June 15, 2016

June 2016 APAC News Vol. 9, No. 2

Health Insurance Premiums Could Rise Suddenly; Higher Rates May be Charged Retroactively

THE POSSIBILITY of drastic changes to healthcare insurance plans, including a sudden rise in the cost of premiums and retroactive higher premiums, could occur as a result of Governor Bruce Rauner’s negotiations with the union that represents State employees, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The plans and prices that Rauner and AFSCME agree on will affect University of Illinois employees and their families, because they receive their insurance through the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).

“THE GOVERNOR’S current proposals either significantly increase costs or significantly decrease plan quality,” said Janet Smith, President of UIC United Faculty.

IN AN April 4 memo from CMS, Michael M. Hoffman, Acting Director of CMS, wrote, “…we will be suspending the roll-out of new premium rates and plan designs until early Fall” when, “…a second Benefit Choice Period with new plans and rates would then take place…”

IN ANOTHER recent memo from CMS, it “unbelievably says that when the new plans go into effect, we will be retroactively charged an unknown amount based on the plans we chose,” Smith said.

THAT MEMO says, “Personnel should be aware that these premiums may be subject to an increase, pending the outcome of an ongoing legal dispute between the State and AFSCME and that this premium increase may be applied retroactively to July 1, 2016. In other words, once the legal dispute is resolved, a higher premium likely will apply—not only going forward, but also for the period from July 1, 2016, to the date of the increase.”

APAC, THE UIC United Faculty, the University Senate, and the Staff Advisory Council worked with President Timothy Killeen, and the result was a University Task Force that will make recommendations to the President on how to proceed.

UIC UNITED Faculty is working with an attorney who “believes that the Governor’s proposed changes violate the State Employees Group Insurance Act and Illinois Labor Law,” Smith said. “If we are asked to pay for our healthcare retroactively, we will take the issue to court.”

FOR MORE information, email uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.

How Higher Education Improves the Economy

WHY IS it a good investment for the State of Illinois to fund its institutions of higher education, including UIC? The State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) provides some talking points that we all can use when advocating for higher ed and UIC with our State Representatives, State Senators, and Governor Bruce Rauner, or when making to case to friends, neighbors, or anyone on why the State of Illinois should adequately fund higher education. 
  • Businesses look for and locate in communities that have quality higher education opportunities.
  • Often the institution of higher education is the communitys largest employer.
  • Higher education employees purchase or rent housing; and employees purchase goods and services locally, supporting employment in grocery stores, restaurants, home repair businesses, gas stations, mom and pop stores, and on and on and on.
  • Universities contract out in their local areas for a variety of products and services (construction projects, printing services, food venders, etc.) providing employment in local communities.
  • Higher education employees pay taxes to support local governments, public schools, police and fire services, snow removal, etc., generating jobs in local communities.
  • Students graduate and often locate in the community. Some of these educated individuals create small businesses; and as these businesses grow, they hire additional employees.
UIC EMPLOYEES are urged to do what they can to increase public awareness of the importance of higher education to Illinois and to local communities within the State, and to advocate for higher education funding wherever possible.

APAC Officers, Committee Chairs Named

Colleen Piersen has been re-elected as Chair of APAC.
THE ACADEMIC Professional Advisory Committee has chosen its officers for the 2016-2017 year.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE members are: Chair, Colleen Piersen; Vice-Chair, Ahlam Al-Kodmany; Secretary, Mary Berta; and Treasurer, Kimberly Mayfield.

MEMBERS OF subcommittees are: Building Community/Education, Tracy Sikorski, Mary Berta, and Jennifer Pletka; Communications, William S. Bike; Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE), Ahlam Al-Kodmany; Professional Development, Julie Kong (Co-Chair), Kimberly Mayfield (Co-Chair), and Tracy Sikorski; Representation, Michael Moss; Bylaws, Nester Komolafe; University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC), Ahlam Al-Kodmany, Collen Piersen, Kathy Stauffer, and Tracy Sikorski (alternate); Statue Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), Ben Ramirez; and Grievance, John Brach.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

ALL APs are invited to the monthly APAC meeting at 12:30 p.m. on scheduled dates. Meetings are held either in Room 4175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is Tuesday, July 12, in UH 2750. For information, call (312) 413-9299.


Tiffany Raber, with one of her award-winning works of art-
a self-portrait done in ink pen on grey art board.
Tiffany Raber Illustrates a Clearer Picture of APAC
TIFFANY RABER, who is working on her MFA in Biomedical Visualization at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, is APAC’s graduate assistant. In this role, she is required to “wear many hats, based on need,” she noted.

RABER CREATES documents for the APAC monthly meetings, including the agenda and minutes, and monitors the PACADEMY listserv. “When needed, I also work with the APAC website and assist APAC with basically anything they could use an extra hand with,” she said. “I’m here to act as an extra resource for anybody related to APAC.”

ONE OF her goals is to “help spread the word about APAC to more Academic Professionals, and even students,” Raber said. “This is a great organization and also very beneficial. I would like to be the main source of communication who helps make others more aware of the benefits of APAC. I plan on doing this by helping with marking visuals including the website, flyers, logos, and more.”

BIOMEDICAL VISUALIZATION, traditionally termed medical illustration, is a niche professional field with a broad spectrum of possible concentrations. A biomedical visualization professional is responsible for creating scientifically accurate visuals to help with better comprehension of a difficult scientific and/or medical concept. “Thanks to technology, this can be communicated by pencil and paper, animation, 3D modeling, and even virtual reality,” Raber explained.

“MY GRADUATE degree program is very intensive and doesn’t allow me to deviate from my studies often,” Raber said. “But one interest I cannot give up is working out. I have been an athlete my entire life and ran Division I track and field—400-meter hurdles—in college. Almost every morning I work out bright and early to allow myself some ‘me time’ before beginning the day.”

RABER EARNED a BS in Biology and a BFA in Drawing from Ball State University in 2014. To contact her, email traber2@uic.edu.


Be a Mentor or Mentee
APPLICATIONS FOR the 2016-2017 Staff Leadership Mentor Program (SLMP) are being accepted now until Friday, June 24, at http://go.uic.edu/slmp through UIC Human Resources.

THE STAFF Leadership Mentor Program is a structured mentorship program that matches mentors and mentees and provides guidance and support over the course of a year. This program develops the careers of individual employees and strengthens UIC's organizational continuity through knowledge-sharing and employee engagement.  All Academic Professional and Civil Service employees are welcome to participate in the mentoring program as a mentor or mentee, or both. About 60 minutes a month is all it takes to keep your skills fresh and to help yourself and others grow.

VISIT THE website  http://go.uic.edu/slmp to apply, to get more details about SLMP, or to peruse mentoring resources.

THE UNIVERSITY gets more mentee applications than mentor applications. You do not have to be an expert with many years of experience to share your knowledge, experiences, and guidance. If you have been in your field for two or more years, please consider being a mentor.


Editor’s Note: “The Continuing Crisis” is a section of APAC News which links to news pertinent to the State budget crisis and other financial matters as they affect the University and Academic Professionals. These news outlets are not affiliated with or endorsed by APAC.

HIGHER EDUCATION in Illinois is dying: New York Times, June 3, 2016: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/04/opinion/higher-education-in-illinois-is-dying.html?_r=0.

NONPROFIT AND university workers need overtime, too, Progress Report, June 1, 2016: http://thinkprogress.org/progress-report/getting-an-education-on-overtime/.

STUDENTS OF color take biggest hit in Illinois higher education funding crisis: Chicago Reporter, May 12, 2016: http://chicagoreporter.com/students-of-color-take-biggest-hit-in-illinois-higher-education-funding-crisis/

GOVERNOR APPOINTS conservative to represent faculty on IBHE: Academe Blog, April 24, 2016: https://academeblog.org/2016/04/24/gov-rauner-appoints-a-right-wing-crackpot-to-represent-faculty-on-the-illinois-board-of-higher-ed/

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS propose measures to fund struggling universities during budget impasse: Progress Illinois, April 20, 2016: http://progressillinois.com/news/content/2016/04/20/state-lawmakers-propose-new-higher-education-funding-measures?utm_source=PI+Extra+4.20.16&utm_campaign=PI+email+4.20.16+&utm_medium=email

U OF I prepares for layoffs: Capitol Fax, April 20, 2016: http://capitolfax.com/2016/04/20/u-of-i-prepares-for-layoffs/.

HOW TO destroy a State: An und fur sich, March 25, 2016: https://itself.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/how-to-destroy-a-state/

Vol. 9, No. 2 June 2016

APAC News is published by the Academic Professional Advisory Committee of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Mary Voelker, Monica M. Walk
Chair: Colleen Piersen
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Kimberly Mayfield
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar