The coming months are often busy travel times for both work and leisure. Whether planning campus visits or a trip overseas, there are steps you can take to make the journey safer and the paperwork easier.
- Review the hotels where departments have set up direct billing. This is an option if you want to eliminate charges to your personal credit card (contact email@example.com for the list). If traveling to a UT institution, reference the list of preferred hotels nearby.
- Make sure the hallways, parking structures and grounds are well-lit.
- Avoid staying on the ground floor if the doors and windows open to the outside rather than to an interior hallway.
- Try to stay in a hotel that has modern electronic guest locks. Always fasten the deadbolt and security chain when you’re in your room.
- Sign up for health and security alerts and review country-specific safety tips provided by the UT System Office of Risk Management (required if traveling on UT business). Log on with UT Member ID: 11BSGC000037.
- If traveling on business, make arrangements through a UT System contract travel agency (Anthony Travel or Corporate Travel Planners) for easier ticketing and updates.
- Reservations also can be made on the Southwest Airlines (SWABIZ) site.
- Contact the Controller’s Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on Citibank travel cards (issued in an employee’s name and paid for by the employee; previously Diner’s Club) available for staff who do not have or wish to use personal credit cards for travel.
- Submit your reimbursement requests quickly – the Controller’s Office has made reimbursement within 14 days a priority. (As explained in the article below, the Concur Expense program may make the reimbursement process even faster and easier.)
- Remember, receipts are required for everything except meals within the local allowable rates and parking or public transportation costs under $25.
According to the organizational assessment and Idea Central, System Administration staff are frustrated with the current paper-laden process of handling employee travel and out-of-pocket expense reimbursement. We Concur! In response, the Controller’s Office soon will roll out a new Concur Expense automated reimbursement process.
The System Audit Office will pilot the platform this spring to determine any tweaks needed before it becomes available to all employees a few weeks later. In addition to reducing the administrative burden, Concur offers:
- Single sign-on—no need to maintain multiple user IDs and passwords
- Mobile capabilities—submit/approve expense reports via your mobile device
- E-receipts—take images of receipts with smart phone and attach to expense report
- E-signatures—use of electronic approvals
The new process will allow employees to submit expense reports as soon as all receipt images are collected. Information can be submitted and approved from anywhere and anytime. Approved expense reports will be loaded nightly to PeopleSoft for payment processing, speeding up the time it takes for employees to be reimbursed.
A short video explains the Concur platform (clip shows credit card data loaded in Concur, which will not be the case). Additional details and training will be shared in the coming months. If you have questions, comments or feedback, please email Expense@utsystem.edu. All input is welcome!
It’s now easier than ever to locate a colleague anywhere in the UT System. The system-wide directory has been enhanced to allow searches by first name in addition to or instead of last name.
Once signed into the directory, just type in all or part of a person’s first and/or last name. The more information you provide, the more specific are the results. There is also an opportunity to restrict the search to certain institutions, if desired, to further limit the results. Many thanks to Cindy Hoffman, manager of information systems, and her team for their efforts to make the directory even more useful!
Even after six months of getting settled into our new spaces, there is still work being done to make the building even safer and more comfortable and efficient.
In the parking garage, “Botts Dots” (rumble strips) and speed limit signs are being added to help slow traffic. Dots also will be used to define pedestrian walkways from the handicapped parking area to the elevator lobby. Striping and delineator posts will help drivers more safely navigate corners and away from pedestrian walkways. A mirror at the exit to the basement garage and one at the Colorado exit to the alley will be added. Reserved oversized truck parking will be designated at the northeast corner of each level. These improvements will be completed as weather permits and with available assistance from UT Austin staff.
Based on staff feedback, OTIS is adding phones to the phone rooms so that business calls requiring privacy can be made more easily.
UTIMCO soon will be moving into the 17th and 18th floors in and new tenants will be moving into part of the first floor space by summer. All tenants will have access to the Commons, Wellness Center and the conference rooms on the first and second floors. While the tenants’ usage is expected to be low, it’s always advised to reserve meeting rooms on those floors well in advance.
