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SC-SPOC Progress Report

SPOC Project Pipeline

See the most recent 2018 SC-SPOC Progress Report below.

The Standing Committee on Service and People Oriented Culture seeks collaborative projects and IdeaWave campaigns that will contribute to the campus goal of creating an agile, sustainable and supportive administrative infrastructure that delivers outstanding support to our vision of being a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university. We provide a network for faculty, researchers and staff, a bridge to leadership and a radar that identifies opportunities to build upon our innovative and creative administrative culture and to make more effective use of our resources. This report describes our current activities and acknowledges our campus partners who are dedicated to a service- and people-oriented culture in alignment with Goal 5 of the UC San Diego Strategic Plan.

Our overarching goals are to:

  • Ensure that processes maximize the time that faculty, researchers and staff are able to dedicate to research, education and service
  • Ensure a dedication to service and people
  • Enhance collaboration between units

Strategy and Priorities

For the 2018 calendar year, SC-SPOC continues with previously identified high-level priorities in order to focus the committee’s work and ensure maximum impact. The following details the SC-SPOC strategy and priorities. 

Institutionalize IdeaWave, as a means to grow collaboration and enhance transparency

  • Encourage departments and groups to use IdeaWave with assistance from OSI

Grow a network of collaborators who are committed to our goals and who can develop the skills needed to lead change

  • Via IdeaWave, SC-SPOC ad hocs, and partnerships with administrative units

Engage and empower SPOC members to lead efforts aligned with their passions and expertise

  • Form ad hocs, to which authority is delegated in a project-appropriate manner

Launch initiatives

  • Major efforts that will measurably impact our charge
  • Initiatives that require substantial resources will need high level administrative sponsorship

Measure and communicate our impact

  • Develop guidelines for metrics, and develop project-specific metrics

Idea campaigns

In order to engage campus in its efforts, the committee leverages IdeaWave to seek campus input about what is important to address in attaining a service and people oriented culture and leverages that input, in addition to input received through the annual Staff@Work, Customer Satisfaction, and Student Satisfaction Surveys, and from the campus community and leadership, to focus the committee’s efforts when pursuing initiatives. See more details about IdeaWave and the idea campaign.

Completed Idea Campaigns

  • Making UC San Diego Health Your First Choice (Spring 2018): Co-sponsored by UC San Diego Health and SC-SPOC, this campaign sought input from the faculty and staff on how to overcome the obstacles and barriers they may face in choosing UC San Diego Health as their healthcare provider.
  • UC San Diego’s Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence (Fall 2017): An all-campus initiative that focused on educating and gathering feedback and input from the campus to create and implement a strategic plan for inclusive excellence.
  • It Pays to Save! (July 2017): SC-SPOC sponsored this campaign aimed at gathering cost savings ideas to further streamline our administration or our programs and save costs. The Saving Total Costs by Efficient Processes (STEP) seeks to identify opportunities in campus processes that can yield demonstrable reductions in total costs to the campus while continuing to meet service standards.
  • Staff Associations (June 2016): UC San Diego staff associations launched a career staff-only IdeaWave campaign focused on ways the Staff Association can better represent staff interests and share information, create an environment where all staff feel included, and increase morale and recognize accomplishments.
  • Carbon Neutrality(May 2016): Sustainability launched the “Working Together to Save Energy!” campaign about how the university can better support the campus community in using less energy on an individual basis, from the electricity used for powering electronics to how you get to, from, and around campus in order to become a carbon neutral campus by 2025. Many of the ideas were included in the campus’ Climate Action Plan.
  • Parking Options(April 2016): Transportation Services launched the Improve Our Commuting: Parking Options idea campaign. The Parking Options campaign was the first to invite the entire student body in the campus-wide brainstorming effort. Students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to contribute constructive ideas and participate in discussions centered on popular parking topics such as proximity, availability, affordability, and policy. The conversation helped Transportation Services better understand the needs of the UC San Diego community and develop a collaborative approach that helps to build a more sustainable campus. The top ideas were evaluated and used to inform a comprehensive parking strategy that began implementation in summer 2016 and still continues to inform decisions made for demand-responsive parking systems, and the related flexible work arrangements expansion project.
  • IPPS/Event Transactions (Jan 2016): All faculty and staff were invited to share ideas on how to refine the campus experience of processing event-related transactions. Sponsored by Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS), recommendations will be supporting the Re:Event project.
  • Staff Performance Appraisal Process(Dec 2015): All faculty and staff were invited to share ideas to enhance the performance management process. Idea submission for this campaign closed in December 2015 and after an evaluation session, a cross-functional project kicked off in Summer of 2016. Many of the ideas submitted by campaign participants were used to inform the goals of the process redesign including, implementing a new online tool, standardizing the process for non-represented staff, and clearer metrics and progression explanations. The project is still underway with a goal for full implementation by May of 2018.
  • Hiring, Orienting, and Engaging the Campus Community: All faculty and staff were invited to identify where UC San Diego has excelled and what improvements could be made to help new and recent hires be more engaged, informed, and productive members of the community. Sponsored by PMBI, in collaboration with APO, HR, and ITS, the ONBOARDING solution was deployed to campus January 19, 2017 for onboarding Staff New Hires: Career, Foreign Visitor, Represented/Non-Represented, and Short Term Exceptions. Outcomes from the 9-month pilot program which kicked off March 31, 2016 with six departments and a VC Unit included an 85% reduction in new hire cycle time, and a labor savings of 80%. The team is currently focused on delivering additional enhancements and functionality for Student New Hires/Re-Hires and Temporary Employment Service New Hires. 
  • Campus Challenge to Reduce Administrative Burden: As the inaugural campaign, all staff and faculty were invited to share ideas for changes in specific administrative processes and policies that would directly allow our departmental staff, faculty, and researchers to spend more time in support of our core academic mission, with students, in the classroom, publishing, and performing research and service. Ideas from this campaign were reviewed by SC-SPOC to identify quick wins and concepts to further explore for larger initiatives or focused IdeaWave campaigns.


