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Human Resources Newsletter

May 2014 HR Newsletter


Welcome to the May 2014 issue of the HR Newsletter. Full of useful information, we hope that you find that HR Newsletter an important source of information.

Please use the navigation on the right to quickly learn about:

  • Staff Appreciation Week, May 19-22
  • New faces and changing positions in HR
  • Key deadlines for AU education benefits
  • Bright Horizons® family resources and representative on campus May 20
  • Steps to AhealthyU Pedometer Challenge 2014
  • AhealthyU health screenings and wellness fair, May 20
  • PwC financial wellness workshop that addresses your current stage in life
  • The Great American Weight Loss Challenge wraps up
  • Bike to Work Day, May 16
  • June Professional Development calendar
  • Staff Council: elections, activities, and changes

Please let us know how we can make the newsletter even better by emailing us at

Thanks for All You Do! Be a Part of Staff Appreciation Week, May 19 – 22

Staff Appreciation Week

Each year, American University celebrates the contributions of its staff with a week of events highlighting top performers, years of commitment, and individuals’ works across campus. Below are highlights of the week’s events, but visit the Staff Appreciation Week website for a comprehensive list of activities.

Monday, May 19

  • Annual Cupcake Bake Off. Compete or come to taste our staff’s best cupcakes. Prizes will be awarded in Fan Favorite, Best Tasting, and Most Creative categories. Register to compete by Thursday, May 15.
  • WONK Wars! Register your team by May 15 in this photo scavenger hunt that takes place around campus and in the surrounding areas. The competition officially starts when the clue list is emailed at 5pm on Monday.

Tuesday, May 20

  • Years of Service & Staff Performance Awards Luncheon (invitation only).
  • AhealthyU Health Screenings include testing of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and body composition at no cost to you. Advance registration is recommended. Register online.
  • AhealthyU Wellness Fair assembles health and wellness vendors to provide additional specialty screenings, activities, educational information, and fun giveaways.
  • AU Goes Green Arboretum Tour. Join staff from AU’s Office of Sustainability and the Campus Arboretum and see why AU really is the greenest campus. This tour highlights AU’s award-winning arboretum and gardens and our nationally recognized sustainability initiatives.

Wednesday, May 21

  • Twenty-Year Club Celebration (invitation only).
  • Trivia in the Tavern tests your knowledge of fun and trivial facts. Teams of up to five people compete for prizes awarded for the most points at the end of each round.

Thursday, May 22

All Week

  • AU Dining/Starbucks (Butler Pavilion) will upgrade drinks from Tall to Grande for free.
  • Campus Store will add an extra 10 percent discount to selected items in addition to everyday 10 percent discount.
  • AU Recreational Sports and Fitness will offer special daily events and discounts.

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New Faces and Changing Positions in HR

  • Sheila Way has been appointed Director of Performance and Learning. Sheila has worked at American University for five years, during which time she held two different positions in HR – Manager of Workplace Learning and Director of Learning & Performance Management. Most recently, Sheila led the selection, set-up, and implementation of the AsuccessfulU system.
  • Andrea (Andie) Rowe joins HR as the Assistant Director of Employee Health and Wellness. Andie has more than 25 years of experience in employee wellness, most recently working at Evolent Health, where she oversaw the wellness programs for their health system customers.
  • Leah Tasman joins HR as the Wellness Program Manager for faculty and staff. Previously, she was a Healthy Eating Specialist for Whole Foods Market. She received her Masters of Science in Health Promotion Management from American University and was an AhealthyU Health Promotion Graduate Assistant.
  • Jennifer Gross has been appointed Director of Recruiting. She previously led Talent Acquisitions at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). Jennifer will be responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing recruiting initiatives and programs to support the needs of hiring managers and HR’s strategic goals.
  • Stacy Martz joins HR as a Recruiter. She brings recruiting experience from Withers Bergmann, LLP, a boutique international law firm where she served as a Senior Human Resources & Recruitment Coordinator.

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Upcoming Key Deadlines for AU Education Benefits

Education Benefits
  • Tuition remission applications for full-time faculty and staff, spouses, and same-sex domestic partners are due May 12 for all summer 2014 sessions.
  • If your child attends AU and receives the AU Tuition Scholarship, remember that you must complete the Educational Benefits for Children Application form each year by June 1 for the upcoming fall semester.

