Cornerstone Program

Cornerstone Program Project Highlight

The third cohort of The Cornerstone Program presented their final project presentations to an audience of 150 at their graduation. The projects were submitted by members of the President’s cabinet, and covered a broad range of topics. 

University Advancement: Faculty/Staff Campaign Study

Team: Leslie M. Booren and Jerilyn Teahan

Sponsor & Point Person: Amy Yancey

This project involved gathering information and making recommendations about a potential UVA faculty and staff fundraising campaign, where members of the UVA community would be asked to give to the University. When gathering information, we reviewed recent literature and interviewed advancement leaders at seven other institutions similar to UVA. We also interviewed stakeholders in the UVA advancement community, including the recently retired Senior Vice President for Advancement. To learn more about what may work at UVA, we held a focus group with the Staff Senate Executive Committee and surveyed members of the Faculty Senate; we also solicited information about past and current efforts from chief development officers in each of the schools. We synthesized this information, including best practices from other universities, limited historical information about faculty/staff fundraising at UVA, and employee feedback about the possibility of being asked to give to the University. After analyzing the data, we provided recommendations for University Advancement leaders to consider based on desired outcomes and available resources.

UVA Finance: Empowering Staff with Business Analytics Training

Team: Brian Davis, Allison Gillam, Matt Jenkins, Alfredo Lopez, Charles Rush

Sponsor: Melody Bianchetto

Point Person: Disha Venkatesan

This project involved investigating a replicable process for creating training courses for staff in the face of changing business systems, utilizing the University’s internal resources of excellent staff, faculty, and funding for training. We focused on a business analytics course for UVAFinance that could prepare staff to use new tools, e.g. University Business Intelligence, to ask new questions and make better decisions. We interviewed stakeholders, discovering that there was a University-wide interest in and need for business analytics skills. We partnered with UVAFinance and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies to create a four-day class over two weeks focusing on analytical methods, data modelling, and data visualization that will train its first cohort of 24 in Spring, 2018.

Sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Team: Christoph Reinicke, Jennifer Roper, Disha Venkatesan

Sponsor: Facilities Management Sustainability Council, Point Person: Mark Stanis

This project involves reimagining how the University recycles a wide variety of items, and making recommendations for a marketing campaign that promotes the logic of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We worked with Facilities Management and Finance to analyze the short falls in the current state of surplus. Our goals are to reduce the flow to landfill, bring visibility to the issue, and to foster a sustainability focused mindset for purchasers. We participated in conversations to map future processes, to streamline and standardize work using multiple systems; including surplus management software. We are working with the Sustainability Council and University Communications to determine branding possibilities that would identify a revitalized surplus store as integral to the University’s sustainability campaign. We recommended a marketing campaign to begin with a soft launch to University staff and departments and then, broaden to the student and general community.

UVA Health System: Enhancing the Patient Experience

Erika Herz, Michael Franco, Anne Justis Lesko, Stacy Smith

Sponsor & Point Person: Bush Bell

Our project focused on understanding how to ensure that patients have a seamless experience from the time they make an appointment to the time they arrive for care in UVA’s 80 clinics. Information regarding their office visit needs to be clear and accurate, all the way down to which elevator to take, yet currently gaps exist. We met with stakeholders in the Facilities Management, IT, Marketing, and EPIC/Cadence system teams, and with clinic staff. Our goal was to help identify a process by which all of these groups could contribute to a seamless patient experience by globally communicating clinic moves, construction impacts, and map or signage changes, leading to patient appointment letters being 100% precise and understandable. Our recommendations include adding a staff coordination function to oversee this process, as well as securing SIF funds to develop a complementary technology solution.

Bicentennial Celebration: Recognizing UVA Staff Contributions

Howie Avery, Gene Crouch, Jennifer Hale, Julia Monteith

Sponsor & Point Person: Kari Evans

This project involved reaching out to the University of Virginia’s ten major business units to gather examples of unique University staff contributions between 1817 and the present. With little to no comprehensive history existing on University staff contributions over the past 200 years, our team met with several UVA key figures to gather thoughts on the project, provide guidance where needed, describe historical UVA staff stories/examples, and suggestions on other possible sources of information. In an effort to keep the celebration of University staff as interactive as possible for the end user, our team developed an online digital platform that allows end users to navigate by MBU through the past 200 years of contributions. We have built an initial 30 stories, and the platform will continue to get added to over the two-year period of the Bicentennial celebration.

Institutional Assessment & Studies: Assessing Climate on Grounds

Christopher Elliott, Erin Hughey-Commers, Glenda Notman, Juliet Trail

Sponsor & Point Person: Christina Morell

This project involved a thorough review of UVA population-wide surveys assessing “campus climate” on Grounds, particularly focusing on climate related to diversity and inclusion across populations of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. We identified both common definitions and best practices in this area across the country to inform our inquiry, and met with key stakeholders across Grounds who either manage or utilize these data sets. We found notable inconsistencies in data available across these various populations, and therefore, propose a population-wide survey with a common-core set of questions pertaining to climate on Grounds. We determined that SERU offers a reasonably robust set of climate questions that could be asked across all UVA populations. We further propose assembling a University-wide steering committee to manage the climate survey design and maximize its data utilization moving forward.

Career Planning for Women at UVA

Bethany Hurley, Bree Knick, Chris Schooley, Jessica Hurley Smith

Sponsor: Abby Palko, Point Person: Leigh Ann Carver

Our project’s objective was to explore, on behalf of the Women’s Center, how career planning services targeting women students could be enhanced at the University, who would be involved in such efforts, and how alumnae, in particular, might be engaged. We met with Women’s Center and Career Center staff to get a sense of the current landscape, and then developed a survey asking alumnae and current women students about services they used, and what additional programs might have been helpful. Responses from 230 survey participants provided useful data around services considered helpful and those that might be lacking, and highlighted the importance of engaging women students with these services as early as possible. Among our recommendations, we suggested coordinated Women’s Center/Career Center programming, enhancement of mentorships, and development of a seminar series featuring faculty and alumnae.

UVA Work/Life Programs

Seth Matula, Dave Stebbins, Andrea Trimble

Sponsor & Point Person: Jill Rockwell

There is ample national research that indicates that employees with work-life balance and fewer personal stressors are more productive at work. This project identified a need at UVA to more fully support employees at the inevitable times in their lives where flexibility is needed, be it for child care, elder care, parental leave, military leave, relocation, retirement, spousal employment, or other circumstances. After reviewing work/life programs at peer universities, documenting existing work/life resource websites at UVA, as well as reviewing previously-drafted, robust Work/Life Coordinator proposals written by UVA’s FEAP, the team is advancing forward the recommendation that UVA: 1) Establish a consolidated work/life program, including a full-time coordinator. This would have positive employee impacts, but also could be financially justified through enhanced talent recruitment and savings on employee retention costs, and 2) Consolidate work/life resources into a centralized location, with the benefit of streamlined updates and increased visibility.