SC-SPOC collaborates with subject matter experts and members of our campus community to explore opportunities that the campus has identified as priorities related to Goal 5 of our strategic plan. Based on the outcome of these explorations, some concepts can result in a recommendation to launch a project or a focused IdeaWave campaign.

Current Concepts

  • Facilitate retention of world-class faculty and researchers by leveraging UC San Diego Health expertise to provide US Civil Surgeon services for the permanent residence process: This idea which suggests that due to tough bureaucracy, those seeking permanent residence are subject to a rather arduous and confusing process of receiving sign off on their medical exam. The suggestion is to refer our potential hires to our own UC San Diego Health physicians who would be on an approved list of US Civil Surgeons. This idea is currently being investigated for feasibility at UC San Diego.
  • Cell Phone Stipend: An idea submitted to IdeaBox that would implement a cell phone stipend for those choosing to use their personal cell phones for work purposes. The policy governing the reimbursement and use of cell phones for work purposes is a UC wide policy. An option to consider implementation of specific departmental practices is being explored.
  • Faculty Merit File Preparation: Working with Academic Personnel to investigate possible adoption of UC Irvine online program that facilitates the preparation of faculty files for merit and determine if it is viable at UC San Diego. Academic Personnel leadership will be selecting a system in the next six months.

Completed Concepts

  • Travel Card for Assistants: An idea submitted through IdeaWave that would allow assistants to process travel-related expenses for other individuals. There are external factors that could prevent this concept from progressing into the Re:Event project, so possible solutions are being explored.
  • MyApprovals Enhancement: IdeaWave idea to allow all MyApprovals requested changes (except to dollar amounts) to be completed without restarting a MyEvent.
  • Add Account Codes: IdeaWave idea to allow users to add account codes in Marketplace and MyPayments without submitting a BFSupport ticket.
  • Merit-Based Salary Adjustments and Bonus Awards: Reviewed consistency of Annual Salary Adjustments across VC Areas and partnered with Human Resources on a review of bonus awards. Merit-based salary adjustments for policy-covered/non-represented staff were announced by HR in January 2016, in accordance with the policy set by the University of California Office of the President.
  • Designated Career Ladder Positions: Working with Human Resources to evaluate the creation of designated career ladder positions.
  • Interface between Campus Catering and Marketplace: Some interface improvements between Campus Catering and Marketplace were addressed during the Re:Event project in 2016.
  • Faculty Merit File Preparation: Working with Academic Personnel to investigate possible adoption of UC Irvine online program that facilitates the preparation of faculty files for merit and determine if it is viable at UC San Diego.


