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Michael Mike Riley
Greetings, Division of Finance and Administration colleagues,

As Chancellor Muñoz shared with you on Sept. 21, after seven years at UC Merced I am moving to UC Berkeley to oversee the Controller’s Office. It won’t be easy to say farewell to my incredible friends and colleagues here, but I look forward to continuing to see the amazing progress you make as a trusted colleague within the University of California. I know the Division of Finance and Administration remains in capable hands, and that the incredible growth the university has enjoyed, thanks to all of your efforts, will continue. 
In my time at UC Merced I have been witness to: 

  • Significant upgrades of the university’s financial and administrative services. The biggest upgrade yet – Alpha Financials – will go live in a few months. 
  • The Merced 2020 Project, from conception to final delivery. The ambitious construction project will enhance UC Merced’s mission for decades to come. 
  • Improvements to our ability to manage, grow and service our workforce through Human Resources. 
  • Inspirational teamwork and dedication as we negotiated the financial and organizational upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The progress made through these years is a testament to the collective work of staff throughout the Division, from those who serve our patrons at The Pavilion, to staff who ensure critical systems like UC Path and TRS work flawlessly, to those who keep our financial systems and processes in working order. In every case, you work diligently to ensure excellent service and efficient, streamlined processes.
Your efforts are reflected in the recent national rankings that recognize UC Merced as an up-and-coming source of knowledge and opportunity. The fact that we’re 40th in the nation among public universities when our doors have been open to students for only 15 years is extraordinary but unsurprising considering the tremendous commitment each of you show every day. 

My final day at UC Merced is Oct. 30. A search for a permanent Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer is underway. I’m confident the university’s growing reputation will attract strong candidates, and I appreciate the team members who are working to ensure a smooth transition. We also have created a financial roadmap with reasonable solutions for balancing the budget if we are diligent with our resources. 

Finally, thank you for your support and friendship. UC Merced is a special place, in no small part because of its special people. In my heart, I will always be Bobcat Proud. 
Michael Riley, CPA
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
The Division and the Office of the Chancellor developed a transition plan that ensures consistency and continuity, and maximizes partnerships and expertise throughout the campus.

Until a new Vice Chancellor/CFO is in place: 

  • Financial Planning & Analysis and the Controller’s Office will report to Kurt Schnier, Associate Provost, Academic Planning and Budget. 
  • Human Resources will report to Luanna Putney, Associate Chancellor and Senior Adviser to the Chancellor. 
  • Auxiliary Enterprises and Fiscal Innovation will report to Gerry Elizondo, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration

These permanent changes to DFA are effective Nov. 1: 

