March 2005
  • Quote of the Month
    • "There is no teaching to compare with example." --Robert Baden-Powell

Staff Enrichment Day!

Staff Enrichment Day 2005
Set for Friday, May 20th!

The HR Office is pleased to announce that Staff Enrichment Day (SED) is set for Friday, May 20, 2005! The SED Planning Committee is already working on presentations, food, music, goody bags, prizes, games, and much more!

SED is a day set aside to bring University employees enrichment sessions under a relaxed and fun-filled atmosphere. In order to allow full-time employees the opportunity to participate at SED 2005, the plan is to maintain administrative offices open with minimal operation by utilizing student workers for office staffing.

Texas A&M International University is committed to promoting enrichment and growth in its employees. For more information about SED 2005, look for email announcements and keep reading your HR News & Views.


Spring Break Holiday on Friday, March 25th

Texas A&M International University will observe Spring Break during the week of March 21-25. No academic classes will be held during this week.

Administrative offices, however, will remain open for business from Monday, 3/21/05 through Thursday, 3/24/05. Then, on Friday, 3/25/05, administrative offices will close for a Spring Break holiday.

Have a safe and fun Spring Break!


TAMIUWorks! Goes Live March 28th!


HR is excited to introduce TAMIUWorks!, the University's new online employment system!

This web-based system will "go live" on Monday, March 28th and will:

  • automate the recruitment, application, applicant-tracking, and hiring processes
  • automate current HR forms: "Personnel Requisition" and "Referral for Interview"
  • allow for obtaining electronic approvals when requisitioning to advertise a vacancy

How you'll use the system depends on your role:

  • A "hiring manager" will be able to submit a requisition to advertise a vacancy, review electronic employment applications received, and notify HR of selection(s) and non-selection(s).
  • As an "applicant," you'll be able to view job vacancy postings, create/revise your employment application, submit your application for a vacancy (if it is determined that you meet the minimum qualifications), and trach the status of your cpplication for the job(s) you've applied for.

Representatives from PeopleAdmin, Inc., creators of this online employment system, will be on campus Friday, March 18, 2005 to conduct training for all hiring supervisors. Several 2-hour training sessions will be offered conveniently throughout the day. Details about training, including registration information, is forthcoming. For now, please mark the training date on your calendar, as it is very important that all hiring supervisors attend at least one training session.

If you have any questions regarding TAMIUWorks!, please contact the HR Employment Office at ext. 2360. Be on the look out for more information as we approach our TAMIUWorks! "go live" date!


Construction Update
On February 22, Mr. Jose Garcia, VP for Finance & Administration, walked through the Science Building to view the progress and was awed by the facility. At a meeting the following day, he commented, “I must tell you that this building is going to be the most beautiful building on campus to this point. It seems that each new building on campus is nicer and nicer!” Mr. Garcia pointed out that the quality of the construction is first-class and that he is certain everyone will be impressed by the building when it opens to the public. The Science Building should be ready for the grand opening on Saturday, April 16th. Currently, the projection dome, as well as carpet, has been installed in the planetarium. And next, seats and all of the electronic and projection equipment will be installed.

On March 22 and 23, there will be a meeting in College Station with the architects, engineers, and TAMUS Facilities and Construction personnel to review the Kinesiology building plans that are soon to be 100% complete. Minor technical changes will be made, and bids for construction will go out early April. If all goes well, construction should begin August 2005.

Look for more construction updates in next month’s issue of HR News & Views!

Highlights from 2/15/05 SEBAC Meeting

The System Employees Benefits Advisory Council (SEBAC) met in College Station on Tuesday, 2/15/05. Representing TAMIU at the meeting were Elizabeth N. Martinez (Associate VP for Administration), Sandra Pena (Director of Human Resources) and Jessica Palacios (Associate Director).

The following are brief highlights from the meeting. However, more detailed information about the meeting will be available shortly from the System Human Resources Office website at http://sago.tamu.edu/shro by clicking on the heading "SEBAC information."

  • Reports by the HMO subcommittee and the Wellness subcommittee were given.
  • Health Plan Comparison Information and Prescription Drug Plan Design Comparison Information was reviewed.
  • A&M Care Profit and Loss Statements were presented.
  • Potential plan design changes were discussed. These potential changes will be further discussed at the April 2005 SEBAC meeting. Potential plan design changes include: increasing coverage for skilled nursing facility benefits, adding maternity benefits for dependent children, changing the co-payment for behavioral health charges, prescription drug plan design changes, and allowing appeals for non-formulary drugs to be purchased for a formulary co-payment.
  • Benefits-related questions from the 2004 System Survey were reviewed. This survey is conducted every 2 years and gathers information from a System-wide sample of employees.
  • A Legislative Update covering HR and benefits related bills was presented.

As a reminder, all employees and retirees wishing to share comments and concerns about employee benefits can contact the TAMIU HR Office at (956) 326-2365.


EHS Will Soon Change Its Name to PharmaCare

Effective April 4, 2005, EHS will formally change its name to PharmaCare. EHS merged with PharmaCare last summer. According to EHS, this change should not affect A&M Care health plan participants. EHS has provided a letter explaining the change. To view this letter, click here.

For questions regarding your prescription drug program, please contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362 or Nora Guereca, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.


Updated EHS Prescription Drug Formularies Now Available
If you have EHS prescription drug formularies dated June 2004, please dispose of them. The formulary was revised this past January. The revised formulary is available on the EHS web site at www.ehs.com/member/formulary/pdfs/eww0400p_eh025.pdf.

For questions regarding your prescription drug program, please contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362 or Nora Guereca, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.

Disability Brochure Has Been Revised

The brochure called About Disability has been revised. This brochure was written for employees who want to know what options they have if they become disabled. It explains the factors that figure into their options, what disability-related benefits are available, what retirement options are available, and how disability impacts A&M System benefits eligibility. To view this brochure, click here.

For questions regarding disability-related benefits, please contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362 or Nora Guereca, HR Benefits Manager, at ext. 2363.


Single Sign On is Here!

Single Sign On debuted on Thursday, February 24, 2005! This means that now, all employees will be accessing HRConnect and LeaveTraq through one point-of-entry called Single Sign On.

Here are some things to remember with Single Sign On:

  • You will no longer be able to use your Social Security Number to log in. You will now use your Universal Identification Number (UIN). All employees should have already received personalized emails informing them of their UIN.
  • Current or returning employees who have access to LeaveTraq will use their LeaveTraq password to log in. If you do not have access to LeaveTraq, you will use your HRConnect password to log in.
  • New employees will need to click on "New Employees - Set Up Your Password" and follow the instructions on the wizard.

For your reference, “tutorial modules” are available for new, current, and returning employees that can help you obtain more information about Single Sign On. To view these tutorial modules, please click on the appropriate link below:

If you have questions or need assistance with Single Sign On, please do not hesitate to contact the HR Office at ext. 2365.


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Ruben R. Ayala, Groundskeeper
Physical Plant
H 200 ext. 2325
  Jorge Aviles, Lab Assistant
PASE (Testing/Computer Services)
KL 203 ext. 2130
  Elsa A. Cisneros, Staff Assistant
University Registrar
KL 168 ext. 2256
  Maria F. Martinez, Staff Assistant
University Registrar
KL 168 ext. 2252
  Ana G. Molina, Office Coordinator
Financial Aid
KL 158 ext. 2226
  Erik Castañeda, Police Dispatcher
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Nicolas Gomez, Jr., Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Carlos J. Morales, Jr., Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Jesse J. Olivarez, Project Manager
WHTC 221 ext. 2846
  Michael D. Ashburn, Certification Officer
College of Education
KL 328 ext. 2928
  Jose L. Velasquez, Instructor
Department of Special Populations
KL 333 ext. 2435
  Juanita R. Lira, Instructor
Department of Special Populations
KL 333 ext. 2435

