benefits

SMU urges flu shots and other preventive measures

SMU health officials remind students, faculty and staff to take precautions against the flu and help prevent its spread by getting a flu shot.

Potentially severe flu season

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, cases of influenza are expected to increase across the country. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, it is recommended that if you did not get a flu shot last fall, you should do so at the SMU Health Center or at a local pharmacy, clinic or physician’s office.

National data indicate that this year’s vaccine may be somewhat less effective than in previous years, but getting vaccinated continues to offer the best protection against the flu, according to the CDC.

Where to obtain a flu shot

Flu shots are available at no cost to SMU faculty, staff and students, while supplies last, at the SMU Health Center, 3014 Daniel Avenue, 214-768-2141. No appointment is needed; bring your SMU ID to the Health Center.

In case of a health emergency, students should call 911.

The Health Center has resumed normal operating hours, with flu shots and other services available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

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SMU adds online course option for Jan Term 2015

SMU’s Jan Term – previously known as the J Term – is expanding again, adding its first online course offering to the dozens available at the SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos campuses. The 2015 Jan Term is scheduled for Jan. 5-14.

The January interterm session’s first online offering will be “Introduction to
Markets and Culture” (SOCI 2377), taught by Debra Branch of the Department of Sociology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

> Course description for “Introduction to Markets and Culture” online

In addition, continuing SMU students who live on the main campus may remain in their current campus housing during Jan Term 2015 at no additional charge. Students must register with Residence Life and Student Housing by 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8 if they plan to stay in their current campus residence during Jan Term.

In another new program enhancement, Jan Term courses are now available for registration through My.SMU. Students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses before they enroll.

The accelerated interterm session offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate; students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

The Jan Term (short for January Term) allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For Jan Term 2015, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,211 per credit hour ($3,633 per course). To avoid a late fee, payment is due by Friday, Dec. 19. Parking is free on the SMU-in-Plano campus, and no decal is required.

Watch a video about Jan Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

The Jan Term program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Students participating in Jan Term at SMU-in-Plano will be responsible for their own housing; discounted hotel rooms are available at the TownePlace Suites by Marriott-Plano, about a mile from the Plano campus. Shuttle service is also available. Information about housing at SMU-in-Taos during Jan Term is available here.

For more information, e-mail the SMU Jan Term program or call 214-768-3657.

> Learn more from the Jan Term homepage at smu.edu/janterm

Political and social analyst David Brooks delivers Tate Lecture, Nov. 11, 2014

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SMU’s Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series presents political and social analyst David Brooks Tuesday, Nov. 11. 

Brooks will offer his insight and opinion on current events to continue the 33rd season of Tate Lectures. Brooks will give The Omni Hotels Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

Through his humor, insight and passion, Brooks has a gift for brining audiences face-to-face with the spirit of the times. He is a detailed observer of the American way of life and a perceptive analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs.

He holds several prestigious positions as commentator:

The_Social_Animal_(David_Brooks_book)Brooks’ current book, The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement, tells the story of a fictional American couple to explain the importance of neuroscience and sociology in understanding America’s politics, culture and the future. His previous books, Bobos in Paradise and On Paradise Drive are in a style he calls “comic sociology” – providing descriptions of how we live and “the water we swim in.” All three novels are as witty and entertaining, as they are revealing and insightful.

All SMU students, faculty and staff are invited to the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum segment at 5 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and seats may be reserved online.

The evening lecture is sold out. However, SMU students can got to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.

> Learn more about the 33rd Tate Lecture Series

> For additional information, contact the SMU Tate Series

 

Check in at SMU’s 2014 HR Fair Wednesday, Oct. 15

Stock image of 'Good Health, This Way' freeway signVendors from SMU’s medical, legal, life insurance and retirement plans will be on hand to discuss your options at the University’s 2014 Human Resources Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

You can learn more about health and savings plans, as well as the new LegalGUARD and PrivacyARMOR option, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms.

Flu shots will be available at the SMU Health Center station, and therapists from Dedman Center Recreational Sports will be on hand to provide chair massages. In addition, fitness instructors from the Center will give demonstrations of GroupX classes in Small Group Training, Zumba, Boot Camp and yoga.

Visitors can also check out Centennial Hall, the interactive exhibit in the Hughes-Trigg lower level featuring high points in SMU history and spotlighting faculty, staff, student and alumni excellence.

Visit SMU Human Resources online

SMU’s 2015 Open Enrollment set for Oct. 11-31, 2014

Benefits U logoA new pharmacy benefit administrator, restored prescription coverage with the CVS and Walgreens chains, and a new option for legal and identity protection are among the changes coming during SMU’s 2015 Open Enrollment. University faculty and staff members will be able to make benefits changes for 2015 from Saturday, Oct. 11 to Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.

The open enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year, except for qualified life event changes.

For 2015 open enrollment, you must take action if:

  • You want to make changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents.
  • You want to enroll in LegalGUARD/PrivacyARMOR for 2015.
  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2015. You must re-enroll in the FSAs or the HSA even if you participated in 2014.

If you do not make any changes during open enrollment, your 2014 elections will continue for the upcoming calendar year, except for contributions to the FSAs and the HSA.

The University’s $2,500 deductible option will increase to a $2,600 deductible option to meet the Internal Revenue Service’s minimum deductible requirements for High Deductible Health Plans. The family deductible will increase to $5,200. SMU will continue to offer the $1,000, $2,000 and $5,000 deductible options.

Medical premiums for all University plans will increase 4.5 percent – less than half the national healthcare inflation average of 10 percent.

All copays will remain the same for all plans in 2015, including Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialist office visits as well as emergency room and Urgent Care Center (UCC) visits.

> Find more information in SMU’s 2015 Benefits Guide, coming soon to smu.edu/hr

Prime Therapeutics will replace Express Scripts as SMU’s pharmacy benefit administrator in 2015. The University was able to negotiate an expanded network offering that will once again include CVS and Walgreens. In addition, preventive vaccines administered at an in-network pharmacy will be covered 100 percent with no copay, under all four medical options.

SMU’s DFW-area network of retail pharmacies will include, but not be 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 are included in the network.

Prime Therapeutics is integrated with BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. Plan members will now have one customer service number and one online portal (BCBSTX) for all medical and pharmacy information.

You will receive a new BCBSTX ID card in December. Please provide your new ID card to your pharmacy before they process any 2015 refills or new prescriptions. Let the pharmacist know that your plan has a new pharmacy administrator and ask that your record be updated. If you have auto-refills at your preferred pharmacy, please be sure the pharmacy updates your record right after the first of the year. You will continue to use your existing ID card for all prescriptions filled until Dec. 31, 2014.

Express Scripts will send mail-order prescriptions (with refills remaining) to Prime Therapeutics on or before Jan. 2, 2015. After this date, log on to MyPrimeMail.com or call the 24-hour automated PrimeMail Refill Center at 877-357-7463 to request refills.

NOTE: Express Scripts cannot transfer mail-order prescriptions for compound medications or controlled substances to Prime Therapeutics. You must request a new prescription from your doctor.

If you need a new prescription, ask your doctor to send a prescription electronically via e-prescribe or fax to 877-774-6360. You can also fill out the PrimeMail order form and mail your new prescription with your preferred method of payment.

> Learn more about Prime Therapeutics from their website

During Open Enrollment, full-time and part-time benefits-eligible employees will have an opportunity to enroll in the new LegalGUARD and PrivacyArmor plans for 2015. Although the plans are administered separately, they are available as a bundled arrangement for $27.45 per month. By bundling the plans, SMU is able to offer comprehensive legal and identity protection benefits for an affordable monthly premium.

The LegalGUARD Plan, administered by LegalEASE and underwritten by Nationwide, provides access to quality legal services and protection from the high cost of legal fees. LegalEASE also connects participants with the right attorney when a need arises.

The LegalGUARD Plan covers the plan member, his or her spouse or domestic partner, and unmarried dependent children up to age 19 (or up to age 25 if a full-time student).

The PrivacyArmor Plan, administered by InfoArmor, provides a comprehensive and proactive defense against identity theft, with a focus on identity monitoring. InfoArmor is capable of identifying anomalies indicative of fraudulent behavior up to 90 days sooner than credit monitoring.

The PrivacyArmor Plan covers the plan member and his or her spouse or domestic partner.

> Register for a LegalGUARD and PrivacyArmor info session

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through My.SMU.edu. To make your benefits elections for 2015:

  • 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 2015.

More information on vendors and plan changes will be available at SMU’s 2014 Human Resources Fair, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Vendor representatives will be on hand to answer questions about your options.

In addition, SMU Human Resources has scheduled a series of information sessions from Monday, Oct. 13 to Tuesday, Oct. 21 designed to help faculty and staff members better understand the medical plans and other resources available to them. Visit smu.edu/hr and tap “Educational Sessions” to RSVP online for the “Understanding Your Benefits: Every Choice Counts” session of your choice.

> Consult SMU’s 2015 Benefits Guide on the web, coming soon to smu.edu/hr

Related:
> Check in at SMU’s 2014 HR Fair Wednesday, Oct. 15
SMU’s Fall 2014 flu shot clinics now in session

SMU’s Fall 2014 flu shot clinics now in session

Stock photo of man receiving shotSMU’s Memorial Health Center has scheduled several Fall 2014 flu shot clinics for September and October, with an upcoming session scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 24 in the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby.

Clinics will take place at various places around the main campus, as well as the East Campus and SMU-in-Plano. All clinics are open to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, SMU retirees and retiree spouses.

Update your vaccination during the following days and times at these locations:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 24 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Thursday, Sept. 25 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m., Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports lobby
  • Tuesday, Sept. 30 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., Law School Pit, Underwood Law Library
  • Tuesday, Oct. 7 – 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Shuttles Hall lobby
  • Wednesday, Oct. 15 (HR Fair) – 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 1:30-3:30 p.m., Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Tuesday, Oct. 28 – 4-6 p.m., SMU-in-Plano

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Retirees and retiree spouses may get their shots at any SMU flu clinic. Dependents may also receive their flu shots at an SMU clinic at a cost of $25 each.

To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

> Keep up with the latest flu information at smu.edu/flu
> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at dallascounty.org
> Find statewide resources at TexasFlu.org

SMU revises University Policy Manual regarding sick leave, bereavement; changes are the first wave of a comprehensive update

Benefits U logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources is undertaking an overall review of its policies in Chapter 9 of the University Policy Manual. The first major changes will allow newer employees to make immediate use of accrued sick leave and create a formal procedure for taking bereavement leave.

“While previous updates typically have been driven by regulatory changes, Human Resources felt it was time for a comprehensive review,” says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.

As of Tuesday, July 1, 2014, the University has eliminated a rule stipulating that new hires be employed by SMU for six months before they can use accrued paid medical absence leave, says Amy Sample, assistant director of human resources for compensation and records management. “No one plans an illness, and this policy change recognizes that,” she says, adding that the update is also consistent with the University’s efforts to promote prevention and wellness in the campus community.

> See SMU Policy Number 9.21: Paid Medical Absence for Staff (log in with your e-mail address and password)

In addition, SMU has created a new procedure to account for leave taken after the death of a family member. Employees may take up to three paid days of bereavement leave during each bereavement period. After the first three days, additional paid hours will be drawn from accrued medical absence leave. If and when these hours are depleted, the hours will be drawn from accrued vacation time.

These changes reflect current best practices among the University’s peer and aspirant institutions, as well as in other industries, says Sample, who is managing the Chapter 9 update project.

See SMU Policy Number 9.39: Staff Bereavement Policy (log in with your e-mail address and password)

The Department of Human Resources sought the advice of several campuswide stakeholder organizations to formulate the first wave of policy updates. Representatives of groups including the SMU Staff Association, the Faculty Senate, the Office of Institutional Access and Equity, the Council of Deans and the President’s Commission on the Status of Women contributed to the final changes.

“We’ll continue to reach out to these representatives as we complete our updates to Chapter 9,” Strese says.

Other updates published on July 1 include minor language changes to the following sections:

  • 9.8 Pre-Employment Screenings
  • 9.12 Personal Conduct
  • 9.13 Corrective Action for Staff
  • 9.16 Termination of Employment
  • 9.28 Tuition Benefits
  • 9.31 Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse

A comprehensive update to Chapter 9 of the Policy Manual should be completed by the end of the 2014-15 academic year, Sample says. The last major update took place in June 1994, when the Policy Manual was brought online.

News about future changes will be posted in the SMU Forum.

> Bookmark SMU’s online University Policy Manual: smu.edu/policy: (log in with your e-mail address and password)

SMU Health Center offers flu shots ahead of Spring Term 2014

Stock photo of inoculation syringeSMU’s Memorial Health Center has dedicated afternoon hours this week to offer flu shots for students, faculty and staff members. The Spring 2014 term begins Friday, Jan. 17.

Faculty, staff and students can update their inoculations from 1-2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 through Friday, Jan. 10. The flu shots will be available 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday when the Health Center resumes regular hours on Monday, Jan. 13.

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses.

To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

Keep up with the latest flu information, including upcoming clinic schedules, at smu.edu/flu.

Dallas County influenza resources and updates are available at dallascounty.org.

Double bookstore discounts for 2013 Faculty/Staff Appreciation Days

Holiday ornamentGet a jump on your holiday shopping: The SMU Bookstore is offering University faculty and staff members an extra 10% off – a 20% total discount – all regular-price items during 2013 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days. From Thursday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 24, present your faculty/staff SMU ID at the cash register to receive the additional discount on your purchases.

Some exclusions apply, including textbooks and Nook tablets. The extra 10% is also not applicable to other discounts and promotions. No discounts are available on gift cards.

Visit on Thursday, Nov. 21 beginning at 4:30 p.m. to enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as the store kicks off its Holiday Book Drive benefiting Reading Partners. Buy and donate the book of your choice, or select one from the suggested-reading list at the Book Drive display.

For more information, call the SMU Bookstore at 214-768-2435.

J Term program adds SMU-in-Taos for 2014

After the unprecedented success of the 2013 J Term at SMU-in-Plano, the program is expanding to SMU-in-Taos for 2014. Set for Jan. 6-15, J Term offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate.

Students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days at SMU-in-Plano or SMU-in-Taos. The initial deadline for J Term applications is Friday, Nov. 22.

The J Term (short for January Term) allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For J Term 2014, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,154 per credit hour ($3,462 per course). Payment is due by Thursday, Dec. 19. Parking is free on the SMU-in-Plano campus, and no decal is required.

Watch a new video about J Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

J Term Director Kate Livingston says the program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

J Term courses are not initially available for registration through Access.SMU. To enroll, students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses and then submit the online J Term application form before the deadline. After the Thanksgiving holiday, students will be notified of their final J Term course selection and given permission to officially enroll in Access.SMU.

Students participating in J Term at SMU-in-Plano will be responsible for their own housing; discounted hotel rooms are available at the Marriott TownPlace Suites, about a mile from the SMU-in-Plano campus. Shuttle service is also available. Information about housing at SMU-in-Taos during J Term is available here.

For more information, e-mail jterm@smu.edu or call 214-768-3657.

> Learn more from the J Term homepage at smu.edu/jterm

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