The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SBS Staff Onboarding Resources

There’s a lot to learn when getting started at UMass – whether you’re new to the University or have transitioned into a new position. SBS has compiled a list of resources that may be useful for onboarding new staff. Some resources apply to all staff, while others may be more role-specific. For a more thorough, downloadable guide, see the Staff Onboarding Resources document.

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact Saulo DePaula, Director of Analytics and Operations.

Getting Started

Complete FERPA Training
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) allows current and former students access to their own educational records and ensures the privacy of their records. All University employees are legally and ethically obligated to protect the confidentiality of student records.

Request SPIRE Access
Staff whose job requires them to work with student records in SPIRE, including advising, must first complete FERPA training. To request SPIRE access, log into SPIRE and navigate to My SPIRE > SPIRE Access Request. If staff need access that does not fit into any of the existing descriptions, contact

Review Advisor Trainings and Resources
New Academic Advisors should review the resources and trainings available through Student Success. Academic Advisors should first complete FERPA training and request appropriate SPIRE access.

Request Administration and Finance Access
Staff whose role requires access to Administration and Finance programs (e.g., PageUp, HR Direct, BuyWays, Summit, etc.) must request access and, as needed, complete relevant trainings.

Access HR Direct
Staff can access HR Direct to view their paystubs, access tax documents, and enter time off. No access request is needed.


Configure Office 365 Email and Calendering
Microsoft Office 365 email through Outlook provides an integrated email, calendaring, and contacts experience for staff, faculty, and some students.

Install Office 365 Education 
Office 365 Education is the Microsoft Office 365 suite available at no cost to staff, faculty, and students, faculty. Eligible members of the university community can install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote on up to 5 devices (Windows or Mac) and Office apps on mobile devices including Windows tablets and iPads. The program also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage. Office 365 Education on Windows also includes Publisher and Access.

Install Teams
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform and digital workspace for teams to easily meet, share, and work together, all while integrating seamlessly with popular Office 365 apps such as Word, Excel, OneDrive, Planner, and more. 

Install Zoom
Zoom is UMass Amherst's preferred video conferencing platform for online meetings, class sessions, events, and more. Zoom features high-quality video and audio, screen sharing and collaboration, and improved usability and accessibility.

Install VPN
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) provide an encrypted connection between your off-campus computer and the campus network. Members of the university can use the VPN service at no cost to connect to some campus services remotely. 

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Learn about SBS Staff and Faculty
SBS employs hundreds and staff and faculty. Staff can review the College Directory to find out who does what in each department, get up-to-date information on departmental leadership and our various committees and councils. 

Review the SBS Abbreviations and Terms Guide
The SBS Abbreviations and Terms Guide provides descriptions and relevant links for over 100 abbreviations and terms used throughout SBS and the university.

Review SBS Planning Data and Resources
The SBS Dean's Office produces and maintains a variety of data and resources in OneDrive to help support SBS department and program planning and decision-making, including, but not limited to, department budgets, course scheduling, enrollments, and demographics.

Review the SBS Data Guide
Most staff interact with data – learn about the types of data available and best practices. 

Review the SBS Event Planning Guide
UMass Amherst local cities and towns have a wide variety of venues for events of all sizes. Below you'll find information on these venues, as well as on catering, lodging, and transportation. We also recommend downloading the comprehensive PDF versions of the Event Planning Guide, as well as the Event Planning Worksheet and Guidelines for Bringing Speakers to Campus.

Review the SBS Conference and Event Catalog
There are a variety of higher education conferences, events, and webinars offered throughout the year, many of which are highlighted in the Conference and Event Catalog. If and when possible, we encourage everyone to take advantage of these opportunities. Staff should consider applying for an SBS Staff Professional Development Grant, if receiving one would support attending a conference, event, or similar opportunity.

Groups and Resources

Learn about Accessible Workplace
The Accessible Workplace unit is responsible for administering reasonable workplace accommodations for staff and faculty. Employees seeking employment-related accommodations should contact Lori Corcoran, Accessible Workplace Manager, to arrange an intake meeting. 

Learn about the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is a free and confidential counseling, consultation, and referral service that assists employees in resolving personal, work-related, and family problems. 

Learn about the Partnership for Worker Education
The Partnership for Work Education develops partnerships with employers and unions that address the changing workplace: new skills for employees, as well as employee advancement, engagement, retention, and morale. Staff can learn about their classes and career ladders

Learn about Unions
Most staff at the university are unionized. The Professional Staff Union (PSU) covers mainly excempt administrative staff, and some non-exempt administrative staff. The University Staff Association (USA) covers non-excempt clerical, technical, and administrative employees. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) covers non-exempt skilled trades, custodial grounds, housing, food services, and security employees. 

Learn about Workplace Learning and Development
Workplace Learning and Development (WLD) is dedicated to promoting and supporting staff and faculty organizational growth, development, and empowerment through innovative, high-quality workplace programs, resources, and services. Staff can request a service and participate in a variety of ongoing workshops