Wellpower Welcomes a New Onsite Health Coach

Rhea LiSMU Wellpower and Healthways welcome Rhea Li as our new part-time onsite health coach. Rhea is a registered dietitian with a Bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a Master’s degree in public health with a focus on health education and health promotion. She has experience in providing counseling from childhood into adulthood covering a wealth of topics including healthy eating, physical activity, and stress management. She previously worked as the Healthy Lifestyle Coordinator for Rice University, developing new wellness programs for faculty and staff. Rhea’s philosophy when health coaching is getting to know client’s personally in order to help them build more satisfying and healthy lifestyles. She is looking forward to working you to help you meet your wellness goals!

Rhea will meet with participants and respond to questions via email or the phone on  Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. If you’d like to make an appointment with Rhea, email wellpower@smu.edu with 2-3 appointment possibilities (dates and times, please) and she’ll contact you to confirm an appointment or phone call.

A Note About Confidentiality
Our Wellpower health coach is a Healthways employee, and may have access to your biometric screening information and any other information you choose to share. Our health coach will keep that information confidential in accordance with HIPPA and other applicable privacy guidelines. Only aggregate, group data will be provided to SMU. Group data does not include any individual information and allows Wellpower to monitor the effectiveness of programs and services. If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy with regard to medical information, please contact us at wellpower@smu.edu.

HealthyU_Healthways 4c

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FAQ for “Stop Harassment and Discrimination” and “Eliminate Campus Sexual Violence” Training via Law Room

At various points over the last six months, all full and part-time staff and faculty (including adjunct faculty) have been asked to complete two new online tutorials on the topics of preventing harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence. Temporary staff have not been asked to complete the new training, but may be required to do so in the future.

If you have been asked to complete the tutorials, but have yet to do so, we ask that you complete them by January 31, 2015. Click the link below to learn more about the tutorials and why President Turner has asked staff and faculty to complete the training.

Letter from President Turner Regarding Completion of New Online Training (November, 2014)

Online Training Via LawRoom


The required training is provided by Law Room and includes the following two tutorials:

  1. Eliminate Campus Sexual Violence
  2. Either Stop Harassment and Discrimination (employee version) OR Supervisory Anti-Harassment (manager version)

Regular “e-minders” are generated by the Law Room system until the assigned training is completed.

Your completion status is typically uploaded within 24 hours to your training summary in my.SMU and is viewable under Self Service>Learning and Development>Request Training Status.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I’ve completed the training – why am I still receiving the email reminders?
There are  2 reasons you might still be receiving the emails.  First, there are 2 tutorials to be completed.  You may have completed one but not the other.  Log back into the vendor’s system and check the list of assigned training to ensure you have completed both. Second, you might have completed the second tutorial in time to prevent the next “e-minder” from placed in the email queue. Emails typically go out on Monday, so if you are sure you’ve completed both tutorials correctly, wait at least one week to see if the email reminder stops. If you’re still receiving email reminders after following these steps, email us at DevelopU@smu.edu for assistance.

2.  I am “stuck” on a page and can’t advance forward.
The tutorials contain interactive elements which must be completed before the NEXT nextbutton is revealed at the bottom right on your screen.  Look for the instructions on the page (Click, Drag, Read, etc) and interact with all the elements to reveal the Next button.

3.  I don’t see anything on my screen-it’s not doing what it is supposed to do.
The interactive elements of the tutorials require the most recent versions of Adobe Flash. Check to ensure your version is the most recent and if not, download the free update from the Adobe online site.  If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, contact the OIT Help Desk for support.  You also might try a different browser window to access the training.  Your computer settings might cause an unfriendly interaction with the default browser on your computer.  Again the OIT Help Desk can support you if this is the issue.

4.  I’m a temporary or adjunct faculty member and I can’t log in – the link in my email is not working.
Temporary faculty status was moved to “Inactive” in my.SMU at the end of the Fall semester, which caused the corresponding Law Room accounts to be inactivated as well.  When the temporary faculty member’s Payroll Authorization Form (for the next semester in which they will teach) is entered into my.SMU, the corresponding account in the Law Room system will be reactivated, typically within 24 hours. The individual will receive a new email from LawRoom and s/he will have an additional 90 days to complete the training.  

Questions regarding the content presented in the training should be directed to the Office of Institutional Access and Equity at accessequity@smu.edu.

Questions regarding the training assignments and completions should be directed to Human Resources at DevelopU@smu.edu.

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What’s New With Wellpower in 2015

Wellpower and Human Resources will provide a number of opportunities for you to improve or maintain your well-being this spring. We are busy finalizing details, but want to let you know what’s on the horizon now!

New Wellpower Reward Period Begins February 2, 2015

  • Join Now
    If you haven’t joined Wellpower, it’s not too late! A new reward period begins February 2, so sign up now. Any points you earn prior to February 2 will roll over to the new reward period, so there’s no reason to wait!    Wellpower Overview
  • Earn Points Faster
    We will offer multiple ways to earn points in the spring including updating your biometric and health record information (current participants) or completing the Well-Being 5, creating a Well-Being Plan, and completing the Lifestyle Profile (new participants). In addition, you can earn  points for signing up for a challenge and more points for actively participating in a challenge. Also starting in February, you can earn up to 100 points per week (versus 75 now) by tracking specific activities on the website.
  • Challenges
    We will offer two challenges this spring. One focuses on building an exercise routine and the second on weight-loss.
  • Redemption Center
    The redemption center will enable you to redeem your points for awards once you reach the 2,000 and the 4,000 points levels.
  • Onsite Coach
    We are very excited about a new health coach joining us onsite this spring. Healthways is in the process of hiring the coach and once s/he is trained on their systems, we will have a coach available two days week. We currently have Matt Stika on campus Tuesdays and Wednesdays as our interim coach. If you’d like to make an appointment or speak with him just email  wellpower@smu.edu.

Preventive Care Opportunities

Onsite Health Screenings

SMU will host onsite health check-ups/screenings in March.  Appointments will be available on the main, east, and Plano campuses. All benefits-eligible staff/faculty are invited to sign up for an appointment. These are paid for at 100% by SMU as preventive care under BCBSTX.  Not on SMU’s insurance? No problem. You can also schedule an appointment and SMU will pay for the check-up.

Information about the onsite health check-ups will be sent via email in February, so
check your inbox!

Mobile Mammography Units
The UT Southwestern Mobile Mammography Unit will be on campus April 9, 2015 and June 16, 2015. More information about location, scheduling, and what to bring to the appointment will be available in early March. In February, Wellpower will email benefits-eligible staff/faculty with details about the April visit.

Naturally Slim Online Class

We are finalizing details on the next Naturally Slim class which
will be offered in late A Taste of Naturally Slimspring following our onsite health check-up/screenings. If you are interested in applying for the class, we encourage you to schedule an onsite health check-up/screening appointment as recent biometric data is requested on the application. If you are accepted into the class, the cost will be covered by SMU.

Because the Naturally Slim class has been recently updated, we are excited to announce that alumni may apply to complete the course again. More details about the class and how to apply will be available online in February and will be included in our emails about the onsite health check-up/screenings.  Again, watch your inbox for details.

Email us at wellpower@smu.edu.

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SMU Wellpower Welcomes Interim Health Coach, Matt Stika

Healthways, the company that now provides our online wellness program for Wellpower is busy recruiting a new onsite health coach for us. We hope to bring that new coach on board in early spring. However, we are fortunate to have an interim health coach visiting campus in December. Read Matt’s letter outlining his background and availability to help you get started with a well-being plan now:

mattHello all,
My name is Matthew Stika and I am looking forward to serving as your interim Health Coach for the start of this year’s Wellpower program. I have been working with Healthways at our San Antonio location for the past year; although, I have been working in the health coaching industry for the past five years. Wow, five years already… it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun.

My academic background centered on Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, earning Master’s degrees in both fields. During my professional career, I have further complemented my overall skill set through continued studies and certifications as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Tobacco Cessation Specialist. Likewise, my health coaching interests and experience span a wide-spectrum in both body and mind, ranging from implementing exercise and nutritional methods to create desired physical health-change, to focusing on improving stress management and tobacco cessation. No matter which topic(s) you would like to pursue, we will focus on establishing individual lifestyle balance to provide sustainable long-term comfort and success! Upon transition to the permanent Health Coach, all notes of your progress will be confidentially maintained to provide a comfortable and seamless transition.

In serving as your interim Health Coach, I may not be here for a long time, but I look forward to having a good time in providing any support in your continued efforts towards your individual wellness goals. I will be on-campus on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30AM – 5:00PM, December 9, 10, 16, and 17, so feel free to contact me at (214) 768-4481, or via email at wellpower@smu.edu.

Be well,

HealthyU_Healthways 4c

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Wellpower Partners with Healthways to Bring New Focus on Well-Being to SMU

Wellpower has partnered with Healthways to provideHealthyU Healthways logos an updated wellness program for benefits-eligible staff and faculty members. The program will focus on 5 areas of well-being:

  • Purpose – liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social – having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial – managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community – liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical – having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

5 elements of well-being - purpose, social, financial, community, and physical


New Resources
In addition to a new web portal, Healthways will provide additional resources for participants including:

  • An onsite coach two days per week to help participants achieve their wellness goals and to help promote a culture of greater well-being at SMU. (Coming soon!)
  • Free access to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Well-FWB_logo_onblueBeing™ tutorials.
  • Ability to set reminders for activities via email or text messaging.
  • A mobile application, Well-Being Connect™, for some smart phones. You will need to complete your account set-up before using the mobile app. 
  • Free access to QuitNet® an online tobacco cessation program.QUITNET logo
  • Bluetooth connectivity for some devices including compatible versions of FitBit, Withings or Aria Scales, and the Withings blood pressure monitor. These devices can “auto-update” specific trackers for you on the website.

Getting Started
New members should have their most recent screening results handy if possible. Information such as your cholesterol level,

Gallup Healthways Well-Being 5blood pressure, triglycerides etc… will be useful when completing the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being 5™ assessment online. However, users without screening information can still participate by entering their current height and weight. Within 24 hours of completing the assessment, participants will receive an email with a link to their personalized report containing recommendations that will help increase their well-being.

Members then create a Well-Being Plan and complete the Lifestyle Profile — a set of 10 short questions found under the Health Records tab — to finish their account set-up. The Well-Being Plan is created by selecting  up to 3 areas of focus which may include the following topics: weight management, healthy eating, stress management, medication adherence, exercise and fitness, depression prevention, self-care, and/or tobacco cessation. In addition to the Well-Being plan, participants can create “personal trackers” as detailed in the Points and Rewards section below.

Visit our Program Overview for sign-up instructions or download the Well-Being Connect New User Guide which includes screen shots to walk you through the sign-up process.

Points and Rewards
Participants will earn points for completing these account set-up steps and continue to earn points by consistently updating their online trackers, reading articles, watching resource videos, and other activities. The system will allow participants to create personal trackers to track completion of QuitNet activities or Dave Ramsey’s Financial Well-Being tutorials as well as other behaviors or activities related to well-being that the participant wants included in his/her overall plan. Other personal tracker ideas could include tracking attendance at SMU community events, completion of coursework or certifications related to your career, volunteer activities, or practicing deep breathing or meditation….there are many options!

Earning points can lead to specific rewards such as extra vacation days for staff, free Dedman Center memberships, gift cards, and more. Later this fall, Wellpower will add an Online Redemption Center to make award selection convenient for our users. Visit our Points and Rewards webpage for details.

Join Today
Wellpower invites you to take a step toward greater well-being by completing your Well-Being 5 today. And there’s still time to enter the Wellpower Launch Sweepstakes! Entries are due by Monday, October 6, 2014. Check out great entries from your colleagues and stay up to date on Wellpower activities by liking us on Facebook.

Email us at wellpower@smu.edu or call the Healthways Help Line at (855) 817-0644. We also invite you to stop by the Wellpower table at this year’s HR Fair scheduled for October 15 from 10:30 -1:30 pm in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.



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Start Your Semester on the “Right Foot” – Join a SMU Heart Walk Team Now!

Mustang has heart header

Join SMU at Reunion Tower for the Dallas Heart Walk, on Saturday morning, September 13, 2014 as we raise awareness about heart health and wellness. This non-competitive 5K event is the largest Heart Walk in the nation with an expected crowd of more than 60,000 walkers participating this year! The Heart Walk is a great way to kick off our fall commitment to wellness and it’s even more fun to participate when you include  your colleagues, families, and friends.

This year Brad Cheves, Vice President for Development and External Affairs (DEA), is on the Executive Committee and we have two SMU Alums, Hunter Hunt ’90 and Chris Kleinert ’88 who are co-chairing the event — so we want a big turnout from SMU!  We are encouraging the entire SMU Community to “Come Walk With Larry and Jerry” as Coach Larry Brown ’66 and Gerald J. Ford ’69 are co-chairing the SMU Teams.

Want to know more? Take a look at this short video about the walk…

Dallas Heart Walk – Celebrating 20 Years

Event information:

  • The walk is a 3-mile, non-competitive walk.
  • There is no charge to participate in the Heart Walk.
  • Fundraising for the Heart Association is encouraged, but is not required.
  • Staff, faculty, students, alumni, friends and family members are welcome to join.
  • SMU participants will receive a great SMU commemorative walk t-shirt.
  • DART will add extra trains and busses to support walkers traveling to/from the event.

Heart Walk Typical Schedule:

8:30 am – Opening Ceremonies
9:00 am – SMU Mustang Band kicks off the walk!

Note: We are working on reserving our team photo appointment, so plan on being there early.

More details can be found on the Heart Walk webpage for staff/faculty. Resources include a parking map, walking route map, and detailed instructions on how to join a team.

Email us at Wellpower with questions or if you need help to get your team set up.  To see what teams are currently available or to join the Wellpower Walkers, click the link below.

Join a Team Now!

heartassociation logo 14Wellpower logo


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Update Your Business Information for the 2014-2015 SMU Directory Book

phonboolThe 2014-2015 Directory of Students, Staff, and Faculty will be published soon.  Please ensure that your business address and telephone number are correct in my.SMU no later than Friday, September 5, 2014.

Visit the HR website for information on how to update your contact information, including your business address, phone number, and preferred name.

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Hiring a Student Employee? What You Need to Know to Process HR Paperwork

studentWhile the primary purpose of students is to acquire an education, SMU is committed to assisting students with the costs of education, including helping them locate employment on and off campus.

Students who work on campus are considered employees of the University and are paid through SMU Payroll. Student employees are not eligible for University benefits.

In order to support the efficient processing of student employees, HR provides a packet of documents, including a checklist and instructions, for student and international student* positions. Please reference the appropriate packet for each student hired:

Students referred to HR to complete the I-9 form should bring the completed checklist and all documentation with them. Students should also know the following things:

  • Student’s employment start date
  • Name of the student’s supervisor
  • Original documents are required to complete the I-9 (see Student Packet for a list of acceptable documents)

HR will return the associated documents to the student and will initial the checklist when the I-9 has been completed, indicating that the student is now eligible to begin work. The student should then deliver the packet back to the supervisor to be processed along with the Student Payroll Authorization Form (PAF). For further details, visit Hiring Students and International Students.

*International student employees have been issued student visas to be full-time students in the U.S. They have specific requirements under which they can work. For further information, see Hiring International Student Worker Procedures.

For further information about student employment opportunities, visit the Student Employment Office.

HR also has document packets for non-student employees. Review Recruitment Hiring Procedures and select the applicable employment category.

SMU Program for the Protection of Minors:
All SMU employees, including Student Workers, are required to complete this training via SMU Blackboard at courses.smu.edu.  If they do not see the course listed after logging into Blackboard, the student may request enrollment in the course.  Allow up to 48 hours for the enrollment request to be processed.  Questions?  Email DevelopU@smu.edu.

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Updates to HR Policies – What staff need to know

dallas hallThe Department of Human Resources is updating its policies in Chapter 9 of the online Policy Manual, with the goal of completing the majority of the policies by the end of this fiscal year (May 2015). We are reviewing and updating groups of policies at a time. Our first round (9 policies) has been reviewed by representatives of several constituent groups and approved by the President’s Executive Council. The following policies have been updated, approved, and are currently effective.  Here is what you need to know as an SMU employee.

Paid Medical Absence for Staff, Policy 9.21

The main change to this policy is the elimination of the six-month waiting period for paid medical absence leave. We don’t want employees coming to work sick in order to be compensated and exposing other employees to illness. We also realize that employees cannot plan when they are sick – it just happens. Employees may use any accrued sick time when they need to be absent due to illness, from the point of hire and thereafter.

Staff Bereavement (New), Policy 9.39

In the past, time off for bereavement was taken from accrued medical leave. A new policy has been created where employees who need to be absent for family bereavement will be compensated for up to three days of paid bereavement leave. In circumstances where additional time off is warranted and approved, an employee may use two additional days of accrued medical leave. If paid medical leave accruals have been exhausted, the absence will be compensated from vacation accruals. If the vacation accruals have been exhausted, the employee may request unpaid leave, not to exceed a total Bereavement Leave of five days.

Tuition Benefits, Policy 9.28

During your employment at SMU, you may wish to take advantage of the generous tuition benefits that SMU offers. The revisions combined two policies into one with the title of “Tuition Benefits” (formerly Tuition Benefits for Dependent Children of Faculty and Staff Members. 9.28, and Tuition Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members and their Spouses, 9.29). The revisions also further define tuition benefits coverage and clarify that the costs of attending SMU non-credit bearing courses are not covered.

In addition, since hours can vary by degree program, there is no longer a stipulation that at least half of the hours spent in class must not involve time off from regular working hours. Aligned with current practice, Domestic Partner has been added to all references of the spousal tuition benefit. The policy also clarifies that tuition benefits are available to a spouse or domestic partner for only one degree.

Personal Conduct, Policy 9.12

A section has been added to address attendance, absenteeism, and tardiness (section E). SMU expects employees to be reliable and punctual in reporting for scheduled work. All employees are expected to communicate with their manager, in advance, when an absence from work is needed. Unapproved absences or continued tardiness may result in disciplinary action, as outlined in the next policy discussed, Corrective Action for Staff, 9.13. If an employee is absent and fails to report to work without notifying his/her manager for a period of three consecutive days, he/she will be considered to have voluntarily terminated the employment relationship. Keep your manager informed, and make sure you have approval for absences or late arrivals.

Corrective Action for Staff, Policy 9.13

This policy was previously titled “Corrective Disciplinary Procedures for Non-Faculty Personnel.” The language and procedures have been updated to accurately reflect the current philosophy and practices used in managing employee performance. All employees are expected to understand the various steps of the corrective action process, as well as the manager expectations and documentation that are outlined in this policy. This policy also defines what it means to be in “good standing” with the University and how it impacts an employee’s eligibility for transfer and rehire.

Pre-Employment Screenings, Policy 9.8

This policy was previously titled “Employment of Persons Convicted of Criminal Offenses.” All employees must undergo a background check (pre-employment screening) prior to starting work at SMU. SMU now reserves the right to conduct background checks on current employees under certain circumstances at any time during employment. If adverse results are identified on the background check, the Department of Human Resources will initiate a review with other University officials to determine what action might be taken.

In addition, after being hired, employees should self-report to the Department of Human Resources within five (5) business days if they have been convicted, pleaded guilty, or received deferred adjudication or similar disposition before a civilian or military court for any criminal offenses (excluding minor traffic misdemeanors). If a current employee is charged with an offense, the University will conduct a review. A final decision regarding continued employment will be made by University officials and the Department of Human Resources.

