January 2024 HRM Newsletter

Winter Color 2012-2013 Potter Lake, Campanile

Inside this Edition

Updates & Reminders

Relocation and Dual Career Services Program

USCIS Premium Processing Fee to Increase

Best Practices in Conducting a Staff Search

Departure Resources and Exit Survey


Employee Growth

Best Practices in Goal Setting and Feedback

Learning and Development Opportunities

Employees of the Month



Free Yoga for KU Faculty and Staff is now available!

Recruiting KU Wellness Ambassadors! 

Upcoming Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee Events 



State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) – Plan Year 2024


Central Bank at Work Educational Workshops


Relocation and Dual Career Services Program

We are excited to share that HRM is launching the Relocation and Dual Career Services program. This program provides resources related to relocation and community connections to new and prospective employees, as well as job search assistance to partners of newly hired tenure and tenure-track faculty in the Lawrence and Edwards campuses, with a goal to build connections and create a sense of belonging at KU and the community. Reach out to Michelle Ginavan Hayes or email RDCS@ku.edu for additional information or find additional information on the website: Relocation-and-DualCareer-Services.ku.edu.

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USCIS Premium Processing Fee to Increase

USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has announced a final rule increasing the premium processing fee for the expediting of immigration cases.  This will impact KU sponsored H-1B, TN, O-1, and I-140 cases where the premium processing fee is paid to USCIS to request expedited processing.  The fee will increase from $2,500 to $2,805 for all cases filed on or after 2/26/2024.  The payment of the premium processing fee requires USCIS to take action on a case within 15 days of filing and is currently used for many KU sponsored immigration cases.  Regular USCIS processing timelines for these cases vary significantly (the current USCIS processing time for new H-1B cases filed without premium processing is 3 months on average). Please note that USCIS processing timelines do not include the required timeframe for case preparation and do not include visa application processes outside the U.S.  At this time other USCIS fees and KU case preparation fees remain the same.  For further information about KU sponsored immigration case fees please see the HRM website or contact Keeli Nelson keelinelson@ku.edu with questions.

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Best Practices in Conducting a Staff Search

This search training provides an overview of equal opportunity principles, university hiring guidelines and best interviewing practices. Attendance is encouraged for those who plan to chair a search committee and anyone else needing a refresher on conducting staff searches.

Tuesday, Jan. 16 | 2 to 3:30 p.m. | Teams

Thursday, Feb. 8 | 10 to 11:30 a.m. | Teams

Thursday, March 21 | 10 to 11:30 a.m. | Teams


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Departure Resources and Exit Survey

In an effort to further our workplace excellence and advance a culture that values the contributions and aspirations of our employees, it is incredibly important to Human Resource Management to learn more about your experiences during your time at KU. HRM invites all departing or transferring employees to participate in a confidential Exit Survey.

If you are planning a change in positions or workplace, know of someone who has recently shifted positions or left the University, or are a supervisor that is aware of an employee’s plans to transition, please refer to the university Departure Resources. Feedback collected from Exit Surveys is vital to the continued success of the university and we will use the feedback provided to continue to strive towards positive change across the institution.

For more information and resources, please visit Human Resource Management.

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Best Practices in Goal Setting and Feedback

If not already done, supervisors should meet one-on-one with the staff they supervise to identify their goals and expectations for the new evaluation period.  Annual goal setting ensures that staff know what is expected in their positions and clearly communicates priorities for work and the unit overall.

If goals and expectations have been established, this message can serve as a reminder for supervisors to check in with staff on progress and to provide feedback on their performance toward the responsibilities of their position and the expectations that have been identified. 

Human Resource Management has developed a video on Best Practices in Goal Setting and a presentation on Best Practices in Providing Feedback.  We encourage staff and supervisors of staff to view these resources and engage in discussions regarding goals and feedback.

Goals are to be documented in writing on the staff member’s goal plan in MyTalent.  It is also recommended that feedback be documented on the staff member’s goal plan as well. All available instructions and tutorial videos are on the Human Resource Management website.

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Learning and Development Opportunities

Project Leader Certificate Program

The certificate program is an interactive curriculum designed to build capacity of professionals working in the informal role of project manager. This program provides a strong foundation in the processes, tools, and interpersonal aspects of being an effective project manager. This program benefits those who sometimes find themselves assuming the role of an unofficial project manager as well as those who may be subject matter experts, team members, or project sponsors. Participants should come with a project to work on throughout the program, e.g., planning an event; testing and training for a new software solution; improving a process.

The program culminates with each member giving a short, informal 10-minute presentation describing how they applied the learnings to their current project. These will be scheduled in early May at times convenient for the participants and their invited guests. Typically, participants invite their supervisor, project sponsor, and project team members to attend.

The instructor-led program takes place on Zoom. Sessions take place on Tuesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on the following dates: March 26, April 2, 16, 23, and 30. There will be supplemental readings and LinkedIn Learning courses to complete each week as well. Bring a project to work on throughout the program.

Registration closes March 15. There is a cost of roughly $240.00 to participate. (Cost varies slightly depending on which book format is chosen.) Contact hrdept@ku.edu with questions. Register for the Project Leader Certificate Program.


New Employee Discussion Group

Have you been at KU less than one year? Are you looking for a supportive community to help you navigate your new role? A discussion group may meet that need. The new employee discussion group provides a safe, supportive community where those with a desire to speak freely and listen fully can network with others, share professional skills, and gain insights from each other. Experienced KU staff will host the circle, facilitate discussions, and share resource materials.

The group will meet via Zoom for one hour every Thursday in February. For the good of the group, we ask that you commit to attending all six sessions. Note: This is open to all new employees and may be more relevant to those who are in remote or hybrid positions.

Every Thursday in February: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 | 11 a.m. – noon | Zoom


Bullet Journal Workshop

In this workshop, we will walk through the Bullet Journal Method, a mindfulness and productivity practice developed by Ryder Carroll. Using a “BuJo” helps externalize your thoughts, tasks, commitments, and projects so that you can live intentionally. We emphasize the functionality of the basic method, although we will touch on a few artistic flourishes some practitioners incorporate into their journals. We’ll discuss how you can use your Bullet Journal to record events, track progress on your goals, and plan for your future.

Wednesday, Jan. 31 | 10 a.m. – noon | Zoom

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Employees of the Month

Thank you to all who took the time to nominate individuals for Employees of the Month, and we encourage others to follow their example and nominate an exceptional staff member by completing the Employee of the Month Nomination Form.

Winners receive a $750 award, a surprise visit from a member of the Provost’s Office, and they become a candidate for the 2024 Employee of the Year Award.

Nominations need not come from an individual’s supervisor; anyone can nominate staff whom they feel go out-of-their way to help others or exceed the normal requirements of their jobs.  This program is open to all regular staff with half-time or greater appointment, with a year of service at the time of nomination.  Employees of most affiliated corporations are also eligible for this program.

October – December 2023 Winners:

Maria Losito, Undergraduate Biology

Michael MacFarland, Information Technology

Carla Endacott, Custodial Services

Lori Gutsch, Financial Services

Angela Edwinson, Transportation Services

Jaclyn Carpenter, Sexual Assault & Prevention Center

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Free Yoga for KU Faculty and Staff is now available! 

In partnership with the Faculty/Staff Wellness Committee and Recreation Services, free yoga is now being offered every week this semester for KU employees by certified yoga instructors.  First-timers and beginners are welcome!  You are welcome to bring your own yoga mat or use one that will be provided.  There is currently a 25-person capacity for each session, so please register for whichever session(s) work best for you.   

Tuesday, Jan 30  4:00 - 4:45 p.m. North Gallery, Spencer Research Library

Wednesday, Feb 7  4:15 - 5:00 p.m. Jayhawk Ink, 2nd Floor, Kansas Union

Thursday, Feb 15  8:00 - 8:45 a.m.  Aerobics Studio, Ambler Rec Center

Monday, Feb 19    Noon - 12:45 p.m. Aerobics Studio, Ambler Rec Center

Tuesday, Feb 27  4:00 - 4:45 p.m. North Gallery, Spencer Research Library

Wednesday, March 6   4:15 - 5:00 p.m.  Jayhawk Ink, 2nd Floor, Kansas Union

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Recruiting KU Wellness Ambassadors! 

Are you someone who values a healthy and supportive work environment?  The goal of the upcoming KU Wellness Ambassadors Program is to positively influence all aspects of the health and wellness culture at the University of Kansas.  It takes a village to cultivate a community-wide sense of wellbeing where every individual has access to the resources they need to thrive, personally and professionally.  

The Wellness Committee is seeking passionate individuals to serve as ambassadors for their departments, to help improve communication and access to existing resources, and to create new ways for our friends and colleagues to feel supported, connected, and engaged in their wellness journey.   

More details coming soon! If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Jeff Stolz, Mental Health and Wellbeing Director at wellness@ku.edu.   

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Faculty and Staff Wellness Committee Events

The Faculty & Staff Wellness Committee facilitates Move-N-Learns on the 2nd Wednesday of the month and Lunch-N-Learns on the 4th Wednesday of the month.  They serve as an opportunity to connect with employees across the Lawrence campus and gain new insights on wellness-related topics from community experts.   

January 2024 


Finding Freedom: Using Breath and Body Awareness to Achieve Mental Clarity 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024 

12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Zoom 

KU employee, Melinda Ball, began her yoga journey more than 20 years ago while exploring physical activities to help her recover from running injuries. She quickly noticed how yoga postures made her feel deeply connected to her body as well as relieving the pain of past physical trauma. She will guide you through practical breath control with basic physical postures and a short meditation to cultivate a clearer state of mind. 

Presenter: Melinda Ball, Certified Yoga Teacher 

February 2024 


VIP Tour of the Lied Center 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 

12:10 - 12:50 p.m.

The Lied Center is a catalyst for creativity and community-building at KU and beyond, hosting more than 200 events per year. Join Technical Director Ann Hause on a VIP stroll through the venue, including the auditorium, Pavilion and backstage areas. You’ll hear stories about everything from Broadway tours to former presidents to temporary ice-skating rinks. Please meet in the front lobby.

Guide: Ann Hause, Technical Director

  • Registration is open here 

Domestic Violence 101

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

12:00-12:45pm via Zoom

Willow Domestic Violence Center will provide education on the warning signs of domestic/dating violence, how to best support survivors and how to reach out to local and national resources. We will break down the dangers and obstacles inherent in leaving an abusive relationship.  The training will also raise awareness of the Willow and the regional services they provide.

Presenter: Heather Muth, Willow Domestic Violence Prevention Specialist

Register HERE

March 2024


KU Innovation Park on West Campus 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 

12:10 - 12:50 p.m. 

KUIP main facility (2029 Becker Drive)

Curious about what’s going on over on west campus? The KU Innovation Park (KUIP) is offering a tour of its west campus facilities to staff and faculty. The KUIP provides laboratory, office and meeting space to new and existing startup companies and is located across the street from KU’s Multidisciplinary Building, Structural Biology Center and School of Pharmacy. In addition to touring KUIP’s state-of-the-art facilities, participants will also be given a rooftop view of ongoing/future expansion on west campus. 

Guides: Adam Courtney, Mike Smithyman, Lindsey Slater 

  • Registration is open here. 

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State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) – Plan Year 2024

Please refer to the 2024 SEHP Benefits Booklet for detailed information about plan design, premiums (page 42), and updates.

Paycheck Deductions

SEHP elections made during Open Enrollment became effective January 1, 2024.  We encourage you to review the January 5, 2024, paycheck as it reflects the first premiums and contributions deducted for your calendar year 2024 SEHP elections.  To view your paycheck, please log into hr.ku.edu, click on KU Payroll Dashboard, then paychecks.

If your benefit deductions appear incorrect, please contact the Benefits Office immediately at benefits@ku.edu, and be prepared to provide a copy of your Open Enrollment confirmation printout. 

HealthQuest credits can be earned through 12/31, and those credits can impact the calendar year 2024 premium discount.  If you earned credits to qualify for the HealthQuest premium discount, but those credits were awarded late, they might not be reflected on the first 2024 check, and the SEHP will process adjustments to reflect the correct premiums in future checks.

Click on this worksheet for the semi-monthly discounted and non-discounted premium rates.  For 2024, employees with Plan A only, who have been employed for a minimum of 365 days, who earn 20 HealthQuest credits will receive a premium discount of $240 or $10 per paycheck.  Employees with any Plan (A, C, J and N) who earn 40 HealthQuest credits will receive a $480 premium discount or $20 per paycheck.  Employees with Plans C, J and N also earn $12.50 into their HSA/HRA for each credit earned, up to 40 credits or $500. If you have questions about the HealthQuest premium discount, please see additional information here, or contact the SEHP at SEHPHealthQuest@ks.gov

Twelve-month staff will have deductions from 24 checks (the first two checks each month).  When the month has a third paycheck, no deduction will be taken.

Prepaid Summer Benefits for Eligible Faculty and Staff

Academic year faculty and staff with positions designated as less than twelve-month will have prepaid summer benefit coverage and will prepay summer health insurance, optional group life insurance and/or MetLife voluntary insurance premiums during the designated spring semester payroll periods. If you will not be returning to KU in the subsequent fall semester, the prepaid summer deductions will be refunded.

Also, their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and/or Health Savings Accounts (HSA)/Health Reimbursement (HRA) deductions will be taken from 18 checks (the first two checks of the months of January through May and September through December).  These deductions will not be taken from any other paychecks received during the year. 

An email will be sent to academic year faculty and staff in the Spring about the prepaid deduction schedule.

Health Savings and Health Reimbursement Accounts (Employee & Employer contributions)

The employer HSA and HRA contributions will be deposited in four quarterly installments for active employees.  The employer contribution will be based on your enrollment on the 1st day of each quarter.  The first employee contribution will be taken from the January 5, 2024, paycheck.   The employer contributions will be made on this paycheck schedule:

1st quarter

January 5, 2024

2nd quarter

April 12, 2024

3rd quarter

July 5, 2024

4th quarter

October 11, 2024

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)

FSAs for calendar year 2024 became effective January 1, 2024.  The first 2024 deduction for Health and/or Dependent Care FSAs will be taken from the January 5, 2024, paycheck. 

  • Nuesynergy will send FSA accounts a new debit card if the current card is close to expiration.  Additionally, you can choose other claim submission methods.

Health Care/Limited Purpose FSA participants can carry over up to $640 of remaining calendar year 2024 FSA funds into the next plan year and those funds may be used for qualified medical expenses incurred during that year. This valuable feature gives you the flexibility to spend your FSA funds at a future date and reduces the likelihood that your unused funds will be forfeited. The carryover will not count against your annual election. Remaining Health Care/Limited Purpose FSA funds will be automatically carried over to the type of FSA in which you are currently enrolled, as long as the balance is $25 or greater. If the balance is below $25, funds will not automatically carry over and will only be accessible during the run-out period (4/30/2024). After the run-out period, any remaining balance will be forfeited.

For more info, visit the NueSynergy website or contact 1-855-750-9440 or kansassupport@nuesynergy.com

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This 1st Quarter Newsletter about the Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) Mandatory and Voluntary Retirement Plans contains information about new IRS 2024 contribution limits and the importance of updating beneficiaries.

The Mandatory Plan is available for eligible faculty and unclassified professional staff.

403(b) and 457 Voluntary Retirement Plans

The University of Kansas offers two voluntary retirement savings plans that provide opportunities to make contributions on a before or after-tax basis.  While the University does not make contributions to either plan, this helps employees supplement their retirement income.

  • KPERS 457 deferred compensation plan (all employees may elect to participate)
  • Kansas Board of Regents 403(b) voluntary retirement plan (for benefits-eligible employees only)

For more information, please see Voluntary Retirement Plans, or email benefits@ku.edu

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Central Bank at Work Educational Workshops

Central Bank is KU’s community banking partner that offers traditional banking services as well as financial education workshops, and more. Learn more by visiting Bank at Work Powered by Central Bank. These four workshops are led by Central Bank instructors.

Budgeting Basics

Struggling to make ends meet each month? This in-depth workshop will walk you through how to live comfortably within your means so you can start saving for the future and eliminating financial stress day by day with smart habits.

Wednesday, Jan. 24 | 10 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

Buying Your First Home

Learn all about the benefits of home ownership, what you need to know before you apply and all about the home-buying process.

Wednesday, March 6 | 10 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

Creating A Living Financial Plan: Work, Life & Money

No matter what your short- or long-term financial goals are, hear from experts on the best tips and methods to achieve those goals with smart and well-thought-out planning.

Wednesday, Feb. 28 | 10 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

Credit 101

Learn more about understanding, establishing, maintaining, and rebuilding credit in this course that will help you achieve your long-term financial goals.

Wednesday, Feb. 7 | 10 – 10:30 a.m. | Zoom

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