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Welcome to my blog. It contains new and archived messages that I have sent to the campus. Feel free to browse!

Matthew A. Tarr PhD
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This is the list of all contributions published in this section, in chronological order.

By Carol Lunn (on 7/31/2015 @ 09:41:06, in Important, read 393 times)
The Internet is flush with webcam videos of people who clicked unwittingly on a malware link and opened their computer to anonymous miscreants intent on mocking, blackmailing or simply spying on them, according to a report being published Thursday.

There’s not enough being done about such little-known but alarming invasions of privacy, the Digital Citizens Alliance says in its report on computer “slaving” by programs known as Remote Access Trojans, or RATs.

However, the organization says both corporations and individuals can take steps to address the problem.

“Tape your webcam,” advises Adam Benson, deputy executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. “I have tape on both my work computer and home computer.” He also suggests not clicking on links with uncertain destinations, and keeping anti-virus software and device operating systems up to date.

"The camera on your computer, when hacked, can become a tool to spy on you in your own home. And it’s easy,” the report warns.

Read the entire article here: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/29/tape-your-webcam-horrifying-malware-broadcasts-you-to-the-world

 
By Carol Lunn (on 7/23/2015 @ 16:22:02, in Important, read 669 times)
A request for public comment was published in the Federal Register this morning regarding a draft updated standardized format for use in submission of both interim and final Research Performance Progress Reports (RPPR). This updated format is an initiative of the Research Business Models, an Interagency Working Group of the Social, Behavioral & Economic Research Subcommittee of the Committee on Science (CoS), a committee of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). This request may be of interest to your membership and we would appreciate your disseminating this information as widely as possible.

The original version of the RPPR format was approved for implementation in the Federal Register (FR) [Volume 75, pages 1816-1819, January 13, 2010]. As part of this FR notice, it was stated that the development of a final RPPR format would take place upon completion of the interim RPPR exercise. A revised draft of the format has been developed to incorporate lessons learned by agencies during the initial implementation of the RPPR. The approach also has been changed from using the format for interim performance progress reports only to using the format for both interim and final performance progress reports.

A “For Comment” version of the draft format, along with a summary of significant changes, are posted on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/rppr/index.jsp.

Comments must be received by cob September 21, 2015 and should be addressed to Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Office of the General Counsel, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22230, email: splimpto@nsf.gov; telephone: (703) 292-7556; FAX (703) 292-9242. For information on the RPPR, contact Jean Feldman, Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution & Award Support, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA, 22230, email: jfeldman@nsf.gov; telephone (703) 292-8243.

 
By Carol Lunn (on 7/10/2015 @ 10:53:19, in Important, read 551 times)
The Fringe Benefit Rate for FY 2016 is 45%. Pursuant to our negotiation with DHHS and in accordance with the requirements stipulated in Title 2 in the Code of Federal Regulation, Part 220 (formerly, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-21 , "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions), the new rates will be effective from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

The rates are:

- Regular Employees - 45.0%

- Intermittent Wage Employees - 8.2% (Adjunct faculty, post-doctoral researchers and graduate students do not fall into this classification)

The new rates must apply to both new and existing projects and must also be applied to requests for supplemental funding to existing awards and to all expired fixed price agreements. On July 1, of each fiscal year, you may expect a change in the rates applicable to sponsored programs.

If clarification or additional information is needed, please contact Carol T. Lunn, Executive Director, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (504-280-7155), or Tiffany Gilmore Sou let, Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs (504-280-6288).

 
By Carol Lunn (on 6/23/2015 @ 10:40:59, in Important, read 523 times)
Effective July 1, 2015, the Louisiana Office of State Travel will require state travelers to use a state liability travel credit card or UNO’s CBA account (master credit card Accounts Payable has access to use) for all high cost travel expenditures, which include airfare, lodging, vehicle rentals, and conference registration fees. If an employee has a state liability travel card, it is mandatory the card is used for these high cost expenditures. If an employee does not have a state card and plans to travel more than once a year, the employee should obtain a card. Please contact Tommy Scott at tmscott4@uno.edu or Dana Bird at dbird@uno.edu in Accounts Payable for assistance with receiving a state travel card or use of the CBA.

Accounts Payable is currently working with Enterprise, National, and Hertz to establish a billing system to charge the CBA for vehicle rentals. Details will be sent out once they are finalized.

As a reminder, all state authorized travelers must use Hotel Planner to reserve lodging, and the form of payment must be the state liability travel card or CBA. This includes employees, students, guests, contractors and groups. Effective July 1, 2015, Accounts Payable will not be authorized to reimburse travelers who do not book hotel reservations through Hotel Planner. The following link provides instructions and screen shots of each step to assist when booking a hotel reservation: Hotel Planner Step By Step Instructions. A copy of the confirmation email Hotel Planner provides after the reservation is processed must be included with the travel card log if paid with the state card.

UNO was granted an exception to bypass Hotel Planner for conference hotel bookings, if the following conditions apply:

• The conference hotel’s rate must be less expensive than the identical hotel on Hotel Planner.

• It is required that the traveler provide a cost comparison to verify the cost savings. The cost comparison is submitted with the travel card log and must be completed prior to booking.

• Please note the CBA or state travel card must be the form of payment even if Hotel Planner is not utilized.

 
By Carol Lunn (on 6/22/2015 @ 15:21:35, in Important, read 574 times)
In order to make the fiscal year closeout timely and accurate, please be aware of these important deadlines. The deadlines apply to all expenditures regardless of fund type (general, grant, or projects).

Due in Accounts Payable by noon on July 1, 2015:

• Invoices

• Check Requests

• Contractual Services

• Travel Vouchers

• Travel Logs

Vendor invoices due to AP by noon on July 1, 2015

• If goods/services are delivered/rendered by 6/30/15, the invoice must be sent to Accounts Payable in order for it to be paid out of FY 2014-15 funds.

• If the invoice is not submitted to Accounts Payable by 7/1/2015, please notify Accounts Payable of the amount that needs to be expensed in FY 14-15.

Travel Vouchers/ Travel Logs/Check Requests/Contractual Services due to AP by noon on July 1, 2015

• Reimbursement or payments directly to a vendor via check request or contractual agreement are not allowed on items which should have been purchased through the purchase order process. If you miss the PO deadlines, these items WILL NOT be accepted on a check request.

• Remember to attach freeze exemptions to check requests and contractual services if applicable.

• Travel advances are not charged to department budgets until properly supported travel vouchers are submitted to the AP department. Therefore, please clear your FY 14-15 travel advances.

BOA State Travel Card Charges due to AP by noon on July 1, 2015

• For travel that ends by June 30th, logs and receipts for these charges must be submitted to Accounts Payable by noon July 1.

NOTE: PCard purchase verification and approval by July 1, 2015

• All charges made through June 30th must be verified and approved by the supervisor by July 1.

Accounts Payable Contacts

Invoice issues: Philip Coco pcoco@uno.edu

Travel vouchers, check requests, honorariums, contractual services: Earline Barnes eallen@uno.edu

Check info: Greta Belmonte gatemple@uno.edu

BOA travel and Pcard issues: Tommy Scott tmscott4@uno.edu

Budget info and general accounting questions: Dana Bird dbird@uno.edu

 
By Carol Lunn (on 6/15/2015 @ 08:47:22, in Important, read 300 times)
Payroll offers the following important points regarding Change in Source of Funds 101's and the Fiscal Year End:

* To ensure CSF 101’s are processed before the closing of FY2015 the form should be initiated no later 06/17/2015.

* Forms initiated after 06/17/2015 should be monitored on a daily basis to ensure the forms have been sent to payroll utilizing the Workflow feature in SharePoint.

* At this point all CSF 101’s that have been sent to payroll have been processed and the Reallocation Journal for 5/31/2015 has posted. If a change is not reflected in your accounts and the form has been marked “Sent to Payroll” or “Completed” please e-mail David Armstrong at daarmstr@uno.edu with the 101 # so it can be researched prior to year-end closing.

* If a reallocation has been processed but for some reason does not match the 101 please e-mail David Armstrong at daarmstr@uno.edu with the 101 # so it can be researched prior to year-end closing.

* Going into the new fiscal year, Any reappointment 101’s that have a different funding source than that on 6/30/2015 must have the Change in Source of Funds box checked as well.

* All funding sources from 6/30/2015 will be rolled over to FY2016 using a 7/01/2015 date.

