November 3, 2017

November 2017 APAC News Vol. 10, No. 3

Tracy Sikorski Becomes APAC Chair

Tracy Sikorski is APAC Chair.
TRACY SIKORSKI, Director, Social Science Research, Liberal Arts and Sciences, has become Chair of APAC. She succeeds Colleen Piersen, Assistant Head for Administration, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, who had been Chair since early 2015. Piersen now is Vice Chair.

“I SEE my primary responsibility as Chair to set the tone and agenda for APAC for the next year,” Sikorski said. “I also am responsible for liaising with the Chancellor’s Office, Human Resources, and other campus officials on behalf of APs. I am also chair of UPPAC, the University Professional Personnel Advisory Committee, the organization that works to represent APs for all of the University of Illinois Campuses.”

IN HER new post, she said, “I hope to bring new solutions for Academic Professional issues such as the impact of job analysis and new professional development opportunities. I also hope we are able to bring in new members to APAC.”

ONE OF APAC’s biggest challenges, Sikorski said, “is how to best represent our current constituents while not alienating our former constituents who have been converted to Civil Service. We also have declining participation, as the AP employee class has declined and current members have more than their share of responsibilities on their plate.”

SIKORSKI noted that she does not “plan to make any changes to APAC, but if the committee members believe that changes are necessary, I think it is my responsibility to listen to them and discuss possibilities.”

SHE SEES her role “as a way to become more aware of what is happening on campus, and to specifically be able to advocate on behalf of APs during such an uncertain time in the higher education landscape. APs bring critical skills to their positions—skills that allow the campus to function efficiently and effectively and to be held in high regard by the higher education community. It is essential that we continue to invest in APs so we can continue to grow as a global, Research I university.”

WHEN NOT working at her UIC or APAC jobs, Sikorski is studying for a PhD. “I also attend my children’s cheer, running, baseball, and soccer events,” she said. “I have two sons and a daughter, a mini golden doodle named Ollie, and two kitties.”

SUAA Rep Addresses APAC, Advocates for Membership

Arlene Norsym, Secretary of SUAA.
ARLENE NORSYM, former Vice President of the University of Illinois Alumni Association and Associate Chancellor for Alumni Relations, and now Secretary of the UIC chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), spoke at the APAC meeting on May 10 to discuss the work of SUAA and the importance of membership.

THE UIC SUAA chapter consists of approximately 1,600 members. Statewide, SUAA has a membership of more than 15,000, representing more than 200,000 individuals.

NORSYM EXPLAINED that SUAA monitors and advocates for legislation that affects pension, health insurance, and other employee and retirement benefits for State Universities Retirement System (SURS) participants. It also supports legislation that would revise the rules for Tier II employees, those hired after Jan. 1, 2011, to provide a more equitable set of benefits as related to final salary period, retirement income automatic annual increase (AAI), and early retirement reduction.

SHE NOTED that it was SUAA attorneys who won recent legal battles over the State trying to make retirees pay for their health insurance and over pension cuts. Thanks to SUAA, pension “reform” Public Act 98-0599, which would have cost pensioners part of their pensions, was ruled unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court. SUAA won a lawsuit that preserved the 3% compounded AAI for Tier I employees (those hired before Jan. 1, 2011) and retirees.

NORSYM EXPLAINED that it was SUAA that protected the service credit of furloughed University personnel a few years ago, resulting in the University allowing them to contribute to their pension even for days they had been furloughed.

SUAA PREVENTED a bill from becoming law that would have started abolishing tuition waivers for University personnel, also continues to lobby against repeal of the 50% tuition waiver for dependents of current employees at State universities.

NORSYM ALSO noted that SUAA lobbies against attempts to change the “pension clause” in the Illinois Constitution, which says that pension and retirement benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

SUAA ALSO provides legislative updates to members through mini-briefings.

NORSYM ENCOURAGED employees to join SUAA. Annual membership is $44 per year, which can be paid through payroll deduction or in a lump sum.

FOR MORE information on membership or SUAA, email, call (217) 523-4040, or log on to

Onesima Martinez is Newest APAC Member

Onesema Martinez, APAC’s newest member.
ONESEMA MARTINEZ, Director of Administrative Operations for the Department of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology, is the latest AP to become an APAC member.

