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May 2020
Benefit Choice 2020

The annual Benefit Choice Period will begin on May 1, 2020 for the State Employees Group Insurance Program. The State of Illinois Department Central Management Services (CMS) has shared some important announcements and reminders to help you prepare for making your FY2021 benefit elections.

Benefit Choice Booklet
CMS mailed Benefit Choice Booklets during the week of April 20, 2020. Please watch for it to arrive at your home mailing address. You may also view the FY2021 Benefit Choice Booklet on the CMS website.

Register or Remember Login
Beginning May 1, you can make benefit elections through MyBenefits. View the Registration Guide for step-by-step instructions for registering on MyBenefits, or view the How to Register video from CMS. If you registered a while ago, but need to recover your password, choose Forgot My Password on the MyBenefits Login page.

Contact University Payroll & Benefits for benefits questions:

Cybersecurity Training

Several training modules are available now. Completing one or more puts you ahead of the attackers when it comes to identifying and avoiding cyber threats. We encourage you to try one of these modules. Please visit: https://go.uillinois.edu/securitytraining. Anyone who has not already completed a training module will receive a follow up email with a suggested assignment to complete by May 15.

Read more about the program on the cybersecurity page – https://cybersecurity.uillinois.edu/training.   

Please reach out to securitysupport@illinois.edu with any questions or feedback.

Recognizing AITS Employees

If you'd like to recognize a colleague for doing great work, use our High Fives & Fist Bumps tool! Recognition from our customers can be submitted to our Recognition Team at aitsrecognitionprgm@uillinois.edu. Think that someone you work with is beyond excellent? Take it one step further and nominate them for the AITS Excellence Award!

High Fives & Fist Bumps

"I want to thank Kathy Nash for all the help she provided me with the creation of my first batch job here at AITS.  Her help sped up the learning curve tremendously.."

-Recognized by
Steve Ashwill

"Stepping out of her skin and into fur, Michelle Twist graciously played the role of the Easter Bunny and shared an eggcellent story time with AITS kids (of all ages) on the Saturday morning before Easter. She created a very nice interactive experience and helped brighten the day. Thank you, Easter Bunny! Bawk bawk!!"

-Recognized by
Stephan Seyfert

"Many THANKS to Marta Viviani for her many years of contribution to the University of Illinois, the University's staff and students and AITS. Even as she exists, she is going above-and-beyond in her efforts to convey almost 20 years of amazing service to other staff.  Marta has been exemplary in all her efforts and will be missed by many.  I am proud to have worked with her for the last 15 years, I will definitely miss her! Thanks Marta !!!!"

-Recognized by
Rich Gegg & All of AITS

"You know the saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder"? I have always appreciated the team [Jeannine Reese, Lori Pelmore, Jodi Wright, Rob Law, Becky Prather] I work closely with in person. With having to work from home full-time I have an even greater appreciation for the support and friendship I have with each of you. Thank you for being you, for challenging me daily on many levels :) and for making me laugh. Your support personally and professionally is beyond reproach!"

-Recognized by
Amanda Hemming

"Carly Frerichs and Adam Frerichs - I greatly appreciate the work you do to process the endless vendor sync requests. It is a huge relief knowing the requests are being processed quickly and correctly. Thank you!!"

-Recognized by
Jeannine Reese

"There isn't another person that I'd rather tackle the monster that is iBuy with than you [Amanda Hemming]! I appreciate your drive and determination to get it figured out and challenging each other to be better. Missing the Living Room pow-wows chatting things over and coming up with ideas to help make the system be used the best way possible. Thank you for being who you are!!"

-Recognized by
Jeannine Reese

"There are so many things I appreciate about you, and hopefully you're already clear on that, but I can't let National High Five Day pass by without thanking my awesome team members [Leana Coffey, Miranda Clampitt, Stephan Seyfert, Christina Worthington] for all you do to keep me sane (keep trying), make me laugh (and cry, and snort), weather the storms, enjoy the good times with gusto, churn out "stuff" that make AITS a great place to work, and for being the amazing caring, genuine, well-intentioned, action-oriented, future-focused professionals you are. I couldn't be more blessed. It's kind of fun to do the impossible - especially with all of you! Keep being outspoken, good-looking, love to party & have fun. I miss you all more than words can express. THANK YOU!!! #nationalhighfiveday

-Recognized by
Suzi McLain

"Swetha Ravoori and Calvin Chen have adapted quickly to changing testing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes quickly testing the mobile app of UI Ride and working to solve automated testing script issues at a moments notice. I'm very thankful for their help!"

