Office of Human Resources                                                                                              July 2013



 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information
Conflict of Interest

Reminder to Managers: Approve Staff COI Disclosures in FASIS

The staff COI disclosure submission deadline was June 28th, and now we turn our focus to ensuring that all staff COI disclosures are approved by their managers (i.e., COI Approvers) in FASIS by August 5th.


In order for COI Approvers to access staff COI disclosures, follow this path in FASIS Self Service: Manager Self Service > Manager Conflict of Interest > List of COI Questionnaires > Search 2013.


Information and examples for evaluating staff COI disclosures were included in June's HR Review, accessible here.


Tips for evaluating conflicts of interest are available here, and you may also contact the Conflict of Interest Office to discuss concerns or seek additional guidance.  

Inside This Issue
Conflict of Interest
Employee Recognition
Work Life Resources
Learning and Organization Development
Quick Links
Conflict of Interest

Policy Update Changes Lessens COI Disclosure Frequency for Many Researchers


On June 4th, changes to NU's Conflict of Interest in Research policy were announced.

These policy changes result from continuing clarifications, guidance, and interpretations from federal regulating agencies.  The following clarifications and changes relative to research COI disclosure timing were effective June 4th:

  • Investigators must submit an initial research COI disclosure in the FASIS system subsequent to 8/24/12; and    
  • Investigators must update their COI disclosure within 30 days of acquiring/receiving a new significant financial interest (SFI); and    
  • Investigators must submit a research COI disclosure at least annually.

What this means:

  • Investigators who have completed an initial research COI disclosure in the FASIS COI system and have no new SFIs to report throughout the year, need only update/verify their COI disclosures on an annual basis.   
  • The annual research COI disclosure requirements have been consolidated with the annual faculty COI disclosure requirements - this will occur at the same time annually for all faculty starting in February 2014.     
  • Investigators do not have to submit a new COI disclosure with every proposal submitted or within the 30-day period prior to a proposal submission solely to acknowledge no change, nor do research or business administrators need to prompt investigators to do so.    
  • The annual faculty COI disclosure, which will include the required research questions, will be sufficient to meet ongoing research COI disclosure requirements provided that new SFIs are disclosed within 30 days throughout the year as they occur

If you have questions or would like additional information, please refer here and/or contact Northwestern's

Conflict of Interest Office (NUCOI) at or 847.467.4515.

Employee Recognition
We would are proud to announce the 2013 Employee of the Year Winner and Finalists. 

2013 Winner

Congratulations to Kathleen A. Cook, International Institute for Nanotechnology

2013 Finalists

Ronald J. Blitz, Information Technology-Technology Support Services

Sara Fernandez Dunne, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences-Molecular Biosciences

Sarah Muir Ferrer, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences-Math Methods in Social Science

Steven A. Green, University Athletics-Administration

Sheila M. Judge, Chemistry of Life Process Institute

Timothy S. Stevens, University Chaplain


Please click here for photos from the Staff Service Recognition Luncheon. 

Job Descriptions - Understanding the "Job Qualifications" Section


Writing effective job descriptions, including improving their quality and usability, requires having a sound understanding of the critical components of the job. In last month's issue of HR Review we described the importance and uses of the "job summary" section.  We continue the job description series with a review of the "job qualifications" section focusing on minimum and preferred qualifications as they relate to education, experience, skills, and abilities.

Generally, job qualifications identify the minimal amount and type of education, experience and skills required to successfully perform the essential duties and responsibilities of the job. Hiring managers may also identify preferred qualifications which reflect the hiring manager's desired levels of education and experience for the job. Preferred qualifications usually describe a higher level of education, experience, or specific knowledge or skills. Hiring managers are advised to review all candidates that meet the minimum requirements of the job.

Completing the "job qualifications" section of the job description is a must.  The information in this section serves several purposes.  For example:

  • Candidates refer to this section to help them determine if they are a good fit for the job;
  • Recruiters and hiring managers reference this section to decide which candidates will be asked to interview and
  • Compensation professionals use this section to help define the appropriate external value, internal level and pay rate of the job.

