March 31, 2015

April 2015 APAC News Vol. 8, No. 1

Legislation Threatens to Cut Child-of-Employee Tuition Waivers

Students who are children of employees may eventually become
ineligible for tuition waivers if a bill in the Illinois House passes.
By Susan S. Stevens

UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES are nervous about a proposal before the Illinois General Assembly that, if passed, would cost them thousands more dollars to send their offspring through college by ending tuition waivers for their children.

CURRENT LAW allows a 50 percent tuition waiver for children of State public University employees who have held their jobs for at least seven years. The University of Illinois wants to keep it that way, but a State lawmaker wants to stop it.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE Jack D. Franks, a Democrat who lives in Marengo, IL, introduced legislation, HB 403, which would rescind the tuition break. It is the second proposal of this kind before the Legislature in recent years. The tuition waiver came before Franks’ own House State Government Administration Committee, which began hearing testimony March 4. The bill recently picked up a co-sponsor, Rep. Luis Arroyo, a Chicago Northwest Side Democrat.

AN AMENDED version of the bill passed the committee by a 9-4 margin. The original bill, if passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and signed by the Governor, would have cut out the tuition waivers as soon as possible. The amended version would continue the tuition waivers for five years and then end the program.

“IF THIS bill were to become law, the approximately 2,000 students who currently rely on this waiver to attend college will be put in jeopardy of not being able to complete their education,” the University said in a statement. The number of employees at the University of Illinois at Chicago who would be affected is uncertain. One potential user of the waivers is aghast.

KIMBERLY HUANG, Assistant Director of Grants and Contracts in the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy Department, has been at UIC for more than 13 years. Huang will have three children in college within the next decade.  She said, “If the tuition waiver is repealed, I would rather send my kids to other universities that offer more generous financial assistance instead of considering Illinois state schools. But if the tuition waiver remains, having this option will definitely make me think twice as it can save me tens of thousands of dollars for each child. That's a significant benefit for me."

“IT IS not fair for legislators to take the tuition waiver away because they can afford to send their kids to private, expensive universities,” Huang added. “I think the State could potentially lose a lot of excellent students too.”

“WHILE ILLINOIS provides a 50 percent waiver,” the University statement said, “it is not uncommon in other states to see a 100 percent waiver provided to the children of university and college staff.”

JULIE KONG’S two daughters benefitted from the waivers. “The waivers were definitely a tremendous financial help in our family as both were in College almost at the same time,” said Kong, who is the Director of Research Services in the School of Public Health Administration said. In addition, the waivers may be particularly helpful to parents who are working at UIC with first-generation college students.

FRANKS DID not respond to APAC News requests for an interview. However, the News-Gazette newspaper in Champaign, IL, quoted Franks saying the bill was in line with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s effort to cut State spending. "This year is a year we're going to have to make a lot of hard choices," Franks said.
ALTHOUGH HIS original bill called for repealing the waivers this year, Franks told the publication he is willing to give students who started last fall a chance to complete their undergraduate degrees. "It's not fair to those who were counting on that," he said.
FRANKS TOLD the publication that 2,156 of the waivers were awarded in Illinois last year to the children of employees, costing nearly $10 million.
NOT TRUE, said Linda L. Brookhart, executive director of the State Universities Annuitants Association. “The 50 percent tuition waiver is budget neutral to the State. Eliminating the waiver would in no way represent any savings to the State or its taxpayers.”
HB 403 would be a further reduction in pay for State employees who in the past had to take furlough days without pay and who earn less than they might in the private sector or even in other government jobs, Brookhart said.

“CIVIL SERVICE employees within the State Universities Civil Service System earn far less than Civil Service employees hired by the State of Illinois Central Management Services,” Brookhart said. “Some entry level classifications are paid 50-60 percent less than our colleagues at the State of Illinois. The tuition benefit was added to offset the salary disparity between University and State employees. The tuition benefit is part of the overall compensation package.”

SHE URGED University employees to contact legislators to express their opposition to the waiver repeal.

