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Hub Newsletter – Fall Semester 2021

This newsletter is published biannually at the start of each semester.

Click the article title boxes below to expand/collapse the article text.

Orientation for New Grad Students Tomorrow!

An orientation for new grad students for all three departments will be held Tuesday, August 31st from 9:00am – 1pm in Russell Labs.  Please arrive in the Russell Labs lobby a little early to pick up your materials. 

Orientation will begin with coffee and snacks and will end with a lunch with faculty and some current students, topics covered will include welcome and introductions, transition to graduate school, and program specific information.

Students who begin their funding in summer need to contact the Department Administrator to set up their benefits when they arrive. Any questions about orientation events for incoming students should be directed to the Department Administrator.


HR News

+Who Does What in the Hub Page

Not sure who does what in the Hub?  We have a page for that.

+Hub Staff Return to Work Plans

Most staff expect to return to the office starting September 1.  Exact schedules and work locations will be published on the staff listing page of the Hub website here.

+Annual Benefits Enrollment - September 27 - October 22

UW-Madison’s annual benefits enrollment period is happening 9/27/2021 – 10/22/2021 (deadline). Annual Benefits Enrollment is the only time you can make changes to certain benefits without having an eligible life event (for example, marriage, birth, or divorce) or qualifying employment change during the year.

Certain benefits (like High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) require re-enrollment each year.

+Update on the Campus Title and Total Compensation (TTC) Project

Work on the campus TTC project continues. 

Upcoming Deadlines:

  • Oct/Nov – employees receive notification letters
  • Monday, November 1st – announcement of new salary structure
  • Sunday, November 7th – new title and compensation structure effective
  • Friday, December 31st  – appeal submission deadline

For more information, FAQs, and updates please refer to the TTC project website:  https://hr.wisc.edu/title-and-total-compensation-study/

+Performance Reviews - Midpoint Conversation Deadline is Sept. 30th

This is a friendly reminder to supervisors that the deadline for Midpoint Conversations deadline is 9/30.  Please complete these as soon as possible if they’re not done yet.  HR will be following up with individual supervisors in the coming weeks.

You can find more information linked in the eCALS article (pasted below) or click here.

If you have further questions, please reach out to your departmental HR contact.

– FWE & Russell Hub – Sonia Beyer (sonia.beyer@wisc.edu)

– Plant Pathology and Entomology – Candice Butler (cebutler5@wisc.edu)

+Mental Health Resources

Administrative News

+Revamped Russell Knowledgebase (KB)

We revamped the Russell KB, updated articles, reorganized content, and enhanced the search function.

There are now two external-facing KB’s:

Looking for the Forest and Wildlife Ecology Articles?

The bulk of the articles were moved to the new F&WE Intranet site.

Articles related to grad student scholarships or funding were moved to the moved to the main F&WE website on the Scholarships and Travel Funds page.  

The Hub website remains your source for news items (homepage), lists of Hub staff, Hub area homepages, lists of who does what in the Hub, and a list of Hub projects.  The homepage also lists planned and unplanned outages (power and computing).

+Building Phone Directory Updated

We have updated the colored building phone directory.

You can find it on this KB page:  https://kb.wisc.edu/russell/68028

NOTE:  Access to this document is restricted to Russell Labs faculty, staff and students.

+Conference Room Registration Process

Over the summer, we implemented a new registration process for conference rooms in Russell Labs.

  • To reserve a conference room, use this form.
  • To cancel or reschedule a conference room reservation, use this form.
  • To view the schedule of a specific conference room, view this page

Computing News

+Lab PI Infrastructure and Inventory Meetings
  • Why we want to meet:
    • We have noticed that our most aged IT infrastructure is in our labs. Our first step is to inventory our IT assets to appropriately project potential hardware failures.
    • Educate users on the transition from on premise Active Directory to Campus Cloud Active Directory.
  • What we need you to do:
    • Schedule an hour with John Slaybaugh and David Sandra in your lab.
    • Find any UW owned or leased IT asset. Even those in cabinets.
+Russell Labs VPN (Virtual Private Network) Transitions

Logging into the Russell Labs network will be changing.

The old Russell Labs separate user account credentials will be going away, replaced by the standard UW NetID and password login.

+Requesting Content Updates and News Items on Department Websites

Please refer to this list when requesting content updates to the department websites:

+F&WE Knowledge Base (KB) Docs Move to the New F&WE Intranet

The bulk of the articles were moved to the new F&WE Intranet site.

Articles related to grad student scholarships or funding were moved to the moved to the main F&WE website on the Scholarships and Travel Funds page.  

The Hub website remains your source for news items (homepage), lists of Hub staff, Hub area homepages, lists of who does what in the Hub, and a list of Hub projects.  The homepage also lists planned and unplanned outages (power and computing).

Facilities/Instrumentation News

+How to Place Orders for PPE Equipment

The process for ordering COVID-19 related PPE has changed. There is now a streamlined process for individual requisitioners to order all COVID-19 related PPE supplies through ShopUW+ using their own NetID and password. 

Please place PPE orders consistent with your unit/department’s supply ordering process. Masks (disposable and reusable), mask fitters, disposable gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes are available at no cost to campus units. Orders will typically be delivered the next working day after the order is placed.

To find these items from the ShopUW+ home page, go to Shopping Home > Facility Supplies > MDS Warehouse.  A keyword search (e.g. “mask”) can be used to find the items of interest. Items that are designated as COVID-19 PPE will have no associated cost. Please ensure your cart has no cost associated with it at checkout.

Please note that N95’s and PAPR’s (power air-purifying respirators) are not included in this process, as they are more difficult to obtain. For items like N95’s and PAPR’s, please use the EOC PPE request form.

Note: this article is reprinted from the CALS website – 08-06-2021.

+Lower Your Lab Repair Bills: A Little Training Goes a Long Way

Fall brings new students, and shortly thereafter, requests to fix broken lab equipment. Some students prefer to guess than read the operating instructions posted by the equipment. Not all equipment is alike, even lab to lab.  If the student overestimates their ability, you can wind up with work delays and costly repair bills. Follow these tips to help lower your repair bills and keep your equipment running:

  • at a lab meeting, discuss the location of equipment instructions for shared equipment like autoclaves, cold rooms, and refrigerators
  • have an existing lab member shadow the students until they are comfortable using the equipment
+Plant Path - Autoclave Reservations

Please remember to use our Google Sheet to sign up for autoclave use

  1. You must be logged into your UW Google account, not your personal Google account to access the spreadsheet. 
  2. Do NOT use a smart phone to work with this spreadsheet – you need to use a desktop computer or a laptop.  
  3. Do not copy and paste things into the spreadsheet, insert rows, or modify the row grouping in any way.  This is a shared resource, and the only person who should modify the spreadsheet is the owner of it – and you are not the owner of it. 
  4. If the spreadsheet breaks, press Control + Z immediately to see if you can undo the damage.  If that doesn’t work, click the Instructions tab and contact the person listed there. Do not try and fix the spreadsheet yourself. 
+Building Keys

John Wipperfurth, the Russell Building Manager, now handles requests for keys.  John is located in 264B.

+Process for Taking and Recording Liquid Nitrogen
It is very important that liquid nitrogen use by labs is tracked accurately so that staff can reorder when the supply is low. A new process for obtaining and logging liquid nitrogen use is being created and will be communicated to lab groups soon via email.

Financial/Grants News

+Financial/Grants Resources Page

The Hub website contains useful lists of financial resources:

Financial/Grants Resources page

  • includes links to Accounting Services – Procard home page, forms, policies and procedures; Purchasing Services – contracts, forms, policies and procedures; Grants; links to financial systems; Hatch/McIntire Stennis info, non-reimbursable expenses; lodging and per diem info; foreign exchange rate; fleet car info
+The UW Tax Exemption Number Has Changed

Dear Purchasing Cardholders,

As you may be aware, the UW System’s tax exemption number was recently updated by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to ES: 008-1020421203-13.  Please note the following in relation to this change:

  • There has been no change in tax exemption rules, simply a change in the tax exemption number.
  • The new number was issued and became effective on 06/08/2021.  Merchants may now accept the new number or the old number until an undetermined date in early 2022.
  • UW-Madison purchasing cards are embossed with the tax exemption number.  Department purchasing cards and My Corporate Cards do not contain tax exemption information.
    • All purchasing card accounts have been updated by U.S. Bank to reflect the new tax exemption number.  If you have account maintenance notifications enabled via Access Online, you may have received a notice on 07/20/2021 that your personal information had been changed.
    • We are not planning for a mass-reissuance of purchasing cards at this time for a few reasons:
      • Our cardholders are currently working on campus and in remote work locations.  Reissuing all purchasing cards puts us at risk of card loss/theft.
      • The tax exemption number is embossed on the card, but not incorporated into the account information in any way.  The number is simply on the card for reference.  You may continue to use your current card referencing the old number, but are responsible for providing tax exemption information/documentation to the vendor at the point of sale per usual.
      • There is a global chip shortage and U.S. bank may not have enough inventory to complete a request for a campus-wide reissuance of purchasing cards at this time.
    • As cards are naturally reissued (whether due to expiration, fraud, loss or theft), replacement cards will reflect the updated tax exemption number.
  • Tax exemption documentation has been updated and is available:
+Official Functions (Event approval) Form Updated

Please make sure to review the policy below as well as the form that must be filled out ahead of time.  Please send them to Christine (FWE and Hub) and Amber (PP and Ento).

Policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-3075

Applies to: this pertains only to events that have a social component, but still contribute to the University’s mission.  It does not apply to events with a business purpose solely.


  • Faculty, Staff and student recruitment events.
  • Functions for officially recognized student groups.  See https://win.wisc.edu/organizations for a complete list.
  • Recognition functions to honor distinguished faculty, staff, and students for significant, meritorious achievements.
  • Meal expenses associated with an Official Function up to $100.00 per person including alcohol expenses paid by the Wisconsin Foundation Alumni Association.
  • Employee recognition and morale/team building events such as honoring an employee retiring or separating from the University with at least 5 years of service and annual holiday/general appreciation events.

Let us know if you have further questions.

Amber Hawkey and Christine Terrien

+ShopUW+ Resources

The ShopUW+ system is now live.  

Russell contacts:  Margaret Webster, Amber Hawkey (Plant Path, Ento) or Christine Terrien (F&WE, Hub).

+Travel Resources

Questions on travel reimbursement, expense, procedures and approvals should go to Amber Hawkey (Plant Path, Ento) or Christine Terrien (F&WE, Hub).

Individuals should visit the sites below to reserve their own transportation and lodging:

Please see our Travel Quick Reference doc for a more detailed list of travel resources.

+Pcard Process for Remote Work

Purchasing card holders need to follow the biweekly deadlines during remote work for sending receipts/invoices and signed statements to Russell financial staff.  All documentation should be sent to office staff by Tuesday of procard week for processing. Please email your documentation directly shared service account pcard@accounting.russell.wisc.edu, or send to Amber Hawkey (Plant Path, Ento) or Christine Terrien (F&WE, Hub).

Student Services News

+F&WE Grad Student Scholarship Info Moved to F&WE Website

The info on grad student scholarships previously housed in the Russell KB has been moved to the F&WE department website on the Scholarships and Travel Funds page.