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Message from the SPS President

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Deborah Haliczer
President, Supportive Professional Staff Council
dhaliczer@niu.edu

Star Date, Spring 2015

Deborah Haliczer
Deborah Haliczer
As the 2014-2015 academic year moves toward its graduation celebrations, we are helping to launch the next generation of leaders into their careers. And new groups arrive for orientation, bringing that excitement that only our students provide to our campus.

At the same time, we are facing serious threats to our budget and our pensions. All three employee councils and the University Benefits Committee are working to address morale issues on campus, and have been sharing these concerns with the administration. We have heard great ideas and will be engaged in the ongoing dialogue about how we can maintain a positive level of morale during hard times. Our administrators have gone to Springfield with students to tell the NIU story and talk about the impact of proposed cuts. Committees have begun working through the process of Program Prioritization, and some of our colleagues have expressed concern about what that might mean to their job security. We are in a time of change and need to move forward in coping with external threats in the spirit of community, encouraging and supporting one another. This takes patience, an open mind, constructive dialogue, and attention to stress management and wellness practices.

Looking at those orientation attendees and their parents, who will be participating in a new two-day orientation, we see opportunity and possibilities. Our students are the reason we are here and they make this an exciting institution. I have worked with an inspiring group of students, both undergraduates and graduates, who have brought their research in industrial and organizational psychology and applied that learning to develop and conduct some of NIU’s HR training programs. I know it has been a great opportunity for them and our participants have enjoyed their workshops. That is just one example of some of the many collaborations we all have with students and colleagues across campus. As we know from our past surveys, working with our students, and working with dedicated colleagues makes this a great place to work, in spite of the difficult times we are facing.

I challenge all of us to strive to maintain our optimism and cultivate our resilience. Pay attention to issues of work-life balance. As spring finally arrives, call a colleague and go for a walk. Join one of the Council’s campus events, take a walking tour to see the sculptures, or meditate in the greenhouse. Spend your lunch break visiting the NIU Art Museum or Anthropology Museum. Join one of the campus fitness programs. These activities remind us that we work at an institution of higher education that is committed to lifelong learning. Between meetings around campus, take the long route back and take time to breathe and reflect on what role you play in our students’ success and in the success of this university. Thank you all for the wonderful work you all do.

Deborah Haliczer, President
SPS Council

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Celebrating SPS Excellence

Lesley Gilbert

Lesley Gilbert
Secretary, Supportive Professional Staff Council
lclements@niu.edu

On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 14th, Supportive Professional Staff employees, fellow colleagues, family, and friends gathered in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center to recognize 40 SPS employees during the annual SPS Council Awards Ceremony. Awards presented included the SPS Certificate of Recognition, the SPS Council Outstanding Service Award, SPS Staff Awards, and the Presidential Supportive Professional Staff Award for Excellence. Leyla Puskar was also recognized as the 2015 SPS Dependent Scholarship recipient.

Thirty SPS employees were presented with Certificates of Recognition. These awards were initiated by the SPS Council in 2003 and are awarded for such accomplishments as: publication of books or articles; presentations or papers delivered at professional conferences; leadership in professional associations; honors and recognitions received; advanced academic degrees or professional certifications earned; and for extraordinary service to the NIU community and its students. This year’s Certificate of Recognition recipients are:  Rebecca Babel (Student Financial Aid), Paul Baker (College of Education), Peggy Batty (Foreign Languages and Literature), Monique Bernoudy (Intercollegiate Athletics), Judy Boisen (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Center for Secondary Science &Mathematics), Andrea Buford (Office of Sponsored Projects), Ximena Burgin (Office of Research, Evaluation, and Policy Studies), Joy Coates (Center for Black Studies), Elizabeth Colvin (Housing and Dining), Kristie Crane (Sociology), Judy Doyle (Registration & Records), Nancy Finn (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences), Jeanette Gommel (Research and Innovation Partnerships), David Haas (Alumni Relations), Gail Hayenga (Office of External & Global Programs – College of Education), Gail Jacky (University Writing Center), Angela Johansson (NIU Foundation), Christine Lagattolla (Campus Recreation), Tracy Miller (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center), Ted Moen (Office of External & Global Programs – College of Education), Jonathon Ostenburg (Information Technology), Mark Pietrowski (CLAS External Programming), Nancy Prange (College of Health and Human Sciences), Lori Propheter (NIU University Press), Christine Radtke (University Foundation), Stephanie Richter (Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center), Gail Schumacher (Literacy and Elementary Education – College of Education), Donna Smith (Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost), Connie Storey (Housing and Dining), and Stephanie Zobac (Office of Student Engagement).

Melissa Burlingame
Melissa Burlingame
Recognized for her creativity, providing numerous opportunities for employee networking and work on helping to boost employee morale by exposing employees to NIU’s hidden treasures, Melissa Burlingame was awarded the Supportive Professional Staff Council Outstanding Service Award.

Laura Sala
Laura H. Sala
Deborah Pierce
Deborah Pierce

Marilyn Bellert
Marilyn Bellert
Roger Maas
Roger Maas
Four individuals and one organization received this year’s Supportive Professional Staff Awards.Laura H. Sala, Senior Associate General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Advocacy, this award recognizes an SPS employee who demonstrates they have advocated for policies and practices that have created a positive living and learning environment for students, faculty, and/or staff.Deborah Pierce, Associate Vice President of International Affairs, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Cultural Competency, which recognizes an employee who has demonstrated leadership in helping to create a more culturally competent and diverse NIU community. Marilyn Bellert, Associate Director of the Center for P-20 Engagement, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Excellence in Supervision, which recognizes a supervisor who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and ethical practices when supervising professional and student staff. Roger Maas, Associate Director of Budgets and Facilities, is the recipient of the SPS Award for Institutional Advancement, which recognizes employees who demonstrated leadership in activities, programs, and/or research that has helped to advance their department and the university. The NIU Annuitants Association was recognized with the SPS Award for Partnership and Collaboration for their work in partnering and collaborating with NIU employees for the betterment of the NIU community.

Pat Adams
Pat Anderson
Ben Bingle
Ben Bingle

Betsy Hull
Besty Hull
Jennifer Kirker Priest
Jennifer Kirker
Priest
Four SPS employees were selected to receive the 2015 Presidential Supportive Professional Staff Award for Excellence. This year’s recipients are Pat Anderson, Director of Alumni Relations; Ben Bingle, Specialist/Outreach Coordinator of the Center for Non-Governmental Organization Leadership and Development (NGOLD); Betsy Hull, Assistant to the Dean in the College of Education; and Jennifer Kirker Priest, Director of the Anthropology Museum. Each of these individuals was recognized for the significant contributions they have made to the NIU and surrounding community and within their professions.

The SPS Awards Committee thanks everyone who participated in the nomination and recognition process this year.

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Supportive Professional Staff Dependent Scholarship Recipient Announced

Anne Hardy


Anne Hardy 
SPS Scholarship Committee 
ahardy@niu.edu

The SPS Dependent Scholarship committee is pleased to announce that Leyla Puskar is the Council’s third annual scholarship recipient. Leyla is a sophomore at NIU pursuing a major in art and a minor in French.

Leyla began her scholarship essay with, “Dear Mom: You are the biggest role model in my life. You show me how to persevere, care for others, and just keep going.” Leyla’s mom is Judy Puskar, who works as the Online Support Specialist for the Department of Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment in the College of Education. Judy’s other roles include being a wife, mother to a son and triplet daughters, and also the household manager, doctor, therapist, and chef. Leyla finds great inspiration in her mother’s ambition and strives to emulate her.

Leyla chose to attend Northern Illinois University because of the multiple opportunities the campus community offers to students. She knew that she would be able to make her own way at NIU and offer something to the community. And since she has stayed close to home, Leyla has had the foundation and support that she needs to take risks and accomplish her goals. Above all else, Leyla credit’s Judy’s perseverance and dedication to NIU as the motivation for how much she too can accomplish here.

Some of Leyla’s activities include being an “Artists as Agents for Change” Themed Learning Community peer leader; serving as the vice president of the Art Club; and working as one of DeKalb’s ArtiGras Parade organizers. She is also a member of the French Club and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. If that is not enough, she works as a sculptor’s assistant and as an assistant gallery curator and has been involved with local art expos. Leyla also believes in the importance of supporting her community, so in her “spare” time she has volunteered as a Special Olympics swim coach and with community food drives.

Thanks to the generosity of NIU employees, annuitants, and friends of the university, we will be able to make her junior year a little more affordable. Through the SPS Dependent Scholarship fund, Leyla will receive $1,000 towards her educational expenses--certainly a smart investment for NIU.

SPS employees hold many different positions at NIU, and make an impact on every aspect of the student experience. Donating to the SPS Dependent Scholarship is just one more way we can have additional impact—by helping student to realize their dreams of an NIU education. We are thankful for the donations we have already received; the scholarship fund’s growth is a testament to the generosity of our donors and their belief in our students. To assist in the SPS Council’s goal of permanently endowing the scholarship, we ask each SPS member to consider donating $30. Donations can be made on-line or through payroll deduction. Visit http://www.niu.edu/spsc/scholarship/index.shtml for more information, or contact Anne Hardy at ahardy@niu.edu or 815-753-0143.

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Cellular Stipend Update


Sabrina Hammond 
Project Coordinator, Customer Support Services
shammond@niu.edu

The Stipend enrollment plan has been well underway since March 1st.  We have processed 194 requests thus far and hope to complete the 400 remaining over the next 3 months in time to start the new fiscal year without any managed devices except for the approved exceptions.

There have been many nuances and a few headaches to the transfer process. A host of circumstances have been outlined through Frequently Asked Questions that can be found at http://doit.niu.edu > NIU Cellular Service is changing > Frequently Asked Questions

The top 3 issues have been:

1. FOIA -  There remains concern and some confusion regarding when / if a device may be subject to FOIA and if the employees personal information is subject to review on their personal cellphones. The following note has been added to the online stipend form to help clarify the issue before the employee checks to indicate agreement:

Please Note: Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides public access to government documents and records. As a state university, NIU is subject to the Illinois FOIA. Texts, e-mails, files, etc. used in the “transaction of public business” are subject to FOIA requests, regardless of who owns the device used. If you send texts or emails, make phone calls for work, or use NIU applications like PeopleSoft on your private or NIU managed cell phone, those records and data are subject to FOIA requests.

I understand and agree that my personal phone may be subject to NIU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

We would also like to note that based on our understanding, personal data on a personal cellphone is not subject to FOIA. 

2. I’ve been approved for a stipend; what next? – If you intend to keep the telephone number but do not intend to use Verizon Wireless as your carrier, you can go directly to the carrier to apply for new service or update your existing service. However, if you do intend to stay with Verizon Wireless, call this number before going to a VzW retail outlet to transfer the account from business to consumer:  800-540-4263

3. Use of NIU Managed Cellphone on other carrier networks – It is important to check with the preferred wireless carrier to determine if the NIU managed Verizon Wireless phone will be compatible. We do know that these devices work on Cricket. While Sprint and US Cellular use the same CDMA technology, they use different radio frequencies. However if the NIU cellphone is 4G or LTE technology, there is a greater probability that it will work on multiple carrier networks. Unfortunately, a firm answer is nearly impossible until you take the specific cellphone to the desired carrier to confirm compatibility.

We would also like to remind everyone to continue to assign a password to their personal cellphones. The need to do so is referenced in the NIU Information Security Procedure, section 4b. – Workstations and Other Access Devices found on the DoIT website > NIU Technology Policies & Standards.

Please continue to leverage the IT Communication Services staff to assist throughout the migration period.  We are your resource and want to help make the transition process as smooth as possible.

One way the support team can help in a practical way is to set up simultaneous ringing with your personal cellphone number if you also have an assigned NIU 753 number. This will allow you to only give out  your 753 number while keeping your personal cellphone number private. When your 753 number is called, your cellphone number will also ring automatically.

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Why You Should Join The NIU Annuitants Association

Deborah Haliczer


Deborah Haliczer
President, Supportive Professional Staff Council
dhaliczer@niu.edu

At this year’s SPS Awards reception, the NIU Annuitants Association (NIUAA) received the SPS Council Award for Partnership and Collaboration. The NIU chapter of the State Universities Annuitants Association is the organization that represents our retirees and current employees in the efforts to protect our pensions. Our NIU chapter, with its current president Jim Lockard, work to advocate for the safety of our retiree pensions, as well as the pension benefits of current employees. They were instrumental in filing the lawsuit that challenges the bill that proposed cuts to employee pensions, and they are the best source of up-to-date information on the court challenges. Members receive frequent updates on new information and changes. You may not be aware that the Annuitants Association has also been most active in lobbying efforts against a proposed bill that will eliminate the dependent tuition waiver. The Annuitants Association is able to engage in advocacy and lobbying efforts not possible for current employees who are subject to the provisions of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. We are actively recruiting more members and already have the second highest number of active employee members of all the state universities and community colleges in Illinois.

Please consider adding your name to our membership lists. The annual meeting will be held on campus on June 3, and all members are welcome. Joining is easy. The application is available on the NIU website, under Annuitants Association. Dues are currently $36 per year and can be paid through payroll deduction for only $1.50 per pay period. If you have any questions, any member of the NIUAA Board will be happy to answer your questions.

Deborah Haliczer, NIUAA Board member

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Let's Clear the Air - NIU moves towards becoming a smoke-free campus

Stacy Cooper
Graduate Intern, Health Enhancement

Governor Pat Quinn signed into law Public Act 098-0985, also known as the Smoke-Free Campus Act, in August 2014. This means that smoking is prohibited indoors and outdoors on the campuses of all state-supported institutions of higher education in Illinois. Although no one is being asked to quit smoking, compliance with the law is expected when it takes effect July 1, 2015.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences. According to the Surgeon General’s Report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006), there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It is estimated that 3,000 nonsmokers die of lung cancer each year in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke (National Cancer Institute, 2004). A nonsmoker’s risk of heart disease is increased 25-30%  by being exposed to secondhand smoke (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). In order to protect all students, staff, faculty, and visitors from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke, NIU will become a smoke-free campus on July 1, 2015.

Here are some helpful tips to aid you in quitting successfully:

  1. Choose a Quit Smoking date.
  2. Throw away all smoking paraphernalia.
  3. Avoid places where there is the temptation to smoke.
  4. Consider using a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as the patch, gum, or lozenge. If you choose an NRT, do not smoke.
  5. Drink more water.
  6. Increase physical exercise.
  7. Make an appointment for a physical health examination.

There are resources, both statewide and local, for members of the campus community who wish to quit smoking:

The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a free telephone service that provides cessation counseling and information daily from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. In addition, the Quitline offers web-based services including general information, response to information requests about tobacco cessation, online interactive counseling, and e-mail referrals. Nicotine replacement therapy is available for those who qualify, offering up to six weeks of free NRT patches. For more information about the Quitline, please call 1-866-QUIT-YES/1-866-784-8937 or contact the DeKalb County Health Department at 815-748-2435.

Locally, KishHealth System offers Courage to Quit classes developed by the Respiratory Health Association. Courage to Quit is a comprehensive group tobacco treatment program for adults; classes cover addiction and withdrawal, managing cravings, avoiding triggers and health benefits of being smoke-free. Classes require a $25 payment and the payment is refundable as long as all sessions are attended. You can register for Courage to Quit classes online at kishhealth.org or contact the Community Wellness Coordinator at 815-748-8962.

The NIU Employee Assistance Program provides consultation on smoking cessation to NIU faculty and staff, with referrals to community resources and to smoking cessation programs covered by their health plans. The NIU EAP can be reached at 815-753-9191, and is located at the Holmes Student Center, Room 709.

                For more information about the Smoke-Free Campus Act and NIU’s draft policy, go to www.niu.edu/smokefree.

 References

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.
  2. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Progress Report 2003. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 2004.
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Go Green!

Kathy L Smith


Kathy L Smith
Managing Director of Payroll
klsmith@niu.edu

Tired of getting those envelopes containing the printed direct deposit statements that you just throw in a drawer?

Want to do your part for the university to save money and improve our fiscal situation?

Go Green!

Direct deposit payroll statements are available on-line.

The Self Service option for payroll statements allows individuals to obtain their direct deposit pay information at least three days before pay day and also view previous payroll statements as far back as 2001.

Individuals with limited computer access wishing to view their payroll statements on-line are welcome to utilize the computer lab in the HRS Service Center, Swen Parson, Room 110, or at the HRS Service Center on Lincoln Highway.

Suspend the printing of your payroll statement by logging in to Peoplesoft https://niuhrs.niu.edu, Self Service, Payroll and Compensation, Direct Deposit page. Select *Do not send a paper copy of direct deposit pay statement.

W-2 forms are also available on-line. 

This is the exact same form that was printed and mailed to you. This year the on-line forms were available on January 21st.  The printed forms were not mailed until January 28th.

Suspend the printing of your W-2 form in the future and plan to retrieve it on-line by logging in to Peoplesoft https://niuhrs.niu.edu , Self Service, Payroll and Compensation, W-2/W-2c Consent Form. Select *Check here to indicate your consent to receive electronic W-2 and W-2c forms.

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2015 SPS Council Election Results

Gail Jacky
Director, University Writing Center
gjacky@niu.edu

NIU has experienced significant changes in its organizational structure since July 2013, expanding from six divisions and shifting some departments/units from one division to another. The SPS Council realizes that these changes may have altered the representation levels of some SPS personnel. However, because the changes are not finalized, the Spring 2015 elections were based on the six division structure. A review of apportionment will be conducted prior to the elections in Spring 2016.

The 2015 elections have been completed and the newly elected representatives and alternates to the SPS Council are detailed below:

Division 1: Debra Miller, representative

Division 2: Donna Schoenfeld and Patricia Martinez, representatives; Erica Wade and Jennifer Pippen, alternates

Division 3: Gail Jacky, representative; Linda Watson, alternate

Division 4: Betsy Hull, Steve Builta, and Margaret Myles, representatives; Paul Baker, Edith Cowan, and Missy Gillis, alternates

Division 5: Brian Walk, Kathy Smith, Patricia Anderson, and Emily Hochstatter, representatives; Nyoka Polyak, Gillian King-Cargile, Tom Parisi, and Roselyn Snell, alternates

Division 6: Christina Sutcliffe, representative; Kiera Miller, alternate

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Where SPS Can Go For Help On Campus

Deborah Haliczer


Deborah Haliczer
President, Supportive Professional Staff Council
dhaliczer@niu.edu

As the academic year moves toward the end of term, many of our colleagues are feeling the strain. When that occurs, where would you suggest they go for help with work or personal situations?

  • Not sure where to go, or do you have questions or situations that need some resolution? Consider the Office of the Ombudsperson. Sarah Klaper and her staff are available to provide information, referrals, suggestions, ideas, policies, or conflict resolution and problem solving strategies. The office is both neutral and confidential, and is located on the sixth floor of the Holmes Student Center or call 815-753-1414.
  • Were you aware that Supportive Professional Staff can contact the Faculty and SPS Personnel Advisor? Our current advisor is Paul Stoddard, professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences. This advisor is always a tenured faculty member appointed by the Faculty Senate. The Faculty and SPS Personnel Advisor provides advice and assistance to faculty and SPS members about the personnel policies and procedures within the university and the courses of action open to faculty and SPS. The advisor is also available to help anyone with the faculty and staff grievance process. The Faculty and SPS Personnel Advisor is located in Davis Hall 502, 815-753-7929.
  • If you feel that you have experienced sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination, the office to contact is Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources (AADR), located on west campus at the Human Resource Services building. The AADR staff hear complaints and concerns and assist faculty, staff, and students with complaints and grievances.  They also provide a range of non-discrimination, Title IX, and diversity training. For assistance contact 815-753-6000.
  • Are you experiencing personal, family, interpersonal or workplace stress or difficulties? The NIU Employee Assistance Program offers free, confidential services for employees, dependents, and retired employees. Located on the seventh floor of the Holmes Student Center, the staff can be reached at 815-753-9191.
  • HR Center for Training and Professional Development provides a range of professional and personal development and supervisor training programs, which can be customized for departments on request. Look for the upcoming brown-bag discussion groups that focus on retirement decisions, ranging from when to retire, how to retire, where to retire, and what career options are available once you leave university employment. Sessions are free and are co-sponsored by the NIU Annuitants Association.