February 2004

Time Cards Are Now Online!

Start using them with Pay Period 2/5/04 - 2/18/04!


To access, go to the HR webpage at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/
and click on FORMS. Employee Time Cards are under the "Payroll" category.

If you have questions or need assistance with the timecard,
please contact Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.

That's right!    In our continuing effort to save time and money in distribution, lost cards, etc., blank timecards for full-time, part-time, student worker, and workstudy are now  available online!  Pre-printed timecards will no longer be distributed, so employees will now print their own appropriate timecard (on white paper).   Please help us spread the word to all employees who use timecards.

The design and the use of the timecard did not change.  This online timecard simply makes the form more conveniently-accessible to all.  We recognize this is a small step, however, it is only  temporary. Currently, we are working with the TAMUS Business Computing Services Office on an initiative to integrate a timecard into the LeaveTraq system.  We hope to implement this feature by Fall 2004.


  • Beginning with the pay period of 2/5/04 - 2/18/04, employees must print their own appropriate timecard (on white paper).
  • As before, employees will complete the timecard, get signatures, and submit by the due date.
  • Blank timecards for both the current pay period and the previous pay period will always be available online.
  • Each pay period, you will receive an email reminder when the timecard for the new pay period is available online.
  • If you have Acrobat Distiller or Acrobat PDFWriter, you can save the form.
  • Be sure you use the appropriate timecard (full-time, part-time, student worker, or workstudy).
  • Be sure you use the timecard for the appropriate pay period.
  • At the top of the timecard, be sure to enter your full name, SSN, department name, and paying account (your supervisor can tell you what your paying account is).
  • Be sure that your timecard is fully completed, all leave requests are submitted, and hours are totaled.
  • Be sure to sign the timecard.


  • Be sure you give your staff their current corresponding paying account .
  • Be sure the employee is using the appropriate timecard (full-time, part-time, student worker, or workstudy).
  • Be sure the employee is using the timecard for the appropriate pay period.
  • Be sure the employee information at the top of the timecard is correct (full name, SSN, department name, and paying account).
  • Be sure the timecard is fully completed, all leave request are submitted, hours are totaled, and that the employee has signed the timecard.
  • Be sure to sign the timecard.

Reminder: EEAP Application Deadline is 2/4/04

The HR Office is now accepting Employee Educational Assistance Program (EEAP) applications for the 2004 Spring Semester. Applications are available online at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/forms.shtml. Application deadline is the 12th class day of the semester (February 4, 2004 by 5:00 pm).  Please ensure your application is submitted by the deadline as applications received after the deadline will not be processed. The EEAP was established to support the development and continued education of TAMIU employees.  The EEAP reimburses full-time, benefits-eligible employees for tuition and fees for educational courses, according to the following guidelines:

  • Reimbursement is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Reimbursement is provided at the end of the semester, after grades have been verified, and is subject to availability of funds.
  • Reimbursement is provided for 3 in-state credit hours per semester, not to exceed 6 credit hours per academic year.
  • Employee must maintain a GPA of 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduates) per semester.
  • Employee must have a full-time, benefits-eligible status.
  • Employee must have worked for TAMIU in a full-time position for the 6 months prior to the 12th class day, if applying for Fall or Spring semesters, and the 4th class day, if applying for the Summer Sessions.
To check the status of your application or if you have questions about the EEAP, please contact Gracy Buentello via email or at ext. 2365.

Immigration Forum on 2/3/04

The Division of International Programs and the Office of Human Resources are hosting an "Immigration Forum" on Tuesday, 2/3/04 in WHTC 116 at 1:30 pm.   The agenda includes presentations by speakers, as well as a Q&A period. The forum will provide important information and updates about topics such as visa issuance, admissability of aliens (F, J, H, TN), exiting/entering through ports-of-entry, and international student visas.  The panel of speakers consists of representatives from:

  • U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo
  • U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (Laredo Port-of-Entry)
  • Office of General Counsel (The Texas A&M University System)
  • Office of International Student Services (Texas A&M University-College Station)

If you have any questions, you may contact Dr. Michael Gold-Biss (ext. 2565), David VerMilyea (ext. 2282), or Sandra Pena (ext. 2365).


Annual Performance Evaluations Due 3/5/04


Forms Available Online!


Once again, it is time to do Annual Performance Evaluations. Performance evaluations are important because, through constructive communication, they provide a means to review employee performance, identify areas needing improvement, set specific objectives, as well as reinforce the employee's role in the overall success of the University. Annual performance evaluations are given to classified staff and professional/administrative staff who have completed their six (6) months probationary period at least sixty (60) days prior to February 1st.

For classified staff, the "Classified Staff Employee Evaluation" form is used, and for professional/administrative staff, the "Professional/Administrative Employee Evaluation" form is used. In addition, a "Professional Development Worksheet" is completed for each evaluated employee. This worksheet assists the HR Office in identifying developmental opportunities for our employees.

The performance evaluation forms and the "Professional Development Worksheet" can be accessed from the HR "Forms" webpage at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/forms.shtml.

During the first week of February, supervisors will be emailed a list of the employees in their area whom need to be evaluated. Please ensure completed performance evaluation forms and "Professional Development Worksheets" are returned to the HR Office by Friday, March 5, 2004.

If you have any questions regarding the annual performance evaluation process, please contact Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.


Online Training Course Available for Supervisors Preparing to Conduct Annual Performance Evaluations


In February, supervisors will perform one of the most important aspects of their job: conducting annual evaluations for their staff.  To help supervisors in preparing and delivering performance evaluations, the System offers an online course called "Managing Employee Performance." It is designed not only to provide guidance for preparing and delivering performance evaluations, but also to help better-manage employee performance throughout the year.

This online training is a good basic course for new supervisors and an excellent refresher for experienced supervisors.  HR strongly encourages supervisors to take time to go through this course, as the benefits to the supervisor as well as the employee will far outweigh the time spent. The course takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.  It can be done all at once or in several shorter sessions.  If you do it in shorter sessions, the course will bookmark your place so you can later start up where you left off.

You can access the course from HRConnect at http://hrc.tamu.edu .  As your User ID, you may use your Universal Identification Number or SSN.  Once logged on, click on the TRAINING tab, select "Managing Employee Performance" from the drop-down menu, then click on "Start Selected Course."

If you should have questions about this online training course, please contact Cassandra Wheeler via email or at ext. 2363.


Construction Update

Construction of the Science Building is on schedule.  The third floor is being framed and will shortly top-off the building.

Work on the  new student housing facility is now under the direction of the System Facilities and Construction Department.  In December, the System purchased the on-site improvements from American Campus Communities after receiving approval from the TAMUS Board of Regents and the Facilities and Construction Committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The new student housing facility will be operated by the University when it is completed in early August. The plan is to move students in to the new facility starting the 2004 Fall Semester.

The Chancellor continues to work towards awarding a contract to an architectural firm to begin the master plan update.  As for both the Kinesiology and Support Services facilities, on February 24 and 25, interviews will be held with 5 architectural firms to design this part of Phase V.  After the interviews, a recommendation will be made by the committee, and the board will award the contract at their board meeting in March.

"HR News & Views" will continue to bring you updates on University contruction.  Keep reading your HR newsletter!


SEBAC Meeting on 2/17/04

The System Employee Benefits Advisory Committee (SEBAC) will meet in the A&M System Building in College Station on Tuesday, February 17, 2004, at 8:00 AM. Representing TAMIU at the meeting will be Elizabeth N. Martinez, Associate VP for Administration, and Jessica Palacios, HR Benefits Manager. On the agenda, will be a review, discussion, or update on the following: ERS/TAMUS comparison, potential HMO RFP changes, adding coverage for smoking cessation and weight loss products, eliminating the annual enrollment correction period for spending accounts, disease management program, RFP for relocation services, and dental HMO renewal.

For those interested in attending, the meeting will be broadcast via TTVN at 8AM in WHTC 106. As a reminder, any concerns or comments regarding your benefits package should be addressed in writing to Elizabeth N. Martinez who will, in turn, share them with the committee.


Benefits Brochures Have Been Revised and Are Online


The following benefits brochures have been revised and are available online. If you need assistance with your benefits, please contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


TRS Provides Information Regarding Working Retirees


TRS has provided an important reminder regarding the implications of returning to employment after electing to retire under TRS. The online information is entitled Employment After Service Retirement.

Should you have questions regarding your retirement, please contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


Answer Financial Updates

Answer Financial's website has been updated to make it easier to log in and obtain product information. The only information users need for logging in is our Affinity Group Name, which is “TAMUS.”

Answer Financial has added Travelers and Esurance to its list of auto insurance providers, Liberty Life and American Life to its list of life insurance providers, and Homesite and Texas Fair Plan to its list of homeowner's insurance providers. Homesite and Texas Fair Plan deal exclusively with homeowner's insurance, unlike some other providers that offer homeowner's insurance in addition to other types of insurance.

In addition, Answer Financial has brochures available for employees who are terminating employment and are looking for a cost-effective alternative to COBRA coverage. These individuals may find less expensive coverage through Answer Financial. If would like an Answer Financial brochure, please contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


Understanding Your A&M Care (BCBSTX) Specialist Office Visit Co-Payments

If you are enrolled in an A&M Care plan and you have a routine office visit with a network specialist and the contracted amount for that specialist is less than the $45 office visit co-payment, you will pay only the contracted amount. If the bill for that visit also includes charges for lab work and/or x-rays, you will still pay only the contracted office visit amount, because BlueCross/BlueShield of Texas' (BCBSTX) claims system is set up to pay lab work and x-rays at 100%. However, if the bill includes a charge for a service other than lab work or x-rays (such as office surgery), you will have to pay the remaining co-payment against that charge before BCBSTX will pay further benefits.

If you have questions regarding your health plan, please contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


2004 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Social Security and Medicare Are Announced

For the 2004 calendar year, the IRS has increased the maximum amount of annual income (wage base) on which you have to pay Social Security old age, survivors, or disability income tax from $87,000 to $87,900.

In addition, the IRS has made changes to certain Medicare provisions. The following chart shows what you paid for coverage under Medicare in 2003 and what you will have to pay in 2004. These changes took effect on January 1, 2004.




Part A (hospital insurance)



In-patient hospital deductible



Daily co-insurance amounts

61st to 90th days in benefit period



More than 90 days in benefit period



21st to 100th days in skilled-nursing facility



Part B (physician/medical)

Monthly premium








CIGNA Health Rewards: Dental Plan Participants Have Access to Vision Services Discounts

CIGNA HealthCare now gives its participants access to discounts on certain vision services and products through its Healthy Rewards program. Because the A&M Dental and Dental HMO plans are administered by CIGNA, participants in those plans can take advantage of these discounts. For more information on the vision discounts, click here.

For additional information regarding your dental plan, please contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Catarino Izaguirre Jr., Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 008 ext. 2100
  Ana L. Almaguer, Nursing Lab Supervisor
Canseco School of Nursing
CH 111C ext. 2457
  Karen Sue Linstrum, Instructor
Department of Professional Programs
KL 321F ext. 2333
  Paola G. Chavez, Staff Assistant
KL 315 ext. 2718
  Alfredo Cavazos Jr., Recruiter
COAS (Military Science)
SC 128 ext. 2387
  Romelia Garza, Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Cordelia Munoz, 3/4-Time Counseling Intern
Student Counseling Services
SC 124 ext. 2330
  Jesse Gonzalez, Project Coordinator
WHTC 221B ext. 2846
  Hari D. Mandal, Assistant Professor
Department of Biology and Chemistry
CH 312F ext. 2665
  Jessica Serna, Staff Assistant
PASE (Writing Center)
KL 217 ext. 2883
  Richard P. Perez, Program Manager
WHTC 221 ext. 2546
  Maritza Bautista, Staff Assistant
KL 318 ext. 2134
  Graciela Mata, Accounting Assistant (Accounts Payable)
Business Office
KL 169 ext. 2817
  Efrain Ruiz Jr., Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Hector M. Hernandez, Clerk II
Killam Library (Inter-Library Loans)
KL 109 ext. 2078

  Albert Chavez Jr.
SC 127H ext. 2877
  FROM: Service Specialist II, CTS    
  TO: ID System Administrator, Student Center    
  Kourosh Khosraviyani KL 257 ext. 2023
  FROM: Service Specialist I, CTS    
  TO: Service Specialist II, CTS    
  Alfredo Paiz III KL 257 ext. 2303
  FROM: Service Specialist III, CTS    
  TO: Network Specialist I, CTS    
  Veronica Esparza KL 217 ext. 2883
  FROM: Staff Assistant, PASE (Writing Center)    
  TO: Part-Time Staff Assistant (Temporary), PASE (Writing Center)    
  Alberto D. Martinez KL 268B ext. 2302
  FROM: System Specialist I, CTS    
  TO: System Specialist I, CTS (Reporting to PAIS)    

  Enrique Guillen Jr.
Physical Plant Procurement Assistant, Physical Plant
  Patricia Carrillo
Clerk II, Killam Library (Inter-Library Loans)
  Lance Noble
Coach (Men's Soccer), Athletics Department
  Jose Luis Ledezma
Accounting Assistant (Accounts Payable), Business Office
  Oscar R. Flores
Assistant Professor, Department of Management Information Systems & Decision Science
  Martha L. Soto
Staff Assistant, PASE
  Ana M. Smith
Staff Assistant, Enrollment Services
  Elizabeth C. Salazar
Site Coordinator, Office of Special Programs (GEAR-UP)
  Maria I. Hernandez
Financial Aid Assistant, Office of Financial Aid

What is Expected of You When You Are Expecting


The coming of a baby calls for many preparations...even at work. If you or your spouse are expecting a baby, below is a checklist of matters (leave, benefits, and other) which must be promptly addressed in the Office of Human Resources. (For leave assistance, contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364, and for benefits assistance, contact Jessica Palacios at ext. 2362 or Cassandra Wheeler at ext. 2363.)


  • At least 30 days prior to your leave, notify HR and visit with them to discuss your leave options (Family/Medical Leave, Parental Leave) and to review your available leave balances (sick leave, vacation, OCT, SCT.)
  • A written request for Family/Medical Leave or Parental Leave must be submitted. Also, HR will provide you with the required "Medical Certification Form" which must be completed by your doctor and submitted to HR within 15 days of the request for leave. Re-certification may be required.
  • During your leave, all appropriate Leave of Absence Forms and timecards must be submitted to HR (if applicable.)
  • A newborn must be enrolled for insurance coverage within 60 days of the child’s birth. An employee who already has "employee/family" or "employee/child(ren)" coverage may add a newborn after the 60-day limit because the premium does not change; however, the newborn should be added as soon as possible to ensure accurate records.
  • If you are on paid leave (Family/Medical Leave, Parental Leave), your share of the premiums will continue to be deducted from your pay.
  • If you exhaust your available leave while on Family/Medical Leave, you will need to pay any monthly premiums that are normally deducted from your pay. You will be billed each month while on leave without pay, and the premiums must be paid within 30 days of the due date shown on the bill or coverage will end.
  • If you are on Parental Leave without pay, you are not eligible to receive the state contribution for basic life and medical benefits, but you may continue coverage by paying the full monthly premium. You will be billed each month, and the premiums must be paid within 30 days of the due date shown on the bill or coverage will end.
  • You are expected to check-in with your supervisor every 2 weeks during your leave to inform him/her of your status and expected date of return to work.
  • A written doctor’s release is required upon your return to work.

Separations of Employment

Upon first knowledge of employment separation by an employee, the employing department must take the following steps:

  • Notify the HR Office by calling ext. 2365.
  • Submit to the HR Office a Personnel/Budget Action Form accompanied by the employee's separation letter which must state the separation date.
  • To advertise the vacant position, submit a Personnel Requisition to the HR Office.
  • Review the Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) on file in the HR Office to determine if the position description has changed.
  • If the position description has changed, submit a revised PDQ with the Personnel Requisition.
  • Prior to the last day of work, the employee must report to the HR Office to complete the exiting and clearance process (insurance, leave, timecard, keys, ID, etc.).
NOTE: If separation is from student employment, please contact the Office of Career Services (ext. 2260) upon first knowledge of separation.

Advertising and Hiring Procedures for Non-Faculty Vacancies

Below is a simple step-by-step outline of the advertising and hiring procedures for non-faculty vacancies. If you need assistance at any time during this process, please call the Employment Office at ext. 2360.

Step 1--

Hiring department submits to HR a completed and signed Personnel Requisition and, if the job description for the vacant position has changed, an updated Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ).
  Step 2--
HR prepares a Job Vacancy Notice (JVN) and posts the JVN on campus, at various agencies, on various websites (including the TAMIU HR website), and in the local newspaper.
  Step 3--
HR receives and reviews applications, then sends the hiring department copies of applications of those who meet the minimum qualifications advertised.
  Step 4--
After reviewing applications, the hiring department contacts HR to identify the applicant(s) selected for interview.
  Step 5--
Hiring department schedules and conducts interview(s) with applicant(s).
  Step 6--
Hiring department completes Referral for Interview form for each interviewed applicant.
  Step 7--
When a selection is made, the hiring department submits to HR all completed and signed Referral for Interview forms and a Personnel/Budget Action Form for the selected applicant.
  Step 8--
HR makes the offer of employment to the individual selected, schedules the start date, and notifies the hiring department when the new hire can be expected to report for work.
  • All HR forms mentioned above must be typed.
  • All HR forms mentioned above are available online from the HR website.
  • Hiring departments must ensure all forms are routed through appropriate approval channels before submitting to HR.
  • The System online training course called "Conducting Effective Interviews" is available to you from HRConnect. Simply log in to HRConnect, click on the TRAINING tab, and follow the instructions given.
  • If you wish to post a vacancy on a pertinent, free Internet advertising site, please ensure you use the exact wording from the Job Vacancy Notice (JVN) developed by the HR Office. We recommend simply using a direct link to the actual JVN accessible from the HR “Employment” website.

