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July 2018

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Nominations Now Open for Staff Council Membership

Staff Council members are dedicated to making UT System Administration an even better place to work. They plan events and programs that foster a sense of community, seek employee input and ideas, share information and address concerns with leaders and staff. If you’d like to join this dedicated group or know someone who would, now is the time to submit nominations.

Nominations should be sent to staffcouncil@utsystem.edu by 5 p.m. on July 13, 2018. To be eligible, nominees must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a full-time appointment to a benefits-eligible position at System Administration.
  • Have at least six months of current, continuous service at System Administration.
  • Not be subject to an active Performance Improvement Plan. 
  • Have their supervisors’ approval to spend designated work hours on Staff Council related business.
  • Be willing to commit to a two- or three-year term.

The goal is to have at least one representative per System Administration Building floor and off-site departments. If needed, elections will be held in August. New members will begin serving September 1. For more information, contact a Staff Council member.  A list of current members is available on the Staff Council web page.


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Wallace Looks Forward and Back with Retirement

Randy Wallace is retiring from his dream job. Joining the UT System budget office was a career goal early on—one he achieved when he came to System Administration as an assistant budget director in 1994. He succeeded beyond his initial dreams, rising through the ranks to become the UT System’s associate vice chancellor - controller and chief budget officer. Now he is leaving the job he loves to spend more time with the family he loves.

“Leaving is bittersweet,” Randy says. “I’ve enjoyed my work and I will really miss the people here, especially my team. But I want to retire while I’m still healthy and able to enjoy doing what I want to do.”

UT has almost always been part of Randy’s life. His dad was a long-time UT Austin employee, and Randy worked on campus in the summer during high school and part-time while attending Texas State University. After graduating, Randy became manager of UT Austin’s Jester Center Store, where he spent several years working his way up before being offered a job at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board—his only employer outside the UT family. He spent the next 10 years becoming an expert on the higher education funding formulas and higher education finance/accounting, which resulted in him being recruited for the budget office job at UT System.

“When I first started here, Dr. Cunningham was Chancellor and he wanted data,” Randy recalls. “I had all the typical responsibilities of an assistant budget director, but my real job was to answer Chancellor Cunningham’s financial questions. I had the knowledge of the funding formulas and conducting the institutional research was a great learning experience.”

Texas Senator Bill Ratliff, who was then Senate Finance Committee chair, also appreciated Randy’s knowledge of the funding formulas and asked for his help in simplifying the formulas during the 75th Texas Legislative Session in 1997.  With Randy’s support, the senator was able to revise and simplify the formulas that are still in use today.

There have been many changes since Randy joined the UT System 24 years ago. Back then, the operating budget was $4 billion, compared to $18.3 billion today. He was involved in the financial analysis related to the dissolution of the UT Brownsville and Texas Southmost Community College campus, the creation of UT Rio Grande Valley and the establishment of two new medical schools within the System. System Administration departments have changed to meet institutions’ needs, and Chancellors, board members, presidents and other leaders have come and gone.

But some things have remained the same.

“I became the budget director in August 1998 and I’m proud to say that in all the years since we have never failed to produce a budget on time for approval at the August Board of Regents meeting,” Randy says. “That may sound like a small accomplishment but putting together a budget following a legislative session that does not end until May 31 is a challenge.”

Looking back, there are many accomplishments Randy is proud of: among them, integrating the UT System budget function into the Controller’s Office to better coordinate financial reporting; implementing Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) 34, described then as “the most significant change to occur in the history of governmental finance reporting”; and instituting the practice of hiring external auditors to issue opinions regarding the integrity of the UT System financial statements.

But Randy is most proud of the team he has built at System Administration. “I hired all but one of the staff we now have and most have been with me a very long time,” he says. “I rely on them—without them I would not have accomplished the things I got the credit for or that happened during my tenure.”

Now he’s ready to move on to his next dream—spending more time with his wife, Jo, their three grown sons and daughters-in-law, and their first grandchild—the first girl in three generations—who’s expected to be born in August. He and Jo may even get back on the dance floor more often—the native Austinite spent much of his youth in Central Texas honky-tonks, becoming “more than just proficient” in the Texas two-step. He also has a goal of getting his golf handicap down to the single digits.

As he looks forward, he considers the career he built and the memories he made.

“I hope that I will be remembered as someone who could be trusted and relied upon, who was diplomatic and respectful of others, who possessed a wealth of knowledge about higher education funding, financing and budgeting, and who represented the UT System before the legislature, the Board of Regents, the institutions and the public with the highest level of integrity,” Randy states.

That legacy seems secure. Congratulations, Randy Wallace. Enjoy retirement!


