Report by Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President, and University Architect
The University of Iowa Finance and Operations unit is a multifaceted organization providing services to the campus in business services, facilities, finance, and public safety. The F&O organization is comprised of over 1,100 employees committed to serving the university community in a variety of ways.
In 2021, Finance and Operations took the first step in recommitting efforts supporting the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Resources from a vacancy were realigned in the spring to hire a dedicated position to help develop the foundation, structure, and action plan. These efforts will help build organizational and cultural change supporting this vital work.
Lew Montgomery (BA92) was hired as associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee experience in July 2021. The Waterloo, Iowa native is a former All-Big Ten Hawkeye running back (1989-1992). Montgomery joined the F&O staff after stints with ACT, Alliant Energy, and Coca-Cola Enterprises, where his past work involved roles within human resources and diversity and inclusion.
The associate director of diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee experience position:
- Partners with F&O senior leaders and UI Human Resources to ensure alignment with university and organizational core values
- Leads the implementation of the plan
- Manages the change process necessary to improve diversity and inclusion results
- Operationalizes the link between diversity, inclusion, and the employee experience
Finance and Operations dedicated a significant time this past year to building a grassroots approach to make connections, listen to staff, and learn about the F&O culture. In his first six months, Montgomery has developed a draft plan and created a roadmap to achieve the established goals. In addition, with a focus on creating a culture of inclusion, Montgomery was also appointed to serve on the Reimagining Campus Safety Committee.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In addition to the process of cultural change, F&O created a commitment statement and developed four pillars designed to guide our DE&I work.
Finance and Operations are committed to fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all staff. We strive to create a climate that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of our staff represent an invaluable resource for Finance and Operations in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.
Pillars of success
- Increase F&O cultural versatility
- Establish meaningful metrics
- Growth and sustainment
- Alignment with the University of Iowa DEI goals
2021 in review
Here are some highlights of the accomplishments and efforts of Finance and Operations over the last year:
Pillar 1 | DE&I needs evaluation - Increasing cultural versatility
Focus area: Collection of feedback from our employees to determine the DEI needs of F&O
A primary focus for 2021 has been evaluation, listening, and providing information. Organizational activities have ranged from one-on-one conversations to a department-wide town hall-style meetings and listening sessions.
- In 2021, the UI Department of Public Safety (DPS) had transitioned Alton Poole to the role of diversity and community outreach specialist for DPS. This role will work collaboratively with the associate director of DE&I and employee experience to ensure alignment with the action plan, strategy and support Iowa's journey to unity.
- CAMBUS Engagement Team, a committee of student employees, in 2021 conducted its bi-annual employee engagement survey. The survey asks for student employee responses about workplace experience emphasizing equity and inclusion and collects self-reported demographic information. The survey helps CAMBUS identify general sentiments among student staff if there are disparities in response and trends over time.
Pillar 2 | Measurement and growth drivers
Focus area: Creating measurable metrics to track our progress and success
In 2021, F&O leadership, in partnership with Montgomery, is working to determine key performance indicators to fit its DE&I structural plan. Choosing these indicators and implementing methods to track and evaluate their metrics will focus on 2022 as the plan is finalized and implemented.
- In addition to the organization's work, DPS is working closely with the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee's Implementation teams to determine a set of metrics to measure progress on DE&I efforts in policing.
Pillar 3 | Sustainability
Focus Area: Training, participation, and recognition promoting the authentic employee experience where people are seen, heard and appreciated.
Activities in 2021 have continued efforts to expand recognition and highlight the outstanding, dedicated staff and the variety of roles that provide the university and campus community services. Departments have also recommitted training staff to ensure compliance with policies and using best practices in the workplace.
- Efforts have been established and continued in 2021 to identify and share stories with the wider Hawkeye community that highlight F&O staff and their impact on campus.
- All units of Finance and Operations have established and continue to invest in annual recognition activities that range from recognizing everyday good work and service milestones to above and beyond achievements like Driver of the Year and lifesaving contributions.
Pillar 4 | Alignment
Focus Area: Develop and promote policies, procedures, or actions that align with the university plan and establish personal accountability.
The organization in 2021 has worked to align and collaborate on several campus-wide initiatives. Items of note include vital work to support and collaborate on campus safety and inclusion efforts.
- Facilities Management collaborated with the Trans Inclusivity Coalition Subcommittee Gender-Inclusive Restroom Work Group to provide public restroom data and locations supporting the single-user restroom survey.
- DPS is implementing the recommendations for the future of public safety on campus in collaboration with the Reimagining Campus Safety Action Committee and has partnered with the Division of Student Life to hire two student care coordinators. The coordinators will provide oversight and response to mental health concerns and manage follow-up care for students seeking additional support.
- Campus accessibility for persons with disabilities is vital to making the campus and services inclusive. Both Facilities Management and Parking and Transportation in 2021 have built best practices and policies for communicating construction or service impacts – including standardized language, alternate accessible paths, and promotion of the Bionic Bus service.
The leadership of Finance and Operations consist of the following:
DE&I Finance and Operations Leadership:
- Rod Lehnertz, Senior Vice President, and University Architect
- Lori Berger, Senior Human Resources Director
- Mark Bullock, Assistant Vice President, Director, Public Safety
- Lynne Finn, Associate Vice President and Director, Facilities Management
- Terry Johnson, University Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
- Susan Klatt, Assistant Vice President and Director of Treasury Operations and Financial Management
- David Kieft, University Business Manager
- Rachel McGuire, Assistant Vice President, and University Controller
- Lew Montgomery, Associate Director Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion & Employee Experience
- Debby Zumbach, Associate Vice President, and Director Business Services and Parking and Transportation