SC-SPOC supports efforts throughout campus that foster a service- and people-oriented culture. While SC-SPOC does not implement projects, SC-SPOC supports, advises, endorses, and acknowledges projects that support Goal 5. These projects can stem from ideas collected from Idea Campaigns or SC-SPOC Concept recommendations. Projects can range from complex system-wide efforts to local quick wins, or simply sharing a best practice. SC-SPOC would like to endorse the following efforts:

Current Projects

  • ONBOARDING Experience: The Program Management and Business Integration team (PMBI) seeks to improve new hire experiences by providing earlier system access, online orientation, new hire paperwork, campus tours, online parking permits, customizable name options in systems, simplifying direct deposit, and sharing UC History during orientation. The Portal is in the pilot phase with six departments since April 2016.
  • Staff Performance Appraisal Project: The project kicked off in fall of 2016 and achieved success aligning the original ideas from the IdeaWave campaign to the project deliverables in Phase I. As of April 30, 2017, the project team had successfully redesigned the performance appraisal process for policy-covered, non-represented staff for the 2017/2018 appraisal cycle. 

Completed Projects:

  • USPS Package Tracking: Mail Services, a division of Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS), implemented programing to add information about a package’s movement through UC San Diego to the tracking information displayed on the USPS website. This provides more accurate and up-to-date package tracking information for employees and students

  • ONBOARDING Experience: The Program Management and Business Integration team (PMBI) seeks to improve new hire experiences by providing earlier system access, online orientation, new hire paperwork, campus tours, online parking permits, customizable name options in systems, simplifying direct deposit, and sharing UC History during orientation. The ONBOARDING solution was deployed to campus January 19, 2017, for onboarding Staff New Hires: Career, Foreign Visitor, Represented/Non-Represented, and Short Term Exceptions. Outcomes from the 9-month pilot program which kicked off March 31, 2016, with six departments and a VC Unit included an 85% reduction in new hire cycle time and a labor savings of 80%. The team is currently focused on delivering additional enhancements and functionality for Student New Hires/Re-Hires and Temporary Employment Service New Hires. Future phases include deploying for Academic employees.
  • Improve Financial Reporting for PIs and Others: The Controller’s office explored potential platforms that will improve financial reporting and analysis for principal investigators and fund managers. Research 360 was considered the most scalable solution based on PI needs assessment. A pilot is being planned for early 2018 to begin using the system as a short-term solution for various groups on campus.
  • Payment Compass: Based on IdeaWave feedback, Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS) created Payment Compass, an application aimed at improving how payees do business with UC San Diego by: 1) streamlining the registration process required to receive payments, 2) allowing payees to upload invoices against Marketplace PO’s, and 3) making payment status information available for Marketplace, MyPayments, and MyTravel transactions in one consolidated location. The Payment Compass initiative was made possible by SPOC’s official endorsement (April 2016), and VC-CFO’s Pierre Ouillet’s sponsorship. Payment Compass launched in July 2017 and has continued to be enhanced through 2019; for more information visit Blink.
  • Simplified Core Operating Fund Initiative: The Simplified Operating Fund Initiative is an effort to make expense accounting and fund management of non-restricted resources easier and more efficient for business officers, resource managers, and faculty. The implementation date is July 1, 2016.

  • Re:Event Services Project: Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS) launched a new project to improve the processes around purchasing, paying, and accounting for on and off campus event services. The goal of this project was to reduce time and cost, while limiting liability and risk. Two major improvements on the campus client’s experience relative to the event-related transaction occurred based on the feedback received in IdeaWave and were fully implemented in May of 2017: Integrating MyEvents into MyPayments, and moving the end-to-end catering process into Marketplace. The project is considered a tremendous success. IPPS received the Innovation Award for Process Improvement from the National Association of College and Business Officers (NACUBO), which recognizes higher education institutions that have successfully designed a program or improved the service delivery of an administrative activity in response to a campus need. The Innovation Award nomination was for the first phase of the project which focused on moving the end-to-end catering process into Marketplace and inviting caterers and bar service providers to qualify for an agreement with UCSD.  The first six months of Re:Event alone have resulted in $67K in savings and an estimated 900 hours have been saved because of the reduction or elimination in manual processes for campus and IPPS.

