Monday, July 29, 2019

Approver Adjust effective in CSE

Please see below for more information on Approver Adjust in Chrome River, which is now active in CSE.  DJP

Approver Adjust in Chrome River
July 26, 2019

You have requested the Approver Adjust functionality in Chrome River for your college/administrative unit. The Approver Adjust functionality allows approvers to make some changes to an expense report at the line level rather than always returning it to the expense owner to make requested changes. This functionality will be turned on for your college/administrative unit by July 29, 2019.
This new functionality should reduce the number of times expense reports need to be returned to an expense owner. Carefully read the information below, especially the items in bold, for specific situations that may arise. If for any reason the expense report needs to be returned to the expense owner, it is best practice for approvers not to make any changes and instead return the expense report and ask the expense owner to make all changes. Chrome River does not offer any reports that track changes made by approvers. Adding comments when changes are made is required and should include a summary of the changes made.
Please share this information with any approvers in your college/administrative unit who will have access to this functionality.

Approver Adjust

Approvers can change the following items at the line level:
  • Allocation (all of the ChartField string except the Account code)
    • If the wrong Dept ID was used, the approver should return the expense report and ask the expense owner to make the change. Changing the Dept ID may result in an auto-approval of the expense report.
    • If the expense type is per diem (per diem, per diem wizard, extended day, etc.), and an approver changes the allocation, any deductions selected by the expense owner will appear to be removed. The approved amount will remain as submitted by the expense owner with the selected deductions, even though it will appear to the approver that the deductions were removed.
      • If the amount and the allocation both need to be changed, the approver should return the expense report and ask the expense owner to make the change.
  • Account codes available within the Expense Type selected by the expense owner (Chrome River doesn’t offer functionality for approvers to change Expense Types)
  • Dollar amount for out-of-pocket expenses
    • If the expense line is deemed unallowable, approvers should not reduce the line to $0 or select the Unallowable allocation.  The approver should return the expense report and ask the expense owner to make the change.
  • Add Comments
  • Add Attachments
    • While this functionality is allowed at the line level it is a best practice not to add attachments here, rather add them at the header of the expense report.  This will ensure the expense report continues to route properly.
If any other changes need to be made to the expense report, it will be the responsibility of the expense owner.
The Approver Adjust feature is only available to approvers who review activity from within Chrome River itself (not when using email to approve). All approval emails sent to approvers will reflect the details of the expense report as it was submitted by the expense owner.  Any changes made by approvers will not be reflected in future approval email alerts.
Expense owners will be notified via email when approvers make changes to their expense report. 

Job Aid: Approval Actions in Chrome River 

The Approval Actions in Chrome River job aid has been updated and provides a high-level overview and instructions for using Approver Adjust functionality.  


Send any questions or feedback on Approver Adjust functionality to

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Chrome River Approver Adjust

CSE has opted-in to the Approver Adjust functionality in Chrome River.  I heard this morning from central that the functionality will be rolled out on Friday for everyone not in the pilot.  Emails will come from central in advance of it being turned on.  You will hear more from me as soon as the communications come.  DJP

Friday, June 28, 2019

60-day reimbursement policy clarification

A situation that recently arose in a CSE department highlighted an aspect of the University's travel policy that I want to be sure everyone is aware of.  The 60-day window for requesting a reimbursement in a timely manner starts at the conclusion of the business component of a trip.  This means that if someone adds personal travel days on the end of a business trip, the 60 days start counting from the conclusion of the business portion of the trip, not from the return date of the overall trip.  This is because taking personal time after a business trip is not relevant to the University's requirement of requesting reimbursement within 60 days of a business trip.

