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  • Welcome from Kurt Schnier
  • Open House Nov. 17
  • Meet Controller Candidates 
  • New Faces in DFA 
Dear Division Colleagues, 

Is it November already? My goodness. It seems like the semester is flying by. 

October was a busy and productive month for the Division of Finance and Administration. Our Dining team brought food trucks back to campus while continuing to ramp up service to the university community. Our colleagues in Housing and TAPS hit their stride in providing for student residents, along with delivering parking and transportation services. Restarting a campus after a year of powered-down operations is no easy feat and an incredible accomplishment. Thank you! 

We also took several bold steps in addressing the issues surrounding the Oracle financial systems. The hiring of several new support staff in the Center for Business Services and Solutions, along with other DFA units, was approved, and we launched several initiatives that we will build out in November and the months to come. We will continue to listen to campus stakeholders and are determined to make Oracle the nimble fiscal tool we know it can be. Thank you for your collaborative and thoughtful efforts in this process. 

Also, as the holiday season approaches, I hope everyone will make time to step away from your professional roles and enjoy a break with family and friends. You’ve certainly earned it. 
Be well, 

Kurt Schnier 
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer 
Please mark your calendars for the next DFA Open House, scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 (link to Zoom below). These events have been a great way to share Division news and catch up with each other. And the breakout-room icebreaker is always fun!

Please ensure you have the latest version of Zoom so you can participate in the breakout rooms. Download the latest Zoom software 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 us at dofa@ucmerced.edu

Go here to see video and presentation slides from the Sept. 24 open house, along with content from previous meetings. 
Dates are being set for you to virtually meet candidates for the Division’s Controller position. The Controller oversees Business & Financial Services, which is responsible for UC Merced’s core business processes. Stay tuned for more information about these Zoom meet-ups. 
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 are scheduling a Fiscal Responsibility Town Hall for Wednesday, Nov. 17 (time TBA). Interim VC/CFO Kurt Schnier will offer insights into the university’s financial picture as we head into the holiday season and move closer to spring semester.

We invite everyone to attend and bring your questions.
We’ve had quite a few people join us recently on the Division team. Here are colleagues hired in August, September and October. Welcome!
Saned Hernandez

Violeta De La Cruz Bonilla

Maria Caballero-Cisneros

Maria Valencia

Maribel Herrera de Martinez

Antonio Estrada

Jonathan Gutierrez Santiago

David Ruiz Sanchez
Francisco Correa-Guerrero

Toby Fitzpatrick

Soledad Chavez

Jaime Alcaraz

Frankie Vasquez

Gurpreet Kaur

Andrea Villarreal
It’s great to see food trucks on Scholars Lane again. Thanks to the Dining team for facilitating the return of the trucks in early October and expanding the university community’s meal options. 
A reminder that we’re in the middle of Open Enrollment, the period in which policy-covered staff can make changes and choices in their UC health and life benefits.

Human Resources’ Benefits team is offering several types of support, and UC has a cool new tool, ALEX, that can help you pick the health coverage that best suits you. Open Enrollment closes at 5 p.m. Nov. 19. 
With the pandemic continuing, the potential confluence of infections from COVID-19 and influenza poses a threat to the health and safety at UC Merced and the public at large. The University of California is requiring all staff, students, faculty and other academic appointees working, learning or living at UC locations to get vaccinated against influenza or make an informed choice to opt-out by Friday, Nov. 19.

Those who decide to opt-out of being vaccinated will be required to wear masks or face coverings on campus through the end of the flu season even if COVID-19 requirements are loosened. Please use an online form to attest to receiving a flu vaccination or to confirm a decision to opt-out. Follow this link, then tap Flu Attestation/Declination.
Each year, UC Merced closes in late December for a winter break. For employees, the days are a combination of four paid holidays and a number of "curtailment" dates that can be covered by vacation time, compensatory time (if eligible) or leave without pay.

This year, the university will officially close for seven business days from Thursday, Dec. 23, through Friday, Dec. 31, and reopen Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. The closure period includes four paid holidays (Dec. 23, 24, 30, 31) and three curtailment days (Dec. 27, 28, 29).
UC Merced's first strategic plan – a set of goals and a roadmap to reach them – was set in motion this fall. The strategic plan steers the university to an enrollment of 15,000 by the 2030-31 academic year, supports the ambition to become a research institution with a Carnegie R1 designation, and supports a campus culture of equity and respect. Tap the button below to read about the strategic plan and how it will be implemented. 

As part of the strategic plan, DFA will revisit our own long-term plan and develop a document that outlines initiatives that will support the campus’s goals. Watch for further information as we start to engage with departments and units. 
Each month, we turn the 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 Administrative Assistant Christine Yap of the Finance and Administration Support Team (FAST).

What do you do in your job? Provide administrative support to the Controller, the FP&A Assistant Vice Chancellor and the Chief Procurement Officer. Schedule meetings and assist with catering. Carry out administrative duties such as filing, copying, scanning, etc. Answer questions and requests, maintain supplies inventory and any other duties assigned. 
What do you enjoy the most about it? I enjoy knowing what I do makes an impact on those around me. We have a great team and we’re always available to assist and offer other services to ensure efficient operation of the office.  
What’s one thing you want everyone to know about FAST? If there is one thing that people should know about FAST, it is that we always strive to provide good customer service and we work hard to provide our staff with the necessary tools to succeed. 
Are you an early bird or a night owl? An early bird. A recent study revealed that people who are early birds have greater levels of happiness and are at a lower risk of depression compared to those who are night owls.
What do you like to do to relax? Listen to music, watch dramas and enjoy good food. 
You can keep only three apps on your phone that aren’t related to your job. What are they? Instagram, WhatsApp, and Waze and Google Maps. 
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? Switzerland. It is packed with some of the continent's most beautiful places and epic landscapes. 
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: What is your favorite movie series? There were 33 responses: 
This month's question:
What's your preference for a holiday dinner main course?
Roast beef
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: