November 19, 2013

November 2013 APAC News Vol. 6, No. 10


Listervs Provide Variety of Information

By Neal Lorenzi

A WIDE range of UIC listservs are available (http://listserv.uic.edu/htbin/wa?HOME) for anyone interested in job openings, events, and general news about the campus, and much more information. Anyone affiliated with the University who has a NetID can subscribe. This includes staff, faculty, and students.

HUNDREDS OF lists are available; some are very active, others less so. Even for active lists, there are usually only two or three posts a week, so they usually won’t flood one’s email inbox. Anyone can start a list. Most are “opt in,” meaning one goes out to the listserv website to subscribe. Many of the lists also include a footer in each posting, which has links to subscribe or unsubscribe. Many people sign up for lists when someone forwards them an email and suggests they sign up.

“WE’VE HAD about 3,500 subscribers consistently over the past several years for the listserv PACADEMY,” said Michael Moss, associate director of budget operations and financial analysis for UIC. “It’s a free, easy way to reach a broad range of people on campus with news, events and other items of interest. It’s also easy to use. Messages are usually posted within 24 hours.”

MOST LISTS focus on a specific group. For example, PACADEMY targets Academic Professionals while FACULTY_VOICE targets faculty. Lists provide updates, news, and information that targets subscriber’s interests and concerns. Most are moderated, so messages must be approved by the list owner before they are posted, which helps eliminate junk mail.

“I’VE HELPED moderate PACADEMY, the Academic Professional list, for several years,” Moss said. “I’ve been happy to see it evolve into one of the campus’ primary job boards; we usually see two or three job postings each week. Many departments take advantage of the free publicity that targets internal staff who may be interested in taking the next step in their careers. PACADEMY also includes updates on campus events as well as news stories we think employees might value.”

TO ACCESS a specific list on the main website, simply click on the name of the list in the table. To find confidential or unlisted lists, type the list name in the search box to the right. For lists that have been configured with an HTML description, one can get more information by holding the mouse over the list name.

THE FOLLOWING information is about three of the many listservs at UIC.

Disabilities Issues Listserv
THE CHANCELLOR’S Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD) maintains a listserv for the UIC community interested in disability issues. This list (CCSPD-EXT) is set up for discussion of disability topics and is open to anyone on campus who wishes to be included. Dr. Carol J. Gill, associate professor, UIC Department of Disability & Human Development, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Disability Studies, oversees the listserv.

CCSPD-EXT POSTINGS include announcements of disability cultural events and academic presentations, reminders regarding CCSPD meeting dates and other CCSPD-sponsored events and projects, as well as information regarding access, inclusion, and other disability issues. The listserv provides information that helps advance the status of people with disabilities on campus and beyond. It includes about five postings per week.

DR. GILL said the listserv serves an important purpose. “People with disabilities compose a very large but under-represented community,” she noted. “Our committee communicates information about disability issues, disability rights, inclusion and access, campus disability resources, and disability pride and culture. Subscribing to the list helps one keep up to date on issues and resources that advance understanding of the disability experience.”

UIC IS a nationally recognized leader in disability research and academic programs, she added. The University currently offers the first Ph.D. in Disability Studies in the country, which examines the social and political dynamics of disability. Disability also is a focus of scholarship across campus, engaging faculty and student researchers.

Sustainability Listserv
DR. CYNTHIA Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability at UIC, oversees the Greenlights listserv, which helps faculty, staff, and students keep up with the latest green initiatives at UIC. By using this service, people can stay abreast of environmental, social, and economic happenings, and learn about internships, scholarships, and jobs. Greenlights is distributed once every two weeks, and once a month during summer. The list is moderated.

“POST TO recycling@uic.edu if you need equipment for recycling, a pick-up, or have a question on recycling,” Klein-Banai says. “Post to uic.edu/sustainability/about/contact.html to ask a non-recycling-related question or make a suggestion. To subscribe to the Green UIC listserve that enables discussion go to uic.edu/sustainability/community/greenuic.html.

“WE ALSO have an EcoReps listserv. EcoReps are departmental liaisons who are designated by their department head to communicate sustainability-related events, opportunities and programs back to their units. More information is available at: uic.edu/sustainability/ecoreps.html. There is also a discussion list for its members.”

Faculty Listserv
Dr. Philip Patston, of the executive committee of the UIC Senate, and associate professor of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences in the College of Dentistry, oversees faculty_voice@uic.edu, which allows the UIC Senate to share items of interest with faculty. It includes reports of important Senate or faculty events and meetings; summaries of news items and announcements of meetings, and events of interest to faculty. The list is moderated, so only postings of legitimate importance are accepted. It receives one orf two postings per week.

