Supervisor Checklist for Hiring Student Workers

Supervisor Checklist for Hiring Student Workers

The beginning of the fall semester signifies the end of summer and, for anyone supervising student workers, it is also the time to confirm your new and returning student workers are on-boarded and prepared for the upcoming academic year in your department.

Verify Your Student Worker is Authorized to Work

Hiring managers must provide each new student worker the New Student Employment Packet and ensure he/she is authorized to work by verifying his/her Form I-9 is appropriately completed.

To make the process more seamless, we request that students schedule an appointment to fill out a I-9 by emailing to request their appointment and provide their SMU ID and anticipated start date.

Supervisors should not assume their student worker already has a Form I-9 “on file” OR that a Form I-9 completed previously is acceptable. To confirm your student is I-9 compliant, supervisors should verify directly with HR or verify that HR has signed off that the student is I-9 compliant on his/her Student Worker Employment Checklist 

Supervisors hiring International Student Workers must follow the instructions provided by the International Scholars & Students Office (ISSS) to confirm the student’s work eligibility. The student’s ePAF start and end date must stay within the ISSS-authorized dates and scheduled work hours. Failure to do so could endanger your student worker’s ability to remain within the U.S. to complete his/her education and/or to work in the U.S. after graduation.

Complete the ePAF to Ensure Your Student Worker is Paid on Time

As employees of the University, it is essential for each student worker to be set-up correctly in the payroll system in order to receive timely pay.

  • Supervisors must initiate a new hire/rehire ePAF for each student worker as the employment offer is accepted by the student.
  • Start date for ePAF: Employment start dates should commence on or after August 15, 2020.
  • End date for ePAF:  financial aid work-study student employment must end on or before by May 7, 2021.  Non-financial aid work-study students must have an employment end date on or before May 21, 2021.
  • Student workers whose start date was before August 15, 2020 must have two (2) separate ePAFs forms submitted: to ensure they are paid for work before the fall start date of August 15
    1. A temporary staff or student worker ePAF, depending on summer classification, for work prior to August 15, 2020 and
    2. A student worker ePAF effective date on or after August 15, 2020
  • Non-Work-Study Student Worker jobs that are paid from an unrestricted source (fund 10 or 12) will require additional approval.
    • Approver for an academic area will be the financial business manager for the school or Provost’s area
    • Approver for an administrative area will be the vice president
    • Other non-work-study student worker jobs that are paid from a restricted source (fund 20 or higher) including grants/sponsored projects will continue to be routed for approvals required for the type of job/funding source
  • Work-Study Student Worker hire forms will follow the normal approval routing—regardless of funding source
    • If the student does not have work study funds as part of his/her financial aid package, the hire form will be recycled for the initiator to resubmit it as a non-work-study job; additional approval may be required. (See above)

Manage Student Worker Schedules to Remain Within Weekly Limits

The tax benefits student workers are eligible to receive are contingent on SMU limiting these recipients to no more than 20 hours of work per week. Hiring managers must ensure each student worker’s schedule abides by the 20 hour per week limitation. This applies to any student being paid under a student worker ePAF.

Required Training for Student Workers

Student workers must be compliant with training requirements via Everfi (SMU’s vendor for e-learning training). First time student workers will be automatically assigned the training.  Those who were previously employed in a student worker role will only be assigned the training if they have achieved the refresh schedule for a particular training.

  • SMU’s Program for the Protection of Minors course titled Youth Protection
  • Data Security and Privacy

Student workers will receive an email notification to their SMU email address announcing the assignments with a link to access the training.  Students should use their SMU ID and password to log in via the single sign on portal. Additional training may be assigned based on job responsibilities; for example, FERPA for those requesting access to student records via the OIT Help Desk or golf cart safety if they will have access to this resource.

Those supervising student workers should manage training completion within the allocated timeframe. This may be confirmed by having the student print a completion certificate from within the Everfi system or by accessing their training summary in my.SMU.