-Recognized by
Matt Macomber

"Congratulations to Hubiba Ali, student worker at AITS Service Desk, for being nominated for the 2020 Student Employee of the Year.  She was nominated for her outstanding commitment, sacrifice, and reliablity for her work assisting customers on the front lines.  View the official announcement here."

-Recognized by 
Shawn Lee

"I am so thankful for Chris Hawk. On numerous times he has come to my rescue. Specifically today, he proactively asked me to help on an issue I was having. He noticed there was some activity after work hours and reached out to me to assist with something we infrequently encounter: reverting Production changes. Without his assistance, I would have spent more time than I needed, along with others who were patiently waiting for me. Thank you!"

-Recognized by 
Aaron Zuercher

Happy Customers
"I cannot thank you enough for making the resources available to me and the UIS Office of Financial Assistance over the past couple of months.  I want you to know that Becky Prather and Pete Bossert have provided remarkable assistance and I cannot acknowledge enough their untiring and unfailing contributions.  If I could recommend them for an award or recognition, I would not pause nor hesitate to do so.  Their efforts and devotion to excellence must be commended.  They have gone out of their way to support the financial assistance office and without that assistance, the office may not be where it is today.  I am truly grateful."

-Recognized by
Gerald (Jerry) Joseph 
Associate Provost for Budget and Administrative Planning, UIS


TAM Team Recognition Program

AITS's Technical Application Management (TAM) leadership members have initiated a recognition program within in their team! This program was developed to recognize team members for the hard work that is done day-in and day-out. Each month, two team members will be recognized as the TAM Employees of the Month for their excellence in tasks, projects, and daily work.

Want to implement a recognition program within your team but not sure how? The AITS Recognition Team is happy to host a brainstorming session to discuss ideas and possible implementation!

TAM Employees of the Month - February

Michele Unser

Since moving our Ad Astra room scheduling application to being cloud hosted, many of our troubleshooting actions have now moved from something we can control to something we need to request from our vendor. With this transition, Michele has done an excellent job of communication, coordination, and escalation with our vendor on behalf of our campus clients. In addition, we’ve had many performance and application issues in recent months since upgrading to the latest Astra version.  Michele continues to excel at maintaining our relationship and ensuring that our vendor delivers solutions to issues that meet our student client needs. She meets bi-weekly with our account manager and doesn’t hesitate to schedule additional meetings when needed in order to voice our concerns. Michele has fostered good relationships with contacts at other schools that use Astra to gain insight and information from schools facing similar issues to things we are encountering. Michele goes above and beyond without hesitation to support our campus clients, often working late at night to run and monitor batch jobs or follow up on issues. Michele is well respected by our campus clients and they continue to voice their appreciation for all that Michele does and for her continued leadership and support to ensure their academic class, event, and final exam scheduling needs are met.

JC Steenbergen
JC made two especially valuable contributions to the Service Desk team in the past month. He suggested and implemented a scenario-based training module to our onboarding program that allows us to assess and improve phone support skills, support procedures and knowledge of support tools. He also built a new online toolkit for internal use.  JC is always looking for ways to improve the service we provide.


TAM Employees of the Month - March

Suzanne Moss
The Student Team is keenly aware of the issues facing all of the campuses and their enrollment challenges; Suzanne has taken initiative to engage the campus Admissions team to help with improving business processes and automation of activities that could help improve the data utilization. She proactively identifies opportunities for improved processing and to help alleviate some of the data interruptions that campuses have experienced. Suzanne has effectively added her experience and skills to help solve problems facing the campus teams to improve the University of Illinois enrollment challenges. Suzanne also actively engages with new opportunities to learn and apply solutions for the campus objectives (Parent Proxy, Preferred First Name, Web services - to name a few). Suzanne is a very reliable, conscientious colleague who continually looks for ways to contribute to the University.