Julisa Garcia BCH 102 ext. 2926
FROM: Student Employee, Department of Special Populations (CDC)    
TO: CDC Educator, Department of Special Populations (CDC)    
Celinda C. Sarabia SC 126 ext. 2270
FROM: Financial Aid Counselor, Financial Aid    
TO: Office Coordinator, EMSR    
Rebecca Juarez KL 157 ext. 2225
FROM: Half-Time Staff Assistant, Financial Aid    
TO: Full-Time Staff Assistant, Financial Aid    
David E. VerMilyea PH 301A ext. 2282
FROM: Director of International Student Services, International Programs    
TO: Director of International Student Services/Interim Assistant VP for International Programs    
Gilberto Salinas KL 426A ext. 2656
FROM: Instructor, Departmentt of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
TO: Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ    
Dr. Jeffrey M. Brown KL 431A ext. 2596
FROM: Associate Professor/Interim Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Graduate Studies    
TO: Associate Professor/Director of Graduate Studies, Office of Graduate Studies    
Leebrian E. Gaskins KL 259A ext. 2301
FROM: Associate Director of CTS, CTS    
TO: Associate VP for Information Technology/CIO (Interim), Office of Information Technology    

  Martin Gallegos, Groundskeeper
Physical Plant
  Angelica R. Salinas, Staff Assistant
Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences & CJ
  Valerie L. Vitela, Clerk I
Killam Library (Circulation)
  Jacinda K. Vela, Police Officer
University Police Department
  Elizabeth N. Rodriguez, Senior Staff Accountant
Business Office
  Adriana Blanco, Associate Director
International Programs (ILI)
  Dr. David R. Britton, Director of ETO
Educational Technology & Outreach (ETO)
  Lakshmana Viswanath, Director of CTS
Computer & Telecommunication Services (CTS)

Online Training Available for Employees

The TAMUS Human Resources Office has developed online training modules for employees. The training modules currently available are:

  • Conducting Effective Interviews
  • Creating A Discrimination-Free Workplace (also available in Spanish)
  • Ethics (also available in Spanish)
  • Managing Employee Performance
  • Sexual Harrassment: What Supervisors Need To Know
  • Time Off Issues for Employees
  • Time Off Issues for Supervisors

You can access the training from HRConnect. Simply log on to Single Sign On at http://sso.tamu.edu, select HRConnect, click on the TRAINING tab, and follow the directions.

If you need assistance with these online training modules, please call HR Office at ext. 2365.


Family/Medical Leave: Usage and Obligations

If you have at least 12 months of state service and have worked for the state at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, you are entitled to 12 weeks of Family/Medical Leave per fiscal year. If your leave request (whether sick leave, annual leave, or other paid or unpaid leave) is due to one of the following reasons, the leave will count toward your Family/Medical Leave entitlement for the fiscal year:

  • Birth of a child
  • Placement in your home of a child for adoption or state-certified foster care
  • Your serious health condition (illness, injury, or pregnancy)
  • To care for your spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition
If you are applying for sick leave for one of these reasons, you must use all available paid leave before taking unpaid leave. Additionally, you must have your treating physician complete a Medical Certification Form (available from the HR Office) and submit it with your leave request form(s.)

While you are on paid leave, your benefit coverages will continue, and any premiums you normally pay for will be deducted from your pay. If you go on unpaid leave for one of the reasons stated above, the State will continue to pay its contribution toward your health coverage; however, you must continue to pay your share of premiums. Failure to do so may end some or all of your benefits coverages. You will receive a bill for your share of the premiums each month while you are on leave, and the bill must be paid within 30 days.

It is your responsibility to check in with your supervisor every 2 weeks while on leave to inform him/her of your status and expected date of return. It is also your responsibility to inform the HR Office if you would like to add a dependent to your coverage. This must be done within 60 days of the birth, adoption, etc. of the dependent.

If you take leave for one of the reasons stated above, you will be reinstated to your job or a similar job when you return from leave, unless you would not otherwise have been employed at that time.

If you have any questions about Family/Medical Leave, please contact Xochitl Kladis in the HR Office at ext. 2364.

University Sick Leave Pool

The University Sick Leave Pool was established to alleviate hardship caused to an employee and the employee's family if a catastrophic illness or injury forces the employee to exhaust all leave time earned by the employee and lose compensation. At that time, an employee may request to draw time from the University Sick Leave Pool in order to remain in pay status.

Employees may contribute to the University Sick Leave Pool at any time. Anyone wishing to contribute, or if you have questions about the University Sick Leave Pool, please contact Xochitl Kladis at ext. 2364.


Retiring From The A&M System

Below are general guidelines to follow in preparation for retirement from The A&M System. Preparation should begin at least 1 year before retiring.

Contact the HR Office to:

  • Verify if you meet retirement eligibility requirements.
  • Complete System-required TRS forms.
  • Discuss changes in your group insurance coverages.
  • Complete appropriate group insurance continuation forms (if eligible).

