On the Radar Volume 5 Number 3



“On the Radar" is an electronic news bulletin for members of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at UBC. It is published periodically via email and on our website, under the guidance of the AAPS Communications Committee.


photo by: Jasmin Deol

In This Issue

(The hyperlinks below will aid you in jumping to the articles you would most like to read.)



AAPS New Executive Director

michael conlon

We are pleased to announce that Michael Conlon has been hired to fill the position of Executive Director of the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff at the University of British Columbia. Michael was, most recently, Professional Officer, Policy and Research with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT). He joined CAUT from the Government of Ontario where he was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Prior to that, Michael served as National Director of Research for the Canadian Federation of Students and as National Chairperson of CFS. He has presented numerous papers on post-secondary education policy and previously taught at the University of Victoria. He holds an MA in English from Carleton University and a PhD from the University of Victoria.

Michael will take up his new post on August 31, 2009. Please join us in welcoming him to AAPS.

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AAPS President Receives UBC's Top Honour

bernice urbaniak

Bernice Urbaniak, Administrative Manager, School of Human Kinetics and AAPS President, was one of five recipients who received the 2009 President’s Service Award for Excellence (PSAE). The award recognizes members of the University community for their outstanding contributions to campus life and for personal achievement.

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Market Survey Update

You should have recently received an e-mail outlining the outcome of the Market Survey Results.

View the document   (pdf)

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Income Replacement Plan (IRP) Update

By Isabella Losinger

Work continues by a small AAPS subcommittee* on examining options to our present Income Replacement Plan, a.k.a. Long Term Disability, or, as it is listed on our pay slips, “Disability.” Consultant Kevin Jeffrey from PointBreak presented to the AAPS membership at our Spring General Meeting. Kevin answered a number of questions regarding the technicalities of disability plans, and he will also be available at a later date to answer further questions.

As of mid-June, four insurance providers have responded to our Request for Proposals. PointBreak will examine these responses in detail and will present its findings to the AAPS subcommittee shortly. Key components of this evaluation include value, (i.e., costs today as well as over time), the claims management process, administrative support, and sustainability. Within each of these categories there are a number of considerations, including pricing, claims application processes, products, services, implementation process, reference checks, etc.

The subcommittee hopes to present the findings to the AAPS Board by September 2009, with a recommendation to the AAPS membership for a vote shortly thereafter.

Remember to check your pay slip to ensure you are being deducted premiums for the Disability program. This plan is 100% employee-paid, and a number of members were not enrolled when they should have been (i.e., one year after starting employment with the University). If you go on an unpaid leave you should continue to pay these premiums throughout your leave, otherwise, once you return to work you will have to go through another one-year waiting period before you can be re-enrolled in the plan.

*Subcommittee members are Rick Byers, Sharon Cory, Isabella Losinger, George McLaughlin and Bernice Urbaniak.

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AAPS Office Space

By Bernice Urbaniak

As previously reported, our lease on the space in the Gerald McGavin Building was coming to an end in September 2009 and we were unsure about where our home would be come October. We have been working with Catherine Alkenbrack, Associate Director, Campus & Community Planning, to try to find an appropriate venue, but given the space crunch on campus, there was little that could be offered. Fortunately, we were able to renew our lease in the existing space in the Gerald McGavin Building for another two-year period.

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Calling AAPS for Support

By AAPS Advocacy Committee

telephone icon

AAPS members can contact their Membership Services Officers or Advocacy Committee for any reason and should not be discouraged from doing so. Members can be assured that their questions, issues and/or concerns will be treated confidentially and with the utmost discretion.

When a member brings a concern forward, AAPS provides information regarding the situation. The member can then decide which avenue to follow to secure the best resolution to his/her specific issue; AAPS representatives always discuss the next possible steps with the member before any action takes place.

Our two full-time Membership Services Officers and volunteer Advocacy Representatives can assist you with your employment concerns about matters related to the collective agreement. We investigate your concerns and complaints, and work together with you to find solutions.

If you want to talk to us, have questions or need support please call - we are here to assist you. Contact our office at 604-822-9025 or e-mail us at aaps@interchange.ubc.ca.

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AAPS PD Fund Guidelines: Ordering Goods Online

Submitted by Organizational Development & Learning open link in new window (or tab)

A recent internal review of AAPS Professional Development Fund reimbursement procedures has found that there is a need to provide more complete support documents with respect to reimbursements for goods ordered online. In order to provide assurance that the goods have been received, the original packing slip should be submitted with any request for reimbursement.

We would like to inform you that effective immediately, if you purchase books or magazines online and wish to be reimbursed using the AAPS PD Fund, we require:

  1. Fully completed AAPS PD fund application
  2. Online confirmations regarding books purchased
  3. Original packing slip  

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Changes to the Staff Pension Plan: The Final Step

Announcement on Behalf of Staff Pension Plan Board

In November, 2008 the UBC Board of Governors approved the changes to the SPP recommended by the SPP Board. Following is a summary of the major changes that were approved. They came into effect July 1, 2009.

Pension Benefits Formula: The new formula will be 1.8% of your best 3 years average salary times your years of pensionable service. The formula applies to service beginning July 1, 2009.

Required Contribution Formula: The new employee formula will be 6.5% of pensionable earnings.

Termination Lump Sum Payment: The minimum lump sum payment on termination will be 1.5 times your contributions.

Disabled Member Contributions: Plan members who go on Income Replacement Plan (IRP) and who are disabled on or after July 1, 2009 will be required to make member and employer contributions to the Plan to continue accruing pension service. Members who are on IRP prior to July 1, 2009 will not be affected by this change.

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Maternity Leave - Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB)

By Sharon Cory, Member Services Officer AAPS

Article - Maternity Leave - Supplemental Employment Benefits Plan (SEB) (HR's website lists this as Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB) but they have confirmed that their website needs to be updated.)

The SEB plan offers top-up benefits during the maternity leave portion of the leave. If you have applied or are about to apply for this benefit you can find comprehensive information on the Human Resources website http://www.hr.ubc.ca/.  open link in new window (or tab)

If eligible, UBC's SEB Program pays the difference between the EI benefit received from Human Resources Skills Development Canada and 95% of salary. SEB benefits are payable for a maximum of 17 weeks (the two-week EI waiting period where it pays 95% of salary, plus 15 weeks of topping up EI to 95%) The remaining 5% of full salary for the 17 weeks is paid to the employee after they have returned to work for at least six months.

When you apply for the SEB benefits you are required to sign an agreement which identifies the conditions of receiving that benefit. Recently, AAPS has seen concerns arise for those individuals who do not return to work for six months at UBC following their maternity leave and are consequently required to pay back the top-up funds. Consider the likelihood of not returning, and having to repay the dollars you received, when you make the decision whether to apply for the fund. Should you be uncertain, another option is to receive the SEB funds upon your return. As we have seen members who have made the decision not to return and are experiencing hardship in paying back the top-up, we wanted to remind members of this obligation under SEB.

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Accepting Professional Development Speaker Proposals

AAPS is currently accepting speaker proposals for 2009/2010 Professional Development calendar year.

AAPS Professional Development Committee is committed to providing high-quality learning opportunities for AAPS members at UBC. We offer a variety of topics, which fall into three broad categories: professional skills, personal development and general interest. Formats range from intensive small group seminars to large audience presentations depending upon the content.

Submit a speaker proposal.

If you have any questions related to Professional Development opportunities offered by AAPS, please contact Jasmin Deol atjasmin.harry@ubc.ca.

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"Take Positive Control of the Future" Presentation Recorded

AAPS members have the ability to view Cheryl Cran’s presentation, Take Positive Control of the Future, which was held on June 23, 2009. The pre-recorded video link has been emailed to members. If you did not receive the email and are interested in viewing the presentation, please contact Jasmin Deol at jasmin.harry@ubc.ca.

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Getting to Know Your Committee Members

Each edition of On the Radar will include a Q & A session with an active committee member. This month, Board and Communications Committee member Preeti Gill will be featured.

preeti gill

What is your position at UBC?   
Explain your duties.

I’m a Research Officer with the Operations division in Development. I work closely with fundraisers to uncover sources of private funding to advance UBC’s academic programs and capital projects. My main responsibility is to find and analyze biographical, financial and other relevant information about prospective donors to the university. I’m also charged with finding new prospects and alumni in North America and international markets for senior Development staff to approach and engage.

What do you love most about working at UBC?

The stimulating intellectual environment. I really enjoy the diverse learning opportunities on campus, from taking a Continuing Studies course on appreciating wine varieties to reading about the latest medical research on campus in daily media summaries and press releases. Here you have a chance to learn more about and develop expertise in just about any realm of knowledge.

What is your volunteer position at AAPS? Explain your duties.

Last October, I was humbled to be elected as a member-at-large with the AAPS Board. My role is to understand, communicate and advocate issues that are important to AAPS members, including member-wide salary reviews and benefits changes. I also recently took on co-chairing AAPS’ Communications Committee with Jamie Hall. Together, we’re responsible for providing members with informative and entertaining content in quarterly issues of On the Radar and the AAPS annual report, as well as the AAPS website. (Please let us know how we’re doing!)

What made you decide to volunteer for AAPS?

A few reasons: first, not knowing my rights under our Collective Agreement when I was posed with a difficult workplace issue, last year. I found myself navigating through the AAPS website regularly to get a better sense of what was expected of me and those I work with everyday. I didn’t fully appreciate the presence of a strong employee association on campus until then.

AAPS is a well-organized, meaningful advocacy association and I figured the association required some new blood to keep things running smoothly! Getting to know other board members and the AAPS Office Staff over the past year has reinforced this belief.

I’ve always given some of my time to volunteering, whether at school, on the job or in the community; it makes me feel connected to something larger than my immediate concerns. It’s not always easy to quickly accomplish what you set out to do though: co-founding an environmental awareness club at my high school, in a small mill town in northern BC was a bit of a challenge back then!

What was the biggest accomplishment in your AAPS position?

Being a relative newbie, I don’t have one yet. As a collective, I believe the current AAPS Board’s biggest accomplishments over the comings months will be hiring a new Executive Director (now done!) and bargaining effectively on behalf of AAPs members with the University, given the economic circumstances today.

What is your favorite restaurant on UBC campus and why?

Definitely, One More Sushi in the Village. I’m still trying to figure out what they add to their California rolls that make them so yummy! The servers are also reliable and friendly.

If you could give a piece of advice to new M&P Staff about his/her career, what would it be?

Here are two: first, take advantage of the (free) learning opportunities you have on campus, through AAPS, Continuing Studies and other venues; second, get to know your terms of employment and benefits information early on. Stay on top of policy changes and don’t wait for your Supervisor to keep you in the loop!

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Tips and Best Practices: Spreadsheet Controls

Spreadsheet Controls

By Jean Chang, Senior Internal Audit Manager, Internal Audit

Spreadsheets have become such a popular and convenient financial tool that we rarely go through a day without using at least one. Whether it’s to track spending against budgets or to prepare complex financial calculations, we rely on spreadsheets to perform our analysis quickly and accurately.

Problems arise when undue trust is placed on spreadsheets. Errors happen for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of periodic checking to ensure that the logic of formulas, calculations and links are correct;
  • Lack of documentation clarifying the uses and limitations of the spreadsheet. This is particularly important if there is staff turnover and the spreadsheets are passed down to new users; and
  • Human errors involving simple tasks such as an improper cut and paste or a missing minus sign.

Spreadsheet analysis is often used to make critical business assessments and decisions and any spreadsheet calculation errors can have significant ramifications for the organization.

The first step to minimizing spreadsheet errors is awareness. A good starting point would be to compile a listing of critical spreadsheets currently used and to assign individual responsibility for adopting some or all of the best practice guidelines discussed below:

  • Periodic checking of the inputs against source documents and where possible, data validation of input cells;
  • When data is imported from another source, using control totals to ensure the completeness of data transfer by comparing the number of records and numeric data totals;
  • Performing logic checks using functions readily available in Excel to identify inconsistent or inaccurate formulas or broken links between complex interlinked spreadsheets;
  • Ensuring that the data is periodically checked for reasonableness;
  • Protecting entire spreadsheets or ranges of data in spreadsheets from being accidentally overwritten;
  • Documenting spreadsheet with the intended uses of the spreadsheet, the logic of the formulas and calculations and an audit trail of changes to formulas, calculations or links; and
  • Centralized tracking and back up of the most current spreadsheet versions in use.

These are just a small sample of suggestions for spreadsheet controls that we can all adopt with minimal effort and cost.

For more information, here are some additional resources:

Free Help Forum:


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The Coaching Advantage:

Can you imagine...

