July 1, 2011

JULY 2011 APAC News, Vol. 4, No. 6

Welcome to the July, 2011, edition of APAC News!

President Hogan Meeting with APAC: Discussion Post

You can read the update from the meeting with President Hogan in the September issue of APAC News, here. Or you can scroll down to see the questions and concerns submitted by campus APs.

Update - 8/26.  The meeting with President Hogan has been rescheduled to September 26th.

Update - 8/11. The meeting with President Hogan has been postponed due to conflicts related to the announcement of UIUC's new Chancellor.  We are in the process of rescheduling and the meeting will likely occur in October.  We will still plan to include the comments, below, in our meeting.

APAC WILL be meeting with President Hogan on August 11th along with AP representatives from Urbana and Springfield.  This post is an opportunity for AP readers to provide feedback on what we should discuss.

THE FOLLOWING items are on the agenda:

•             Budget Outlook and Raises
•             AP/Civil Service Conversion and Hiring Exemption Authority
•             State Employment and Benefits Issues: Pensions/Health Care/ Etc.
•             Recruitment and Retention of APs
•             ARR and the Human Capital Strategy for APs
•             5 and 10 Year Goals for UI

DO YOU have any input or feedback on any of these items?  Which is the most important to you?  Which is the least important to you?  Is there anything missing from this agenda that you would like us to discuss?  Please let us know.

Leave your feedback by posting a "comment" below.  If you chose, your response can be anonymous.

Conversions of Researcher Staff
to Civil Service Causes Concerns

Faculty who have research grants and need to fill research positions with people 
who have specialized skills are concerned about conversion of APs to Civil Service.

By Monica M. Walk

AS ACADEMIC Professional positions at UIC continue to be evaluated and converted to Civil Service positions when deemed appropriate and as required by law, new questions emerge concerning the ways that changing the status of employees working in support of research may affect the research process in this highly ranked research University.

“I THINK one concern is whether faculty who have research grants and need to fill research positions with people who have specialized skills or experience in a particular type of research will be able to do so,” said Dr. Phil Patston, secretary of the UIC Faculty Senate and chair of its executive committee, and associate professor in the UIC College of Dentistry.  “If they cannot hire people with the right skill set, then their whole research enterprise could be threatened.”

ASSOCIATE VICE President for Human Resources Maureen Parks acknowledges that the full scope of converting positions in research areas will not be fully clear until all Academic Professional positions are analyzed. 

“NOW, THE majority in research are not Civil Service, but that may change,” she said. “We don’t know if that will change until we analyze the jobs. If the job does clerical work, it likely will be Civil Service; if they are doing analysis, probably not. But, clerical isn’t the only type of Civil Service work:  there are highly skilled and qualified employees in Civil Service positions across the campus. Civil Service personnel are a very important part of the University of Illinois. Every employee group contributes to its overall mission. The work is good and valuable.

“IT IS a matter of figuring out if duties and responsibilities meet Civil Service criteria:  If they do, we may need to convert them; if they don’t, we won’t,” she said.

PARKS EMPHASIZED that classifying positions depends on the job duties and responsibilities attached to a position. “Each situation can be unique and should be judged on its own merits,” she said. “We have to know the facts for each situation.”

THE CURRENT Civil Service process of seniority “bumping” indicates a less than smooth transition possibility for some jobs.

“WE CONSTANTLY hear concern about people on grant funding, and concern about bumping and qualifications,” Parks acknowledged.

TO RECTIFY that concern, the University will be looking into proposing a project to the Civil Service System to better define research positions and to address seniority for people hired new in the future.

“WE ARE trying to come up with a way to limit the bumping impact of positions funded by research,” Parks said. “I am talking with the Civil Service System about ways to handle this so there is less impact on persons and research. We are asking the Civil Service System to help us create a category and process for grant-funded positions to address this.

AS PARKS explained, currently if a grant runs out and there is no other similar work and no funding, an employee with seniority can “bump” into another position when he or she has more seniority than the current job holder. Parks described this possibility as “distasteful” for the researcher and for the person doing the bumping, as this individual may or may not have the exact skills necessary to support the research or to have personal job success.  “We want people to feel they have the opportunity to succeed,” she said.

CAREFULLY DEFINING position qualifications for both Academic Professional and Civil Service jobs will be a key factor in the process. 