Given their significance, accurately defining the minimum qualifications for each component of the "job qualifications" section is critical.  The "Education" component defines the minimum level of formal education an applicant must have to qualify for the job.  Educational requirements can range from a high school diploma to an advanced college or terminal degree. Given that Northwestern specializes in educating people, it is common for hiring managers to want to require a minimum of a college degree to fulfill the educational component of this section.  However, while a college degree in a field of study indicates a basic knowledge and understanding of the concepts used in the work to be performed, it may not be necessary for all jobs. If the duties can be learned and effectively performed with on the job training without a college degree, the a high school diploma is usually sufficient.  In this scenario, a college degree might be listed as a "preferred" qualification.

The "Experience" qualifications are reflected in years and should provide more specific information about the type and amount of work exposure needed to fulfill the essential duties.


"Skills and Abilities" round out the qualifications section and describe core attributes needed for the role.  Skill can vary by type and level of job.  For example, an intermediate level job requires the incumbent to analyze and interpret facts where a senior level may require the employee to design policy from facts.


Please feel free to contact your Compensation Consultant if you have any questions related to the content of this article.


Monthly Staff: Reminder to Record Time Off in Kronos


As in prior years, exempt staff who fail to report their time off for the fiscal year will have their balances zeroed out at the end of the fiscal year, August 31st.  Since September 2012, exempt staff have been required to enter and approve time off in Kronos on a monthly basis. Time off for each month must be entered in Kronos by the 6th of the following month.  Managers must approve the monthly Kronos time records for exempt staff by the 12th of the following month. If the 6th or 12th falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be the preceding weekday.  For example, all time off used in June 2013 must be entered by employees by July 5.  Managers must approve the time record by July 12, 2013. Instructions for entering and approving time in Kronos can be found here:


New FASIS Self Service Portal Coming in August


In August, FASIS will launch a Portal to all University Self Service users. The Portal is a web-based tool that will facilitate access by users to personal information, self service functionality, and other resources.


A pilot group has been beta testing the Portal since August 2012 to complete their training and disclosure for sponsored research. As a result of the feedback from this group, the Portal has been redesigned for a more rich, contemporary, and intuitive user experience.


Some of the features of the FASIS Self Service Portal will include:

  • Rebranded FASIS pages to a more "Northwestern" color scheme
  • Drop down accordions providing easy access to frequently used FASIS pages
  • Modal windows to make data updates and elections without leaving the main portal screen
  • A news section to keep users informed of upcoming HR deadlines
  • Easy navigation to valuable HR web links

Kronos Upgrade News


The Kronos upgrade from version 6.1 to 6.3 is underway.  We are upgrading Kronos primarily to address the issue of its incompatibility with Java version 7.  Kronos 6.3 is compatible with Java 7.  The new system will not change substantially in most other regards such as appearance and functionality.  Entering and approving timecards will work much the same as it does now, so we expect a small learning curve and hope this upgrade will have little impact on your daily business duties.  We expect to go live with the new system towards the end of summer.  Communications will be sent shortly that will provide demonstration and training dates.

Work Life Resources

Raising Digital Natives


Children of the 21st century are being raised surrounded by technology; it seems almost impossible to stay up to date with every innovation. Today's children can navigate tablets and apps in academic and social settings, posing new challenges and opportunities for parents. Summer break is a wonderful time to become more engaged with your child's digital persona. Source: U.S. News.

  • Show and Tell: If your child is using a device, program or website you are not familiar with, ask them to show you how it works. Kids love teaching adults.
  • Google It: it is an often overlooked step of internet safety. Parents should know what is online about their children (and themselves) and educate kids about the potential consequences of information on the Internet.
  • Keep Tech Public: technology should be kept in an open space and parents should know what kids are doing online.
  • Technology in the Classroom: It is important for parents to understand how technology is being used in a child's classroom. Get acquainted with your child's new teacher and ask him or her how they will utilize technology in the academic setting.
  • Summer Challenge: As a family, take a day (or weekend) to "unplug." If your kids will be at camp this summer and unplugging, designate a day free of technology at home and reflect on the experience with your child via snail mail. 
  • Additional Resources:

NU Senior Care Connections Tip of the Month:

Brief introduction: July is Sandwich Generation Month and if you are caring for an elderly parent and children you are officially in the club! When you add in work, spouses, and community obligations, life can quickly start to feel unmanageable. It may be hard to believe, but it is possible to find balance and routine amidst the many competing demands for your time and energy. Click here for some tips from the NU Senior Care Connections team.



NU Retirement Plan:  Participant Disclosure Notice


In accordance with the Department of Labor regulations applicable to the Northwestern University Retirement Plan, we are now required to disclose important plan information to you on an annual basis.  The University has directed Fidelity Investments, one of the Plan's providers, to collect information from the Plan's investment providers, consolidate it, and deliver it to you. 


The disclosure notice contains details about the Plan's investment options, restrictions, fees and expenses, in order to help you when making investment elections in connection with the University-sponsored Retirement Plans.


We anticipate that the notice will be released electronically in July.  To that end, you will receive an email from with a link to the notice.  You may view the disclosure notice online or you may print it out so you have a hard copy, if desired.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Benefits Division.


Educational Benefits Seminars


Please join us for two informative seminars about the various educational programs and tuition assistance plans available to full-time NU faculty and staff. There will be representatives from the School of Continuing Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and the Bienen School of Music on hand to describe some of their programs and answer questions. A representative from HR Benefits will also explain the educational tuition benefits offered to Northwestern employees and how to apply for them.


Chicago campus:

Tuesday, July 9th, Noon-1:00 p.m.

Wiebolt Hall, Room 408


Evanston campus:

Thursday, July 11th, Noon-1:00 p.m.

Norris University Center, Northwestern Room 202


New Volunteer and Intern Process


The Office of Human Resources has recently reviewed its Volunteer and Intern process and has updated and implemented a new process that is now in effect. 


Moving forward, the University will be making a distinction between Volunteers and Interns and will be reviewing these proposed arrangements using two updated sets of criteria that can be accessed online.


It is important that you notify Human Resources prior to any Volunteer or Intern starting in your area to ensure the individual meets the requirements and qualifies as a Volunteer or Intern.


Please notify Human Resources at least two weeks prior to the individual's planned start date to allow sufficient time for review of the proposed arrangement.


Volunteers and Interns are required to successfully complete a background check prior to starting in the department (if at least 18 years of age), in addition to several other requirements. 


Information and tools regarding this new process can be found on the Office of Human Resources web site, including a step-by-step process guide and form for requesting a Volunteer or Intern.


If you have questions, please email or call 312-503-1584.

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.


Find Keys to "Getting Things Done" in New Workshop


Feeling overwhelmed with seemingly non-stop incoming email? Wondering how to get a lingering project unstuck? If you're looking for an improved work-life management system that can help transform uncertainty into stress-free productivity, consider enrolling in an upcoming session of one of our newest workshops called Getting Things Done´┐Ż, also known as GTD.


Workshop participants will receive a copy of David Allen's bestseller Getting Things Done, several practical resources for future success using the GTD methodology as well as ongoing peer and facilitator support. Participants of the workshop are reporting enhanced control of their productivity, saying "I've started reorganizing my email and I feel less overwhelmed already!"


Upcoming Sessions

July 26 in Chicago

August 8 in Evanston

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.




Already taken the workshop? Please plan to attend one of upcoming the post-workshop gatherings. You'll have the opportunity to chat with fellow Northwestern GTD workshop participants about your progress and share any tips and tricks that you've discovered since attending the workshop.


Post-Workshop Sessions

August 15 in Chicago

August 16 in Evanston

Noon- 1:00 p.m.

Free for past workshop participants



L&OD offers a variety of workshops and additional opportunities to help improve workplace performance.
Check them outFollow our Twitter feed to get L&OD's best picks of upcoming events and learning resources.Questions? Comments? Contact the L&OD team at or 847-467-5081.



July 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM; Francis Searle Bldg., 2240 Campus Dr., Evanston, IL


Hearing device technology is evolving rapidly with developments in Bluetooth, ear-to-ear, wireless communications, rechargeable batteries, device miniaturization and much more!  Come learn what these technologies are capable of doing to improve your hearing. The clinical faculty at Northwestern University Audiology Clinic is pleased to offer this free educational seminar to Northwestern University faculty, staff, students, and their friends and relatives.  Please join us for this special event to learn what this new technology can do for you, your friends and family.


Seating is limited so please call today to make your reservation. 847-491-3165

Northwestern University Audiology Clinic