The Digital Transformation Division Newsletter - September 2022

The Digital Transformation Division Newsletter - September 2022

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The Half-Time Livestream has been going strong since Jan. 8, 2020, bringing everyone in Dx together for the chance to:
  • Ask questions directly and get them answered
  • Hear up-to-date news about projects, changes, events, and more
  • Recognize team members for their great accomplishments
  • Ponder the quote of the week
  • Learn the stat of the week
  • Laugh at the plentiful dad jokes
To participate, tune in every Wednesday at 11:45 AM on the Half-Time Channel on the Dx Community team in Teams. It's 15 minutes you won't get back, but hopefully, you won't want them back!



The Dx Team Recognition Award is a way to recognize our colleagues in Dx for their hard work and accomplishments. Recognized during our Half-Time live-stream each Wednesday at 11:45 AM, a deserving nominee will also receive an award certificate and two movie vouchers. 

To nominate someone, fill out this form or navigate to the Dx Community team in Teams, enter the Half-Time channel, and select the Team Recognition tab from the top menu. Remember, nominations must be submitted by 5:00 PM on Tuesday to be eligible for the following Wednesday's Half-Time.


Have you seen a UVU staff member offering exceptional service or giving an exemplary performance? Remember to nominate them for the Wolverine Sighting Employee Recognition Award! The Wolverine Sighting Award is an employee recognition award sponsored by PACE. Nominees must be full- or part-time UVU staff employees, but there is no minimum requirement for years of employment and nominations are accepted year-round.


The UVU Goodwill Association sends get-well wishes to UVU employees with the primary goal of enhancing employee relations by maintaining a caring atmosphere at Utah Valley University. Membership dues are used to send floral baskets for a number of situations (extended hospital stays, bereavement, and more). 
Do you know any employees needing goodwill? Please refer them by following this link. For more information about joining UVU's Goodwill Association, check out their page.

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This year, Labor Day falls on Monday, September 5, and is a holiday for UVU students, faculty, and staff. Read more about the origins of this holiday here.

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This year, Patriot Day falls on Sunday, September 11. Patriot Day is officially known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance. It commemorates the people who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. 

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Spring and butterfly.

Please put the November 2022 UVU Data Summit on your calendars. We expect to have a variety of data breakout sessions in the morning and keynote presentations in the afternoons. We will hear from Vice President Christina Baum and, most likely, our new Associate Vice President for ASDS. We hope to include a few technology deep dives as bonus content for the data summit. More details will be provided as they develop. Stay tuned to for the latest information. 

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Troy Martin, Associate Vice President of IT/CTO 

Before I get into the message, I would like to give a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of you who helped make the start of the semester go smoothly. I enjoyed walking the halls and meeting with students and felt the fear, energy, and excitement that many new students have in their first “official” week of college. I love how the UVU campus is connected, and you can literally walk from one end of campus to the other and not have to go outside. A thought I had was, wouldn’t it be cool if our systems were the same way and that you easily transition from one application to another? Probably a thought for another day and definitely something (user experience) we want to consider as stewards for Digital Transformation.

Speaking of Digital Transformation, when you have a moment, google “elements of digital transformation.” The search results will surprise you! There are many definitions and interpretations of what comprises digital transformation out there. If you click on some of the results, you will see common patterns and themes emerge. One theme that seems to be present is the notion that “cultural change” is a vital element of every digital transformation plan and strategy. Cultural change seems to entail changing how we work by improving processes and reducing the gap between employees and data.

I would like to highlight one successful example of cultural change within our division: the Network Management team led by Kurtis Olsen. About a year and a half ago, we partnered with a third party (NetCuras) to augment Kurtis’ team by bringing on some of their engineers to help with the mountain of support issues and upgrades that needed to be addressed. It had to have been extremely weird and a bit unsettling at first for the Network team to have outside folks show up ready to help. But they pushed through the awkwardness and began to find ways to integrate them into the day-to-day activities and responsibilities.

Yesterday, a few of us met with NetCuras in Bountiful to review progress and set goals for the coming year. I was amazed that they had included their own “beach picture” of things they wanted to accomplish over the coming months. Not only did our culture change by learning to work with outside vendors, but their culture was changed as they aligned with our approach. I learned two things: beach pictures aren’t just an internal approach to shaping strategy, but they can also be a way to align vision with third parties like NetCuras.

One of the ways I would like to see our culture change in the coming months is to get to the point where people work hard and do great things without caring who gets the credit. The opposite of this is also true: to get to the point where we help pick up teams and individuals when they fall without caring about getting credit. Over the course of my career, the most successful teams have been those who serve and help others without caring who gets the credit (or blame).  

Beach pictures help us communicate what we plan to do in the coming months, and cultural change speaks to how we will approach that work. I would invite you to find ways in your daily work that you can change and improve. I would also encourage you to find ways that you can work better with other teams. Wanting to change, improve, and help others are key elements of cultural change that promote digital transformation.

Thanks for all you do!



