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Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is any system containing a collection of best practices, standards, demonstrations, etc. for the benefit of a defined set of people. 

NOTE: each post should have a short, descriptive title.

Recent Knowledge Base Articles

  • The Art of the RSVP - Respond to calendar invitations We all have meetings that we are required to attend. We all have meetings we would like to attend. We all have meetings we would rather not attend, but to ...
    Posted Jun 16, 2017, 7:46 AM by Christopher Stordalen
  • UMN Events Calendar: Who Can and How to Submit Great news! Any UMN faculty, staff, and registered student organizations are able to create an event on the Events Calendar as event owners. The Events Calendar is only to be ...
    Posted May 4, 2017, 10:48 AM by Sara Danzinger
  • How to Submit Content for CLA NOW CLA NOW (News on Wednesday) is a weekly internal e-newsletter  that announces CLA-specific deadlines and activities across a number of CLA administration offices and college activities. Coordinated ...
    Posted May 4, 2017, 10:33 AM by Sara Danzinger
  • Grants and Other Funding Opportunities Grants and similar funding programs, both internal to CLA, as well as external opportunities, are critical to success in providing so many individually focused programs. There are some standard best ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 11:43 AM by Sara Danzinger
  • Web Conference/Video Conference Best Practices Web Conference and Video Conference refer to using audio and/or video through your computer to manage meetings, conversations, etc. with remote participants. Sometimes everyone is remote, sometimes all but ...
    Posted May 2, 2017, 11:38 AM by Sara Danzinger
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 23. View more »

The Art of the RSVP - Respond to calendar invitations

posted Jun 16, 2017, 6:04 AM by Christopher Stordalen   [ updated Jun 16, 2017, 7:46 AM ]

We all have meetings that we are required to attend. We all have meetings we would like to attend. We all have meetings we would rather not attend, but to which we have been invited anyway. 

A response to a calendar invitation is an important action in a community. If you have been invited to a meeting, someone likely wants your input or to inform you of some topic, initiative, project, or other item. Not responding leaves the organizer wondering if you will attend or not, which makes it impossible to appropriately plan meeting space, food and drink, meeting materials needed, etc.

CLA Best Practice: Respond to meeting invitations

  • "Yes" - If you desire to, and are able to, attend and know this upon receiving an invitation, take a moment to respond affirmatively
  • "Maybe" - If you desire to attend, but don't know if you are able, take a moment to respond with "Maybe"
  • "No" - If you are not able to attend a meeting, take a moment to respond with regrets, i.e. "No"
  • Please remove me from the list - if you are not interested in the topic, take a moment to let the organizer know you would like to be removed from this meeting topic. 
These responses provide clarity and result in a more respectful community spirit.

UMN Events Calendar: Who Can and How to Submit

posted May 4, 2017, 10:48 AM by Sara Danzinger

Great news! Any UMN faculty, staff, and registered student organizations are able to create an event on the Events Calendar as event owners. The Events Calendar is only to be used for University of Minnesota sponsored events. No personal, unrelated community events, or commercial business events are permitted.

The Events Calendar requires an individual, or personal, account for anyone creating or registering for events. A separate event owner account is required to post events.

A complete Events Calendar Tips and Tricks document provides step-by-step instructions.

How to Submit Content for CLA NOW

posted May 4, 2017, 10:33 AM by Sara Danzinger

CLA NOW (News on Wednesday) is a weekly internal e-newsletter  that announces CLA-specific deadlines and activities across a number of CLA administration offices and college activities. Coordinated by the fiscal team, any CLA staff or faculty are welcome to submit content that affects the strategic or tactical business of CLA. 

Content is often categorized into topics such as:
  • HR
  • Fiscal
  • Scholarship/Grants
  • Community
Content should be sent to clafiscl@umn.edu before noon on any Wednesday to be included in that week's issue. The editor reserves the right to determine if an announcement is appropriate for the audience. The newsletter is an opt-in and anyone interested in receiving the newsletter should email clafiscl@umn.edu and request to be put on the mailing list.

Any content submitted will also be stored in the CLA NOW Archive on this website.

Grants and Other Funding Opportunities

posted May 2, 2017, 11:20 AM by Christopher Stordalen   [ updated May 2, 2017, 11:43 AM by Sara Danzinger ]

Grants and similar funding programs, both internal to CLA, as well as external opportunities, are critical to success in providing so many individually focused programs. There are some standard best practices when applying for funding:

  • Read the entire set of application materials early and multiple times
  • Submit application early
  • Develop a plan around how you will meet all the requirements of the application
    • Information that is required
    • Contacts that need to be made
    • Official documentation that needs to be requested
  • Submit the application early
  • If possible, connect with people that have received funding from a particular program before and talk through their preparation process and application submission
  • Submit the application early

Here is a list of some of the most popular funding opportunities historically for the college:

Web Conference/Video Conference Best Practices

posted May 2, 2017, 11:09 AM by Christopher Stordalen   [ updated May 2, 2017, 11:38 AM by Sara Danzinger ]

Web Conference and Video Conference refer to using audio and/or video through your computer to manage meetings, conversations, etc. with remote participants. Sometimes everyone is remote, sometimes all but one are in the same room together. In general, no matter how many remote attendees there are, similar basic best practices apply:

  • Test, Test, Test

    • No one likes this recommendation but it is critical to having a successful online meeting. And it is much better to sacrifice 15 minutes to text your technology, than to sacrifice 15 minutes of your valuable meeting time with your audience waiting (hopefully) for you to get things working properly.
      • Choose your web conference technology - Google Hangouts and WebEx are strongly recommended as those are currently the authorized technologies at the University of Minnesota
      • Connect with the same device(s) in the same location as you will be using for the actual meeting.
      • Test your setup with a number of other test cases in other locations
      • Test every time your meeting is really important - don't just expect it will work like last time.

  • Leaders - lead

    • In an official meeting, it is challenging enough to manage the agenda topics, discussion, documentation of issues and action items, and a host of other things. A strong recommendation is that someone from the group (or a guest helper) manage the technology for the web conference that is not the leader of the meeting. 

  • Use a headset whenever possible

    • It isn't always clear what might cause problems in a web conference, so limiting the problem areas proactively helps immensely in increasing the odds of success. Use of a headset for singular remote attendees limits ambient noise from the surroundings that could cause odd hums, feedback, etc.

  • Be inclusive

    • Particularly with a large group a main room together, it is easy for the remote attendees to be left out of the conversation. Be sure to include them in group conversation and have a way for them to contribute to breakout sessions, have access to particular Google Docs for notes, etc.

For more detailed information and best practices developed by a group at the University of Minnesota, visit Video Conferencing Etiquette

Google Calendar and Scheduling Best Practices

posted May 2, 2017, 7:25 AM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated May 2, 2017, 11:53 AM ]

With a college as large as CLA, best practices can help keep colleagues and departments coordinate meetings and communications efficiently.

Google Calendar

  1. First rule of Google Calendar: use it!

    • If you want to keep a paper calendar as a back up, that is fine, but it is critical that staff and faculty use Google calendars to support scheduling. Sending an email around to ask when people are available to meet is ineffective and unsustainable in today's workplace.

    2. Share your calendar

    • Allow colleagues to view your calendar to aid in scheduling. You can set up any reserved time to appear as "busy" to anyone looking at your calendar to protect your privacy and location.

    3. Place agenda in meeting description

    • Place the meeting agenda or a link to the agenda in the meeting "description."

    4. Confirm location before sending out meeting

    • Review the room's calendar to ensure availability.

   5. Do not sent updated invite for minor changes

    • Opt not to send updates to attendees for simple changes. 

   6. If a regular meeting with the same attendees, allow attendees to edit meeting

    • Allow colleagues to change the calendar invite content or to move to a different time that may work better for all more/majority of attendees.

  7. Make sure any personal appointments are marked as private 

    • Marking personal appointments "private" allows the owner to see the appointment details, but shows outside viewers that the owner is simply "busy."

  8. Use the "find a time" tab

    • The "find a tab" tab allows the scheduler to view multiple calendars of invitees to find a time that works best.


Start Small, Start Now: Six Core Skills for Accessibility

posted May 1, 2017, 1:43 PM by Sara Danzinger

The U strongly supports the use of the six core skills of accessibility. While the idea of adjusting every document ever created is unrealistic, it is critical that these best practices are adopted by all staff and faculty so that the U lives its promise of inclusivity.

Click on the links to learn more about the six core skills and see examples:

The U has a robust library of how you incorporate accessibility best practices at http://accessibility.umn.edu/.

Phishing Scam Featuring President Kaler's Email Address

posted Apr 20, 2017, 12:14 PM by Sara Danzinger

Several scam emails have gone out to the University community appearing to be from President Kaler. Phishing emails (fraudulent messages aimed at stealing your passwords or other sensitive information) look authentic and even cautious people can be tricked.

Phishing attacks have been increasing globally and at the University of Minnesota. While our technology team works hard to reduce the impact from these threats, it is impossible to eradicate them all. This has become a reality of the world in which we live.


Read What You Can Do on the it.umn.edu site.


Purchase, Sale, and Return of Computers in CLA - Collegiate Policy

posted Apr 13, 2017, 10:39 AM by Christopher Stordalen   [ updated May 1, 2017, 1:46 PM by Sara Danzinger ]


  • Purchase
  • Purchase all computers through LATIS (this includes computers for all needs and funding sources). We can assist in configurations either adhering to LATIS/UMN standards or custom needs. Contact your Departmental Consultant for more information and planning your purchases. Jenny King (claorder@umn.edu, 6-4652) is CLA's purchaser.

  • Sale
  • CLA does not sell computers to individuals. The process to properly sell a computer puts an undue burden on both LATIS and Fiscal team personnel due to securing private data, EFS, and other university regulations. As the computers are of questionable value without support (something technicians cannot provide), it is not worth the additional work (e.g. erasing all software and data from the hard drives, creating an invoice in EFS, etc.) to sell them. This policy applies to ALL computers purchased with University funds.
  • Return
  • Every computer used for University business requires professional support by the University's Office of Information Technology (OIT). LATIS approves support for computers up to 5 years old (contact your Departmental Consultant for more details). Beyond that, alternative support must be identified or the computer must be sent to LATIS for proper disposal/recycling.

How to Add Content to the CLA NOW Archive

posted Apr 6, 2017, 1:39 PM by Sara Danzinger   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 1:40 PM ]

If you do not have editing access to the site, which you would know if you do, please ask a member of your unit who is the point of contact on your team to have it added.

If you do have access, follow these steps to add the information to the archive:
1. If you are a first-time editor with access, go to the Google grid from any page and click on "Sites." From there, click on "CLA Intranet." 
2.Find and click on "CLA NOW" in the right-hand column of any unit landing page.
3. Click the pencil edit icon in the upper right-hand corner and then click "New Post"
4. Add title and content. Place the title in the skinny box and add "(CLA NOW  Month, Date, Year)" behind it. Make sure the font normal, black, and 16 pt in the main body.
5. Click "Save."​

Thanks for helping create an archive of college business for future use.

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