To: All Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, and Staff
From: Melina Hale, Vice Provost, and Mark Weber, Chief of Staff and Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives for Finance & Administration 
Subject: Update on Administrative Modernization
Date: June 15, 2020
We are writing to update you on efforts to improve administrative systems, processes, and services, especially those that can support you in this remote work environment. Your feedback is important to ensure our efforts are serving core academic and administrative needs. Please feel free to contact us with questions and input.
We want to thank the Faculty Working Group on Administrative Service Improvements for their contribution to a number of projects. Information about the progress and outcomes of these efforts is available here. We welcome ideas for improving administrative systems and processes via this form.
As we continue to adjust to new ways of working, the tools and services below are available to help you effectively conduct University business:
  • Academic Recruitment and Careers System (ARCS): With the completion of the first academic activity reports in April, Interfolio’s suite of academic affairs software is fully implemented and available online to academics and staff with related responsibilities. Its cloud-based environment is suited to remote access and can help maintain continuity for the critical work of reappointments, reviews, reporting, and essential academic searches. In addition, you can use the Academic Career Activities module to generate biosketches for grant proposals and other reports. Log into your account here. The Office of the Provost is committed to helping units increase the use of the modules. For assistance, please contact

  • Financial System Transformation (FST): The FST program, a campus-wide initiative to implement a modern financial system and to improve our associated processes, remains a priority. To acknowledge our current financial challenges associated with the pandemic and to ensure quality outcomes, the FST pre-implementation schedule was stretched. Critical program activities will continue, but the ripple effect is that the new financial system launch will be delayed by one year from July 2022 to July 2023. This revised schedule will allow for additional contingency while containing the cash outflow in the coming year. Virtual forums will be held in the next few weeks to share information about the program’s progress and timeline and provide an opportunity for input. Use the links below to register [expired links removed]. If you have questions or feedback, please email

    • Thursday, June 18, 11:00 a.m.

    • Monday, June 22, 1:00 p.m. 

    • Wednesday, June 24, 10 a.m. 

  • Teaching and Learning Support: Over the past couple of months, IT Services took extraordinary measures to ensure academics, students, and staff could safely transition to teaching remotely and learning remotely for the Spring Quarter. They provisioned Zoom accounts, negotiated a Zoom enterprise agreement that provides accounts and additional security features for the entire University community, trained more than 2,000 instructors and teaching assistants on Zoom and Canvas, and deployed additional staff and students workers to resolve support requests. Zoom continues to enhance its security features and will require passwords for all meetings beginning in mid-June. If you need assistance with Zoom, please contact your local IT support or call IT Services at 773-702-5800.

We also want to highlight the following technological upgrades:
  • Zoom to Canvas Integration: The Zoom-Canvas integration allows instructors to schedule/start class meetings and manage/share Zoom recordings from within their Canvas course site, reducing the need to use multiple platforms to run a class.

  • Panopto to Canvas Integration: In Winter Quarter 2019, we announced an upgrade to Panopto, the lecture capture and video management tool that integrates with Canvas. Instructors are using it to create asynchronous content for their courses and support student learning through the in-video quiz feature and other engagement tools. It has also enabled more accessible content through automatic captioning.

  • Beta People Search platform: You can test a beta version of an improved People Search platform through by selecting the “New People Search” link on the right. IT Services has received helpful feedback that has informed additional improvements. Faculty, other academic appointees, and staff can continue testing and providing input through the “Send Feedback” link on the beta platform.

  • LinkedIn Learning: Through a partnership with LinkedIn Learning (formerly, all UChicago faculty, students, staff, and employees of UCMC with a valid CNetID and password have access to more than 16,000 video-based courses to build their business, technology, and creative skills. Members of the University community can use the service to design a learning path, or set of classes, for their individual development plan or to grow competencies within their team.

In addition to technological improvements, with the sudden closure of campus in March, the Payroll Office took steps to make sure that people who normally pick up a hard copy of their check could receive it electronically or through the mail. This was a critical effort, and we thank the team for their dedication. We encourage everyone who is not already being paid through direct deposit to sign up. Instructions to enroll can be found here. The Payroll team also implemented a COVID-19 pay solution for students in partnership with UChicagoGRAD and Human Resources, ensuring students could receive funds in a timely manner.
We understand that many members of our community may be using new administrative systems during this period. To continue supporting your work, the Shared Services Training Team has also transitioned all of their in-person systems training to remote learning. Training on Workday, GEMS, Buysite, and ePayments is available for registration at
We appreciate the enormous effort of our community to continue the work of the University while also adapting rapidly to the unprecedented COVID-19 circumstances. Additional information and resources can be found at


Policy and Administration