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  • Flu Vaccination FAQ
  • Inside UC Merced 
  • Sanitizer vending machines
  • Profile: Terri Harris 
  • Profile: Kunal Sinha 
  • DFA Pulse
Michael Mike Riley
Greetings, Division of Finance and Administration colleagues,
A new academic year is in full swing, thanks in no small part to your efforts in these challenging times. The Housing, Dining and TAPS teams took the lead in welcoming more than 350 student residents (meet new Dining Director Kunal Sinha in a staff profile below). Our on-site employees continue to do incredible work.
Meanwhile, Human Resources has developed and managed programs that address our personal needs during the pandemic. HR staff also developed campus-wide training for COVID-19 safety guidance. BFS staff are ensuring Student Business Services and Payroll Services run smoothly under extraordinary circumstances. The Procurement team has set up an ordering system through Bobcat Buy for personal protection equipment. 

The staff from the Early Childhood Education Center, closed because of coronavirus concerns, are working to support the campus’ COVID Response Center, as are members of the CIE team, who also are helping to roll out the Student Dens program. And the Financial Planning and Analysis team is studying budget scenarios affected by a COVID economy.
It’s a lot to take in. Yet everyone has stepped up to ensure UC Merced continues its rise as a young star in the higher education firmament, while continuing to do all that’s necessary to protect our health and keep the campus running.
Thank you for all you do. Take care and stay safe
Michael Riley, CPA
Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer
The Campus Ready website archives the communications about COVID-19 guidance arrives in your inbox. There also is information about what to do if you, or someone near you, exhibits symptoms. And please visit for the site’s Staff Information page for video and notes from the July 30 Staff Town Hall, along with staff-focused FAQs. 
Question: As fall semester begins, how are you feeling? Choose one.
The Financial System Support team is pleased to welcome Oracle EPBCS Analyst Sri Atluri, who joined the team Aug. 24. Welcome, Sri! 
vaccination shots
A UC executive order requires that all staff, faculty and students be vaccinated for the flu by Nov. 1. The requirement is necessary for the university and broader community because of the elevated health concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tap the button to read an FAQ about the vaccinations. UC Merced has established an implementation team for the campus’ response to the requirement. Look for updates in your inbox and on the Campus Ready site. 
The Division gets a lot of attention in the latest Inside UC Merced digital magazine. Colleagues such as CIE's Jessica Duffy (pictured) are in a feature called Faces of Resilience. There also are updates to Division projects, along with an interactive map of the completed Merced 2020 Project that includes interior photos of the new buildings. 
Jessica Duffy CIE resilience
With the start of fall semester, some people who have been working remotely may need to drop by their campus office for books and materials. Before making the trip, please reach out to your supervisor for information and further direction. On the day of your visit, remember to respond accordingly on the Daily Health Check-In, and report whether you have potential COVID-19 symptoms. 
Thanks to our Procurement team, there are five vending machines on campus that provide 4-ounce containers of hand sanitizer. There is no charge for the sanitizer. People can use their CatCard to get a container from a machine once every two weeks. The blue Fastenal machines are at these locations: 
  • The Pavilion 
  • Lantern Café 
  • Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Center 
  • Science and Engineering Building 2 (SE2) 
  • Administration Building  
 The University Store has a new physical location in the Administration Building. Until the day comes that we can go there, the store has a full website, operated by campus partner Follett. It’s the place to go for branded Bobcat clothing and accessories, including face coverings
Meet two team members who recently joined the Division
What’s your job title? Executive Director of the Center for Business Services and Solutions

What does your job entail? My job is largely rooted in the consolidation of organizational resources, primarily financial, human and technological, in order to create better efficiencies with the standardization of processes across multiple platforms.  
What do you enjoy the most about it? The fact that I, along with my team, are assisting in the creation of a unit rooted in mentorship. The evolution of this unit will allow individuals to comprehend UC-focused processes and systems that will assist their professional growth while reducing the administrative and financial burden to campus units. It feels good to have such an impact on so many careers. 
What was your job before you came to UC Merced? Business Services Director at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. 
What do you do to relax? Meditate.  
What’s your comfort food? Tacos.

What’s the last TV series you binge-watched? "The Big Bang Theory."
If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would that be? Paris. I love art and history and Paris has some of the most iconic landmarks in the world!
What’s your job title? Chief cook and bottle washer, aka Director of Dining. 

What does your job entail? Assuring every Bobcat is safely fed with delicious, diverse dinners, excellent lunches, and breakfasts that are the bomb. Making sure we serve staff and students' needs. Staying open late for long nights of studying. Providing coffee shops with snacks dotted around, and catering services for all the special events we hope to have again soon. Student success is my success.
What do you enjoy the most about it? Fine-tuning our operations and watching the team turn out 2,000 meals like clockwork. Training our student workers so they know how commercial kitchens and dining services work. Once trained, it is great to see them take on leadership roles. I also love setting up ways to have interns from culinary schools and colleges work with us in serving our students staff and faculty.
What was your job before you came to UC Merced? I was a Sammy Slug and a Joe Bruin before becoming a Bobcat (Senior Food Services Manager at UC Santa Cruz and, before that, Food Service Operations Manager at UCLA).

What is one skill everyone should have? Being able to cook and feed yourself and your family inexpensively with healthy food. Have the skills to put together various meals, one right after another, 21 times a week. Everyone should be familiar with the kitchen. Not to mention that if you learn how to cook three different, great dinners for your date, you will have to learn how to make breakfast, too.

What do you do to relax? Yoga. I am a born yogi. Involving Yoga Sutras into daily life encourages the nervous system to become calm and quiet, moving the body into a more restful state of being.  
What's the most unusual food you've eaten? I had a meal that consisted of a baked paste made from ground-up grass seed, some stirred-up bird ovums mixed with chopped leaves, and cow milk aged for more than three months that was heated over an open flame. In other words, I had a cheese omelette with spinach and basil, with toast on the side. 

You’re preparing dinner at home for friends. What’s on the menu? For a TV/game night dinner for omnivorous friends of mine: 

First course
Paneer pakora with tamarind sauce

Second course
Curried shrimp scampi with mango chutney

Third course
Chicken korma with coconut rice

Final course
Spiced golden syrup on steamed pudding with fresh berries and whipped cream
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: