October 2007

Congratulations to the 2007-2008 TAMIU Outstanding Employees!!!

Classified Staff of the Year: Juan G. Garcia Jr.

Administrative Staff of the Year: Elizabeth Martinez

Faculty Scholar of the Year: Dr. Mohamed Ben-Ruwin

Teacher of the Year: John Maxstadt

Distance Educator of the Year: Dr. Judith Warner

Zaffarini Scholarship and Leadership Award: Dr. Claudio Salinas

The names of the Classified Staff and Administrative Staff of the Year were announced at the Outstanding Employee Award luncheon on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 in the Student Center Ballroom. The recipients of the Faculty Scholar, Teacher, Distance Educator of the Year Awards as well as the Zaffarini Scholarship and Leadership Award were announced at University Convocation on Friday, August 24, 2007 in the Fine and Performing Arts Center.

TAMIU is proud of its Outstanding Employees of the year!



TAMIU Employees Receive Service Awards

On August 15, 2007, annual service awards were given to the following University employees who reached 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years of service:

5 years of service: Christina M. Arredondo, Staff Assistant; Manuel Benavides, Windows System Administrator; Dr. Marvin Bennett III, Assistant Professor; Martha A. Cantu, Physical Plant Procurement Specialist; Ernst D. Feisner, Atheltic Trainer; Nora U. Gaona, Buyer; M. Angie Garcia, HR Assistant (Employment); Veronica E. Garcia, Outreach and Retention Specialist; Felipe E. Garza, Director of University Police; Ruby S. Gonzalez, Disability Services Coordinator; Christina Hernandez, Director of Grant Resources; Hector M. Hernandez, Clerk; Fred Juarez III, Director of Budget/Payroll/Grants & Contracts; Daniel A. Lathey, Associate Director of Athletics; Dr. Kevin D. Lindberg, Assistant Professor; Jose A. Martinez, User Service Specialist; Blanca E. Ramos, Lab Assistant; Ana I. Saenz, Director of the CASA; Yezmin D. Salazar, Office Coordinator; Francisco Sanchez, Site Coordinator; Roxana P. Sosa, Student Records Specialist; Marivic B. Torregosa, Assistant Professor.

10 years of service: Dr. Ronald J. Anderson, Associate Professor; Manuel Bañuelos, Lead Groundskeeper; Maria M. Blasco, Undergraduate Admissions Counselor; Dr. Jose Cardona-Lopez, Associate Professor; Dr. Jennifer M. Coronado, Assistant Professor; Janet W. Garcia, Director of International Education; Dr. Humberto Gonzalez, Dean; Elizabeth D. Granado, Buyer; Alberto Lopez, Assistant Director of Physical Plant; Alejandro A. Martinez, Jr., Director of Testing Center; Dr. Thomas R. Mitchell, Professor; Miguel A. Montemayor, Building Maintenance Mechanic; Jaime Rios, Police Sergeant; Miguel San Miguel, Instructor; Debra K. Segovia, Senior Buyer; Homero R. Vela, UNIX System Administrator.

15 years of service: Jaqueline O. Benavides, Data & Information Specialist; Dr. Robert W. Haynes, Associate Professor; Rebeca R. Litman, Staff Assistant; Veronica G. Martinez, Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Planning; Alfredo Paiz III, Network Administrator; Dr. Kamal D. Parhizgar, Professor.

20 years of service: Laura E. Gamez, Procurement Card Coordinator; Steve K. Harmon, Director of PRIMS; Dr. Judith A. Warner, Associate Professor.

25 years of service: Emiliano Vega, Building Maintenance Mechanic.

30 years of service: Dr. Ramon Alaniz, Professor/Director of Bilingual Education; Dr. Julio F. Madrigal, Professor/Director of Special Programs; Dr. Lem L. Railsback, Professor.



Reminder to all TAMIU Employees About Ethics Policy

Each employee is responsible for ensuring that s/he complies with all ethical standards of The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS). To ensure that you are aware of and understand these standards, please review System Policy 07.01 "Ethics Policy, TAMUS Employees" which is available online at http://sago.tamu.edu/policy/07-01.pdf.

In addition to reviewing the ethics policy, you may also review the online training module entitled "Ethics" which is accessible via HRConnect under the TRAINING tab. You can access HRConnect from Single Sign On.

Lastly, additional information about ethics is also available from the System Office of General Counsel at http://www.tamus.edu/offices/legal/help/ethics/.

If you have questions regarding the ethics policy, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.



Reminder to all TAMIU Employees About Drug/Alcohol Abuse and HIV/AIDS in the Workplace

Texas A&M International University is committed to ensuring the safety and health of its employees and students. System policies prohibit the unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of illicit drugs or alcohol on System property and/or while on official duty. In addition, workplace guidelines are available to protect the rights of HIV-infected individuals. To ensure that you are aware of and understand the policies in place regarding drug/alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS in the workplace, please review the following System Policies and Regulations:

In addition to reviewing the policies and regulations, you may also review the following educational materials:

Lastly, additional information is also available at the following websites:

If you have questions regarding the policy on drug/alcohol abuse and HIV/AIDS in the workplace, please contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.



Answers To Some Medicare Questions

Medicare is the primary health insurance for about 42 million people age 65 and older and many disabled people. Many employees often ask the following questions:

If I retire at age 62, can I get Medicare at that time?

No. Medicare eligibility begins on the first day of the month that you turn 65. This age is not scheduled to change even though the full retirement age for Social Security benefits is gradually rising to 67.  

How do I enroll in Medicare?

Consider these typical scenarios:

  • If you are already receiving Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B starting the first day of the month you turn 65. If you are still working, you can delay Part B enrollment but you will have to contact the Social Security Administration to let them know you have other coverage.
  • If you are not getting Social Security benefits at age 65, you can apply for retirement benefits and Medicare online with the Social Security Administration. If you want to file for Medicare only, you can apply by calling 1-800-772-1213.
  • If you are younger than 65 and have been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for two years (waived if you have Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS) or if you have end-stage renal disease (kidney failure), you are entitled to Medicare.

I am enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B but am still working and have employer group health insurance. Can I drop Part B and enroll again when I retire? Will I have to pay higher premiums when I enroll in Part B again?

Yes, you can drop Part B if you are working and covered by your employer group health insurance. If you sign up for Medicare Part B again during your Special Enrollment Period (SEP), you will not have to pay a higher Part B premium. The SEP is any time that you are still covered under the group plan based on current employment or up to 8 months after this coverage ends.

Is the Part B premium different for high-income beneficiaries in 2007?

An income-related Part B provision was included in the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium is $93.50 for 2007.

The income-related Part B premiums for 2007 are $105.80, $124.40, $142.90 or $161.40, depending on how much your individual beneficiary's income exceeds $80,000 (or a married couple's income exceeds $160,000). Those with incomes greater than $200,000 (or $400,000 for a married couple) pay the highest premiums. For example, a beneficiary at the highest income level in 2007 would pay $1,936.80 per year in Part B premiums.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.



Retiring Soon? If So, It's Time To Make A Few Decisions

Congratulations! After a lifetime of work, it's time to enjoy. But first, you will need to think about how you'll best use your retirement investment to make your retirement years the culmination of all your dreams and goals.

If you've invested in a retirement plan, such as the A&M System ORP or TDA programs, you've had the opportunity to save on a pretax basis for retirement. What's more, you haven't paid current taxes on any investment earnings. These features, pretax contributions, and tax-deferred growth have provided substantial benefit and opportunity for long-term capital growth.

As you consider retirement, it's time to determine how to best use those dollars for their intended purpose, your security, and happiness now and in the coming years. You have a long time ahead of you to enjoy retirement, so planning is important in making the most of your investments.

Living longer means more time in retirement. A person turning 65 in 1949 had a life expectancy of another 16 years. Someone turning 65 in 2000 could expect to live another 21 years. Healthier lifestyles and better medical care mean that our life expectancies may continue to increase, making it more critical that we have the financial resources to make the extra years fulfilling and rewarding!



Managing Your Money in Retirement

To manage your money, you'll need to know where and how your money is invested. You've probably accumulated funds in a variety of vehicles. While you're cataloging your assets, you'll also want to look at your liabilities to make sure you have the continuing ability to meet your financial obligations after you retire. Once you've analyzed your situation, you can determine what to do with your A&M System ORP or TDA retirement plan.

Your options:

Because your ORP or TDA plan allowed you to contribute pretax dollars and your money to grow tax-deferred, you'll need to consider the tax consequences of withdrawals. Withdrawing all of it right away (a lump-sum withdrawal) and investing in a nontax-qualified vehicle, a savings account or mutual fund, may have serious immediate tax consequences.

Even if you're older than 59½ and not subject to early withdrawal penalties, you'll still have to pay current taxes on the entire amount. That amount may be substantial enough to bump you into a much higher tax bracket than when you received a regular paycheck!

You have several other options to best utilize your retirement dollars to fit your immediate and long-term goals:

  • Roll the money into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
  • Set up a schedule of systematic withdrawals.
  • Guarantee a series of income payments through an annuity.

Roll it over:

If you don't want to leave your money in your A&M System ORP or TDA account, but are not ready to make withdrawals yet, consider a Rollover IRA. This will allow your investment to continue to grow tax-deferred, and you'll be able to choose from a variety of IRA options. An IRA might also give you a wider variety of investments than were available under your A&M System ORP or TDA account and can also accept rollovers from other employer plans and IRAs.

Set up a systematic withdrawal:

A systematic withdrawal from your A&M System ORP or TDA account or an IRA allows you to take a series of periodic withdrawals from your account balance. As you take these withdrawals, you surrender a portion of the shares of your various investment options. The actual amount of each withdrawal depends on the payment method you select.

Guarantee your income:

You may have the option within your plan to use all or part of your investment to purchase an income annuity. Like a systematic withdrawal, an income annuity turns these assets into a series of payments. But with annuity payments, you can choose your guarantee, how long the payments will last, an interest rate for the length of the annuity, and income-for-life options (protecting you against the risk of outliving your money).

Of course, you don't have to choose just one option. You can combine them. For example, you could guarantee an income stream by purchasing an annuity with a portion of your assets while you take systematic withdrawals from what you leave in the plan. Or, you could roll a certain percentage into an IRA to preserve for your heirs, while purchasing an income annuity with the rest for a steady income.

All this planning may be more than you'll want to manage on your own. A financial advisor may be able to help you understand your options and find the solution that makes the best sense for you.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.



Save Early, Finish Strong

It's easy to ignore planning for a retirement that is decades away. But if you start planning now, you can take control of your retirement and enjoy the financial security you need to live your retirement dreams. Taking advantage of your employer-sponsored 403(b) TDA, 457 Texa$aver plan, or an individual retirement account (IRA) now, rather than later, could be the smartest money move you ever make.

  • Start now. Most people join the workforce soon after they graduate from high school or college, but research shows that many neglect to save for retirement. According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 41% of workers between the ages of 45 and 54, have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. Thirty-nine percent of workers aged 55 and older also have savings of less than $25,000.
  • It all adds up. Skip one trip to the corner deli each week or forgo that $5 bucket of popcorn at the movies. It's a simple way to free up a little extra money every week. Even $5 to $10 a week makes a big difference, if you start now. Starting early could give you 20 to 30 years of opportunity for investment earning, which can really add up over time.
  • Pay yourself first. Take advantage of your employer-sponsored retirement plans. One advantage of saving this way is that the money goes to savings before you have a chance to spend it. An added benefit is that you are saving pre-tax, which means you get the full dollar benefit of the money you save and reduce your taxable income at the same time.

Saving early for retirement makes good sense. Look at what you could accumulate if you begin saving at age 25:

  • If you save just $20 a month, you'll save a total of $9,600 over 40 years. By investing the same amount in a tax-deferred retirement plan at an average rate of return of 7% 40 years, your money will have grown to over $52,000.
  • If you save $60 a month in the same scenario, you could see your investment grow to more than $150,000 .

Saving for retirement is too smart a decision to delay. Talk to your benefits specialist and visit the A&M System retirement website to get started.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.



PharmaCare is Now CVS Caremark | Caremark

Last November, PharmaCare, the prescription drug plan manager for the A&M Care plans, announced plans to merge with Caremark. On 8/1/07, the official name of the merged company became CVS Caremark | Caremark, and the official logo is now:

new Caremark logo

Employees and retirees will begin seeing name changes in communication materials in August. While customer service phone numbers remain the same, customer service representatives will identify themselves as CVS Caremark | Caremark representatives.

Participants continuing in the A&M Care plans for the plan year beginning 9/1/07 can keep using their existing PharmaCare ID cards. PharmaCare will notify all network pharmacies that existing members will be using their current cards for some time to come.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.



Access Your PayFlex Account Information Online!

If you are enrolled in a PayFlex flexible spending account, you can access your account information online at www.mypayflex.com.

If you are new to PayFlex's online system, you will need to register using your UIN as the member number, zip code, and the employer identification number 30247. You will be asked to create a username and password.

If you have previously used PayFlex's online system, you can log on by entering your username and password.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Olga M. Verduzco, ILI Instructor PH 302H ext. 2716
  International Language Institute    
  Monica E. Muñoz, Visiting Assistant Professor CH 312F ext. 2620
  Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    

Brenda L. Pardue, Instructor

  Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ CH 312B ext. 2615
  Courtney M. Mulcahy, Visiting Assistant Professor CFPA 115 ext. 2625
  Dept. of Fine & Performing Arts    
  Jesus J. Amezcua, Instructor WHTC 218D ext. 2513
  Arturo Limon, Assistant Professor KL 419H ext. 2694
  Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
  Whitney R. Bischoff, Associate Professor CH 312C ext. 2576
  Ruby A. Ynalvez, Assistant Professor LBVSC 385D ext. 2643
  Dept. of Biology & Chemistry    
  Aleta R. Belcher, Assistant Professor KL 419B ext. 2686
  Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
  Melissa Martinez, TExES Coordinator LBVSC 212B ext. 2616
  Melissa P. Garcia, Assistant Professor/Clinic Director of Communication Disorders KL 412A ext. 3139
  Dept. of Professional Programs    
  Neela A. Emanuel, Assistant Professor LBVSC 305 ext. 2597
  Dept. of Biology & Chemistry    
  Paul J. Niemeyer, Assistant Professor PH 216B ext. 2624
  Dept. of Language & Literature    
  Heriberto Garcia, Visiting Assistant Professor WHTC 203K ext. 2510
  Rafic A. Bachnak, Professor/Chair CH 303 ext. 2408
  Dept. of Mathematical & Physical Sciences    
  Michael M. Grayson, Assistant Professor/Interim Chair WHTC 218B ext. 2501
  Denise Gates, Assistant Professor PH 313K ext. 2527
  Joseph H. Meredith, Assitant Professor WHTC 203B ext. 2504
  Ann T. Hoey, Instructor BCH 203 ext. 2134
  Gloria M. So, ILI Instructor PH 302 ext. 2136
  International Language Institute    
  Sugako Y. Stone , ILI Instructor PH 302 ext. 2136
  International Language Institute    
  Ann S. Whitehawk, ILI Instructor PH 302 ext. 2136
  International Language Institute    
  Jenine Whitehawk, ILI Instructor PH 302 ext. 2136
  International Language Institute    
  Aaron Garza, Coaching Assistant (Men's Basketball) KCB 107 ext. 2891
  Athletics Department    
  Cynthia I. Neira, Staff Assistant LBVSC 301 ext. 2463
  COAS (Planetarium)    
  Erika C. Peña, Resident Director RLC Clubhouse ext. 1302
  RLC & University Village    
  Mirasol Tabarez, Bookkeeper RLC Clubhouse ext. 1301
  RLC & University Village    
  Elsa D. Ramos, Library Assistant I KL 109 ext. 2117
  Killiam Library (Reference-ILL)    
  Elizabeth Belcher, Staff Accountant KL 159 ext. 2371
  Budget, Payroll, Grants & Contracts    
  Christine M. Rebori, Associate Director of Compliance KCB 107 ext. 3005
  Athletics Department    
  Trey L. Austin, Assistant Director of Sports Information CH 203 ext. 3002
  Athletics Department    
  Benny Rodriguez, Visiting Coach (Cross County) KCB 107 ext. 2891
  Athletics Department    