HR Forms Available Online

The HR Office reminds you of the availability of the following HR forms on the Internet! These automated forms can be accessed and completed from the HR website by selecting the FORMS button. The program Adobe Acrobat 4.0 will be needed in order to access the forms, and the program can be downloaded from our website. If you have questions or encounter problems using the automated HR forms, please call Gracy Buentello at ext. 2365 for assistance.

• Direct Deposit Authorization
• Employee Time Cards

• Application for Employment
• Referral for Interview
• Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ)
• Personnel Requisition
• Personnel/Budget Action Form

• Classified Staff Evaluation Form
• Professional/Administrative Employee Evaluation Form

• First Report of Injury

• Employee Educational Assistance Program Forms


System Internal Audit Department Provides Investigative Services

It is the responsibility of every employee of TAMIU to help protect the assets and resources of the A&M System. To accomplish this, each employee is encouraged to report factual information suggestive of dishonest or illegal activities/practices that might impact TAMIU or any A&M System member. These activities/practices include, but are not limited to, theft, corruption, asset misappropriation, or misuse of state resources.

To report suspected fraud or abuse, contact the System Internal Audit Department at (888)501-3850, (979)862-7115, or visit their website at http://sago.tamu.edu/iaudit.


Pay Plan is Online

The TAMIU Pay Plan is available online! It can be accessed from the HR website.

The Pay Plan is the basic reference document for wages/salaries, titles, title codes, and FLSA exemption status of all classified staff, as well as for titles, title codes, and FLSA exemption of all non-classified staff. The website offers listings by job title (alphabetical order) and by title code (numerical order). Also available from this website is the University Pay Scale which lists the wage/salary ranges (min-mid-max) of each pay grade. Should you have questions regarding compensation, please contact Sandra V. Pena via email or at ext. 2361.


Mug O' The Month
Farah Sharifi is the Student Records Assistant in the Office of the University Registrar. She joined TAMIU in April 1999.

Farah received a prize for being the first to identify the TAMIU employee in the "Who is This?" section of the previous issue of the HR News & Views.

Who is This?  

The first person to email Cassandra Wheeler and correctly identify this TAMIU employee by name and title will win a prize!

The identity of the employee who appeared in the last issue of HR News & Views can be found in "The Answer Corner" section of this newsletter!

The Answer Corner
The following are frequently-asked questions received in the Office of Human Resources. To ask us questions, use the "Ask HR" button on this newsletter.


Who was the baby in the "Who is This?" section of the last issue of "HR News & Views"?



That was Jessica Rocha, Staff Assistant in the Office of Student Counseling Services. TAMIU employees who wish to submit their picture for the "Who is This?" section may contact Cassandra Wheeler via email or at ext. 2363.


Where would I take a complaint of unfairness in the workplace when it is impossible to take it to my supervisor?







The "Employee Complaint and Appeal Procedures" (System Policy 32.10) state that "each employee will have free access through proper channels to the offices of immediate and higher supervisors, personnel representatives, or other official alternate dispute resolution programs to discuss problems and complaints regarding the employment relationship." A complaint may be taken to the next level supervisor if it is felt that it cannot be taken to the immediate supervisor. The Texas A&M System Polices and Regulations are on the web and may be accessed from the TAMIU Human Resources homepage (http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr) by clicking on "Policies & Regulations."



That Extra (S)Mile!
This section describes the deeds of TAMIU employees who have been observed going the "extra mile" for our University.

Virginia Tijerina, Staff Assistant in the College of Arts & Sciences (COAS), works late and  never says no to any extra work. She always has a beautiful smile on her face; she actually smiles all the time. She is friendly and very outgoing. She goes out of her way to assist in whatever way she can and offers her help to everyone. Virginia has a very important role in the Office of  the Dean of the COAS. They made a wise choice.  I think Virginia is the perfect person to work in that office.  She has been with the University only 4 months and everyone seems to know her very well because of her exceptional personality.   I've noticed how students look up to her.

Rebeca Litman, Staff Assistant in the Department of Professional Programs, should be commended.  She goes out of her way to help the professors in the department by keeping them updated on meetings, phone calls from students, etc.  We really value her services!
  I would like to commend Roberta Sheelar, Clerk II in the Killam Library (Acquisitions/Serials), for going that extra mile. During the annual Maroon Christmas Toy Drive, she went out of her way by taking boxes of toys home to wrap. She was busy wrapping in the afternoons and over the weekends. She wrapped a total of 15 boxes for a grand total of 958 toys! Ms. Sheelar surely helped bring smiles to the small faces of hundreds of children. We thank you, Ms. Sheelar!
If you know of any employee performing in such a way that deserves mention in this column, send their name and details of their deeds to Cassandra Wheeler via email.


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