Engage Your Student Worker

Student workers are a vital resource to the University. Students should be on-boarded and orientated to work expectations similarly to the on-boarding our regular employees experience. Introduce your student workers to the work team, make sure they understand the role your team/department plays in achieving the Universities goals. Share dress codes and culturally specific information so they feel included. Set clear expectations for the work they will do as well as how and when to notify you when they are ill or have conflicts with their work schedule. Provide regular feedback about the work they are doing and the impact they are having. Doing so will ensure your student is engaged and providing maximum support to your team.


Posted in HR General, Resources, Working at SMU | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Supervisor Checklist for Hiring Student Workers

Wellpower Launch Coming Soon – Rewards, Challenges, Recipes, and More

Wellpower logoThe new SMU Wellpower portal will launch
September 1, 2020 for all benefit-eligible
faculty and staff.

The new portal will be available online and as an app for your mobile device. Sync with a wearable device to help with tracking (For example, but not limited to: Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch).

  • Complete program activities and earn rewards.
  • Participate in group and personal Wellpower challenges.
  • Browse a database of recipes and workout videos.
  • Fill out a meal planner and search for local grocery store discounts.
  • Track health-related activity: step count, activity minutes, nutrition, hydration, sleep and weight.

Spouses Invited

For the first time spouses are invited and encouraged to participate in Wellpower. Click here to complete the online spouse form to add your spouse in the HR system. After being added to the portal the following Tuesday, spouses will need to create their own account on the Wellpower spouse portal.

*Spouses are not eligible for prizes, rewards or incentives.

Who wants a prize?

Eligible faculty and staff who access the portal between September 1 and September 11 will receive a Wellpower t-shirt. The first group challenge – The BEST of YOU – starts on September 14. Employees who participate in The BEST of YOU group challenge and complete it as a member of a group will receive a SMU Wellpower face mask.

There will also be prize drawings for faculty and staff who utilize the program in the first month of launch.


Posted in Benefits, Health & Wellness, HR General, Resources, Working at SMU | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Wellpower Launch Coming Soon – Rewards, Challenges, Recipes, and More

Nominations open today for the Annual Staff Presidential Awards – Due by Monday, September 21, 2020

The Presidential Recognition Awards are given annually to recognize the contribution and excellence of SMU staff. Nominations open today and run through Monday, September 21, 2020. The review process for the Presidential Recognition Awards is coordinated by the Department of Human Resources in partnership with the Staff Association.  More information on the review process can be found here.

Four awards are awarded to outstanding staff for New Employee Excellence, Continuing Excellence, Outstanding Leadership, and Innovation.

Gretchen C. Voight New Employee Excellence Award

This Award highlights the employee who has been with the University from one to three consecutive years and who shows:

  • Significant impact on the University through his or her demonstration of competence, dedication, outstanding performance, problem solving, customer service and ingenuity
  • Contribution and demonstrated commitment to the University’s core purpose and values
  • Exceptional ability to foster collaboration, communication, and cooperation among colleagues and University constituents
  • Performance at a level above and beyond job requirements

Continuing Excellence Award

This Award highlights the employee who has been with the University for four or more consecutive years and who shows:

  • Significant impact on the University through his or her demonstration of competence, dedication, outstanding performance, problem solving, customer service and ingenuity
  • Contribution and demonstrated commitment to the University’s core purpose and values
  • Exceptional ability to foster collaboration, communication, and cooperation among colleagues and University constituents
  • Performance at a level above and beyond job requirements

Outstanding Leadership Award

This award recognizes:

  • Exceptional leadership ability within his or her unit or across the University
  • Contribution and commitment to the University’s core purpose and values
  • The ability to create a positive, supportive, and motivating work environment
  • Exceptional performance in communication, problem solving, coaching, and facilitating

Innovation Award

This Award recognizes creative, innovative ideas that:

  • Significantly improve a work process or system or greatly increase the efficiency of an operation or unit
  • Has a positive impact on University resources
  • Includes a timeframe that will allow the University to see a return on its investment within a three-year period

Eligibility and Requirements along with the nomination form can be found here: Presidential Recognition Awards


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on Nominations open today for the Annual Staff Presidential Awards – Due by Monday, September 21, 2020

Important Information Regarding Labor Day Holiday



As SMU students will be in class on Labor Day 2020 to accommodate revisions to the fall semester, SMU offices will remain open and staffed on Monday, Sept. 7. The University will, instead, offer its employees a floating holiday to replace the traditional Labor Day holiday.

