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FAQ for Departmental Policies and Administrative Matters

Graduate Program Sharepoint Site

https://sharepoint.biology.ufl.edu/GradProgram/default.aspx

Mailroom and Departmental Rooms

  1. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding the mailroom and departmental rooms?
    Contact the Program Assistant, Tangelyn Mitchell.

  2. How do I send outgoing mail? Campus mail?
    To send outgoing mail that is personal mail, make sure that you have provided postage on your envelope. If it will be charged to an account, fill out a pink mailing form available in the mailroom, including the project number and supervisor name with approval. (See the Program Assistant, see above, if you need additional information.) To send an item through campus mail, make sure that the campus PO Box number and department is indicated on the envelope. Reusable campus mail envelopes are available in the mailroom.

  3. How do I send a FedEx package?
    Contact the Program Assistant (see above) for detailed information.

  4. What information should I use when having a package delivered to my UF address?
    Your Name
    University of Florida
    Department of Biology
    876 Newell Dr. room 220 Bartram Hall
    Gainesville, FL  32611-8525

  5. How do I get a code to make photocopies and send faxes?
    You may contact the Program Assistant (see above) to request codes for departmental use (i.e., teaching and departmental service).  For research purposes, you can request permission from your advisor to use his/her code.

  6. How do I reserve and get keys to conference rooms?
    Check availability of conference rooms on the Biology web page (under the Administration menu, click on Conference Room Schedules).  To reserve an available slot, email the Program Assistant (see above) with the date, beginning/ending time, room number, and a brief description of the purpose of the reservation.  You may check out the conference room key and projector from the main office during business hours.

  7. How do I get access to rooms that require an entrance code (i.e., the McEdward computer lab in Carr 611 and the conference room Carr 521)?
    Contact the Building Manager, Pete Ryschkewitsch.

  8. What do I do if I lose my office or building keys?
    Contact the Building Manager (see above) as soon as possible.

  9. What do I do if I accidentally lock myself out?  After business hours?  If I have an emergency?
    During business hours, contact the Building Manager (see above).  After business hours, contact campus police (392-1111).  In emergency situations, contact campus police and also contact the Building Manager if there is a problem with the building (e.g., broken water line, etc.). (See notices posted on laboratory doors throughout Bartram-Carr for emergency phone numbers).

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Grants

  1. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding grants?
    Contact the Grant Assistant, Rumei Li.

  2. When do I need to get Division of Sponsored Research (DSR) approval (i.e. how big does the grant need to be for approval)?
    All grants should be routed through the department, which are in turn routed through DSR. In the past, students have applied for grants on their own and the checks were issued in their name (not the University of Florida). UF is cracking down on accepting these, which means the awardee will have to deposit the check and manage the funds on their own without help from the department—not to mention pay the taxes on the money.

  3. How many days before the deadline must the grant be sent to DSR for approval?
    The grant must be sent to the DSR a minimum of 3 business days prior to the submission deadline.

  4. What is the process for sending the grant to DSR…forms, signatures, etc?
    The Grant Assistant (see above) will help you route everything to DSR.

  5. How do I make purchases from my grant? Is it better to use a personal credit card and reimburse myself from the grant or use a procurement card (p-card)?
    There are a number of options. Primarily, your faculty advisor (PI) or anyone else in their lab can make the purchase on their P-Card. There is no “borrowing” cards, the card holder should be there with you entering the information. Second best is to have the fiscal office help you facilitate the purchase. Finally, you can be reimbursed for purchases put on your personal credit card.

  6. How do I pay for services to other UF departments?
    They will send the invoice to our fiscal office and we will supply them with your account information to do a direct withdrawal.

  7. How can I check my grant account balance?
    The Grant Assistant can help navigate you there.

  8. Do the grant accounts have expirations?
    Yes, and each is unique to the project.
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Purchasing

  1. Where can I get I copy of the Biology Pcard Policies?
    You can download a copy here.

  2. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding purchasing?
    Ask your faculty advisor as you will go to the one assigned to them.

  3. How do I go about purchasing lab supplies?
    Through the myUF market—there is training available online, although it is fairly simple.

  4. How do I go about making purchases with a procurement card (P-card)? 
    You will always first attempt to use (following the rule above) the PI’s P-card.  If this is not possible, the fiscal staff will help facilitate the order.

  5. Are grad students allowed to have P-cards?
    No, unless they are selected by the PI as a pseudo “lab manager” who will be doing all of the ordering for the lab. The rule of thumb is that you will not be approved by the department for a P-card unless you plan on placing orders multiple times per week for an extended period of time.

  6. Can a staff member make purchases on a department P-card for me?
    Yes, but the fiscal office is not a purchasing department and first priority should be to have the PI put it on their P-Card. The fiscal office should primarily be placing orders that have to go in as Purchase Orders (i.e. any SINGLE item over $1,000 or any purchase that totals over $2,000).

