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Note: This edition of your UHR Connection newsletter contains important information about your benefits, taxes, and career development. Please read it carefully! Happy Holidays!

Benefits Corner
Are You Enrolled in an HMO for 2012?
Are you enrolled in one of the following HMOs for 2012?
HAP Health Engagement (Non-faculty)
Blue Care Network Healthy Blue Living
Priority Health HealthbyChoice Incentives

If you and your spouse are enrolled in one of the HMOs listed above, remember that each year you must both complete the on-line health risk appraisal and visit your primary care physician to complete the Qualification Form before the end of March 2012 to qualify for the higher level of benefits. This is true even if you were in the same plan in 2011.

If you have any questions about your benefits, please contact the Staff Benefits office at extension 4207 or stop in to see us at 401 Wilson Hall.

Flexible Spending Account Year End Claims Processing
Due to the Christmas holiday, Flex Spending claims process will follow the schedule below:

Claims Submission
Cut Off

Processing Date

Checks Issued 

 Thursday, December 15  Tuesday, December 20  Friday, December 23
 Friday, December 23  Thursday, December 29  Wednesday, January 4
 Friday, December 30  Thursday, January 5  Tuesday, January 10
Please keep this schedule in mind when submitting claims in December.

Flexible Spending Account Reminder
If you are enrolled in the Health Care or Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Accounts, you have until December 31, 2011 to use your funds. Claims for 2011 expenses for Dependent Day Care must be filed with Meritain no later than January 30, 2012. Claims for the Health Care Account must be filed with Meritain no later than March 31, 2012. Claims forms are available on the UHR website at: Be sure to keep a copy of all claims sent to Meritain for processing. Remember, money that is not used by the end of the year will be forfeited.

Retirement Plan Limits Increased for 2012
The IRS has announced new limits for the amount of money you can set aside for retirement in our 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Beginning in January 2012, the annual maximum that you can contribute to your 403(b) or 457(b) plan is increased to $17,000 for each plan. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $5,500. If you wish to make a change to your retirement contributions, complete the Retirement Salary Reduction Agreement found on the UHR website at: The completed form should be turned in to UHR in room 401 Wilson Hall. If you have any questions, please stop by to see us or give us a call at extension 4207.

Investment Fund Changes from Fidelity
Because of the size of Oakland's 403(b) and 457(b) investments with Fidelity Investments, we are now eligible for their Class K funds for the Freedom Funds and 29 share funds. These Class K funds have the same underlying investments, but carry a lower expense ratio. The expense ratio is the cost you pay for Fidelity to manage the investments. For the Class K funds, the expense ratio is less than 1%. This means that more of the money that is contributed to one of these funds is going to the underlying investments rather than paying for management. If you are currently investing with Fidelity, you will receive more detailed information from Fidelity. If you have any questions, please contact UHR at extension 4207.



DreamTrips Vacation Update – Holiday Special
There are some exciting DreamTrip vacations coming up including France, Germany, Australia, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy and a Canary Island cruise. 

*As a special holiday bonus, everyone who enrolls in the DreamTrips Vacation Membership this month (until 12/31/2011) will receive a gift card for 5 days/4nights hotel accommodations in Cancun at either the Laguna Suites Golf & Spa or Ocean Spa Hotel.  Visit the enrollment site for details.

Faculty, staff & retirees have the DreamTrips Vacation Membership available to them as a voluntary benefit.  The membership includes a wide variety of pre-packaged scheduled vacations as well as member-only access to preferred rates and substantial savings at hotel getaways around the globe which can be booked anytime. 

Oakland University enrollment
Username:  oakland  Password:  vacation

Schedule a few minutes to meet with a DreamTrips Vacation Benefits Specialist while they are on campus to learn more.
Thursday, December 8     8am-5pm  Oakland Center – Gold A
Thursday, January 12       8am-5pm   Oakland Center – Room 130

Contact:  Lecia Brunetti/LMB Associates, LLC  ph:   248-971-0442
Staff Member News
Please welcome all of the new employees that have joined us in November, 2011! 
Crystal Bell - Secretary I - Arts & Sciences
Michelle Hathaway - Costume Shop Supervisor - Department of Music, Theatre & Dance
Amy Jacovetti - Coordinator, Orientation and New Student Programs - New Student Programs
Amie Manelski - Teacher, 10 Month - Lowry Center for Early Childhood
Derek Moreno - Academic Adviser - School of Health Sciences
Cynthia Rutledge - Events Coordinator for the School of Nursing
Diane Underwood - Coordinator for Activities and Programs - E-Learning & Instructional Support
Tracy Wunderlich - Director of Research Training - School of Medicine


Don Ritenburgh, Manager of ID Card Operations, has been with Oakland University for 17 years.

Read about Don's contribution to the University on his Employee of the Month page.

Nominate a shining star for Employee of the Month! 

Click on the Nominate link to complete the online form.

Career Development - Tuition waivers – IRS - "Qualified Tuition Reductions" for Staff Requests Only
We have recently reviewed the administration of our tuition waiver benefits (IRS - Qualified Tuition Reduction). To insure that we are in compliance with IRS regulations and eligibility requirements per the various collective bargaining agreements or AP manual, we are developing new guidelines and an application form which will be available in the next few weeks.

Some key points of the program for staff are the following:
  • Generally undergraduate tuition reductions for the employee, spouse or dependent child, are not taxable.
    • The dependent child must be 23 or under on December 31st of the calendar year and be a full-time student, 12 credits or more per semester.
  • Graduate tuition reductions for the employee are taxable for any amount over $5,250 in a calendar year.
  • Graduate tuition reductions for the employee's spouse or dependent child are 100% taxable.
    • The dependent child must be 23 or under on December 31st of the calendar year and be a full-time student.
  • Undergraduate and Graduate tuition reductions for Other Qualified Adult (OQA) or dependent of OQA are 100% taxable.
    • The OQA dependent child must be 23 or under on December 31st of the calendar year and be a full-time student.
  • Children between the ages of 19-23 who are part-time students do not meet the definition of a dependent child, therefore are not eligible for the tuition reduction benefit. Guest students could qualify for the benefit if the child is a full-time student at another institution during the year.
Additional information will be available soon on the UHR webpage or you can contact Tracey Zang at x3481.

All Employees Should Verify Social Security Number on W2
The Oakland University Payroll Office is requesting all employees verify their Social Security Number on the W2 Form when they receive it at the end of January, 2012.  Please make sure the Social Security Number matches the number on your Social Security Card.  If you discover an error, contact the Payroll Office immediately at 248-370-3034 or
2012 W-4 Form – Federal Withholding Allowances
Employees should review their Federal Withholding Allowances and consider whether or not they may need to make changes for 2012.  If filing status (married or single), exempt status, or exemption allowance qualifications have changed at some point during the past calendar year, a new Form W-4 may need to be submitted to Payroll.  The new 2012 Form W-4 will be accessible on the Payroll Website and the IRS Website as soon as it becomes available.

NOTE:  Any employee claiming "EXEMPT" in 2011 MUST submit a new Form W-4 for 2012 in order for this status to remain active.

Please contact the Payroll Office at 248-370-3472 or if you have any questions.  No action is required on your part if you have not claimed exempt and/or you have no changes in tax status to report.
Training Update

New Course:  SkillCheck Assessment Overview
By contacting UHR Employment Services, you can take the SkillCheck Assessments that can help you set goals for success in your career!

This 30 minute presentation will show you what to expect, what the assessment measures, and how you can use your results as a tool for your own professional development. 

Check out the training schedule and sign up today at!

Training Courses Offered for December, 2011
CareWorks CMS - Web Content Management System
12/2/2011 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
SkillCheck Assessment Overview
12/5/2011 9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
SkillCheck Assessment Overview
12/6/2011 4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Google Overview
12/7/2011 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
SkillCheck Assessment Overview
12/9/2011 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
CareWorks CMS - News and Events
12/9/2011 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
12/14/2011 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
If you have any questions, please contact the training department at x4579.  You can click here to enroll in these and many other courses.
Online Learning

As of November 2011, all Oakland University employees have access to the full library of SkillSoft courses, including the new Information Technology Curriculum.

Hundreds of new courses have been added in the following areas:
  • Business Skills for the IT Professional;
  • Enterprise Database Solutions, which includes many courses on Oracle;
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems Solutions;
  • Internet and Network Technologies, including materials on CISCO;
  • Operating Systems and Server Technologies Solutions;
  • Software Development Solutions; and
  • Web Design Solutions.
Please log in to SkillSoft and check out the new selections!

Please click here to request an account on SkillSoft, if you do not already have one.

**Having trouble accessing SkillSoft?  Contact Dana ( or Vicki ( to help troubleshoot the problem.**
Building a Better U
Look To Campus Recreation For Ways To Help Stay Healthy And Fit This Holiday Season
It's that time of year…again! The holiday hustle is upon us and everyone is looking for ways to stay healthy and fit during a hectic and sometimes stressful six weeks! With the free access to the Recreation Center coming on January 2nd, OU benefits-eligible employees have no reason not to capitalize on the conveniently located, minimal cost (and sometimes FREE), and very accessible programs and services available to help. Here are some suggestions for keeping your holiday hustle in check:
Join the Biggest Loser Challenge!
You've seen it on TV and now you can experience it LIVE with Campus Recreation! Between January 9 and March 30 we will be working with selected individuals to help them lose weight the healthy way, and by the first of April will crown two (one student and one non-student) participants as the "Biggest Losers". Participation will be based on application submission, which includes an essay and an in-person interview. Program cost is $75 for applications received by December 23 and $100 for applications received between December 26 and January 2. Interviews will be held January 3-5. Selected participants will be notified on January 6th. The number of participants accepted will be dependent on the number of applications received. Winners will receive a prize valued at $150. For application materials and more details visit Campus Rec online at Fees are payable upon acceptance into the program.
Participate in a Welcome Session and/or Fitness Center Orientation
New users of the Recreation Center are encouraged to attend a one-time Welcome Session to learn about the amenities available with a membership and how to best navigate the facility. Sessions will include a tour of the facility and time for membership Q & A's.
Want more than a tour? A 50-minute Fitness Center Orientation is a great way to become familiar with the equipment available and how to incorporate it into personal workouts. Staff will demonstrate proper use of equipment. Education on proper form and muscle group balance will also be included.
Both sessions are FREE. View dates and times and register online at  
Join the Getting Started Right program
The Fitness staff is leading a 4-week series that will help you jump start your fitness program! Participants must take a Fitness Center Orientation prior to participating in Getting Started Right. Three session start dates are available (Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8). Sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 12:10-12:50 p.m. and include all four weeks. Getting Started Right is FREE. Register online at  
Try some group exercise classes
Whether it's a 101 session in cycle, step, Zumba, or yoga; or a regular class…during the first two weeks of January FREE group exercise classes will be available. Campus Recreation offers more than 40 classes per week in a variety of formats. Don't miss this "try before you buy" opportunity. The winter group exercise schedule can be found at
Schedule a massage
Massages are a great way to relieve stress and improve health. Members AND Non-members of the Rec can take advantage of the on-site therapist. Half hour and one hour appointment times are available and scheduling is easy and flexible! Prices can be viewed at and appointments made by calling 248-892-1242.
Hire a personal trainer
Need some one-on-one time with a trainer to get you going in the right direction? Personal trainers can help motivate you and coach you through your start-up and maintenance phases of personal exercise. Training packages are available in increments of 3, 7, and 10 and all include a fitness assessment and goal setting. Visit us online at for pricing and trainer profiles.

Need a great gift idea for yourself or someone else? Campus Recreation sells gift certificates in increments of $25. Certificates can be used towards memberships, programs, and services. Call Marie at 248-370-2663 or email her at for information on picking one up!
Please send an email to with your feedback on how we can improve your UHR newsletter!
December 2011
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Make a one-on-one appointment with your retirement representative to discuss your plans for retirement, regardless of how far away may seem!

Click here to schedule.
University Human Resources
4th Floor Wilson Hall
2200 North Squirrel Road
Rochester, MI 48309