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  • Welcome from Kurt Schnier
  • DFA Open House Sept. 24
  • New Transition Team Announced
  • A Call for STAR Award Nominations
Dear Division Colleagues, 

It’s wonderful to see the university come to life. Students flowing to and from classes. People grabbing a bite at the Lantern Cafe. Even seeing the parking lots filled with vehicles is a beautiful sight. And you all made it happen by being resourceful, innovative and focused through one of the most difficult shared experiences we will ever face.

These next few weeks will be pivotal as we ramp up and maintain campus operations. In addition to following the COVID-19 mitigation guidance at UC Merced, I trust you also are doing your part off campus by protecting the health of yourself and others. The campus community’s overall vaccination rate of nearly 90% is outstanding, but it doesn’t make us invulnerable.

I look forward to seeing you at our online Open House on Sept. 24. I’m also holding office hours (details below) so we can meet one-on-one.
Thank you for everything you do for the university and for each other. Go, Bobcats! 

Kurt Schnier 
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer 
Please mark your calendars for the next DFA Open House, scheduled for 10-11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 24 (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 set to be held every other month. The following open house is scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Nov. 17

Videos, slides and Q&As from previous open houses 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 us at dofa@ucmerced.edu
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer 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 have some new people on the team that will work with Interim Vice Chancellor/CFO Kurt Schnier in guiding and supporting the Division for the next several months.

Student Business Services Director Chris Robinson has been named interim controller. In addition to continuing to oversee SBS, Chris is providing support for Travel and Expense Management; Financial Systems Support; Tax Services; and Payroll Services.
Administrative Budget and Policy Director Kelli Maxey has been named interim assistant controller. Kelli provides oversight and support of General Accounting; Project Portfolio Financial Management; Treasury, Banking and Cashiering Services; and Accounts Payable.
Kim Groesbeck, who retired in June as interim controller, capping years of service and leadership to the university’s financial services, is serving as an adviser to Kurt and Chris. 
A few tips and reminders as fall semester begins:

  • Paid parking is required on the main campus. Visit taps.ucmerced.edu/facultystaff to review parking options. Refer to the fall 2021 transit schedules for CatTracks and Route UC schedules. 
  • Pavilion Dining Center is open and serving guests indoors. Lantern Café and Bobcat Snack Stop are open at the Kolligian Library. Everyone is required to wear a face covering indoors except when eating and drinking. Pay with a debit card, credit card or CatCard; the venues do not accept cash or coin.
  • Yablokoff Wallace Dining Center and Summits Marketplace are closed until further notice.
  • Bobcat Meal Plans are available for staff. Go here for details.
After a year’s absence because of the pandemic, the annual STAR (STaff Appreciation and Recognition) Awards have returned. The awards recognize extraordinary contributions above and beyond an employee’s established day-to-day job responsibilities. Employees can be nominated by a supervisor, manager or department head. This PDF provides more details about the DFA STAR Awards process. Please submit completed individual or team nomination forms to dofa@ucmerced.edu no later than COB Friday, Sept. 10.
  • DFA News: Be informed about Division announcements and upcoming events. There also are links to previous DFA Update newsletters and other archived resources.
  • Campus Ready: Your primary source for information and updates about COVID-19 guidance and on-site work.
  • Vaccinations: Where to go to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and how to document your completed vaccination online 
  • 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 of Financial Management Analyst Kassi Reyes of the Project Portfolio Financial Management team. 
What do you do in your job? The easy explanation is as an analyst for PPFM we ensure projects and grants are being properly maintained start to finish. This includes the setup, invoicing and/or reporting, answering ServiceNow tickets for any needed cost transfers or journals submitted, and the close out of projects. There’s lots of other fun stuff we do, but who can remember it all? 
What do you enjoy the most about it? Believe it or not, I enjoy the organization of it all and the investigative work that is sometimes required. I also am extremely lucky in that our team works very well together and makes this job easy to come to!

What’s one thing you want everyone to know about PPFM? We are definitely a team of hard-working individuals who want to make sure we are doing our job to the best of our ability. We are hopeful and excited that in these coming years we will help ensure contract and grants, gift and endowments, and capital and internal projects are handled smoothly and efficiently, and that we give everyone at the university the customer service they deserve!
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Can I say neither? I feel a 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. schedule isn’t asking too much. I think I’m a mid-day kind of girl.
What do you like to do to relax? I mean, with five kids and four fur babies, relaxing can be difficult! However, I love going on road trips with my husband (Kevin Reyes, pictured above), wine tasting, watching a good TV show or movie, reading a good book, and a little gardening.
You can keep only three apps on your phone that aren’t related to your job. What are they? Pinterest (because how else am I going to make all those things out of used coffee containers?), Pandora (I love music), and Life 360 (because I enjoy stalking my children and husband).
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? Ireland! As someone with Irish roots, I’ve always wanted to go. I mean, who wouldn’t? The weather, the landscape, the history, the food, the culture, the pubs, the people … the accents … need I say more? 
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: What is the best part about returning to on-site work?  There were 15 responses: 
This month's question:
If you could make just one of these happen, which would you choose?
Never be put on hold when contacting customer service
Never have to stop at a red light
Never have to stand in a line
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: