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UC Riverside

Business and Administrative Services

February 2018

Fire engulfs hillside

UCR's Campus Emergency Management Team Assists During Thomas Fire

Just before finals in December 2017, what would become the largest fire on record in California engulfs the area near UC Santa Barbara.

"It was one of those things you didn't understand unless you met with them," said Lisa Martin, UCR Campus Emergency Manager. "People who had lost everything just wanted to talk, have someone care, and know that they would be okay. We wanted them to know that UCSB and the entire UC system was there for them." 

Between December 4 and January 12, 2018, the devastating Thomas Fire burned 281,893+ acres, destroyed 1,063 structures, and damaged 280 structures in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. By Wednesday, December 6, the fire had already consumed 65,000 acres causing mandatory evacuations and shelters to be established. One week before final exams, UC Santa Barbara became an official evacuation site and Red Cross Shelter. UCSB Emergency Manager, James Caesar contacted Lisa Martin for assistance. It was the first time that a UC Campus Emergency Management Team had contacted another UC Campus Emergency Management Team for assistance. "We were so honored that they chose Riverside," Martin said.

While dealing with decisions regarding final exams, student evacuations, students who couldn't get home, and establishing a parent hotline, campus leadership and the Emergency Operations Team had additional people, resources, and equipment to care for. Becoming a designated Red Cross Shelter meant that UCSB would not only be hosting hundreds of evacuees, but also had to accept every donation from casseroles, to ball gowns, to a truck load of diapers -- all lovingly donated by members of the community. "We had to decide how we would handle donations and volunteers outside the normal realm," Martin said. Numerous service providers came to the shelter including Verizon, insurance companies, and those that could help people with glasses or medication that had been forgotten in the rush to evacuate. The campus also housed animals whose care and feeding had to be coordinated. At one point, chickens were sheltered in faculty offices. Additionally, the campus was chosen to house military equipment and Reservists. Martin said, "we triaged everything and decided where to put Emergency Operations Center (EOC) resources." The city and campus worked together to develop an Ash Plan for the layers of ashes that fell from the sky and seemed to cover everything.

"We decided that UC meant Under Control," Martin said. "These are our neighbors, our family, our community. Even though we didn't have written procedures for everything that might occur, we were able to jump in and take the best possible care of those most affected by the fires in the best way we could." For emergency management within the UC System, the Thomas Fire was a defining moment. Because of the experience and successful collaboration between campuses, a UC System Shelter Team was created and UCSB, UCB, and UCR worked together to create best practices for having a Red Cross Shelter on a college campus while still protecting our brand. Through contact with state, county, and city leaders and agencies throughout this emergency, the Emergency Management Teams compiled lessons learned that will benefit the entire UC System whenever another major emergency affects a campus. Lisa Martin was invited back to give a presentation to the Santa Barbara County Emergency Operations Center Team with the UCSB EOC team. "All of us were very proud that we were from the UC System," Martin said.  UCSB closed the shelter on December 22 and resumed final exams mid-January. 

Exciting Events, Initiatives, and Resources

UCR Procurement Peer Review

UCR Procurement Peer Review

A team of highly regarded procurement experts from across the UC system recently came to UCR to conduct a peer review of BAS' procurement and supply-chain functions, at the invitation of Vice Chancellor Coley. The Peer Review Committee included Ted Johnson, Associate Controller and Chief Procurement Officer, UC San Diego; Justin Sullivan, Director of Strategic Sourcing, Procurement Services, UCOP; and, Matthew Hicks, System-wide Deputy Audit Officer, Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services, UCOP. The Committee engaged with campus leadership and stakeholders including Provost Larive, Vice Chancellor Pazzani of Research and Economic Development, Assistant Vice Chancellor Plumley of Auxiliary Services, Intercollegiate Athletics Director Jones-Smith, faculty principal investigators, and many others including suppliers and local businesses.

The goals of the review are to: understand current engagement with campus procurement and supply chain functions; identify opportunities for value creation, participation, and engagement; and, develop recommendations on steps that we can take to make a greater financial impact to the success of our campus. "This is a great opportunity for UC Riverside Procurement to receive direct and candid feedback from campus department leaders," said Ellery Triche, Director of Procurement, Business Contracts, Accounts Payable and Travel. "The results of the review will validate good processes that we already have in place and we will learn what other UC campuses have done to implement their best procurement practices." This work is particularly critical, given the UC Office of the President’s SC500 initiative (Supply Chain 500), which is a key strategic initiative from the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the central goal of which is to generate $500 million in annual benefits.

One of BAS’ early strategic realignments addressed the integration of related functions that were previously managed in separate divisions e.g., Purchasing, Business Contracts, and Accounts Payable. Now aligned within Business and Financial Services under the leadership of Director Triche, the new structure enables UCR to implement a procure-to-pay program (P2P) that connects all of the steps of a procurement process, from the decision to buy something to the eventual transaction and vendor payment. A cohesive and connected P2P process brings a host of benefits and abilities to increase savings, improve supplier relationships and performance, and pursue dynamic discounting opportunities.


Pathways to Success Class

WOW! Dining Services' Pathways to Success

Dining Services launched its first 6-week program designed to train and empower students who are interested in being promoted to supervisory positions. "The program was created to teach students leadership and soft skills to help fill in any gaps in professional experience and knowledge," said Ebony Phillips, Pathways to Success program developer. "For many students, a job with Dining Services is their first work experience," she said. Thirty-five students are currently in week 3 of the 6-week program. 

Students must complete online courses, the same courses offered in HR's People Management Certificate program, and meet in weekly discussion groups led by career employees who serve in manager or leadership roles. Discussion group leaders also provide students with supplemental materials and training such as, What it Means to be a Leader. Online and supplemental coursework includes:

  • Performance Management Overview | What it Means to be a Leader
  • Setting Expectations | Communication
  • Giving and Receiving Feedback | Bud to Boss
  • Motivating, Recognizing & Rewarding Employees | Emotional Intelligence
  • Engaging & Developing Employees | Modeling Behavior
  • Coaching for Performance & Development | Professionalism

Additionally, each student works with a career staff mentor on weekly on-the-job assignments given to reinforce what they learn each week. Mentors are engaged with students from their initial program petition through graduation. To be considered for the program, students must submit an application, resume, and cover letter. Mentors are available to help students with this process. Students must pass a final exam to graduate from the program and be qualified to take on a supervisory role.

The program has been designed to give UCR students a step ahead, "so that the students who work for Dining Services, when they leave us, are equipped with the knowledge and skills to help them excel in their careers," said Phillips. When Freshman Noah Cohill first heard of the Pathways to Success program, he said, "I immediately thought it was something I would like to do. I knew that becoming better at talking with people, learning how to direct my ideas, and becoming a better leader were very tangible skills that I can use in other aspects of my life." Cohill added that his favorite parts of the program so far are the 1:1 talks with Chefs who share their career experiences and the small class sizes which allow all voices to be heard. Michael Neener, Cohill's mentor and General Manager of Residential Operations, said that, "the program also teaches management courage -- the knowledge and courage to handle the sticky stuff, like having to address a peer or friend about being late." Neener said that students who complete the program will "already have a head start when they enter the workforce."

With Dining's need to promote up to 150 supervisors annually, the Pathways to Success program will run quarterly year-round. What's next? Phillip's is currently developing a program that creates a pathway for students interested in becoming managers, and a program for career represented members interested in becoming supervisors. "After that, we're going to focus on the leaders in our organization," said David Henry, Dining Services Executive Director.


Pathways to Success Class

Operation Excellence: Supervising Students Successfully Conference

On January 4, 2018, 150 career staff who supervise students in a variety of departments and positions across campus, came together for a day-long conference exploring topics from Building Emerging Leaders Through Mentorship to Teambuilding on a Duct Tape Budget. The first of its kind system-wide, the conference allowed supervisors to network with other professionals and attend sessions focused on a variety of topics. "We are making our supervisors better and in turn making our campus, our students, and our community better," said Frances Caron, Assistant Director of Recreation Aquatics Program and conference coordinator. "Supporting and training the career staff that supervise students not only helps them as professionals, but also helps our student employees succeed in the UCR workplace, the classroom, and beyond." The conference had individuals from every HR organization on campus in attendance.

Organizers plan to expand the conference to be held bi-annually (August and December/January) and will be offering more sessions and tracks for participants to choose from with the goal of hosting a system-wide conference within the next two years. The conference is a direct result of a team of people coming forward with an idea following participation in Vice Chancellor Coley's Lean Thinking Book Club. The team proposed the conference to improve student employment practices on campus through collaboration, support, and training of career staff who supervise students. If you have an idea for process improvement or have identified a problem/gap that you have envisioned a solution for, please contact the Vice Chancellor's office at to present your ideas and share your vision for the future.


Vice Chancellor’s Message

Ron Coley

Dear BAS Colleagues,

February finds us once again entering into both the budget planning and performance management/evaluation processes. It is time to begin reflecting on your job performance, achievements, and professional development efforts over the past year as well as those of the people you supervise, if you are in a supervisory role. Please watch for announcements from HR and approach the process thoughtfully. The forms and rating elements have changed based on feedback received following last year's cycle, so it will be important to review guidance and take advantage of upcoming information sessions provided by HR. Click here for details regarding changes that have been made and features added to simplify and improve the performance evaluation process. Thank you to all HR staff involved with reaching out to our campus community, collecting and analyzing feedback, and designing these improvements.

Please keep in mind that the end of the performance review period is March 31, 2018. Should you need additional resources for meeting your professional development and training hours target, I suggest attending an upcoming Organizational Excellence (OE) workshop. The next OE event, a lunch and learn event called Making Change Work, will be held on February 28 and will be facilitated by our own Michelle Elrod, Principal Learning & Development Consultant and Kim Allain, Director of Employee and Organizational Development of Human Resources. Both Kim and Michelle were recently invited to deliver professional development training sessions and workshops at UC Santa Barbara and CSU Fresno has asked them to share their workshop materials. Please join me in congratulating them on these WOW! accomplishments. These requests validate the successful operationalization of our BAS vision: Becoming the Benchmark!

As you think about your goals, interests, and exploring career opportunities at UCR and throughout the UC system, I want to bring your attention to a new self-directed, online career development portal called My UC Career.  I encourage you to access the portal where you will find tools to help you identify your strengths, craft your personal story and elevator pitch, develop your resume, and learn interviewing skills, among many other helpful features.

This edition of our newsletter highlights two important examples of BAS' commitment to contributing to student success and professional development through the co-curricular aspects of their education. I ask that all BAS leaders become familiar with these initiatives and consider adopting these tenets with respect to student development, supervision, and employment practices.

As always, I welcome and invite your comments, ideas, and feedback. Please send your suggestions to

Thank you for your continued commitment to excellence and for your hard work and dedication during this very busy time of year.

Best regards,

Ron T. Coley
Vice Chancellor
Business and Administrative Services


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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-1012

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