To obtain an educational benefit application and for more information, visit the Education Benefits section on the myBenefits website.

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Family Resources Available at Bright Horizons (Representatives on Campus May 20)

Bright Horizons Back-Up Care AdvantageThe Bright Horizons® Back-Up Care Advantage Program® is part of AU’s ongoing commitment to provide a comprehensive benefits package to help faculty and staff balance the demands of a busy job and home. In addition to emergency dependent back-up services, Bright Horizons provides family resources on its Bright Connections site, including: 

  • Parenting and adult care webinars
  • Parenting tips and strategies – positive guidance tips from early childhood educators for better behavior in kids.
  • Children’s book reviews – suggestions and reviews of humorous children’s books.
  • Online community – opportunity to connect with other parents and educators to discuss parenting, family, and work/life topics on interactive conversation boards.

Bright Horizons® Back-Up Care Advantage gives you access to a network of child care centers and in-home care providers to assist when your regular care option for children, as well as adults, become unavailable. Register now to ensure emergency dependent back-up care when you need it.

Bright Horizons will be joining us at the AhealthyU Wellness Fair on May 20 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in in Mary Graydon Center, Room 245.

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Steps to AhealthyU Pedometer Challenge 2014

2014 Pedometer Challenge

Stay or get in shape by joining AU’s annual six-week Pedometer Challenge beginning Tuesday, May 27 and running through Monday, July 7. Last year, 270 members of faculty and staff met or exceeded their personal steps-per-day goals. In fact, participants took a total of 186,094,847 steps – an average of 8,861 steps per day per person.

To participate, register online, pick up your pedometer beginning Wednesday, May 14 and pay a $5 registration fee at the AhealthyU Office in Mary Graydon Center, Room 330-O from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily. Pedometers will be available for pick-up at the Health Screening and Wellness Fair events on Tuesday, May 20 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Battelle-Tompkins Atrium, Room 110 and at Mary Graydon Center, Room 245 (the AhealthyU office in MGC will be closed during the Health Screening and Wellness Fair events).

AhealthyU will not be able to hand out pedometers to participants without first receiving their $5 registration fee. Anyone who uses their pedometer from last year will have the $5 registration fee waived. Extra or replacement pedometers throughout the challenge cost $10 each.

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Attend the AhealthyU Health Screenings and Wellness Fair

AhealthyUNow is a great time to know your numbers that can lead to a healthier life. AhealthyU is sponsoring a health screening that includes testing of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and body composition. Screenings will be held on Tuesday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Battelle-Tompkins Atrium, Room 110.

No fasting is required. Health and diabetes educators and a nutrition counselor will be available to help you understand what your numbers mean.

There are only a limited number of walk-in screenings, so be sure to sign up in advance. Staff who have health screenings done during Staff Appreciation Week will be entered into a drawing to win one of two iPads.*

Also, be sure to attend the AhealthyU Wellness Fair on Tuesday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MGC, Room 245. Health and wellness vendors will provide five-minute-seated massages, cooking demos, bone density and vision screenings, all at no cost to you. New vendors continue to sign up daily, so check the Wellness Fair website for hte most up-to-date list of participating organizations. First come, first served.

*Health screening prizes are subject to tax. Eligibility rules apply. Visit the Know Your Numbers website for details.

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Attend a Financial Wellness Workshop That Meets Your Current Needs

Staff Appreciation: Financial Planning Workshops

Back by popular demand, Aaron Harding from PricewaterhouseCoopers will help you to get fiscally fit for your current stage in life and prepare you for the future.

Financial Planning 101

Mary Graydon Center | Room 245, Thursday May 22 | 9 – 10:15 a.m. 

Not sure how to get started? This session addresses the financial planning process, savings, debt management, and how your AU benefits can help you achieve your financial goals.

Retirement Planning Made Easy

Kogod Computer Lab | Thursday, May 22 | 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Will you be ready for retirement? Bring your current retirement statements with you and leave with a plan. You’ll review your own situation so that you can estimate how much you will need in retirement and confirm whether you are on track to meet your goals.

Cash & Debt Management

Mary Graydon Center, Room 245 | Thursday, May 22 | 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Would you like to get a better handle on your day-to-day cash management? This session covers budgeting, saving, debt management, credit scores, and is designed to help you leave with an action plan to follow.