QUALIFICATIONS CALLED “specialty factors” can be attached to Civil Service positions; these factors spell out specific experience and abilities needed to fill a job, either through hiring or in a bumping situation. For example, a position as a customer service representative may have Spanish language skills required as a specialty factor; for a person with seniority to bump into that department and position, he or she would need to be able to speak Spanish.

“THERE ARE ways to be very specific in the position requirements to meet the needs of the hiring unit,” Parks said.  Carefully defining and differentiating the skills needed for a position and hiring the best person for the job provides protection from bumping problems that could arise.  “If I’m a hiring manager, I want to very carefully attach specifying factors to help describe the requirements needed for my position to ensure that the person in the position can do the job, Parks said.

SHE ALSO noted that employees have choices about taking new positions when a bumping situation arises. 

WHEN A Civil Service employee position is eliminated when funding ends, that employee receives a letter of notification about the situation.  The letter includes information about seniority and instructions to contact the Human Resources department to discuss this. At Human Resources, the employee will learn about positions he or she could bump to, and then meets with members of the new department to learn about the specifics of the job.  At that point, the employee may choose to take the bump, or if the position does not feel like a good fit, he or she could look among the other open Civil Service positions at the University.  A third option is to apply for an open Academic Professional position at the University, if the employee has a bachelor’s degree and meets the qualifications for the open position.

AS MORE units undergo position review and positions are converted from Academic Professional to Civil Service, managers new to supervising Civil Service employees will have more frequent opportunities to take training sessions, Parks reported.

Participants Sought for Green Office Challenge

The Green Office Challenge provides an easy framework
for offices to reduce their environmental impact.

THE GREEN Office Challenge is a friendly competition between the many offices and departments at UIC to become “green from the ground up.”  Administered through the Office of Sustainability, the Green Office Challenge provides an easy framework for offices to reduce their environmental impact in the areas of Energy Management, Office Supplies, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Transportation, Food and Beverages, and Networking & Engagement.

“AS MORE and more emphasis is placed on reducing emissions, cutting waste, and becoming a more environmentally friendly institution, the Green Office Challenge was developed as a way to really strike at the heart of sustainability: human behavior,” said Lauren Smith of the Office of Sustainability. “As UIC invests in green buildings and solar panels, the Green Office Challenge seeks to inspire and assist members of the UIC campus community to work green practices into their everyday lives and to encourage environmental stewardship in all aspects of campus life.”

UIC HAS set ambitious goals in regards to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The University has committed to reducing its emissions by 80% below 2004 levels by 2050. “Every faculty member, staffer, and student has a role to play in this goal, and the purpose of the Green Office Challenge is to help UIC offices incorporate sustainability principles into their operations,” Smith said.

ALL THE information needed to get started is available at www.sustainability.uic.edu/greenoffice.  The steps are as follows:

1.       If your office does not already have an EcoRep, sign up for this program at http://www.uic.edu/sustainability/ecoreps.html.

2.       Then, sign up on the Green Office Challenge webpage to officially register your office.  The Office of Sustainability will then send you your very own Green Office Challenge Checklist.

•             Make sure you have an all-office meeting to discuss the Green Office Challenge and to be sure that everyone in the office is aware of it.

3.       Establish your baseline score.  Simply go through the checklist and see what your office is already doing.  Chances are you probably have several of the initiatives already covered.

4.       Set goals.  Once your baseline score is established, your office should select a few initiatives that it would like to achieve in the next six months.  Every six months, offices will report their progress on the Green Office Challenge and reassess their Green Level.

5.       Get recognized.  The Office of Sustainability will share each office's achievements with the entire UIC community.

THE GREEN Office Challenge hopes to achieve measurable improvements in Energy Management, Waste Reduction, and Recycling, Transportation, and other focus areas of the program. For example, the Office of Sustainability plans to collect data on paper usage and transportation habits, and will be monitoring building energy use data in order to show tangible results.

“BEYOND COLLECTING measurable data, the Office of Sustainability hopes to foster an ongoing conversation about sustainability on campus, and to build a culture of personal responsibility for environmental stewardship at UIC,” Smith said.

"IN AN environment where employees are increasingly concerned about the ‘green’ reputation of their employer, a program like the Green Office Challenge can help to make UIC a more attractive employer.  Beyond that, as waste is reduced and energy is conserved offices on campus could potentially see some real cost savings.”