  7. Do I need to contact someone when I make a P-card purchase?
    Yes, if the order was online immediately send your invoice/order confirmation to fiscal@biology.ufl.edu. Packing slips need to be signed and turned in after an online purchase has been received. If it was an in-store purchase, immediately turn in the receipt to the fiscal office. All invoices/correspondences need to indicate where to pay for the purchase and what the items are in lay terms. If the purchase was for general purpose items, you must indicate how they will be used in order for them to be charged to a grant. For example, Ziploc bags would be deemed office supplies unless you specify they are for sample collection in which case they can be charged as lab supplies.

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Travel and Reimbursement

  1. Where can I get I copy of the Biology Travel Procedures?
    You can download a copy here.

  2. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding travel and reimbursement?
    Contact the Fiscal Office.

  3. What is the difference between the Travel Authorization (TA) and Complimentary Travel (COMP) forms (i.e. when do I use one or the other)?
    A Travel Authorization is required for any trip where University funds will be expended (doesn’t matter if it is a grant or state funds). Complimentary Travel (COMP) is for any trip where the traveler or non-UF monies will be paying for the trip. These are kept on file for reference and to document that you are away from UF campus. Both of these forms are available from the Forms page on the Biology website.

  4. What if my advisor is unable to sign the TA/COMP form?
    In the event your advisor is out of the state or country, they can send an email indicating how to pay for the trip, maximum expenditure, etc.

  5. How is per diem calculated? Does it vary by state or country?
    Per diem is $80 per day regardless of if you are traveling to Orlando or Mars. Per diem covers meals and lodging, so if you have paid for lodging or are requesting reimbursement for lodging you are not eligible for per diem. You also have the option of being reimbursed meals (if you are not eligible for per diem) at $36 a day domestic and a floating rate internationally. Meals are NOT reimbursed by receipt. For domestic travel, the maximum meal reimbursement is regardless of how much you spend: it is $36 broken down into $6 for breakfast, $11 for lunch, and $19 for dinner, based upon your travel times.

  6. With whom do I request the ACTO?  Where do I go to pick up the ACTO?
    Contact the Office Assistant (see above).

  7. Does the State of Florida contract provide insurance for Avis rentals, i.e. what happens if I don’t have my own auto insurance?
    Yes, the Avis contract includes insurance.

  8. Do any travel items not require receipts for reimbursement?
    Contact the Office Assistant (see above) to get a travel brochure with a list of these items.

  9. How many days after travel do I have to submit receipts for reimbursement?
    3 business days.

  10. What do I do if my receipts are in a foreign currency?
    The amounts will be converted using the currency converter approved by the government based on the date of the transaction.

  11. Is the reimbursement deposited directly in my account?
    Yes.
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Stockroom and Departmental Vehicles

  1. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding stockroom and departmental vehicles?
    Contact the Building Manager, Pete Ryschkewitsch.

  2. What supplies are available to graduate students?  How can I get them?
    For teaching and research purposes, a limited quantify of office supplies and some laboratory supplies are provided.  The supplies can be requested by going to B10 Bartram Hall (stockroom).

  3. For what purposes can I use a department vehicle?  What are the charges?
    Department vehicles can be used for teaching purposes and departmental service; the costs associated with these trips will be covered by the department.  Department vehicles can be requested for travel to conferences by seeking approval from the department chair; the source of funds associated with these trips will need to be discussed.  Department vehicles are available for graduate student research under limited circumstances; for more information contact the Building Manager (see above). See Biology Van Policy here.

  4. What types of vehicles are available? 
    Departmental vehicles that are available include 15-passenger vans, pickup trucks, and an SUV.

  5. How do I get approved to drive vehicles?
    To drive a vehicle, a driver’s license is required.  To drive a 15-passenger van, certification is required through Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) which administers an online training course (for more information contact the Building Manager, see above).  Following van certification, arrangements can be made to practice driving a van on or near campus with another certified student or faculty. See Biology Van Policy here.

  6. How do I reserve a department vehicle?
    Contact the Building Manager (see above) to determine availability of vehicles and ensure you have the necessary approvals to use the vehicle.

  7. Are there any boats available to graduate students?
    A canoe, accompanying paddles, and life jackets are available to be borrowed; transportation for the canoe is not provided.  Arrangements to use boats can potentially be arranged through Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory.  It is also possible to make arrangements to accompany the department Marine Collector on a collection trip.  Any other boats affiliated with the department belong to particular PIs.

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Registration and Graduate Committees

  1. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding registration and graduate committees?
    Contact the Graduate Program Assistant, Susan Spaulding.

  2. How do I register?  Can I register on my own or do I need to ask departmental staff to do it?
    Students are responsible for their own registration through ISIS (www.isis.ufl.edu).  Before you can register each semester, you must ensure you do not have any holds on your account (e.g., a hold to update your contact information or a hold for financial obligations).  You can register on your own except for research hours and some restricted courses, which must be done by the Graduate Program Assistant (see above).  Before each semester, you may need to update emergency contact information to remove a hold placed on the account.  Check for holds through ISIS, as registration cannot be initiated if there is a hold.

  3. Where can I find the UF academic deadlines?
    Critical academic dates are listed on the registrar’s home page (www.registrar.ufl.edu/). 

  4. How and when do I need to establish my status as a Florida resident, in order to qualify for in-state tuition?
    Students must establish and maintain a legal Florida residence for at least 12 months prior to the first day of classes in the semester for which in-state residency status is sought. Students may request a reclassification of residency through the registrar’s office using the following form: Request for Residency Reclassification (www.registrar.ufl.edu/pdf/residencyreclass.pdf).

    The deadline to submit your application is the standard fee payment deadline for the term in which you are applying.  The 12 month qualifying period begins from the date on which you obtain a declaration of domicile at the Alachua County Clerk of Court at 201 E University Ave, Gainesville, FL  32601.

    Required documentation for residency reclassification may include the following: Florida driver’s license, Florida vehicle registration, Florida voter’s registration, declaration of domicile, graduate assistantship letter of appointment, lease agreement or documentation of home purchase.

    Additional information about the Florida residency process for tuition purposes can be found at www.registrar.ufl.edu/currents/residencychange.html.

  5. Where can I find the deadline for fee payment?
    From your ISIS screen (www.isis.ufl.edu), click on Financial Services, then Charges Due.  It should link you to the fees owed and date due. 

  6. How do I sign up for GatorGradCare?
    GatorGradCare is free to students with a TA/RA/GA/fellowship and appropriate registration.  Students paid from an outside source are not eligible.  You should receive an email with instructions when the enrollment period for each academic year opens.  You must log onto GatorGradCare to complete the online enrollment.  The Annual plan will provide summer coverage regardless of your student status for the summer as long as you meet the eligibility requirements for both the fall and spring semesters.  Additional inquiries can be made at the GA Benefits Office (gabenefits@admin.ufl.edu). 

  7. Do I need to turn in any forms to the department when I have established my committee?  When I have committee meetings?
    When you have established your committee, email the Graduate Program Assistant (see above) with a list of the members of your committee, and be sure to indicate the chair and outside member.
    For each committee meeting, you should complete the Committee Meeting Summary and have it signed by all committee members for distribution to the Graduate Program Assistant and your committee.  Additionally, the Dissertation Proposal Approval Form should be completed and signed after the discussion and approval of your dissertation proposal. It must be submitted to the Graduate Program Assistant prior to or within the same term as your written and oral qualifying exams.  Both of these forms are available on the department website (under the Administration menu, click on Forms and Memos).
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Teaching and Research Assistantships

  1. Which departmental staff should I contact regarding teaching and research assistantships?
    Contact the Graduate Program Assistant, Susan Spaulding.

  2. When will the department request preferences for and assign teaching assistantships each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer)?
    The preference forms are typically distributed around the midterm point of the semester for the teaching assignments for the following term (except for the Fall term, for which preferences may be collected in the Spring).  Assignments are made approximately three weeks before the beginning of each term.

  3. What is the process used to assign teaching assistantships?
    Teaching assistantship decisions are made by a committee composed of the Graduate Coordinator, Associate Chair, and BSC Coordinator with consideration of the student’s preferences, departmental needs, and instructor input.

  4. What is the workload associated with each level of assistantship (0.25 FTE, 0.35 FTE, 0.5 FTE, etc)?
    0.25 FTE = 10 hours a week
    0.35 FTE = 14 hours a week
    0.50 FTE = 20 hours a week

  5. Where can I find descriptions for the courses?  How do I know what the level of assistantship is for the various courses?
    Undergraduate course descriptions can be found in the undergraduate catalog from the Registrar’s page (www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/programs/courses/biology.html). The level of assistantship is not always indicated on the TA preference form, but the student can note their FTE preferences, which will be considered in making the teaching assignments.  Students can also contact the faculty teaching the course for additional information.

  6. When does the pay period change each semester (i.e., when will paychecks start and end for my assistantship each semester)?
    The Office of Human Resources Page has appointment calendars for academic personnel, which has now been standardized for all years.
    Fall                         8/16 to 12/31
    Spring                   1/1 to 5/15
    Summer               5/16 to 8/15
    A schedule of paydays is available at http://www.fa.ufl.edu/payroll/ by clicking on the appropriate calendar year; here you can view the pay period start and end dates that correspond to each paycheck.

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