Human Resources Newsletter

November 2013

Newsletter Masthead


Welcome to the November 2013 issue of the HR newsletter. Learn more about:

  • the 2014 Open Enrollment going on through Monday, November 25
  • the Focused Learning Certificate Program: Handling Challenging Customer Situations
  • 2013 W-2s becoming available electronically
  • doing your Personal Wellness Profiles through November 29
  • the 2014 Benefits Fair and the raffle winners
  • the new online tuition remission application for faculty, staff and spouses/same-sex domestic partners
  • the Staff Council constituency districting and what it means for AU staff
  • the professional training opportunities for November and December

2014 Open Enrollment, November 4 – 25

Open Enrollment for 2014 benefits runs Monday, November 4 through Monday, November 25. The benefits elections and changes that you make will become effective January 1, 2014.

We encourage everyone to log on to the new myBenefits site and watch the five-minute video to learn more about open enrollment and myBenefits. View your current 2013 benefit elections (under Current Benefits tab) and decide if you wish to make any changes for 2014 (Open Enrollment tab).

You will need to make an election in myBenefits (Open Enrollment tab) if you wish to:

  • Change or add medical, dental, life, accident, or group legal coverage.
  • Renew or add a flexible spending account. Unlike your other benefits, your current flexible spending account elections do not carry over.
  • Change your life insurance beneficiaries. We recommend that you review your current life insurance beneficiaries to make sure that they are accurate and up to date.
  • Waive AU coverage. This is a new procedure for 2014. With the recent enactment of the Affordable Care Act, generally all U.S. citizens are required to be covered for health insurance in 2014 or incur a tax at the end of the year. If you wish to waive AU coverage in 2014, you will need to complete the myBenefits open enrollment process and indicate if you have coverage elsewhere.

This year we are excited to rollout myBenefits, where you can find information about all of AU’s benefits in one central, easy-to-use site all year round. myBenefits can be accessed through the myAU portal via the following steps:

  1. Log into the myAU portal;
  2. Select Work@AU; and
  3. Select Benefits (myBenefits).

Whether you plan on keeping your benefits the same or making changes, we encourage you to participate in this year’s online Open Enrollment process. It’s a great opportunity to review your current elections and confirm your dependent and beneficiary information.

There are answers to Frequently Asked Questions and User Guides for the new online enrollment system available on both the myBenefits landing page on the myAU portal > Work@AU > myBenefits and on the myBenefits website under the Open Enrollment button.

We have added a dedicated email and phone to help with any questions or assistance you might need. Please contact us at or 202-885-3400.

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Handling Challenging Customer Situations

The Workplace Learning and Development (WLD) team is excited to offer another “Brown Bag Series” Focused Learning certificate: Handling Challenging Customer Situations (open to all staff and faculty supervisors). Bring your lunch and join Michelle Frederick as she discusses proven techniques that will improve your customer service skill set (drinks will be provided).

November 20, 12 – 2 p.m. in McDowell Formal Lounge: The Art of Saying "No"

One of the hardest things to do is to tell a customer that you can't do what they want. There is a way to say "no" without using the word and this session will explore effective ways to do so. Join us as we identify situations and brainstorm how to deliver a "no" message effectively while leaving customers feeling that they have received an appropriate resolution.

November 26, 12 – 2 p.m. in MGC 200: Dealing with the Out-of-Bounds Customer

Difficult customers are bound to come our way. This session will help you to identify when customers are being difficult and effective strategies to prevent customers from becoming problematic.

December 3, 12 – 2 p.m. in MGC 247: Feedback: A Matter of Give and Take

Feedback from customers can be a valuable learning tool. However, feedback can be both difficult to hear and incorporate into our work. This session will help you identify the barriers to feedback and identify actions to use the feedback you have received.

Speaker Bio: Michelle Frederick is the Training and Organizational Development Manager for Facilities at AU where she conducts needs assessments, curriculum development, course design, and classroom training. Among several certifications, she is certified in Creative Problem Solving. Her specialties include training program design and delivery, facilitation, team building, organization development, conflict resolution, and professional development.

*Focused Learning Certificates are earned by attending three concentrated workshops that develop skills in a topic area. Register for these Focused Learning sessions on AsuccessfulU.

Other Focused Learning certificates coming soon:

  • Focused Learning: Improving Productivity - starting January 2014
  • Focused Learning: Improving Your Creative Thinking - starting April 2014

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W-2s Available Electronically

Beginning in November, traditional-format Form W-2s (Wage and Tax Statements) will be available electronically to all active faculty, staff, and students who received wages in 2013. This change is in conjunction with new upgrades to the university’s myAU portal. The availability of an electronic version of your Form W-2 offers instant access to your payroll information without the wait and delays associated with print and mail. This will be advantageous particularly to employees who wish to submit their tax returns early, or students who file Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications. Electronic access to your Form W-2 also helps to achieve American University’s sustainability goals.

To access your W-2 information electronically instead of a paper W-2, you first must “opt-in”, using the following steps:

  1. Go to the homepage
  2. Select Work@AU
  3. Complete the W-2 Electronic Consent Form located under Personalized Links

A deadline for your preferred election will be communicated to faculty, staff, and students before the holiday break. Once your 2013 Form W-2 has been loaded in mid-January, you simply can log-in to the myAU portal to access and print the form as often as you would like.

You will receive an email when the “Opt-In” election form becomes available this month.

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AhealthyU Personal Wellness Profile

Personal Wellness Profile – Give Us 15 Minutes, Get $50*

Don’t forget to log on and take the confidential Personal Wellness Profile (PWP) by November 29. Complete the PWP to get your wellness report and “health age.” You’ll learn what behaviors you’re doing well and get advice for follow-up steps that could make you healthier. Enter the results from your screening at our Know Your Numbers Health Screening events for a more complete personal report. The PWP only takes 15 minutes to complete.

Full-time faculty and staff are eligible for a choice of $50 in EagleBucks or $50 towards an AU Fitness Center membership for completing it. Reward subject to tax and eligibility rules. To take the PWP, visit

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2014 Benefits Fair

The 2014 Benefits Fair was held on November 7 in the Mary Graydon Center and offered faculty and staff the opportunity to meet with benefit providers in-person to ask questions and learn more about their specific offerings. Representatives from CareFirst, Delta Dental, Express Scripts, Fidelity, Kaiser, MetLife, PayFlex, AU Recreational Sports and Fitness, and TIAA-CREF were onsite.

Attendees were eligible for the Benefits Fair raffle with a chance to win a Kindle (courtesy of CareFirst), a membership to the AU Fitness Center, and other prizes contributed by the Benefits Fair vendors. Congratulations to the raffle winners (listed below)!

2014 Benefits Fair Raffle Winners

Third Place Winners

  • Colette AbiChaker - Delta Dental lunchbox
  • Julia Beyer - Metlife fleece throw
  • Lindsey Brown - Carefirst lunchbox
  • Andrew Dean - Carefirst lunchbox
  • Michelle Doyle - Kaiser tote bag
  • Mike Griffin - Delta Dental backpack
  • Stephanie Mahoney - Carefirst lunchbox
  • Thomas Nguyen - Fidelity Gym bag

Second Place Winners

  • Stephanie Block - Nike Sportband
  • Zakia Charfi - ipod shuffle
  • Fatemeh Shahkoldi - Nike Sportband
  • Heather Smith - ipod shuffle
  • Caroline Weil - One month AU Fitness membership

First Place Winner

  • Tasha Daniels - Amazon Kindle

The Benefits team would like to thank everyone who attended the 2014 Benefits Fair. We encourage all faculty and staff to go through the open enrollment process via the myAU portal (also see story above).

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New Online Tuition Remission Application for Faculty, Staff and Spouses/Same-Sex Domestic Partners

After four months of active, full-time employment, faculty, staff, and their spouses/same-sex domestic partners are eligible for tuition remission at American University or the Wesley Theological Seminary for up to eight credits per semester, to a maximum of 20 credits per academic year.

Thanks to the efforts of a cross-functional team to improve the tuition remission process, the online tuition remission application has been redesigned to enhance the customer experience and bring attention to the most pertinent tuition benefit information, such as: required supporting documents for work schedule adjustments and programs that are ineligible for remission.

In addition, you can easily find information regarding employee eligibility and the tuition remission process itself on the myBenefits site. myBenefits is accessed through the myBenefits portal > Work@AU > myBenefits. On the myBenefits site, hover over Education and click the Faculty/Staff, Spouses & Same-Sex Domestic Partners navigation.

Some benefits are taxable and certain courses are not covered. Please see the Education section under the myBenefits site for more detailed information. Contact with any additional questions.

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Staff Council Constituency Districting And What it Means for AU Staff

Although Staff Council members represent different departments and divisions at AU, not all of the 43 departments and nearly 240 departmental units had representation.

In an effort to resolve the representation dilemma, the Staff Council passed its new “Constituency Districting Plan,” at its August 6 meeting. Celina Ryan spearheaded the redistricting effort and added that, “By examining our current constituency practices, we realized that there were some gaps in departmental coverage, especially when a Staff Council representative transitions off the council and a new member joins. We also saw that certain members were carrying a heavier constituency load due to their division of origin and other procedural factors.”

John Mayhan, the lead architect of the redistricting initiative, said “The plan evolved out of a challenge on how to improve the communication between staff council members and their constituents. The [Staff Council’s] first challenge was to develop a ‘representation map’ for the AU community. The map defines the number of people in each department and the grouping of departments to form equally sized groupings. We worked hard to keep constituency coverage within the same divisions and average 77 full-time staff per district.”

What is the new redistricting plan?

Each member of Staff Council will represent a district. Most districts remain within the same divisions in AU’s institutional organizational chart.

In many cases, the Staff Council member will represent the department or division where they work. However, the redistricting plan is meant to ensure that departments that do not have a Staff Council member in office still have their voices heard and are informed about staff programs.

With their new districting process, Staff Council seeks ways to build more of a personal relationship between you and your representative. Staff Council plans to visit with each constituency group at your office location this fall.

You may reach out to Staff Council via their suggestion box, Facebook page, or your current Staff Council representative if you have any question.

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November & December Training Calendars






November 2013

Date Course Time Location
Wednesday, Nov. 6
Generations in the Workplace
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
MGC 200
Thursday, Nov. 7
Reaching Agreement in Teams
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 200
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Essentials of Leadership
1 p.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 203/205
Thursday, Nov. 14
People Management Basics
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 200
Wednesday, Nov. 20 Service Plus 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 200
Wednesday, Nov. 20
The Art of Saying No
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. McDowell Formal Lounge
Thursday, Nov. 21
Improving Personal Productivity
9 a.m. - 1 p.m. MGC 245
Thursday, Nov. 21
Project Management
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
McDowell Formal Lounge
Tuesday, Nov. 26
Dealing with Out of Bounds Customers
12 p.m. - 2 p.m. MGC 200

December 2013

Date Course Time Location
Tuesday, Dec. 3 Feedback:A Matter of Give and Take 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. MGC 247
Wednesday, Dec. 4 Maximizing Meeting Effectiveness 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. MGC 247
Wednesday, Dec. 4 Service Plus 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Watkins 102
Thursday, Dec. 5 Building an Environment of Trust for Leaders 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. MGC 245
Tuesday, Dec. 10 Valuing Diversity and Inclusion 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 200
Thursday, Dec. 12 Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. MGC 200
Tuesday, Dec. 17 Creating a Service Culture 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 247
Wednesday, Dec. 18 Resolving Conflict for Leaders 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. MGC 200

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