November 9, 2015

November 2015 APAC News Vol. 8, No. 5

University Undergoes Strategic Plan Process

UNIVERSITY OF Illinois President Dr. Timothy Killeen is leading the 2015 University-wide strategic planning initiative, a process that will chart the institution's path to the future for its campuses.

DR. KILLEEN called the strategic plan a roadmap for the University's future. He expects the plan to touch every aspect of the institution's operations. The plan will be "rooted in evidence and guided by experience," he said. The planning process is a team effort involving all of the U of I's stakeholders, including Academic Professionals and other employees.

DR. KILLEEN was directed by the University of Illinois trustees in March 2015 to begin the strategic planning process, which is expected to take 12-18 months.

THERE WILL be a Town Hall meeting about the process on Monday, Nov. 30, from 3-5 p.m. in Student Center East, Room A.

SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS from UIC are on the President’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee, including Chancellor Michael Amiridis; Student Trustee Jauwan Hall; Dr. Barbara Henley, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs; Mark Murphy, Chair, University Employee Advisory Committee; Dr. Sara Rusch, Regional Dean, College of Medicine, Peoria, Chicago campus; and Deon Thomas, Assistant Coach, UIC men’s basketball. Michael Bohlmann, Assistant Dean of Technology and Chair of the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee (UPPAC) from the Urbana-Champaign campus, represents Academic Professionals.

THE PLANNING committee welcomes employee input and suggestions, noting that “your participation in the planning process is vital to the development of a plan that represents the range of perspectives on our campuses and in our communities.”

FOR MORE information or to provide input, go to

Your Productivity Toolbox: Maximizing Your Efficiency in Your Workplace

THE APAC Professional Development subcommittee on Sept. 30 hosted a workshop entitled, “Your Productivity Toolbox: Maximizing Your Efficiency in Your Workplace.”

Julie Kong.
Kimberly Mayfield.
USING A lean principle learned as students in the UIC Lean Six Sigma program, APAC Professional Development co-chairs from the School of Public Health, Julie Kong, Director of Research Services, and Kimberly Mayfield, Director of Finance and Administration, talked about the use of the “5 Why Tree” as a strategy for teams in figuring out the “root cause” of a problem.  This strategy recommends asking “why” at least five times to identify underlying causes of problems that may appear easy to solve.  After discussing the basic principles, workshop participants tested the principle in small groups and reported their findings back to the group.

Christine Rapp.
THE SECOND half of the workshop was presented by Christine Rapp, a dual MBA/MPH candidate with over ten years of Excel experience. Her projects have used Excel to examine data sets with over 200,000 entries and create multiple levels of reports from these data sets. She explained step-by-step how to create pivot tables from scratch, and at a moment’s notice, and specialty reports by moving and adding fields to reflect the needed information. Participants at the end of the session remarked that the workshop was very useful. A webinar of Christine’s pivot table presentation is available at: or via the UIC APAC website under Careers > Professional Skills.

SURS Will Pay Annuitants Despite Lack of State Budget

By Christy Levy, UIC News

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER Leslie Munger announced Oct. 14 that the State would likely delay its pension payments in November and December, but University annuitants will still receive their payments from the State Universities Retirement System.

THE DELAY would mean that SURS will receive its money from the State later than promised, but SURS will continue to pay University retirees, said Brenda Russell, President of UIC-SUAA, the UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association.

“THE STATE will delay the money because there’s no budget, but they have to move the money eventually,” said Russell, Professor Emerita of physiology and biophysics. “SURS benefit payments are not tied to that transfer — SURS has their own money in their accounts. People are really worried that they are not going to get their pension, but they will.”

SURS HAS a safety net of funds to make sure university retirees are paid on time, Russell said.

“THE ONE who is getting shorted is the SURS agency,” she said. “It’s the same situation for the University — the State is not paying the University but the University is still paying its employees.”

THE STATE may delay payments to pension agencies such as SURS, but it is required by law to pay its pension obligations without making cuts. The Illinois Supreme Court in May unanimously declared unconstitutional a 2013 State pension law that would have diminished employee benefits.

“THE STATE is spending at a faster rate than they’re taking in — you don’t need to be an economist or mathematician to know they can’t do that,” Russell said. “This is a crisis and everyone should be contacting their House representatives and State senators and Governor Bruce Rauner and saying, ‘Do something.’ People are worried and they should be. They need to lean on the politicians.”

Nominate for Honorary Degree; AP Chair of Process

(Photo courtesy UIC Photo Services)
Journalist Maria Hinojosa (center) received an
Honorary degree from UIC earlier this year.
ACADEMIC PROFESSIONALS may nominate someone for a UIC honorary degree. Nominations are due Tuesday, Dec. 1. Any submitted after that date will be considered for the next year.

AN HONORARY degree may be awarded for contributions to the scholarly or professional world, to public service, or to UIC’s achievements and the ideals of its missions of teaching, research, service, and economic development.

NOMINEES CAN be persons of national or international renown in or outside official academic disciplines. Some relationship with UIC is desirable but not required.

THE APPROVED guidelines for awarding honorary degrees at UIC, including eligibility criteria, nomination procedures, process and timelines can be accessed at:

THE UNIVERSITY Senate External Relations and Public Service Committee examines honorary degree nominations before sending qualified nominations to the full Senate. At its last meeting, the committee named APAC member and AP Senator William S. Bike as Chair of the Committee.

“I AM honored that faculty and students on the committee put their trust in me and named me Chair,” Bike said. “This is a great distinction for Academic Professionals.

BIKE ADDED, “While honorary degree nominations often come from faculty, there is no reason an Academic Professional cannot nominate a worthy individual for this highest of University honors. In fact, we’re hoping for more nominations from APs and faculty.”

FOR MORE information, contact Elizabeth Dooley, Clerk of the Senate, at or (312) 995-2926, or Bike at (312) 996-8495 or

Rhode Island Solves Pension Crisis and Without Raising Taxes

(Photo courtesy AFSCME)
Rhode Island dealt with its pension crisis, although
workers and retirees ended up with reduced benefits.
By William S. Bike

THOSE WHO think that Illinois’s public sector pension crisis is too big to solve need only look to another state, Rhode Island, to see that the problem is not intractable—although the solutions have been tough for Rhode Island public workers and retirees to take.

RHODE ISLAND Governor Gina M. Raimando, a Democrat, recently finished a four-year pension overhaul that she started when she was State Treasurer, without raising taxes or issuing pension obligation bonds.

IN 2010, according to the Pew Center on the States, Rhode Island’s public pension plans were only 49% funded and considered the worst in the nation. (Two years later, in 2012, Illinois’ public pensions, in contrast to Rhode Island’s would be only 39% funded.)

ELECTED STATE Treasurer in 2010, Raimando persuaded the legislature to pass reforms that cut some benefits, delayed retirements, suspended cost-of-living increases, and required public workers to trade in part of their traditional defined-benefit pension plans for more risky like 401(k)-like plans.

UNION LEADERS initially fought the changes, but ultimately dropped their opposition after they negotiated more favorable terms with Raimando, who was elected Governor in 2014. The pension reforms also survived lawsuits by workers and retirees.

STILL, MUCH of the medicine was tough to take. Public retirees’ annual increases are gone, and there now is some risk of loss of benefits due to market downturns. To soften the blow, a court settlement gave one-time payments to current retirees who were losing cost of living adjustments.

THOSE ANNUAL cost of living adjustments, which used to be 3% per year, are suspended until the Rhode Island system is at least 80% funded. When COLAs resume, they will apply only to the first $25,000 of a retiree’s pension. Pension credits earned through 2012 remain the same, but those earned in subsequent years are smaller. The retirement age for which Rhode Island retirees earned a full pension used to be 62; now retirement age is pegged to the Social Security retirement age.

RHODE ISLAND pension reform contained many provisions that workers and retirees objected to, but financial experts agree that the system is now on a firm financial footing and no longer is in danger of bankruptcy.


APAC HAS 15 members and the capacity to fill three more seats, and Academic Professionals are invited to apply to fill them. For more information, contact Ahlam Al-Kodmany at (312) 996-7458 or For  a nomination form, contact William S. Bike, editor of APAC News, at

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 Wednesday, Nov. 11, in Room 2750 of UH. Starting in January, APAC meetings will be held the second Tuesday of every other month in UH 2750, and the second Wednesday of every other month starting in February in CMRB 4175.For information, call (312) 996-0306.

APAC Profile

Tracy Sikorski.
Tracy Sikorski: Volunteering with APAC to help others grow professionally

By Monica M. Walk

SHE CALLS her employment at UIC her own personal “Cinderella Story.”

“I SPENT the better part of my adult life floating, not sure what to do or what I wanted to be,” recently elected APAC board member Tracy Sikorski said, noting she based her early work decisions on circumstance, not on mentoring or interest in a specific organization.   “At first, UIC was just a job—then I realized the mission of the university is amazing. We serve an inner city population with integrity. “

SHE HAD no prior specific experience—other than assuring her future employers she was “good at math and learned fast”—but Sikorski discovered she was good at the entry-level job she landed in the Office of Social Science Research in 2009. So good, in fact, that she was promoted to Associate Director a few months later. Before 2015 ends, Sikorski will hold the title of Office Director.

“IT HELPED me find myself,” Sikorski said of the University. “It is personal to me to help people find out what they want to do.” 

SIKORSKI SEES connections in APAC’s abilities to help other University employees find their callings, and develop and grow in their careers. She expects to focus her volunteer energy on APAC’s professional development work. “It’s hard to find a mentor in a large work environment like UIC,” she said. “I want to help other professionals grow.”

SIKORSKI’S INTEREST in and commitment to APAC runs deep.  “The Academic  Professionals on campus constitute a declining class, because of changes the campus is going through,” she said. “I have a vested interest in being sure the campus understands the Academic Professional  role.  I want to be part of the conversation and influence what happens to this group of people.”

CITING THE nature of academic work, Sikorski noted that employees may not come in contact with many other individuals during their workday. Busy schedules leave little time for sharing both successes and problems.

“APAC GIVES voice to the Academic Professional:  They can come to me and talk, and I can bring something up at a meeting,” Sikorski said, citing that Academic Professionals at UIC number about 2,000 and are one of the few non-union groups on campus.  “They need a voice and APAC does that for them.”

SIKORSKI’S OWN UIC position does provide interaction across departments. The Office of Social Science Research provides all-inclusive grant support—from finding funding to handling the spending— for faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, including both social sciences and humanities.  Sikorski describes the unit as “like a giant bank,” with 40 different accounts and $16 million in current grant money (up steeply from $4 million in 2010) from 25 different funding agencies across ten academic departments.

“I HOPE to take those interactions to the next level with people I already interface with and put those interactions to good use,” she said.

SIKORSKI’S COMMITMENT to education includes pursuing a PhD –not to do something different with her career, but because she feels intensely about the topic. She is researching the relationship of college content and its relevance for success in the workforce for new graduates.

“I REALLY want to support Academic Professionals,” she said.  “I hope they come to events and reach out to APAC members, with good or with bad.  We are a resource to use and they should use us.

“BEING AT UIC is an amazing experience, in and of itself,” Sikorski said.  “Being involved in APAC is a bonus.”

SIKORSKI CAN be reached at or (312) 996-4408.

Move Your Career Forward

THE UIC Office of Career Services and UIC Human Resources are collaborating to raise awareness about how to move your career forward.

A WEBSITE designed for UIC staff and students is filled with recommended actions to manage your career. Access this website at throughout November. Explore information on the site and learn more about what you can do now to grow in your career.

QUESTIONS OR comments? Send an email to


Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy Resource Guide

THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois at Chicago has a long-standing commitment to the support and maintenance of a drug-free environment for its employees and students. Below is a link to the existing UIC Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) policy, which you will find below. The focus and message of this policy are not new; however, the format has been updated to make it easier to read and to provide resource information.