All benefit-eligible employees hired by SMU before December 31, 2020 will be eligible for the floating holiday. Employees will be offered one day off based on their standard hours. For example, employees who work 37.5 hours per week will accrue 7.5 hours of holiday time.

The floating holiday, to be chosen by the employee with their supervisor’s approval, may be scheduled for any time between July 1, 2020 and May 31, 2021. Bi-weekly employees should report the floating holiday as FLB (Floating Holiday Bi-Weekly) on timesheets and monthly employees should report the time as FLT (Floating Holiday-Monthly). The time reporting code will be available for use on July 6, 2020.

The Labor Day adjustment is part of a larger modification of the fall semester designed to help lessen the spread of COVID-19 by ending in-person classes before Thanksgiving and reducing the number of students returning to campus after holiday travel. The September 7 Labor Day holiday and October 12–13 Fall Break will both be suspended and used as class instruction days.

Posted in HR General, Working at SMU | Tagged , | Comments Off on Important Information Regarding Labor Day Holiday

Magellan EAP Introduces BetterHealth Virtual Therapy

Magellan Healthcare’s Employee Assistance Program, (EAP) offers comprehensive virtual therapy options through BetterHelp, the world’s largest online counseling service.

BetterHelp provides counseling for the entire family—individuals, couples and teens (with parental consent and in accordance with applicable law and clinical appropriateness) through the following modalities.  You and our household members can access therapy quickly – typically within 24 hours – through the following options:

  • Text message
  • Live chat
  • Phone conference
  • Video conference

You may choose to chat with a therapist online one week and schedule a video session the next week.

How does it work?

Call SMU’s EAP number at 877-704-5696.

  • A clinician who will guide you through the process and refer you to BetterHelp, if appropriate, depending on your individual situation.
  • BetterHelp will then you through email with a unique questionnaire link.
  • Complete the questionnaire and submit it via the BetterHelp platform.

Typically, you will begin communicating with a provider within 24 hours of completing the questionnaire.

Virtual therapy is also an option, in addition to the in-person and telehealth counseling options already available to you through Magellan.

To learn more, visit to review Counseling services and all of the program benefits.

Remember, our Magellan EAP is free, confidential and available to you and your household members 24/7/365.


Posted in Benefits, Health & Wellness, Resources | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Magellan EAP Introduces BetterHealth Virtual Therapy

SMU Benefits Available for You to Utilize!

Over the last few months, the Department of Human Resources has worked diligently with several of our vendors to offer additional benefits to our SMU benefits-eligible employees as well as extend several of our programs to allow further coverage. We are excited to highlight several of those benefits below.

Blue Cross Blue Shield and MDLive

We have negotiated with Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover both testing and treatment for COVID-19 for employees enrolled in one of the three BCBSTX plans who receive testing/treatment that fulfills CDC guidelines. MDLive is available to all employees enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield medical plans SMU offers and we have been able to negotiate a temporary waiver of costs to you as the employee through June 30, 2020. MDLive typically cost a $10 copay for employees enrolled in the $2,000 Deductible PPO or $44 for employees who are enrolled in the $2,800 or $5,000 HDHP.  However, through the month of June you can have peace of mind knowing that those copays are waived.

Health Care Spending Account/Health Savings Account

Over-the-counter drugs and medicines not prescribed by a physician can now be reimbursed pre-tax via the Health Care FSA and the Health Savings Account. Menstrual care products are now considered eligible expenses. Please visit Discovery Benefits for examples of qualified products. SMU’s Health Savings Account vendor BenefitWallet has extended their Service Center hours so that you may reach them Monday through Friday from 10:00 A.M. to 6:30 P.M. EST.

