December 2007/January 2008

Upcoming University Holidays!


The University will be closed for the following holidays:

Christmas and New Year's Day = Monday, 12/24/07 thru Tuesday, 1/1/08

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day = Monday, 1/21/08

As a reminder, the 2007-2008 TAMIU Holiday Schedule can be accessed at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/holiday.shtml


Employee Educational Assistance Program Applications Being Accepted

The HR Office is now accepting Employee Educational Assistance Program (EEAP) applications for the 2008 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 (January 31, 2008 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.
  • 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.
  • Eligible courses are those that lead to the employee's declared TAMIU academic program/degree or are directly related to the employee's current job responsibilities with TAMIU.
  • Employee must maintain a GPA of 2.0 (undergraduates) or 3.0 (graduates) per semester.
  • Reimbursement is provided for 3 in-state credit hours per semester, not to exceed 6 credit hours per academic year.
  • Reimbursement is provided at the end of the semester, after grades have been verified, and is subject to availability of funds.
To check the status of your application or if you have questions about the EEAP, please contact Araceli Elizondo via email or at ext. 2365.


Kudos to TAMIU Employees!

Thank you, TAMIU employees, for your participation in the 2007 State Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign (SECC)!  Due to your generosity, 24 local agencies will be able to continue their mission of helping those in need.

While the number of participants did not match last year's (319 in 2007; 329 in 2006), the total contributions for 2007 still exceeded the total contributions for 2006.  Contributions for 2006 totaled $39,243.57, while contributions for 2007 totaled $41,350.00!

The following offices are recognized for their 100% participation in the campaign. And as the SECC coordinators, Mary Trevino and Pat Martinez are recognized for their superb administration of this worthy effort!


  Associate VP for Student Affairs
  Associate VP for Student Success
  Associate VPAA
  Business Office
  Campus Card Services
  College of Nursing & Health Sciences
  Dept. of Social Sciences
  Graduate Studies & Research
  Human Resources
  Institutional Effectiveness & Planning
  Killam Library
  Ph. D. Program
  President's Office
  Provost & VPAA
  Purchasing & Support Services (Copy Center)
  Special Programs
  University Police Department
  University Registrar


Blue Access ® for Members Lauches the Know Your Risks Campaign

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is launching the Know Your Risks campaign on Blue Access for Members. Early detection of health risks will arm you with the information you need to optimally manage your physical and mental wellness. Be proactive in managing your health by taking the online Health Risk Assessment in Blue Access for Members at www.bcbstx.com.

When you take your Health Risk Assessment by February 14, 2008 , BCBSTX will donate $5 to one of the following organizations:

  • American Heart Association
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Cancer Society or
  • Alzheimer's Association

You also get to vote to support the health and wellness cause that matters most to you. The charitable organization that receives the most votes could receive up to $65,000. Here is what you do:

Vote for the cause that matters most to you.

  1. Log in to Blue Access for Members .  If you haven't done so already, sign up today. All you need are the group and member ID numbers found on your ID card.
  2. Complete Your Health Risk Assessment.  From the Blue Access for Members home page, select Health & Wellness (Take a Health Risk Assessment) under My Health -Tools.  Follow the online instructions and take your Health Risk Assessment.

If you have any questions, please contact Gracy Buentello at ext. 2363 or Jessica Palacios at ext. 2362.



PharmaCare Formulary Will Change January 1, 2008

Effective January 1, 2008 PharmaCare will be updating their Preferred Choice formulary listing. One main change is that the medication Lotrel now has a generic equivalent available.

All affected plan participants currently using a drug moving from Formulary to Non-Formulary will receive pre-notification of the change by mail. To view formulary changes effective 1/1/2008, please click here.

For questions regarding your prescription drug program, please contact Jessica Palacios at ext. 2362 or Gracy Buentello at ext. 2363.


Medicare Booklet Updated

Medicare has released an updated version of their booklet called Medicare & You - 2008.  You can find it at:   http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf .

If questions, you may contact Jessica Palacios at ext. 2362 or Gracy Buentello at ext. 2363.


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Norma C. Nunez, HR Assistant (Web/HR Communications)
Human Resources
KL 320 ext. 2365
  Ariel R. Rodriguez, Instructor (Military Science) SC 128D ext. 3010
  Sandra Arreguin, Staff Assistant KL 168 ext. 2256
  University Registrar    
  Susana G. Garcia, Staff Assistant LBVSC 301 ext. 2462
  COAS (Dean's Office)    
  Ricardo Cortinas III, Assistant General Manager University Village ext. 0160
  Residential Learning Community (RLC) & University Village    
  Erika Medrano, Staff Assistant PH 314 ext. 2470
  Dept. of Language and Literature    
  Roberto Del Huerto, UNIX System Administrator KL 322 ext. 2290
  Gilberto Treviño Jr., Police Officer KL 005 ext. 2100
  University Police Department    

Patricia Hernandez KL 164 ext. 2141
FROM: Accounting Assistant (Cashier), Business Office    
TO: Staff Accountant (Account Receivable), Business Office    
Cindy Elizalde SC 119 ext. 2765
FROM: Staff Accountant, Business Office    
TO: Program Coordinator, Office of Special Programs    
Sandra M. Jimenez KL 427 ext. 2691
FROM: Staff Assistant, COED (ACP)    
TO: Program Coordinator, COED (ACP)    
Katherine Johnson KL 157F ext. 2212
FROM: Admissions Assistant, Admissions    
TO: Financial Aid Counselor, Financial Aid    
Monica S. Gonzalez KL 155 ext. 2204
FROM: Staff Assistant, Admissions    
TO: Admissions Assistant, Admissions    
Marianita Rosales KL 259 ext. 2295
FROM: IT Support Specialist, OIT    
TO: Instructional Technology Coordinator, OIT    
Alberto Chavez Jr. SC127H ext. 2936
From: ID System Administrator, Associate VP for Administration    
TO: Director of Campus Card Services, Campus Card Services    
Maria T. Solis KL428B ext. 3155
From: 3/4-Time Program Manager, COED (Learning Assistance Center)    
To: Program Manager, COED (Learning Assistance Center)    

  Laura Boykin, Assistant General Manager
Residential Learning Community (RLC) & University Village


  Cynthia Flores, Police Dispatcher
University Police Department


Rules for Submitting Timesheets on TimeTraq

By following these instructions, you will assist the HR Office and the Payroll Office in efficiently processing timesheets and accurately maintaining your records. For questions related to timesheets and leave requests, please contact Xochitl Kladis via e-mail or at ext. 2364.

Timecards Must Be Maintained Daily
To ensure accuracy, make your timesheets entries daily.

Submit Leave Requests Before Timesheets
Leave requests should be submitted via LeaveTraq prior to taking leave or immediately upon return from leave.  Do not wait until you submit your timesheet to submit your leave request(s).  Submitted LeaveTraq leave requests will automatically appear on your TimeTraq timesheet.

Managers and Department Approvers Must Set Up Delegates
To approve timesheets in their absence, Managers and Department Approvers must have a delegate set up on TimeTraq.  A Manager can set up a delegate through TimeTraq.  If a Department Approver needs a delegate, they must contact the HR Office to have one set up.

Supervisors are Responsible for Accuracy of Work Hours Reported
Before approving, supervisors must ensure that work hours reported on timesheets are accurate.  Also, supervisors must ensure that employees submit leave requests for time off.

Timesheets Must be Submitted on Time
All timesheets need to be approved through TimeTraq and electronically submitted to Payroll by 12:00 noon on the due date.

Timesheet Adjustments Need to be Emailed to HR
Immediately upon first knowledge, adjustments to previous pay periods (i.e., hours worked were over or under) need to be reported via emailed to the HR Office.  HR will keep the email as documentation, then post the adjustment on TimeTraq so it can be applied on the next payroll.


System Policies/Regulations & TAMIU Rules are Online!

As an employee of The Texas A&M University System, your employment is governed by the A&M System Policies & Regulations as well as the Texas A&M International University Rules. These policies should be referred to for guidance on issues related to your employment.

The System Policies/Regulations & TAMIU Rules are available online for your reference. You can access them from the HR website. The System site even offers a search feature to help you quickly find the item you are looking for.

If you have questions concerning the System Policies/Regulations and/or TAMIU Rules, please contact HR at ext. 2365.


Military Leave

The Texas A&M University System supports its employees' service in state or national military units and provides military leave to eligible employees. Below is an overview of the types of military leave available; however, more detailed information can be found in the System online brochure called "A Call To Arms: A Guide to Military Leave." If you have questions or need assistance with military leave, please contact Xochitl Kladis, HR Assistant, by e-mail or at ext. 2364.

Paid Leave for Training and Duty:
You are entitled to 15 work days of paid military leave each federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30). This leave may be used when you are engaged in National Guard or U.S. armed forces reserves training or duty ordered or approved by proper authority. The days may be consecutive or scattered throughout the year. If you are appointed to work less than 12 months each year, you are expected to arrange your military duty for the months when you are not scheduled to work. If this cannot be done, you must explain the reason(s) in your leave request. To cover monthly training obligations without using your 15 days of paid leave, your work schedule will be adjusted, whenever possible, so that 2 of your non-work days each month coincide with 2 days of military duty.

Paid Leave for Emergency Military Duty:
If you are a member of the National Guard and are called to active duty by the Governor of Texas because of an emergency, you will receive leave with pay. This leave will not be charged against your 15 days of military leave.

Unpaid Leave for Authorized Military Training or Duty:
After using the 15 days of paid military leave, you may use accrued vacation or be placed on leave without pay for up to 5 cumulative years.


Attention International Employees

If your visa status changes or is about to change, please notify the HR Office immediately. A change in visa status requires updating your HR records (I-9 Form) and may affect your tax withholding rate (W-4 Form).

If you have any questions regarding international employee issues, please contact Araceli Elizondo at ext. 2365.


Updating Your HR File When You Get Married

It is important that personal data in HR records are always up-to-date as such data is tied to the benefits of the employee and eligible dependents. In the case of marriage, personal data must be updated immediately. The following is a helpful checklist of items to take care of in the HR Office when there is a "Family Status Change" due to marriage:


  • Notify your local SS Administration Office of any name change. Name changes cannot be made in HR without official documentation from the SS Administration.


  • Within 60 days of marriage, notify HR if you plan to make any changes to your health, dental, or optional coverages.


  • Inform HR if you want to update your beneficiary(ies) designations under the following optional coverages and retirement plans: Basic Life, Optional Life Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Teachers Retirement System, and Optional Retirement Program.


  • Complete a new W-4 Form to change your tax withholding status and to record any name change.


  • Complete an "Employee Personal Data" form to update HR records with a name change, address change, telephone number change, etc.
  • Complete a "Request for ID Card(s)" form if you wish to obtain an ID Card for an eligible dependent.

Conducting Interviews and Checking References

As supervisor/interviewer for your department, you have the critical responsibility of selecting the best-qualified candidates for vacancies in your department, while adhering to all applicable laws and regulations. By implementing a proper pre-employment screening practice, you can increase the chances of selecting qualified, motivated, and dependable workers for your department. The following helpful tips for interviewing and checking references can guide you during your selection process. (You can also refer to the System online training called "Conducting Effective Interviews" which can be accessed via HRConnect under the TRAINING tab).


  • Ask only for information that you intend to use to make hiring decisions.
  • Know how you will use the information to make that decision.
  • Recognize that it is difficult to defend the practice of seeking information that you do not use.
  • Review the job description.
  • Draft and agree upon the interview questions to be asked.
  • Review the candidate's resume/application.
  • Agree on the format of the interview.
  • Ensure that you know and can identify the indicators of the candidate's ability to perform the job.


  • Introduce committee members (if applicable).
  • Describe the format of the interview.
  • Ask open-ended informational, situational, and behavioral questions.
  • Let the applicant do most of the talking.
  • Keep the interview on track.
  • Observe non-verbal behavior.
  • Take notes.
  • Leave time for the candidate to ask questions.
  • Ask if you can check references and pursue references not listed on the resume.
  • Describe the remainder of the search process and the time it will take.
  • Thank the candidate for his or her time.
  • Evaluate the candidate.
  • Document the interview.
  • Check the same number of references for all candidates.
  • Ask if there is anyone you should not contact and why you should not contact this person.
  • Ask the candidate to notify individuals whom you will call for a reference.
  • Ensure that all references are individuals who have worked with the candidate in a professional capacity and who are not relatives or friends of the candidate.
  • Ensure that at least one reference is a former or current supervisor of the candidate.
  • Ask the candidate if he or she worked under any other name.
  • Consult with the HR Office if there is need to check credit reports, criminal records, and/or driving records.
  • Review (or seek) letters of recommendation.
  • Verify dates of employment, titles, and periods of time in each position.
  • Verify salary (if applicable).
  • Verify education and licenses.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ask references how well the candidate works with others.
  • Obtain opinions about how the candidate would perform in your position.
  • Ask about the candidate's work ethic.
  • Ask why the candidate left the position in question.
  • Ask the candidate's former supervisor (if identified as a reference) or the HR office of the candidate's former employer if the candidate is eligible for rehire.
  • Document all reference-checking activities.

Getting to Know U!


Gina De La Miyar Gonzalez has been working at TAMIU for 10 years. She started as a student employee, became Associate Director of Admissions (Freshmen Advisor), and recently Director of Recruitment & School Relations.  Gina enjoys meeting with high school students and telling them about our University and how higher education will benefit them. 

She was born in Mexico City but has lived in Laredo for 25 years. Gina enjoys traveling to different places to learn about the culture in the area, as well as reading all types of books.  When she is not working, she likes to spend time with her family and especially with her one year-old daughter.

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.


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


That was Karina Moreno, Coordinator of Compliance in the Office of Financial Aid. TAMIU employees who wish to submit their picture for the "Who is This?" section may contact the HR Office via email or at ext. 2365.


Where can I locate my UIN (Universal ID Number)?


Your UIN is located on your TAMIU OneCard.

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

I would like to thank everyone who collaborated on Dr. Madrigal's "KGNS One Class At A Time Award" reception.  Many of the employees were instrumental and kept it a secret for 3 weeks! I want to thank the PRMIS Office for the notification and set-up.  Thank you to the Student Center for accommodating our event on such short notice and setting up all the audio/visual equipment. Aramark, thanks for the catering. And thanks to all the staff who collaborated on the PowerPoint presentation and everyone who attended the event. It took teamwork and I appreciate everyone going the Extra(S)Mile!

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