THE POLICY and resource guide was prepared in accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989. It describes the health risks and legal sanctions associated with alcohol and other drugs. It outlines the University's standard of conduct and disciplinary actions taken against students or employees who violate the standard. It also provides University and community resources to help with a drug or alcohol related problem.

THE AOD policy represents UIC’s continued commitment to creating a healthy learning and work environment: (PDF file)

EMPLOYEES SHOULD contact UIC Human Resources-Administration at (312) 355-5230.


SURS to Host Fall Retirement Education Seminar

THE STATE Universities Retirement System will offer a fall Retirement Education Seminar for members enrolled in the traditional and portable plans on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Naperville, IL, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is required, and there is a fee of $20 per member and $10 for a non-member guest. Lunch will be provided. To register call (800) 275-7877. For more information, go to

Vol. 8, No. 5, November 2015

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: Kathy Stauffer
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

September 25, 2015

September 2015 APAC News Vol. 8, No. 4

Survey Shows Employee Views of Job Analysis Project

THE ACADEMIC Professional Advisory Committee (APAC) has released the results of its survey concerning employee experiences related to the Job Analysis (JA) Project.

THE JA Project has been going on at UIC for approximately five years. In the JA, all Academic Professionals’ (AP) jobs are being analyzed by UIC to see if they should be classified as AP or Civil Service. The JA was mandated by the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), which charged that too many jobs at State universities were being classified as JA when they should be Civil Service (CS).

INTERIM VICE CHANCELLOR for Academic Affairs and Provost Eric Gislason and Chancellor Michael Amiridis supported the survey, which was conducted in April. At that time, APAC worked with the UIC Survey Research Laboratory to send an online survey link to every AP, CS, and faculty employee at UIC. A total of 1,362 individuals completed the survey. The Final Analytical Report has been posted online at .

AP EMPLOYEES and convertees were queried about the JA procedures they had undergone, the length of time that had elapsed since participation in JA, the outcome and methods of notification, and the conversion process, seniority determination, new title, and appeals.

SURVEY RESULTS showed that over the course of the JA project:

*More than five methodologies were employed to review AP jobs, with a large number of respondents reporting having undergone either no or multiple reviews;
*For positions slated to be, or already, converted, decisions were rendered with little consistency or transparency.


*More than 50% of respondents cited poor to no communication from Human Resources (HR) regarding process, timeline, notifications, and/or appeal rights;
*Just two months before the planned close of the JA project, almost 57% of APs who had been reviewed had not been notified of their outcome;
*During the last year, the JA Project began to rely more heavily on an online survey, which captured information on only a limited number of employees’ major duties.

EMPLOYEES AND supervisors submitted hundreds of comments and concerns about the JA process.

“THE SURVEY results are compelling and highlight numerous concerns, many of them pertaining to the Job Analysis methodology, quality and/or timeliness of communications from Human Resources to either the campus community or individuals whose positions were reviewed, and the appropriateness of the recommended CS classifications,” APAC wrote in an open letter to survey respondents and the UIC community.

“IN RECENT weeks, APAC has opened regular communications and discussed possible action items and policy recommendations with UIC’s new HR leadership team of Mark Donovan and Michael Ginsburg,” the APAC letter continued. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the campus to understand the immediate and downstream consequences of Job Analysis and suggest productive solutions.”

State May Quit Paying Some Insurance Claims Due to Budget Impasse

THE LACK of a State budget has put the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) in unchartered territory with respect to funding critical State services, including healthcare services for all plan participants enrolled in the State Employees Group Insurance Program.

ACCORDING TO a memo from Tom Tyrrell, Director of CMS, covered plan participants’ medical, prescription, dental and vision plan services will continue. “We have been working with, and will continue to work with the plan administrators contracted with the State for these vital services,” Tyrell wrote. “All healthcare services will continue to be paid as long as possible. However, in the near future, we will no longer have the legal authority to continue to pay healthcare vendors for their services.

“SINCE THE healthcare providers don’t know when they will be reimbursed for the care they provide,” Tyrell continued, “a few of the providers in our self-insured plans (i.e., Cigna, HealthLink OAP, Coventry OAP, and Delta Dental) have asked our members to pay cash at the time of service. If this occurs with a dental claim, the provider will file the claim on behalf of the member and the member will be reimbursed directly by the plan. In the case of a medical claim, the provider will reimburse the member once the provider receives payment for the services.

“ONCE A budget is approved and appropriate funding is in place, the State of Illinois will resume release of payments for healthcare services,” Tyrell wrote. “We appreciate your understanding in the face of these extraordinary circumstances. We will continue to do everything in our power to mitigate the impact on you as we navigate through this budget impasse. Please continue to visit the ‘Latest News’ section on the Benefits website at for information pertaining to your healthcare. This website will be updated as new information becomes available.”

IN A Sept. 17 email communication, University Human Resources reported, “We have heard from some health care providers, including UI Health, Carle, and Christie Clinic, and they tell us that as of now they are conducting business as usual. We understand that with most providers affiliated with large clinics, hospitals, or organizations, there should be no change in how you are charged at the time of service.”

IF YOU are in either the Quality Care (Cigna), Coventry OAP, or HealthLink OAP and you receive care or have an upcoming appointment with an independent provider, you may still wish to call ahead and confirm expectations for payment at the time of service.

DELTA DENTAL also provided further information from Delta Dental, which can be read in their bulletin on the DeltaDental of Illinois website.

Fiscal, Political Problems Subject of Fall Forum

THE UIC Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) will present its 2015 Fall Forum, Addressing Illinois’ Fiscal Problems and Political Logjam

PANELISTS ARE Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability; Bill Barclay, Adjunct Professor, UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business; and Dick Simpson, Professor, UIC Department of Political Science. Moderator is Brenda Russell, President, UIC SUAA.

THE FALL Forum will be held Thursday, Oct. 1, in Room 302, Student Center East (SCE), 750 S. Halsted St., from 11 to 12:30 p.m. The program also will be recorded for later viewing on the chapter's YouTube channel.

PARKING IS available at the Halsted Street Parking Structure (HLPS), 760 W. Taylor St.

FOR MORE information, contact Debbie Matthews (, (815) 254-3731, or Karen Scherman (, (630) 257-1491.

Illinois Has Third Major Deficit: Infrastructure Funding

NEW ANALYSIS by the Fiscal Futures Project at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs finds a third looming fiscal problem for the State beyond an unbalanced operating budget and pension debt. Depending on the estimate of infrastructure need, the state has an infrastructure-funding deficit of approximately $31 billion. Read the policy brief here.

THIS MEANS the State would need an additional $31 billion in new revenue today to address its annual infrastructure funding needs over a ten-year, debt financed capital program. Moreover, this estimate assumes Illinois maintains its relatively high current bonded debt burden. Assuming the State wants to reduce its debt burden to be more in line with other States, the infrastructure-funding deficit may be as large as $46 billion.

THE REPORT, titled All bad things come in threes: Illinois’ third type of deficit, Infrastructure funding, examines how the State’s debt service structure (schedule of principal and interest payments on its current bonds) cannot absorb the State’s needed new infrastructure debt. In summary, the analysis is as follows:
  • Estimates of the State’s annual future infrastructure needs are substantial, ranging from $4.2 billion at the lowest to $8.4 billion at the highest, and centering on $6.3 billion (base case).
  • The study calculates how much new revenue the State will need to address its annual infrastructure funding needs over a ten-year, debt-financed capital program.
  • Under the base case of $6.3 billion in annual bond-financed infrastructure funding, the State’s infrastructure funding deficit is almost $18 billion assuming the State maintains its current high debt burden. If the State wanted to reduce its debt burden to a level more in line with other states, the State’s infrastructure funding deficit is almost $32 billion.
  • If the State were to invest in the lower estimate ($4.2 billion annually) of infrastructure needs, and maintain its current high debt burden, the infrastructure deficit is $6 billion. For the higher estimate ($8.4 billion annually), the deficit is $31 billion. Assuming the State wants to reduce its debt burden, the lower and higher infrastructure funding deficit estimates are $19 billion and $46 billion, respectively.
FURTHER COMPLICATING matters, the State’s recent fiscal struggles may continue to have a negative effect on the State’s credit rating. This will likely exacerbate the infrastructure-funding deficit, as interest rates on future state bonds will increase due to the state’s deteriorating fiscal outlook.

THE REPORT concludes: “Given the fiscal and budgetary urgency of dealing with the other two deficits the State faces, it may be convenient to ignore the State’s infrastructure funding deficit. But this is perilous. By failing to maintain, replace and improve its infrastructure and other physical capital assets, Illinois limits the future productivity and income-earning ability of its businesses and workers. This will ultimately lead to a lower standard of living for future generations of Illinoisans.”

THE FISCAL Futures Project is a research group based at the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs.  For more information, contact Kelsey Kapolnek, IGPA Communication Coordinator, or (312) 996-8854.
UPAAC MEETS WITH PRESIDENT—The University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee,
consisting of Academic Professionals from the AP advisory committees of the Chicago, Springfield, and
Urbana-Champaign campuses, including APAC, recently met with University President Timothy L. Killeen
to discuss issues of importance to APs on the three campuses.


APAC HAS three open seats, and Academic Professionals are invited to apply to fill them. For more information, contact Ahlam Al-Kodmany at (312) 996-7458 or For  a nomination form, contact William S. Bike, editor of APAC News, at

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 4175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, 909 S. Wolcott, or Room 2750 of University Hall on the East Campus. Next meeting is Oct. 14 in Room 4175 of CMRB. For information, call (312) 996-0306.

APAC 2015 Fall Professional Development Workshop Set

APAC WILL host its Fall Professional Development Workshop, “Your Productivity Toolbox: Maximizing Your Efficiency in Your Workplace,” Wednesday, Sept. 30, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 932 of the School of Public Health at 1603 W. Taylor St.

PARTICPANTS WILL learn to implement Lean Six Sigma principles to address potential causes of problems in the workplace. (45 minutes) and, using pivot tables in Excel, learn to create reports quicker and more effectively (45 minutes).

SPEAKERS WILL be Kim Mayfield, MBA, Business Manager in Health Policy and Administration, SPH, Co-Chair of Professional Development in APAC, who is certified with a Green Belt  in Lean Six Sigma; Julie Kong, MED, RD, CRA, Director of Research Services, SPH, Co-Chair of Professional Development in APAC, who is certified in Lean Six Sigma; and Christine Rapp, is a dual MBA/MPH degree candidate with more than ten years of Excel experience and who has worked on projects examining data sets with over 200,000 entries and created multiple levels of reports from these data sets.

TO REGISTER, log on to

Michael Ginsburg becomes Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

By Susan S. Stevens
THE NEW Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources is Dr. Michael Ginsburg, a long-time UIC employee. He assumed the role in July 2015.
“I HAVE worked at UIC for the past 37 years in Student Affairs,” Ginsburg said. “Prior to joining UIC Human Resources (UIC HR), I served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA), a position I held for 31 years. My primary responsibilities involved financial and human resources management and oversight for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, which has a budget of over $100 million and more than 500 employees.”
HE HAS a deep understanding of Academic Professional jobs being converted to Civil Service, having overseen the analysis of each position under Student Affairs and the resulting conversions of 90 positions to Civil Service.
“WHEN THE Job Analysis Project began in 2010, my former units were some of the first to participate in the Job Analysis Project,” he said. “I understand job analysis, having lived through the process, experiencing it as an employee and member of the senior leadership team. I took this task very seriously and worked closely with UIC HR throughout each step in the process.”
THE VCSA LEADERSHIP team kept employees informed at each stage of the process, and explained to each individual employee details about the decision on their classification.
THE JOB Analysis Project initially arose in response to audit findings from the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS). “We are now moving toward a more comprehensive, ongoing approach to job analysis. I believe the campus will find these ongoing efforts to be more flexible and collaborative. We will be working toward the establishment of an appeals process with appropriate input from APAC and other campus partners.”
MORE CONVERSIONS might be coming. “We are in the process of completing the Job Analysis Project for a few remaining colleges and finalizing some additional conversions in other colleges,” Ginsburg said. “But at this point it would be difficult to say how the final phase will turn out.” Over 2,300 jobs have been analyzed to date.
SENIORITY WAS a concern for many employees, which is understandable to Ginsburg.
“CIVIL SERVICE has a prescribed method of determining seniority for converting employees,” he said. “Seniority is accrued from the date that it can reasonably be determined that a position description meets the criteria of a Civil Service classification. UIC follows this method for calculating seniority based on the information available within UIC HR.”
EMPLOYEES CAN submit supporting documents related to their seniority. “There are occurrences when a department or an employee may have records that can supplement the HR information used to determine Civil Service seniority. In these instances, employees can submit additional documentation to UIC HR Compensation for review.”
GINSBURG IS committed to maintaining an open line of communication with employees, Academic Professional or Civil Service. “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me can tell you that I try to be transparent with those I work with,” he said. “I hope this will be a hallmark of my leadership in UIC HR. I believe in open and ongoing communication with all members of the campus. If UIC HR has to make a difficult or unpopular decision, we will explain fully why this is the case. For situations where there is a ‘gray area,’ we will work with the campus to find collaborative ways to work together and focus on ongoing process improvement measures.”
APAC CAN help him. “I look forward to working closely and in partnership with APAC,” Ginsburg said. “I want there to be an open line of communication. I bring a unique perspective to UIC HR. I understand HR from the unit level and can use my experience to help initiate positive change within UIC HR and for the good of the campus. My goal is to make UIC HR a more transparent and customer-focused unit, providing partnership and support to the campus. I hope APAC will support me in this endeavor by continuing to provide feedback and support.”
GINSBURG CAN be reached at or (312) 413-9416.

APAC Profile

Kathleen Stauffer.
Kathleen Stauffer: Time to Volunteer

By Monica M. Walk

TIMING IS key for some commitments. 

KATHLEEN STAUFFER, MUPP, Assistant Dean for Administration in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), felt that sense of positive timing keenly when she joined APAC in February 2015. Her professional and personal commitments were aligned in a way that finally opened the opportunity to join the organization she had long wanted to support.

WHILE SHE had attended APAC events casually prior to this year, Stauffer felt a pull to more deeply participate in the organization.

“IT IS something I thought about for the last 15 years,” she said of serving the organization. “Now I have more [UIC] experience, and I am done raising my kids.  Now, I have time.”

WHEN SHE joined the group, Stauffer also immediately stepped into a board position as APAC budget officer, drawing on her years of professional UIC budgeting experience.

“I AM an Academic Professional,” Stauffer said.  “I like the mission of APAC. It is very helpful to me, especially because of the concerns with HR issues the last several years. The Academic Professional to Civil Service conversions have been going on for five years, and have been contentious. Being part of APAC gives me a better feeling of control, and that it is possible to shape how things turn out.”

STAUFFER CITES the ongoing conversion process among her top priorities in her APAC work.

“IT WOULD be nice to come up with some type of solution to conversions that have happened, and to review those that are questionable and may be moved back to AP,” she said. “I want to inform everyone of what they need to be aware of.”

UNIONS, PENSION issues, and salary parity and increases also are among her top concerns for Academic Professionals.

“THE ACADEMIC Professionals are the only group on our campus with no union representation,” Stauffer said. “We are the only ones on our own. This group is the only way to advocate for Academic Professionals on campus. It is a good way to have our voices heard.”

STAUFFER CAME to UIC as a graduate student in CUPPA in 1990 and earned a Master’s degree in urban planning and public affairs. She then worked for CUPPA in several departments: the Center for Urban Economic Development, the Urban Transportation Center, and the Dean’s office. She moved to the College of Pharmacy, but returned to CUPPA in 2005, where she now concentrates on administrative work for both the college and the unit, with a focus on human resources and budgets.  Throughout her UIC career, Stauffer has worked with students ranging from new undergraduates to departing graduate students.

“THIS IS a really nice place to work,” Stauffer said of UIC. “It has been very collegial in all the positions I have had throughout my tenure at the University.”

SHE URGES other Academic Professionals to attend APAC events.  “It is well worth the time and effort to get involved,” Stauffer said. “Everyone has perspective and positive things to add, whether they have been here a year or ten,” she said.

“JUST DON’T wait as long as I did,” she advised, with a laugh.

TO CONTACT Stauffer, email


Immediate Care Clinics

UIC HAS Immediate Care Clinics: walk-in health and wellness clinics open evenings and weekends.

THE MAXWELL Street Clinic is at 722 W. Maxwell St. It is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Call (312) 355-0517.

MILE SQUARE Urgent Care, 1220 S. Wood St., is open Monday through Friday, noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (312) 996-2000.

IN AN emergency, go to the Emergency Room at the University of Illinois Hospital, 1740 W. Taylor St. Call (312) 996-7296.


SURS to Host Fall Retirement Education Seminar

THE STATE Universities Retirement System will offer a fall Retirement Education Seminar for members enrolled in the traditional and portable plans on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Naperville, IL, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is required, and there is a fee of $20 per member and $10 for a non-member guest. Lunch will be provided. To register call (800) 275-7877. For more information, go to


(Photo courtesy Progressive Democrats of America.)
The budget impasse between Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly
now will affect insurance benefits for State employees.
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.
BUDGET STALEMATE Won’t Affect Payroll, May Delay Health Provider Payments, UIC News, Sept. 15, 2015:
GOVERNOR THREATENS to Halt Health Insurance Payments to Providers for State Workers, State Journal-Register, Sept. 12, 2015:

ATTORNEY GENERAL Lisa Madigan Will Not Appeal Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Upholding State Employees’ Pensions, Capitol, Sept. 9, 2015:

POLICYMAKERS SHOULD Examine This Pension Fund Success Story, says Crain’s Chicago Business, Sept. 9, 2015:

Vol. 8, No. 4, September 2015

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: Kathy Stauffer
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar

August 24, 2015

Change in SURS ‘Money Purchase’ Formula May Spur 2015 Retirements

IF YOU are planning to retire and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) “Money Purchase” formula offers you the highest benefit, it may be in your best interest to retire before Jan. 4, 2016.

WHEN SURS calculates a retirement benefit, payments are based on the calculation that provides the highest benefit. For most defined-benefit members, this is a comparison between the “General Formula” and the “Money Purchase” calculation. Approximately 65 percent of SURS retirements are highest using the Money Purchase calculation.

WHILE THE General Formula is based on a member’s age, years of service, and earnings averages, the Money Purchase utilizes the member’s age, normal retirement contributions, interest at retirement, and an actuarial factor based on economic and demographic assumptions to determine the benefit amount.

STATE STATUTES require an “experience study” every three years to examine the factors.

THE NEW factors will result in a lower monthly benefit payment for those retiring on or after Jan. 4, 2016, if their benefit is calculated to be highest using the Money Purchase calculation.

SURS ESTIMATES that the monthly benefit paid using the Money Purchase formula will be reduced on average by six to seven percent on or after Jan. 4. It also estimates that active participants can recover this monthly reduction by delaying retirement for approximately nine months into 2016, due to additional contributions and interest that would be added.

“SURS OFFERS three retirement plans,” explained Beth Spencer, Communications Manager for SURS. Those are “the Traditional Plan, a defined-benefit plan; the Portable Plan, another defined-benefit plan; and the Self-Managed Plan, a defined-contribution plan.”

TO LEARN more about the plans and different methods of calculating benefits, see the Traditional Member Guide (starting on page 16), Portable Member Guide (starting on page 14),  and SMP Member Guide (starting on page 13)

“THE UNIVERSITY of Illinois at Chicago currently has 14,173 members in SURS,” Spencer noted.

FOR MORE information on the Money Purchase Factor change, see To contact SURS, call (800) 275-7877.

—Mary Voelker and William S. Bike