Welcome to the August issue of the HR Newsletter. In this issue, read about:
Fall 2014 Tuition Remission Deadline, August 29
Fall Employment-Related Reminders for Managers
Retirement Plan One-on-One Counseling Sessions
2014 Compensation Program for Full-Time Staff
AhealthyU Success Story: Kevin Wyatt
Pedometer Challenge Results, Stepping to Better Health
Ergonomic Resources for Back and Neck Pain
Workplace Learning and Development September Training Calendar
Staff Council Gears Up for another Year
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Fall 2014 Tuition Remission Deadline is August 29
AU offers tuition remission for eligible staff, spouses, and same-sex domestic partners at American University and Wesley Theological Seminary.
If you utilize the tuition remission benefit, you must apply each semester. The fall 2014 tuition remission online application is due no later than Friday, August 29, 2014. Applications submitted after August 29 will not be accepted for tuition remission for the fall semester.
To learn more about tuition remission, attend one of the upcoming brown bag workshops that addresses:
Who is eligible
What is covered
What is not covered
How the program works
Key dates and deadlines
How taxation is applied and how your paycheck may be affected
The tuition remission brown bags workshops will be held:
Tuesday, August 12
Thursday, August 21
12:00 – 1:00p.m.
12:00 – 1:00p.m.
Butler Conference Room
Butler Conference Room
Full-time faculty and staff should register for either brown bag session on AsuccessfulU.
Log on to the myAU.american.edu and under the “Work@AU” tab, select “AsuccessfulU”
Click the “Go to AsuccessfulU” button
Click the Home drop-down menu (top left corner) and select the “Learning” tab
Type in “tuition remission” in the Search Catalog field and click “Go”
Once you find the course, click "View Course Dates" then find the date you can attend and select "Register Now" and then "Confirm"
For comprehensive information about educational benefits including tuition remission, visit the Education section on the myBenefits site which is accessible through the myAU portal under “Work@AU.”
As the new academic year begins, there will be many employment opportunities for students. Some important events and dates that managers should be aware of include:
HR Room on Campus
August 20 - September 5
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
The HR Room on campus is for the convenience of students to complete new hire documents at the Mary Graydon Center, rather than at the HR office, including Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (see List of Acceptable Documents), federal and state tax forms, and direct deposit form.
Federal Work Study Job Fair Hosted by the Office of Human Resources and the Career Center
1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
MGC Rooms 2 – 5
Human Resources and the Career Center encourage managers to refer anyone interested in participating in the fair to Ganiat Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 3734) for registration information.
Finding Part-time Employment Workshop Hosted by the Office of Human Resources and the Career Center
2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
MGC 200 MGC 203
Human Resources and the Career Center encourage mangers to refer interested students to these workshops and to make jobs available to students with or without Federal Work Study.
As the fall semester also brings new faculty members to the university, managers are encouraged to remind them of important events and dates including:
New Faculty Benefits Briefing
New full-time faculty are encouraged to attend the briefing that will be held in the Office of Human Resources. For dates, times, and information about how to participate in a benefits session, please contact the HR Faculty Team at email@example.com.
Fall adjunct appointments are due to HR by Monday, August 11.
Online payment for teaching actions are due to HR by Wednesday, September 3.
Fall graduate stipend e-actions are due to HR by Wednesday, August 27.
Graduate assistants will receive eight biweekly payments starting on Friday, September 12.
Other reminders for managers
Post student job openings via OLA, AU’s online employment application system.
New hire paperwork must be completed within three business days of the employee's first day.
Submit actions in a timely fashion.
Ensure that approved timesheets for student workers are submitted according to the payroll schedule.
Retirement Plan One-on-One Counseling Sessions in August and September
American University offers faculty and staff a great opportunity to save for retirement through the AU retirement plan. AU matches the first five percent of eligible employee contributions to the retirement plan on a two-to-one basis. We encourage you to take an active role in your retirement planning and start contributing to the retirement plan or, if you are a current participant, review your current contribution amount and investment strategy to ensure they meet your needs.
Representatives from TIAA-CREF and Fidelity will be onsite in HR’s office to meet one-on-one with faculty and staff about their retirement savings plans. Please see below for the upcoming counseling session dates for August and September, as well as the toll-free number that you may call to schedule an appointment. The counseling sessions schedule for the remainder of 2014 – 2015 academic year is attached below.
AU’s 2014 Compensation Program for Full-Time Staff
If you're a full-time staff member, you probably have completed your Performance Management Program (PMP) year-end appraisal, had your one-on-one discussion with your manager, and electronically acknowledged that you had your discussion. As the PMP process comes to an end, the merit increase process has begun.
The merit increase process is part of AU’s compensation program for staff that links pay and performance, provides career advancement opportunities, and continues to support the university’s commitment to competitive pay and benefits.
This year’s merit pool, the amount of money that the university has approved for merit increases, is 2.5%. Managers will use the AsuccessfulU system to recommend merit increases for staff. The system will provide a merit range for each staff member based on the individual’s overall performance rating and their position within the pay band and market cluster. The guidelines support larger merit increases for staff who are higher performers.
You are eligible for a merit increase this year if you were hired, transferred, or promoted prior to May 1, 2014.
A few key dates in the merit increase process are:
August 15 - Merit recommendations are due from division budget representatives to HR for final review
August 30 - Effective date of increases for bi-weekly staff to be paid in September 26 pay
September 1 - Effective date of increases for monthly staff to be paid in September 30 pay
Don’t forget that the 30-minute online training, Compensation at AU, on AsuccessfulU, addresses pay ranges, merit guidelines, and career growth.
If you have any further questions, please contact Human Resources at x2591, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AhealthyU offers faculty and staff programs and tools to achieve their health and fitness goals including health screenings, diet and nutrition programs, and group exercise classes. It is important that you also have regular check-ups with your primary care physician to evaluate your health and make recommendations that suit your individual needs.
Three years ago, Kevin Wyatt, an AU shuttle supervisor, had a number of back-to-back personal losses that served as a wake-up call to make some significant changes to his lifestyle. In August 2011, one of Kevin’s nephews died suddenly, followed by a number of close friends, all due to issues exacerbated by unhealthy lifestyles.
At 265 pounds, Kevin challenged himself and his siblings to adopt healthier lifestyles that included weight loss, a more nutritious diet, and regular exercise. Although Kevin lost 15 pounds over the next year, Kevin’s doctor told him that he had borderline high blood pressure at his biannual physical in 2013. He also knew that there was room for improvement in his physical health because he got winded and experienced back pains after walking around the block at home. “That’s when I became determined to change the way I ate and set out to walk at least 10,000 steps a day,” explained Kevin.
Kevin joined AhealthyU’s 2013 Pedometer Challenge and attended Zumba class twice a week at Jacobs Fitness Center. He set reasonable goals for himself and decided that, “No weight gain was considered a victory for me.”
In the past year, Kevin has lost 45 pounds and keeps track of his weight at home every morning using his Wii Fit. He has also increased his target number of steps per day to at least 12,500 – often walking instead of riding the AU shuttle. Kevin recently completed his first 5K walk.
“I still have a weakness for Oreos and Chips Ahoy cookies and milk, but these days I limit it to one or two cookies instead of the whole row,” said Kevin.
Kevin’s determination to improve his health are now paying dividends. “At AhealthyU’s last Wellness Fair, my blood pressure range was so good that the nurse said that it was no longer an issue. I also went from a pant-waist size of 42-44 to 36-38, and my shirts have gone from a 2XL to XL. But my greatest motivation to stay healthy is my 10-year old daughter. I would like to see her graduate from AU and plan on walking her down the aisle when she gets married.”
When asked how others can adopt similarly healthy habits and achieve success, Kevin advises, “To quote the Nike slogan, ‘Just Do It,’ and remember, you didn’t gain this weight in one day, so don’t expect to lose it in one day.”
This summer, five hundred faculty and staff members participated in the 2014 Steps to AhealthyU Pedometer Challenge. The 6-week pedometer challenge was designed to appeal to all participants and included both a competitive and non-competitive track for teams of four. The top three teams in the competitive track collected cash prizes from the $2,500 prize pot.
Team “Red Hot Chili Steppers” won the title of “2014 Steps to AhealthyU Pedometer Challenge Top Stepping Team,” as each member of the team stepped more than an average of 28,000 steps a day – equivalent to 14 miles.
Team “#get2steppin,” who led the leaderboard for four out of the six weeks, eventually placed second and Team “Steps Do the Talking” held steady at third place for all six weeks of the Pedometer Challenge.
All participants who met their step goals were entered into a weekly raffle to win a healthy catered lunch at Subway or complimentary seated massages for their entire team.
AU also piloted a community pedometer challenge which ran concurrently with the 2014 Steps to AhealthyU challenge. The community challenge included teams of four from Georgetown University, Catholic University, American University, and Aramark at AU. Each of the four teams recorded more than one million steps throughout the six weeks, with Georgetown placing first with nearly two million total steps.
AhealthyU congratulates and thanks the members of our AU community challenge team: David Taylor (Chief of Staff), Mary Kennard (Vice President and General Council), Mary L. Clark (Interim Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice Provost), and Beth Muha (Vice President of Human Resources).
Based on feedback from the 2014 pedometer challenge, AhealthyU will be doing 30-day walking challenge this fall. Stay tuned for more details.
For many of us, August is a time to plan and prepare for the students to return to campus. With the new members on board, Staff Council is planning for the upcoming year and the best ways to serve the American University staff.
The Staff Council considers its relationship with staff members to be a partnership. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the Staff Council liaison who supports your department. He/she will reach out to your department with staff-related updates and information throughout the year. At any time, feel free to contact your Staff Council liaison with questions related to the interests of staff.