Have You Checked Your Beneficiary Information Lately?
If you are enrolled in AU’s basic life insurance or retirement plans, it is important to make sure that your beneficiary information is up to date. Where, and to whom, proceeds are disbursed is dependent on the beneficiary information you provide. In fact, named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement accounts generally supersede instructions in wills.
That means that even if your will and other estate-planning documents are current, your best intentions can be undone if the beneficiary information in your life insurance and retirement plans is not current. For example, if you named your parents as your beneficiaries before you were married and never updated your information, your parents – not your spouse – could inherit your life insurance benefit. Similarly, a former spouse could inherit your 403(b) account if you did not update your beneficiary designations after a divorce.
It's important to review beneficiary designations whenever you experience life changes such as marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, or birth of children or grandchildren. By periodically reviewing your beneficiary designations, you can be assured that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes.
Ways to Check Your Beneficiaries:
To verify your life insurance beneficiaries, visit the myBenefits page through the myAU portal.
Depending on which retirement plans(s) you are enrolled in, visit the Fidelity and/or TIAA-CREF websites to verify your beneficiaries.*
*Note that both Fidelity and TIAA-CREF have moved many of their services and information to be accessible online. If no beneficiary designation appears online, the most recent hard copy of your enrollment form contains the beneficiary of record. This is an ideal time to update your beneficiaries. Your online beneficiary designation is always the beneficiary of record and supersedes all previous beneficiary designations.
Making proper beneficiary designations is an important part of your estate planning. Be sure to consult with a legal advisor and/or an estate planning professional if you have questions regarding your beneficiary designations.
403(b) Retirement Plan Disclosure Notice
Starting June 17, all faculty and staff who are eligible for the American University 403(b) retirement plan will receive an email from Fidelity with the subject line “Important Plan Information.” The message will provide a link to a disclosure notice with information about all available investment options, including associated performance information, plan fees, and expenses, in accordance with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations.
American University has contracted with Fidelity Brokerage Services to distribute the disclosure notice, which will include both TIAA-CREF and Fidelity information. You will receive the notice regardless of whether you participate currently in the retirement plan.
Please note, if access to a computer and email are not an integral part of your job, the disclosure notice will be mailed to your home address.
No cost for all AU Rec Sports members, $5 per class for non-members. Classes run Monday – Thursday. Includes Pilates, Cardio Strength, Tai Chi, Spin, Yoga, Total Body Conditioning and Zumba. May 26 – Aug. 7.
PMP Year-end Staff Self-Assessments due to Managers by June 25
The 2014-2015 Performance Management Program (PMP) Year-end Appraisal kicked off on June 4. By July 31, you and your manager are required to finalize your Year-end Appraisal which is the last phase in the PMP process. Some departments may have earlier, internal deadlines. Check with your HR Rep for details.
The appraisal phase is an opportunity to have an open dialogue with your manager about the past year, to acknowledge your accomplishments, receive feedback, and remove any barriers for the next performance year. Your overall performance rating is determined by the Year-end Appraisal and is one of the factors considered in the merit award process.
We recommend that you complete your self-assessment by June 25 to give your manager enough time to do their evaluation and have your Year-end Appraisal discussion.
To begin your self-assessment, login to AsuccessfulU. 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 AsuccessfulU@american.edu.
WLD Custom-Designed Program Allows SPExS Staff to Train as a Team
When Operations Manager Jennifer Arnold at AU’s School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS) was tasked with managing professional development and training opportunities for SPExS staff, she began to research available options. In her search for training that would be relevant and worthwhile for her team, she discovered that the Human Resources Workplace Learning and Development (WLD) team offers customized training programs and certifications.
Arnold explained that based on a consensus of the interests and needs that would be most beneficial to their staff, they requested that the WLD team customize the Building Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion certificate program to meet the requirements of SPExS staff.
WLD customized the course specifically to help the SPExS staff focus on ways to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as it applies to them, and use the tools and methods to interact more effectively and successfully with other schools as well as with the AU community. As a result of SPExS-focused nature of the certification program, it also has enabled the participants to get to know each other better and bolster relationships within the team itself.
According to Arnold, "We've had three of the four trainings for the certificate so far and overall, response to the courses has been positive and participation has been high. We've even had to find new meeting space to accommodate the number of staff that have wanted to attend. These courses have been very beneficial to SPExS especially since we've had several new staff members added in the past year. We've found these courses to be a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other better and build a stronger team environment."
WLD’s customized programs are designed to train participants in their work environment rather than a classroom, allowing them to interact and collaborate with their colleagues with whom they work alongside every day.
To custom design one of the many courses offered by WLD to meet the needs and demands of your unit, contact AsuccessfulU.
American University’s annual celebration of the contributions of its staff took place during Staff Appreciation Week, May 18-22, and featured five days full of events, activities, and festivities. Top performers were recognized with awards for their dedication, contributions, and service, as well as staff whose years of service reached five-, ten-, fifteen-, and twenty-plus year milestones. Staff Appreciation Week activities included the Cupcake Bake-Off, volleyball tournament, and the annual barbeque on the Quad.
To see who received special recognition, be sure to check out the list of honorees, inductees, and winners:
May 15 was national Bike to Work Day. To commemorate the day, American University encouraged its staff, faculty, and students to ride their bicycles to campus.
AhealthyU sponsored a special breakfast for those who biked to campus, and conducted a raffle for participants featuring bike-themed prizes. In the week leading up to Bike to Work Day, the AhealthyU hosted a bike-to-work workshop to inform staff of bike safety tips, convenient routes to take, and connected participants to bike together. The Jacobs Fitness Center also offered use of its showers for bike commuters. Additionally, Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclists Association (WABA) hosted nearly 80 pit stops where bikers could take a breather on their way to work in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Among the participants, Tony Roane from the Washington College of Law commuted the furthest distance to campus by cycling 25 miles from Herndon, VA.
Bike To Work Day is not just a one-day event at AU. Currently, the university is working towards a Bike-Friendly University certification from the League of American Bicyclists. As part of its efforts to make AU bicycle-friendly for commuters to the university, old bicycle racks throughout campus are being replaced with new, more secure models. The number of racks and more visible signage showing bicycle parking locations also are on the increase throughout campus. Bike commuters also can register their bicycles with AU’s Department of Public Safety to receive commuter incentives and benefits.
Encouraging more people to bike to campus is part of the university’s efforts to promote healthy lifestyles, a smaller carbon footprint, as well to help reduce traffic on neighborhood streets.