  • Supply Chain & Shared Services, which includes Procurement and Contracts, Shipping and Receiving, Equipment Management and the Center for Business Services and Solutions, will organizationally report to the Controller’s Office. 
  • The Center of Institutional Effectiveness, which encompasses Institutional Research & Decision Support and Business Architecture & Analysis, will organizationally report to the Provost’s Office under Kurt Schnier. 
We continue to work with Merced County health officials on mitigating the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. A procedure for baseline testing and follow-up tests for COVID-19 is underway for staff whose jobs bring them to campus sites. Please visit the Campus Ready website for COVID-19 guidance, and go to the site’s Staff Information page for the latest information and updates. 
Two people joined the Division team in September. Saloni Jogai (left) is an Oracle Cloud Financial Systems Support Analyst for Financial Systems Support, and Chris Davenport (right) is a Category Analyst for Procurement. Saloni was previously an Oracle Functional Lead at 10X Genomics, where she was responsible for implementing the Enterprise Resource Planning system. Chris was a Procurement and Materials Manager at Livingston Community Health. Prior to that she was Senior Director of Business Services at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Ill. Welcome, Saloni and Chris! 
Watch for Conflict Resolution Coach Luke Wiesner’s new standing feature in Monday Memo. Communication Playbook offers suggestions and ideas that can improve our ability to listen to and connect with our colleagues. For those of us who work on-site, Luke's tips can help us deal with the stress of unusual conditions brought by COVID-19. The same can be said for colleagues now working remotely, who also can use these ideas to bridge the physical distance between them.
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: As fall semester begins, how are you feeling? There were 37 respondents, and they were clearly upbeat:
For this month's question, we turn to you for help in making this newsletter the best it can be. The survey allows only one answer; if you want to see more than one thing on this list or have other ideas, use the link below the survey to add your thoughts. Thanks!
What would you most like to read or see in DFA Update?
Staff profiles
Introductions of new staff
COVID-19 policy updates
Photos of colleagues at work
Project updates
Professional development resources
Do you like more than one of these, or are there other things you want DFA Update to have? Go here to add your thoughts and ideas.
vaccination shots
A UC executive order requires all staff, faculty and students be vaccinated for the flu by Nov. 1. The requirement is necessary for the health of the university and broader communities because of the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. UC Merced's flu vaccine program calls for everyone to self-report their vaccination through Service Now. Tap the button for more details.
Jessica Duffy CIE resilience
Jessica Duffy, Business Architect for the Center of Institutional Effectiveness, made an appearance in a recent edition of OIT’s Continuity & Community newsletter. Jessica encouraged staff and faculty to embrace their curiosity and sense of experimentation when working with remote tools and platforms, such as Microsoft Teams. “Simply ‘playing’ and trying things out may help you find solutions for your short- and long-term needs for remote work, productively and collaboration,” she wrote. 
Institutional Research & Decision Support is using Monday Memo to promote the interactive workbooks and research reports they’ve developed with data about our students, faculty and staff. Their work is easily accessible on the Analytics Hub, located on the CIE site. IRDS invites you to go on a data treasure hunt. You’re bound to learn something new about UC Merced. 
The California wildfires, on top of the coronavirus health crisis, makes it even more important that we stay connected. One small but important step you can take is set up your personal phone to receive text messages from Emergency Management. Simply go to Identity Management (Single Sign-On is required), tap the UC Merced Alert link, and add your phone number. Note that, by default, everyone receives alerts via campus email; adding text messages helps ensure you will be notified in a timely manner.   
What is your job title? Executive Assistant 

What does your job entail? Providing administrative support to Mike Riley, Gerry Elizondo, Mark Cunningham and Andy Boyd. It can range from managing all aspects of the calendars (I live and breathe calendars all day), travel arrangements, reimbursements, onboarding, signatures for documentation and back-up support to other DFA leadership, among other projects that may cross my desk. I recently have been assisting the Alpha Financials projects with invoice processing, consultant onboarding and some assistance with the Alpha Financials Inbox. 
What do you enjoy the most about it? Working on a fantastic administrative team! It’s been a pleasure working with the Finance and Administration Support team over the years and being part of a great group of colleagues. I love the diversity of tasks I am able to do on the daily. Each day is different and brings me the opportunity to connect with some of our amazing DFA staff. Oh, and event planning. I really enjoy the event planning, whether it be our big divisional breakfast or a baby shower for a colleague. It all makes me happy. 

What do you do to relax? Clean 😊. I love to clean. Brings a sense of peace to me. 
What’s your comfort food? An H&W child’s cheeseburger and fries meal, hands down. 

What’s your favorite magical or mythological creature? Why? Mermaids. My earliest memory of a movie and character that I loved as a child was “The Little Mermaid” and I chalk it up to that. I couldn’t be more thrilled now that my 2-year-old daughter absolutely loves swimming and all things mermaids, so I have an excuse to relive my childhood again.  

If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? Azores Islands. I have been fortunate to be able to visit those islands a handful of times and spend summers with family members still living there. I would love to extend my time there for much more than a month or two at a time. 
Each month, we turn a spotlight on our division colleagues 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. 
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: