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December 2017

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What Say You, Readers?

One year ago this month, we launched the UT System@Work newsletter to provide System Administration staff with useful information, critical updates and helpful tips. Now it’s time to check in and see how we’re doing. Please take a few minutes to complete an online reader survey to share what you like, what you don’t like, and what you’d like to see more or less of in future issues. Input will determine any adjustments needed to the content and format. Help shape the (internal) news!


Skeletons Don't Have to be in the Building

Texas law requires state agencies to have enough employees on duty to conduct business during designated skeleton workforce days associated with holidays. But an Idea Central suggestion prompted the Staff Council to research whether skeleton crew staff had to physically be in the office to be considered on duty.

They found that technology allows many employees to work virtually while still being considered on duty and earning comp time on skeleton days. While there obviously are some responsibilities that require someone to be in the office, if staff can fulfill the business requirements from any location, department heads are encouraged to consider allowing them to work remotely. Only salaried staff who have completed a telecommuting agreement are eligible to work virtually. This year’s skeleton work days are December 22, 27, 28 and 29.


Committee to Review Recommendations to Improve Life in the Building

Since moving into the new UT System Building, Facilities Management has received numerous comments, requests and questions regarding our new work environment. For some of the more significant requests impacting building philosophy, a committee has been established to provide employee representation in the decision-making process.

The new Building Life Committee (BLC) will serve as an advisor to executive leadership for requested changes to the building. Paul Cravens, manager of operations, and Susan Franzen, assistant vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness, will serve as non-voting standing committee members to provide background, resources and continuity. Patrick Durbin, assistant director of risk control, also will serve as a standing member. Four members will serve one-year terms: Nichole Prescott, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs; Nagla Elerian director of Population Health strategic initiatives; Omar Syed, associate vice chancellor/deputy general counsel; and Judy Collins, associate director of gift data services, are the inaugural members.

The BLC will consider requests made through facilities work orders, a new Building Life portal on the Facilities Management SharePoint site and from Idea Central. The committee will have decision-making authority over requests that do not require additional budget; for requests with budget impact, the BLC will make recommendations to the Deputy Chancellor who will confer with the Executive Vice Chancellors for final decisions.


Health Care Is Just a Few Floors Up

Not feeling well but don’t have time get to your doctor’s office? Now you can just go upstairs to talk to a health professional at the telemedicine clinic, thanks to a partnership the Office of Employee Benefits (OEB) is piloting with The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing.

How Does this Work? UT System employees will be linked to a UTMB health care provider via telemedicine equipment in the clinic, with nursing staff provided by UT Austin School of Nursing available on site to assist with any necessary examinations.

What Can Be Treated? Telemedicine visits are intended primarily for the treatment of minor primary care issues, and physicians can issue prescriptions or refer patients for further treatment if needed.

Do I Need to Sign Up First? To be evaluated in the clinic, you must be enrolled in MyChart with UTMB prior to the clinic visit. Contact the Office of Employee Benefits at 512.499.4616 to get your application.

Do I Need an Appointment? Appointments will be on a first-come, first-serve basis between 8 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., Monday through Friday, on the 19th floor of the UTS Building. The clinic will be closed during the December skeleton work days.

What’s the Cost? It’s free! For a limited time, there will be NO COST for clinic visits.

Want to Register AND Get Lunch and Information? OEB is planning a Lunch and Learn on December 14. Be on the lookout for your invitation soon! You’ll be able to enroll in the telemedicine clinic and experience sample check-in through consultation process with a UTMB physician presenter and UT Austin nursing assistants.

The clinic is the result of suggestions offered during the programming for the UT System Building and through Idea Central. OEB will be monitoring usage and satisfaction to determine whether the pilot should be made permanent. For more information, call OEB at 512.499.4616.


Office of Health Affairs Supports Healthy Collaboration

The UT System Office of Health Affairs (OHA) is responsible for overseeing one of the largest networks of academic health institutions in the nation. While the specific responsibilities are varied and extensive, the overarching role of OHA is to provide support and guidance for the six UT health institutions and their shared mission of education, clinical care, research and community service.

“We work with the campuses to help support their initiatives, such as reviewing proposals for STARS funding,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Ray Greenberg. “We also provide ongoing guidance on issues such as annual budgets, tuition adjustments, PUF funding for construction projects and special projects, such as partnerships with outside entities.

“Working with the Office of General Counsel, we also help to manage the medical malpractice insurance program,” he added. “We support the Chancellor in evaluating the performance of the campus presidents and, when called upon, coordinate the search for new presidents.”

In response to the Chancellor’s challenge to create bold new initiatives and advancements by leveraging the size and expertise of the UT System, OHA is coordinating increased collaboration among the health institutions to improve health care for Texans. Much of the focus is in the clinical arena, including creating systems for data analytics, developing joint clinical services, and expanding and coordinating telemedicine coverage. Research initiatives include a shared clinical trials network, a shared biorepository for research specimens, and proteomics infrastructure.

