I hope we all can take a moment to marvel at how far we’ve come in just a few months. You can feel the energy on the main campus as students stream down Scholars Lane and the Academic Walk. And all of you, in ways large and larger, played a role in making it happen. Whether it was organizing parking as the campus repopulated, ramping up dining services or finding homes for thousands of students, DFA staff performed herculean lifts across the university.
It was like we went from zero to 100 miles an hour in no time at all.
We brought our Bobcat Kittens back to the ECEC and warmed up the Conference Center. Our Student Employment and Payroll teams got students aboard in important campus roles. And all of you working to get the campus community up to speed on the Oracle financial system deserve full credit for listening, adjusting and upgrading. There’s still much work to do. I’m confident we will, sooner than later, take full advantage of the systems’ capabilities.
Thank you for everything you do. If there’s anything you want to talk about, I’m keeping regular office hours (details below). Otherwise, I hope to see you on campus or at the DCC.
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
JOIN US AT THE NEXT OPEN HOUSE
Please mark your calendars for the next DFA Open House, scheduled for 3-4 p.m. 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!
Open houses are scheduled to be held every other month.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a date and time.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR NEW INTERIM CPO
During the Sept. 24 DFA Open House, Kurt Schnier announced that Meagan Torres has accepted an appointment as Interim Chief Procurement Officer.
Meagan, the Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager for Procurement Services, has been with UC Merced since 2014. Her expertise in information technology and purchasing was pivotal to acquisition of the High Performance Computing Cluster (MERCED), the purchase of an electron microscope for the Biological and Material Sciences, and an end-to-end refreshing of the university’s IT network equipment. In 2016-17, she worked for UCOP’s Strategic Center of Excellence, contributing to projects that benefitted all UC campuses.
Her diverse background includes commodities buyer for the City of Modesto, IT coordinator/buyer for Save Mart Supermarkets, and owner of a restaurant and an art gallery.
Meagan said she is eager to carry on the transformative work initiated by former CPO Josh Dubroff, who now serves as CPO of the University of New Hampshire System.
"In the last five years, I have worked side by side with Josh to bring modernization, efficiencies and cost savings to UC Merced," Meagan said. "I'm proud of our efforts to create the Supply Chain Center of Excellence and all that it represents. We will continue to work with our DFA partners and with campus partners and outside suppliers to sharpen efficiencies and deliver quality customer service."
"Meagan has played a critical role in supporting our campus's procurement needs," Kurt said, "and I look forward to working with her in this new capacity as we endeavor to redefine our procurement processes to support our broader community. Her focus on the end user's perspective and her drive to focus on their satisfaction will pay dividends in our support of the campus."
Meagan, who will report directly to Kurt, joins a leadership transition team that includes Interim Controller Chris Robinson and Interim Assistant Controller Kelli Maxey.
CHANCELLOR'S CAMPUS ADDRESS THIS WEEK
We encourage everyone to listen to Chancellor Muñoz’s Campus Address this Friday morning, Oct. 8. The Chancellor’s remarks will touch on several subjects that directly affect the Division.
The address will take place 10-11 a.m. at the Lakireddy Ballroom in the new Conference Center and can be viewed online (register here). You can attend in person (register here) but note that seating is limited because of COVID-19 protections.
STAY UP TO DATE
DFA News: Be informed about Division announcements and upcoming events. There also are links to previous DFA Update newsletters and other archived resources.
Financial Responsibility: News and updates from town halls and other communications about the university's financial picture.
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 Senior Accountant Craig Lebedur.
What do you do in your job? A benefit to working in General Accounting is working in multiple areas. One area I work in is financial control, which involves processing and reconciling intercampus transactions, so I work a lot with other campuses and the Office of the President (OP). Everything must be processed a certain way to reconcile for year-end and to avoid the “out of balance” reminder from OP. I also maintain the books and prepare the financial statements for the UC Merced Foundation, which involves an outside audit each year, at which time I become very popular. Similarly, I prepare the Annual Financial Report for UC Merced (luckily, no audit there). I’m also the gifts and endowments accountant, so I work a lot with Philanthropy & Strategic Partnerships.
What do you enjoy the most about it? It sounds a little cliché, but I really like working with people. Having been here a little over eight years I’ve been lucky to establish good relationships with many people here as well as at other campuses and OP. With the Foundation, I like that it’s a process that puts things together from beginning to end as opposed to working on just one piece, although when the audit rolls around there’s no one to blame but me! The UCM Financials are always a good learning experience as each area needs “discussion and analysis,” so I’m often getting into areas I’m not real familiar with. Why did UC Merced’s share of the net retiree health benefit liability go way up? Hmmm, that’s a really good question. Something to do with actuarial tables, I think. Can I phone a friend on that one?
What’s one thing you want everyone to know about General Accounting? I think accountants are sometimes characterized as not the most exciting people in the world but we’re a fun group. Stop by and visit sometime!
Are you an early bird or a night owl? I don’t think I’m either. It depends on the day of the week and all that is going on, but I think I’m moving a little bit from an owl to an early bird. Some days I get up really early, which is nice because you get so much done early but by the end of the day you feel as though you could easily go to sleep on the kitchen floor.
What do you like to do to relax? I’ve been getting into interval training at the gym, which is a great cardio workout and you feel so good afterward. Going for a hike and being out in nature is always relaxing. Similarly, trail races are really fun and scenic and so much more interesting than a regular 5K or 10K on the street. I’m not sure why it took so long for that concept to become popular. Instead of running on a hot asphalt road where we pound our legs into oblivion, let’s go run in the woods, on dirt, through nature where’s it’s beautiful. There are fractals everywhere in nature, which is one of the theories for why it’s relaxing and good for you. Listening to music or watching an old Western movie is always good, too.
You can keep only three apps on your phone that aren’t related to your job. What are they? There are job-related apps? Remind me to never get those. The two I use the most are both music apps. I have music on as much of the day as possible. I like many different kinds, some more than others of course; blues, rock, classical, jazz, country, Cajun, and even opera. I like Spotify to create my own playlists (and because I can use my brother’s account) and Pandora when letting the app generate the mix. The third is the Paranormal Radio app which keeps me updated on the latest UFO and Bigfoot news! Maybe I’ll apply for a grant to fund an expedition to search for Bigfoot.
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? I’d like to island-hop in the South Pacific. Maybe the islands of French Polynesia or the Fiji Islands. I’d need a boat. A somewhat big boat so I’m not throwing up all the time. Why the South Pacific? The warm climate, clear waters, dense tropical forests. So much to explore. You could go snorkeling, fishing, drop in a kayak somewhere or hike through a forest. Find a place or town you like and stay for a while, meet some people. Maybe rent a hut on a beach. Catch some fish and cook them. It’d be great.
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: If you could make one of these happen, which would you choose? There were 21 responses: