Office of Human Resources                                                                                              May 2013



 Your Source for University Human Resources News and Information

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 for Summer Workshops Available


Registration is now open for workshops offered in June, July and August. Check your mailbox for our summer catalog or look online to see what's coming up.


Summer workshop highlights include:

  • Effective Presentation Skills on June 25 and July 30-  Learn More.
  • Crucial ConversationsĀ® for Managers on August 8 & 15 - Learn More.
  • InDesign: Advanced on June 27 - Learn More.
  • Getting Things DoneĀ® on July 26 and August 2 - Learn More.

L&OD offers a variety of workshops and additional opportunities to help improve workplace performance. Check them out!

Follow 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.

Inside This Issue
Learning and Organization Development
Conflict of Interest
Work/Life Resources
Upcoming Events
NU Sports
Quick Links

Update Your Mailing Address

If you will be returning home for the summer, graduating, or otherwise leaving the University, don't forget to update your address in Self Service! Any time you switch residences, including student housing, you need to update your home address on file with Human Resources. This is important to ensure future tax documents and other necessary communications reach you. To update your address, log in to FASIS Self Service and navigate to: Self Service > Personal Information > Home and Mailing Addresses (or click here). Click the pencil "edit" icon next to an existing address to edit it, and save your changes.

NOTE: Address changes on SES do not automatically change your FASIS address.  The FASIS change must be done separately.


You must edit your address before you leave the University.  Once your job ends, you can no longer access Self Service to make address changes.


CTA Ventra Card

The Chicago Transit Authority will be replacing the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus with a new "Ventra" card this summer. The Ventra card will take the place of your existing card and provide additional features not available with your current transit cards. The university will be working with the CTA to manage this change and ensure a smooth transition. Additional details will be communicated as they become available. In the meantime, if you would like further information, please click on the following link to the Ventra Chicago website.



FASIS Self Service Fraud Attempt


Thursday morning, April 25th, some members of the Northwestern community received an email that appeared to be from Northwestern University asking employees to change their NetID password by clicking a link in the email. This message was a scam, and any user that clicked the link and entered their personal information may become the victim of identity theft and should promptly take action to protect their identity.


As a precautionary measure, we have temporarily locked the Self Service links to direct deposit, online benefits (including dependent/beneficiary changes), and electronic W-2 information. If you need to access or change any of this information, please contact the Payroll Division at 847-491-7362.


Anyone who clicked the link and provided personal information should change their NetID password and notify the FASIS Help Desk immediately (847-467-4800). Additional fraud prevention measures can be found in our full notification to University employees, available at


NUIT has a short instructional video on how to recognize scam emails at and examples of previous scam emails can be found at


Coming Soon - New FASIS Self Service Portal


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


A pilot group has been beta testing the Portal since August 2012 to complete their training and disclosure of financial interests for research sponsored by federal agencies, sponsors adopting the PHS regulations, and research involving human subjects. As a result of the valuable feedback from this group, the Portal has been redesigned in order to provide an even more rich, contemporary and intuitive user experience.


Stay tuned for further details on the launch date as well as the exciting features the FASIS Self Service Portal will provide.


Kronos Upgrade Has Begun


The Kronos Upgrade project has begun. Next month, demonstration dates and times to preview the upgraded system will be announced.  All employees are welcome to attend these demonstrations which will be at the Chicago and Evanston campus. In addition, a virtual demonstration will also be available for those unable to attend the sessions on campuses.  As mentioned last month, the Kronos system will be upgraded to address the issues with Java version 7, which is not compatible with our current version.


If you need to install Java 7 before the new version of Kronos is available this summer, please use the non-java version of Kronos until the upgrade is complete:


Documentation on how to use the non-Java version is available here:


Please continue to contact the Kronos Help Desk for assistance at or 847-467-7606. For one-on-one assistance, see our website for the open lab session dates:


Northwestern Scholars Update


Northwestern Scholars, NU's research networking tool and searchable database of faculty expertise, has undergone some exciting changes in the past few months. We have expanded our criteria for inclusion so the site now profiles instructors and more lecturers, as well as other groups on campus, such as institutional collaborators from the Botanical Gardens. We have also been working with The Graduate School to display graduate programs both on the Northwestern Scholars homepage and on individual faculty profiles. This development is expected to go live in June and will create more visibility for those interested in the research that is going on at the graduate program level, particularly prospective graduate students. We have also undertaken initiatives to profile organizations affiliated with the University, the Solar Fuels Institute (SOFI) and Women and STEM, both of which cross several Universities and national laboratories. These will be built upon the Northwestern Scholars infrastructure and linked to the site directly through the Institutional Collaboration tab on the homepage. These exciting developments will help foster further research networking outside of Northwestern and showcase exciting research and collaborations of more Northwestern faculty. Visit to check it out!

Conflict of Interest

Annual Faculty Conflict of Interest (COI) Disclosure Opens in FASIS for Bienen, NU-Q, McCormick, Medill, & WCAS Faculty on May 1st

Did you know that every year, faculty in each School have traditionally completed the University's annual faculty COI requirements in different ways? This year, we are excited to start the move toward a consistent annual COI disclosure process and system for faculty. This year's annual faculty COI disclosures will be collected online in FASIS for faculty with primary appointments in the following Schools:

  • Bienen School of Music
  • McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Northwestern University in Qatar
  • The Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Additional Schools will be joining this process of annual faculty COI disclosures in FASIS next year.

The annual COI disclosure will be open for faculty in FASIS from May 1st through June 3rd.

Particularly exciting is the fact that for those faculty members involved in research funded by certain sponsoring agencies who have already submitted COI disclosures in FASIS in response to research requirements, the faculty member's responses will be automatically transferred into their annual faculty COI disclosure as applicable. This will eliminate the need for duplicative data entry by faculty, and will combine the research COI disclosure with the annual faculty COI disclosure in order to meet both requirements at once. 

Faculty may assign proxies for the annual faculty COI disclosures, as with research COI disclosures, but the faculty member must still certify and submit their own disclosure.

If you have questions, please refer here or contact Northwestern's Conflict of Interest Office (NUCOI) at or 847.467.4515.



Annual Staff Conflict of Interest (COI) Disclosure Opens in FASIS May 20th

The annual staff COI disclosure in FASIS opens May 20th. Annually, all staff are required to complete a COI disclosure. Staff members' external activities and interests are assessed to determine whether or not they could potentially interfere with or detract from one's University obligations and responsibilities.

Starting May 20th, staff will be able to access and complete their COI disclosure by clicking the Conflict of Interest Disclosure link in FASIS Self-Service. The disclosure will be open from May 20th through June 28th.

Please complete your annual staff COI disclosure by June 28th.

For help or guidance in completing your disclosure, or reviewing your staff's disclosures as a COI Approver, please refer here or contact Northwestern's Conflict of Interest Office (NUCOI) at or 847.467.4515



The Benefits Division, in partnership with Northwestern University Emeriti Organization (NEO), will be hosting a retiree workshop. If you are already retired or are thinking of retiring, the workshop will cover basic information to assist you in better understanding your decisions around health care choices. A panel of current retirees, representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), United Healthcare (UHC) and others will be available to answer any questions you might have.


The date and times of the workshops are as follows:


Evanston Campus- May 7, 2013                 Chicago Campus- May 7, 2013

Hardin Hall                                                   Baldwin Auditorium

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.                                1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.




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, May 23 and Thursday, May 30.


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 available to answer your questions.


                               Chicago Campus                                              Evanston Campus

                               Thursday, May 23, 2013                                   Thursday, May 30, 2013

                               noon-1 p.m.                                                       Noon-1 p.m.

                               Wieboldt Hall - Room 408                                 Donald P. Jacobs Center - Room 2245

                               339 East Chicago Avenue                                2001 Sheridan Road


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

Work/Life Resources

Summer is Almost Here!


If you are looking for additional help with summer plans for your children, consider some of these resources: 


Help Finding Sitters: 

Summer Camps:

For additional information, contact the Office of Work/Life Resources at 847-467-3631.

Fitness Makes Everything Better

Have you ever noticed that when you feel at your best physically and emotionally - everything is better? You are more resilient when faced with challenges at work and at home, you have more energy to handle what is on your plate and even your overall outlook can be more positive. We all know it: eating well, getting enough exercise are essential to feeling fit. So, what gets in the way? Try these familiar refrains:

  • "When can I find time to exercise? I am too busy"
  • "After a long day of work and dinner, homework etc. I just don't feel like doing anything else."
  • "How much will walking really help me?"

Walking Toward a Healthier You

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! Besides that, it's the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you: 

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
 Tips to get you started
  • Take a walk during a lunch time. As the weather gets better, the Evanston campus and the Chicago lakeshore are great places for a scenic walk. Ask a co-worker/friend to join you. Schedule a walk on your daily calendar.
  • Use the on or near campus fitness facilities.
  • Walk the Dog. If you have a dog, walk it daily.
  • Plan family outings that include walking together. Find hiking trails, nature walks or participate in family fun walks/runs. Check out your local park district website.
  • Get the national guide to walking trails from the American Heart Association.
  • Participate in Relay for Life of Northwestern University: Friday and Saturday, May 17 - 18 from 6:00 p.m.- 6:00 a.m. For additional information.
  • Buy a pedometer at a sporting goods store. A pedometer counts how many steps you take. The first time you wear it, count how many steps you normally take in a day. Wear your pedometer every day, and set a goal for increasing the number of steps each day. At first, try to add 300 to 500 steps to your day. Then work toward 2,000 more steps a day. A good long-term goal is to get 10,000 steps a day.

Enjoy the benefits of walking. Hope to see you out there!


Smart Phone Etiquette at Work: "Smart" Tips for Minding Your P's and Q's


In recent years, smart phones have quickly become an important tool for communicating with one another and getting work done. They have given us the ability to communicate and share information virtually anytime and anywhere. However, with this evolution in the way we communicate, it is also important that we update our etiquette on how and when we use our phones. Here are several key tips to follow as you use these devices:

  • Ensure your phone has a professional and unobtrusive ring tone installed.
  • If you can't turn your cell phone off during a meeting, be sure to keep it in silent or vibrate mode.
  • Unless it is critical, don't answer a call during a meeting or when in conversation with someone.
  • If you are expecting to receive a call during a meeting that you know you will need to answer, let people know this in advance and step out when the call comes. In this case, when choosing where to sit, aim for a seat near the door to minimize the disruption when you do step out.
  • When on your phone, pay attention to how loudly you are talking. Often, we match the volume of our voice to the person on the other end of the call. Be sure if you're speaking to someone who is under the subway and yelling that you are not using their same volume in the office.
  • Give your full attention to those who are present. You may want to leave your phone in your pocket so you won't be tempted to check it.
  • If there is a particular message you must send or read during a meeting, let people know this in advance and explain why this is important.
  • Use as much conventional writing style as possible when sending an email or text message from your phone. Consider the person to whom you are sending the message and how they will react to any shorthand you have used.
  • Make sure to read over your message before sending it to check for any spelling or grammatical errors.

By following the simple tips noted here, you can avoid many of the most common missteps in smart phone etiquette in the workplace. Also, keep in mind that whether your phone is "smart", or simply a standard cell phone without all the bells and whistles, much of this etiquette still applies.


Writing an Effective Resume


Last month's article covered the importance of including a cover letter when applying for a new position. Along with a cover letter, it is also important to include a resume with your application. While not required within e-Recruit (Northwestern University's application system), a resume provides the optimal format for packaging your background and skills in an easy-to-read, user-friendly format for the Hiring Manager and Staffing Consultant to review. An effective resume may make all the difference in whether you receive a call for that much anticipated interview, so it's important to know how to craft one. Below are some of the most important considerations in developing your resume:

  • Emphasize your work experience, accomplishments, and skills that directly relate to the position for which you are applying. If you are applying for different types of positions, you may have several versions of your resume, each of which highlights a different facet of your background.
  • Highlight each position you have held at Northwestern, including a summary of your experience, dates of employment for each position, and your job title(s).
  • Ensure the descriptions of your past experience are accomplishment-oriented. When listing accomplishments, use action verbs to describe your experience and ensure that each bullet point answers the question "So what?"
  • Anticipate any "red flags" the reader may have, such as gaps of employment, and address them as much as possible within the resume.
  • Tailor the length of your resume appropriately given your work experience and background. A resume is typically one to two pages in length.
  • Use a font and font size that are simple and clear. Standard fonts include Arial, Helvetica, Universe, Times New Roman, Palatino, Century Gothic, and Courier. Standard font sizes range from 10 to 14 points.
  • Ensure the document is grammatically perfect and free of typos. Formatting within the document should be consistent.
  • Based upon the length of your prior work experience, place information regarding your educational background where it is most appropriate. Frequently, recent graduates or those with minimal work experience will place this information near the beginning of the resume, while those with more work experience will place it near the end since it requires less emphasis.

While creating or updating your resume may sound like a daunting task, it's important not to wait until you've identified a new opportunity to start working on it. Tracking your key accomplishments as you go along and periodically setting aside time to update your resume can go a long way in helping to manage this process. And this will ensure that when an opportunity presents itself, you'll be ready for what comes next.


For more information on writing an effective resume, visit the Job Search Resource Guide or attend the University's Managing Your Career series. Additionally, the Internet has many excellent resources on this topic.


Essential Functions


Job descriptions are the basic building blocks of an effective compensation system. These documents summarize the most important aspects of each job and serve as the foundation for recruitment, training, performance evaluation and compensation. They also link the required skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions of the job to various aspects of the work life cycle including hiring, career and promotional planning, personal and professional development as well as compensation.


Writing an effective job description can be a daunting task. To make this necessary action easier, we will -- within the next several articles -- deconstruct the job description section by section, explain why each section is necessary, and provide good examples for completion so that you are able to write more effective job descriptions.


A key section of every job description is that which defines the "principal duties and responsibilities". Within this section, the essential duties are captured.  


When the courts hear cases related to the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding accommodations, they most often look to the organization's job descriptions and in particular the essential functions.  Essential functions  are the tasks and responsibilities that must be performed by the job holder (with or without a reasonable accommodation) in order for a job to exist. It's not always easy to determine if a task or responsibility qualifies as an essential function. When attempting to determine essentiality, avoid common classification mistakes by starting with the following considerations:

  • Does the position exist to perform this job function?
  • Would the position fundamentally change if the function or job requirement was altered or taken away?
  • Can the function be performed only by a limited number of employees?
  • Is the function a highly specialized function or requirement of the job?
  • What would be the consequence if this function was not included?
  • How much time is typically spent performing this function?

Essential functions must be job related, be consistent with business necessity, and be described in terms of the results or outcome of a function, not solely on the way it customarily is performed. Table 1 provides examples of job functions that are essential to the roles identified.


Table 1 Illustration of Essential Functions for the given roles


Example of an Essential Function

Faculty Member

  • Initiate, facilitate, and moderate classroom discussions
  • Plan, evaluate, and revise curricula, course content, and course materials and methods of instruction
  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge and publish findings in professional journals, books, or electronic media
  • Keep abreast of developments in the field by reading current literature, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional organizations and conferences.

Purchasing Manager

  • Analyze market and delivery systems to assess present and future material availability
  • Locate vendors of materials, equipment or supplies, and interview them to determine product availability and terms of sales

Residential Advisor

  • Enforce rules and regulations to ensure the smooth and orderly operation of residential programs
  • Observe students to detect and report unusual behavior
  • Develop and coordinate educational programs for residents


When defining essential job functions, be careful not to inadvertently screen out individuals with disabilities by thinking broadly about how a task can be accomplished. For example, including the phrase "type correspondence" can screen out otherwise qualified individuals. Consider using the phrase "preparation of correspondence" which can be accomplished via voiceover or speaker phone technology. The focus is to produce the correspondence without regard to how the task is accomplished.


The Compensation Consultants are available to provide as much assistance as needed to help in your understanding and application of the key considerations when determining essential functions. However, your good judgment and subject matter expertise is also critical to this process. We highly recommend reviewing job descriptions on a regular basis by the incumbent and manager to ensure that the duties and responsibilities accurately reflect the essential functions of the role.                  

Upcoming Events

Kindermusik at Northwestern offers Kindermusik classes for ages 0 - 5 on Monday afternoons and Saturday mornings on the Evanston campus.  The program is currently enrolling children for its summer classes.  There are two 6 week summer sessions. The Saturday classes begin on June 8 and the Monday classes begin on June 24.   Kindermusik offers age appropriate early childhood music and movement classes and are taught by licensed Kindermusik educators who also have degrees in music. Full-time Northwestern employees who receive benefits are eligible for a discount of 25% off Kindermusik tuition.  For further information on Kindermusik, please visit and click on Kindermusik or email Pat Heineman-Vernon, Coordinator, Kindermusik at Northwestern at

 NU Sports

Northwestern Basketball

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