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August 2023

Faculty/Staff Luncheon – July 2023

The Department had its quarterly Staff meeting on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, followed by a Faculty/Staff luncheon catered by Jasmin & Olivz. Thanks to all who attended!

  • Travel Reminders
    • A Travel Authorization needs to be submitted and approved PRIOR to any purchases for your travel. A reminder that these are estimated costs that you anticipate for your travel.
    • Travel Per Diem:
      Subsistence Allowance Rates: Subsistence is an allowance for lodging and meal costs (including gratuities). To be eligible for allowances while in travel status, the employee must be acting in an official capacity as required by his/her work activities and the travel destination must be at least 35 miles from the employee’s duty station or home, whichever is less. 
  •  Purchasing Reminders
    • 1st Shop Marketplace – 2nd Use PCARD 3rd If a vendor’s item can not be found on Marketplace and they do not take a PCARD, then a Purchase Order may be issued.
    • Make sure and receive your items in the financial system as soon as possible after you have received your purchases and they are confirmed in good condition/ working order.
  • HR News
    • Dr. Linlin Wang became a Research Associate on June 28.
    • Dr. Tzu-Yu Chen becomes a Postdoctoral Research Scholar on August 2.
    • Dr. Milena Jovanovic becomes an Assistant Professor on August 16.
    • Are you thinking about retiring within the next five to seven years?  If so, you are encouraged to register for the Ready to Retire workshop.  There will be a session offered on August 29 from 1 to 5 pm in the Talley Student Union.  For more information and details on how to register, please click here:
    • The Department of Chemistry sponsors many employees in various visa categories.  Please be advised that if any Officer or Contractor from the  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contacts you about an employee, it is important to call the International Employment office before answering any questions.  This includes but is not limited to communications via email, telephone, mail or during an in-person visit.  Jill Blitstein is the Manager of International Employment and can be reached at (919) 515-2135 if contact from one of these federal agencies is received.  If Jill Blitstien is unavailable, please call the main University HR phone line at (919) 515-2135 and request to urgently speak to a member of International Employment about an on-site visit from USCIS, CBP or ICE.
  • Our Fall DEI Colloquium Series speaker will be Mary Jo Ondrechen, Ph.D., Northeastern University. She will be on campus September 21 and 22. Please be on the lookout for information on opportunities to interact with her during her visit.
  • DAB Elevators– new controllers will be installed in both elevators this month. Each elevator will likely be out of service for two weeks, and then there will be 2-3 days when both elevators will be out of service. We, of course, will send a notification when we know the outage dates.
  • SB Construction-The jackhammering of the old Harrelson foundation has begun. To date, they are breaking up concrete that is near the surface, but they will soon begin removing the old pillars. A new ADA route (see yellow highlight on map) is nearing completion to the west of Williams Hall. This pathway opens a new option for all of us to walk around the construction whenever they close the walkway between the construction site and Williams. Currently, the pedestrian pathways in blue are open, but the one leading to the west side of DAB is not ADA-accessible.
  • DAB $60M renovation – Chemical storage limits have been determined, and where we anticipate overages, a plan for alternate chemical storage is underway in Broughton (swing space). Chemical storage limits also dictate the density of research on any given floor of DAB post-renovation.  The current date for the Broughton renovations to be complete is now fall 2025. 
  • “Smaller” projects are also being designed at this stage. For example, phase 1 includes making the NW and SE stairwells accessible from the inside. The balconies will become the location of a new mechanical chaseway. That means we will enter the stairwells from the inside, so anything that is in the way of making a cut into what is the wall separating the stairwell and a lab/mechanical/electrical room has to be moved. The stairs in between COX and DAB will also change, but not until a later phase. Planning for a bulk N2 tank is underway, and that will likely be shared with the ISB (and the tank will be adjacent to ISB). 
  • Other renovations/lab upfits – DAB 7th & 8th-floor renovations, COX 518 and 509 (Computational suites), and PIII and PII (lab and office space for Dr. Li) are all at various stages of planning and/or construction. In addition, the university is upgrading the power grid (Power Forward project), which will affect the area underground around DAB/COX.
  • Safety – There will be fire extinguisher training on Monday, Aug 14, from 2-3:30 pm as part of new graduate student orientation, but anyone who needs this training or a refresher may contact Dr. Aleks Kymalainen ( to sign up.