To: All Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Staff
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost, and Ivan Samstein, CFO
Subject: Update on Administrative Modernization
Date: June 7, 2019
We are writing to share our quarterly update on University-wide initiatives to modernize administrative services, systems, and processes. Your input is critical to ensuring initiatives support the University’s academic and administrative priorities. Please send questions or input to Vice Provost Melina Hale or Mark Weber, Chief of Staff and Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives for Finance and Administration.
  • Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements: The Faculty Working Group is now advising on a range of topics that faculty or staff raised as important. Four subgroups have focused on: Institutional Review Board (IRB) processes, Post-Award Grants Management capabilities, Appointments and Promotion processes, and Internal Resources Communication. They have continued providing faculty guidance on a number of key administrative projects, including several initiatives outlined below. More information about the work and next steps for the subgroups is available here. To suggest additional topics for the working group or provide input on the group’s ongoing projects, you can use this form.
  • Academic Recruitment and Careers System (ARCS): We are midway through implementing Interfolio’s suite of academic support software. The Academic Recruitment module, used for accepting applications and managing searches, is now being used across the University. You can sign up for training on the Academic Recruitment module here. A second module, Academic Career Activities, can be used to create CVs, report academic activities, populate of web profiles, and more. It will be available to academic units and individuals in late summer. The final module supports appointment and promotion processes and will be available in late fall. Partnership with staff in the divisions and schools and with the Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements has been critical to this work. Learn more about the ARCS project and contact the project team at
  • Financial Process and System Modernization: The University will soon launch a multi-year initiative to replace our 36-year-old financial accounting system with a modern, integrated platform to improve financial workflow and data-driven decision-making across campus. This effort will help address feedback from those who use the current system that it is overly complex, and that grant and financial reporting requires extensive manual effort. The overarching goal is to deliver an intuitive solution that simplifies financial processes across campus and enables access to real-time integrated data for analysis with faculty and administrative leaders while integrating multiple applications under one common system. The integrated system will have broad-reaching benefits, including more modern functions for purchasing, project and grants management, and financial journal entries, as well as a new budgeting software system (to replace Delphi). The subgroup on Research Administration (see above) facilitated faculty and staff forums that have provided critical input on specific project needs and goals in grants administration. We are now preparing to gather additional input from faculty and staff from across the University on unit-specific needs. We will also engage with colleagues in the University Medical Center to explore common technology needs. This summer we will share information on how to get involved and provide your input on this important effort as we begin collecting requirements for the new system.
  • UChicago Directory Upgrade: Based on feedback from faculty and staff, including the faculty subgroup on Resources Communication (see above), IT Services is working to replace the University’s online directory to make it faster and easier to find contact information and other basic information for members of the campus community. This is a first step toward simplifying and improving our people search resources. Planning and development will take place this summer with input from the campus community. Please use this form if you are interested in providing input on this project.
  • Instructional Technology: Academic Technology Solutions (ATS) recently augmented training and support for Canvas, the University’s learning management system, to respond to feedback and better meet your needs. Contact ATS to schedule a customized workshop or individual training or to sign up for an upcoming workshop. More opportunities will be available leading into and during the next academic year. Additional information is available here. If you have questions or comments about Canvas, email
  • Collaborative Technology: Google Suite for Education is one of the University’s core collaboration platforms and commonly used by students. IT Services now offers team demonstrations and one-on-one consultations for faculty and staff who want to start using it, or who want to use its offerings more effectively. New G Suite tools include Jamboard for whiteboard-style interactive collaboration and Tour Creator for creating virtual reality tours using your own 360° images. For help with G Suite, Office 365, Box or other collaboration tools used on campus, email You can also learn more on the UChicago G Suite website.
  • University Research Administration: The University’s updated grant proposal and award management system for AURA grants went live in mid-April. The updated system enhances transparency of data and reporting for proposals and awards. You can learn more on the AURA website.
In addition, the Research Computing Center, IT Services, and University Research Administration recently implemented the Secure Data Enclave, a new service for securely storing sensitive research data often received under a Data Use Agreement (DUA). Information about this service is available here.
Thank you for your input and support on this work. We look forward to your continued feedback and to sharing another update later this year.
Policy and Administration