Skip to main content

Human Resources Newsletter

June 2015

BeneficiariesHave 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:

*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.

Return to top

AhealthyU Calendar

Weight Watchers at Work

Every Thursday
Mary Graydon Center, Room 330-N

Summer Walking Group

Weekly group walks on campus with guided discussion on specific wellness topics. Meet in front of Cassell Fitness Center, 12:05 – 12:50pm. Email RSVP to

  • June 25: Exercise Prescription
  • June 29: Overcoming Barriers, Exercise Adherence and Motivation
  • July 7: Sleep and Your Health
  • July 15: Food as Fuel
  • July 23: The Mind-Body Connection
  • July 31: The Negative Effects of Sitting

From the Farmer

Local produce and goods delivered to main campus, WCL, 4401 Connecticut Ave. and 3201 New Mexico Ave. on Tuesday afternoons.

Group Exercise Classes

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.

Click here for printable calendar.

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 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.

Follow us on Twitter @AUemployees

2015 PMP Year-end Assessment due by June 25

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

Return to top

School of Professional & Extended Studies logo

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.

Return to top

2015 Staff Appreciation - Thanks for a great week!

2015 Staff Appreciation Week Recap

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:

The winners of Staff Appreciation Week activities were:

  • Volleyball Tournament: Code Blue from the Office of Campus Life
  • Cupcake Bake-Off:
    • Most Creative – Phylicia Ching (Breakfast Cupcake)
    • Best Tasting – Delores Cooper (Zinfandel Wine Cupcakes)
    • Fan Favorite – Michelle Doyle (Ganache These Are Delicious)

Thanks to everyone for their dedication, service, and participation.

Return to top

2015 Bike to Work

Erica F @enviro_writer

AU Encourages Bike to Work Day Everyday

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.

Return to top

Workplace Learning & Development June - July Training Calendar

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.
Tuesday, June 16
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Intro to Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Thursday, June 18
9 a.m. – 1 p.m Presenting Yourself with Impact
Thursday, June 18 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Writing Your Self-Review
Tuesday, June 23
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Process Mapping
Wednesday, June 24
1 p.m. –5 p.m. Building an Environment of Trust for Leaders
Wednesday, June 24
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. The Art of Saying "No"
Thursday, June 25
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Personal Empowerment: Using Your Initiative
Thursday, June 25
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Writing Your Self-Review
Monday, June 29
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Dealing with Out of Bounds Customers
Monday, June 29
1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Performance Based Coaching
Tuesday, June 30
9 a.m. – 1 p.m Developing Others
Wednesday, July 1
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Taking Charge of Your Career Development
Tuesday, July 7
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Feedback: A Matter of Give and Take
Wednesday, July 8
9 a.m. –1 p.m. Reaching Agreement in Teams
Wednesday, July 8
12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Enhancing Your Professional Growth and Development
Thursday, July 9
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
People Management Basics
Friday, July 10
9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Conflict Styles
Friday, July 10
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Conflict and Culture
Friday, July 10
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Dealing with Conflict
Monday, July 13
1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Reviewing Performance Progress
Wednesday, July 15
1 p.m - 5 p.m.
Maximizing Meeting Effectiveness

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

Return to top

Workplace Learning and Development