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Dear F&A Staff,

Happy New Year! As we begin 2021, I want to thank everyone for your dedication, flexibility, and hard work during this unprecedented time. I appreciate all you do to support the University as we strive to provide a quality experience for our students.

Please enjoy this edition of the F&A Newsletter which highlights Lehigh's efforts in Diversity and Inclusion, some excellent opportunities for professional development, and an announcement from Business Services on changes within its departments.

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2021!

Patricia A. Johnson
Vice President for Finance & Administration
financeadmin.lehigh.edu | Phone: 610.758.3178 | Fax 610.758.6528

F&A NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2021

F&A Develops Diversity Working Group

2020 was a rather tumultuous year defined mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the late spring and summer months, tensions surrounding racial injustice rose following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. These recent indicators of centuries-old systemic racism and inequality sparked protests and a call to action around the nation. Lehigh University responded with an overarching commitment to become an antiracist institution. Finance and Administration (F&A) has answered Lehigh’s call to action in a few ways, including the formation of the F&A Diversity Working Group which is focusing on the areas of inclusion and anti-racism within the stem.  The group has developed defining objectives that closely mirror the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals to ensure consistency and support. The University Business Services (UBS) leadership team also developed a book club and read How To Become An Antiracist by Ibram Kendi.  The book club discussions over the course of a few months focused on how each UBS department can think about the work it does - including policies, procedures, and plans - in the context of the book’s main themes.
 
“As VP for Finance and Administration, I want to affirm our stem’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and definitively state our obligation to raise our voice against injustice, and provide support to and advocacy on behalf of those at Lehigh who are subject to it.  We must fully invest in the learning, understanding, and active engagement to not only recognize our personal power and privilege, but address systemic racism and acts of injustice that exist within our campus community.  My hope is that with this F&A Diversity Working Group we will achieve our objectives and help Lehigh become an anti-racist institution,” said Pat Johnson.
 
The goal of the F&A Diversity Working Group is to build a diverse, inclusive, and supportive culture within F&A that values varied perspectives and ideas, acknowledges and celebrates diversity, and is committed to being anti-racist in order to improve staff engagement/retention, drive better business results, and ensure an inclusive student and staff experience.

“I am honored to be chairing this working group for the F&A stem.  I am committed to helping to lead F&A toward more inclusive and antiracist policies and practices, as well as culture.  I look forward to continuing to bolster and expand our efforts in the months and years ahead,” said Katharine Targett Gross, Lehigh Sustainability Officer.
 
To best support Lehigh’s goal to become an antiracist institution, F&A has developed the following defining objectives:

  • Create and sustain a culture within F&A that values, acknowledges and celebrates diversity, fosters inclusive excellence, and is committed to being anti-racist.
  • Identify and provide opportunities to think through some of our challenges in changing our campus climate to one that is embracing, inclusive and welcoming.
  • Partner with other working groups, departments and stems to sponsor workshops, services and programming focusing on unconscious and implicit bias.
  • Collaborate university-wide with other Diversity-Inclusion Engagement Working Groups to brainstorm, determine and put into action programs, events and opportunities to fulfill Lehigh’s Principles of Our Equitable Community.
  • Create and sustain an F&A infrastructure that effectively supports progress in achieving its diversity, equity and inclusion goals.
The formation of this group is just the beginning of the important work that needs to be done. There are several action areas in which F&A is particularly well-poised to foster inclusion efforts and ensure a commitment to antiracism throughout the stem:
  • Recruitment, Hiring & Retention: Attract, recruit, hire and retain high-quality and diverse F&A staff dedicated to student development, professional excellence, continuing growth, diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracist practices and principles. This area of the plan also includes implementing a F&A staff exit survey and using the results to identify issues and opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • Staff Engagement & Department Culture: Acknowledge and celebrate race and diversity within F&A and foster inclusivity by sustaining a culture that is supportive and respectful, one that values varied perspectives and experiences. This includes conducting surveys and/or focus groups to periodically assess F&A staff feedback on the climate for race, diversity, inclusion and equity within the department. Establishing a space to have a difficult, but meaningful dialogue between, and among, F&A staff is a priority as well.
  • Develop Training & Mentoring Initiatives: Create and sustain a F&A culture that acknowledges and celebrates diversity and fosters inclusive excellence. Efforts include, but are not limited to, implementing a mentoring program and development training initiatives (including implicit bias training and awareness) to improve cultural and racial competencies within F&A.
  • Review of Department Policies/Plans/Procedures: Review all F&A policies and procedures to ensure they do not inadvertently perpetuate inequalities in conjunction with other members of the Lehigh community (including an outside F&A lens). Additionally, F&A will conduct surveys and focus groups of students on the services that F&A provides (i.e. Mail Center, Bookstore, Housing Services, Dining Services, etc.) to get a sense of perceptions and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

“We are proud to help provide direction for F&A in the quest to assist Lehigh in becoming an anti-racist instiution. Creating change starts with deeply respecting each other.  As an anti-racist organization we must vow to purposefully identify, discuss, and challenge issues of race and color and the impacts they have on our organization and campus community. We are resolved to develop and implement strategies that dismantle racism within all aspects of our F&A stem,” 
said Jason Schiffer, University Police Chief and David Joseph, Executive Director of Student Auxiliary Services.
 
