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Human Resources Newsletter - July 2016

2016 Staff Appreciation Week Recap

Three smiling employees holding herbs at the Staff Appreciation picnic.

AU celebrated its staff members and their contributions at this year’s Staff Appreciation Week, June 6-10. Sponsored by the Office of Human Resources, the week featured favorites such as the annual staff picnic, AthankU for Your Thyme, the staff volleyball tournament, the Staff Performance Awards and Years of Service luncheon, and the 20-Year Club Celebration. New this year, the Cookie Bake-Off and a tour of the new WCL building were popular additions.

The Staff Appreciation Week committee would like to thank its many partners including AhealthyU, AU Recreational Sports & Fitness, Staff Council, AU Auxiliary Services, and AU Dining. Their events and support helped to make the week successful and fun.

Most of all, we’d like to thank all of our staff members for the work that you do each day. We’re happy that so many participated in this year’s activities and we look forward to another great year.

2016 Volleyball Tournament Champions: Athletics Department

Kirsten Gebhart, Nick Lamarca, Colleen McCaffrey, Jackie Murray, Chris Nasti, Chris Ray, Greg Savage, Erin Schneidt Miller, Greg Smith, and Dwayne Wilkerson

Cookie Bake-Off Winners:

Best Overall Cookie: Sarah Correnti (Russian Tea Cakes)
Most Creative Cookie (Tied): Kylene Page (Summer Strawberry Lemon Tea Cookies) and Jennifer Tether (Jen’s Brownie Squares)
Fan Favorite: Marley Crutcher (Citrus Bars)

Trivia in the Tavern 1st Place Team: Bookie Monster (AU Library)

AhealthyU Health & Wellness Fair Raffle Winners:

Gregory Austin, Ruben Chavez, Angela Dadak, Harry Gilliard, Bill Harder, JV Kirkland, Markus McEaddy, Samantha Mitchell, Marianne Norman, Heather Pratt, Sarah Riley, and Ebo Stephens.

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AhealthyU Calendar

Weight Watchers®

Thursdays | 12pm | MGC 330-N

AU Farmers Market

Wednesdays | 12pm - 4pm | WCL, Tenley Campus

From the Farmer

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

Group Exercise Classes for Faculty & Staff 

Monday – Friday | May 23 - August 5  

AhealthyU Calendar

AhealthyU Spotlight

Tips for Getting More Steps

Maylin Wallace from AU’s Student Health Center suggests wearing your fitness tracker when doing things with your kids, which includes playing soccer, riding bikes, or even walking. 

Maylin says, “When you are having fun with your kids, it doesn’t feel like a workout.”

HR Newsletter Archives

Read past issues of the Human Resources Newsletter

How to Contact Us

Human Resources
(202) 885-2591

PMP and AsuccessfulU Questions?

Do you have a question about the revamped PMP? Having trouble finding or logging in to set up your goals in AsuccessfulU? Email and a member of the HR team will help you.

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AU Honors 2016 Staff Performance Awards Winners, Years of Service Honorees and Twenty-Year Club Inductees

2016 Years of Service Award

Each year, AU honors staff for their outstanding performance that goes above and beyond their normal duties to create an excellent customer experience and move the university towards achieving its strategic goals.

The 2016 Performance Award winners have exceptional stories and achievements. Please click on the links to read their citations.

  • Maria Bueno Lifetime Achievement Award: Wanda Mable-Young
  • Collaboration Award: The Student Payment Working Group (Nicole Bresnahan, Bethany Bridgham, Carol Edwards, Ganiat Harris, Selena Healey, Robert Lancaster, Brian Lee Sang, Shirleyne McDonald, Prita Patel, and Carol Wisniewski)
  • Customer Support Award: Stephanie DeStefano
  • Diversity & Inclusion Award: Angie McCarthy
  • Innovation & Change Award: The Student Planning Team (Matteo Becchi, Samuel Berhanu, Ryan Bien, Jonnel Clothier, Darrell Cook, Rebecca Davis, Michael Giese, Jillian Ivey, Dhamma Jama, Glenn Kwak, Eugene Logan, Lana Ludanova, Doug McKenna, Randall Saba, Tara Sabbagh, and Kristina Whitchurch)
  • Service to the AU Community:The Working Team for the UPass Referendum (Lisa Leone Boms, Hannah Debelius, Franki Fitterer, Chad LaDue, Camille Lepre, and Megan Zanella-Litke)

AU also recognizes staff for their continued dedication, contribution, and service when they reach five-, ten-, fifteen-, and twenty-plus year milestones.

