Born in the Midwest, but living in the Southwest for the last 35 years, new Vice President for Finance and Business Jean Vock came to UNLV after 30 years at the University of Arizona in Tucson. We sat down to talk with Vock about building UNLV’s financial future, how her role affects Top Tier initiatives, and, of course, the coming of Workday, campus’ new interface for human resources and financial systems. Workday will incorporate all leave/time off requests, allow users to submit expenses, generate invoices, check on their benefits, view pay stubs and more.
After spending time in the private sector, what led you to higher education?
I was an auditor for a defense contractor and also for the State of Arizona. One of my assignments required me to visit every community college at the state of Arizona. This was great because I had a reason to visit communities throughout the state. I developed a great passion for the mission of higher education. Educating students helps to create opportunities and better communities, and being a part of that is really rewarding.
Why did you choose UNLV?
I worked with [President Len Jessup] when he was dean of the business school at Arizona, so I figure I had a four-year interview. I was really impressed with his energy, focus, vision and leadership. Clearly, he sees the value of higher education and has a vision for what UNLV can do for the community. I think he liked the fact that I was able to move a number of initiatives forward, and was able to understand and translate complex data into formats that were useful for academic leaders. When we had a conversation about this position, I could see he has built a really strong leadership team and has generated a lot of positive energy on and around this campus. I thought it would be a great opportunity to be part of this university and its Top Tier initiative.
You started in this role at the end of August. What are the challenges you’ve been able to spot so far for the university?
Funding is always a challenge. We always want to do more than our resources will allow. There is a need for more facilities, and improving existing facilities. There are great conceptual designs of what we can do to build out this campus. Fundraising is becoming more and more of an important part of the financial strategy for many higher education institutions.
Workday is coming Oct. 2. How will it be different from the systems UNLV currently has in place?
Workday is a cloud-based system that provides a more modern, integrated and robust set of human resources and financial management tools. It will take some time for campus to adapt to the new system.
What do people need to know about the changeover?
There are a series of training sessions going on as we approach the go-live date, and more training sessions and open labs will be available after we launch on October 2. A number of individuals across campus, known as Change Champions, have been extensively involved in the planning and testing, and will be available as resources. Faculty and staff can also contact the UNLV Concierge Office for assistance at 702-774-4242 or email@example.com.
In addition to augmenting our existing teams with additional UNLV employees, the university has also contracted with an outside group called Collaborative Solutions. This group has helped with a number of Workday implementations. The team has been onsite the last few weeks, getting to know our team and the UNLV implementation. It's going to be challenging and stressful, especially during the first few months. Be prepared – some things will be frustrating, but over time we will work these things out.