June 2004
  • Quote of the Month
    • "The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it."
      --Pearl S. Buck

Visit the SED 2004 Photo Gallery!


All went wonderfully last Friday at SED 2004! Positive comments and constructive suggestions were shared throughout the day as well as in the Evaluation Forms.  It is through your input that we will work to improve this special event next year.  THANK YOU to all who participated.

Everyone involved in planning SED 2004 devoted continuous collaboration and work.  MUCH APPRECIATION is extended to all planning committee members, all Session Leaders, all prize sponsors, Public Affairs & Information Services, Aramark, Physical Plant, CTS Media Services, the Student Center, the Print Shop, and all student workers who covered office operations.  You helped make SED 2004 happen!

We look forward to Staff Enrichment Day 2005!


Construction Update
Construction on campus continues to intensify! The Science Building is taking shape with the office walls being installed on all 3 floors. The concrete base of the pyramid is being poured, and the planetarium dome will go up next.

Work on the student housing facility is very advanced. There is construction inside of the buildings, while concrete is being poured onto the outside areas. Landscaping begins shortly. The finish date of the facility should be the first week in August.

The kick-off meeting with F & S Partners from Dallas regarding the Kinesiology building was held. They will return in early June to introduce their site plans for the building. Thereafter, there will be meetings with them to explore the various designs for the building. Construction on this building is planned to start Summer 2005.

On June 2, a meeting was held with Ford, Powell, Carson Architects from San Antonio to begin the process of updating our campus master plan for the next 10 years. Our campus is rapidly expanding to support our also-expanding academic programs.

The HR News & Views is your source for the latest campus construction news!

Extended Pay Plan (EPP)

The Extended Pay Plan allows all full-time faculty who work less than 12 months each year to extend their pay over 12 months. Here is how the EPP works:

You can choose to have either 12.5% or 25% of your net pay set aside each month. During the summer months, you will receive a paycheck from those funds set aside earlier. If you work 9 months and have 25% withheld from your pay during each of those 9 months, your paycheck should be fairly even for 12 months. If you have 12.5% withheld for 9 months, your summer pay will be less than your regular pay. (The 12.5% option was designed for employees who work 10.5 months and have some summer income.) For tax purposes, you still will be considered a 9 or 10.5 month employee. Therefore, federal income and Social Security taxes will be deducted fully from your pay during the months you work. All of the money held for summer payment will be from your after-tax "take home" pay.

Those currently participating in the EPP will remain enrolled at their current percentage, unless they notify the HR Office by 8/31/04 to change their percentage. If you are not currently participating in EPP and would like to, please come by the HR Office in PH 314 to complete an election form by 8/31/04.

If you have any questions about the EPP, please contact Jessica Palacios at ext. 2362 or Cassandra Wheeler at ext. 2363.


Annual Enrollment Meetings Scheduled for July 6th

The Annual Enrollment period (July 1st through 31st) is rapidly approaching! This is the once-a-year opportunity to review your benefits and make any necessary changes, which will become effective September 1, 2004. And to assist you in your decision-making, Annual Enrollment meetings are schedule for July 6th (read below).

Some good news for this year is that the premiums for the A&M Care health plans will remain the same, and the plans will offer limited coverage for weight loss and smoking cessation prescription drugs. Most HMO's will make changes to their benefits and premiums. Premiums for the CIGNA Dental HMO will increase slightly, but premiums and benefits for all other optional plans will remain the same. You can view the premiums online at http://sago.tamu.edu/shro/ae.htm.

Again this year, to reduce printing/mailing costs and help minimize future premium increases, Annual Enrollment information packets will not be mailed. Instead, employees will review their benefits information and make any changes using HRConnect at https://hrc.tamu.edu.

All TAMIU employees and retirees are encouraged to take time to review their benefits and attend one of the following Annual Enrollment meetings. Annual Enrollment meetings bring benefit plan representatives and employees together to review benefit plans and answer questions. Registration is necessary to make seating arrangements and provide refreshments. Please register at www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/annualenroll_reg.shtml.

Tuesday, July 6th 8:30 am – 12 noon BH 101

Tuesday, July 6th 1:30 pm – 5pm BH 101

If you have any questions about this year’s Annual Enrollment, you may contact Jessica Palacios (ext. 2362) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


Welcome, New Employees!!
  Horacio N. Yzaguirre, Police Officer
University Police Department
KL 005 ext. 2100
  Gloria G. Flores, Director of Leadership Project
College of Education (Leadership Project)
KL 321E ext. 2422
  Juanita Puente, Staff Assistant
University Registrar
KL 168 ext. 2203
  Israel Salas, Instructional Technology Coordinator
Educational Technology & Outreach
WHTC 215C ext. 2791
  Roxanne Gonzalez, Half-Time CDC Coordinator
Department of Special Populations (Child Development Center)
BCH 102 ext. 2926
  Noemi Sifuentes, Staff Assistant
Enrollment Management & School Relations
SC 126 ext. 2780
  Vidyanath Saanam Venkata, Database Admininstrator
KL 257 ext. 2021

  Michael J. Gilman, Instructor (Military Science)
College of Arts and Sciences
  Jose A. Villarreal, Police Dispatcher
University Police Department
  Swapna Vinnakota, Instructional Technology Coordinator
Educational Technology & Outreach
  Bethany DeHaven, ILI Teacher
International Language Institute
  Robert P. Welsh, Assistant Professor
Department of Language & Literature
  Hector Rivera Jr., Instructor
Department of Mathematical & Physical Sciences
  Christine Bernadas, Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Management Information Systems & Decision Science
  Julio E. Valladares, Assistant Professor
Department of Biology & Chemistry
  Melvin C. Smith, Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Social Sciences

Nepotism Policy

At this time, supervisors are reminded about the System Policy on nepotism, which prohibits an employee from hiring or supervising a relative. As summer approaches and students begin looking for summer jobs, employees may want to hire their children as summer help. However, while their children may be employed in positions on campus, they may not be hired or supervised (directly or indirectly) by their parents.

The System Policy on nepotism can be found on the web at http://sago.tamu.edu/policy/33-03.htm. If you have any questions about nepotism, please contact the HR Office 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 with out 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.
  • You may 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.

Inform HR Early if Immigration Services Are Needed

The HR Office provides immigration services and must be informed at least 6 months prior to the start of employment of any incoming faculty member who is a foreign national in need of the proper employment visa. Employment is contingent upon receipt of the appropriate visa, and the process to obtain certain visas can be lengthy. Please let us know if you have anyone needing assistance.

Also be reminded that ALL immigration requests, forms, petitions, documents, etc. must be routed through the HR Office, and that the President, Dr. Ray M Keck III, is the University's authorized endorser of immigration forms.

Should you need assistance or have questions regarding immigration issues, please contact Sandra V. Pena (ext. 2361) or Cassandra Wheeler (ext. 2363).


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.


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 it: at two bulletin board locations on campus; on the TAMIU HR website and HigherEdJobs.com; withthe Texas Workforce Commission; with The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (if administrative); in the local newspaper; and with various agencies.

NOTE: To advertise your JVN as a full ad in the local newspaper, in another newspaper, or in a pertinent journal/publication, please work with the Purchasing Department to get pricing, gnerate a requisition, and have the ad placed. Please work with HR to develop the actual ad. HR will then provide the ad to the Purchasing Department.

NOTE: To post a vacancy on a pertinent, free Internet advertising site, please ensure you use the exact wording from the JVN developed by the HR Office. We recommend simply using a direct link to the actual JVN accessible from the HR "Employment" website at http://www.tamiu.edu/adminins/ohr/emplopp.shtml.

  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).

NOTE: Resource materials containing guidelines for conducting interviews and conducting reference checks are available online from the HR "Employment" website at www.tamiu.edu/adminis/ohr/emplopp.shtml.

  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.

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.

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.

Previously, there was no automated leave system in place to monitor the expiration of SCT so employees were simply reminded regularly to monitor their SCT themselves and ensure the leave was taken within 12 months from which it was earned.

However, now that LeaveTraq is in place, the expiration of all SCT earned since March 2003 is being monitored. Employees must take their SCT within 12 months from which it was earned because LeaveTraq will "clear out" any SCT not used by the expiration date. To avoid losing SCT, it is recommended that employees regularly log onto LeaveTraq to check the expiration status of their SCT.

From your main page on LeaveTraq, you can check the expiration of your SCT. If you have an SCT balance, you will see an "Expiration Detail” button by the SCT category. Click on this button then scroll down to see the expiration dates of the SCT you have earned.

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.


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 Sandra V. Pena via e-mail or at ext. 2361.


Getting to Know U!



Rose Ortiz is the Advancement Information Services Specialist in the Office of Instistutional Advancement. Rose likes to read, sew, and spend time with her children. She also enjoys watching old movies such as "Wuthering Heights" and "Rebecca," her favorite movies with Sir Laurence Olivier.

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
Marta Laura Medina is an Accounting Assistant (Accounts Payable) in the Business Office. She joined TAMIU in December 2003.

Marta 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.

Laura Medina/BO

Who is This?  
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 Zeeshan Ali, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance. TAMIU employees who wish to submit their picture for the "Who is This?" section may contact Cassandra Wheeler via email or at ext. 2363.


I am a foreign 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 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 Sandra V. Pena at ext. 2361.


That Extra (S)Mile!
This section describes the deeds of TAMIU employees who have been observed going the "extra mile" for our University.
The Staff Enrichment Day Planning Committee wishes to thank everyone who did so much in making SED 2004 happen: Session Leaders, student workers who covered office operations, Public Affairs & Information Services, Physical Plant, CTS Media Services, the Print Shop, Student Center, Aramark. Thank you…we could not have done it without you!
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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