Alabama Visit Gives A&F Group Chance To Network, Explore New Ideas

Department leaders from within the Division of Administration and Finance visited the University of Alabama earlier this month to network and learn best-industry practices for growth opportunities. 

Representatives for Auxiliary Services, Cougar Card Services and Copy, Print and Delivery Services made the trip to Tuscaloosa to learn advancements that can be applied within their departments.

Cougar Card Services Director Deborah Davis, who spearheaded the trip, said Alabama is among the region’s most advanced universities per industry practices in its technology integration and application in its card programs and in-plant printing.

“This visit came about because we were networking with different colleagues at conferences,” Davis said. “Alabama has very similar services to what we do on our campus, and just from several sessions I could tell they had very good programs we could learn more from.” 

Auxiliary Services Program Director Rosie Ashley, University Services Executive Director Esmeralda Valdez, and Dr. Emily Messa, associate vice chancellor/associate vice president for Administration, were also part of the networking trip.

The UH group explored and met with leaders from their colleagues at Alabama, all learning and sharing different insights.

“For me personally, and for us as a department, it’s about making and creating those networking opportunities. They have been very helpful to me,” Ashley said. “We’re here to learn from each other. Why not come and hear ideas? We can learn things that we haven’t thought about.”

The trip allowed the group to see and gain insights on the similarities and differences between the two universities’ operations, and compare what programs and technology would work at UH and how to apply them.

“Site visits like this one are very important and necessary as they afford you the opportunity to see similar services at other universities and in turn, return to your institution with a new perspective and possibly new ideas to implement,” Valdez said.

According to Messa, connecting with colleagues at colleges and universities across the country and engaging with them about the service innovations they are proud of can help spur ideas and creativity that can support the UH campus community.

“We had a great opportunity to connect with leaders at the University of Alabama and to see their services in action,” she said. “They have wonderful operations, and have made advancements that will help us tremendously as we seek to add these functionalities to our program in the near future.”