The UIC Senate primarily focuses on academic programs such as reviewing courses, admissions policies, requirements for degrees, and the academic calendar. It has no involvement with salary negotiation or employment issues. “There is a difference in what we [faculty Senators] are empowered to do and what a union would do,” Dr. Patston said. “The Senate doesn’t have decision or negotiation power regarding employment issues, but since it has a wide membership of faculty from all of UIC, of students and academic professionals, it has considerable expertise as an oversight and consultative body.” Despite some limitations, Dr. Patston said, the Senate “has been the only voice through which faculty could raise issues of concern, and there are AP Senators who raise issues as well. We point people in the right direction.”

Fall Forum A Success

President Robert Easter speaking at the Fall Forum.

A good-sized crowd attended the Fall Forum.

UIC UNITED, the UIC chapter of SUAA, the State Universities Annuitants Association, along with APAC, presented a Fall Forum, Illinois Politics and the Public University, Oct. 14. The panel featured Robert Easter, President, University of Illinois; Christopher Mooney, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois; and Dick Simpson, Professor of Political Science, UIC. The moderator was Mitchell Vogel, Trustee, State Universities Retirement System (SURS). For a video of the Fall Forum, see http://www.ustream.tv/channel/UIC-UNITED.

IGPA Fiscal Futures Project

THE UNIVERSITY’S Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) on October 28A presented the Fiscal Futures Project at the IGPA State Summit 2013: Illinois' Fiscal Cliff.

AS PART of this presentation, the Fiscal Futures Project released a new analysis focusing on the 2011 income tax increases, their 2015 sunset, and the state's long-term fiscal health.

YOU CAN access these papers (PDFs) at the links below:



APAC to Host Seminar on Persuasion

A TWO-PART seminar, the Art of Persuasion:  Strategies for Enhancing Your Influence, will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Thursday, Jan. 16, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. both dates.

LEARN TO communicate clearly; enhance your ability to influence others during face to face interactions; develop a set of techniques that can be employed to build consensus; and, enhance your ability to influence a desired outcome and achieve results.

THIS EVENT will be held at the College of Medicine Research Building (COMRB), 909 S. Wolcott Ave., on the Medical Center Campus. Attendance is limited. To register, log on to https://uofi.uic.edu/fb/sec/3071740 or contact, Uma Sriram at (312) 355-4935 (usriram@uic.edu), or Donald Kamm  at (312) 996-6424 (donn@uic.edu).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION will be sent after registration. When you register, you are registering for both dates.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

ALL APs are invited to the monthly APAC meeting at 12:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held either in Room 5175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is December 11 in Room 5175 of the College of Medicine Research Building. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

AP RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT

More diversity at UIC is a goal of the Chancellor’s Committees.
Chancellor’s Committees Serve as Resource
AS PART of the University’s efforts to promote and support its diverse community, UIC established the Chancellor's Status Committees, which are administered by UIC's Office of Diversity. Every year, Academic Professionals, other staff, faculty, and students are nominated by existing committee members and appointed by Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.

INVOLVEMENT IN Status Committee meetings and events is open to the entire UIC community and supported by the Chancellor, and thereby considered approved for employee participation. The Chancellor encourages members of the UIC community to call upon the Status Committees to seek their assistance or take part in their efforts in the areas described below. You can also consult their websites for greater detail on activities, events, and subcommittees.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Asian Americans (CCSAA)
Chair 2013-2014:
Jessica Canlas, jessicac@uic.edu, (312) 996-3853
CCSAA is dedicated to promoting the academic, social, cultural, and professional welfare of UIC's Asian American faculty, staff, and students. CCSAA addresses and makes recommendations to the Chancellor regarding issues related to employment practices, climate, representation, recruitment, and retention issues that are of concern to the Asian American campus community. The committee is dedicated to working collaboratively with diverse communities on campus and building relationships with off campus Asian American community organizations.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Blacks (CCSB)
Chair 2013-2014:
Johara Hassan, joharah@uic.edu, (312) 996-8767
CCSB serves as an advisory body on matters pertaining to the academic, professional, and social aspects of African and African American life at UIC. CCSB addresses issues relating to campus governance, employment practices, public relations, student affairs, and other issues that affect the well-being of Blacks on campus. The committee works collaboratively with UIC's diverse community.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Latinos (CCSL)
Co-chairs 2013-2014:
Aixa Alfonso, aalfonso@uic.edu, (312) 355-0318; Lorena Garcia, lorena@uic.edu, (312) 413-3759
CCSL was established to promote the development of educational, professional, and career opportunities among UIC Latinos. The committee addresses issues of general concern to Latinos at UIC.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer People and Allies (CCSLGBTQPA)
Co-chairs 2013-2014:
Patricia O'Brien, pbobrien@uic.edu, (312) 996-7885; Philip Vasquez, philipva@uic.edu, (312) 996-3100
The mission of CCSLGBTQPA is to provide leadership on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer people and allies issues in the UIC community. This includes addressing needs of faculty, staff, students, and alumni of diverse sexual orientations. The goal is to enhance a supportive environment, which will foster full participation by all members of the University's communities in teaching, public service, and research.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD)
Co-chairs 2013-2014:
Carol Gill, cg16@uic.edu, (312) 355-0550; Mark Goedert, mgoedert@uic.edu, (312) 413-9787
The mission of CCSPD is to promote empowerment and inclusion of faculty, staff, and students with disabilities at UIC. CCSPD recognizes that people with disabilities are a diverse group, including individuals with visible and non-visible disabilities. This mission is motivated by our goal to integrate all members of this diverse community into every aspect of campus life.

Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Women (CCSW)
Co-chairs 2013-2014:
Juanita McCary, jmccary@uic.edu, (312) 996-9251; Karen Peters, kpeters@uic.edu, (312) 413-4944
CCSW works to improve the status of women at UIC with a primary objective to advise and make recommendations to the Chancellor regarding attitudes, policies, and procedures that affect women staff, faculty, and students. The committee will undertake projects and will also recommend changes in campus structures, policies and programs as appropriate.

WEBSITES TO KNOW

CHANCELLLOR PAULA Allen-Meares' website is at http://www.uic.edu/index.html/Chancellor/.

THE ILLINOIS  Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has issued a guide on the forthcoming State-sponsored health insurance plans, which become effective on February 1, 2014.  The URL is http://www2.illinois.gov/cms/Employees/benefits/trail/state/Documents/State_Guide.pdf .

THE CONTINUING CRISIS

The University has begun a reorganization of medical governance.
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.
ILLINOIS SENATE President John Cullterton said the State’s pension debt is not a crisis, but an issue being pushed by business-backed groups seeking lower income taxes at the expense of retiree benefits. See Oct. 21 Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/clout/chi-cullerton-pension-debt-not-a-crisis-but-about-lowering-taxes-20131020,0,4245590.story.\

UNIVERSITY CONSIDERING supplemental retirement benefit for employees hired since 2011. Under pension reforms approved in 2010, employees hired after Jan. 1, 2011, receive lower retirement benefits than those hired before that date. See Oct. 29 News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2013-10-29/ui-considers-supplemental-retirement-benefit-new-hires.html.

FEWER TOP executive officers at University? See Nov. 10 News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com/print/1221129.

CHANCELLOR PAULA Allen-Meares’ contract extended for one year. See Nov. 14 Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-uic-chancellors-contract-extended-for-a-year-20131114,0,1121526.story.

HOSPITAL, CLINICS, health sciences Colleges to return to UIC governance. See Nov. 14 Associated Press article, http://www.bnd.com/2013/11/14/2903696/u-of-illinois-starts-medical-reorganization.html.

Vol. 6, No. 10, November 2013

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Neal Lorenzi, Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Monica M. Walk
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Chair: Michael Moss
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Agnes Kawalec
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

October 2, 2013

October 2013 APAC News Vol. 6, No. 9


Committees Working Together to Address Shared Concerns


Participants at June’s COLLABORATE meeting.
MANY CONCERNS on campus, such as potential changes to pensions, are shared by Academic Professionals across UIC.  But they are not unique to APs – our faculty and Civil Service staff colleagues are concerned as well.  So how do we all work together to get these concerns addressed?  We COLLABORATE!

COLLABORATE IS the name of a newly emerging committee, with a goal of providing various groups across campus the opportunity to discuss these types of shared concerns and collectively work towards solutions. COLLABORATE currently includes representatives from the following:
  • The Academic Professional Advisory Committee
  • The Staff Advisory Council
  • The UIC Senate
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Asian Americans
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Blacks
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer People and Allies
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Women
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos
  • The Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities
  • The UIC UNITED, the UIC Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association
COLLABORATE HELD its first meeting in June with much success. Although the committee is still evolving, there seem to be many shared values around which future endeavors may focus:
  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Accessibility
  • Sustainability
  • Safety
  • Professional Development
  • Benefits & Compensation
  • Awards & Recognition
COLLABORATE’S NEXT meeting is Wednesday, Oct. 9.  If you would like to know more about COLLABORATE, contact Michael Moss at mmoss2@uillinois.edu.

UIC Human Resources Launches New Website

THE NEWLY designed UIC Human Resources website may be accessed at http://hr.uic.edu. The reorganization and redesign was performed to make it easier to locate and access information, forms, policies and procedures related to Human Resources functions. Incorporating feedback from focus groups, site users, and employees, the new site is intended to provide users with an improved experience when visiting the website.

DESIGNED TO allow quicker response times to user needs, the site is built on a flexible content management engine so as to be easily updated. In addition, a feedback form has been integrated throughout the site. With a single click from any page, site users may offer comments, recommend changes, or request additional information. The feedback link will allow UIC Human Resources an opportunity to more easily communicate with employees.