THE GREEN Office Challenge is recruiting offices from around campus to participate in the pilot program.  This gives the Office of Sustainability the opportunity to get a feel for how the Challenge is rolling out in participating offices, and to make any adjustments. “It will be interesting to see what sustainability initiatives offices already have in place, or which ones tend to get implemented first,” Smith said.

IF YOU would like to learn more about the Green Office Challenge, check out the website http://www.uic.edu/sustainability/greenoffice. Also, keep an eye on the Office of Sustainability Calendar for upcoming Green Office Challenge informational meetings.

'Meet the Budget Cuts' to Remember
Those Who Have Lost Jobs

MEET THE Budget Cuts will be an audio documentary that examines the impact of State budget cuts on the individuals who face them. It will collect and tell the stories of staff members at UIC who have lost their jobs as a result of the economic crisis. Once completed, the audio documentary will be showcased at http://MeetTheBudgetCuts.weebly.com. 

THE PURPOSE of Meet the Budget Cuts is to focus on the human impact of cuts to public universities, by recording and preserving the stories of people who have been affected by them. When discussing billion-dollar budgets, it is all too easy to forget that the numbers being tossed about refer to people—those who are fired as well as those who remain. The producers’ hope is that this documentary will humanize the financial discussion taking place at UIC and help listeners get to know the names behind the numbers. 

DR. MICHELLE BOYD, the project director, is a UIC faculty member in African American Studies and Political Science at UIC. Meet the Budget Cuts is her first audio documentary. The project assistant is Deana Lewis, a graduate student in UIC’s Educational Policy Studies department. Liz Thomson, project photographer, is the Assistant Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at UIC. 

IF YOU are interested in being interviewed for this project or know someone else who might be, e-mail Dr. Boyd at mrboyd@uic.edu or Lewis at dlewis25@uic.edu.

Tricia Ransom Fights Uncertainty and Fear

Tricia Ransom.

By Ivone DeJesus

IN MID-JANUARY, Tricia Ransom began working at UIC as a visiting instructional designer at the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS). In her role, she designs and develops training for the different areas of OBFS – mainly for software systems such as iBuy and Banner.

ALTHOUGH AT UIC only for a short time, Ransom has worked with many people across campus. “I love to help people do their jobs better and with less stress,” she said. “Seeing someone who says ‘wow, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it was. Thanks!’ gives me the biggest thrill ever.” 

HER INVOLVEMENT with APAC began when her boss suggested she attend an APAC open house and membership drive this past February. “I was impressed with everyone I met, and thought that the mission of APAC was critical given the challenges facing UIC and all the State universities,” she said.  Since then Ransom has not missed a meeting.  She is proud of the work APAC does in relation to facilitating communication between APs and other groups and entities such as the Chancellor’s office and Human Resources (for the Civil Service audit). 

“UNCERTAINTY BREEDS fear, and by fostering communication we are able to help APs gain needed information,” Ransom said. “They may not like what they are learning, but at least they have the knowledge they need to combat rumors, uncertainty, and fear.” 

RANSOM’S PASSION is helping people grow and develop professionally. Besides continuing the work APAC is doing, she would like to see APAC expand to provide APs with professional development opportunities.

RANSOM BELONGS to a University of Illinois family. Her aunt graduated with a BSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), and her father received his BS, MS, and PhD from UIUC. In fact, he still works there. Her brother also spent several years as an AP working in Corporate Relations at UIUC.

RANSOM LIKES to learn new things. She has taken a French class, a photography class, an improv class, and even a waltz class. She is also teaching herself to knit. Since she lives about one block from the lake with her husband, Jimmy, they spend a lot of time riding their bikes there during the warmer months.

GET TO know Ransom better by attending the next APAC meeting.

CEOs Got a 23% Raise Last Year

IT’S LIKE the Roaring ’20s if you’re a corporate CEO these days, reports the New York Times in a special report on skyrocketing CEO pay. Here are the numbers you need to know: 

$10.8 MILLION…the median salary of a CEO in 2010 at 200 large companies 

23 PERCENT…the increase in CEO salaries between 2009 and 2010 

38 PERCENT…the increase in cash bonuses between 2009 and 2010 

0.5 PERCENT…the increase in the average worker’s salary ($752 a week) during the same time period, which the New York Times dryly notes actually means a net decrease for workers once inflation is figured in. 

From the Progress Report, July 5, 2011.

APAC Meeting Set

THE AUGUST APAC meeting will be held in Room 5175 of College of Medicine Research Building (COMRB), 909 S. Wolcott, West Campus on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 12:15 p.m. All Academic Professionals are invited to attend.