“I believe our joint efforts to improve the quality of care that we provide and lower costs will be trend-setters in our state,” Dr. Greenberg noted.

Looking ahead, the OHA team will remain focused on supporting the health institutions with far-reaching initiatives and collaborations.

“We are looking to make continued progress in our data analytics efforts, in expanding telemedicine (including the new service to employees here in the UT System building), helping with the leadership transition at MD Anderson, and working in support of Health Sciences Center-Tyler in developing their new collaborative partnership in East Texas,” Dr. Greenberg said.

“We have a small staff and many initiatives, so we all feel a bit overwhelmed at times,” he added. “On the other hand, we have a great team that works well together, so we try our best to rise to the challenge.”

The secret to their success? “We cannot keep our chocolate supply filled,” Dr. Greenberg admitted. “We try to eat healthy, but…”


'Tis the Season...for Cyber Crime

The UT System Office of Information Security (ISO) reminds you to be cautious when browsing or shopping online this holiday season. Don’t let fake companies and identity thieves dampen your holiday spirit. Before you click the ‘Buy’ button, be aware of criminal activities that could put you at risk:

  • Emails, ecards, or phony posts on social media sites that may contain malicious links.
  • Fake email advertisements or shipping notifications that may deliver attachments infected with malware.
  • Websites that are unknown to you offering rock-bottom prices or deals that are too good to be true.
  • Using public Wi-Fi networks to do your online shopping—this can allow others to intercept your name, address, passwords, and credit card information.

Take the following actions to avoid seasonal campaigns that could result in security breaches, identity theft or financial loss:

  • Make sure your online accounts have a strong password. Never use the same password for all your online accounts, especially financial accounts.
  • Only do business with reputable online vendors.
  • Avoid following unsolicited links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use a credit card when possible. Debit cards do not always offer the same level of protection.
  • Check your financial statements for fraudulent charges at least once a week, or set up account alerts.

If you believe you are a victim of a phishing scam or malware campaign, consider the following actions:

  • Watch for any unexplained charges to your account. Contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised.
  • Immediately change any passwords you might have revealed and do not re-use that password in the future. Avoid using the same password on multiple sites.
  • File a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
  • Report the attack to the police and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.

Have a happy and cyber-safe holiday season!


Making Data Access Easier

In Fall 2016, The University of Texas (UT) System, in response to the results of its Organizational Assessment, answered the request from its campuses for help in streamlining the many data requests received from UT System Administration. A new standard process for requesting data and information from campuses was created and includes an initial review by the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) to ascertain whether the data is readily available before directing the request through the approval process or contacting the campuses. To assist in coordinating, streamlining, and reducing the burden of fulfilling campus data requests, OSI created an online Data & Information Request Portal.

Over the past year that OSI has facilitated this standard process for requesting data and information, a fair number of requests from UT System Administration for across-the-board data, such as student headcount, research expenditure, and patient encounters have been handled. OSI has received positive reviews on the process from campus Institutional Research Directors who welcome the opportunity to be engaged in the data requests made to their campuses from the very onset.

The primary goal for the Data Request Process is to reduce the number of information requests going to campuses – some of which are duplicates, others requiring significant manual effort, sometimes with very short deadlines. Filling out the online form on the Data & Information Request Portal helps to achieve this goal and provides UT System a better understanding ofthe volume and type of data and information are needed from the campuses (requests between departments within System Administration do not go through this portal).

The process and online Data & Information Request Portal have evolved over the year, so take a moment to visit the website either by selecting “Data Request Portal” in the Quick Links column on the UT4U main page, or access the site directly at For training on this process, contact the Organizational Effectiveness Office at or email Susan Franzen at


SECC Ends Spooktacularly

A Spooktacular celebration hosted by the Staff Council on October 31 marked the end of this year’s State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). Proceeds from bake goods and pumpkin auctions were donated to the SECC, which in total raised raised more than $70,450 from UT System Administration employees. The event also brought bragging rights to the contest winners:

Baking Contest: June Nichols, Office of Employee Benefits

Lip Sync Battle & Group Costume: Grannies Gone Wild, Accounting Services

Pumpkin Carving: “There’s No Place Like UT System” by External Relations

Individual Costume: Suzanne Revisore (aka “The Tooth Fairy), Academic Affairs

Photos are available on the Staff Council Halloween Spooktacular website. Congratulations, all!


Wellness Center Is Now Self-Serve

As of December 1, the Wellness Center will be a self-service space. We are grateful to the wellness monitors for all their hard work in getting us up and running! Now it’s up to each of us to keep our space tidy and ready to use. When you use the Wellness Center, please be sure to re-rack weights, wipe equipment and place towels in collection bags. For more information on using the Wellness Center, please visit the website.

Newsletter Available Online

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