A special thank you to the following F&A Diversity Working Group members for their hard work and dedication to this important and necessary work:
 
VP STAFF PROJECT SPONSORS:
David Joseph, Student Auxiliary Services
Jason Schiffer, Lehigh Police Department
 
CHAIR:
Katharine Targett Gross, Office of Sustainability
 
MEMBERS:
Laura Bachman, Conference Services
Linda Lefever, Human Resources
Agustin Vazquez, Transportation & Parking Services
Sharon Field, Transportation & Parking Services
Elizabeth Miller Coleman, Lehigh Police Department
Rich McGarr, Lehigh Police Department
 
PARTNERS:
Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity
Human Resources
Council for Equity and Community

Let's Talk Professional Development

Performance review season is a time when professional development activities are at the front of mind. It’s also a great time for you to plan and discuss your learning goals for the coming year with your supervisor. Bearing that in mind, we thought we’d take this opportunity to provide our F&A colleagues with more information about three great resources for building your future with our tools - Career Enrichment @ Lehigh (CE@L), the BEST Program, and LinkedIn Learning.
 

Career Enrichment @ Lehigh

Career Enrichment @ Lehigh is Human Resources’ learning and development program for Lehigh staff and faculty.
 
CE@L is supported by the PageUp Learning Library, your one-stop shop for professional development resources. When browsing the Learning Library, you can not only find learning opportunities available through Human Resources, but also offerings from ERAC, Library and Technology Services (LTS), and The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. You can filter by “Type” to focus on your interests and narrow down your search.

If a schedule view is more your style, PageUp’s Learning Calendar will show you activities in a calendar format. And, you can use the learning calendar to see learning opportunities scheduled for this spring. It should be noted that only CE@L and ERAC opportunities will display here. So, for instance, if you'd like to learn more about G Suite, or perhaps attend an LUally workshop, you should use the Learning Library to find those opportunities and view schedules.
 
There are even more resources on the HR website. Check out the Learning User Guides page to learn more about how to access and use these parts of PageUp. While you’re there, you can also download a copy of the Career Enrichment Playbook. The Playbook is your guide for planning your career enrichment journey, providing an overview of CE@L tracks and programs, and instructions for Learning Library navigation and enrollment. You’ll also find checklists to help you track your course completions or progress on completing one of our tracks. And, the course titles within the checklists are links that navigate directly to the Learning Library for enrollment, making it easy for you to sign up for programs.
 
Certain CE@L tracks are certificate programs. When you’ve completed all required courses in a certificate program, please contact the Career Enrichment Team at inperf@lehigh.edu. We will then verify your course history and give you credit for completing the track.

 
The BEST Program
While we offer a wide range of learning opportunities at Lehigh, we also recognize that there are many excellent educational programs out of Lehigh that can benefit employees across the university. To support professional development provided elsewhere, HR developed the BEST Program.
 
BEST stands for, “Build and Enhance Skills through Training.” The program offers a training subsidy of 75 percent - up to a maximum of $500 per session - of the cost of employee enrollment in non-credit programs such as those offered by Northampton Community College’s Center for Business and Industry. Your department is responsible for the balance of the cost, and your supervisor must approve the expenditure and time away from work.
 
Programs or courses must be job-related to be eligible for this benefit. Conferences, certifications, and programs that require travel are not covered by the BEST program.

 
LinkedInLearning
Did you know that all Lehigh staff have access to LinkedIn Learning? LinkedIn Learning is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. The platform is filled with career enriching courses, videos and other material designed to teach you new skills and software - over 12,000 courses and 5,000 video tutorials from industry experts and leaders - all in one place!
 
For more information on these resources, visit:
Merging Departments: Purchasing Services and Surplus Property and Logistics 
As we continue to adjust to new ways of working and delivering services to the community, effective January 1, 2021, Surplus Property and Logistics has merged with Purchasing Services and has become Purchasing and University Logistics. Purchasing and University Logistics will have operational oversight and responsibility for optimizing service levels for the following departments: Glenn Strause and his team will report to Jane Altemose, Director of Purchasing and University Logistics. Our goal is to fully leverage the life cycle of Lehigh’s supply chain from purchasing through recycling, reusing, or reselling. Additionally, this will allow us to more effectively support the LabStore given Sharon Zurick’s retirement. It will ensure we provide the necessary redundancy and training to properly transport hazardous materials to various labs in compliance with the required regulations.
 
Finally, this transition will allow us to extend and make permanent a central receiving function, which has served us so well during the COVID-19 Pandemic, significantly reduced truck traffic on campus, and improved building security and access.
 
Join me in thanking Jane and Glenn for collaborating and developing this model of operation.  If you have any questions, please contact Jane at jca209@lehigh.edu.
 
Mark Ironside, AVP of Business Services
Finance & Administration
27  Memorial Drive West
Bethlehem, PA
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