Cariloop and the Magellan Employee Assistance Program

Cariloop, our caregiving support vendor, created two webinars that you may listen to that cover common questions surrounding COVID-19, as well as caregiving questions you may have returning back to work. Cariloop does offer virtual coaching sessions and they are simple to schedule! Magellan is also offering virtual and telephone services for those who may want to seek emotional support related to COVID-19 and returning back to work. Each of these programs are also offering assistance related to finding child care for your children.


LegalEASE has allowed us to enroll into their LegalEASE Emergency Financial Hardship Package, which is available to all employees whether you are a member of the LegalGuard plan or not. This package includes Legal Corner, which allows you to browse through online content highlighting new laws and court decisions, a 30 minute no cost consultation for any legal problem, and access to their online directory which houses a total of 20,000 network attorneys. You may review the LegalEASE package and all other benefit information here.

Posted in Benefits, Health & Wellness, HR General, Resources | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on SMU Benefits Available for You to Utilize!

Submit a Tuition Benefit Request for Academic Year 2021.

A Tuition Benefit Request will need to be submitted if you, your spouse, and/or dependent(s) are a continuing student or new student for the 2021 Academic Year (Fall 2020 – Summer 2021) before the start of the Fall 2020 term.

How to submit your tuition benefit request online:

Log into my.SMU > Employee Self Service > Tuition Benefits tile

  1. Read the attestations, click the button stating they have been read, and click Save.
  2. Choose AY21 in the table and click Save a second time.

HR will follow your account for the entire academic year, and award the tuition benefit.

Visit the Tuition Benefit website for eligibility requirements, program details, and grad tax information.

If you have any questions please email

Posted in Benefits, HR General, Resources, Working at SMU | Tagged , | Comments Off on Submit a Tuition Benefit Request for Academic Year 2021.

Retirement Planning Help for Your Best Future

You work hard to build a strong financial future for yourself and your family, so we understand if the current market turmoil might have you rattled. Rest assured, we’re here to help you navigate these challenges.

The road to retirement is about so much more than the actual years you’ll spend in retirement. It’s about the financial decisions we make all along the way.

I’m Todd Hutson, CRPC©, and I am your dedicated Transamerica retirement planning consultant for the Southern Methodist University Retirement Program. I provide financial guidance and retirement education — no matter where you are in your career.

Some financial decisions are small — like deciding whether to buy a new phone or go on vacation. Others are bigger — like buying a house, saving for college expenses, or how to care for an elderly parent. Whatever decisions are on your radar, I can provide you with resources to help you make better informed decisions today, while keeping an eye on tomorrow.

I can help you:

  • Enroll in your Southern Methodist University 403(b) Retirement
  • Learn more about saving and investing in your plan
  • Determine how much you should be contributing to your retirement savings account, and how to maximize the SMU matching contribution
  • Review and understand the investment options and services offered through Transamerica
  • Use the tools and resources available to you through Transamerica

You can schedule an appointment with me by calling 214-768-7504, by emailing me at, or by clicking the link below:

Schedule an appointment today!

The role of the retirement planning consultant is to assist you with your retirement plan. There are no additional charges for meeting with your retirement planning consultant, who is a registered representative with Transamerica Investors Securities Corporation (TISC), member FINRA, 440 Mamaroneck Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528. All Transamerica companies identified are affiliated, but are not affiliated with your employer.


Posted in Benefits, Retirement | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Retirement Planning Help for Your Best Future

Coordinated Health and Wellness Benefits Programs Support SMU Employees with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Beyond

SMU has been working proactively with Blue Cross Blue Shield to establish the coordination of benefits for health care related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Testing to diagnose COVID-19, when medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, will be covered at 100% regardless of the SMU medical plan you and your family may be covered under.  All SMU Health plan options are administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

Testing will not be subject to copays or the deductible or co-insurance, and no prior authorization is needed. Treatment cost-sharing related to COVID-19 has also been waived. Treatment related to COVID-19 includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. The waiver applies to costs associated with COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities and treatment for out-of-network emergencies.

For questions regarding providers and facilities contact Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas at or call 877-768-2005. For information regarding your specific plan, please validate your plan within my.SMU and then click here for plan information. Additional questions may  be directed to

Additional programs support employees to maintain work-life balance.


