Darrell Bazzell updates projects, looks ahead to 2014

December 19, 2013

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell sent the following message this week, providing thanks to staff and updates on several VCFA and campuswide projects as 2013 comes to a close.

UW-Madison Finance and Administration Staff,

It’s hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of another semester and calendar year, and I hope the year has been a good one for you. As UW–Madison enters its semester break, I want to personally thank each of you for your efforts day-in and day-out that help make this such an outstanding university.

Darrell Bazzell

Darrell Bazzell

The work we do together in finance, administration and student-life programming contributes greatly to the success of our students and enriches the UW–Madison experience for students, faculty, staff and the general public. Whether you provide student-life services in Housing, maintain our facilities in Facilities, Planning and Management or provide financial support in Business Services – to name just a few specific areas – you make this a better place. You have good reason to be proud of your contributions to this world-class university and vital resource for the state of Wisconsin.

As we look ahead to semester break and the holiday season, I thought this would be a good time to update you on several important projects that have or soon will be coming to fruition. These VCFA and campus initiatives represent innovative responses to challenges we face as a campus community.

  • Plans for moving the campus to a single email and calendaring system, Office 365, have progressed, with early adopters beginning to migrate to the new system in January 2014 and the remainder of the campus by next summer. As you can imagine, this is a very complex undertaking. With the partnership of numerous technical and business leaders across all units, however, we look forward to the consistency and other advantages that the new system will bring. It will lead to improved efficiency in scheduling meetings and events and will reduce the amount of time spent on scheduling. The most recent news and upcoming plans for Office 365 are available on the project web site.
  • As was announced earlier this month, a new policy on alcohol use at UW–Madison events will take effect in January 2014. The new policy was drafted by a campus task force led by University Health Services Executive Director Sarah Van Orman. Recommendations were reviewed by campus governance groups and other stakeholders. The roll-out of the new policy will include new training opportunities and forms for approving events at which alcohol will be served. The new policy is intended to promote a safe campus environment and culture of responsibility.
  • You may be familiar with the e-Reimbursement system for processing travel expenses. Based on user feedback, Administrative Process Redesign (APR), in partnership with Business Services, developed a new, user-friendly interface for submitting expenses to the e-Reimbursement system. The new Guided Expense Tool (GET) interface is in a final pilot phase, with a full campus launch targeted for early 2014. Following roll-out, the GET will be available via the Accounting Services website. 
  • Last winter and spring, Purchasing Services rolled out UW–Madison Preferred Products in a number of areas: office supplies, remanufactured toner and laptop and desktop computers. The strategy, now being applied to additional product categories, helps create an efficient shopping process while offering pre-negotiated low prices on quality products. For example, staff PC purchases of pre-configured computer bundles in the eight months since roll-out have saved the university more than $277,000 in this area alone. Preferred Products are easily identifiable via Purchasing Services’ online store, Shop@UW, and I encourage you to take advantage of the convenience and savings.
  • The Classified Staff Executive Committee, a new campus governance group representing classified employees, is now meeting after an election that featured an impressive slate of candidates and strong voter turnout. I greatly appreciate the efforts of the appointed Classified Staff Advisory Committee, which put extensive work into making this election possible. Through this new governance committee, members of the UW–Madison classified staff will be full participants in institutional shared governance. This will take on special importance in finance and administration because of the large number of classified employees in our area. I look forward to working with the committee.
  • After a successful first year of the campuswide Administrative Achievement Award, the award program that recognizes excellence in administrative roles is being revised to place greater emphasis on innovation, continuous improvement and collaborative efforts. Watch for an announcement of revisions to the program in Inside UW–Madison.
  • As many of you know, an amendment to the 2013-15 state budget delayed implementation of elements of HR Design that require statutory approval until July 2015. However, work in other areas of this important initiative is ongoing. The latest information about HR Design is available at the HR Design website.
  • Finally, we recently completed a refresh of the VCFA website. We have updated the look of the site and reorganized the content to help visitors more easily find the appropriate resources. I welcome your feedback.

I will continue to keep you informed about these and other noteworthy projects. Of course, if you have questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact the project teams designated at the various web links or send a note to me at vcfa@vc.wisc.edu.

Thank you again for your daily and ongoing efforts to strengthen and improve UW–Madison. I hope you find time in the next few weeks to spend with family and friends, enjoy the holiday season and prepare for a rewarding 2014.

Darrell Bazzell

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration