Quick Ref
To: University Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Staff
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost, and Ivan Samstein, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Subject: Update on Administrative Modernization
Date: November 15, 2018
 
We are writing to update you on several key efforts to improve administrative services. As new systems and processes are considered and rolled out, your input is critical to ensuring that changes best serve the academic and administrative work of the University.
 
We welcome questions or comments on the projects highlighted below and/or other administrative systems and process issues to Vice Provost Melina Hale or Associate Vice President Ronn Kolbash.
 
Updates:
 
  • The Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements is examining and advising on administrative service concerns raised by faculty and staff. Subgroups are currently focusing on issues related to Institutional Review Boards, Appointments and Promotions, and Research Administration. The work of the group has been impactful, providing expertise and academic perspectives on critical areas. More details on the group’s work and ways to engage can be found here. To submit issues for the Working Group to consider, please use this form.
 
  • Interfolio. With broad input from the University community, including members of the Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements and staff from a number of units, the Office of the Provost has contracted with Interfolio to replace our current system for academic recruitment and provide additional support for review, promotion, and tenure processes and other academic reporting. The new system will be implemented over the coming academic year. More information can be found here. Please submit questions or thoughts at interfolioproject@uchicago.edu.
 
  • University Research Administration has implemented new post-award processes to provide better support to faculty and administrators involved in research activities and to improve compliance with sponsor requirements. There have been successes and challenges with the implementation of these changes and URA continues to evaluate these process updates, making adjustments toward achieving service goals. More information can be found here, and feedback can be submitted to Mike Ludwig, Associate Vice President for Research Administration and Director of URA.
 
  • Job Architecture is a University initiative that will create transparency and understanding about how staff positions are organized relative to responsibilities, scope, and skill/education requirements. In the current state, there is inconsistency in position classifications relative to these factors. The goal of Job Architecture is to provide greater clarity for employees and supervisors and to strengthen internal pay equity and affirmative action compliance. We want to assure you that the pay of individual staff will not be decreased with changes from Job Architecture and that HR will continue to work with units to ensure that changes are attuned to local needs and culture. More information is available through your local HR contact and updates will be provided as we get closer to roll out, which is planned for Winter Quarter.
 
  • Reducing IT risk exposure. Rapidly changing advances in information technology and the associated risks that come with them pose significant challenges, with regular threats directed at a wide range of institutions, including our University and peers. Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach to protecting the work of the University and its faculty. Information Technology Services (ITS) is working with representatives across campus to develop policies and plans for a comprehensive project, which we intend to implement this academic year. The implementation will significantly reduce risk and improve how the University manages and supports web properties, end-user devices, and data centers. We aim for more secure infrastructure and storage, more coordinated responses to security vulnerabilities, more accessibility to University websites for people with disabilities, and ultimately a more coordinated recovery process in the event that critical systems are compromised. ITS will be sharing details with faculty and staff groups across campus in the Autumn and Winter Quarters and gathering important feedback from relevant faculty governance bodies and other key stakeholders. Additional information can also be found here.
 
  • BuySite Update. To improve transparency in how we purchase goods and services, updates are planned for the University’s online purchase order system, BuySite. In December, you will have the ability to view the invoice and payment status online for orders. Invoice data will be digitized, increasing the visibility of payment status for purchase order creators and approvers. The site also aims to improve the efficiency of invoice payments by electronically routing invoices for approval. Learn more about how this may impact your work here. Questions can be submitted directly to the project team at buysite-enhancements@uchicago.edu.