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Human Resources Newsletter - April 2017

403(b) Retirement Plan Changes

Retirement Plan 2016

AU periodically reviews the university’s 403(b) Retirement Plan to make sure it continues to help you meet your retirement and financial goals. Among the things considered are the range of investment options available through the Plan, investment option performance and value, and access to services that complement your account. 

The University Retirement Plan Investment Advisory Committee, along with outside retirement financial advisor, CAPTRUST, decided to make changes to the Plan’s investment lineup, which became effective on March 1, 2017 on TIAA and on March 7, 2017 with Fidelity Investments. 

Share Class Change 

The share class of the Plan’s target date retirement fund options, offered through both TIAA and Fidelity, has changed from Vanguard Target Retirement Fund Investor Shares to Vanguard Target Retirement Fund Institutional Shares. As a result, the fund codes, ticker symbols, and expense ratios have changed. The new share class offers you the same investment strategy and risk, but at a lower expense. 

The new Institutional Shares will replace the Investor Shares as the default investment option for the Plan. If you were invested in the default option, this change will apply to your existing balance and any future contributions. 

What Do I Need to Do?

You don’t need to do anything. The balance transfers will appear as an exchange on your account history and quarterly statement. 

However, if you would like to request changes to your account, obtain additional information, or find answers to questions see:

TIAA Only – New Investment Option 

Effective March 1, 2017, the Plan removed the TIAA-CREF Money Market Fund Institutional and redirected funds from the CREF Money Market Account R2-Variable Annuity.

If you had any assets in the TIAA-CREF Money Market Fund Institutional, the assets were transferred to the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund Investor Shares, a lower expense replacement option. Future contributions also will be invested in the replacement fund. 

Current assets in the CREF Money Market Account R2 will remain in that fund, but all future contributions will be directed to the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund Investor Shares, which is a lower expense option. 

The Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund Investor Shares was added as a new investment option in the Tier 3: Actively Managed Funds lineup in the March 1 Plan change. 

If you would like to request changes to your account, obtain additional information, or find answers to questions, visit TIAA.org/american or call 800-842-2776.

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AhealthyU Calendar

Weight Watchers®

Thursdays | 12pm | Main Campus

AU Farmers Market

Wednesdays | 11pm - 4pm | Quad

From the Farmer

Tuesdays | Afternoons MGC, WCL, & 3201 New Mexico Ave.

Group Exercise Classes for Faculty & Staff 

Monday – Friday | Now - April 28

View the full AhealthyU calendar

One-on-One Retirement Sessions

Fidelity
Tuesday, April 11
Wednesday, April 12
Tuesday, May 2
Thursday, May 4

Click here to schedule.

TIAA
Wednesday, April 5
Wednesday, April 19
Wednesday, May 10
Wednesday, May 24

Call 800-732-8353 to schedule.

IRS Deadline to Submit FSA Claims: April 30, 2017

Submit claims against your 2016 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balance for any eligible expenses you incur from January 1, 2016 - March 15, 2017. The deadline for submitting 2016 claims is April 30, 2017 at 11:59pm.

Submit claims electronically to PayFlex at https://www.payflex.com/

Or submit claims to PayFlex by fax:

Fax your completed claim form to PayFlex at (888) 238-3539. Visit the myBenefits site to obtain a claim form. For questions contact the HR Benefits Team at
(202) 885-3400.

Staff Annual Leave: Use It or Lose It by April 30

Work with your supervisor to plan and schedule your use of annual leave by April 30, 2017. Fifteen-day carry-over means that for employees with a:

  • 35-hour workweek, the limit is 105 hours of earned annual leave;
  • 28-hour workweek, the limit is 84 hours of earned annual leave;
  • 40-hour workweek, the limit is 120 hours earned annual leave.

2017 Great Colleges to Work for Program

American University is participating in the 2017 Great Colleges to Work For program sponsored by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Now in its tenth year, the Great Colleges program recognizes institutions that have created exceptional work cultures. American University typically participates in the program every two years, last surveying faculty and staff in 2015.

We have learned through our work on RiSE, especially from organizations that have been recognized for their great work environments, that we must aim for a more unified focus on the quality of the student and staff experience, improved relationships among employees, and more integrated systems and work processes.

A randomly selected group of faculty and staff are being surveyed between March 13 – April 7, 2017 and their feedback will factor into the overall scoring process which determines the institutions that are recognized as a Great Colleges to Work For. 

The survey is designed specifically for higher education and will be processed by ModernThink LLC, a research and consulting firm focusing on workplace excellence. Survey responses are confidential and participation is voluntary and measures satisfaction with: 

  1. Job Satisfaction/Support
  2. Teaching Environment
  3. Professional Development
  4. Compensation, Benefits & Work/Life Balance
  5. Facilities
  6. Policies, Resources & Efficiency
  7. Shared Governance
  8. Pride
  9. Supervisors/Department Chairs
  10. Senior Leadership
  11. Faculty, Administration, & Staff Relations
  12. Communication
  13. Collaboration
  14. Fairness
  15. Respect & Appreciation

If you received an invitation to participate in the survey, we thank you for your participation. Please contact Shelly D’Amico, AU’s survey coordinator, at sdamico@american.edu, or visit www.ChronicleGreatColleges.com, if you have any questions.

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Performance Management Program – Update Your Goals and Have Check-Ins with Your Manager

As a reminder, while the Performance Management Program redesign work is ongoing, it is important for you to continue to capture and acknowledge the hard work that you are doing. Although there will not be a formal Mid-year discussion, we encourage all staff and managers to continue to connect to discuss progress towards goals, celebrate successes, and identify and clear obstacles.  

The Year-end review will occur in June and appraisals will be due on Monday, July 31. If you have not yet entered your goals for the 2016-2017 PMP cycle, please take this opportunity to record 3-6 goals in AsuccessfulU. 

It is also an opportunity to note your progress towards these goals. The progress notes will populate in the Year-end form. A brief guide on how to add or edit your goals is attached below and available on AsuccessfulU.  

View the PMP Design Team

Guide to Add or Edit Goals 

If you have any questions about the PMP or the status of the redesign initiative, please email AsuccessfulU@american.edu.

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AU Mentoring Matters Program Launches University-Wide this Summer

A man is speaking to a woman in a mentoring manner.

Open to all full- and part-time staff, the AU Mentoring Matters program kicks-off in earnest this summer. Protégés can enhance skills, gain knowledge, explore new career paths, and learn from experienced AU faculty or staff members. Mentors have the opportunity to help others grow personally and professionally by sharing their experience and institutional knowledge to junior members of the community. The program’s formal and systematic approach creates opportunities for mentors and protégés to collaborate between organizational boundaries and form strong relationships throughout the university. 

Modeling the successful mentorship programs implemented at The Office of Information and Technology (OIT) and Facilities Management, the Mentoring Matters committee has been developing a mentorship program that fosters personal and professional growth and broadens the understanding of the university’s mission and vision.  

The Mentoring Matters program piloted in the fall of 2016 and included participants from the University Library, Facilities Management, Office of Enrollment, HR, OIT, and University Communications & Marketing. The Mentoring Matters committee is evaluating the results and lessons learned from the six-month pilot and refining the program that will be offered to the wider community this summer.

The Office of Human Resources and the Mentoring Matters committee is excited to offer the mentoring program at AU this summer. The program offers three types of mentorship opportunities: 

  1. Shadowing – Protégés observe a mentor on the job for a day.
  2. Situational – Protégés learn specific skills through hands on training.
  3. Traditional – Protégés and mentors develop a relationship that helps foster professional growth.

Watch for future communications about the Mentoring Matters timeline and implementation date that is currently scheduled for June. If you are interested in learning more about the Mentoring Matters program or becoming a mentor or protégé, please contact Michelle Frederick at mfrederi@american.edu.

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“Stretch it Out” with Five-Minute Stretch Breaks (Livestream via Skype® for Business)

Loosen up and relieve tired, achy muscles, and boost your energy levels with just five minutes of light stretching. No need to travel, join AU Recreational Sports & Fitness staff members as they lead you through light and easy five-minute "Stretch it Out" sessions that you can do from your desk, livestreamed through AU's Skype for Business®.

Stretch it Out is sponsored by AhealthyU, AU Recreational Sports & Fitness and the Office of Information Technology and livestreams five-minute stretch breaks every Tuesday and Friday at 2:30pm. Contact AhealthyU at ahealthyu@american.edu to receive a calendar invitation and a link to watch Stretch it Out sessions live from the comfort of your office. All sessions will be recorded and available for future viewing at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxHTujs3uyNJkO1NBupzOdQ.

For help with installing or using Skype for Business contact the OIT Help Desk at ext. 2550 or http://www.american.edu/oit/HelpDesk-Chat.cfm.

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Submit Summer 2017 Tuition Remission Applications by May 15, 2017

Are you planning on taking classes this summer? AU offers tuition remission for eligible faculty, staff, spouses and same-sex domestic partners at AU and Wesley Theological Seminary. 

Applications for Summer 2017 must be submitted by Monday, May 15, 2017. 

Learn more at an upcoming brown bag workshop. 

UPCOMING TUITION REMISSION BROWN BAG WORKSHOPS May 1 & May 10, 2017

Attend an upcoming workshop to get an overview of the tuition remission benefit. Note: There are separate sessions on education benefits for dependents, generally in May and October. 

Workshop 1: Monday, May 1

Time: 12:00-1:00pm
Location*: MGC 200

Workshop 2: Wednesday, May 10

Time: 12:00-1:00pm
Location*: MGC 200

*Watch for updated session information and room locations on Today@AU.

Register on AsuccessfulU. 

TUITION REMISSION TAXATION REMINDER

All graduate level courses are 100% taxable although faculty and staff receive annually the first $5,250 of their tuition tax-free. Same-sex domestic partners are taxed 100% on undergraduate classes. 

When you receive a taxable tuition benefit for you, your spouse or same-sex domestic partner, or your dependent, the value of the benefit is imputed as taxable income. Imputed income taxes are paid through payroll deductions scheduled during the semester the benefit is issued.

Taxation on remitted tuition can significantly reduce your net (take-home) pay! 

Use the Symmetry calculator to estimate your take-home pay if you will be taking courses that are subject to taxation. Because there are many factors that may affect your individual situation, you may want to consult a tax advisor. 

Important Facts About AU's Tuition Remission: 

  • Applications must be submitted each semester that you use tuition remission.
  • Summer 2017 tuition remission online applications are due May 15; applications received after May 15 will be denied.
  • Flex Work Arrangement and/or Work Schedule Exemption forms are due May 15. Allow sufficient time for manager and department approvals.
  • Full-time faculty and staff are eligible for tuition remission benefits if they started employment prior to January 14, 2017.
  • Tuition remission for eligible courses is covered for 8 credits for each semester, and up to 20 credits per academic year.
  • Some courses are not covered. See the ineligible programs list.
  • Application, exam, matriculation, course and lab fees are not covered.

 If you have any questions or need assistance with tuition remission, contact the Benefits Team at autuitionbenefits@american.edu or x3400.

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WLD April Training Calendar

2016-2017 WLD I AM AU Training Catalog. AU faculty and staff engage in a seminar.

Register for the instructor led courses listed below by logging into AsuccessfulU, AU's online training registration system via the portal.

How to Access the Learning Module in AsuccessfulU:

  • Click here to access AsuccessfulU’s portal page.
  • Click the "Go to AsuccessfulU" button in the middle of the page.
  • From the "Home" tab on the top left of the page click on "Learning" from the drop down menu.
  • This will launch your personal profile in the “Learning” tab. You can search and register for training sessions here.

DATE TIME TITLE
Tuesday, April, 4
9 a.m. -1 p.m.
Emotional Intelligence for the Workplace
Thursday, April, 6
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Dealing with Out of Bounds Customers
Monday, April, 11
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Giving and Receiving Ideas
Thursday, April, 13
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Critical Thinking for Peak Performance
Thursday, April, 13
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Service Plus
Tuesday, April, 25
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Feedback: A Matter of Give and Take
Wednesday, April, 26
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
StrengthsFinder

Note: Scheduled course offerings are subject to change. Please check Today@AU for updated listings.

View the new professional development catalog to see professional development course offerings for 2017.

Please contact the Workplace Learning and Development team at AsuccessfulU@american.edu with any questions.

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AU Office of Human Resources