Benefit Beat


THE MYCAREER website provides Academic Professional employees with professional development information. Online and instructor-led training courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences are available to help staff develop and enhance skills, knowledge, and abilities to work effectively. The learning and development opportunities on this website are relevant for current job performance and will help you build your career at UIC. For more information, go to http://www.uic.edu/depts/hr/mycareer/.

UIC–HR ORGANIZATIONAL Effectiveness training and development courses are set. 

LEADERSHIP ESSENTIALS: Two-day workshop for supervisors and managers looking to improve communication, set priorities, develop employees, and gain knowledge about important human resources policies. Register at https://hrnet.uihr.uillinois.edu/dart-cf/sessions/index.cfm?act=ListClasses. Upcoming dates:  Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 16 and 17 and Sept. 20 and 21, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

CUSTOMER SERVICE Fundamentals: Three-hour instructor-led course for all employees exploring how customer service excellence impacts organizational results. Fun activities round out this program, with opportunities to practice your service skills. Register at https://hrnet.uihr.uillinois.edu/dart-cf/sessions/index.cfm?act=ListClasses, Upcoming dates: Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 24, 1 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9:30 a.m.

BUSINESS WRITING Fundamentals: Three-hour instructor-led course for any level of staff, reviews basic rules of writing, and provides guidelines for planning, organizing, drafting, and editing processes. Session includes opportunities to practice and interact with fellow participants. Register at https://hrnet.uihr.uillinois.edu/dart-cf/sessions/index.cfm?act=ListClasses.
Upcoming dates: Tuesday, Aug. 23, 1 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 31, 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m.

PRESENTATION FUNDAMENTALS—Slideshow Design: Part one of the two-part blended learning course focuses on the designing impactful slideshow presentations. View and participate in this course through this link: http://www.uic.edu/depts/hr/mycareer/course/presentation.html.
Available 24/7 online on the MyCareer website.

PRESENTATION FUNDAMENTALS—Speaking Skills: Part two of the two-part blended learning course focuses on the delivery and public speaking aspect of your presentation. Each person will have the opportunity to present and receive feedback. You must complete Slideshow Design first and create a short presentation for use in this course. Details for the presentation are discussed in Part One. Register at https://hrnet.uihr.uillinois.edu/dart-cf/sessions/index.cfm?act=ListClasses.
Upcoming dates: Friday, Aug. 5, 9:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 13, 1 p.m.

LOCATION FOR all courses is Westside Research Office Building, 1747 W. Roosevelt Rd.

VISIT THE MyCareer web site at http://www.uic.edu/depts/hr/mycareer/ to view more detailed information about these and other development opportunities or email oe@uillinois.edu.


Verification of Employment

THE UNIVERSITY provides an online system that can be accessed 24 hours per day, seven days per week, enabling a third party to verify your employment and wages. To keep the system secure you are required to authorize the third party to receive your information; you can do this through Nessie. Active employees must use this approach for all employee verifications. You may access this system at https://nessie.uihr.uillinois.edu/cf/info/index.cfm?Item_id=1076&rlink=1974.

THE STATE Universities Civil Service System: http://www.sucss.state.il.us/default.asp.

STAFF RECLASSIFICATIONS: http://www.uillinois.edu/trustees/agenda/June%209,%202011/r-jun%20Secretary's%20Report.pdf. See pages 39-43 for staff reclassifications to Civil Service (resignations from AP positions;) see pages 47-54 for staff reclassifications to Civil Service (notices of non-reappointment).

The Continuing Crisis

AT THE annual conference of the State Universities Annuitants Association, Eric Madiar, Counsel of Senate President John Cullerton, talks about the legal issues involved in cutting pension benefits for current State workers and whether in his view such cuts would be constitutional.  See http://www.illinoischannel.org/Network%20A.htm.

FACULTY UNION wins “major victory,” according to July 14 Progress Illinois. See http://progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2011/07/14/uic-faculty-union-wins-major-victory.

Vol. 4, No. 6, July 2011

ISSN 1946-1860

Editor: William S. Bike
Writing Staff: Ivone De Jesus, Lucia Gonzalez, Monica M. Walk
Web Publishing: Jeff Alcantar

Chair: Michael Moss
Vice Chair: Jennifer Rowan
Secretary: Jill Davis
Treasurer: Virginia Buglio