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  • A Message from Kurt Schnier 
  • Guidance for On-site Work
  • DFA Open House Returns
  • Changes to Box Storage
July marks an inflection point in our journey through the pandemic. Many faculty and staff, including Division team members, who spent more than 15 months working remotely will begin transitioning to some form of on-site work. Though the DFA’s workplan has been updated to note an Aug. 2 target date for staff members being on-site at least 20% of the time, I’ve recommended using the month of July to readjust to an in-person schedule at your own pace. 
I’m aware the changes in Division leadership and uncertainty moving forward have added stress to an already challenging time. We are taking steps to reduce that uncertainty and continue to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. On July 26, we will resume our DFA Open House gatherings on Zoom (details below). We will hold them every other month, alternating with DFA Leadership Meetings that will help drive the Division’s strategic direction. I also will soon announce office hours in which you can meet with me to discuss anything pertinent to your UC Merced career. 
The people of DFA have been incredible over these unprecedented period. Many have worked diligently to keep the campus operating for students, staff and faculty. Others continue to tackle the herculean task of fundamentally transforming the university’s financial system. Still others play critical roles in increasing the Division’s fiscal transparency and supporting UC Merced’s financial sustainability. 
So much accomplished. So much yet to be done. That said, I hope you all can find time to step away from campus obligations during the summer months and recharge. We need your strength in the months to come. I am proud to be your DFA colleague and look forward to what we will accomplish together. 
Kurt Schnier 
Interim Vice Chancellor/Chief Financial Officer 
We’ve talked for months about July marking when staff members who worked from home because of the pandemic would start returning to on-site schedules. Now – here we are. What’s next? 
  • In late June, Kurt announced an adjustment to the Division’s workplan timeline. The short version: By Aug. 2, DCC-based staff are expected to be on-site at least 20% of a two-week pay period; they are encouraged to spend July becoming accustomed to in-person work at their own pace. 
  • Here is the full Division workplan, which references the original phase schedule.
  • The Do Your Part site has been updated with back-to-campus (including the DCC) information and will be the go-to source for new guidance as we draw closer to fall semester. Bookmark it if you haven’t already.  
All Division staff members are invited to a DFA Open House on Zoom Monday, July 26 at 2 p.m. The agenda will be announced prior to the meeting. We plan to hold an open house every other month.

Please make sure 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
If any part of your work schedule, now or in the near future, includes working from home, you need to complete an online Telecommute Agreement form. This page has a how-to video, an FAQ and other details you need to fill out the agreement. Please note that the agreement under which remote staff worked for the past several months expired June 30.  The online Telecommute Agreement form also requires an updated equipment list, so be prepared to submit this information (contact dofa@ucmerced.edu for a copy of your equipment list).
Nearly 540 terabytes of UC Merced data are stored in Box, and each month that number grows by 3% as campus users add new and updated files to our storage repository. We are quickly approaching a storage cap set by Box, so space needs to be made now to allow for expansion as the campus grows. OIT will work with the campus community, especially with heavy users of Box, to find alternatives for your data. 
How is UC Merced responding?  
OIT will implement storage quotas for individual accounts. Exact limits and exception processes are being developed – specifics will be released later this year. Additionally, OIT is evaluating additional cloud storage options, including expanded support for Microsoft OneDrive, which is included in our campus Office 365 subscription. OIT’s goal is to provide a range of supported, secure and cost-effective solutions for storing research- and business-related data. 
What can you prepare? 
Clean up! Go through your Box account and delete files, folders or email you are confident you no longer need. 
Luke Wiesner’s Communication Playbook blog has been a great resource for insight and discussion after interpersonal dynamics in the workplace. Luke, the university’s conflict resolution coach, has turned his attention to common challenges we face as staff emerge from the pandemic and return to some form of on-site work activity. Luke's Working Forward series will continue through July. Some posts will feature conversations with Talent Development Manager Kevin Reyes. We invite you to use Communication Playbook as a resource and to send Luke any questions you might have. 
  • DFA News: Be informed about Division announcements and upcoming events. There also are links to previous DFA Update newsletters and other archived resources.
  • Do Your Part: Your main source for information about our return to 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 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 subject is Analyst Jessica Johnston of the Travel and Expense Management team.
What do you do in your job? There are many aspects of my job, from system administrator for the travel and expense management system, Concur, to support for customer service and audit functions. I work with customers, helping define their needs, to build custom reports for Concur. Additionally, I develop and document internal departmental processes and procedures. 
What do you enjoy the most about it? The variety of work I do excites me! It allows me to creatively approach each day, planning and organizing my projects/tasks based on the need by date or deadline. I also enjoy the gathering of information to execute report builds, researching and identifying areas of improvement and efficiency, and working with customers to provide guidance on various policies and systems. No two days are the same and the constant change keeps me engaged.
What’s a memorable or unusual travel itinerary you handled? Travel and Expense Management does not book travel itineraries per se, but when “funky” requests come up we are here to provide guidance. We work with departments and individuals to ensure travel they book complies with G-28 policy but also meets the traveler’s needs. Our department also completes audits of PCard, out-of-pocket and T&E card expense reports in the Concur system and entertainment-related invoices, governed by BUS-79 policy, in Oracle. In addition to this we provide systems training and guidance on Concur. 

What do you like to do to relax? Putting on good music and cooking is something I do to unwind … that and listening to “My Favorite Murder,” a true crime/comedy podcast.
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? Alaska, hands down! It is the most beautiful place I have ever traveled to and is so untouched and wild. I would love the chance to explore more of the state and just live off the grid.
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: What is your favorite type of summer vacation? There were 31 responses: 
This month's question:
What do you listen to while driving to work?
My music
Nothing. Silence is soothing.
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: