The Ufirst Project

News Archive

November 20, 2015, 11:17am

This fall the HR Community team spoke with over 100 colleagues from the Health System and Academic Division. These energizing conversations uncovered a host of ideas related to what defines a great community, including those values the community holds dear. 

The HR Community team wishes to thank everyone for their participation and encourages them to continue to share great ideas and participate in Ufirst, the HR Strategic Design Initiative.

Here, for your enjoyment, are just a few of the fantastic definitions of ‘community’ generated by our colleagues:

Community defined

  • Coming together with local peers who share common interests to achieve a goal.
  • Trustworthiness, transparency, integrity.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
  • Collaboration - always know where to go to get answers and people ready to work with you; strong customer service - make sure our reputation around grounds is good; clarity - clear policies that make it easier for us to do our job and customers to understand things - who is doing what. Simplify.
  • When I think about community, I think about supporting one another in an encouraging, non-critical, team spirited way. We need to be able to lean on and reply on each other for ideas, advice, and help during this massive change. 
  • Related and connected. Common ideals and values that we stand for together. Takes all employee ideas and input into consideration. People that care about each other. Everyone appreciates each other’s background, expertise and unique contributions. Events that help to connect community members.
  • “Best practices” are recognized and shared. Best tools are available to all.
  • Trust among peers, leadership, and customers.

Values in a word

Accessibility, Collaboration, Collegial, Commitment, Common purpose, Comradery, Communication, Competence, Consistency, Constantly improving, Customer focus, Efficiency, Engagement, Equity, Fairness, Hard work (do your best),  Honesty, Inclusive, Integrity, Leadership, Listen without bias, Loyalty, Open minded, Positive attitude, Recognition, Respect, Service, Shared vision, Simplicity, Strategic, Synergy, Teamwork, Timely, Transparency, Trust/ trustworthiness, Understanding, Unity

October 15, 2015, 12:16pm

Dear UVa Community Members:

In early 2015, we began a journey to transform the way Human Resource (HR) services are delivered to faculty and staff across the Academic Division, the Medical Center, and University Physicians Group (UPG). The HR strategic design initiative is grounded in the voices of those individuals who receive HR services–our faculty and staff, and assumes that you, the user of HR services, are at the heart of the future state model.

The HR transformation has already begun and will occur over several years. Between now and the project’s completion, you can expect to see both incremental and punctuated improvements to HR processes, policies, and systems.

The strategic initiative is led by a project team comprised of: Susan Carkeek, the Academic Division’s VP and Chief Human Resources Officer; John Boswell, Chief Human Resources Office of the Medical Center; and Sarah Collie, Assistant Vice President of Organizational Excellence and supported by external consultants Ernst & Young. A project management office (PMO), led by a seasoned project director (search currently underway), will also be established.

Seven work teams will support the project director. These teams, their leads, and a brief description of their primary objectives are below:

1. Governance: Maggie Harden, Provost’s Office and Brenda Jarrell, UPG; review the current state of HR; develop the future-state HR organizational design; partner with existing Policy Committees to understand review processes; inventory policies and assess differences; establish criteria identify and prioritize HR policy changes.

2. Service Delivery Design: Lisa Cannell, Darden and Bryan Garey, UHR; understand current state operations, programs and leading practices; identify HR Service Delivery requirements to support technology solutions and define the interaction between service delivery components.

3. Technology: Michael Latsko, UHR and Teresa Wimmer, ITS; help the organization imagine new possibilities and capabilities with state-of-the-art technology; define the future-state HR technology architecture; prepare data and systems for implementation.

4. Process: Jenn Oliver, School of Medicine and Mary Brackett, Organizational Excellence; develop future-state HR processes and align roles; link HR activities to service delivery model components.

5. Change Management: Tamara Fleming, UHR; establish and implement communications strategy and methods; determine the impact of planned changes; and work closely with project teams to prepare the HR community for changes to come.

6. HR Business Services for HR: Barbara Kessler, School of Continuing and Professional Studies and Robin Fisher, School of Medicine; identify the current service areas needed for HR practitioners to be effective, understanding current state operations and leading practices; identify the future-state HR service areas.

7. Community: Ellen Missana, Curry and Brian Gittens, School of Medicine; establish a dynamic and healthy HR culture by fostering a sense of HR community and redefining expectations for people that engage with HR across Grounds.

Key project priorities for the remainder of this year include: designing HR services and delivery models and high-level processes; assessing technology needs and the selection of a solution; assisting the organization in navigating the change associated with such an effort; and, building a united HR community.

We are excited about the project and its potential benefits to our faculty and staff, as the initiative will eventually impact everyone on both the receiving and providing end of HR services. We ask that you join us in supporting this initiative by providing relevant thoughts and concerns to the project leadership team, PMO (to be established), or team leads. Some of you will be asked to participate in design sessions as the various teams undertake their work. Together we can make our employment experience as distinctive and exceptional as our student experience.

Additional project information, including a website, is forthcoming.



Patrick D. Hogan
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Richard P. Shannon, M.D.
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

Anda L. Webb
Vice Provost for Administration