CONCEIVED AS a single point of reference, the new website provides information alerts, timely articles, and links to Human Resources services. It can be used for obtaining information for exploring benefits, updating personal information, starting a new job, or hiring new staff,. The new website also will provide updates regarding changes to policies and procedures, new training opportunities, and insight into University human capital practices.

Politics and University Subject of Upcoming Forum

UIC UNITED, the UIC chapter of SUAA, the State Universities Annuitants Association, along with APAC, will present a Fall Forum, Illinois Politics and the Public University, Monday, Oct. 14, in the Michele M. Thompson Rooms, Student Center West (SCW), 828 S. Wolcott St., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

THE PANEL will feature Robert Easter, President, University of Illinois; Christopher Mooney, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois; And Dick Simpson, Professor of Political Science, UIC. The moderator will be Mitchell Vogel, Trustee, State Universities Retirement System (SURS).

PARKING IS available at the Wood Street Parking Structure (WSPS), 1100 S. Wood St.  Discounted parking coupons will be available for purchase at $7.

TO RSVP, go http://tinyurl.com/uiccampus or contact Debbie Matthews, debmatt18@gmail.com, (815) 254-3731, or Karen Scherman,  kscherman@att.net, (630) 257-1491.

Speed Networking Event a Success; More Professional Development Events Planned

Attendees at APAC’s Speed Networking event.
APAC HELD a successful Speed Networking event on Sept. 5. Those in attendance had the opportunity to meet others from across campus and expand their professional contacts.

APAC HAS a new Professional Development committee, co-chaired by Donn Kamm, Office of Access and Equity, and Uma Sriram, Accounting Consulting Group.  Virginia Buglio, College of Dentistry, is the third member of the committee.  This was the committee’s first event, and five more events are already under development for the upcoming year.  If you would like more information about the Professional Development committee, or if you would be interested in helping with future endeavors, please contact Kamm at donn@uic.edu, Sriram at usriram@uic.edu, and/or Buglio at vbuglio@uic.edu.

Job Analysis Updates Presented to a Full House

A full house at APAC’s Job Analysis Town Hall Event.
APAC HELD a Town Hall event on Sept. 26 to provide updates on the status of the campus Job Analysis process and the conversions of Academic Professional positions to Civil Service.  Presenters were Maureen Parks, Associate Vice President for Human Resources; Robert Crouch, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources; and Ron Puskarits, Director of Compensation.

THE PRESENTERS shared a PowerPoint presentation with general information, and left ample time at the end of the event for audience questions. APAC will share a link to the PowerPoint presentation on PACADEMY soon.

THE PRESENTATION is now on the HR Website and the link is: http://www.hr.uic.edu/UserFiles/Servers/Server_1316432/File/d_compensation/APAC%20Town%20Hall%209_26_13.pdf

APAC offers special thanks to Agnes Kawalec for organizing and moderating the meeting.

APAC PROFILE

John Brach, new APAC member.
IHRP HR’s John Brach Joins APAC
By Lucia Gonzalez

JOHN BRACH, Director of Human Resources, Institute for Health and Research Policy (IHRP), has been employed by UIC for 17 years, but he has been a part of the UIC community since he was an undergrad student 23 years ago.
               
INITIALLY, BRACH worked at the College of Business Administration and the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Administration (OAVCA). In October 2004, he started working as the HR director at the Institute for Health Research and Policy in the School of Public Health. It was a big change for Brach to switch his focus from the administrative and academic communities to the research community.

“I’M ALWAYS looking for ways to bring the unique issues that research creates to the forefront and to the attention of the campus decision makers so this important area can receive the special HR attention it needs,” Brach said.

OVER THE years, Brach has faced quite a few challenges due to HR changes that occasionally occur.  However, the campus has been able to evolve in such a way that the hiring and payroll process is much smoother and more efficient than it was years ago, he said. Brach believes that UIC has progressed immensely throughout the years he has been here.

“WORKING AT UIC has been great, and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in my career here and have learned a lot more than I ever would have imagined,” Brach said. “Even after 17 years, there aren’t many days that go by that I don’t learn something new.”

BRACH’S MAIN interest is in doing anything he can do to help the campus be a better place to work. He goes out of his way to know employees’ names and to learn what these individuals believe are working well, and what things they believe could use improvements.

“I’VE ALWAYS enjoyed helping people and my main goals have always been to recruit employees to work here, hire them, and make the process easy so that they don’t have to worry about anything other than showing up on time on their first day,” Brach explained.

AS A new member of APAC, Brach has not signed up for any special committees, but is exploring how or where he might fit in best. Since his experience has been centered on HR, he’d like to find a spot where he can make a difference for UIC employees.

“BECAUSE WORK is such a huge part of our lives,” Brach said, “it needs to be an area where individuals can feel accomplished. If I can play some small role in helping that happen, I will feel like I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.”

TO CONTACT Brach, email jebrach@uic.edu.

AP RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT

THE ACADEMIC Computing and Communications Center (ACCC) offers a wide range of services, including campus wi-fi networks, computer labs, software sales, and help by phone, email, and walk-in. Some services are offered in the Instructional Technology Lab, the Daley Library, and the Goldberg Research Center. ACCC also offers equipment, support for Blackboard and Google Aps, and instruction in popular software programs and web-related topics through Lynda.com, webinars, and short workshops. Log on to http://accc.uic.edu or email consult@uic.edu.

THE CONTINUING CRISIS

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.

ATTORNEYS ARGUE that retired State workers should not be required to pay premiums for health insurance. See Springfield State Journal-Register, Sept. 18: http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x1837087108/States-high-court-hears-case-on-retiree-health-premiums#ixzz2fLMeIdO9.

Vol. 6, No. 9, October 2013

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Lucia Gonzalez, Neal Lorenzi, Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Monica M. Walk
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Chair: Michael Moss
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Agnes Kawalec
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

August 27, 2013

August 2013 APAC News Vol. 6, No. 8

Go Ahead and Submit Flexible Spending Claims; Don’t Wait for Slow-Paying State to Release Payments

Use Your FSA benefits before it's too late!
By Susan S. Stevens

EMPLOYEES MAY need to do a simultaneous “two-step” toward receiving reimbursement for medical insurance claims. Do not go step-by-step, because that can result in loss of flexible spending dollars.

KATIE ROSS, Human Resources Administration director for the University of Illinois, reports continued delays in State reimbursements.

STATE FINANCIAL problems, with no end in sight, have caused significant delays in reimbursing health-care providers—who in turn delay reimbursing UIC employees for medical claims that they might have been required to pay upfront at the time of service. Further, Ross reported, “If employees wait until their medical claim payment is received before submitting their Flexible Spending Account (FSA)/Medical Care Assistance Plan (MCAP) claim for reimbursement, then they will risk submitting the FSA claim (claims incurred July 1, 2013 through September 15, 2014) after September 30, 2014, which is the end of the run-out period, in other words the ‘use it or lose it’ date.”

HOWEVER, EMPLOYEES can work around part of that delay to avoid losing their FSA money. Rather than waiting for the State and insurers, go ahead and file with your FSA/MCAP to recover out-of-pocket expenses, said Kathleen Stauffer, Assistant Dean for Administration in UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Ross reminds employees that they need to have a copy of their health plan claim determination or Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from their service provider to submit to WageWorksâ, the FSA administrator, so that WageWorksâ knows what amount insurance is going to pay and what amount the employee will owe.

HERE’S HOW Stauffer does it. When she gets an Explanation of Benefits from CIGNA, her insurance carrier, she prints it out and sends it in with a claim to her FSA/MCAP plan. (The FSA/MCAP reduces your taxable income by allowing you to set aside a portion of your income for medical claim reimbursements.)

“THEY PRETTY much reimburse you right away,” Stauffer said. “You don’t have to wait.” You do not have to risk losing money; if you wait too long to submit to a flexible spending account, however, you may be past the time limit to be reimbursed.

“THE DELAY in payment of Quality Care Health Plan (QCHP) and Quality Care Dental Plan (QCDP) claims by the State is an ongoing issue,” Ross said.

“SOME OF us are waiting three years for the State to pay our providers,” Stauffer said. “I have never waited for the State to actually pay before filing” with a Flexible Spending Account. “Otherwise, I too would have lost money.”

ON AUG. 8, 2013, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) reported health claims were backlogged ten to 14 months. Claims processed through Oct. 22, 2012, had been released to QCHP-contracted providers. Claims processed through June 18, 2012, had been released to non-QCHP-contracted providers.

THOUGH THE stalls are mostly unabated, Ross tells of one bright light. “We have seen improvement, somewhat, in payment of dental claims,” she said. “The Non-Network dental claims are down to a 25-week delay now, as opposed to a 45-week delay on July 1. The shortest wait would be for using an In-Network dental provider, with a delay currently running about 11 weeks.”

FOR HELP if your healthcare provider is asking for payment in full upfront for major services you cannot afford, such as surgery, contact CMS by email at CMS.WebsiteBenefits@illinois.gov or call (217) 558-4486.

FOR INFORMATION on QCHP and QCDP claims payments being released:

A BLOG from March has more information, which Ross said has not changed much:

Moody’s Downgrades Bond Rating for U of I, Six other Universities

Moody's Downgrade
MOODY’S BOND-RATING agency has downgraded debt ratings for seven of Illinois’ eight public universities, including the University of Illinois. A Moody’s spokesperson also said the State’s fiscal and pension woes may cause further declines in the next 12 to 24 months.
THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois and the other universities rely heavily on funding from Illinois, which in June slid to Moody’s lowest bond rating in the nation and the lowest in Illinois’ history because of its underfunded pensions and record of slow payments of appropriated funds, Moody’s spokesman David Jacobson said.
A DOWNGRADE may make it more expensive for an institution to borrow, as a lower rating results in higher interest charges.
THE UNIVERSITIES involved in the downgrade besides the University of Illinois are Eastern Illinois University; Governors State University; Illinois State University; Northeastern Illinois University; Southern Illinois University, and Western Illinois University. Moody's issued no change in Northern Illinois' A3 rating.

Speed Networking Event Set

APAC WILL host a Speed Networking Event on Thursday, Sept. 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is aimed at bringing together APs interested in meeting their colleagues on campus, having a few minutes of one-on-one discussion to learn about what other APs are doing, and making new connections.

THIS EVENT will be held in the Molecular Biology Research Building (MBRB), Room 1152.

TO REGISTER, click https://uofi.uic.edu/fb/sec/3071740 or contact Donald Kamm at (312) 996-6424 or donn@uic.edu, or Uma Sriram at (312) 355-4935 or usriram@uic.edu.

Save the Date: October 14 Panel Featuring President Easter

President Robert Easter (right), with Provost Lon Kaufman.
President Robert Easter (right), with Provost Lon Kaufman.
THE UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), UIC United, will be hosting its Fall Forum featuring University of Illinois President Robert Easter on Monday, Oct. 14 in the Student Center West. Other panelists are yet-to-be named. They will speak on timely topics of interest to all SURS members – current employees as well as retirees. Please save the date – registration will open soon and be promoted on PACADEMY.  Seating will be limited.

EASTER WAS appointed President-Designate of the University of Illinois in March 2012. Before becoming President, Easter spent his entire, nearly 40-year career as a senior administrator and faculty member on the University’s Urbana-Champaign campus. 

ALL SURS eligible faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

Governor Quinn Signs Employment First Act to Expand Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the Employment First Act.
Governor Pat Quinn recently signed the Employment First Act.
IN JULY, Governor Pat Quinn signed the “Employment First Act,” a new law that requires State of Illinois agencies to work together to make employment for people with disabilities a priority.

HOUSE BILL 2591 requires all State agencies to work together to make competitive employment for people with disabilities a priority and establish measurable goals and objectives for the State. The law requires the Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force (EEOPWD) to monitor progress towards this mission. This Task Force includes advocates, individuals with disabilities, business community members, disability services providers, representatives of State agencies and other stakeholders.

ALL STATE agencies will be required to share data and information and ensure all policies, procedures, and practices are aligned to these goals and objectives.

FOR INFORMATION, call (312) 814-2121.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

ALL APs are invited to the monthly APAC meeting at 12:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Meetings are held either in Room 5175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is September 11 in Room 2750 of University Hall. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

APAC Profile

APAC Member Ben Ramirez Fighting for AP Recognition

By Lucia Gonzalez

BEN RAMIREZ has worked at UIC for nine years as the Director of the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility in the Center for Structural Biology. Ramirez joined APAC because he felt that the roles and the value of Academic Professionals often are understated and underappreciated.

RAMIREZ’S MAIN responsibilities include maintaining the NMR instruments, coordinating the user schedule, training new users, and assisting with the implementation of new experiments. The instruments are used by UIC researchers to study molecules.

GROUPS IN Biochemistry use the NMR to study the structures and dynamics of proteins in solution. These groups also study how proteins interact with other proteins, biomolecules such as DNA, or small molecules.
“THE LATTER possibility is very exciting and very powerful, as this enables the potential discovery of novel therapeutic compounds,” Ramirez explained.

GROUPS IN Pharmacy use NMR to characterize and identify new small molecules—often referred to as natural products— with the goal of finding new therapeutics. Of course, there are various amounts of other research that is being conducted at UIC with NMR.

“WE ARE very fortunate here at UIC to have this instrumentation here on campus to be accessible to any researcher,” Ramirez said. “Our facility is equipped just as well as any other NMR facilities found in top-flight research institutions in this country.”

WHEN RAMIREZ first joined APAC, one of his first activities was being involved in serving on the search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Research. Ramirez considers this as a great learning experience that enabled him to meet with other UIC employees whom he may never have encountered in his typical work environment.

“BY BEING exposed to this small swath of UIC, one can begin to understand people’s different viewpoints,” Ramirez said. “This was also very illuminating and enriching.”

RAMIREZ GAINS a good deal of satisfaction in being able to use and share his knowledge and training to help shape and hone future researchers. His greatest hope is that his involvement with APAC yields improvements in job quality and stability for all APs. He would like to see more recognition and attention paid to APs involved in basic research, many of whom are at the front lines of research and contribute vastly to the UIC research enterprise.

“WHEN CHALLENGING economic or financial times arise, APs are often perceived as the most expendable,” mentioned Ramirez. “This group should also be recognized for their role in educating and training.”

BESIDES HIS research with NMR, Ramirez is engaged in several other collaborative research projects. Most of his time is spent with his wife, Sandra, and their two young daughters, ages 5 and 8. He enjoys outdoor activities such as biking and hiking. While at home he likes to cook, especially tinkering with recipes and adding his own twist and a personal touch. Ramirez particularly enjoys baking cookies at Christmastime to give to friends and family.

CONTACT RAMIREZ at bramirez@uic.edu.

AP RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT

UIC has modern recreation facilities.
UIC has modern recreation facilities.
UIC Offers Recreation Opportunities

WANT TO get some exercise or get in better shape? UIC has recreation facilities on both the East and West sides of campus that offer everything from Zumba and intramural sports to swimming, massage therapy, a climbing wall, and personal training, as well as an outdoor field complex and outdoor recreation courts for tennis, sand volleyball, basketball, jogging, and more.

SPECIAL FACULTY/STAFF and Family memberships are available.

THE SPORT and Fitness Center is located at 828 S. Wolcott St. Call (312) 413-5260. The Student Recreation Facility is located at 737 S. Halsted St. Call (312) 413-5150. The Bowling and Billiards Center is at Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St. Call (312) 413-5170. For more information, log on to http://recreation.uic.edu/.

THE CONTINUING CRISIS

Tyrone Fahner of the Civic Committee.
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.

CIVIC COMMITTEE members work to talk down State bond rating to force pension cuts. See Progress Illinois, Aug. 5: http://www.progressillinois.com/posts/content/2013/08/05/unions-demand-answers-over-civic-committee-s-talks-downgrade-illinois-bond-?utm_source=PI+Extra+8.5.13&utm_campaign=PI+email+8.5.13&utm_medium=email

Vol. 6, No. 8, August 2013

ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Staff: Lucia Gonzalez, Neal Lorenzi, Gail Mansfield, Susan S. Stevens, Monica M. Walk
Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany
Chair: Michael Moss
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Agnes Kawalec
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

July 30, 2013

July 2013 APAC News Vol. 6, No. 7

APAC Representatives Meet With President Easter

APAC members and other employee leaders met with President Robert Easter.
By Susan S. Stevens

MICHAEL MOSS, APAC chairman, and two other APAC representatives came away from their most recent meeting with University President Robert A. Easter expressing optimism with his take on University issues.

“IT WENT pretty well,” Moss said. The meeting lasted about one hour, and it was “high level,” he added. APAC Vice Chair Ahlam Al-Kodmany reported, “It was nice to see President Easter’s understanding and empathy.” Marelet Kirda, an APAC Senator, said, “It’s definitely a great opportunity to hear the President’s perspective.”

THE THREE APAC members were joined in the meeting at the President’s house in Urbana by representatives of the Urbana and Springfield campuses who are on the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC). The June 11 meeting came toward the end of Easter’s first year as U of I President, and the session won’t be the last, the three APAC members said.

THE UNIVERSITY’S increasing dependence on tuition to fund its operations was a recurrent theme, Kirda said. Easter said that the American people at some point will say, “that’s enough,” and look at other ways of funding universities. Since time was short, they did not get into a lot of specifics, Moss said.

PENSION PLANNING drew further talk. Easter is “front and center,” working on it, Al-Kodmany said. Easter said he is working in collaboration with leadership from other State Universities to push a pension plan developed by the Institute of Government Affairs to the “attention” of State legislators. Lawmakers are looking at it, Al-Kodmany added. “This is clearly a president who has rolled up his sleeves.”

IMPROVING ON efficiencies is a goal of the President’s, Al-Kodmany noted. For example, Easter asked why seven or eight signatures need to be on a contract before it gets to him. He is “clearly not a bureaucrat,” she added.

UNIVERSITY-BUSINESS partnerships were another focus. Easter wants to build more ties to businesses, along with increasing endowments and investments, to better fund University programs and support students, Kirda said. UI LABS is an example of the kind of partnerships that can be developed, she said. UI LABS is a pathway to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in private and government funding that wouldn’t otherwise be available for Universities to pursue.

HE UNDERSTOOD that Academic Professional staff should be recognized as major contributors to the University’s mission, although he conceded the work of Academic Professionals is not discussed often enough in public, Al-Kodmany said. “We are the foundation” for faculty and student retention and promotion, she said. “It was like a light bulb that went on when we talked about that.”  He said, ‘You are absolutely correct.’”

SOMETIMES INDIVIDUALS at high levels are “too politicized,” Al-Kodmany said, noting that “Their responses have no depth”—but that is not the sense she got during the meeting with Easter. “He was listening.” Moss agreed. “He has a level of understanding of the University that is very unique.”

FURTHER MEETINGS will be scheduled, probably twice a year, Moss said. Easter is committed to “continuing that engagement” with UPPAC. Kirda added that APAC also appreciates the opportunities afforded to the group to meet with the Chancellor and Provost a couple of times throughout the year.

ALL THREE APAC members believe the U of I is the better for Easter’s time at the helm. Easter has agreed to stay on board for two-and-a-half more years until June 30, 2015, when he will be 67 years old. “Easter has provided strong leadership during challenging times – we will definitely be sad to see him go,” Moss said.

WHEN THE U of I Board of Trustees approved Easter as president in March 2012, he was asked to serve until June 2014. A new agreement has extended his tenure by a year.

“THERE IS a consensus, and this is not just on the board but throughout the institution, on campuses and among external audiences, that this first year has gone very well indeed," said U of I spokesman Tom Hardy.

FOR MORE about U of I private-public partnerships, log on to:
http://research.uillinois.edu/innovation-infrastructure/interdisciplinary-research/ui-labs-future-today. For University administration reviews and a message from President Easter, log on to: http://www.uillinois.edu/uareview/. For Springfield News-Gazette coverage of Easter’s contract extension, log on to http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2013-07-19/easter-contract-be-extended-year.html.

New APAC Officers Named

APAC RECENTLY held an election for officers.

THE FOLLOWING individuals will serve in 2013-2014: Chair: Michael Moss, Associate Director, Budget Operations and Financial Analysis, (312) 996-0306, mmoss2@uic.edu; Vice Chair: Ahlam Al-Kodmany, Director, Institute for Health Research and Policy, (312) 996-7485, ryyan@uic.edu; Secretary: Mary Berta, Assistant to the Head, Department of Occupational Therapy, Allied Health Sciences, (312) 413-8355, mberta@uic.edu; and Treasurer: Agnes Kawalec, Visiting Center Coordinator, Center for Clinical and Translational Science, (312) 413-7353, akawal2@uic.edu.

COMMITTEE CHAIRS also were chosen: Communications: William S. Bike, Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs Communications, College of Dentistry, (312) 996-8495, billbike@uic.edu; Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE): Al-Kodmany; Building Communications and Education: Kawalec; Professional Development: Donn Kamm, Assistant Director, Office for Access and Equity, (312) 996-6424, donn@uic.edu, and Uma Sriram, Accounting Consulting, Office of Business and Financial Services, (312) 355-4935, usriram@uic.edu; Representation: Margaret Moser, Director, Administrative Operations, Vice President for Health Affairs, (312) 355-5701, mlmoser@uic.edu; and Bylaws: Berta and Colleen Piersen, Assistant head for Administration, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, (312) 413-9299, cpiersen@uic.edu.

THE WEBMASTER is Jeff Alcantar, Assistant Director for Web Services, Office of Business and Financial Services, (312) 996-0959, alcanta1@uic.edu. University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC) Representatives are Al-Kodmany; Moss; and Marelet Kirda, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, (312) 996-6174, brugada@uic.edu. UPPAC alternates are Jacquie Berger, Director of Communications, Vice Chancellor for Research, (312) 413-0075, jacquieb@uic.eduDeidre Rush, Associate Director, Financial Aid Office, (312) 996-5563, deidreb@uic.edu; and Berta/

APAC SENATORS, serving in the University Senate, are Bike, Berger, and Kirda.

Be A Mentor


FOR THOSE UIC staff members who may be interested in becoming a mentor in the APMP (Administrative Professional Mentoring Program) this academic year, the APMP Committee is holding the first “So You Think You Can’t Mentor?” workshop on Thursday, Aug. 15, from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 3050, Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St..

THE APMP will host a series of roundtable discussions led by UIC personnel who have been mentors in the program. They will share their insights on what it takes to be a mentor -- their professional experience, the nature of the mentoring relationship, time commitment, and the benefits of the program – and more. The tables will be moderated by APMP committee members. Light refreshments will be served.

RSVP TO Angela Prazza Winters, Chair, APMP Committee, at prazza@uic.edu by Monday, Aug. 12.

Save the Date: October 14 Panel Featuring President Easter

President Robert Easter (right) with UIC Provost Lon Kaufman.
THE UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), UIC UNITED, will be hosting its Fall Forum featuring University of Illinois President Robert Easter on Monday, Oct. 14 in the Student Center West. Other panelists are yet-to-be named. They will speak on timely topics of interest to all SURS members – current employees as well as retirees. Please save the date – registration will open soon and be promoted on PACADEMY.  Seating will be limited.

EASTER WAS appointed President-Designate of the University of Illinois in March 2012. Before becoming President, Easter spent his entire, nearly 40-year career as a senior administrator and faculty member on the University’s Urbana-Champaign campus. 

ALL SURS eligible faculty and staff are welcome to attend.