Mark Baysore
Mark continues to represent AITS and lead the Capital Programs development team effectively to keep the Capital Programs clients and vendors operational and effective in their needs. Included are the comments from Chris Rogan, Assoc. Dir. Capital Programs, OBFS - Cap Prgm/Real Est Svc -- University Administration - - - "Congratulations and thank you all for your efforts in getting our capital systems and documents updated. This release was a little more challenging than most in that we worked with our colleagues from all 3 universities to improve functionality / ease of use on ALL of our capital systems. Our colleagues will be more efficient with entering and retrieving systems data that will allow them to serve their (and our) customers in a more expedient manner and ultimately help the University of Illinois System as a whole. I know I’ve said this before, but although your time behind the scenes sometimes does not get appreciated or noticed, you do what it takes to get the job done right and do it unassumingly and without seeking recognition. Additionally, you all have proved once again that you have cross trained each other to fill in for each other when the main person responsible for certain work is not able to perform that work. You are all Great Professionals and I appreciate working with each of you. Please pass this on to others that I may have been remiss in not recognizing their efforts as well. Thanks again, Chris"

Training Activities

Web Intelligence

5/8 - Online: Reporting Basics | 9:00 - 11:30 AM CST | Get registered
This course demonstrates how to use the Web Intelligence report editor to create custom reports and analyses. Topics include: creating basic reports, filters, sorting, calculations, breaks, and file formats.

Decision Support General Report Assistance

1-on-1 Report Assistance

AITS offers training sessions and 1-on-1 report assistance with our data experts. To register or to see the complete schedule, please visit the Training Registration Application. If a session is full, please click the Wait List link to be added to our wait list.

Deployment/Rollout Activities

– Routine maintenance on all non-Production Solaris and Linux servers. Includes Oracle db patching.
5/2 – Migrate remaining non-prod Linux servers to the new SAN/PowerMax.
5/3 – Migrate & upgrade SQL server CHISTDSQLC2/OBFSPROD to a new SQL Server instance CHIGENSQLPROD2.
5/4 – UIC Final Exams (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/4 – UIS Final Exams (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/7 – Technology Services No Change Period
5/8 – UIUC Final Exams (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/12 – Install Financial Aid 8.38 / 9.3.20 and Admin Common 9.3.19 as a prerequiste 
5/12 - Apply Microsoft critical patches to non-production servers
5/13 – UIS grades due & nightly End-of-Term processing (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/13 – UIC grades due & nightly End-of-Term processing (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/15 – ACCC Maintenance Window
– Apply Microsoft critical patches to production servers
5/22 – UIUC grades due & nightly End-of-Term processing (Increased entry in Faculty Grade Entry Self-Service)
5/24 – SharePoint patching
5/28 – Upgrade Tableau - Test to 2020.1.3
5/31 – Upgrade MSGPROD2 and EASPROD to Oracle 19c.
5/31 – Routine maintenance on all production Linux/Solaris servers. Inlcudes Oracle DB patching.
5/31 – Upgrade production Tableau to version 2020.1.3

Upcoming Social Events

Mark your calendars for the following virtual social events! These events will be hosted on the AITS Community: Just For Fun page.

May 8: Take a Coffee Break with your colleagues using MS Teams video chat on Friday, May 8 at 3PM! Watch for an email to go out the day of with a link to the video chat and an announcement of the topics to be discussed.

May 15: Mark your calendars for Friday, May 15th when National Chocolate Chip Day arrives! Celebrate by posting your favorite recipes with chocolate chips to Microsoft Teams (Just for Fun or Social Events) or pictures of freshly baked goodies.

May 18 - 29: We're kicking off our Work From Home Heroes giveaway! We'll be randomly choosing one #WFHHero to win a super prize! AITS employees can earn giveaway entries by participating in recognition activities and sharing more about their WFH space! Watch for the announcement coming on May 18 for more details.