Brett McKeachnie, Senior Director of Product Portfolio Management 


Professional development has many benefits for both the employee and the organization. Among these are increased knowledge and advancement, improved job satisfaction, and greater employee retention. It affects everyone's bottom line: Employees who pursue professional development in their careers tend to have higher productivity and job satisfaction.

As employees of UVU, we are afforded many opportunities for professional development. Many of us take advantage of them, but others may not be aware of them or may feel that, given their workload, they don't have time to accomplish anything they consider valuable. I hope in this article to give a few ideas that can help all of us to cultivate our professional development. 

Training is NOT Professional Development

I first want to emphasize that training is not the same thing as professional development. Training is based on the needs of the organization at any given time. It is used to overcome large skill gaps that prevent the employees and the organization from accomplishing their mission. It makes it possible for us to do our jobs. 

On the other hand, professional development begins on day one of a new job. It keeps us current with the technology we use or support and helps us improve our skills. Consequently, our jobs become easier because we're able to work more effectively.

In other words, training fills a gap, whereas professional development focuses on the growth of the organization and its employees. 

UVU-Provided Professional Development

People & Culture (HR) puts out monthly training options for personnel managers. Recently, they announced the availability of opportunities for all staff to improve our annual reviews by enhancing our required competencies via the "Staff Competency Experience." They have made workshops available in UVULearn (signup) so you can get your best rating! 


UVULearn is an online learning environment that provides employees with resources to improve job skills, acquire new expertise, and pursue personal and professional development. Learners can access online videos, courses, and schedules for live training in a flexible format that is available 24/7. 

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that offers over 15,000 courses to nurture professional development. LinkedIn Learning courses are usually broken into two- to four-minute increments and are available to every student and employee of UVU. Through these expert-led courses, UVU students and employees can acquire business, creative, and technology skills. UVULearn courses often use LinkedIn Learning materials to support their curriculum.


UVU Dx has partnered with Pluralsight to update our team's knowledge and skills about current technologies and frameworks. With Pluralsight, employees can benchmark and prove their knowledge, keep up with emerging trends, and build skills in software development, IT Ops, security, personal development, leadership, data management, and more. Contact me with any questions.

Microsoft Learn

In partnering with Microsoft, UVU Dx employees now have access to Microsoft Learn, an online training platform that provides training resources, learning paths, and knowledge resources to boost technical skills. These industry-recognized certifications, instructor-led courses, and virtual training days are available to upskill our team in the rapidly changing technology world. Contact Kim Leseberg with any questions.

Check out and explore the Unaffiliated and Our Partners sections to find lots of skill-building options.

One option I want to draw attention to is EDUCAUSE. EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that provides knowledge, resources, and community-building opportunities to help shape strategic IT decisions at institutions of higher learning such as UVU. Some materials are public, but others are behind a login which is very easy to get. Just select Utah Valley University when prompted for your institution. Check out this link:

Other Options

Not all professional development has to be provided or structured like the resources listed above. Other options include:

  • Reading a work-related book (or even a book summary)
  • Listening to a work-related podcast
  • Searching the web or YouTube for solutions
  • Finding a mentor or coach to learn from (or even become a mentor to someone else)
  • Using the help information on websites or within software


I'm sure I've left off as many options as I've included here. The sky's the limit! Professional development doesn't have to take up a lot of time. It can be done in the moment while you are working, during a quick brain break from challenging work, or just about anytime. The key is to always be learning!



Jeff Andersen, Director of IT Admin Programming Services

Now that we've all set goals for the year, it's good to remember one of the greatest sources of failure in the history of the world: goal inversion. Basically, goal inversion happens when the means become the end. If you look for it, you will see goal inversion playing out all around you (maybe even in your personal life). 

Every organization is susceptible to this flaw. I recently listened to the audiobook Start with Why. It gives a great take on the problem of goal inversion and examples of companies that avoid it. The book argues why a company should not prioritize profits, products, or processes over its purpose. Essentially, companies should strive to benefit the world, including their employees, not primarily to earn a profit (although that is a useful secondary goal). Why? Because companies that merely engage in wealth redistribution without creating actual value are not much better than common thieves. It's the difference between creating another, bigger pie and just greedily, unethically taking more of the same pie. (For example, remember Enron? Bernie Madoff? Charles Ponzi? Although, to be fair, these may not be good examples of goal inversion because if your primary goal is to rip people off, you are not suffering from goal inversion—you just have a bad goal!)

One benefit of working for UVU is knowing we are part of an organization that engages in value creation, not mere wealth redistribution. We make the world a better place by helping our students become more capable people. 

As a final example, I watched the Obi-Wan series on Disney+ lately, which set me off on a Star Wars binge. Reflecting on the entire story, I realized that Anakin Skywalker's entire failure in life could be summed up in a single mistake: goal inversion. He lost everything he wanted to protect by seeking the power to protect it. So, how do we keep ourselves from falling to the dark side? We prioritize our purpose, our whys, first. And we keep our hows second. No software system can do that for us. (Except Skynet. And the Dx Beach Picture does ask us to leverage the power of AI in innovative ways...) 



Joe Belnap, Senior Director of Special Projects for IT 

Turnover is expensive. The cost to replace a seasoned employee is 3-4 times more expensive than their overall salary, and the annual cost of turnover represents 3.4-5.8 percent of the annual operating budget.

Successful retention—keeping the best—is not the simple inverse of turnover. And contrary to popular belief, hourly pay has been shown to have almost no impact on job satisfaction. The primary job satisfaction indicator is work environment

So, what should we look for in potential candidates?

  • Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience.
  • Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind.

Having served this last month on a couple of hiring committees, I’ve had to remind myself that though experience cannot be overrated, it does tend to be overvalued. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to use by people with all the other qualities previously mentioned. Integrity always outperforms experience.

But you may ask, how can conflict possibly contribute to retention? Doesn’t conflict contribute to a toxic work environment? Yes, contentious conflict is damaging and should always be quickly resolved. However, it should rarely be avoided or ignored, much less eliminated. A tranquil, harmonious organization may very well be an apathetic, uncreative, stagnant, inflexible, and unresponsive organization. Not exactly what I would consider a work environment conducive to retention.

Conflict—minus the contentious aspect—also has tremendous retentive benefits. Constructive conflict challenges the status quo and stimulates interest and curiosity. It is the root of personal and social change, creativity, and innovation, which are work environment attributes that are highly conducive to retention. 



Geoff Matthews, Associate Director  

This year, UVU's enrollment on the first day of school was 33,770. However, this is not the number that will be used to represent UVU's Fall '22 student headcount. Why? Because of the government. The Federal government requests that schools set a census date sometime after the term has started. Utah State Higher Education (USHE) has pegged this date as 15 weekdays of instruction after the term has begun. 

For Fall 2022, this would be September 13. For Fall and Spring terms, we use what we call the "third week" freeze or data capture. These are sent to USHE every year, along with an End-of-Term (EOT) freeze. For Summer, we only submit an EOT data capture.

Because the freeze, or data capture, is taken at the end of the day, we won't know our student headcount until September 14 (assuming no serious data problems).



Tim Stanley, Director of IR  

To my friends in Dx—

If you haven't already heard elsewhere, I've accepted another position working in the Correlation Research Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My first day there will be September 6. This really is a job I have been chasing for some time, so I'm pretty excited. But I have loved my time at UVU and have many friends and memories here, so I am glad not to be leaving completely—I plan to continue teaching as adjunct faculty.

UVU has an amazing mission. I hope you appreciate the noble work you do. Christina and her team have an exciting, bold vision of the future. Even as I helped tweak my own job description, I was verklempt with the cool things coming UVU's way. Even with the changes a new building brings, the new connections and friends that Dx will make will outweigh the inconveniences we might be focused on at the moment.

Perhaps one final act of IR integration I can do is to "out" my amazing coworkers to the rest of Dx. If any of you play piano, you need to talk to Eric Wilding. If there are any runners out there, compare notes with Evelyn Ho-Wisniewski. While you're at it, you should ask Leisa Galloway about her garden sometime. If anyone makes their own ice cream—you've gotta talk to Geoff Matthews. Ask John Whitney how many languages he knows. For anyone who writes Sci-Fi (I'm looking at you, Joe Belnap), get in contact with award-winning author Mark Leany. If you just like to read really bad sci-fi, exchange recommendations with Stephanie Smith. Bonsai-aficionados? Talk to Todd Harper. Board-game lovers? Talk to Taylor Lovell. Looking to vacation in Hawaii—get some tips from Douglas Nielson. Roller-skaters talk to Cray Rawlings, and plant-lovers talk to Erika Gunn. And if you are eagerly counting down the minutes to Halloween, you and Jolie Martin have something in common. I've loved working with these folks! Take good care of them for me!


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The following positions are available in Dx. Be sure to watch for upcoming opportunities in Dx. 
Is there an opening in your division or department that needs to be filled? Be sure to get it approved according to the Temporary Human Resources Guidelines. Once the position is open, get the word out by submitting it to Caitlin Tobler for next month’s newsletter.


The following individual(s) have been recently hired, promoted, or changed positions in Dx:

  • Tiff Cordova, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Corbin Healy, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Madalyn Rupprecht, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Cameron Hurst, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Isaiah Catimpo, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Evan Carbine, Student Computing Lab Assistant
  • Ashton Parke, Systems Administrator II
  • Dallas Hawkins, Lead Technician
  • Jaiden Fisher, Technician II
  • William Miles, Technician I
  • Olivia Robinson Gledhill, Administrative Assistant
  • Sterling Shaw, Web Programmer 
  • Kim Soto, Web Developer I AA
  • Natasha Applegate, Support Technician II
  • Josh Rushing, Support Technician II
  • Allysa Jones, Support Technician II
  • Austin Lynn, Intermediate Research Analyst
  • Kate Coneys, Assistant in the Survey Research Center

Be sure to give them your congratulations and support!

In addition to welcoming our new hires, we must also say farewells to one of our directors: Tim Stanley. Thank you, Tim, for all your hard work and dedication to UVU! There will be a farewell reception on Thursday, September 1, from 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM in SC 213c (refreshments will be served). You could also send Tim a message on the Kudo Board: