BEST Region Newsletter

December 19, 2018

BEST Region Newsletter

December 2018 Edition

Latest and greatest regional news

Biology Region has a name: BEST - Biological & Environmental Science & Technology

BEST Region Launched at a Party on October 31st:

Many thanks to Professors: Arash Komeili and Daniel Fletcher for demo’ing your research, QB3 for donating the space and helping with the setup/takedown and to our team for the terrific posters.

Pictured: Donna Hendrix (Managing Director, QB3; Maya Serban, RA Supervisor QB3/EBI; Arash Komeili, Professor, PMB; Sharon Gillars, Financial Services Director, BDS)

Pictured: Linda Marmolejo, Payroll/HCM/HR Gen Supervisor; Wendy Lee,  HR Gen; Zoe Stone, HR Gen; Jessica Saephan, Payroll;  Liana David,  HR Gen; Anita Bailey, HR Manager; Dominga Estrada, HR Supervisor)

Regional restructuring update(s)

Campus Shared Services has been reorganized into regions with similar research aims. The BEST Region is one of six regions that will be supporting campus ORUs, departments and faculty with Research Administration, Business & Financial Services (procurement and reimbursement), Human Resources and Payroll. The region has faculty leadership from Regional Associate Dean Rebecca Heald in Molecular & Cell Biology and staff/operational leadership from Region Director Adam Berke. 


  1. To provide integrated service delivery
  2. To strengthen relationships between academic and administrative units
  3. To create a culture of continuous improvement

What has changed: Research Administration, Business & Financial Services and Human Resources/Payroll now report up to RAD Heald and make up the regionalized administrative support functions.

What remains the same: Information Technology, Benefits & Leaves counseling, Onboarding, Visa processing, HR Records Management.

Departments Supported by BEST:

  • College of Natural Resources
  • CNR Office of the Dean
    • Agricultural & Resource Economics
    • Energy & Resources Group
    • Environmental Science, Policy & Management
    • Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology
    • Plant & Microbial Biology
  • L&S Division of Biological Sciences
    • Molecular & Cell Biology
    • Integrative Biology
    • Innovative Genomics Institute
    • Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases
    • Physical Education Program
    • Cancer Research Lab
    • Electron Microscope Lab
  • Organized Research Units, Museums, and Field Stations Supported by BEST:
    • Human Evolution Research Center
    • Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
    • QB3
    • Essig Museum of Entomology
    • University and Jepson Herbaria
    • Museum of Paleontology
    • Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
    • PA Hearst Museum of Anthropology
    • UC Botanical Gardens
    • Res. Field Stations & Natural Reserves
    • Energy Biosciences Institute
    • Stem Cell Center

BEST staff currently located in Giannini and Banway are moving to the University Hall Library in mid-December and will remain there for ~2 years.

Region website under construction

Updates on functional in-progress projects

Research Administration:

  • Portfolio analysis: review and agree upon metrics and subsequently re-evaluate all post-award portfolios
  • Conflict of Interest incorporation into pre-award/proposal process
  • Pre-Award Share Drive Overhaul

Human Resources:

  • The Regional Academic Student Employee (ASE)/Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Hiring & Appointments Process Improvement Initiative is underway and moving at full steam, and being led by the Business Process Management Office (BPMO) under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration. A big thank you to all the participants who have engaged and continue to make this project a success.
  • The first cross-functional workgroup session was held on November 9th which focused on Process Mapping and Analysis of the current process, gathering data to quantify the problem, and targeting pain points and challenges that exist today.  
  • The second session was held on December 7th and drove towards an improved future process design, through root cause analysis and solution generation incorporating UCPath process designs and positioning the process for implementation success into the new year.  The project team is currently interviewing Graduate Student Researchers to gather customer information to help guide the continuous improvement process.  


UCPath is the new UC-wide HR, Payroll, Benefits and Academic personnel platform, which is rolling out now and will go live at UC Berkeley in March, 2019. Meetings are beginning with Regional Service teams to discuss how to select appropriate staff for key roles, specifically Initiators and Approvers for the following templates/functionality:

  • Position Request template (for new positions and vacant position updates)
  • Position Funding template (salary expense designation for a position)
  • Direct Retro template (replaces current Payroll Expense Transfer (PET))

We have started planning  knowledge transfer sessions for the UCPath system and these key templates.

For more about UCPath’s features and implementation plans, visit


Upcoming deadlines for the biweekly pay periods will occur earlier than usual due to the holidays and the campus annual energy curtailment period. As a result, we need supervisors and non-exempt employees to follow special instructions and deadlines in order to ensure non-exempt employees hours are reported and paid.

Instructions By Role:

Exempt Employees

Review and update your December timecard.  Please remember to record vacation and/or leave without pay if you will not be working during the curtailment dates (December 26th-28th).  If you plan on working during curtailment, you do not need to record leave taken.  You do not need to approve your timecard until January 2nd.

Non-exempt Employees

Key dates

Biweekly pay cycle : Pay Period 12/2-12/15, Pay Day Dec. 26th

  • Supervisors have until have until NOON on Dec. 14th to approve NOTE: This deadline is prior to the close of the pay period.

Here is the link

Deadlines at a Glance

Access the Printable Calendar

  • Pay Period 12/2-12/15, Pay Day Dec. 26th
    • Projected Hours Form Due 12/11
    • Employee Approval Due 12/13
    • Supervisor Approval Due 12/14 by Noon
  • Pay Period 12/16-12/29, Pay Day Jan. 9th
    • Optional Curtailment Holiday Form due 12/14
    • Employee Approval Due 01/02 by 9am
    • Supervisor Approval Due 01/02 by Noon (not before 9am)

For more information:  CalTime website: Visit the Curtailment page

Business & Financial Services:

  • Purchasing will stop processing low-value orders (less than $5K) after Thursday, December 13th to ensure orders are delivered before curtailment. Purchasing will resume processing orders on Wednesday, January 2nd.
  • New Thresholds for UCOP Source Selection & Price Reasonableness Justification Form. If using non-federal funds, the threshold has been increased from ≥$10,000 to ≥$50,000
  • If using federal funds, the form is required for orders ≥$10,000
  • Entertainment Direct Enter pilot is going live in the early part of 2019. Faculty and staff will be able to enter entertainment reimbursements directly into the Entertainment system. NOTE:  The Direct Enter Travel and Entertainment systems will most likely be down all (or part of the day) on January 2nd as the system are being updated.

Staffing updates


  • Leaf Grenoble to Research Administration (CNR) from B&FS
  • Christina (Tina) Chan reassigned within B&FS to BEST


  • HR Generalist 2 - Shantel Mitchell (December 3rd)
  • Research Administrator 4 Team Lead (CNR) - Annie Somthida (December 1st)


  • Research Administrator 3 - Diona Cox
  • Research Administrator 4 - Judith Ferrera (retirement)

Other useful links

Latest Regional Restructuring Newsletter - November 2018

Latest UCPath Newsletter - CalPath Connect - December 2018