Congratulations to all of our 2016 Staff Performance Award winners and Years of Service honorees.

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STAFF: Complete Your PMP Year-End Appraisal by August 1

Complete your 2015-2016 Performance Management Program (PMP) Year-end Appraisal by August 1. The Year-end Appraisal is the last phase in the PMP process and the overall performance rating that is determined by the Year-end Appraisal is one of the factors considered in the merit award process.

The appraisal phase is an opportunity to have an open dialogue with your manager about the past year, acknowledge your accomplishments, receive feedback, and remove any barriers for the next performance year. 

The Year-end Appraisal begins with your self-assessment. We recommend that you complete your self-assessment as soon as possible to give your manager enough time to do their evaluation and have your Year-end Appraisal discussion. Some departments may have earlier, internal deadlines. Check with your HR Rep or manager for details.

There are a number of resources to help you prepare for the discussion, including in-person and online training, the competency guide, and system user guides, all available on AsuccessfulU. Contact the PMP Super User in your department, or submit a question directly to

We’ve heard you. Based on your feedback the Workplace Learning and Development team is assessing our PMP process to make it simpler, relevant, and beneficial to staff and managers. We will distribute a survey this summer which will give you an opportunity to provide input and help shape the PMP going forward. Thank you for your continued feedback of the PMP process.

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AU’s 21st Century Leadership Institute Completes Second Cohort

2016 21st Century Institute Cohort

AU's 21st Century Leadership Institute is the university's elite program to develop staff leaders. Nominated by the university leadership and invited by Dr. Kerwin to participate in the institute, cohort members attend a rigorous 6-month program which integrates classroom learning with practical action learning that can be applied in their positions at AU.

In May 2016, the 24 members of the second cohort completed the 21st Century Leadership Institute program. Each participant worked on an Action Learning Project that applied their classroom learning to real organizational issues such as Kevin Barrett’s Community Liaison Program or Christopher Lewis’ WAMU Startup Incubator. The program concluded on May 24. Cohort members presented their Action Learning projects and shared their experiences with their managers, members of the Cabinet, and Dr. Kerwin.

"The 21st Century Leadership Institute really enhanced and reinvigorated my work. I appreciate the investment that the university makes to grow its leaders and it has made me, a longtime AU staffer, feel valued. The process took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to explore bigger concepts, examine my leadership style, and showed me how I can contribute to the AU community at large." - Kristi Plahn-Gjersvold, Director of Projects, School of Communication.

Congratulations to the 21st Century Leadership Institute’s 2015-2016 cohort.  

Laurie Ambach
Kevin Barrett
Brian Blair
Jesse Boeding
Stephanie Brookstein
Traci Callandrillo
Gerold Cameron
Jerrad Carter
Darrell Cook
Douglas Fairley
Lisa Freeman
Kristi Plahn-Gjersvold
Josphine Finamore Harrington
Andrew Huff
Casey Jacobs
Robert Kelshian
Jesse Lanier
Christopher Lewis
Shirleyne McDonald
James Merrifield
Jacqueline Palumbo
Amy Tenney
Leanne Wright
Julia Zito

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Changes to AU’s 403(b) Retirement Plan – New Fund Line Up and Online Services Now Available

Retirement Plan 2016

AU recently announced new services and changes to our highly valued 403(b) Retirement Plan to make managing your retirement account a little easier for you. Plan benefits, such as the generous 2-to-1 match on the first 5% of your contributions and immediate vesting will not change.

Over the last year, the University Retirement Plan Investment Advisory Committee worked with an outside retirement financial advisor, CAPTRUST, to evaluate the retirement plan investment options. As a result, we introduced a new investment fund lineup, a new retirement portal, and opportunities to learn more about these important changes.

New Tiered Investment Lineup Overview

As of May 16, 2016, you can call or go online to make changes into the new funds. To make the investments easier to understand while providing greater flexibility, the options have been categorized into four tiers:

Tier 1: Target Date Retirement Funds (for the “Do It for Me” investor that provides a mix of investments based on your target retirement year)
Tier 2: Passively Managed Funds (a low cost option that mirrors the index funds in the market)
Tier 3: Actively Managed Funds (have a fund manager who is actively working to beat the market)
Tier 4: Brokerage Account & Other (provides an option to actively select funds that are not offered in the first three tiers of the university’s investment line up)

You may select from a single tier or combine tiers to create an asset allocation that works for you. Make investment option changes directly with your investment service provider (TIAA or Fidelity).

If you do not take action, no changes will be made to your account at this time. Additional information will be sent in September regarding the move of your existing and future retirement contributions on October 14, 2016 to like funds in our new investment line up. 

New Retirement Portal

Make changes to the amount that you contribute to your retirement plan, your investment service provider selection (TIAA or Fidelity), or enroll in the plan on the new myBenefits – Retirement site (or through the myAU portal under Work@AU). Fidelity Investments supports our enrollment process and provides ongoing administrative service to our retirement plan participants, regardless whether you invest with Fidelity or TIAA. For investments selections, you still need to contact the service provider.

Meet with a TIAA or Fidelity Representative

Now is a great time to schedule an appointment for a confidential consultation to discuss your retirement planning goals for your personals situation. Call TIAA at 800-732-8353 or Fidelity at 800-642-7131, to schedule your consultation.

Clarification and Correction

Since the printing of the Retirement Guide in May 2016, please note the following updates:

Effective June 14, 2016, Fidelity removed “Spartan” from the name of each Spartan Index Fund and replaced it with “Fidelity.” The ticker symbols for the funds remain the same. The ticker symbol for the Fidelity Global ex US Index Fund was incorrectly printed as FSGCX. The correct ticker is FSGDX.

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Fair Labor Standards Act Update

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Labor announced a Final Rule to update the regulations governing the exemption of employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule is effective December 1, 2016.

With this change, some staff who are currently paid on a salaried (monthly) basis, who earn less than $47,476 per year, may be converted to hourly (bi-weekly) pay and become eligible for overtime pay. This affects a very small percentage of AU’s employees. Human Resources is meeting and working with departments who have staff members that may be affected. Once a review has been completed, Human Resources will contact those affected to help you understand the changes.

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Give Us 15 Minutes and We'll Give You $50

AhealthyU Health Assessment apple

Health assessments are back, now through October 31. Complete your online health assessment and we’ll give you $50* in EagleBucks or as a credit towards an AU Recreational Sports and Fitness membership.

Why take the health assessment?

The health assessment provides you with a confidential, personalized, wellness report that identifies your good habits and recommends steps for improving other areas of your health. Making small changes now may help you with prevention and early detection of serious health issues. For the most accurate score, have the results from your most recent health screening or annual physical on hand. Don’t forget, if you are enrolled in either of AU’s medical plans, there is no copayment for annual physicals.

The health assessment and $50 incentive are only available to full-time faculty and staff. Participants will also be automatically entered into a drawing for a Fitbit Flex.**

Faculty and staff who need additional accommodations or would like more information, contact

Participating in the health assessment and other wellness programs and services will not have a negative impact on you, your family, your job at American University, or your healthcare costs. AU does not receive information on individuals or their answers to the health assessment. AU’s health and wellness resources are confidential and meant to help you live your healthiest life possible.

*Prizes and $50 reward are subject to tax. Faculty and staff members are only eligible to receive the $50 reward once during 2016. 

**Fitbit Flex is a registered trademark of Fitbit and Fitbit is not a participant in or sponsor of this program.

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Staff Council Holds Inaugural Conference

Staff Council Tout

Over 85 AU staff members attended Staff Council’s Inaugural Conference: TEACH. LEARN. GROW. Creating the Culture of Learning, presented on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. The Inaugural Conference served to encourage collaboration of new ideas across campus, highlight AU talent, and inspire new engagements and partnerships within the AU community.

The conference featured 13 insightful and educational presentations such as, Exploring Disability: From Access to Inclusion, Mentoring Matters (a campus wide pilot program launching this fall), and Professional Involvement: Why would I do that?* There was also a special brown bag lunch panel featuring members of AU’s 21st Century Leadership Institute program. After the conference, staff were invited to attend a listening session with the Presidential Search Committee to ensure the “staff voice” was heard in the search for AU’s next president.

The program received considerable positive feedback and will be introducing monthly lunch and learns to build upon the Culture of Learning. The first presentation will be hosted in September 2016. For a complete listing of sessions and more information on the Staff Council Conference, please visit our conference page:

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WLD  August Training Calendar

This Summer Dive into Workplace Learning and Development's Professional Development Courses.

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.
Wednesday, August 3  9 a.m. – 5 p.m Service Plus
Monday, August 15  1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Creating a Service Culture 

Please contact the Workplace Learning and Development team at with any questions.

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Workplace Learning and Development