A FACEBOOK page provides the latest information on the issue:!/saveourwaivers

COLLEEN PIERSEN, Assistant Head for Administration in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and Chair of APAC, has been keeping Academic Professionals updated on legislative updates related to HB403.  "Based on the feedback that I've received, the topic clearly resonates with all employees, not just APs. It's even captured national attention as a headline story in The Chronicle of Higher Education.”

THE CHRONICLE story may be accessed at.

FRANKS’ BILL does not address other types of waivers, such as those offered to University faculty, staff, and other employees themselves, students with financial hardships, or students with academic talent or special status such as athletes and students from other countries.

MORE DETAIL on the current waivers is available on the website of the Academic Professional Task Force Implementation Team:

UIC EMPLOYEES may contact State legislators to comment on HB 403—
but not on University time or on a University phone. See to find your legislators.

IT IS not known when or if the bill will come up for a vote in the full Illinois House.

Proposed Bill May Complicate University Hiring Procedures

By Neal Lorenzi

ILLINOIS STATE Senator Chapin Rose (R-51st Decatur) recently introduced Senate Bill 1724, which has prompted concern among Academic Professionals and human resources managers at UIC. If approved, the bill would change the composition of the Civil Service Merit Board. The proposed legislation gives the Governor authority to appoint new members to the Board, and to terminate the terms of current members.

THE NEWLY appointed members would include four individuals exempt from Civil Service, four Civil Service employees of State universities, and three members who are representative citizens and who are not current or former employees, or current or former members of the board of trustees of a state university. The bill would impact all State universities. Currently, members of the Merit Board are appointed by their respective university governing boards.

OTHER PROVISIONS of the bill include a change to exemption authority. In the proposed legislation, exemption authority is returned to the executive director of the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), Urbana, and cannot be delegated otherwise. The bill also allows the SUCSS executive director to determine the Designated Employer Representative (DER) for each campus. At the present time, the DER is determined by the University president.

REMOVING EXEMPTION authority from the campus and giving exemption authority to SUCSS could impact the efficiency now experienced by conducting the analysis on a local level. Sending each new position to the SUCSS office for a determination could impact the ability of UIC human resources to respond in a timely manner. The SUCSS office is comprised of fewer than 15 individuals.

MANY ACADEMIC Professionals at UIC, some of them HR managers, are very concerned that the hiring process will become more onerous and lengthy, according to Colleen Piersen, APAC interim chair, assistant head for administration, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. The reason: SUCSS staff cannot be expected to understand the intricacies of all the principal administrative positions at all state universities. 

“APAC BELIEVES that Academic Professionals fulfill vital and unique roles in coordinating and synthesizing various functions within and across units at UIC,” Piersen said. “The retention of exemption authority by the campus is critical to its ability to hire Academic Professionals who address an ever-changing balance of teaching, research and service priorities. In effect, SB 1724 legislation threatens the ability of UIC to react nimbly to external forces or take advantage of time-sensitive opportunities.”

REMOVING EXEMPTION authority would have an enormous impact on UIC and the entire Illinois university system, agrees Maureen M. Parks, associate vice president, University Human Resources, University of Illinois. “There are 20,000 Civil Service employees in the State of Illinois. There is no way the Civil Service system could review every position open at UIC, every time an opening comes up, and make a decision on whether it should be a Civil Service position or exempted. All state universities would be negatively impacted.”

SENATOR ROSE introduced the bill because he wanted to “start the conversation” about changes that need to take place in higher education, according to Parks who met with the Senator earlier this year. Rose did not respond to this reporter’s request for an interview.

“WE DO need Civil Service reform,” Parks explained. “The Civil Service system, developed in the 1950s, is very complex and many of the procedures are not modern best practices in HR recruitment. However, SB 1724 would make things worse. The goal of Civil Service is to serve State universities; this bill would do a major disservice. It would actually increase costs for State universities.

“I EXPLAINED that to Senator Rose and I believe we had an eye-opening conversation,” Parks added. “He was surprised to learn that there currently are not any SUCSS Audit guidelines or a structured audit time frame. Instead, the Civil Service office decides how long the process takes.”

THE UNIVERSITY’S human resources directors have been talking to Tom Morelock, executive director of SUCSS, for eight years about changes that need to be made to modernize the system, Parks added. “In the fall of 2014, UIC’s HR directors sent him a formal document specifying five changes that need to be made. That document is now being reviewed.”

Job Analysis Project Should be Completed by Mid Year

THE JOB Analysis project under UIC Human Resources continues on campus.

A MAJOR goal of the project is to ensure that positions are properly classified as either Civil Service or Academic Professional. The need to engage in this project was precipitated by an audit finding declaring the University to be non-compliant with Civil Service guidelines. To date, a small team of analysts have evaluated approximately 2,200 positions in 19 units representing colleges and administrative business units across Campus. Project completion should be realized by June 30, 2015.

THE JOB analysis project involves three primary components. These components include appropriately categorizing positions as Civil Service or Academic Professional; calculating seniority for individuals converting from Academic Professional to Civil Service; and facilitating an appeals process to ensure employees exercise due process when they disagree with the analysis.

THERE IS an appeals process available to employees who have completed job analysis and have concerns regarding the new title and classification. The appeals process may be an appropriate avenue if the employee believes that the new classification is an inaccurate reflection of their duties. If an employee is unsure, UIC Human Resources is available to help employees determine if an appeal is the appropriate course of action.

WHEN AN employee disagrees with the outcome of the analysis, the employee may request reconsideration by the UIC Human Resources Compensation Unit. If the employee desires further review beyond the campus level, the employee may ask the executive director of the State Universities Civil Service System (the System Office) to review and issue a decision. This is referred to as a position audit appeal. Additional detail regarding the classification appeals process is outlined in the State Universities Civil Service System Procedures Manual, Section2.4. Some employees have already exercised their right to appeal.

AN APPEAL process also exists for those employees who have completed job analysis but have concerns regarding the seniority that is calculated during the conversion process. The State Universities Civil Service System Exemption Procedures Manual Section8.2(b) (4) provides the formula for determining seniority. On occasion, UIC Human Resources is asked to clarify the method for calculating seniority in the new Civil Service position. In those cases, UIC Human Resources Personnel are available to help employees understand how seniority is calculated and determine if an appeal is appropriate.

TO ENSURE compliance, a method for calculating seniority was developed in keeping with Section8.2(b) (4) of the Exemption Procedures Manual. The method used considers the historical record keeping practices at UIC. Simply stated, this practice is defined by the University’s ability to document the exact job duties and responsibilities of a position. In some situations records do not exist to sufficiently document duties and/or responsibilities.

THE APPEAL described above is referred to as a Director’s Review process. Review procedures are outlined in Section250.130 of the Illinois Administrative Code (80 Ill. Adm. Code §250.130).

UIC HUMAN Resources is in the final months of the job analysis project, with an anticipated completion date of June 30, 2015. Some employees may be waiting for the final determination regarding their position. To help better communicate progress, the UIC Human Resources website has been enhanced to include a tracking mechanism that allows the campus to monitor the Job Analysis project by unit.

YOU CAN access the online tracking report here. The report will detail various stages of the Job Analysis Project by campus unit. As more current information is available, the report will be updated.

YOU CAN also view the tracking tool by visiting the UIC Human Resources website at and clicking on the Classification and Compensation link. Once on the Compensation page, you will click Job Analysis Project to be directed to the report.

IF YOU have any further questions or concerns regarding this process, contact Robert Crouch, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, at or Ron Puskarits, Director of Compensation, at

Job Analysis Survey Coming

APAC WILL soon conduct a survey on the Job Analysis Project. The survey will collect data on and experiences related to the Job Analysis process which was launched more than four years ago and should conclude at the end of June of 2015. The survey will be sent to all employees on campus upon approval of Chancellor Michael Amiridis.

THE OFFICE of Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Eric Gislason provided financial support for the survey, which is being designed, launched, and analyzed by UIC’s Survey Research Lab.

EMPLOYEES ARE urged to watch for their email invitation to the survey in the near future and to complete it.

Moss Leaving APAC Leadership, Will Continue Committee Volunteerism

Michael Moss, as APAC Chair, meeting with then-Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.
By Monica M. Walk and William S. Bike
AFTER FIVE years of leading the Academic Professional Advisory Committee (APAC), Michael Moss has stepped down as chair of the organization. He will, however, continue to support the group as a committee member. In fact, until the APAC elections in April, Moss will serve as treasurer—while former treasurer Colleen Piersen steps up as interim chair.
THE POSITION swap is the result of Moss realizing he needed to reorganize his volunteer time to better handle changing job duties and his enrollment in graduate school at UIC. Moss is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration while continuing to work in the Office of Budget Operations and Financial Analysis.
APPRECIATION FOR the University’s mission of research, instruction, and public service led to Moss’s arrival at UIC in 2003. He worked in Student Services in the Office of Student Financial Aid, then moved to a series of positions in the business office before taking on the associate directorship of his current unit. He calls his current UIC office “a good place to be.”
THAT POSITIVE feeling continues to extend to APAC, which Moss identifies as a good fit for his volunteer interests. It took attending only one meeting eight years ago to cement his commitment. 
“I WAS really drawn to represent the interests and concerns of AP staff to campus and University leadership,” he said. “I have a long background in volunteer work. It is satisfying to contribute.”
CHAIRING THE group did sometimes involve stress, as Moss noted that the best interests of individual employees may not always be in sync with the best interests of the campus overall. “Over time, it became easier; as I learned more about employees and got to know APs, it was easier to make sure they were well represented,” Moss said.
CALLING HIMSELF a “numbers and data person,” Moss cites development of a staff survey among his APAC leadership highlights. “It was the first survey of staff to learn their interests and concerns,” he said. “Data made it easier to move those concerns forward.”
THREE AREAS rose to the top as significantly important to employees:  job analysis and conversion; pension benefits; and equity issues involving comparison of peers.
“WE FIRST took action on pensions and conversions,” said Moss, “which represented the most significant concerns of the time and got a lot of support from the campus and our AP constituents. Who else fights for what is important to Academic Professionals?” he asked. “We represent a voice that doesn’t have unions or other organized efforts dedicated exclusively to voicing the interests and concerns of our APs.”
SUPPORT INCLUDED coordination of hundreds of signatures and comments that helped halt a legislative process that would have ended local hiring decisions for Academic Professional positions, moving the authority to make such decisions back to the State Universities Civil Service System. “I truly believe we stopped the legislative process on that issue,” Moss said, calling it a highlight of his APAC leadership. “We were probably the only employee group to take such large scale, coordinated action.”
APAC WAS among other groups, including the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), opposing Senate Bill 512 and its proposed changes to diminish current benefits. “People were concerned, and we were able to communicate that very clearly,” Moss said.
TOWN HALL meetings organized under Moss’s leadership also proved effective. “We held a dozen or more Town Hall meetings on job conversion and the status of the University budget,” he said, noting the participation of University of Illinois President Robert A. Easter in recent meetings.
 “THE CHAIR sometimes gets the most attention,” Moss commented in closing. “But, there are 17 other people on the committee working hard—who deserve 17 times as much recognition and appreciation.”

Important Events Scheduled

A VARIETY of events covering topics important to Academic Professionals and other employees are scheduled.

Job Analysis
A JOB ANALYSIS Appeals and Project Update Town Hall by
APAC with UIC Human Resources will be held on the West Campus Tuesday, April 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at SPH Auditorium, First Floor, 1601 W. Taylor St., and on the East Campus Thursday, April 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Daley Library, Room 1-470, 1st Floor, 801 S. Morgan St.

THE EVENT is open to all staff and faculty who have an interest in hearing an update on the Job Analysis Project. The focus of the event will be to clarify the appeals processes. Registrants will have an opportunity to submit questions to Human Resources in advance. A question-and-answer session will conclude the event.

REGISTER BY Friday, April 10 at (West Campus) or (East Campus). For more information and background on the Job Analysis Project, visit, or

UIC United
THE UIC Chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), UIC United, will host its Spring Membership Meeting, featuring a presentation by Edward McMillan, Chair of the University Board of Trustees, on Thursday, April 23, in Student Center West, Thompson Rooms, 828 S. Wolcott. Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Eric Gislason will be the moderator.

THERE WILL be coffee and rolls at 9:30 a.m., a business meeting and officers’ election at 10 a.m., McMillan will speak at 11 a.m., and a buffet luncheon at noon. Lunch is $15. To register or for more information, contact Karen Scherman,, (630) 257-1491, or Debbie Matthews,, (815) 254-3731.

Budget Outlook
A TOWN Hall by APAC with Michael Amiridis, Chancellor, and Janet Parker, Associate Chancellor and Vice Provost for Budget and Resource Planning, will be held Tuesday, May 5, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Moss Auditorium, First Floor, COMRB , 909 S. Wolcott Ave.

THE EVENT will provide and update on budget planning for Fiscal Year 2016 and will include such topics as current status of payments from the State, campus and University budget planning, changes in IT rate and funding model, and strategic planning efforts.

REGISTRANTS WILL have an opportunity to submit questions in advance via the registration link below. A question-and-answer session will conclude the event.

REGISTER BY Monday, April 27, at

THE EVENTS will be webcast 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 April 8 in Room 4175 of the College of Medicine Research Building, and will be attended by Chancellor Michael Amaridis. For information, call (312) 996-0306.


EHSO Helps Keep Campus Environmentally Safe
THE ENVIROMENTAL Health and Safety Office (EHSO) performs a variety of functions important to Academic Professionals.

EHSO MONITORS campus facilities for compliance with safety standards and laws related to radiation, chemicals, laser use, hazardous materials, fire codes and safety, air quality, the hospital, sanitation, blood borne pathogens, biological safety, occupational safety, laboratory safety, laser safety, general safety, and chemical disposal.

IT PROVIDES training, consultation, inspections, and education. The office offers safety training and an annual refresher course for those working with radioactive materials, and provides guides for new laboratory researchers, laboratory moves, office safety, and many other topics.

EHSO ALSO runs an ambulance service and provides standby medical service at campus events, employing students who are State-licensed emergency medical technicians. “We train over 160 medical technicians a year,” said Richard D. Anderson, Director of EHSO.

FOR MORE information, call (312) 996-7429; in an emergency, call (312) 996-7233; for the ambulance, call UIC Police at 5-5555; log on to; or email


Human Resources Expands Professional Development Offerings

UIC HUMAN Resources is expanding professional development offerings on campus, with more convenient locations, new courses and resources, and workshops.

CLASSROOM LEARNING has been extended to locations on both the East Campus and West Campus to make attendance more convenient.

NEW AND improved courses in subjects such as email communication, customer service, and workplace cooperation will prepare you to take charge of your performance. For managers and supervisors, group exercise workshops will help you understand, prepare for, and overcome daily workplace challenges for you and your team.

FOR MORE information, course descriptions, and dates, visit the HR Training Calendar page at on the UIC Human Resources website Professional Development and Training Opportunities page.


Websites to Know

Photo courtesy Peoria Public Radio.
SANGAMON COUNTY Circuit Court Judge John Belz in November found that the State’s “pension reform” law was unconstitutional. He found the law both diminishes and impairs retirement benefits for public sector workers in violation of the State Constitution. For the full decision, see on the Internet.


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.
PRIVATIZE STATE universities?  WILLRadioTVOnline, March 23, 2015:
UNIVERSITY HIRING officers call for Civil Service changes, UIC News, March 17, 2015:

URBANA SETS job classification hearings, News-Gazette, March 11, 2015:
GOVERNOR RAUNER aims to break all public-sector unions, not just Illinois,’ Crain’s Chicago Business, Feb. 25, 2015:
GOVERNOR RAUNER calls for $209 million U of I budget cut, UIC News, Feb. 25, 2015:
RAUNER appears to change position on pensions in favor of employees and retirees, 5 NBC Chicago, Nov. 25, 2014: 

Vol. 8, No. 1, April 2015

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