Seating for each session is limited, so register in advance online at AsuccessfulU. Faculty may register for the Financial Wellness workshops by contacting Andie Rowe at x3589 or

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The Great American Weight Loss Challenge Wraps Up

Weight-Loss Challenge Wrap Up

The Great American Weight Loss Challenge wrapped up this spring and the winning team was Sassy By Summer. The team, comprising staff members Anu Subramanyam, Jennifer Miranda, Jennie Mak, and William Handle, lost a total of 30 pounds during the course of the challenge, as they battled to keep the top spot.

Ninety five faculty and staff members accepted AhealthyU’s challenge to shed pounds. Teams of four worked together to meet their healthy weight loss goals during the course of the six-week program. Participants had opportunities to attend Wellness Wednesday events, as well as complementary group exercise classes held at Jacobs and Cassell Fitness Centers. Cash prizes were awarded to the three teams who achieved the highest percentage of their weight loss goals.

AhealthyU thanks all of the participants and congratulates the winning team.

For more information about the Great American Weight Loss Challenge, visit

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Professional Development June Calendar

Professional Development June 2014

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Bike to Work Day, Friday, May 16

Bike to WorkJoin over 10,000 commuters in the Metro DC area on May 16 as they bike to work. Biking to work not only improves your physical and mental health and benefits the environment, but it can save you money too! AhealthyU and the Office of Sustainability encourage you to participate in the regional Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16.

Did You Know?

If you bike to work you can:

  • Burn over 200 calories in 30 minutes
  • Save time by bypassing rush hour traffic
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Save money on car maintenance, fuel, and parking
  • AU offers tax-free bicycle commuter benefits (check out "Biking" under Commuter on the myBenefits site)

Whether you’re a seasoned biker or just a beginner, AU has resources and events to help make your Bike to Work Day a fun and worthwhile experience.

Before you start pedaling . . .  

Join us for a special Bike to Work Brown Bag Wellness Workshop,Wednesday, May 7, 12pm – 1pm in MGC 247.

Learn tips for biking to work including:

  • what to wear, how to pack, shower options, and routes to campus
  • Enter a RAFFLE for a Capital Bikeshare Membership or iPod Shuffle Light
  • lunch and giveaways

Register for this Wednesday's Brown Bag Workshop.

The day of the event . . .

Friday, May 16, gather on the Quad between 8am – 10am for:
  • breakfast catered by Georgetown Bagel Fun
  • giveaways for riders
  • WIN a drawing for a Nike Sport Band, Fitness Center Membership, or complimentary Fitness Assessment

All riders will be granted access to fitness center showers and facilities (email by May 14 to be granted access).

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Staff Council:  Elections, Activities, Changes

American University Staff Council logo

Staff Council is a dedicated and fun team of staff from across the university who serve the community and gain a broader understanding of AU. Council member elections will be held May 12 through May 30 for the 2014-2015 academic year.

During the past year, the Staff Council worked on a number of initiatives including:

  • The 2013-2014 Staff Council Survey. Receiving more than 500 responses from staff, Staff Council was able to share feedback regarding transportation, benefits, and workplace learning & development to help make positive change. The responses guided Staff Council’s efforts to research tuition remission benefits, community-building activities, and service opportunities, among others.
  • The Fall Luncheon. The 2013 Staff Council-coordinated luncheon boasted the highest turnout in its history with more than 425 staff in attendance. The luncheon included an update from President Kerwin on diversity and service priorities, an introduction to the newly-launched, comprehensive myBenefits portal, a review of sustainability initiatives, and a round table discussion about priorities for Staff Council.
  • Internally, Staff Council underwent a review and reallocated its “districts” to better represent staff constituencies. The reallocation has resulted in a greater presence of Staff Council liaisons throughout the university, and easier accessibility of representatives for the university staff.
  • Staff Council participated in the Middle States Reaccreditation process by meeting with members of the visiting team to discuss staff-relevant issues and successes regarding the Performance Management Program, governance, and staff retention. For more information:
  • Staff Council is participating on the Staff Appreciation Committee to plan memorable activities during the annual Staff Appreciation Week. For more information:

To read more about other Staff Council initiatives, visit:

As another term comes to an end, the Staff Council thanks its outgoing members for volunteering their time to benefit AU. The Council is especially grateful to outgoing Council Chair, Matteo Becchi, who leaves his post after four years of service. To find out more about Becchi and other Staff Council members, visit:

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