Termination of Employment, Policy 9.16

The revisions consolidated two policies, Termination of Employment (9.16) and Exit Process (9.17) into one overall policy, Termination of Employment (9.16). This policy outlines how much notice an employee must give to his/her manager before leaving SMU. An employee should also submit a letter of resignation to his/her manager at the time notice is given.

Exiting employees are required to turn in their University ID card, pay any money owed to the University, and return all University property prior to leaving. Pay may be withheld from the final paycheck for any legal debt owed to the University.

Based on feedback provided by exiting employees in recent years, an exit interview is no longer required. Instead, a checklist, Employee Frequently Asked Questions, and detailed information regarding the exit process will be emailed to the exiting employee prior to leaving SMU. Of course, the exiting employee may request an appointment with the Benefits Representative if they have additional questions.

Duty to Report Suspected Child Abuse, Policy 9.31

This policy was originally written to capture a phased-in roll-out of the program across campus. Now that the roll-out is complete, wording referencing the roll-out has been removed. What remains speaks to Texas law requiring anyone with knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect to report it to the appropriate authorities. State law also requires any individual employed in a position involving contact with minors at a campus program for minors to complete a training program approved by the State of Texas. The training program must be completed within the two years prior to the start date of the program, and recertification is required every two years. For everyone else, all SMU faculty, staff, and student employees are required at the time employment begins to successfully complete an approved training program on sexual abuse and child molestation.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect has taken place on the SMU campus or at any SMU function, program, or event, immediately make a report to the SMU Police Department at 214.768.3333.  SMU employees must also report such conduct to a supervisor or department head, but merely reporting the incident to a supervisor or department head is insufficient. If there is an immediate threat, call 911. For further information, please read the entire policy and/or visit the SMU Program for the Protection of Minors page.

Reorganization Policy, Policy 9.40

This new policy is a formalization of current practices around various reorganization methods. The policy lists possible reasons that may prompt reorganization and includes current regulatory language. The policy indicates that the Department of Human Resources should be contacted prior to taking any action.

Read more about HR’s strategy to update all HR policies in the SMU Forum.

For questions about any of these policy updates, contact smuhr@smu.edu.

For information about the next round of policy updates, subscribe to the HR Blog RSS feed and receive posts  in your Outlook Inbox.


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New Procedure for Hiring Temporary Staff Employees Effective June 1st

Do you have plans to hire a temporary staff employee? Effective June 1, the process for hiring temporary staff employees has changed, in line with the memo sent to Vice Presidents and Deans from Dr. Turner on May 14, 2014. To facilitate this new process, the Department of Human Resources has created new guidelines for hiring staff temporaries and updated the website with further information. Following is a summary of the changes:

  • The temporary assignment should not exceed 3 months.  In no case should a temporary assignment exceed 12 consecutive months.
  • All temporary staff employees must be paid on an hourly basis and must submit a completed time record for each bi-weekly period in which they work.
  • The Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) for the Temporary Staff Employee must be submitted to Human Resources instead of Payroll.  Payroll will begin forwarding temporary PAFs received after June 1 to Human Resources. The start and end dates listed on the PAF must match the start and end dates of the temporary assignment.
  • Prior to the temporary employee’s first day of work, satisfactory completion of a pre-employment (background) check is required.
  • HR Recruitment will complete the background check, send authorization to hire the temporary, collect the W-4 and Direct Deposit from the temporary employee, and then forward the PAF, W-4, and Direct Deposit to Payroll for processing.


  • If you have a temporary employee currently in place, the new process will not apply until the assignment and PAF are up for renewal.
  • SMU student workers and continuing SMU students who are working over the summer but not enrolled in classes are not required to follow the new temporary employment guidelines. Similarly, graduates of SMU who are hired only for the summer months do not need to go through the new process either – the Request to Hire form does not need to be completed.  For further information, see Hiring Student Workers and Summer Student Employment.

The Department of Human Resources is committed to making the new process for hiring temporary staff employees as smooth as possible and will expedite your requests when we receive them.  Please let us know if you have questions or feedback during the process.

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