SMU encourages the use of MDLive at all times of the year, however we would like to bring this benefit to the forefront as it is a benefit that you can use from the convenience of your own home. MDLIVE doctors can help treat many conditions including allergies, asthma, nausea, sinus infections, earache and flu. Whether you’re at home or traveling, access to an independently contracted board-certified doctor is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please note that due to the Coronavirus, there may be some delays at this time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Under the CARES ACT, SMU health plans can now cover telehealth services pre- deductible without affecting HSA eligibility.

Your cost depends on your SMU medical plan:

  • $2,000 Deductible PPO: $10 copay
  • $2,800 HDHP: $44 negotiated rate until the deductible has been met, then a $10 copay
  • $5,000 HDHP: $44 negotiated rate until the deductible has been met, then covered at 100%

Flexible Spending Accounts

If you elected into either the Health Care Flexible Spending Account or the Health Savings Account, you can use those accounts to pay toward healthcare expenses on a pre-tax basis. These accounts can pay for medical expenses, including treatment for Coronavirus or prescriptions that your doctor may prescribe should they be needed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Over-the-counter drugs and medicines not prescribed by a physician can now be reimbursed pre-tax. Menstrual care products are now considered eligible expenses. Examples include tampons, pads, liners, cups, sponges, or similar products.

Caregiving Support Program

Cariloop is SMU’s free caregiving support benefit that allows you to connect with a licensed/certified on-demand care coach who can assist with navigating caregiving at a time of need. Should you or a loved one require care at this time or if you have concerns pertaining to potential caregiving scenarios, contact Cariloop at 972-325-5836.

Employee Assistance Program

SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), administered by Magellan Health Services, is available  24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you may receive up to three counselling sessions per issue at no cost.  Licensed counselors help employees navigate areas of stress, whether from work, personal life or Coronavirus (COVID19).  To initiate a conversation with a specialist, please call Magellan EAP at 877-704-5696.

Alight Solution Health Services

Alight Solution Health Services is available to faculty and staff enrolled in one of the SMU medical plans and helps employees with:

  • finding affordable care options (from doctors to cost estimates)
  • understanding insurance benefits
  • identifying highly rated doctors
  • scheduling appointments
  • saving on prescription expenses

You can reach SMU’s Alight Health Pro, Olivia Capogna, by calling 800-513-1667 (ext. 3502) or by emailing

Posted in Benefits, Health & Wellness, HR General, Resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Coordinated Health and Wellness Benefits Programs Support SMU Employees with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Beyond

Managing Respect and Tolerance in the Workplace

Having good workplace relationships helps you to be more productive in your job and make going to work every day a pleasant experience.  Getting along with others is at the core of a harmonious work environment.  Workplace relationships can suffer when tolerance, communication and respect are absent.  Tolerance in principle and practice can be a challenge in any environment, but especially in the workplace due to personal biases or individual disagreements.

In a harmonious workplace, the following basic principles are present and modeled by members of the organization.

  • Respect and appreciation for the differences of others
  • Space where others can be who they are, no matter how they differ ethnically, culturally, temperamentally and even politically
  • Collaboration where others are allowed to share their ideas, engage in healthy debate and make decisions together, when possible
  • Team members model the behavior they want and expect to receive from others

The following articles on respect and tolerance in the workplace are just a few of the on-line resources available to our SMU community via our Employee Relations Provider Magellan Health Services.

  1. Understanding and Accepting All Types of People
  2. Getting Along with Others

Learn more about SMU’s EAP Program.  EAP information and services (including online counseling) can be accessed online at Magellan Health Services.

Additionally, SMU Human Resources provides a variety of opportunities and resources to help individual employees, teams and/or departments in the areas of relationship management, including:

  • on-line education
  • in-person professional and manager development workshops
  • individual or team consultations
  • access to trained Employee Relations specialists

For more support or to learn more, contact SMU HR at 214-768-3311 or

Posted in HR General, Learning and Development, Working at SMU | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Managing Respect and Tolerance in the Workplace