 
By Carol Lunn (on 5/21/2015 @ 13:57:39, in Important, read 698 times)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a draft Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) for 2015-2016 that keeps in place a requirement for both the final project and project outcomes reports to be submitted within 90 days "following expiration of the grant" but continues to permit financial drawdowns within 120 days. NSF posted news of the PAPPG in the May 20 Federal Register, which also includes instructions for submitting comments, due by July 20. Award recipients have asked federal agencies to adhere to a 120-day closeout process that would apply to all administrative activities, necessitating a deviation of current requirements under the Uniform Guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget. So far, NIH may be the only agency to allow 120 days for all closeout requirements to be met (RRC 2/15, p. 8).

Link: https://federalregister.gov/a/2015-12086

 
By Carol Lunn (on 5/21/2015 @ 13:53:56, in Important, read 285 times)
As a reminder, all hotel reservations must be processed through Hotel Planner per the Louisiana Office of State Travel.

The following link provides instructions and screen shots of each step to assist when booking a hotel reservation: Hotel Planner Step By Step Instructions.

Refer to the State of LA Hotel Planner Guidelines for a description of the booking process and additional information.

The Hotel Planner site is simple to use and similar to most travel purchasing websites. Through Hotel Planner, there is an option to pay with a credit card or the CBA. The state travel card should be utilized as the form of payment by employees who are in possession of the card. The CBA must be used by UNO employees who do not have a state travel card and as often as possible for students and guests. A travel authorization form must be completed with an authorization code prior to booking a hotel.

UNO was granted an exception to bypass Hotel Planner for conference hotel bookings if the following conditions apply: • The conference hotel’s rate must be less expensive than the identical hotel on Hotel Planner. • The traveler must provide a cost comparison to verify the cost savings. The cost comparison is submitted with the travel card log and/or travel voucher, and must be completed prior to booking. • Conference rates often include amenities not included through Hotel Planner, such as meals, parking, internet services, etc. The cost of included amenities should be taken into consideration when comparing rates. For example, Hotel Planner’s rate may be less expensive than the conference’s rate, but the conference rate may include meals, making the conference rate cost justified.

If you have any questions regarding Hotel Planner, please contact Accounts Payable staff Thomas Scott at ext. 1244 or tmscott4@uno.edu or Dana Bird at ext. 5431 or dbird@uno.edu.

This was sent to all faculty/staff via email on May 19, 2015.

 
By Carol Lunn (on 5/1/2015 @ 13:57:14, in Important, read 280 times)
Beginning April, 24, 2015, proposals submitted in response to Program Solicitations in FastLane will undergo a series of automated proposal compliance validation checks to ensure they comply with requirements outlined in the Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (Chapter II.C.2. of the Grants Proposal Guide (GPG)). These checks will automatically validate a proposal for compliance against proposal sections per type of funding mechanism. For example, an error message will appear if a project description or budget are not provided in proposals submitted in response to a Program Solicitation.

Checks will be triggered when proposers select the “Check Proposal,” “Forward to SPO,” or “Submit Proposal” functions. Depending on the rule being checked, a warning or error message will display when a proposal is found to be non-compliant. If an error message appears, the proposal cannot be submitted until it is compliant.

Please note that these automated compliance checks will not be conducted on proposals submitted to NSF via Grants.gov.

Please direct any questions to the Policy Office in the Division of Institution & Award Support at policy@nsf.gov, or (703) 292-8243.

This was also emailed to all faculty and staff 4/21/15.

 
By Carol Lunn (on 4/16/2015 @ 13:59:37, in Important, read 249 times)
A notice issued by NIH on April 15 warned grant hopefuls of "serious consequences" for submitting applications with errors. "The purpose of this notice is to remind applicants, both investigators and grants office officials, that to be fair to all concerned the NIH needs to consistently apply standards for application compliance. Be mindful that non-compliance can have serious consequences. NIH may withdraw any application identified during the receipt, referral and review process that is not compliant with the instructions" in NIH's application guide, "Funding Opportunity Announcement, and relevant NIH Guide Notices," the announcement said. NIH gave examples of non-compliance, which included improperly completed biosketches. "Applications submitted as new but containing elements of a resubmission or renewal application are noncompliant with the resubmission policy," NIH said, in describing another example.

Link: http://www.mmsend25.com/link.cfm?r=133869014&sid=72959344&m=9877840&u=Atlantic2&j=27187256&s=http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-095.html

 
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