This came up in an RCO audit, and the policy owner verified this as a correct interpretation.  Please be sure travelers are aware of this, because, to be frank, the policy itself is not clear as it is now worded.  Future revisions to the policy will make this clear.  In the meantime, we are now on notice that this is how the policy is to be implemented, and, as you know, violation of the 60-day requirement results in a reimbursement being taxable income to the traveler and the charges cannot go on sponsored projects.  And, I can assure you that central is monitoring and enforcing late reimbursements not being allowed on sponsored projects absent an extraordinarily compelling extenuating circumstance.  DJP

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New position request form (May 2019)

Per 5/15/2019 email to CSE administrators:

We have a new web form for you to begin using to initiate hiring actions and position changes.  This ( is the place to start for:  Creating all new positions, Modifying all existing positions, and Hiring actions for job codes other than those that we have exempted from this process, which are described on the first screen of the form.

Because it is the one place to go for multiple requests, there are questions that lead you down a tree to the right data-collection screen.  We've tried to limit what we're asking for to only the necessary information to make the position management changes that you need, plus one justification box that is only necessary when you are requesting a new hire that adds to your departmental headcount and that is not in an instructional/research job code or a post/pre doc or grad/undergrad student employee or temp/casual.

The only actions that need Dean's Office approval are adding to headcount outside of the jobs listed immediately above.  For cases that you consider a refill, we will review to be sure we concur that the situation is indeed a refill -- it's not always straightforward.  As long as we agree that it is a refill of an existing position, there will be no scrutiny of your decision to refill, so you do not need to explain why you are refilling.  If the reason you consider it to be a refill is not obvious, then please do elaborate on why you think it should be viewed as a refill of an existing position.

This is how we plan to move ahead indefinitely, subject to tweaks we make after everyone is using it and can provide feedback.  Please send your input on the process and form to Cathy Burke.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

University travel card policy under review

The University's new Travel Card policy is under 30 day review.  Please review and provide feedback as indicated at this link:

Monday, April 15, 2019

Budget entry and commitment deadlines

The end of the fiscal year is only a couple of months away, so commitment transfer and budget entry deadlines are coming.

Deadline for startup fund transfer requests:  4/30
Deadline for all other commitment transfer requests:  5/10 (This excludes transfers that cannot be calculated until pd. 13.)

CSE Budget entry deadline:  8AM 6/3, But EFS will be down most or all of the weekend of June 1-2.  The collegiate deadline is earlier than in the past because this year we will be doing more scrutiny of submitted budgets and possibly requesting revisions.

We are unlikely to receive a final collegiate allocation from central until late May or June, so departmental O&M allocations will also be delayed.  But, there is no need to wait for this number to do most of your budgeting, as most expenses (e.g., compensation) are not impacted by your exact allocation.

Below is a link to a budgeting best practices document created by Cathy.  Below that is a link to the University's budget entry instructions.  Please let Cathy know if you have any questions or concerns.   DJP

Budget entry best practices in CSE:

Detailed budget entry instructions from Budget Office:

Thursday, January 31, 2019

ISSS Update

We want to be sure all who need to see this have seen it.  Please let Joy know if you have any questions.

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University of Minnesota Driven to Discover
International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)

In This Update

General Announcements

  1. OHR Operations - Updates for Foreign National Employees
  2. Recent Regulatory Changes Bring Attention to Need for Supervisors to Review Limits for F-1 and J-1 Students
  3. How to Hire UMN International Students
  4. Agreement Reached for Temporary End to Government ShutdownGovernment Shutdown
  5. ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series

H-1B Announcements

  1. ISSS No Longer Processing O-1 extensions
  2. Employee ID Will Be Required for H-1B/E-3 Processing
  3. New Employment Visa Case Assistant (Student Worker)

J-1 Announcements

  1. New J Visa Assistant

PR Announcements

  1. Visa Bulletin Workshop - Thursday, March 7

General ISSS Announcements

1. OHR Operations - Updates for Foreign National Employees

On January 15, OHR Operations sent an email regarding the new I-9 process for foreign national employees. This email contains important information about I-9 processes, ISSS check-in requirements, and other required steps for new F-1 and J-1 Foreign National Employees. Please read the information on the ISSS website if you did not receive the email.

