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  • Transitions for AFI
  • DFA Budget Call
  • Welcome, New AVC/Controller 
  • Maxey Named Asst. Controller 
Division Colleagues,

Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of change. As the omicron surge abates, we hold hope that we can soon shift into life without the physical and emotional trappings of a pandemic. We must continue to follow the science, be vigilant and take the steps necessary to protect ourselves and each other – but things are looking up. 

DFA teams continue to play important roles in improving the campus community’s experience with the Oracle financial system. We’re listening to our users, rolling out upgrades, providing new training, and generally just trying hard to be there to help. Thank you. 

Finally, Financial Planning & Analysis, along with other fiscal experts under DFA, is playing a crucial part in the university’s restructured budget call process, which puts more budget-developing determination in the hands of the divisions and schools while ensuring the resulting UC Merced budget cleaves to the university’s strategic plan

Everyone in DFA is doing incredible work to keep this university operating while looking out for each other. I am proud to call you my colleagues.  

Kurt Schnier 
Interim Vice Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer 
February marked the start of significant changes in the organizational structure of Auxiliary Enterprises and Fiscal Innovation. As of the start of the month, the directors of Housing and Dining, along with the Custodial and Facilities Management teams that support these areas, report to the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Life and Residence Education Martin Reed in the Division of Student Affairs.

Transportation and Parking Services, Early Childhood Education Center, Hospitality Services and the University Store continue to operate within DFA. In addition, we are recruiting for an assistant vice chancellor position who will be responsible for an expanded portfolio we are calling Fiscal Innovation and Operations. Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor Gerry Elizondo will continue to support these areas until the AVC/FIO position is filled.
Since its creation in 2019, AFI has faced several changes and transitions, in addition to disruptions caused by the pandemic. The latest organizational adjustments are designed primarily to strengthen our services and improve the client experience of our campus community. We thank the AFI team for their hard work and patience as we plot the course ahead. 
This spring semester, the entire campus is engaging in the UC Merced "budget call" process, which is designed to determine effective, sustainable financial plans for the university's schools and divisions. The process aligns resource allocations with UC Merced's strategic plan – a blueprint for growth, academic advancement and diversity through the year 2030.   

For the remainder of February and in the month of March, DFA AVCs and directors/managers will be engaged in the budget call planning process with their respective units in preparation for the April 15 submission deadline. To support the process, acquaint yourself with the strategic plan. If you have questions about the budget call for your department or unit, please reach out to your supervisor/manager/director. 

Here is the budget call timeline for fiscal year 2022-23:

  • November 2021: Formal budget call announcement to schools and divisions
  • Feb. 1 – April 14, 2022: EVC/Provost and CFO meet with the Academic Senate and Strategic Planning Teams to discuss campus priorities.
  • April 15: Budget call requests for both one-time and permanent funding due from schools and divisions
  • April 15 – April 29: EVC/Provost and CFO meet with division leads (Vice and Associate Chancellors) to review budget requests, with divisions presenting the required budget call information. 
  • May 2-13: EVC/Provost and CFO develop a proposed budget allocation, for both one-time and permanent funding, and present at the Senior Administrative Council. Feedback from the council is reviewed and a recommendation is provided to the Chancellor.
  • May 20: Chancellor makes budget allocation decisions for one-time and permanent funding.
As of Feb. 7, university staff were able to return to the on-site or hybrid work schedules they were on before the omicron variant surge forced tighter restrictions of in-person activities. Please visit the Campus Ready site for details on how to keep you and others safe. But here are some high points: 

  • The state of California on Feb. 16 lifted its indoor masking mandate for fully vaccinated people in public places. However, UC Merced will continue to require universal masking indoors for the foreseeable future
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Coming to work and risking your health and those of others is not worth anyone’s time. Please remember we’re not just dealing with coronavirus; it’s also flu season.
  • If you’re eligible for a booster shot, get one on campus from a local pharmacy or clinic. Then log proof of vaccination here.
  • Upgraded face covering such as KN95, KF94, N95 or three-ply surgical masks are required at all times when inside UC Merced-operated buildings, on university public transit or when traveling with someone else in a fleet vehicle.
  • Fully boosted staff should participate in the university’s asymptomatic screening program. The once-a-month testing is free. 
The following message was provided by DCC Building Services Manager Mark Lutz:

As we return back to the Downtown Campus Center after building about two years, I was asked to provide reminders for continuing operations in the building. Welcome Back!