  • Faculty Hiring Approval Process Improvement: An in-depth review of the faculty hiring approval processes in partnership with the Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity office, which applied a Lean Six Sigma methodology to identify and improve approval turnaround times. Average turnaround times were reduced by 55% to 5 business days.
  • Development of Metrics and Assessment of SPOC’s Impact: Committee reviewed and approved a set of metrics and assessments to determine SPOC’s impact for the campus.
  • Export Control Awareness: Proposal drafted for special marketing campaign to promote Export Control on campus.

Examples of completed Quick Wins

  • Increase quote threshold for catering: IPPS re-programmed Marketplace to allow up to $1,000 without a comparative quote (previous threshold was $350) decreasing the amount of time required to complete small catering requests significantly.
  • Increase utilization of the Customer and Student Satisfaction Surveys: The 2015 Faculty and Staff Customer Satisfaction Survey included 80 service departments, which represents a 50% increase in participation from the 2014 survey. The 2016 Student Satisfaction Survey included 44 service departments, which represents a 150% increase in participation from the previous survey. In 2016, these surveys will continue to be an opt-in service provided to units across campus.
  • Campus Catering Interface in Marketplace: Based on an idea from the idea campaign Campus Challenge to Reduce Administrative Burden, HDH contacted the idea contributor to address specific concerns and made minor quick win updates to Campus Catering interface as requested.
  • Include Strategic Objectives in Staff@Work Survey: Modified 2015 Staff@Work survey to assess awareness of UC San Diego vision and strategic objectives in order to broaden the survey’s focus from departmental to university-wide impact. The Staff@Work Survey also added an open-ended question to allow anonymous submittals to the 2015’s IdeaWave campaigns. A total of 180 anonymous IdeaWave ideas and comments were submitted via the survey.
  • Travel documentation: The Travel department added the last four digits of a travel credit card to travel documentation for tracking purposes making it easier for travel administrators when reconciling a trip that a traveler has used both the UC Travel card and a personal card on a trip.
  • Travel Lien: The Travel department automated a previously burdensome manual process, and the result is that the Lien Lifter tool is no longer needed to remove liens from canceled trips.
  • Link Upload Receipts on homepage of Travel App: Travel was able to make this already existing functionality more visible to the user by moving the link to the homepage of the Travel App.

Education and Best Practices

  • Salary Adjustments: SC-SPOC communicated the impact of applying salary adjustments in a consistent manner across Vice Chancellor units to the Chancellor and his Cabinet.
  • Travel Policy: The Travel department clarified the policy changes that were necessary to enforce regulations with the IRS and UCOP, and emphasized the steps they had taken to simplify the reimbursement process. Review policy clarifications here.
  • Petty Cash and Credit Cards for Graduate Students: Clarified that petty cash is available to Grad Students and credit cards for grad students are available in some instances. This is a case-by-case conversation with Travel.
  • Online Timesheets: MyTime is available to all departments on campus, but department leadership must opt into using MyTime. Online timekeeping will become mandatory when UC Path is implemented.
  • Researching Campus Catering Costs: An IdeaWave comment clarified how to research catering costs in Marketplace.
  • MyTime Online Auto-Calculation of Hours: Payroll updated MyTime with a note explaining that the accrual hours are not available in real time for bi-weekly paid employees, although monthly employees see the correct information. UC Path will correct this delay.
Questions? Contact

Doing something great? SC-SPOC would like to recognize your efforts related to fostering a people and service-oriented culture across our campus. Please contact to share what you are doing to further Goal 5.

Have a great idea or best practice? If you would like SC-SPOC to consider your idea, please submit it to an active campaign or to IdeaBox, a place for submitting and storing ideas or best practices 24/7 in IdeaWave.