2. Recent Regulatory Changes Bring Attention to Need for Supervisors to Review Limits for F-1 and J-1 Students

At the beginning of the semester, it’s important for supervisors to understand the limitations international students in F1 and J-1 visa status have on employment in the U.S.  While the rules regarding employment for F-1 students and J-1 students have not changed, recent regulatory changes have impacted the severity of the repercussions for students who do not follow the F-1 and J-1 visa rules regarding work eligibility.
ISSS continues to reach out to students to make sure that they understand what is permitted in their visa status. It is also important, however, that departments help by encouraging supervisors to review and follow  these rules. Please contact ISSS if you have any questions.

3. How to Hire UMN International Students

At the University of Minnesota, we encourage hiring units to seek out the talent our UMN international students have to offer. Our recent webinar offers tips to employers, including UMN departments, on how easy it is to diversify your workforce with international candidates. The recording is less than 30 minutes long and can be watched in brief, individual segments.

4. Agreement Reached for Temporary End to Government Shutdown

An agreement was reached on Friday to allow the federal government to temporarily reopen while budget negotiations occur. While most immigration functions had not been affected due to the shutdown, we do not know whether there may be delays as operations resume. Additionally, as the current agreement will only allow the government to be open for three weeks, it is possible that there may be another government shutdown if an agreement cannot be reached.
Some media outlets have reported that grant funds from NIH and other government agencies were not made available during the shutdown. It is important to note that H-1B/E-3 employees must continue to be paid per the terms of their most recent petition, as agreed to in the employer-signed certification statement.

5. Register for the ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series

ISSS is pleased to announce the ISSS Intercultural Workshop Series for Spring 2019. The series includes sessions focused on intercultural competency and skills development as well as “Culture In-Depth” sessions discussing the unique practices, customs, and values of some of the largest international student populations on our campus.   The workshops help UMN staff members gain greater cultural self-awareness, an understanding of the contributions of international students, and communication skills to improve interactions and relationships with international students, staff, and faculty. The full descriptions for each session, including a list of learning outcomes, can be found on the ISSS website, and registration is now open on Training Hub.

H-1B Announcements

1. ISSS No Longer Processing O-1 extensions

Effective October 2018, ISSS is no longer processing O-1 extension petitions. Departments wishing to support O-1 employment must work with outside counsel, with prior approval from the Office of General Counsel.

2. Employee ID Will Be Required for H-1B/E-3 Processing

ISSS will transition to a new software program during 2019 to handle scholar and employment-based visa applications. With this transition, an Employee ID number will need to be created at the time the H-1B/E-3 request is initiated. We have updated our current intake forms to request the Employee ID at the first stage of the process. Providing this ID currently remains optional at the point of the initial request, but it will become required in the near future.

3. New Employment Visa Case Assistant (Student Worker)

We are pleased to announce that Pa Kou Lee Her has been hired as an Employment Visa Case Assistant (student worker). She has replaced Miriam Diaz, who left ISSS in December 2018. Pa Kou’s contact information can be found here.

J-1 Announcements

1. New J Visa Assistant

There have been some staff changes at ISSS over the past semester. Brooke transitioned to another role at ISSS last summer. We are happy to announce that Ruibi Wang has been hired as the new J Visa Assistant. We are confident that Ruibi will provide you with the level of service you expect from ISSS. When you submit initial DS-2019 applications to ISSS, Ruibi will be in touch if anything is missing. You can reach her at

PR Announcements

1. Visa Bulletin Workshop - Thursday, March 7

ISSS will host a Visa Bulletin Workshop on Thursday, March 7 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at 101 University International Center (317 17th Avenue SE). This workshop will include an explanation of the Department of State Visa Bulletin, how to read and use the Visa Bulletin, and what impact this has on the backlog of permanent residence applications. Please RSVP to attend this session. If you have questions, please contact Marissa Hill-Dongre (