“I JOINED APAC to become more involved in helping UIC and other AP employees in voicing our opinion of thing happening on campus,” she said. “I want to help if I can concerning policies and procedures, and to inform AP employees about any new information, events, changes, or policies.

“I WANT to be informed,” Martinez continued. “I hope we learn from each other and spread the word to other AP employees. I hope to become more knowledgeable and be able to make a difference for AP employees. I also hope to network.”

MARTINEZ’S TOP issues as an APAC Member are audit conversions, pensions, and future salary increases.

WHEN NOT at UIC, Martinez spends time with her husband, Brian Guzman; son Ricardo Elias Moreno, 18; son Aiden Xavier Guzman, 2; and granddaughter Yuritzi Sophia, 7 months. She, along with her siblings, had been a caretaker for her mother, who recently passed away. Martinez also enjoys finding recipes to cook healthy meals.

MARTINEZ has worked at UIC since 2004. She said, “I started with the Division of Nephrology, working in the National Institutes of Health Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study” [NIH CRIC]. “This was a research study for patients with kidney disease. I did the hands-on for research, recruiting patients, case report forms, screening, baseline, phone visits, an data entry. In 2008 I moved to Hem/Onc to do invoice vouchers, POs, etc. In 2010, I became the director.”

APs Represented on Two Search Committees; New Senator

Jacqueline Berger, Julie Kong, and Kathleen Stauffer are representing APs in various capacities.
UNIVERSITY ADMINISTRATION wanted Academic Professionals on two high-level search committees, and requested APAC to appoint them. As a result, Jacqueline Berger, Director of Research Communications and External Relations for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, is the AP rep on the search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services. Julie Kong, Director of Research Services, School of Public Health, is the AP rep on the search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Research.

THE UNIVERSITY Senate term of one of three AP Senators, Marelet Kirda, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, ended earlier this year. Kathleen Stauffer, Assistant Dean for Administration, College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, was elected to the Senate to succeed Kirda.

APAC Meetings Scheduled

Chancellor Michael Amiridis will attend the April 2017 APAC meeting.
ALL APs are invited to the APAC meeting, usually held monthly at 12:30 p.m. on scheduled dates. Meetings alternate between East and West campuses with dates and times posted in advance on the APAC website. See for the meeting schedule. Chancellor Michael Amiridis is scheduled to attend the April 2018 meeting. For more information, call (312) 413-9299.

SUAA Has New Website

A NEW State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA) website has been unveiled at

ONE BIG change is the Members Only section. This will be easy for the membership to use once you have entered your membership information.

THE WEBSITE will interact with the SUAA database in updating dues, reports, and other information normally provided to Chapter Leaders.

SUAA HOPES that you will be able to find things easier and that you will use the website as a go-to place for legislative information, alerts, events, and helpful suggestions.

TO LOG in, all you will need to do is set up your password. This is an easy task. It is all personal to you. Click here to create your password. Once created, you can log in here, using your Username and new password.

WHILE YOU you are logged in, SUAA asks you to complete your profile.


The Library of the Health Sciences is available for use by APs.
Libraries Available for AP Use
THERE ARE two libraries on the Chicago campus, and APs may use them.

THE RICHARD J. Daley Library is at 801 S. Morgan St. and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call (312) 996-2716. The Library of the Health Sciences is at 1750 W. Polk St. and is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Call (312) 996-9163.

BOTH HAVE cafes featuring food and drink.

THE IDEA Commons is a collaboration space on the first floor of the Daley Library with meeting spaces, a performance area, movable furniture, and more than 100 computers, as well as an Instructional Technology Lab and Media Lab.

GET HELP from librarians on site or through live chat at


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.

Big retirement payouts tiny part of big pension mess, State Journal-Register, May 27, 2017:

The Decline of the Midwest’s Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies, The Atlantic, Oct. 15, 2017:

What Americans of every age should know about the state of retirement today, Morningstar, Oct. 19, 2017:

Rauner looks to Washington for the power to change pension benefits, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 23, 2017:

Vol. 10, No. 3 November 2017

APAC News is published by the Academic Professional Advisory Committee of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
ISSN 1946-1860
Editor: William S. Bike
Chair: Tracy Sikorski
Vice Chair: Colleen Piersen
Secretary: Mary Berta
Treasurer: Kimberly Mayfield
Web Chair: Jeff Alcantar