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On a Mission to Identify UT System’s Women Vets

In honor of Women Veterans Day on June 12, UT System’s Leadership Development & Veterans’ Affairs team created a video to honor and thank women veterans. Texas has more female veterans than any other state—about 177,500. However, studies indicate as many as 70 percent of women veterans do not self-identify as veterans, which can cause them to miss out on benefits and support systems established in honor of their unique sacrifices. If you’re a woman who has served, or know someone who has who may not be receiving their hard-earned benefits and support, please contact Larry Wallace at lwallace@utsystem.edu or Tony Cucolo at acucolo@utsystem.edu to self-identify and further the cause of honoring women veterans.


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Let’s Yammer Away

One of the advantages of Office 365 is the wide array of apps available through UT System’s subscription, including “Yammer,” a communication and collaboration platform that offers a replacement to Workplace (by Facebook). 

Yammer is intended for informal, work-related announcements and information that could potentially interest all System Administration staff, such as notifications about Wellness programs, Staff Council events or building-wide social activities. Like Workplace (or your personal Facebook account), Yammer allows you to see messages posted by anyone in your network—in this case, System Administration staff—and to comment on or “like” accordingly.

Once you join Yammer through UT System’s Office 365 account (using your SNAC), you will automatically be included in the System Administration group. You then can create your own groups to exchange information and files with specific teams, projects or departments. Just remember that the Acceptable Use Policy applies to Yammer like any other UT System digital or print communications tool, which means no solicitations, advocacy or sales are allowed.

Simply click on the Yammer icon in Office 365 and complete your profile, or accept an invitation sent from another System Administration colleague. Additional information about Yammer, tips to get started, using Yammer for employee engagement and at-a-glance resources can have you using Yammer like a pro in no time. OTIS also will be providing an overview during “10s@11” sessions later this month.


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Share Your Creative Talents

Calling all musicians and artists! Many System Administration staff have creative talents beyond the workplace. Now you have the opportunity to share your musical or artistic abilities with your coworkers.

Artwork created by System Administration employees will be showcased at the first UTSB Art Exhibit, scheduled for August 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the UT System Building (UTSB). All staff are welcome to participate and attend. Any visual art form, including paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and crafts, can be exhibited. Just send a photograph of what you would like to show to Paige Buechley (pbuechley@utsystem.edu) so space, a table or an easel can be provided as appropriate.

If you’re more the musical type, consider joining the UTSB band, the “Skeleton Crew.” Vocalists and all types of instruments are welcome. Members currently practice every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. on the 14th floor. Email pbuechley@utsystem.edu for more information or to sign up.


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With Privilege Comes Responsibility

The Office of Information Security is constantly working to minimize the risk to UT System’s information resources. One way is by limiting the use of administrator privileges that allow users to install software or hardware and even make configuration changes to work computers. According to a report by Forrester Research, 80 percent of all data breaches involve the use of privileged credentials.

Administrator privileges can be exploited inadvertently when:

  • a malicious email is opened,
  • a malicious file is downloaded and opened, or
  • a user visits a website infected with malicious code.

It may not be obvious when it happens, but once attacked a computer can quickly be controlled, keystroke logging software can be installed or malicious actions can be hidden from view. A cybercriminal who infiltrates a computer and user account that has administrator privileges can attack not only that computer, but files and applications, including email and the shared network, putting the entire UT System network at risk.

To combat the threat, UT System implements a security control called “least privilege,” which means users are given only the permissions or privileges needed to perform their assigned duties. Administrator privileges are only given to those employees whose jobs require it. And all accounts are closely monitored to prevent and detect cyberattacks. The Office of Information Security is available to answer questions and address any concerns.


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Active Shooter Response Training Scheduled

The Office of the Director of Police (ODOP) has scheduled training sessions in July to help System Administration employees know what to do in the event of an active shooter in the building. The sessions were requested by the Office of Human Resources and the Organizational Effectiveness Office in response to questions from employees after recent workplace and school shootings in other cities.

The “Run, Hide, Fight” one-hour sessions will be repeated at various times over two days to offer more opportunities for participation. In addition to attending one of those sessions, supervisors are asked to attend a 30-minute training focused on the roles and expectations for managers. All sessions will be held in the UTS Building 2nd floor conference room and are scheduled as follows:

  • July 18, 3 - 4 p.m.
  • July 19, 9 - 10 a.m.
  • July 19, 10:30 - 11 a.m.: Supervisor training
  • July 19, 1 - 2 p.m.
  • July 19, 3 - 4 p.m.

For more information about these sessions, contact ODOP Chief of Staff David Ferrero at dferrero@utsystem.edu.

In addition, ODOP and the Office of Risk Management make available videos for use by all UT institutions that provide awareness training for workplace violence and active shooter scenarios.