Office of Human Resources                                                            January 2012 



 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information

Upcoming Events


Martin Luther King Day

On Monday, January 16, 2012 the University will sponsor a series of events to promote discussion and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. This year's theme is "Building on the Dream. Acting with Purpose". For more information.


Effective Communication Workshop  

Have you ever wondered how what you said to a colleague could be interpreted so differently than you intended? How we communicate influences the quality of our personal and work relationships. Sheryl Soifer, an experienced human resources consultant, with a focus on management and organizational development, will present this workshop on behalf of Perspectives. Join us for a discussion about the four types of communication styles, the possible motivation behind each style and the most comfortable and effective way of interacting with others. This seminar will help participants define and compare basic communication styles, identify the importance of nonverbal communication, and identify effective communication techniques.


Wednesday, January 25 - Evanston

Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Norris Center, Arch Room


For more information, or to RSVP, please contact Katie Lambert at 7-3631 or


Financial Education Workshop

Join the Office of Work/Life and GreenPath Debt Solutions for an informative financial education workshop.  Learn how to understand and manage your debt, develop a healthy savings pattern, and rebuild and protect your credit.  For more information.  

Grace Under Pressure

It's that sort of day.  The phone is ringing off the hook.  You're put on the spot in a meeting.  You can feel yourself becoming reactive.  "Grace Under Pressure" offers new tools for remaining calm, focused, and open-minded during difficult encounters - real physical techniques that counteract what our bodies do during stress.  Many of these approaches come from recent brain research.  In this lively, memorable half-day workshop (sponsored by the Division of Work/Life Resources in the Office of Human Resources), you'll go far beyond theory.  You'll practice techniques and make them your own, ready to put to use the next morning - or even on the way home that night. For more information.


Intermediate Writing for the Web

If you know the basics of web writing but need some assistance on a particularly thorny page or section from your site, this workshop is for you! In a small-group setting, you will receive suggestions and work through problems facing your online content. You will also hone your editorial skills by assessing and providing suggestions for the online content examples submitted by fellow workshop participants. Pre-requisite: Writing for the Web. For more information.


Northwestern University Employee Tuition Benefits Information Sessions

Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies (SCS) and the Northwestern Human Resources Benefits Division will host Information Sessions for benefits eligible NU employees on Thursday, January 19 and Wednesday, January 25.


These sessions will explain how to take advantage of your employee tuition benefits through the part-time, evening, and weekend undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate and professional development programs available through the School of Continuing Studies.


Academic, admissions and student services representatives from SCS and the Human Resources Benefits Division will be at the sessions. Seats fill up quickly, so register today.


Chicago Campus

Thursday, January 19 

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Wieboldt Hall - Room 408

339 East Chicago Avenue


Evanston Campus

Wednesday, January 25 

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Donald P. Jacobs Center - Room 2245

2001 Sheridan Road


Reservations are required. Lunch will be provided. Click here to register online.

Inside This Issue
Upcoming Events
FASIS Updates
HR Services
Work/Life Resources
Benefits Briefs
Learning and Organization Development
Quick Links
Perspectives FSAP - New and improved! 


Office Location Change

The HR Compensation Team originally located at 555 S. Clark (3rd Floor) and the Evanston based HR Staffing Consultants originally located at 720 University Place have relocated to 1800 Sherman, 1st Floor, Suite 106.   For more information, please contact Steven Adams at or 1-7516.


Employee of the Year 2012

Nominations are being accepted for Employee of the Year 2012.  To nominate a staff member for Employee of the Year, download a nomination form and email it to Maudell Gaines.

Employer Assisted Housing Program

Northwestern University is offering an Employer Assisted Housing pilot program to help eligible faculty and staff take advantage of Live Evanston, a City of Evanston initiative that makes attractive, high quality homes and condos affordable for moderate income families. For more information.


Help the NU Cares Program Grow!

NU Cares offers faculty and staff an opportunity to make contributions to assist fellow employees who may be experiencing a crisis. Thanks to the many generous contributions received to date, we have met our initial goal, and are accepting applications. For more information

FASIS Updates 


Electronic Option for 2011 W-2


By January 31, 2012 you will receive your 2011 W-2 Form.  This year, you will have the option to view and print your W-2 Form electronically within FASIS Self Service. To take advantage of this benefit, you will need to consent to receive your form electronically.  Unless you opt-in, you will continue to receive a paper W-2 Form at your work address (active regular employees) or your home address (temporary and terminated employees). For more information and instructions for opting in to the Electronic W-2.



FASIS History Pages for Administrators Coming This Month


The Appointment History and Salary History pages are scheduled to go live this month for FASIS Admin users; these history pages complement the Appointment Overview and Current Salary pages that were rolled out to the FASIS administrators over the summer. The history pages take specific action/action reasons from Job Data and combine them in an easy to read format.


The new history pages will be found in the 'Faculty and Staff Information' folder in the main menu of FASIS. All existing FASIS administrators will have access to these pages.


As part of the implementation of the history pages, all active faculty and staff appointment history profiles are being reviewed and validated. Terminated employees will not be validated and will appear 'as is' on the history pages. We will be doing this validation process in phases, beginning with recent hires and working backward. Only those profiles that have been reviewed and validated will appear in the appointment history pages; thus these pages will be updated in sync with the validation process. Administrative users will be informed regarding the review/validation schedule.


Brief demonstrations of these pages are scheduled throughout January on both campuses.  A list of scheduled sessions can be found by logging into Self Service.





Work/Life Resources 


Striving for a Healthy Balance:

The Northwestern University Office of Work/Life Resources provides programs, services and consultation to enable staff and faculty to effectively balance the competing demands of work and home.


Childcare Fee Assistance

Faculty, staff, and students can apply for childcare fee assistance if they are receiving childcare at the University Children's Center or the McGaw YMCA.  Applications are available online. Applications can be submitted beginning in January of 2012 for the following 2012-2013 school year.  The applications are processed on a first come, first served basis, so it is important to submit an application as early as possible.  If you are interested in additional information, contact Lori Anne Henderson at 1-3612 or

On-Going Programs - New Participants Are Welcome!
Elder Caregiving Support Group
Monday, January 23 - Noon - Norris Center, Alumni Room
If you are a caregiver for a relative or close friend, you may want to consider joining this group. These monthly brown bag sessions provide an opportunity to exchange information about care-related issues, such as legal, financial and medical questions. For further information or to respond, contact Phyllis Ellis: or 7-1460.


Work/Life Balance Support Group 
Tuesday, January 24 - Noon - Norris Center, Alumni Room 

For those who are looking for more balance in their work and personal lives. This group meets monthly during the lunch hour. For further information or to respond, contact Phyllis Ellis: or 7-1460.


Weight Watchers @ Work

Make your New Year's wellness resolutions a reality! It is easy with a Weight Watcher's Meeting right on campus. We meet Thursdays at lunchtime in the Transportation Center/Chambers Hall (Evanston Campus). There will be an OPEN HOUSE on Thursday, January 19 at 12:30 p.m. in room 236. New in 2012; Weight Watchers at Work is moving to the Monthly Plan. If you are already on a WW Monthly Plan and want the convenience of attending meetings on campus (as well as in the community), you can switch your monthly plan to NU by canceling your current plan (call 1-866-204-2885). Your next step is to sign up through the NU Employee Portal  (company ID: 8908, company passcode: WW8908). New members can also join through the portal. For more information, contact Tamara Rosner at or 1-2209. 



Compensating Hourly Staff for Overnight Travel Away From Home


There may be occasions when hourly-paid (non-exempt) staff need to attend work related events that involve certain types of travel.   In some cases, the travel time is considered work time and is compensable and in others it is not.   Understanding when travel time is compensable can be tricky and given the complexity of the federal guidelines and varying travel circumstances, you may want to contact the Human Resources Consultant for your area to discuss specific situations before any action is taken.


There are varying types of travel to consider and the following guidelines will help in determining whether or not travel time is compensable.      

  • Home to work travel (ordinary commute)
    This type of travel occurs when the staff member travels to a regular work site before the regular work day begins and leaves after the regular work day ends. This type of travel is not work time and is not paid.

  • Home to work travel on a special one day assignment in another city  This type of travel occurs when an employee who regularly works at a fixed location in one city and is given a special one-day assignment in another city and returns home the same day. The time spent traveling to and returning from the other city is work time and is paid. However, the portion of time spent in the "ordinary commute" need not be counted as work time and therefore is not paid.   

  • Travel that is all in a day's work  This type of travel occurs when an employee travels from work site to job site during the workday. This is work time and must be paid.   

  • Travel away from the home community
    This type of travel occurs when the staff member travels and is kept away from his/her home overnight. Travel away from home is work time when it cuts across the staff member's regular work day during normal work hours or during corresponding hours on non-work days. This time is paid.

    Time spent traveling away from home as a passenger (e.g. riding on a bus, train, plane, etc.) outside of the normal work hours is not considered work time and is not paid (note, some exceptions might apply). Additionally, the hours an employee spends away from home during which he or she is not working or traveling (such as shopping during a conference break, watching a movie in the hotel at night, etc.) are not paid.

Benefits Briefs


2011 FSA Grace Period

With the new year upon us, it is helpful to remember a few points regarding Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). For those with a 2011 FSA, you have until March 15, 2012 to pay for eligible expenses with unused funds remaining in your Health Care FSA. The deadline for submitting these claims is March 31, 2012. Prior plan year funds remaining in your Health Care FSA after March 31, 2012 will be forfeited. Dependent Care FSA claims must be filed by March 31, 2012 for expenses incurred by December 31, 2011. As always, please contact the Benefits Division at 1-7513 with any questions you may have.


Dental PPO

Effective January 1, 2012 Dearborn National will replace BlueCross BlueShield as our dental PPO administrator. Dental PPO members may receive care from any licensed dentist of their choice, with higher benefits if care is received from an in-network provider.


The Dearborn National Dental Network is identical to the network of BlueCross BlueShield. To locate Dearborn National Dental Network providers near you, use the "Find a Dentist" tool on the plan's website.

  • The plan pays 100 percent for preventive care, including dental exams.
  • Restorative services are covered at 80 percent.
  • For major services and orthodontics, including bridges, crowns, dental implants, and braces, the plan pays 50 percent. For orthodontic coverage, the patient must be a dependent child under 26 years of age.
  • Claims are processed only if submitted within a year of the date of service.
  • The $50 annual deductible is not applicable to routine and preventive care.
  • The plan has an annual maximum benefit of $3,000 per individual except for orthodontics, which has a lifetime maximum benefit of $3,000.

Scheduling Appointments with the Benefits Team

To make better use of your time, should you need assistance from anyone in the Benefits Division, please call 1-7513 to schedule an appointment. This will help us prepare and gather the necessary information with regards to your specific benefit needs.  The hours of operation are as follows:


Evanston Campus

720 University Place

8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Chicago Campus

710 N. Lake Shore Drive

8:30 am - 5:00 pm; closed for lunch 12:00 - 1:00 pm


As always, walk-in appointments will continue to be accepted.


HR Services


Civility in the Workplace


As members of the Northwestern community, individuals are expected to interact with each other with civility, respect and consideration. A respectful work environment is important for a number of reasons and can positively impact morale, teamwork, and productivity. Following are several tips to promote a healthy and respectful work environment:

  • Be open-minded. Consider there may be viewpoints other than yours or that you could be wrong.
  • Pay attention to your tone and volume. Be mindful not only of what you say, but also how it comes across.
  • Depersonalize your comments. For example, rather than say "You always get this wrong," consider saying "This report was incorrect again. Let me help you understand the errors."
  • Be aware of your own defensiveness.
  • Avoid accusations and ask questions instead. For example, rather than say "You're being hysterical," ask "Can you help me understand where you're coming from?"
  • Don't interrupt. Allow others an opportunity to respond and give them your attention.
  • Address conflicts in private when possible.
  • Remember pleasantries.
  • Don't assume that others will always tell you if they are uncomfortable.

It is important to acknowledge that each person sees the world through his or her own lens, so your colleague's perception may be different than your own. Therefore, as you consider your own words and actions, try to take others' viewpoints and reflect upon how the situation will be interpreted.


For additional information, please access Northwestern University's Guidance on Civility and Violence or contact your Human Resources Consultant.


Learning & Organization Development


The Northwestern University Learning & Organization Development (L&OD) team collaborates with faculty and staff who want to develop their talent and advance their workplace outcomes, processes and engagement. L&OD provides consulting, coaching, workshops, retreats and tools for individuals, groups and organizations.  


Registration Opens for Winter Workshops

Registration is now open for workshops offered in January and February. Check your mailbox for our winter catalogue or look online to see what's coming up.


We offer a variety of workshops and opportunities to help improve workplace performance. Check them out! Questions? Comments? or 7-5081.