Lola O. Norris PH 312D ext. 2648
FROM: Director of the ILI, International Programs (ILI)    
TO: Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of Language & Literature    
Gloria G. Flores KL 415C ext. 2422
FROM: Director of Leadership Project, COED    
TO: Director of the CPDT, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
Jeffrey M. Brown KL 326 ext. 2596
FROM: Associate Professor/Director of Graduate Studies & Research, GSR    
TO: Dean of Graduate Studies & Research, GSR    
Jon M. Hinkel CH 203 ext. 3003
FROM: Assistant Director of Sports Marketing, Atheltics Department    
TO: Assistant Coach (Baseball), Athletics Department    
Cassandra L. Wheeler SC114F ext. 2260
FROM: Director of Career Services, Career Services    
TO: Executive Director of Career Services, Career Services    
Shannon, McBurnette-Arguelles PH 216F ext. 2657
FROM: ILI Instructor, ILI    
TO: Instructor, Dept. of Language & Literature    
Barbara S. Hong KL 417B ext. 2523
FROM: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Professional Programs    
TO: Associate Professor, Dept. of Professional Programs    
Claudia I. Sanchez KL 429 ext. 2696
FROM: Part-Time Staff Assistant, COED (Dean's Office)    
TO: Staff Assistant, COED (Dean's Office)    
Jose A. Montalvo Jr. BCF115A ext. 2290
FROM: Student Lab Assistant, OIT    
TO: Media Services Specialist, OIT    
Pamela Caballero KL 261 ext. 2177
FROM: Part-Time Staff Assistant, VPIA    
TO: Staff Assistant,VPIA    
Kenneth J. Tobin LBVSC 346A ext. 2417
FROM: Assistant Professor/Dir CEES, Dept. of Biology & Chemistry    
TO: Associate Professor/Dir CEES, Dept. of Biology & Chemistry    
Gilberto Soto CPFA 216A ext. 3046
FROM: Associate Professor, Dept. of Fine & Performing Arts    
TO: Professor, Dept. of Fine & Performing Arts    
Rehn Kovacic BCH 203 ext. 2134
FROM: Adjunct Faculty, PASE    
TO: Instructor, PASE    
Jaime Rios KL 010 ext. 2102
FROM: Police Sergeant, University Police Department    
TO: Police Captain, University Police Department    
Jesus Villareal KL 002 ext. 2100
FROM: Police Corporal, University Police Department    
TO: Police Lieutenant, University Police Department    
Thomas S. Smith, Jr.    
FROM: Police Corporal, University Police Department KL 002 ext. 2100
TO: Police Lieutenant, University Police Department    
Romelia Garza KL 002 ext. 2100
FROM: Police Corporal, University Police Department    
TO: Police Lieutenant, University Police Department    
Aida Garza BCH 205C ext. 2132
FROM: Academic Coordinator, PASE (SSSGP)    
TO: Director of the CASA, PASE (CASA)    
Jennifer C. Raines SC 118 ext. 2700
FROM: Staff Assistant, Provost/VPAA    
TO: Staff Assistant, Special Programs    
Natalie C. Burkhalter CH118B ext. 2579
FROM: Associate Professor/Interim Director, CONHS    
TO: Associate Professor/Interim Dean, CONHS    
Jennifer M. Coronado KL 416B ext. 2673
FROM: Assistant Professor/Interim Chair, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
TO: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
Peter F. Haruna LBVSC 324B ext. 2613
FROM: Associate Professor, Dept. of Social Sciences    
TO: Associate Professor/Associate Dean, Dept. of Social Sciences    
Antonio J. Rodriguez WHTC 203H ext. 2517
FROM: Professor/Chair/Associate Dean, DIBFS    
TO: Professor/Associate Dean, DIBFS    
Alan L. Seitel KL 421B ext. 2688
FROM: Visiting Associate Professor, Dept. of Professional Programs    
TO: Associate Professor, Dept. of Professional Programs    
Monica E. Munoz CH 312F ext. 2620
FROM: Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
TO: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
Rafael E. Romo KL 431A ext. 2697
FROM: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
TO: Assistant Professor/Dir Fitness & Sports, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
Claudia E. San Miguel CH 302J ext. 2529
FROM: Assistant Professor, Dept. Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
TO: Assistant Professor/Director of CJ, Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
Sara A. Vallarta KL 161 ext. 2149
FROM: Staff Accountant, Business Office    
TO: Intermediate Staff Accountant, Business Office    
Jose A. Martinez KL 257 ext. 2310
FROM: User Service Specialist, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Juan L. Sanchez KL 257 ext. 2296
FROM: Service Specialist II, OIT    
TO: Senior IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Marianita Rosales KL 257 ext. 2300
FROM: User Services Specialist, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Nohemi Villalobos KL 257 ext. 2311
FROM: Service Specialist I, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Rafael Bocanegra LBVSC 203 ext. 3050
FROM: Service Specialist II, OIT    
TO: Senior IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Maria S. Gallegos KL 257 ext. 2315
FROM: Service Specialist II, OIT    
TO: Senior IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Susana A. Serna KL 257 ext. 2023
FROM: Service Specialist I, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Aquiles Barrera KL 254 ext. 2291
FROM: Service Specialist I, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Maria I. Cantu KL 257 ext. 2044
FROM: Service Specialist I, OIT    
TO: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Robert Hernandez KL 257 ext. 2025
FROM: Service Specialist II, OIT    
TO: Senior IT Support Specialist, OIT    
Araceli Elizondo KL 320 ext. 2365
FROM: HR Assistant (Web/Immigration), HR    
TO: HR Manager (Immigration/Compensation), HR    
Jorge Brusa WHTC 206C ext. 2511
FROM: Assistant Professor, DIBFS    
TO: Associate Professor, DIBFS    
Emma A. Garza KL 416C ext. 3140
FROM: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Professional Programs    
TO: Assistant Professor/Interim Chair, Dept. of Teacher Preparation    
Durant H. Frantzen CH 302L ext. 2622
FROM: Visiting Assistant Professor, Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
TO: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
Carlene M. Henderson KL 419J ext. 3156
FROM: Adjunct Faculty, Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction    
TO: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction    

  David N. Roberts, Instructor
Division of Interantional Banking & Finance Studies
  Farouk I. Heiba, Visiting Professor
Division of Internation Banking & Finance Studies
  Ana I. Saenz, Director of the CASA
  Mark F. Jackson, Coach (Baseball)
  Athletics Department
  Patricia N. Deliganis, Staff Assistant
  Dept. of Teacher Preparation
  Rowena C. Frausto, Grant Resources Support Assistant
  Juan M. Garcia, Police Officer
  University Police Department
  Frances C. Waters, Associate Professor/Associate Dean
  College of Arts & Sciences


The Importance of Reporting a Leave of Absence

There are various leave benefits available to employees, and the HR Office wants to ensure these benefits are afforded to employees in the event of need.

To facilitate these leave benefits, an employee must report their leave of absence (sick leave, vacation, etc.) to their supervisor and the HR Office immediately. Furthermore, it is especially crucial to immediately report a leave of absence that is to be extensive.

Leave of absence issues may be complex, and all cases differ. The HR Office will assist in verifying the employee's leave balances, determining if additional documentation is necessary to support the leave of absence request, and determining if the employee is eligible for any other type of available leave (i.e., Family/Medical Leave, Parental Leave, Emergency Leave, Sick Leave Pool).

If you have any questions about or need assistance with leave of absence issues, please contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364.


Your Responsibilities When Requesting Leave

Employees and their supervisors are responsible for assuring that a leave request is submitted via LeaveTraq prior to taking leave or immediately upon returning from leave.

A leave request must be submitted when requesting any type of absence from work: vacation, sick leave, overtime compensatory time (OCT), straight compensatory time (SCT), funeral leave, jury duty, military duty, leave without pay, family/medical leave, and parental leave.

For certain types of leave, additional documentation must accompany the leave request form as follows:

  • Sick Leave - When the period of absence is in excess of 3 continuous working days, a physician's statement indicating the cause and nature of illness and expected date of recovery is required.
  • Jury Duty - A Certificate of Service from the court specifying the date(s) and time(s) served is required.
  • Military Duty - Orders documenting the time period requested is required.
  • Family/Medical Leave - A Medical Certification Form (available from the HR Office) completed by the treating physician is required.
  • Parental Leave - A Medical Certification Form (available from the HR Office) completed by the treating physician is required.

If you have any questions regarding leave, contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364.


Notify HR Immediately of Separations of Employment

Immediately upon first knowledge of a separation of employment, please notify the HR Office. Appropriate forms must be generated without delay in order to best facilitate the exiting employee's clearance process (insurance, leave, timecard, keys, ID, etc.). Call us at ext. 2365 if you have questions regarding separations of employment.

