Financial Affairs News

04/18/2017: Customer Commitment + Listening + Collaboraton = University Excellence

When a project saves thousands of dollars each year and delivers a streamlined system for our customers—80 percent of whom rate it good or excellent—it's destined to be considered a success.

Rowdy Pay, the new student payment portal, launched in the fall of 2016 and immediately drew applause and rave reviews from students and their family members, as well as staff members. Now, the university has added its own standing ovation. On April 13, the team of Financial Services and OIT who planned and implemented Rowdy Pay was honored with the University Excellence Team Spirit Award. The team includes:

  • Gary Lott, Director of Financial Services;
  • Christopher Valles, Associate Bursar (Main Campus);
  • Sam Suwal, Associate Bursar (Downtown Campus); and
  • Sylvia Dorgan, Senior Enterprise System Programmer, OIT.

The creation of Rowdy Pay stemmed from conversations with students about the Banner "self-serve" system, which UTSA had used for tuition, fees, housing and meal plan payments for several years. Students and parents complained that Banner was extremely difficult to understand and use. As a result, the team spent months conducting research on other payment portals, speaking with counterparts at universities that had transitioned to new platforms. They discovered a more user-friendly system adopted by many prominent institutions called TouchNet.

The team worked closely with UT Purchasing to take advantage of a lower license fee rate previously negotiated by the UT System. By collaborating with Purchasing and negotiating with TouchNet, the team:

  • Saves UTSA nearly $50,000 annually on license fees; and
  • Saves UTSA students approximately $175,000 annually in credit card fees.

The team partnered with Student Affairs to engage and secure input from students in a focus group. They joined forces to ensure clear communication among all departments involved and with TouchNet staff to resolve obstacles along the way. They also allied with UTSA's Department of University Communications and Marketing to create a logo for the new product. The team presented to other areas with which Financial Services collaborates throughout the year, including One-Stop enrollment. They met with Fiscal Services staff to ensure all were prepared for the transition. They teamed up with Business Affairs' Communications to create and deploy a branding and promotional plan to ensure prospective users knew about the new system.

The benefits to students and their families — as well as those to the university — are tremendous. Rowdy Pay delivers:

  • A system that is easier to understand and navigate;
  • A platform that can be accessed through the UTSA mobile app, allowing students to easily view their account balances and make payments on their phones and tablets;
  • Access for parents and other family members to provide payments simply;
  • Electronic collection of installment loan promissory notes;
  • Enhanced communications including text messages; and
  • More responsive customer service by back-office staff.

Creating the Rowdy Pay student payment portal has greatly improved the payment experience for students and families and provided a more efficient operation for UTSA staff.

We thank the Rowdy Pay Team for respecting their customers, creating positive change for them, and for doing the right thing for UTSA.

Congratulations to Gary, Christopher, Sam and Sylvia for earning the University Excellence Team Spirit Award!

03/03/2016: The University of Texas System Board of Regents approve tuition increases at UTSA

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved recommendations from UT health and academic institutions to increase tuition over the next two years, with specific plans to target the new revenue to programs that improve student success and provide essential student services. This agreement was reached February 29th, 2016.

Regents first heard the proposals at a February 10th meeting on the campus of UT Medical Branch in Galveston. UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven told regents then that a modest increase in tuition was necessary in order to keep UT institutions competitive among their peers.

“The fact is most of our tuition and fees are at or well below the national level and the fact is that tuition and fees are the single greatest driver for revenue which, if spent wisely, improves the quality of our schools.” McRaven said. “However, we remain sensitive to the financial challenges our students and their families face, and we very carefully consider their perspective when we make these recommendations.”

“It is about staying competitive,” McRaven said.

Late last year, regents authorized campuses to proceed with a consultative process that included students to develop recommendations for increases in tuition and fees for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The authorization approved an increase of 2 percent per year to address inflation over the last several years, as well as “reasonable and prudent additional increases that address issues of greatest institutional priority.”

“We are proud of that fact that we offer an affordable education to our students and we will continue to do all we can to provide ways to help students cover the cost of their education and stay out of debt,” Regents Chairmen Paul Foster said, pointing out that through state and federal grants and institutional funds, many students pay little to nothing toward tuition. “But we cannot escape the fact that tuition and fees are the single greatest driver of our core revenue. We must be sure that our universities have the resources they need to provide the world-class education our students expect and deserve.”

06/03/2015: Wellness / Success Story – Financial Affairs
Financial Affairs is proud to report a grand success for the 2015 UT System Physical Activity Challenge! The challenge was to make 10,000 steps a day for 5 days over a course of 5 of the 6 weeks of challenge.

During this challenge many events were scheduled by Financial Affairs to continually keep all its members energized and geared towards success. Financial Affairs success was due to Maria taking the lead and keeping the LivingWell Program at the forefront of everyone's mind. Maria Zayas, Tanya Dunlap-Teasley, Kristee Phelps, Alison Smith, and even a personal trainer, Nathan Gamez, assisted with supporting Financial Affairs and our weekly step training goals.

Financial Affairs was able to capture several successes throughout the six (6) week program. Everyone involved was able to live a more active lifestyle that hopefully will continue well past the end of the Living Well Program. Together, Financial Affairs made more than 10 million steps over the six week period! Financial Affairs also had six (6) people in the top 50 throughout UTSA!

Financial Affairs also awarded a grand prize to the one lucky individual who completed the 6 week program. There were several potential candidates for this grand prize and we were lucky enough to have such a motivated and incredible team to make this challenge a success. Without further delay Financial Affairs would like to announce the winner of the Financial Affairs Wellness Activity challenge is JJ Chavez from Inventory!

Way to go Financial Affairs! Way to go UTSA!

04/06/2015: Financial Affairs launches wellness kick-off
Financial Affairs officially launched their department wide wellness initiative through partnering with the Living Well University of Texas System Activity Challenge. This program is expected to run from April 6th through May 17th. Our goal is to achieve 10,000 steps each day for a minimum of five (5) days each week.

During the Financial Affairs Activity Challenge Kickoff, Alison Smith, Assistant Director of Fitness/Wellness, discussed the benefits of exercising and demonstrated exercises that can be done right at your desk. Allison also showed everyone a few desk stretches to help energize your muscles and keep you active and healthy. Kristee Phelps, Occupational Health and Wellness Manager, discussed the UT System Physical Activity Challenge and fielded all questions regarding plan details and ways to achieve individual goals. Kristee discussed that staff have free access to the recreational center on Fridays.

This initiative plan is to encourage all Financial Affairs members to get out there and move! Today during our pep-rally we unveiled our plans and goals for the department and watched an excellent and hilarious video of staff demonstrating various exercises.

If you would like to see just how much fun was had please click here.

03/03/2015: UTSA Names Kathryn Funk-Baxter Vice President for Business Affairs
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today announced the selection of Kathryn Funk-Baxter, a 1988 Master's of Business Administration graduate of UTSA, as Vice President for Business Affairs, effective April 27.

As vice president for business affairs, Funk-Baxter will oversee six divisions and 31 departments at the university including administration, facilities, financial affairs, human resources, university police and UTShare-PeopleSoft.

Funk-Baxter currently serves as Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Since joining A&M-Corpus Christi in 1996, she has also served as Sr. Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration, Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration, and in a number of other financial-related positions with progressively increasing responsibilities (to read more about Kathryn please click here).

01/24/2015: UTSA Vice President for Business Affairs Kerry Kennedy retires
The University of Texas at San Antonio Vice President for Business Affairs Kerry Kennedy will retire this week after more than 25 years of service in public higher education to include 10 years leading UTSA's Business Affairs division.

Mr. Kennedy joined UTSA in August 2004, leading a division that includes more than 600 employees and is responsible for budgeting and financial forecasting, human resources, facilities and capital improvement projects, campus police operations and emergency preparedness, environmental health and safety, purchasing and auxiliary services, and parking and transportation operations.

Kennedy has overseen significant capital growth at UTSA as the university has evolved to an emerging Tier One research institution. Since 2004, Kennedy's teams have completed more than $600 million in capital construction, more than doubling the size of the university to more than 5 million gross square feet. (to read more about Kerry Kennedy please click here)

Thank you Mr. Kennedy for all of your hard work.

12/20/2013: Financial Affairs Holiday Door Decorating Contest Winners!
It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of the Financial Affairs Door Decorating Contest. There were many creative and beautiful entries this year .

All entries were very deserving of 1st place which made choosing a winner a difficult decision. This year’s winners of the 2013 Financial Affairs Door Decorating Contest are Accounting Services. Financial Services and Collections took 2nd place this year!

Special thanks to everyone who worked hard to decorate their door and thank you Linda Martinez and Jermaine Johnson for creating the PowerPoint below.

If you would like to see some of the other decorated doors please click here.

10/25/2013: HR & Financial Affairs Homecoming Tailgate BBQ.

A special thank you to everyone who showed up, helped set up, tear down, and had a a great time at UTSA's HR and Financial Affairs 1st annual Homecoming tailgate bar-be-cue! If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to send any thing to the Financial Affairs inbox!

If you would like to see some of the other pictures that we have please click here.

09/24/2013: BRAVO Employee Recognition.

BRAVO employee recognition has offically launched! For more information about the BRAVO nominations please visit the BRAVO recognition help. To see all the winners of the employee recognition contest for both past and present please visit here.

If you would like to nominate someone who has proven to be an advocate of the Business Affairs Guding principles you can do so by going here.

12/18/12: Door Decorating Contest update.

It is with great pleasure we announce the success of the Financial Affairs Door Decorating Contest. There were many creative and beautiful entries this year .

All entries were very deserving of 1st place which made choosing a winner a difficult decision. This year’s winners of the 2012 Financial Affairs Door Decorating Contest are Accounting Services and Fiscal Services-Downtown.


The Accounting Services winners left to right are: Kim Doan, Ashley Zaldivar, Marlene Zacarias, Cyndi Schweers, Justin Avants, and Priscilla Ybarra (not pictured).

The Fiscal services left to right are: Alka Bhavsar, Elaine Perez, Rebecca Galvan, Debbie Riley, and Julia Poo.

We also had a group which we believed best captured the Spirit of Christmas. Surplus has done an excellent job this year with their hard work and dedication to their door.

The Surplus winners left to right are John Avalos, Pete Vazquez, Reyna Zuzak, Angel Garza.
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend, and we look forward to seeing you after the New Years!

To see all the entries please view the zip file.

12/14/12: The Controller Christmas update.

Tons of food and good times were had at the Controller Christmas party. All in attendance remenced on past events throughout the year via display of pictures captured on a repeating PowerPoint. Some were even lucky enough to win prizes ranging from: various giftcards, to UTSA themed T-shirts, to even Poinsettias!

Lenora and Becky reviewed the Door contest entries and found a tie for First place (Downtown Fiscal Services & Accounting Office) with the Spirit of Christmas award going to Surplus and Inventory.

10/30/12: The UTShare @UTSA PeopleSoft implementation team won the 2012 UTSA Homecoming Contest, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board.

The PeopleSoft office participated in the Homecoming contest sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB) . This is the second year in a row that the PeopleSoft department has brought home the trophy.

(Pictured from left to right: Michelle Skidmore, Tanya Dunlap-Teasley,
Araceli Pacheco, Elaine Bouyer.
Not pictured: Ana Hill, Lydia Garza, Dennis Layman, Brenda Clark, Cynthia Orth,
Denise Brown, and Lisa Cartier.)

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