To: All Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Staff
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost, and Ivan Samstein, CFO
Subject: Update on Administrative Modernization
Date: October 31, 2019
We are writing to share our quarterly update on University-wide efforts to improve administrative services, systems, and processes. Your input has been important to driving new projects and supporting ongoing initiatives, and we appreciate your engagement.
Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements: The Faculty Working Group is beginning its third year of addressing administrative issues raised by faculty and staff. Each of the four subgroups (Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), Appointments & Promotions, Research Administration, and Resources Communication) is now advising on an in-progress administrative systems project related to their recommendations. More information about the progress and outcomes of the four subgroups is available here. Input on current work and ideas for new projects can be provided here.
Academic Recruitment and Careers System (ARCS): The University is in the last stages of implementation for Interfolio’s suite of software to support academic recruitment, review and promotion processes and activity reporting. More information on the project’s scope and progress is available at To support academic searches, the Office of the Provost offers training for faculty and OAAs who want to use the evaluator tools in interfolio. To schedule a training for your search committee, please reach out to
Financial System Transformation: The Financial System Transformation (FST) program is a multi-year initiative to overhaul our 36-year-old financial accounting system and other disparate systems with a modern, fully integrated software solution. The new system will provide critical improvements in many areas, including modern tools for managing accounts and reporting. The current pre-implementation phase of the program focuses on documenting our business processes, defining future-state requirements for the system, selecting software that best fits our needs, and choosing an implementation partner. In winter quarter, we will be reaching out with opportunities for you to learn more and engage in the process. Early conversations with faculty and staff have been very important, and we look forward to additional input. For more information or to ask questions, please email
Job Architecture: Following the University’s introduction of a job architecture framework for staff jobs this past spring, the project is now focusing on governance and calibrating the framework. The Job Architecture Governance Committee has worked with HR to ensure specific roles are mapped consistently to job levels across campus, review educational requirements for various job levels, and align job postings with the framework. The Committee will continue to meet regularly to ensure the framework achieves its goal of creating a clearer and more consistent approach to categorizing staff jobs based on responsibilities and requirements, and provide staff and supervisors with more clarity on career tracks and opportunities. Contact your office or unit's HR administrator or if you have questions. 
New support for students and teaching faculty:
  • Course Evaluations: The University Registrar’s Office, in partnership with the College, the Booth School of Business, and IT Services, is launching a new course evaluation application this fall to replace an aging home-grown system. The new system allows for customization of evaluations and a robust reporting mechanism that will deliver timely and meaningful insights into quarterly curricular offerings. It integrates seamlessly with the Academic Information System (AIS) and the University’s Learning Management System and will allow the University to better manage a complex process more efficiently.
  • Undergraduate Degree Planning Tool: My Planner, an academic planning and degree audit tool that is integrated with AIS, rolled out to all students in the College at the start of Autumn 2019. The tool allows students to map out multiple years of courses based on built-in curriculum requirements that use the past four catalog years and historical course scheduling data to predict whether a course is likely to be offered in a future quarter. Advisers will also be able to track students’ progress more efficiently and communicate with them through the application. Learn more on this FAQ page.
New technology tools:
  • WebEx to Zoom Migration: The University is migrating from WebEx to Zoom for audio and video conferencing. Zoom was selected for its ease of use, quality of video and audio, and broad range of collaborative features. Learn more at the UChicago Zoom website.
  • Upgrade to the Video Management System: Panopto, a robust lecture capture and video management tool that integrates with Canvas, is now available for use by all faculty and instructors. Some features include in-video quizzes, student engagement tools, and automatic captioning capabilities. Learn more about Panopto here.
  • New Scheduling Technology: Bookings is a new Microsoft Office 365 tool that allows others to find available time and book appointments on Outlook calendars. For instance, an instructor can set office hours and share a link where students can book time during those hours. Visit the UChicago Office 365 website for training and a user guide.
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.
Policy and Administration