By Nancy Hogan, CEC BBA


Can you imagine the scene at your 80th birthday party? Who will be there to celebrate with you? Where will you be? Is it a really big gathering or a small, intimate one?

Imagine seeing all the smiling faces and hearing words of praise about you. What legacy have you left behind? How have you lived your life? Whose lives have you touched? How are people better from having known you?

When coaching clients are stuck trying to design their future and path forward, a coach may use this exercise to help clients fast-forward to the future and then reflect back on their life and the details that are most important (the big stuff). Looking at your life in retrospect moves you out of being stuck in the present and helps you to look at your life from a macro perspective. This process may take weeks or months as the important pieces come together. After planting the seeds to visualize this gathering in the back of your mind, many details may surface and provide more clarity about what is really important. It may also shine a light on an area where you are not currently spending time and may need to shift priorities so you can. Talking about it in a safe environment with a confidential thinking partner and /or writing down the details in a journal can help create the picture of the life you want to live now, in the present.

As part of the process you examine what you really want from your work life and how that fits into your big picture. On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with where you are right now? What couple of steps could you take to increase this rating? Working with a coach can help you define and articulate your plan to keep your focus on what is most important to you. Taking small steps every day in this direction will help you find the deeper meaning in your life.

What will your life celebration look like?

Nancy Hogan is part of UBC’s award-winning Coaching Program, which offers one-on-one coaching services with a professional coach, team coaching and skill development in coaching. Services are available to all UBC faculty and staff. For more information about UBC's Coaching program, visithttp://www.hr.ubc.ca/odl/coaching/ open link in new window (or tab)

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Your Desktops are Upgrading, but Your Team’s Skills Aren’t?

You can arrange to have UBC Continuing Studies deliver any of its Microsoft Office courses at Point Grey or Robson Square, for a flat fee, when and where it is most convenient for your team!

Courses are available for Outlook, Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint

To ask about a custom delivery, contact:

For regularly scheduled courses, see:

Does Your Inbox Control Your Day?

Learn how combining simple organizational techniques with Microsoft Outlook’s productivity features can put you back in charge again. Become more productive and spend less time being overwhelmed by your email.

Outlook: Getting Out of the Inbox 
September 30, 200 
UBC Robson Square

Register today at: http://www.tech.ubc.ca/office/ open link in new window (or tab)

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UBC Sauder School of Business: Executive Education Upcoming Seminars

September 2009

23 - 25

Strategies, Skills & Tactics Of Negotiations

23 - 25

Fundamentals of Finance and Accounting for Non-Financial Managers

28 - 29

Strategic Sales Leadership 

October 2009

6 - 8

Effective Sales Management 

7 - 9

Project Management

14 - 15

The Art of Facilitation

19 - 20

Powerful Presentations

19 - 20

Strategic Marketing Management

20 - 21

The Leader's Window

22 - 23

Changing Minds

27 - 28

Coaching & Mentoring

29 - 30

Leading High Performance Teams

Visit their webpage open link in new window (or tab) for more information.


UBC Continuing Studies Languages (includes downtown campus)

http://www.languages.ubc.ca/ open link in new window (or tab)


UBC Continuing Studies Cooking Classes (includes downtown campus)

http://www.languages.ubc.ca/culinaryarts/index.html open link in new window (or tab)


UBC Continuing Studies Wine Classes (includes downtown campus)

http://www.languages.ubc.ca/winearts/index.html open link in new window (or tab)


What's new at UBC HR (Organizational Development and Learning)

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Managing at UBC

  1. Have you been in your new management position at UBC for less than a year?*
  2. Do you have staff reporting to you?**

If you answered yes to both of these questions above, you are eligible to register in this program.

*  you may have been recently promoted to a managerial role or are a new manager to UBC

** this specifically refers to Management and Professional positions with responsibility for recruitment and termination

Registration is now open!

Managing at UBC is a program designed to support new managers in their first year, recognizing the significant responsibility they hold for employee performance and engagement and achievement of unit goals.

By participating in this program, new managers will feel supported in working towards their full potential and have a broadened understanding of their role in managing people. Because the program uses a self-directed learning model, new managers will be able to identify and develop their learning goals from a menu of resources provided to help them fulfill their roles.

