Graduate Student Hiring

Many thanks to our GSAOs who have attended one or more of our recent engagement activities: Graduate Student Hiring small group discussions, SIS design sessions, user acceptance testing, trainings, support sessions, and GSAO monthly meetings. Thank you for all of your continued feedback and suggestions!

Working closely together, Graduate Division, Campus Shared Services Human Resources (CSS HR), and Student Information Systems (SIS) are striving to make continuous improvements in the consistency, accuracy, efficiency, and effectiveness of Graduate Student Hiring tools and processes.

Please review the FAQs so we can keep the lines of communication open and as always we welcome your feedback as we continue to strive to improve our systems and processes.  

Your participation and feedback help us to make decisions and set priorities that will help you better serve your students. The following are the priorities we have heard from you about Graduate Student Hiring:

  • Provide more information to GSAOs (e.g., status of a transaction)
  • Provide a more holistic view of the student (e.g., appointments in multiple units)
  • Address challenges specific to international students
  • Transparency on process timing and deadlines

Instructions:

Click on a topic below to see specific FAQs, or “expand all” to find text using Ctrl-F for PC users or Cmd-F for Mac users. To submit a question or suggestion, please email sis-project@berkeley.edu and include “GSAO FAQs” in the headline.

Appointment Entry

What is the turnaround time for appointment entry in HCM?

For new hires: After the student completes the onboarding process to when the appointment gets entered is 1-2 business days depending on volume.

The onboarding process is complete once the student has supplied sufficient documentation for the federal I-9, and signed the required forms.

Hires and rehires are prioritized over other transactions, but peak times in the semester can slow down the usual turnaround time.


If I provide GSI/GSR appointment information well in advance of the deadline, what is the expectation for appointment entry turnaround time?

Appointments won't be entered until 30 days before the appointment start date. Up until that point, they will be held in pending status.

This is intended to mitigate the risk of central updates or other systemic changes causing deletion of the appointment, or blocking it from passing to payroll.


Currently you have to check with the original department before a transfer to a new department. What if a graduate student is transferring between units, but the CSS HR team says they are waiting for information from another CSS HR team (e.g., they need the other team to "let go of the ID")?

CSS HR’s default is that when a student accepts an appointment that is not concurrent with their previous appointment, CSS HR does not need to wait for approval from the previous hiring unit to proceed with the new appointment.  

This is related to the “Transfer Out” step that sometimes needs to occur in HCM. Currently some HCM teams only have security access to one unit (so another unit has to pass the record to them before they can access it) and others have global access. CSS HR recognizes the need to provide global access to more HCM staff.

Bridging Appointments

What does it mean to "bridge an appointment"?

Bridging is a short period of time during which a graduate student is entered in a "without salary" academic appointment, to prevent issues that might otherwise arise between two paid appointments (e.g., transitioning from a Reader position before winter break to a GSR appointment in mid-January).

This prevents additional rehire paperwork and potential delays in restarting pay when the new appointment begins.


Is it an acceptable practice to bridge an appointment without salary?

Policies have been revised to accommodate bridging for GSRs for short periods of time; but not for an entire summer, and not for GSIs. However, bridging is a liability for both the university and the student, and the student must agree to take the "without salary" appointment.

CSS HR needs to be consistent, and approvals will apply to all appointments in a given area.  So far, Senior Administrators (Divisional leadership, Assistant Deans, etc.) are letting us know whether bridging is acceptable for their areas or not. In these cases, if the Assistant Dean for a college approves bridging, we will use that as our approval to bridge for all units under their control.

Damage Payment

What if an international student comes on board after the start of the semester and has missed the first pay period? How do we make it up to them when they haven't completed the I-9 which is a federal regulation?

UCOP has a "damage payment process" for gaps in pay, but it is intended for domestic students and is tied to signing the State Oath which is not signed by international students.

Efforts are underway to disconnect the damage payment process from the Oath signing requirement, so that we can use the damage payment process when needed.

In the meantime, please contact Janet Speer if you have this issue come up, and encourage Deans and Chairs to help raise the issue to the Controller’s Office.

Fee Remission

How are fee remissions paid (and refunded)?

Fee remissions are applied directly to student accounts, so they will never show as disbursed in a student’s Financial Aid Awards summary.

In CalCentral, “view as” the student and go to Billing Details in My Finances. If the balance does not appear to reflect payment of the fee remission, click “All Transactions” to search for fee remission credits.

In SIS Campus Solutions, navigate to View Customer Account. Click the “account details” link for the applicable term and search for fee remission transactions reflect there.


How often are fee remissions calculated?

Once the appointment is entered into HCM, fee remissions are calculated four times a day.


What is the turnaround time from HCM entry to fee remission applied in Campus Solutions?

After an appointment has been entered into HCM, and assuming that the student is term activated, enrolled, and fees and waivers have been calculated and posted, turnaround time should be no longer than 1-2 days for the fee remission to be reflected on students’ accounts in Campus Solutions and CalCentral.

If a longer delay than that is experienced, please submit a ServiceNow ticket because the delay may indicate there is a data problem that needs to be resolved.


How can I check the status of a Fee Remission?

Check the student's account on the “View Customer Account” page in Campus Solutions. Or if you have the access to "View As" as a student, you can also check the student's “My Finances” tab in CalCentral.


What is the timeline for LBNL fee remissions?

Shortly before the semester begins (approximately one week), LBNL HR sends to Graduate Division a spreadsheet of awards which are entered by the Fellowships team via award entry. Changes are updated throughout the semester on an iterative basis.


What is the process and timeline for when self-supporting students who are in fee remission eligible appointments can see their remission activate to their accounts?

Response coming soon . . .


Can someone clarify policies on what will restrict a student from receiving fee remissions (esp. what negative service indicator will prevent a fee remission from going through)?

Various holds on registration such as overdue fees from prior semester can block a payment of a fee remission from crediting a student’s account. See a related question under Student Perspective.

Hiring and Enrollment Timing

What is the ideal timeframe for a Graduate Student to enroll in units for fees to be assessed and covered by appointments, ensuring no gaps in Health Insurance coverage?

Right away, during Phase I and II. Grad students can no longer register late and expect things to fall into place. This is a shift in campus culture.

Previously, we billed students before they enrolled in units; now they need to enroll in units in order to get billed (including being billed for health insurance) and to have an account to send a fee remission.

GSAOs need to remind students to enroll at their earliest opportunity every semester, since all subsequent actions depend on that enrolled status.


What is the recommended timeline for GSI hiring? How early should I start the first steps in the GSI hiring process to ensure the entire hiring process can complete? What is the standard timeline for entering appointments into HCM?

CSS HR has internal commitments to turn around HCM data entry in 1-2 business days after the Student completes on-boarding, as possible, given volume and peak times.

For students who are extending or adding additional jobs, HCM data entry turnaround time will be 10 business days. HCM entries will not occur more than 30 days in advance of the effective date.

Additionally, CSS HR is in the process of training more HCM staff so that they have a good baseline knowledge, including specific training on hiring GSIs and GSRs.

If you have to actively recruit, start sooner rather than later, so that CSS HR has the ability to onboard as many Students as possible for Fall before they leave in May.

Also see the FAQ regarding Mass Onboarding for timing recommendations.


We need the ability to hire at the last minute, and even after the semester starts. Faculty wait until enrollment has settled before hiring Readers, for example.

CSS HR will onboard and enter appointments but without backdating. Most  Graduate Student titles can receive fee remission even if they are not employed for the full semester, provided the appointment meets the eligibility criteria.

If a student’s appointment(s) do not span the full duration of the academic term, it is critical that the expected working hours for the period of employment within the term meet the minimum hours required for the remission to be granted. The system figures these hours based on (FTE * expected weekly hours * weeks of employment).


Adjusting appointment percentages to resolve late onboarding or late start issues is time-consuming and not always feasible. Can we find a different solution to get students paid the correct amount aside from adjusting percentage time?

Campus units have the ability to request the Damage Waiver Payment process for US citizens. For International Graduate Students please contact Janet Speer to discuss your particular circumstances. Please note: Offers should be made only from the offer period onward (and not backdated) after the semester begins. CSS also created a calculator that quickly provides you with the percentage of time adjustment needed for late hires. The recalculation must be done by the GSAO since an amended offer letter that accurately reflects the new percentage and start date needs to be provided to the student.

Information and Status Checks

How can hiring units get real-time information about a transaction, or to troubleshoot and resolve a problem?

We understand the need for all stakeholders to have a view into the process as it works on a general basis, and a view into specific student cases for problem identification and resolution as quickly as possible.

Department users have access into E-hire and Smartsheet which provides status of the request. At this time, we are unable to provide GSAOs with access to HCM.

Meanwhile, CSS HR is putting processes in place to provide more information to GSAOs, and SIS is looking into providing a holistic view in the Campus Solutions tool.


Will there be a database available that shows open GSI/GSR/Reader/Tutor positions?

This functionality is not in scope at this time.


How do I find the status of hiring from CSS HR? How can I tell if a graduate student is available to hire?

For most hires, you can check the Smartsheet for status of your hiring request.


How do I check the status of a hiring from Team 2 – ERSO?

For Graduate Student Researchers, please email ersohrops@erso.berkeley.edu to get an update on the status of a request.

To find the status of an ASE (GSI, Reader, Tutor, Acting Instructor) hire, you can review the status by logging into the ASE Hiring System.

To determine if a graduate student is available to hire, please email ersohrops@erso.berkeley.edu and we can assist in confirming their availability.


What's the timing on checking eligibility relative to other appointments?

A tool is being designed in Campus Solutions that will check academic eligibility for students ahead of time, so that HR doesn't have to go back to the GSAO to ask if the student is eligible. This Eligibility Check will include whether the student is registered full time; if not, the GSAO or hiring partner will be alerted.

Yet to be determined is how the handoff will occur from the tool to HR. We’re aiming to have this capability ready for summer sessions this year, and sooner if possible.

Mass Hires and Onboarding

Is it possible to do early onboarding?

Early onboarding is a possibility. CSS HR will follow up on this item.


Who do we contact for mass hiring?

Contact your HR generalist; they'll work with the First Contact Team who does the onboarding.


When does mass onboarding occur?

Mass onboardings will start in late April, which combines Summer students, Summer lecturers, recreational sports summer programs, etc.

The online DocuSign process expedites the in person onboarding activities so that students can more efficiently utilize their time at Evans Hall.


What if we have specific needs for mass onboarding?

If you have a specific need for mass onboarding (i.e., 10 or more), contact your HR Generalist (e.g., if you need get people together on Saturday, or at the pool at 7pm). CSS HR is willing to accommodate your needs, but we will need 30 days advance notice.

Policy Changes

Regarding the end-to-end process: Part of the process of hiring GSRs includes the RAs for faculty PIs. How do you plan to train/communicate policy changes and procedures to these people?

During this transitional time, CSS HR is committed to working with CSS RAs to keep them apprised of changes to policy, process, and procedures.

Process Improvement, Consistency, Efficiency

Can the CSS HR teams use a consistent hiring practice and standard tools so that departments with complex and varied hiring practices across teams follow one protocol and can receive the same high level of customer service?

CSS HR is implementing baseline customer service training to ensure that you can expect the same level of customer service across teams for services that are provided by the team.

In order to emphasize the customer, we will also stop referring to our teams as numbers; instead we will refer to ourselves as supporting the customer (e.g., I'm supporting the College of Chemistry).


How will the GSAO, SIS, and the HR administrator work together to ensure an efficient and effective hiring process? Where will the handoffs be?

Graduate Division, CSS HR, and SIS staff are working together to address how SIS systems will interact with HR processes. There will be connectivity, but we don’t yet know where specific handoffs will be (e.g., between SIS and another tool or process).


Can you eliminate the need to duplicate efforts between GSAO input and CSS HR for entering appointments? Please require only minimal information from the GSAO.

Everything CSS HR asks the GSAO to complete on the Smartsheet is required for HCM entry such as start/end dates, title, name, and SID.

Reference Information and Feedback

Could you provide readily-available reference information about the hiring process, the amount of time transactions typically take, instructions for resolving problems, contact lists, etc.?

Pre-employment processes and information is available in the Graduate Division Graduate Appointments Handbook.

For processes once the offer has been accepted please refer to the CSS ASE GSR Hiring website.

How can stakeholders (e.g., central campus departments, students, department staff) create an effective feedback loop to streamline service and increase satisfaction?

CSS HR and SIS plan to conduct a debrief of super users after each semester and report back results in future GSAO meetings.

Smartsheet

CSS HR is working to standardize the use of the Smartsheet tool for Graduate Student Hiring including the ORUs.

Is Smartsheet going to stay?

Yes. CSS HR received positive feedback on Smartsheet, so all teams will be using the Smartsheet with the exception of Team 2 ERSO.


Can we have more flexibility in Smartsheet­—with tabs and sheets such that we can separate tabs by semester— so that we have one semester of hiring per tab or by position, one tab for readers/tutors and GSIs, and another for GSRs? I'm in a large department and it's a struggle to have to look through hundreds of rows to find an appointment. I would prioritize different tabs for each semester over by position.

CSS HR has received feedback and conducted analysis determining that many of the issues raised can be addressed through additional training, which is needed when new functionality is released (i.e., creating filters, find functionality, etc.).

For example, a recent upgrade available to editors is that a filter for appointments starting in the fall semester can be saved, and simply toggled on and off.

If you require additional training please contact your HR Generalist.


How can I access Smartsheets for appointments in multiple units?

You should have at least “view” access into all Smartsheets for the departments you work with, but not necessarily edit access.

For customized reports (views), you should have a report for yourself of everything you entered.


How do I know who else has access to a Smartsheet? What is the process for engaging them when needed to resolve cross-unit issues?

Clarify roles on every sheet. When you’re editing information into a Smartsheet, refresh often. It’s best to not enter information into a Smartsheet at the same time as someone else, in case they are entering but not refreshing.

Student Financials

How/or can you make CARS (real-time) information available?

CARS (Campus Accounts Receivable System) is the former system that Billing and Payment Services (BPS) used to provide certain payments/refunds to students prior to the SIS implementation.

Since October 2016, CARS has only been available for viewing historical data. Any unpaid CARS charges were converted to Campus Solutions at that time, and would show as zero dollars in CARS.

Students can now view real-time information and pay charges in their  CalCentral Billing Summary card.

Student Perspective

Can GSAOs see what the student sees in the system? Specifically when they are trying to register and what it looks like on their end.

Use “View as” functionality to see what the student sees, with the exception of student profile information such as gender, ethnicity, etc.


How can students access the most timely and pertinent information, so they know what they need to do by when?

SIS is working with students on the project team and in focus groups in graduate and undergraduate communities to get their screens looking differently. Ideally, when a student logs in, the first thing they see would be tailored to their individual situation and where they are in the process (e.g., “you owe a library fine” or "you are not yet registered").

We intend to improve this capability over time, so that students will understand the implications of the process (e.g., not getting a fee remission because they owe a library fine).

Summer

Can we have access to E-hire and Summer Sessions tools sooner than early April?

Summer Sessions is working on updating E-hire and will be providing information shortly.


Has a process been created to hire recent graduates for a summer GSI position? It has been regular practice to hire recent MAs or PhDs as instructors in the summer, but they serve as GSIs. This was disrupted last summer by new policies regarding academic search and recruitment for instructors. Is a replacement process being established? Last summer we requested exceptions for approval.

As per the ASE contract, graduated students are not eligible to serve as GSIs; however, they can be hired Lecturers. Tutors do not need to be registered students.

Timesheet Management

Can we have a consistent way of paying Readers who are paid by the hour and can CSS take a more active role? Managing timesheets is a huge time burden.

According to the ASE contract, Readers are compensated hourly.  You will need to ensure your Readers complete a timesheet and submit to CSS HR in a timely manner in order to produce pay.

Urgent Care and Support Contacts

How can I get help if a delay in appointment entry into HCM impacts the student's ability to pay fees?

Targeted for May 2017, a new Urgent Care Team in CSS HR will be launched, and you will be able to escalate "urgent" issues to them directly.

Examples of “urgent” issues include impacts to pay, impacts to benefits, or a customer service turnaround time that has exceeded 48 hours.

We are currently identifying members from each unit to be a part of Urgent Care and trained to take care of urgent issues immediately. We are also in the process of identifying commitments of how quickly and how often we'll get back to you with the status.


Do we have a contact for urgent care?

You will have a contact for Urgent Care beginning in May 2017. As this program is being launched, please continue to contact your HR Generalist or if you are utilizing Service Now you can go in and write "report a problem" for urgent issues and we'll address it immediately.


Who are the identified campus experts on graduate hiring, what units do they work for, and how do I reach them?

CSS HR is cross-training all HCM staff in graduate hiring. If a campus unit requires policy/contract guidance or exceptional approvals they should seek assistance from Graduate Division or Labor Relations.