eNewsletter from University of Illinois administration
January 2014
President Easter: The essence of leadership
President Robert A. Easter

Welcome to the first edition of UA eNews.

This enewsletter was created to open another line of communication between University Administration and our staff, and it also will provide a new forum for me – one that I will use to share news or thoughts on issues affecting the University of Illinois or higher education, in general.

In this edition, I want to focus on leadership. The Board of Trustees has encouraged me to actively work on the institution’s need for succession planning, and one element is a new program that will be launched this year to help prepare some of our most promising people to advance into senior positions.

The leadership development program is still “under construction,” and we will share details once they are available. Our plan is to ask each campus to nominate its top prospects, those who are recognized as possessing strong leadership potential, who will then undergo training in areas such as managing the University and its campuses, and working with state and federal leaders.


Tom Hardy, executive director of the Office for University Relations

I’m pleased to welcome you to the first issue of UA eNews.

Many of us have worked for years at the U of I. Still, if you are like me, you learn something new about this institution every week. UA eNews is intended to give each of us the opportunity to expand our understanding of the services and resources that University Administration provides to the campuses and the university system.

In this inaugural issue, President Easter offers his thoughts on leadership. We’ll make this text available more broadly but UA staff get the inside track on reading his views. 

I welcome your feedback about the enewsletter.

Tom Hardy
Executive Director

UA Unit Spotlight
Donna McNeely (l) and Traci Rolf, U of I Ethics Office staff
Traci Rolf, Ethics Office

Name: Traci Rolf, Assistant Ethics Officer (right, seated)
OfficeEthics Office
Office Reports to: Office of the President
In Sum: Coordination of ethics training and reporting for all U of I employees

What are the major responsibilities of your office?
Donna McNeeley (at left in photo) and I have specific legislatively mandated responsibilities but we consider ourselves partners with everyone at the University in working to further develop and sustain an ethical work environment by promoting compliance and stewardship of university resources and other assets. We work internally with the University of Illinois, and we work with the other eight public universities in the state as well as some external state agencies.

How many people work in your office?
The University Ethics Office has two staff members: Donna, the University Ethics Officer, and me. We collaborate with ethics contacts in units across the University whom we count on to assist us in connecting with employees in their respective units. This core group is extremely valuable to our office, because their role in fulfilling our university-wide tasks is vital to the success of our office.

What services do the staff in the ethics office provide to the three U of I campuses?
Our greatest responsibility in the University Ethics Office involves developing and administering the annual ethics training program for all employees at the University of Illinois as well as the other eight public universities in Illinois. Outside of the ethics training, Donna and I coordinate the Statement of Economic Interests process for the Secretary of State each spring. We also assist employees with procurement reporting, provide advisory services to employees who contact our office, act as a liaison to the Inspector General’s Office in its conduct of investigations, and perform internal reviews based on concerns brought to our attention by employees of the University.

Are there particular times of the year when your office is most busy?
We’re always busy! But if I had to pick a time, I would say October because that is when we are working to train approximately 33,000 employees online during a one-month window. This is in addition to our seasonal and temporary ethics population of around 16,000 additional employees, who train year-round. Our ethics training goal, which we proudly achieve most years, is 100 percent compliance.  

The other time we are most busy, beyond the standard workload, is during the spring when we assist in the Statement of Economic Interests filing process. During this window, we review, log, and forward the mandatory disclosure forms for approximately 8,500 University employees to the Secretary of State.  

Where did you work before you joined the U of I?
I began working for the University as an Internal Auditor in 2001. Prior to that time, I was employed by Arthur Andersen in Chicago working as a business process risk consultant.

Your email signature lists CIA after your name. What does that stand for?
CIA is probably not as exciting as it looks – it’s not a special government designation, though that would be impressive! CIA stands for “Certified Internal Auditor” and is a designation I worked toward early in my career and have maintained throughout my time here at the University.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
Yes! The Ethics Office is the only UA office based on the UIS campus. Larger UA offices have staff at UIS as well as Urbana and Chicago but Donna and I are both in Springfield.

UA News Briefs
  • Do you need training on business and financial systems? The Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) offers classes on a regular basis. Check the OBFS training page for classes as well as job aids.
  • If your office maintains a twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media site, check to make sure it is listed on the UA social media page maintained by University Relations. To add your office, please email your unit's information to infosource@uillinois.edu.
  • The U of I's Federal Relations team in Washington produces a weekly enewsletter with the latest news from DC. Subscribing is quick and easy.
  • The Office of the Vice President for Research began distributing a quarterly enewsletter in January. To be added to the mailing list and be updated about University research and economic development news, please visit the VPR website. Click the blue "OVPR Mailing List" button on the top right side of the page and enter your contact information.


Save the Date

January 22-23: Board of Trustees meeting, Chicago

Urbana campus calendar
Chicago campus calendar
Springfield campus calendar