New managers are invited to participate in the program through various means. If you are a new manager, and have not received an invitation within 2 months of taking up your new position, please contact us. Intake of participants occurs daily, throughout the year. Please visit the Prospective Applicants page  open link in new window (or tab)  for the latest information on application and registration procedures.

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UBC-Community Learning Initiative Leadership Program (CLILP)

Now accepting applications! - Deadline is October 3rd, 2008
A new Leadership Learning Opportunity at UBC

As part of UBC’s commitment to developing new skills and abilities among staff as described in the University’s Trek 2010 vision and in Focus on People: Workplace Practices at UBC, Organizational Development & Learning (ODL) is collaborating with the UBC-Community Learning Initiative to develop this new leadership learning program. Through the MOST programs, Organizational Development & Learning has been offering a variety of learning opportunities related to different aspects of leadership, and is now seeking to develop a consolidated program that focuses on leadership in action to bring about social change. The UBC-Community Learning Initiative is an innovative community service-learning model that involves undergraduate and graduate students, staff, alumni, and people from the greater community, in team-based short-term projects in non-for-profit organizations in BC. This initiative is intended to achieve half of UBC’s goal to develop programs that will engage 10% of UBC students in community service-learning annually by 2010.  More information  open link in new window (or tab)

Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP)
ALDP is a new program designed to prepare and provide leadership development for Heads and Directors in their administrative roles so as to enhance and contribute to their effectiveness and personal satisfaction in such roles. In an effort to address the key leadership areas, the program includes the use of problem based learning, coaching support, peer mentoring and workshops. Organizational Development & Learning (ODL) is playing a key role in planning and implementation of the program. More information open link in new window (or tab)

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Performance Management

Performance Management focuses on ensuring that the performance of the employee meets the goals of the job and organization.  Ideally it is about how the employee is applying their current skill set to the tasks and prescribed outcomes associated with their role.  It encompasses a process that includes assessment, monitoring, and control.  Typically, the process is driven by the supervisor with some input from the employee.

Until recently, our understanding and use of Performance Management tools has been influenced by common assumptions underlying Industrial Age institutions:

  • Management by measurement - where systems focus on measurement of tasks and devalue intangible factors
  • Compliance-based cultures - where we suppress conflict and achieve advancement by pleasing the boss
  • Management by fear - where there are right answers and, by inference, wrong answers and mistakes should be hidden
  • Uniformity - where diversity (in its broadest definition) is a problem to be resolved
  • Predictability and controllability - where to manage is to control and we follow the "holy trinity of management" - planning, organizing and controlling. [1open link in new window (or tab)

And so, the process has been used predominantly to gatherevaluative data with which to measure an individual's performance, as typically associated with the annual Performance Appraisal.

Performance Appraisal

Performance Appraisal is often conducted in a probationary period or on an annual basis to measure the employee's performance against expected skills, knowledge and competencies for the assigned position.  The tools and process tend to measure the gap between performance and the goals previously set.  Meetings are typically conducted by the supervisor delivering the message and the employee listening.  Action plans generally define the level or grading the employee must reach to be competent in the position.

Performance Development

Performance Development is about growing an employee and taking a look ahead, tapping into the employee's strengths and adding new skills.  The Underlying purpose of the development may be to enrich the existing job, expand an employee's capabilities within the organization or to improve job satisfaction etc.  Either the supervisor or the employee can identify areas or goals to attain growth, to prepare for a new position or role or assignment that will require additional or expanded skills and or competencies.  Associated action plans would have set goals, defined outcomes and time lines.  The process is on going and largely driven by the employee with the supervisor as coach and partner.  This process parallels the approach we recommend at UBC.   (pdf)

Over the last several years, both The Gallup Organization and Hewitt have conducted systematic studies of excellence in organizations worldwide.  Gallup has conducted a little over 2 million interviews consisting of open-ended questions to learn what the best performers were doing.  Their findings have drawn a direct correlation between high performing organizations and strength-based approach to performance planning and review.

The model for Performance Development and Review at UBC   (pdf)reflects a strength-based approach, designed on the principles that engaged employees have a direct impact on the level of client/customer engagement, on the nature of peer/staff relationships, and finally, on the degree to which bottom line business results of the organization are achieved.


Contact Julie Stockton at 604-822-5442, or by e-mail at:jstockton@hr.ubc.ca.

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