Facilities Management strives to resolve issues and concerns quickly through the work order system. Contact your department contact to open a work order. If you have any questions, contact Facilities Management at email@example.com or ext. 4316.
The conference rooms in the new building offer convenient technology for conducting audio or video calls or sharing presentations in person or virtually. To assist you in mastering the Crestron control panels in the rooms, step-by-step instructions have been compiled and are being placed in every meeting room. In the meantime, here’s a quick overview.
- Go to the control panel on the wall and select the mode (Presentation, Video Call or Audio Call) that matches the type of meeting you’re hosting.
To display a presentation:
- Select Presentation mode. You have the option of using the meeting room computer, a laptop and/or the AirMedia app that allows for wireless presentation of video or sound, provided you are logged into UTSPUBLIC.
- If a laptop connection is not available or your laptop does not have an HDMI port, AirMedia will be the only option. Be sure to move the files you need off your laptop to the network, the room PC or OneDrive.
- If Airmedia is selected from the Presentation Mode, instructions for installing the AirMedia app will be displayed on the meeting room monitor.
- If using the room PC, you can access your network files by signing on using your SNAC username and password.
To host a video meeting:
- Select the Video Call mode. When prompted, log into the room PC using your SNAC username and password. You then select Skype for Business and click on the Video Meeting (camera icon) and Share Video to begin the call (just as you would at your desk).
- The Video Call interface controls the meeting room camera and the Crestron panel can be used to pan and zoom as needed.
To make an audio call:
- Select the Audio Call mode. The Crestron panel then can be used like any phone. Enter the area code and phone number and press Dial. The microphones and speakers in the room will provide the audio connection.
To end the meeting:
- After your meeting, be sure the control panel is secured on the wall and the power is turned off to preserve battery life.
If you have any questions or issues related to the meeting room technology, contact the Help Desk at Help@utsystem.edu or ext. 4357.
Tax season is prime time for phishing scams, tax fraud, and other cybercrimes. In fact, phishing campaigns topped the IRS list of tax scams for 2017 with a 400% surge in phishing and malware incidents during tax season at a cost to American taxpayers of $21 billion. The UT System Information Security Office (ISO) offers the following guidelines to help you avoid becoming 1 out of every 100 taxpayers who fall victim to tax fraud.
If you get a potential phishing email:
- Consider the source. Tax-related government agencies will not contact you via email, social media, or text message.
- Verify the sender. If the email claims to be your boss or someone of authority at UT System, check with them to confirm.
- Hover over the sender’s email address. Hovering may reveal a suspicious email address even if the name is correct.
- Check for grammar. Known entities are typically more careful to avoid grammatical errors.
- Do not click any links if the email seems suspicious. Instead, click on the Phish Alert button in Outlook to report the email to the Help Desk.
If you click a suspicious email link:
- Immediately contact the Help Desk if there is a chance you provided your network credentials through a phishing email. Change your password ASAP.
- Even if you didn’t provide your credentials, there is a chance the link you clicked on caused malware to be installed on your computer or smartphone. The Help Desk can examine your computer to make sure no malicious software was downloaded.
- Contact the IRS if you believe your tax forms are compromised.
The IRS offers additional security awareness guidelines. Many thanks to Becki Mendivil in ISO for sharing these tips to keep us safe online!
The mission of the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) is simple, but not easy. According to Dr. Steve Leslie, Academic Affair’s executive vice chancellor, the group's mission is simply to support and advance the missions of the eight UT academic institutions. But each one has different strengths and needs, requiring an individualized strategic approach to enhance institutional excellence and student success.
“We have a deep understanding of each institution and work with the campus leaders based on each one’s needs and mission,” explained Dr. Leslie. “Each campus provides a five-year prioritized plan at the beginning of the academic year that outlines how they plan to advance their mission, then an accomplishments report at the end of the year.”
“We have a teleconference with the presidents every other week, along with a monthly meeting with the provosts,” he added. “We work closely with the Office of Strategic Initiatives to be data-driven, to provide data analysis that helps them understand how they’re doing within the critical domains.”
In addition to the support provided to each campus individually, the Office of Academic Affairs serves as an advocate and leader for the institutions’ common goals. That includes tuition-setting, working with the Office of Government Relations to represent their issues to the Texas Legislature, submitting proposals and requests to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and ensuring that requests for resources align with Board of Regents goals.
That type of support was key to the establishment of the two new medical schools on academic campuses (UT Austin and UT Rio Grande Valle). UT System provided the foundational structure and financial assistance for the two schools, including gaining legislative approval to apply the same funding formula used for health institutions.
Over the past three years, there has been renewed focus on student success within the UT System. The Office of Academic Affairs works with each campus to organize resources to best serve students in the most effective, efficient and affordable ways.
“We want to maximize affordability in the context of having sufficient revenue to support quality,” said Dr. Leslie. “Students and their families want to know their degrees mean something.”
“The key to institutional excellence,” he added, “is quality faculty.” But creating the best environment to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members means something different depending on each institution’s status, needs and the competition they face. The Office of Academic Affairs works with the UT System Faculty Advisory Council to develop programs and policies that encourage and recognize teaching excellence, as well as with the Student Advisory Council to ensure student input is considered.
“Our team has extraordinary talent, dedication and commitment to serving the campuses and helping them achieve their goals,” stated Dr. Leslie. “I have a strong sense of pride working with this group to support UT System’s academic mission.”
When the Ambassador Network program was introduced in April 2015, the UT System Administration was in a time of transition: new leadership, impending office moves, and changes resulting from the organizational assessment. The Ambassadors helped facilitate the critical communications between employees and executive management and across functional roles and boundaries.
While the need for communication has not diminished, access to information and internal leaders has increased through Idea Central, the System@Work newsletter, “Coffee with David” meetings, and the All Hands meetings. As a result, participation in the Ambassador Network has decreased. Input from current and past Ambassadors led to a recommendation that the program be closed and key functions be transitioned to Staff Council.
Those key functions, include managing the “Conversations with Leadership” series that will now be open to all employees and serving as a liaison between staff and senior leadership.
An event has been planned for February to thank the Change Ambassadors who were instrumental in enhancing communications during a critical time.
Stephanie Huie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, has been invited to serve on the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Higher Education Committee of 50 (“Forward50”). The coalition of forward-thinking higher education leaders has been charged with developing policy solutions to help overcome obstacles preventing students from enrolling in, paying for and graduating from college. The group will produce white papers on policy areas related to access, affordability, accountability and transparency that offer practical solutions and recommendations for Congress to consider as part of the Higher Education Act reauthorization process.
After more than 15 years as a business and regulatory litigator in private practice, David Lein has joined the UT System as senior associate general counsel and managing attorney. In this role, he leads the business law section, which provides legal counsel and advice to UT System Administration and the 14 institutions on issues such as construction, contracts and procurement, intellectual property and technology transactions, and tax and estate planning.
“I love the breadth and importance of the problems we get to solve here,” David says. “Our fundamental work is to help the academic and health institutions in their efforts to develop better people, better healthcare, and better research.”
After completing his undergraduate degree at UT Austin, David earned a law degree and a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University. David’s wife, Melanie, is an optometrist and they have two children: Chloe, 14, and Brennan, 10.
Be sure to welcome David to UT System!
In February, several events are planned to help System Administration staff stay healthy.
Thanks to a partnership with Catapult Health, UT Select medical members can get a free preventive health checkup without leaving the building. Appointments are available on February 7 and 8 but must be made in advance. The 30- to 40-minute appointment will include bloodwork analysis, blood pressure and BMI measurements and a tele-consult with a registered nurse practitioner.
February is American Heart Month and the annual UT System Heart Walk is scheduled for February 9. Paired with a healthy diet, walking is one of the best activities for a healthy heart. Meet in the first floor lobby at 10 a.m. for a 30-minute trek to get your heart moving.
On February 12, you have the chance to help improve the health of others by donating blood. Schedule your donation to participate in the Blood Drive to be held on February 12, 8 a.m to noon. You just might help save a life!
Fitness classes continue to be offered through February and yoga is back on the schedule. For the latest information and details on all the events planned, go to the Wellness page or contact Kendra Bolton at ext. 4797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.