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

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 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  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

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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

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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Special Message to SMU Camp Operators and SMU Program Coordinators regarding the SMU Program for the Protection of Minors

childrenSummer Camp Season is Almost Here…

Make sure you are aware of the SMU and Texas State requirements for Protection of Minors training for yourself, your department, your camp, and your employees!

 Overview of the SMU Program and Training Requirements

SMU rolled out the Program for the Protection of Minors in June 2012 in response to Texas Senate Bill 1414.  This Bill requires employees working for a camp program that offers recreational, religious, athletic, or educational activities to complete training on preventing sexual abuse and molestation, when the camp/program is hosted on the grounds of or hosted by an institution of higher education.  To ensure a safe environment for all visitors and employees, SMU’s goal is to exceed state standards by requiring that every administrator, faculty, and staff member, and student employees complete the Program for the Protection of Minors training course.   To date, we have achieved very high percentages of completion and SMU thanks you for your cooperation with this initiative.

Please be aware that more may be required of you depending on your role at the University or with a camp program.

State Requirement to Update Training Every Two (2) Years for Camp Operators, Employees, and SMU Program Coordinators

UntitledSMU employees who will be either working or volunteering at camps or coordinating with others who will host camps are required by the State of Texas to re-train every two (2) years.  SMU partners with the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center to host their state approved training program on SMU Blackboard.

To facilitate compliance with the State, anyone who completed the training in 2012 has had their record cleared in SMU Blackboard and may now re-access the training course in Blackboard to complete the updated training program.

Within 24 hours of your completion of the Blackboard course, results will be uploaded into Access.SMU.

Camp Operators must send the Texas State form to the State of Texas indicating training completion for employees and volunteers.

Program Coordinators should request a copy of the form to keep in their departmental files.

Proof of Training Completion

SMU Blackboard is not configured to provide a certificate of completion after finishing the training.  You may log into Access.SMU>Self Service>Learning and Development>Request Training Summary to generate a list of all workshops completed.  Print this summary and present it as proof of completion or take a screen shot and email to the person requesting proof of completion (the Camp Operator or SMU Program Coordinator).  The DCAC program code for the state form is YCO8-0043.

If you are unsure about your role and whether or not you need to re-train, please speak with your supervisor or contact one of the resources listed below.


SMU Website for the Program for Protection of Minors:  Additional information and resources are available on the SMU HR webpage:

OIT Help Desk:  for issues with Blackboard or technical concerns with the course itself email or call 8-4357.

Office of Police and Risk Management – Compliance: to determine who needs to be trained and additional opportunities for SMU Camp Operators/Program Coordinators to learn about best practices for camps, contact Linda Oliver at or 8-2807.

SMU Human Resources – Training and Access Upload:  for questions regarding Blackboard course completion, results in Access.SMU, and your Training Summary, email or call 8-3311.

Request Enrollment in the Blackboard Training:  Users must have an SMU ID to access the Blackboard training.  If you do and you cannot view the course in Blackboard, you may not be currently enrolled.  Read the instructions on how to request enrollment or email and include your SMU ID # in the email.  Please allow 24-48 hours for your enrollment to be completed.

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Join Us at the Heart Walk – September 13, 2014

sneakersImagine the impact if we reduce death and disability from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% by 2020! Wellpower is joining the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk to promote physical activity to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We invite you to kick off the fall semester in a healthy way by joining Wellpower at this walk. Show your support for heart health at SMU!

Event information: The walk is a 3-mile, non-competitive walk. Wear good walking shoes, dress comfortably, and bring a bottle of water.

There is no charge to participate in the Heart Walk. Donations to the Heart Association are welcome, but are not required to be a member of the SMU team. This year we are seeking to engage the entire SMU community including staff/faculty, students, alumni, and our friends and family members. So start building your team today!

Heart Walk Typical Schedule:

8:00 am – Meet at Picture Stage for a quick team photo
8:30 am – Opening Ceremonies
9:00 am – Walk begins!

We are currently working on our team registration page. We invite you to click the link below to let us know you’re interested in participating in the walk. Once our registration page is ready, we will email you instructions for signing up as an individual or as a team.

Send Me Registration Information – I’m Interested in the Heart Walk!

Additional event information may be found on the Dallas Heart Walk website.

Questions about this event? Email us at AHA_LOGO_TEMP1

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Making Work More of a Workout

Man walking with briefcaseIf you are like the majority of American adults, you spend most of your waking hours at work, and it could be taking a toll on your health. Sixty-eight percent of adults are obese or overweight, and many of us struggle to find time to work out and make healthy eating a priority.  Since we spend so much time at work, it only makes sense to build in more activity during our working hours.

Get the most out of your workday with these tips to pick up the pace. Your heart will thank you!


Here are some ways to stay active during the workday:

  • Walk during business calls. March in place or at least stand when you talk on the phone.
  • There is no law that says you have to sit when you meet. Try brainstorming on the go. Make your next catch-up with your boss a walking meeting and discuss project ideas with a co-worker while you make a few laps around the building.
  • Skip the email or the call and walk down the hall to talk to a co-worker.
  • Tone your muscles while you work. You might be surprised by how much you can improve your strength and balance with just a few minutes and a desk chair. Light hand weights are helpful and can be easily stored under your desk, but you can do these without weights too. It 15 repetitions. The goal is to complete three sets of each activity.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off a few floors early and take the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Participate in or start a recreation team…intramurals anyone?
  • Form a walking or sports team to raise money for charity events.
  • Schedule a walking break on your calendar and treat it like an important appointment.
  • Get off the bus a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
  • Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.
  • Park farther away from your building each day.
  • Use the restroom on the opposite side of the building or on another floor.
  • Traveling for business? Pack a jump rope or resistance band in your suitcase. Walk while you wait for your plane. Once you arrive at your destination, jump rope and do calisthenics in your hotel room. Take advantage of the fitness center or the swimming pool.

Create a personal challenge:

If you participate in Wellpower, you may want to create a personal challenge around walking! You may complete two personal challenges in the spring reward period.

Personal Challenge Information


Visit to find American Heart Association-designated walking paths, personalized walking plans, an online community of walkers and more. Record the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!

Questions? Email HealthyU

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