meet on a scheduled basis with DFA senior leaders to keep an open flow of communication.
Round up of unit-level DEI work
Here are some highlights of ways DFA units are working to bring diverse groups of people together: