December 10, 2018
Dear UT Staff Members,
As the fall semester comes to a close, the Forty Acres are alive with activity. And staff members at The University of Texas at Austin are — as ever — working hard on an astounding range of projects and initiatives to keep UT operating at the very highest level.
The university launched Workday for human resources and payroll on November 9. This transition of enterprise software is an enormous project involving every unit and hundreds of staff members. Your efforts have been outstanding, and the university will benefit from your work for years to come.
In the long run, Workday will greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of UT’s administrative processes and systems. With a launch of this magnitude, there will be challenges that we will need to troubleshoot and fix. I thank you for your patience and effort as we all adapt to Workday.
At the end of September, the university officially reopened the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, one year after Hurricane Harvey severely damaged buildings, piers and structures throughout the MSI campus. Reopening this facility was a monumental undertaking, and it was managed by dozens of UT staff members. I want to especially thank Project Management and Construction Services for overseeing nearly 25 Harvey-related projects — ranging from the repair of damaged roofs to the replacement of a research pier. A $30 million restoration of this kind would typically take at least three years to design and construct, but most of MSI’s repairs are scheduled to be completed within only two years.
During the past few months, members of the UT community have received awards for their world-changing innovations, accomplishments and discoveries — including a Nobel Prize for Distinguished Alumnus James Allison and a MacArthur “Genius” award for Livia Eberlin, assistant professor in the College of Natural Sciences. And so many of the honors our faculty members, students and alumni receive have been powered by the work of staff members — who help prepare proposals, manage and maintain facilities, oversee accounts and contracts, schedule classes, curate archival collections, keep the university’s information networks running and so much more. Your work enables excellence at UT.
As we finish the fall semester, I want to thank you for your commitment and dedication. Enjoy celebrating the holidays, be sure to root for Longhorn Football in the Sugar Bowl on January 1 and enjoy spending time with your family and friends.
Gregory L. Fenves