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SMU’s 2016 United Way campaign seeks to raise awareness, involvement along with cash

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas logoOrganizers of SMU’s 2016 United Way Campaign are seeking to raise awareness of how a little money can go a long way for the agencies and programs it supports. This year’s campaign takes place from Nov. 1-30.

Individuals can make their donations either directly to the United Way or to a partner agency of their choice through their personalized United eWay login, which will be sent each week in November via e-mail.

> Visit the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas online

Toys for Tickets 2016This year, the SMU campaign’s Day of Impact volunteer opportunity will take place at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC), according to SMU co-chairs Paul Krueger and Tim Norris. DCAC provides investigation, intervention and treatment services, free of charge, for more than 4,000 of Dallas’ most severely abused children and non-offending family members.

The 2016 campaign also includes a return of the popular Toys for Tickets program from Nov. 1-30, presented by the SMU Staff Association and SMU Parking and ID Card Services. Faculty, staff and students can redeem their unpaid parking tickets in exchange for new, nonviolent, unwrapped toys of equal or greater value. All donations will go to DCAC.

> Find a list of requested toys at smu.edu/smusa

For more information on how to make a United Way gift, contact Mary Tays. More information on this year’s campaign will appear in e-mail from SMU United Way and in future Forum posts.

November 2, 2016|News, Save the Date|

SMU Homecoming 2016 football tickets available for pick-up through Friday, Nov. 4

SMU-Memphis graphic, SMU Homecoming 2016

SMU faculty, staff and graduate students can claim four free tickets to the SMU-Memphis 2016 Homecoming game all this week at the Main Ticket Office, Loyd All-Sports Center.

Present your SMU ID at the window to claim your tickets. Main Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

#WearBlueSaturday is in effect for the Nov. 5 game.

> Find more information at SMU’s Homecoming page: smu.edu/homecoming

November 1, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Set your clocks to fall back Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016

Stock photo of a clock with sweep handsEarly sunsets are here again: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.

Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour earlier in observance of Standard Time. In addition, check your home and office computers and other electronic devices to be sure they’re displaying the correct time.

For help with your office computer clock, contact SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT).

October 31, 2016|News, Save the Date|

Changes ahead as SMU rolls out 2017 Open Enrollment, Oct. 14-31, 2016

Benefits U logoMedical premiums will increase by two percent as SMU prepares for its 2017 Open Enrollment period. University faculty and staff members will be able to make benefits changes for 2017 from Friday, Oct. 14 to Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.

SMU Human Resources will hold several information sessions at Expressway Tower and SMU-in-Plano. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend and become more familiar with the University’s health plans. You may review your options online before your session.

> RSVP online for an “Understanding the SMU Health Plans” session

Notable among this year’s changes is the discontinuation of the University’s $1,000 deductible plan effective Jan. 1, 2017, originally announced in 2015. Benefits-eligible employees will have the opportunity to choose a new plan at the $2,000, $2,600 or $5,000 deductible levels.

All copays will remain the same for all plans in 2017, including Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialist office visits as well as emergency room and Urgent Care Center (UCC) visits.

Get your flu shot for free during SMU’s Fall 2016 clinics

Prime Therapeutics, the University’s pharmacy benefits manager, is integrated with BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. Plan members have one customer service number and one online portal (BCBSTX) for all medical and pharmacy information. SMU’s DFW-area network of retail pharmacies include, but are not limited to, chains such as Costco, CVS, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb, Walmart and Walgreens. In addition, many locally owned, independent pharmacies throughout the area, including compounding pharmacies, are included in the network.

The open enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year, unless you have a qualified life event such as marriage or the birth of a child.

For 2017 open enrollment, you must take action if:

  • You are currently enrolled in the $1,000 deductible medical plan. If you are, and don’t make a new election, you will be enrolled in the $2,000 deductible medical option.
  • You want to make other changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents (eligible dependents include legal spouses and children).

  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2016. You must re-enroll in the FSAs or the HSA even if you participated in 2016.

In order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a Social Security number (SSN) is required for every individual enrolled in the SMU Medical Plan. If you have a spouse or dependent child enrolled in the plan, it is important that you enter a SSN for each.

> Find more information in SMU’s 2017 Benefits Guide

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through My.SMU.edu. To make your benefits elections for 2017:

  • Enter your My.SMU.edu user ID and password as you normally would to review your pay statement.
  • Click Benefits in the Employee Self-Service navigation on the right, then choose Benefits Enrollment to access your personalized Open Enrollment record.
  • Be sure to read all instructions carefully before making elections for 2017.

You will receive a confirmation statement summarizing your 2017 benefits elections in early December 2016.

> Learn more from the SMU Human Resources homepage: smu.edu/hr

October 12, 2016|News, Save the Date|

Artist-in-Residence Will Power to present free workshop for emerging playwrights; applications due Friday, Oct. 14, 2016

Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Artist-in-Residence Will Power leads a free six-week workshop at SMU for emerging DFW-area playwrights.

Applications are now being accepted for the fourth annual Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop, a free, six-week program for emerging playwrights presented by SMU faculty member Will Power.

Power, artist-in-residence in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts and playwright-in-residence and Mellon Foundation Fellow at Dallas Theater Center, will work closely with participants to sharpen their writing and help them develop professional relationships and learn from their peers in a rigorous and supportive environment.

> Learn more about Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power

Each participant will develop his or her own three-scene project, followed by a closed reading for workshop members with actors from SMU and the local community. SMU will host the program, which will meet once a week from Nov. 1-Dec. 5, 2016. Participants must be available on Nov. 1 and then on Monday evenings through Dec. 5.

The Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop is intended for emerging and mid-career professional playwrights who live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have previously written at least one play and are able to demonstrate a unique and compelling voice.

Download a 2016 Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop application

Interested writers should apply by submitting a completed application, a 10-page excerpt from any play they’ve written, a full-length play (one or two acts), a résumé or biography, and a one-page summary explaining their writing goals, the ways in which they’d like to develop as an artist and why they would like to participate in the program.

Application forms are available online and should be submitted via e-mail to Will Power. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. Central time.

In its first three years, the Dallas Playwrights’ Workshop has helped foster the work of a number of local theatre artists. Award-winning playwright and SMU staff member Jonathan Norton ’11, a participant in the inaugural class in 2013-14, said the workshop was “a game changer for me. It was great, and very necessary, to have a place to return to week after week to deep-dive into the craft of playwriting.

“Will creates a very supportive environment that is still incredibly demanding and rigorous. Through the workshop I was able to articulate my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and develop strategies to get better.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

October 7, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News, Save the Date|
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