...and to make sure TRS has:

  • Birth records for you and your primary beneficiary.
  • Verification and/or purchase of any withdrawn, unreported, military, or out-of-state service for retirement credit.
  • A completed Request for Estimate of Retirement Benefits Form.
  • A completed Authorization to TRS for Records Disclosure.

Contact the HR Office to:

  • Verify if you meet retirement eligibility requirements.
  • Complete System-required ORP forms.
  • Discuss changes in your group insurance coverages.
  • Complete appropriate group insurance continuation forms (if eligible).

...and contact your ORP vendor representative to:

  • Discuss your retirement options. (You may need to provide an original or certified copy of your and your primary beneficiary’s birth certificates.)

Contact your TDA vendor representative to:

  • Discuss your retirement settlement options.

Contact your local Social Security Office to:

  • Apply for Social Security (and Medicare, if applicable) benefits. (You may need to provide W-2 tax forms for the 2 years before retirement, an estimate of earnings for the year of retirement, and a record of date of birth.)

For additional information, please refer to the brochure called "A Look Ahead: A Guide to Retiring from the A&M System" or contact Jessica Palacios, Associate Director, at ext. 2362.


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 Physician's Statement (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.



SCT (State Compensatory Time):

System Regulation 31.01.09 Overtime states that SCT must be taken within the 12-month period following the workweek in which it was earned and that it may not be carried forward past the end of the 12-month period.

LeaveTraq monitors the expiration of SCT and "clears out" any SCT not used by the expiration date. Therefore, to avoid losing SCT, employees are reminded to take their SCT within 12 months from which it was earned. It is recommended that employees regularly log onto LeaveTraq to check the expiration status of their SCT.

OCT (Overtime Compensatory Time):

System Regulation 31.01.09 Overtime states that, when practical, OCT should be taken within the 12-month period following the workweek in which it was earned. Supervisors may require employees to take OCT and may require employees to use OCT before using vacation leave.

Should you have any questions about your SCT and/or OCT balances, please contact Xochitl Kladis via email or at ext. 2364.


Getting to Know U!

Monica Agent


Since 8/27/01, Monica Agent has served as the Science Lab Technician (Biology) in the Department of Biology & Chemistry. She was born and raised in Laredo and enjoys family weekend get-togethers and spending time with her 20-month old daughter and husband. Her hobbies include collecting recipes and trying them during the holidays, reading magazines, and attending team roping tournaments and rodeos with her husband. Monica says she loves her job and enjoys working with the staff in her department.

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.

Mug O' The Month
Maria "Queta" Romanos is a Staff Accountant (Accounts Payable) in the Business Office. She joined TAMIU in June 1989.

She 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.

Maria "Queta" Romanos

Who is This?  
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 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 Gracy Buentello, HR Assistant in the HR Office. 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.

Are there any written policies that indicate how many personal phone calls am I allowed to make or receive? How about emergency phone calls? And what about the usage of a TAMIU issued e-mail & e-mail address?

In a nutshell, employees are allowed the personal use of phone and fax (local calls only) as well as email and the Internet as long as the use does not result in any direct cost to the State or the University, is not so excessive that it interferes with the employees work responsibilities, and is not disruptive nor impeding to the office operations. In addition, regarding the personal use of email and the Internet, employees should always use wise judgment and avoid questionable content.

For additional information on the subject, refer to System Policy 33.04 – Use of System Policy, System Regulation 33.04.01 – Use of System Resources for External Employment, and System Regulation 25.99.08 – Use of Telecommunication Service.

That Extra (S)Mile!
This section describes the deeds of TAMIU employees who have been observed going the "extra mile" for our University.
The Office of the University Registrar would like to thank the University community for its support in making online registration via LASSO a success! It is not just wanting to get a project up and going to make it successful; it is also important to have the support from members of the University community and administration to make it work. Through active participation, online registration via LASSO for this Spring 2005 was at its highest! Last year, 267 students registered online for the Spring 2004. This Spring 2005 term, we had a total of 1,721 student register via LASSO! That's a 544% increase from last year! And, we have heard many positive comments from students regarding online registration. It is something that our students are very happy to use. Thank you for your help, TAMIU!
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