Human Resources

Recognition ceremony kicks off 2012 Staff Development Day Feb. 16

2012 SMU Staff Recognition Ceremony invitationThe SMU Staff Association (SMUSA) will present achievement awards and recognize outstanding University employees during its 11th annual Staff Association Assembly and Recognition Ceremony beginning at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in McFarlin Auditorium. A reception precedes the event at 10 a.m.

President R. Gerald Turner will give his annual State of SMU speech, as well as the ceremony’s keynote address. SMUSA will present the 2012 Loretta O’Reilly Hawkins Award and Presidential Recognition Awards. The event also honors staff members who are celebrating their 25th anniversary with the University.

The recognition ceremony will be followed by an afternoon of special events honoring Staff Development Day. Activities include:

Probably produced under the direction of Passchier Grenier, tapestry merchant, Tournai (Belgium), detail, 1470s, Fall of Tangier (detail),1475-1500, wool and silk

Detail, Fall of Tangier, 1475-1500, wool and silk, Diocese of Sigüenza-Guadalajara and Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Pastrana, Spain. © Fundación Carlos de Amberes. Photograph by Paul M.R. Maeyaert.

  • A docent-guided tour of the Meadows Museum Permanent Collection, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Meadows Museum
  • “Landscaping with Drought-Tolerant Plants,” presented by Ann Allen, University horticulturist, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Huitt-Zollars Pavilion, 115 Embrey Building
  • A docent-guided tour of The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries, 3-4:15 p.m., Meadows Museum
  • “Tuition Benefits and You,” presented by Valerie Parker, Human Resources, 3-4:15 p.m., Huitt-Zollars Pavilion, 115 Embrey Building
  • Spring Bloom Cooking Demonstration, a chef demo and Q&A presented by Claire Florsheim and Kyle Wilson, RFoC @ Lee, Umphrey Lee Center

Register online for the event of your choice. For more information, visit the SMU Staff Association homepage.

Open Enrollment 2012 takes place until Oct. 31, 2011

SMU Benefits U logoSMU’s 2012 Open Enrollment takes place Oct. 14-31, 2011. 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.

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, SMU will no longer offer the $500 Deductible option to faculty and staff members. Faculty and staff members who carry this plan need to choose a new option during Open Enrollment 2012. There are no plan design changes to the remaining medical plan options or to the prescription drug plan.

As a result of rising health care costs, medical premiums will rise in 2012 at an average of 9.7 percent. The most significant increases will apply to the $1,000 Deductible option. There will be modest increases to the $2,000 and $2,500 options.

Premiums will remain the same for dental and vision coverage. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the vision plan will offer enhanced retail frame and contact lens benefits, with the purchase allowance increasing from $105 to $130 for both.

In addition, SMU has chosen BlueCross BlueShield of Texas (BCBSTX) to replace Aetna as its new dental plan administrator. You will receive a new combined medical, dental and prescription plan ID card from BCBSTX if you participate in the medical and dental plan in 2012.

> Find more information in the 2012 Benefits Guide, available at HR’s Benefits U page

For 2012 open enrollment, you must take action for the following conditions:

  • You are currently enrolled in the $500 Deductible medical option. If you are enrolled in this option, you may choose a new plan during the open enrollment period. If you do not choose a new plan, you will be enrolled automatically in the $1,000 Deductible option.
  • You want to make changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents.
  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) in 2012. All faculty and staff members must reconfirm their participation in an FSA even if they participated in an FSA in 2011.
  • You want to participate in the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2012. All faculty and staff members must reconfirm their participation in the HSA even if they participated in the HSA in 2011.

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through Access.SMU. To use the application:

  • Enter your Access.SMU 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 2012.

More information on vendors and plan changes will be available at SMU’s 2011 Human Resources Fair, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Vendor representatives will be on hand to answer questions about your options.

Human Resources also offers guidance through face-to-face meetings with Benefits Department representatives. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Department of Human Resources, 214-768-3311.

> Find the 2012 Benefits Guide on the web

Diversified scheduling one-on-one retirement advising for October, November 2011

SMU BenefitsU logoSMU faculty and staff members may now make appointments for personal sessions with a Diversified representative to review how best to manage their own accounts during the transition process to the University’s new retirement plan administrator.

Diversified will serve as the record keeper for SMU retirement accounts. Under new and expanding governmental regulations, funds made available by the University will be regularly reviewed by a qualified independent financial advisor as well as SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council, according to an announcement made by Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Business and Finance Chris Casey in May.

> Find more information at the HR blog
> Register for a one-on-one session
> Learn more at Diversified’s secure SMU website
> Read Diversified’s updated FAQ document on the transition
> Visit SMU’s Department of Human Resources online

By | 2011-10-13T13:35:00+00:00 October 13, 2011|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , , |

HR schedules more information meetings on retirement plan transition

SMU BenefitsU logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources continues its information programs on new retirement plan administrator Diversified with a series of discussions on the fine points of how the change will affect faculty and staff members.

Diversified will conduct a series of on-campus group education meetings to discuss the transition in greater detail – including how the move will affect individual accounts and what participants should do to prepare for the change. The meetings will take place Sept. 26-30 and Oct. 5, 2011.

About 600 faculty and staff members attended campus meetings in early September to get a general overview of key changes and their advantages, says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources. Diversified will assume its administration and recordkeeping duties for the SMU retirement plans in January 2012.

> Find a complete schedule of meetings (PDF format)
> Register online for a group meeting at the time and place of your choice

By | 2011-09-22T16:30:04+00:00 September 22, 2011|Categories: News, Save the Date|Tags: , , , , |

Human Resources introduces new SMU retirement plan administration

Diversified logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources will host a series of meetings for the University community to learn more about its new single record-keeping system and the retirement plan administration company that will manage it. Faculty and staff members can register for information sessions to take place Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 7-8, 2011, regarding the move to Diversified.

A Diversified representative will answer questions during the meetings. Other speakers will include Executive Director of Human Resources Jeff Strese, Associate Vice President of Business Services and Human Resources Bill Detwiler, and two members of SMU’s University Benefits Council: Don VandeWalle, department chair of Management and Organizations in the Cox School of Business, and Steve Edwards, professor of advertising in Meadows School of the Arts and SMU Faculty Senate president-elect.

In addition, the Hughes-Trigg Student Center audio-visual staff will record the Sept. 7 meeting for an informational video that will be made available to faculty and staff members later this year.

Diversified will serve as the record keeper for SMU retirement accounts. Under new and expanding governmental regulations, funds made available by the University will be regularly reviewed by a qualified independent financial advisor as well as SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council, according to an announcement made by Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Business and Finance Chris Casey in May.

The Retirement Plans Advisory Council agreed unanimously to the adoption of a single record keeper earlier this year. (The council includes three faculty and three staff members, as well as several ex officio members of University administration.) The University’s move to a single record keeper has been reviewed by the University Benefits Council, legal counsel, an independent investment adviser group, the President’s Council and the Board of Trustees.

Diversified was chosen as administrator after a thorough review of proposals from firms including Fidelity Investments and TIAA-CREF, Ludden and Casey said. The firm will act as a neutral plan administrator and not a fund provider, they added.

In addition, Diversified will provide new tools to help faculty and staff members manage their accounts more effectively, including a single web portal to conduct transactions for every different provider. A full-time Diversified retirement counselor will establish an office on campus this fall, say representatives from SMU HR.

For more information, visit Diversified’s secure SMU website.

> Register for an information session
> Learn more at Diversified’s SMU website
> See Diversified’s FAQ document on the upcoming transition
> Visit SMU’s Department of Human Resources online
> Read the original announcement from Provost Ludden and Vice President Casey

SMU will develop single record-keeper system for retirement plans

In response to new governmental regulations, SMU will implement important modifications to the administration of its retirement plans, according to SMU’s Offices of the Provost and Business and Finance. In addition, a new core lineup of reviewed and approved funds that meet established performance standards will be available to employees after January 1, 2012.

The University has retained the national investment advisory firm Diversified Investment Advisors to serve as a single record keeper for retirement accounts with Fidelity, Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. Under new and expanding governmental regulations, funds made available by the University will be regularly reviewed by a qualified independent financial advisor as well as SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council, according to an e-mail message from SMU Provost Paul Ludden and Vice President for Business and Finance Chris Casey dated May 2, 2011:


May 2, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

In response to new governmental regulations, SMU is implementing important modifications to the administration of SMU Retirement Plans. As described below, SMU has retained the national investment advisory firm Diversified Investment Advisors to serve as a single record keeper for retirement accounts with Fidelity, Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. The adoption of a single record keeper was by unanimous agreement of SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council, which includes three faculty, three staff and several ex officio members of the administration.

Under new and expanding governmental regulations, universities will be required to review and monitor the performance of funds they offer. SMU currently provides employees with a menu of funds from a variety of providers and record keepers, and it is up to employees to monitor performance. Under the new rules, plan participants will receive the benefit of knowing that the funds made available by the University will be regularly reviewed by a qualified, independent financial advisor as well as SMU’s Retirement Plans Advisory Council.

Being in regulatory compliance is vitally important to the University and its employees, so that our retirement plan retains the advantage of tax sheltering. The additional regulatory duties placed on plan sponsors are quickly changing the landscape of plan administration in higher education from multiple providers to a single record keeper, as evidenced by recent changes at Stanford, Purdue, Pepperdine, Johns Hopkins and many other universities. Each of our current providers also has acknowledged the need for this shift in plan administration.

Diversified Investment Advisors was chosen to administer the University’s retirement plan after a thorough review of proposals from firms including Fidelity Investments and TIAA-CREF. Diversified specializes in administering 403(b) plans, has a proven performance record for more than 50 years and offers extensive one-on-one services to plan participants, including customized reporting and online services. The firm will act as a neutral plan administrator and not a fund provider; its investment guidance to employees will be nonproprietary. The firm will provide a full-time on-campus investment advisor. Because the funds in the retirement plan will flow through a single record keeper instead of three, plan expenses will be reduced for most plan participants.

After January 1, 2012, a new core lineup of reviewed and approved funds that meet established performance standards will be available to employees. Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, Vanguard and other companies will be eligible to compete to have their funds represented in the lineup. While not every TIAA-CREF annuity product will remain available for future contributions, participants’ flexibility and investment choices generally will not be materially restricted. In fact, plan participants will have the option to invest in a broad array of mutual funds not in the SMU core lineup through an “open brokerage window.” More information about these options will be available when the Retirement Plans Advisory Council and the independent investment advisor conclude their review. In order to ensure the best performance of participants’ retirement accounts, the core lineup may change over time, based on the ongoing monitoring of fund performance.

Diversified Investment Advisors will make available to participants new tools to help manage accounts more effectively. These tools include the ability to execute transactions, change contribution levels and request an on-demand statement. Instead of having to go to multiple websites of different providers, plan participants will be able to “one-stop shop” their transactions.

Beginning January 1, 2012, accounts from Fidelity and Vanguard will automatically move to the new open architecture platform at Diversified. Participants with existing TIAA-CREF accounts will have a choice to keep their existing accounts at TIAA-CREF or transfer them to the new platform.

The University’s move to a single record keeper has been reviewed by the University Benefits Council, legal counsel, an independent investment advisor group, the President’s Council and the Board of Trustees. During the next eight months, Human Resources will provide opportunities for group and individual meetings to learn more about the changes, as well as additional information online.

In the meantime, your input is welcome as we continue to work with the Retirement Plans Advisory Council and Diversified Investment Advisors. Please send questions to benefitsu@smu.edu and a Benefits representative will contact you. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Paul W. Ludden
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Chris Casey
Vice President for Business and Finance


By | 2011-05-03T16:10:00+00:00 May 3, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

Food, fitness & fun the focus of SMU Farmers Market April 28-29, 2011

Stock photo of tomatoes on the vineThe University community is invited to take a fresh perspective on cooking, eating and living well at the Spring 2011 SMU Farmers Market. The events take place 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, April 28, and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the Hughes-Trigg Commons.

Shoppers can expect to find fresh items including blueberries, plums, mangos, nectarines, seedless watermelons, avocados, bell peppers, tomatillos and snow peas. Organic offerings will include apples, carrots, grape tomatoes, spring salad mix and Texas-grown shiitake mushrooms. Herbs like cilantro and mint, as well as more exotic items such as blood oranges and starfruit, also will be available.

Produce is priced by the pound. Cash, credit and Pony Cash will be accepted. Bags will be available; shoppers are encouraged to go green and bring their own reusable bags.

In addition, SMU experts will share tips for eating well, living healthy and being eco-friendly throughout the market:

  • Fancy feasting: SMU Dining Services Executive Chef Tim Schaub will demonstrate the art of garde manger – making memorable garnishes such as tomato roses and apple swans. He’ll also have recipes for delicious dishes featuring Farmers Market produce, some of which appear on the menu at RFoC @ Lee.
  • Soul food: 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Thursday and 12:45-1:30 p.m. Friday, meet at the Farmers Market. McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism Elaine Heath, Perkins School of Theology, will conduct walking tours of the SMU Community Garden, which benefits the North Texas Food Bank. Information about how to become involved with the project also will be offered.
  • Good dirt: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday, Hughes-Trigg Forum. Ann Allen and Cathy Coates of SMU Facilities Management & Sustainability will share tips for growing vegetables in containers.
  • Sage advice: SMU Dietitian Claire Florsheim will share nutrition information and tips.
  • Healthy living: Get the latest on Dedman Center exercise programs.
  • Going green: Learn about sustainability at SMU.

The SMU Farmers Market and programs are open to the public. They are presented by SMU Wellpower and SMU Dining Services.

Written by Pat Ward

> Find more information at the SMU Farmers Market webpage
> Get updates at the SMU Farmers Market blog

Calendar Highlights: Apr. 19, 2011

MMU'A “duet” for peace: This week’s Stanton Sharp Lecture features Vanderbilt Professor of History Richard Blackett as he covers a more obscure fight for peace within America in “A ‘duet with John Bull’: African Americans and the Struggle to win British Support for the Union.” Blackett will discuss how African Americans during the Civil War used the momentum started from the emancipation of West Indies slaves in the late 1830s to further their cause to the British public and further the Union’s cause. The lecture is free and open to the public and begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 19, in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. A reception precedes the lecture at 6 p.m. For more information, call 214-768-2967 or visit the Sharp Lecture Series website.

Bringing the hospital to you: A Mobile Mammography Unit (pictured) will be open for business 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 in the East Campus Parking Lot Expressway Tower. For SMU employees covered by the Health and Wellness medical plan administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, SMU will cover all routine annual mammogram charges for women age 40 and above. The cost of the mammogram will not be billed to your $500 preventive care benefit. Please have your insurance information available when you call. BCBSTX will process the claim and SMU will pay it at 100%. To pre-register for an exam, call 214-645-2560. (If you participate in any non-SMU-related insurance plan, inquire about other pre-billing arrangements when you pre-register.) The parking lot at Expressway Tower is in the final stages of being repaved; arriving early to get one of the few available parking spots or using the Mustang Express to travel from the main campus to the Tower is recommended.

Cal Jillson'Messing with Texas: The policies of the independent-minded Lone Star State will be discussed at an event co-hosted by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility and the SMU Faculty Club. In “Lone Star Tarnished: A Critique of Texas Public Policy,” 2011 Public Scholar Lecturer Cal Jillson (pictured) will cover the reality behind Texas’s picture-perfect model of limited government, economic growth and personal freedom. Jillson is currently at work on a book covering the subject, entitled Lone Star Tarnished, which will compare the overall Texas model of government to recent and historical state government styles. The lecture begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 20 at the Faculty Club. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. All attendees should RSVP, as space is limited.

Special notice on changes to SMU’s 403(b) retirement plan

BenefitsU logoSMU’s Department of Human Resources, working with a committee of faculty and staff representatives, has confirmed a slate of new investment and retirement planning services to take effect next year, according to this message dated April 19, 2011:


Exciting changes to SMU’s 403(b) Retirement Plan are coming next year!

The SMU Department of Human Resources and an SMU faculty/staff committee (the Retirement Plan Advisory Council) have explored for the past two years ways to improve the investment education and retirement planning services available to SMU faculty and staff. As a result, a new investment services provider, Diversified Investment Advisors Inc., will come to campus next year.

What this means for you:

  1. An array of investment funds that meet established standards for quality and performance
  2. A full-time on-campus retirement planning and investment advisor to help you determine how much income you will need during your retirement years and to develop an effective savings and investment strategy
  3. Objective and independent (nonproprietary) financial planning services
  4. A powerful and effective educational model that will enable you to improve your asset allocation and investment strategies throughout your active years with SMU and during your retirement years
  5. One-stop shopping to simplify and better support your retirement plan transactions through one SMU website portal

What’s next?
A number of decisions have yet to be made regarding various aspects of this change. During the next eight months, you will have many opportunities to learn more through participation in town hall meetings, individual one-on-one meetings, written materials, and BenefitsU.

Questions? Direct them to BenefitsU@smu.edu.


Load More Posts