If the separation is from student employment, immediately contact the Financial Aid Office at ext. 2165


Unraveling the Mysteries of Overtime

The deadline for an important project is approaching, so you work a bit late one night. Does that mean you get compensated with extra time off (compensatory time)? It depends. Whether you are compensated depends on your job and how you are compensated is determined by state and federal law.

Under federal law, each job must be designated as "exempt" or "non-exempt" from federal overtime. Only those jobs designated as "non-exempt" are eligible for the 2 types of compensatory time, Overtime Compensatory Time (OCT) and Straight Compensatory Time (SCT). Your supervisor, the HR Office, or the latest Pay Plan can tell you if your position is "exempt" or "non-exempt."

OVERTIME COMPENSATORY TIME (OCT): Only jobs classified as "non-exempt" are eligible for OCT. OCT is release time (time off) that is earned from hours that are physically worked over 40 in a workweek. (For TAMIU, a workweek is Thursday through the following Wednesday.) As required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), those excess hours physically worked over 40 must be calculated at time and a half (multiplied by 1.5). EXAMPLE: If you physically work 44 hours in a workweek, 4 hours are the excess over 40 and are calculated at time and a half (4 X 1.5 = 6). So, you accrue 6 hours of OCT.

In some cases, however, if you work more than 8 hours in one day, your supervisor may require you to work fewer hours another day in the same workweek in order to avoid the accumulation of OCT.

Employees may accumulate up to 240 hours of OCT, however, those in a public safety, emergency response, or seasonal job may accumulate up to 480 hours.

You keep your rights to your accumulated OCT until you use the time or are paid for it. When you leave employment, you will be paid for any remaining OCT, or, with your supervisor's approval, you may remain on the payroll to use it up.

STRAIGHT COMPENSATORY TIME (SCT): In some cases, "non-exempt" employees may be eligible for SCT. If the number of hours physically worked in a workweek are 40 or less, but the combined worked time and time off (i.e., vacation, sick leave, holiday, etc.) in the workweek total more than 40, you will receive SCT for the hours that exceeded 40 in that workweek. Furthermore, those SCT hours are not calculated at time and a half (in other words, for each hour of time in excess of 40, you will receive exactly one hour of SCT). EXAMPLE: If you physically work only 36 hours and are off for 8 hours of sick leave in a workweek, so that the combined worked time and time off total 44, then the excess over 40 are 4 hours. These 4 hours are accrued as SCT.

State law prohibits payment for SCT upon end of employment. However, under A&M System policy, you may remain on the payroll to use up your SCT.

USING OCT AND SCT: A "non-exempt" employee must always have permission from his/her supervisor before working overtime. And as is the case with all other requests for time off, an employee must have the supervisor's permission before using any accrued OCT and/or SCT.

If you should have any questions or need more information about OCT and/or SCT, please contact Xochitl Kladis by e-mail or at ext. 2364.


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 HR Office. (For leave assistance, contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364, and for benefits assistance, contact Gracy Buentello 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, a "Medical Certification Form" must be completed by your doctor and submitted to HR within 15 days of the request for leave. This form is available at the HR website under FORMS. Re-certification may be required.
  • During your leave, all appropriate leave requests must be submitted via LeaveTraq 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.

Cheer! Check Out the HR Website!

The TAMIU HR website contains helpful information that employees can use everyday! Take a look at what's conveniently available to you online at our site. Bookmark the site and visit us often!

  • Single Sign On (gives you access to HRConnect, LeaveTraq, and TimeTraq)
  • Benefits (latest news on health plans, retirement issues, legislation affecting your benefits, etc.)
  • HR Newsletters
  • Forms (the most frequently-used HR forms available online)
  • Employee Directory
  • Training (info about TAMIU Enrichment Day and other planned staff development programs)
  • Employment (link to TAMIUWorks and useful resources for hiring supervisors)
  • Leave
  • System Policy Manual and TAMIU Rules
  • Holiday Schedule
  • Pay Plan



TAMIU Employment Opportunities

For a listing of current TAMIU job vacancies, including full text vacancy announcements, visit TAMIUWorks at https://employment.tamiu.edu. TAMIUWorks allows you to view job vacancies as well as apply for them online.

For employment assistance, contact Angie Garcia, HR Employment Assistant, at employment@tamiu.edu or ext. 2360. The HR Employment Office is open 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.


Workers' Compensation

An employee of The Texas A&M University System who suffers an accidental injury or occupational disease, as a direct result of and in the course and scope of employment, should immediately notify his/her supervisor and complete the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission's Form TWCC-1 called "Employer's First Report of Injury or Illness."  The form is accessible from the HR website under FORMS. The supervisor, in turn, must notify the HR Office immediately and ensure Form TWCC-1 is completed and submitted promptly. Failure to report the injury within 30 days of the occurrence (or the manifestation of an occupational disease) may result in the denial of a claim.

If you have any questions concerning Workers' Compensation, please contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364.


Getting to Know U!


Christopher Saldivar is a Receiving Clerk for the Office of Purchasing and Support Services and has been with TAMIU since April 2007. He is currently working on a Bachelor of Finance.

This semester he will be teaching spinning classes at the new Kinesiology Wellness Recreational Center on campus. When he is not working or devoting his time to school, Chris likes watching Notre Dame football and playing with his team, the "Dragons." In his spare time, he enjoys going to the movies and spending time with his wife, Kary. He hopes to be able to attend more concerts in the future, especially a Bon Jovi concert.


TAMIU, we want to get to know you! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself, and we will feature it along with a photo in this section of the newsletter. Submit your information to Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.

Who is This?  

The first person to email the HR Office and correctly identify this TAMIU employee by name and title will win a prize!


The Answer Corner
The following are frequently-asked questions received in the HR Office. To ask us questions, use the "Ask HR" button on this newsletter.
I am an international employee and my visa status is going to change. Is there anything I need to do with the HR Office?

If your visa status changes or is going to change, you need to notify the HR Office immediately to update your personnel file and to review your tax withholding, as a change in visa status may affect your tax withholding rate. If you have any questions related to international employees, you may contact Araceli Elizondo, HR Manager, at ext. 2365.

I keep seeing the same articles run over and over again in the newsletter.  Why do you re-run some articles every so often?


The section in the newsletter called "HR Knows...Do You?" contains important articles that are re-run several times a year, and HR does this for several reasons.  Some information, HR is required by policy to provide to employees regularly.  Some articles (i.e., FMLA, OCT/SCT, submitting leave requests, sick leave pool, separations of employment, online forms, online trainings, etc.) are re-run every so often for the benefit of new employees who are not yet fully familiar with the information.  In addition, the recurring articles also benefit existing employees because it makes the latest information readily available.  For example, most of the time, you may not need information on FMLA, but when and if you do, you are sure to find it handy in a recent newsletter.

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

Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, State Senator Judith Zaffirini, and Texas A&M University System Chancellor Michael D. McKinney joined TAMIU students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the dedication of TAMIU's new Kinesiology, Wellness and Recreation Center Monday, September 24, 2007 at 11 a.m.

There was also a ground-breaking ceremony for the University's new Student Success Center which will serve to house a wide array of student services including admission, retention, financial aid, scholarship access, testing, First Year Success Programs, and special student programs.

The Division of Student Success wants to thank you all for your commitment and dedication to our students and TAMIU. September 24, 2007 was a great day in the history of this institution. Having the Lt. Governor on campus is definitely far from routine. The dream of this University began many years ago as a result of many people. We are fortunate to have the leadership of Dr. Keck, the commitment of Senator Zaffirini, and importantly, the vision of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.

Many thanks to all of you who helped make this a wonderful event! Your presence was acknowledged and appreciated by our guests and the administration.

On a side note, the LCC President, Dr. Juan L. Maldonado, was very complimentary of the staff and how we stood out in our shirts. Thanks to Celinda Sarabia and the department heads for making the shirts a reality for us all... wear them with pride!

Hopefully, with your help we can maintain our enrollment over the 5,000 mark. We will celebrate it in traditional fashion with the cake sporting the number 5,000. This milestone is a credit to the remarkable work of the Recruitment and School Relations staff who also crossed a milestone of their own bringing in over 712 new first-time freshmen. CONGRATULATIONS!

What do we do for an encore? Plan well for our new building and continue to increase the number of students and families we are positively influencing together. Keep up the good work!

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 the HR Office via email.


Phone: 956.326.2365
Fax: 956.326.2359
Location: Killam Library 320