  • There have been recent instances in which people are occupying rooms others have booked for their meetings. This is a friendly reminder to reserve rooms prior to use. Now that we have returned to in-person work and meetings, please be courteous and remember you must reserve conference/meeting rooms to use them. This is done through EMS.
  • If you are having issues printing, scanning, faxing or copying, please contact Sara Tinoco (Print Services) to resolve.
  • If you are having issues with Wi-Fi connectivity or conference room technology, please contact OIT at 209-228-HELP.
  • If you are having access issues, please contact Gina Vieira (vvieira@ucmerced.edu) for lock and access permissions.
  • Please clean up after yourselves in kitchen areas and do not leave your food items in refrigerators for longer than a week.
  • Continue to follow social distancing, face covering and sanitation protocols.
  • For safety/security reasons, do not allow individuals without badge access into the building (ie; following after you). Have them go to the front desk for assistance entering the building.
Feb. 14 marked the first day at UC Merced for Amanda Preston-Nelson, our new Assistant Vice Chancellor and Controller. As she settles in as the leader of Business and Financial Services, be sure to say hello when she’s on campus and the DCC. 
Congratulations to Kelli Maxey, who, after an internal recruitment process, was selected as Assistant Controller for Business and Financial Services. Kelli, who has been with UC Merced since 2015, will assume the role March 1. Currently the director of Administrative Budget and Policy for Financial Planning and Analysis, Kelli has served as interim assistant controller since August 2021. She will assume the permanent role March 1. 
Our teams continue to take bold steps to improve the university’s experience with the Oracle financial management system. Last month, we launched the Oracle Toolkit, which organizes training material and knowledge resources. There are new, easy-to-follow instructional videos and links to helpful sites. More videos are in the pipeline. 

In addition, the teams working on the Oracle Data Integrity Project reported their first findings to university users and Alpha Financials launch partner Deloitte is being brought to support our efforts.
DFA has scheduled a pair of Financial Responsibility Town Hall events. Kurt will address the university’s financial picture and talk about pivotal subjects such as the new university-wide budget call process. Mark your calendars:
  • 11 a.m. - noon Wednesday, March 2 via Zoom 
  • 2 – 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 1. Location and links to come. 
The next DFA Open House is scheduled for 10 – 11 a.m. Thursday, March 17. These events have been a great way to share Division news and catch up with each other. Tap the button below for the Zoom link.

Open Houses are scheduled to be held every other month. Videos and presentation slides from past events, including the most recent gathering in January, are archived here

DFA Suggestion Box: If you have questions or ideas you'd like to be addressed, please share them here. All posts are anonymous. You also can reach out at dofa@ucmerced.edu
Interim Vice Chancellor and CFO Kurt Schnier is holding office hours every other week from 2 to 4 p.m. The office hours will provide an opportunity to connect with Kurt to discuss any topic of your choosing. Each session will be scheduled for 20 minutes.
To sign up for a meeting, send an email to dofa@ucmerced.edu to reserve a date and time.
We’ve had quite a few people join the Division recently. Here are colleagues hired in December and January. Welcome! 
Carmen Aguiniga 
David Anderson 
Ashley Bridler 
Melissa Cacho 
Ashley Charo  
Diego Espinoza 
Sofia Ortiz Ramos 
Julian Lopez-Robles 
Bee Xiong 
Jose Ramires-Moreno 
Miriam Centeno 
Carlos Torres-Moreno 
Lacee Yokley 
Is this cute or what? In January, an Early Childhood Education Center parent drove into the Sierra, loaded his truck with snow, and brought it down to the center. The children had a ball, ECEC Director Danielle Waite reports. 
Each month, we turn a spotlight on a Division colleague to learn about their lives with UC Merced and beyond. Is there someone you would like to nominate for the monthly profile? Let us know.
This month’s profile is on Executive Sous Chef Buntha John Oung. Even as Dining Services transitions from DFA to Student Affairs, we want John and everyone in Dining and Housing to know we continue to support them and are proud of their work. 
What do you do in your job? I am responsible for managing financial and budgetary targets, along with procurement and inventory control of day-to-day dining operations and anything to do with operational needs.                           
What do you enjoy the most about it?  I find enjoyment in leading professional and personal development for our staff and student staff, while promoting current culinary techniques and preserving the history and skills of our craft. 
What’s one thing you want everyone to know about Dining Services? The university would be interested to know that Dining Services is the largest employer of students. We are proud of our employment program and enjoy seeing many of our students go on to have successful careers. I am especially proud of our staff and students who worked non-stop through the COVID pandemic to serve the students on campus for more than two long, hard years. 
You’re cooking a special meal for family and friends. What’s on the menu? Kuy teav (Khmer noodle soup) is my most loved by my family and friends. Kuy teav is a noodle soup made from pork or beef stock and rice vermicelli and toppings that include bean sprouts and green onions. A variety of meat choices can be added, such as pork, chicken, fish balls and beef, as well as seafood. 
What do you like to do to relax? Fishing, hiking, camping, basketball, singing, dancing and cooking 
You can keep only three apps on your phone that aren’t related to your job. What are they? Amazon Prime, Pandora and Disney+ 
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? I would to live in Huntington Beach again. Something about the coast makes the people there friendly and loveable, unlike anywhere I have experienced. The beautiful views are amazing, even on rainy days. 
Thanks to everyone who responded to the last question:What is the best meal of the day? There were 15 responses: 
This month's question:
Do you multitask during online meetings?
Do you have questions? Feedback you want to share? Something you want to put into the next newsletter? Reach out via our Comment Box or by emailing us at dofa@ucmerced.edu
DFA Update, a newsletter for the Division of Finance and Administration, is published monthly. Follow these links to catch up on news in earlier issues: