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April 2016

Summer Schedule

The university closes at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 6 in preparation for Commencement ceremonies. President Alger granted four hours of recognition leave for all full-time classified staff and A&P faculty to be used on Friday, May 6.

The university’s modified summer work schedule begins Monday, May 9 and ends Friday, August 19, 2016..

Commencement Crew Volunteers Needed!

Get all ‘Duked’ out in your purple and gold and help us make this year’s Commencement AMAZING!

The Office of University Events (UE) needs “Commencement Crew” volunteers to assist graduates, family members and guests during May Commencement on Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. There are many ways to help make a difference in the lives of our soon-to-be alumni. You are the best people for the job since you know JMU so well! 

Friday, May 6 for the University ceremony at 3:00 p.m. and/or the College of Business ceremony at 7:00 p.m. in Bridgeforth Stadium

Volunteers to assist from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

  • in the Stadium Club level as “courtesy ushers” and at locations around the Stadium
  • as “greeters” at various locations

Volunteers to assist from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

  • in the Stadium Club level as “courtesy ushers” and at locations around the Stadium
  • as “greeters” at various locations

UE will provide training, parking near the stadium, a “Commencement Crew” t-shirt, information packet, and refreshments.

The university will be closing at 1:00 p.m. on Friday. If you volunteer for 4 hours, the 4 hours of recognition leave will be credited back to your leave balance. Any additional volunteer hours over 4 will be awarded as administrative leave. The administrative leave hours are to be used on your next scheduled day off, in coordination with your supervisor. You will also be eligible to win one of several prizes such as tickets to the Forbes Center, Athletics event tickets, JMU bookstore coupons and more! 

Saturday, May 7 for the six (6) College ceremonies at 9:00 a.m. across campus

Volunteers needed to assist from 7:30 – 11:30 a.m.

  • in the Stadium Club level as “courtesy ushers” and at locations around the Stadium
  • as “greeters” at various locations
  • to distribute complimentary water bottles to guests at various locations around campus

UE will provide training, parking near the stadium or college ceremony site, a “Commencement Crew” t-shirt, information packet, and refreshments.

You will also be eligible to win one of several prizes such as tickets to the Forbes Center, Athletics event tickets, JMU bookstore coupons and more. In addition, those who volunteer on Saturday are entered into a raffle to win an Apple mini iPad!

Administrative leave will be awarded for all volunteer hours on Saturday. These hours are to be used on your next scheduled day off, in coordination with your supervisor.

Meghan Schaeffer, Leave Coordinator, will be in contact with volunteers who earn administrative leave in order to coordinate the use of these leave hours.

To register, please visit the Commencement website at:

Questions? Call Tammy Steele in University Events at 540/568-5180..

Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance and Flexible Spending Accounts
May 1 – May 23, 2016

The 2016 Open Enrollment period will present monthly premium changes, as well as a change to Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for autism spectrum disorder coverage and Premium Rewards enrollment.

The Spring 2016 Spotlight on Your Benefits will be mailed to home addresses. You may also access Open Enrollment information through the Department of Human Resource Management web page. Submit your election by May 23 by logging on to EmployeeDirect at

Open Enrollment Overview Video
To assist you through the Open Enrollment process, Human Resources is pleased to provide you with an Open Enrollment Overview Video. This video is designed to detail your election choices during Open Enrollment, outline health insurance plans, and explain available options to you. This format allows you to review this information at your convenience and at your pace. Please feel free to show this video at team meetings and department gatherings.

Think paperless and make Open Enrollment changes 24/7 with EmployeeDirect. You may check your current benefit profile, update personal information and make your Open Enrollment changes on EmployeeDirect. Successful Open Enrollment changes are approved, confirmed and displayed immediately on an updated health benefits profile, which you should review for accuracy and keep a copy for your record. To review helpful information to assist you with EmployeeDirect, click on ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and ‘Getting Started’. Please note that you will need to provide your State ID# (numbers, not letters) that appears on your insurance card (not your JMU ID#) to access EmployeeDirect. Please review your July 16 pay advice to ensure your deductions are correct. Call a member of the Benefits Team at 540/568-3593 immediately if anything is incorrect.

Ask ALEX for Advice
Evaluate and compare health plan options with ALEX, your online benefits counselor! ALEX will use your input to let you know how the different health insurance plans work for you. Visit

Even More Flexibility to Earn Premium Rewards!
There's exciting news for this plan year! You can earn a Premium Reward even if you enroll in COVA Care or COVA HealthAware after July 1, 2016. Don’t miss the chance to save on your monthly premium while taking a step toward better health with premium rewards! You may receive a $17/month reduction in your premium if you or your enrolled spouse participate, or a $34/month reduction in your premium if both you and your enrolled spouse participate. To get started, first complete a personal health assessment at Second, obtain a Physician Results Form found on your MyActiveHealth account to submit to your physician. The reward will become effective July 1, 2016 or the first of the month after you and/or your enrolled spouse complete both requirements, and the reward will continue through June 30, 2017. In order to continue receiving your premium reward or to begin receiving the reward, you must complete/update your health assessment AND submit biometric screening results. You are able to submit results retroactively between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 to begin receiving your reward July 1, 2016.

Flexible Spending Accounts
As a reminder you must re-enroll each year to continue participating in flexible spending accounts. Register online after July 1 at to manage your account online and keep track of all your transactions, including those needing additional documentation. Once you have set up your unique login information, you can check your account balance, submit online reimbursement requests, keep up with card purchases, and more!

Please be aware that Human Resources will be observing the modified summer schedule. Contact Human Resources at 540/568-3593 or email with any questions concerning Open Enrollment.

Additional Resources

COVA Care | COVA HDHP | COVA HealthAware
EmployeeDirect How-to | CHIP Annual Notice
Important Health Care Notices
FSA Sourcebook | FSA Worksheets
Summary of Benefits and Coverage

Voluntary Benefit Offerings

Human Resources is pleased to offer additional voluntary benefits to JMU employees beginning July 1!

Guaranteed Whole Life Policy through New York Life Insurance Company
Full-time employees who have been employed by the Commonwealth for at least six months and work at least 30 hours/week are eligible for the plan. Employees may elect coverage on their spouse, domestic partner, children, and grandchildren with no medical questions if the employee participates.

For more information, watch this informational video:

Identity Theft and Legal Resources through LegalShield
All employees, both full-time and part-time, are eligible for the plans. The family legal plan covers spouses or domestic partners, never-married dependent children under age 26 living at home or who are full-time college students, dependent children under age 18 for whom the member is legal guardian, and physically/mentally disabled children living at home. The family IDShield plan covers spouses or domestic partners and minor children. You may purchase identity theft or legal plans as a stand-alone benefit, or you may purchase both at a discounted bundled rate. Both legal and IDShield reduced rates are also available for individuals who are not married and have no dependent children.
For more information, watch these informational videos:
IDShield Family Plan - Employee Benefit

LegalShield Family Plan - Employee Benefit

529 College Savings Plan through FIRM & American Funds
All U.S. citizen employees, those full-time and part-time, are eligible for the plan. With the CollegeAmerica 529 Plan through American Funds, you get some great benefits:

  • Tax-advantaged investing – earnings in a 529 grow free from federal tax. This can help you accumulate more over the long term.
  • Flexibility – you can use the assets in your account to fund expenses in any U.S. public or private college –undergraduate, graduate, professional or vocational. Qualified expenses include tuition, fees, room and board, and many more. Initial contribution is as low as $25 minimum per fund. The amount of these contributions moving forward, are fully adjustable:  you can start, stop, increase, decrease and suspend contributions at any time.
  • Convenience of automatic investing — you can easily invest on a regular basis through payroll deductions.
  • Investing for any beneficiary – you can save for anyone—your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, etc. You can even save for yourself. In addition, there are no age or income limits.
  • No up-front and back-end sale charges – because you would invest in Class 529-E shares offered only through an employer-sponsored plan, you do not incur these sales charges.
  • Portability – you can retain CollegeAmerica and continue investing in 529-E shares even upon termination of employment.

To assist you in making decisions regarding these new voluntary benefits, Human Resources will have an initial rollout period from May 1 - June 10. During this rollout period, each week Human Resources will host a Voluntary Benefits Fair so that you have the opportunity to meet with the vendors on campus to learn more about these new benefits. 

JMU’s Aflac representative, David Cook, will also be available during this time if you would like to add, change or cancel Aflac coverage. For more information:

Voluntary Benefits Fair Dates and Locations



General Location

Specific Room

Wednesday, May 11

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Memorial 6110

Tuesday, May 17

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


USB 102

Thursday, May 26

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Highlands Room

Tuesday, May 31

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Madison Union

Warren 256

Tuesday, June 7

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Wine Price

Room 2050

If you have any questions concerning the rollout of these new voluntary benefits, please contact a member of the Benefits Team at 540/568-3593 or

Have You Been Tracking Your Steps?

JMU CommonHealth kicked off our Spring Walking Challenge, STEP IT UP, on Monday April 4, 2016. The competition will run until May 6, 2016. We are challenging all JMU employees to walk 10,000 steps daily!  For every day you meet this goal, you will gain another entry in the drawing for our GRAND PRIZE!  Please visit our improved site or email us at for more information. 

Virginia Retirement System (VRS) Purchase of Prior Service Changes

The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that will change purchase of prior service (PPS) provisions beginning January 1, 2017. The changes will simplify costs to purchase service for all members and ensure that the purchase cost more closely reflects the actual cost of providing the additional benefit in retirement.

Prior service credit counts toward the years needed to become vested, eligibility for retirement, and the health insurance credit. Changes that go into effect on January 1, 2017 could potentially increase the cost of purchasing service credit for some types of service, and limit the number of months eligible for purchase.

If you have periods of leave or prior service that you decide to purchase, Virginia Retirement System (VRS) recommends that you apply to purchase this service no later than October 1, 2016. You then must have a salary reduction agreement in place for the month of December 2016, or earlier, if electing this option. If electing to purchase service in a lump sum payment, the full payment must arrive at VRS no later than December 30, 2016.

For more information regarding the changes to purchasing service or to inquire about purchasing service, visit the VRS website for detailed information and to log into myVRS to see how the purchase of service would affect your retirement. If interested in pursuing the purchase of service, please schedule an appointment with Julie Byers at or send inquires to

Change in the Commonwealth’s and JMU’s Re-Hire Policy

Under Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations the university may no longer rehire a former JMU full-time employee into a part-time position until the employee has been separated for a minimum of 26 weeks. This mandate applies to classified employees, and full-time instructional and A&P faculty.

This federal directive under ACA creates a significant change in hiring practices for the university and may present staffing challenges.

Hiring managers are encouraged to contact their HR Consultant or Recruitment Specialist for assistance when making re-hire decisions on any JMU employee who was most recently employed in a full-time position at JMU and who wishes to return to JMU in any part-time capacity.

Connections Day

New faculty and staff…..Have you registered yet for Connections Day, our special Dukes at Work onboarding event for new JMU employees? 

HR’s next Connections Day is on Wednesday, June 1 from 8:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Montpelier Room, E-Dining Hall. New JMU employees hired between July 2015 and May 2016 are cordially invited to attend. Registration is required and will close on Thursday, May 26 at noon. 

Click below to get all the details and to reserve your spot:



The 10th Annual Diversity Conference Was a Huge Success!

The theme of this year’s conference, held on March 16, was I am Diversity. Twenty-eight individual sessions were presented in the Festival Conference & Student Center and the Rose Library. Over 350 JMU faculty, staff & community partners were involved throughout the day. President Alger provided an engaging lunch message, which was followed by recognition of several key awards. President Alger, along with Mr. Art Dean, Office of Access & Inclusion and Ms. Liz Howley, University Health Center, presented the Diversity Enhancement Awards, Woman of Distinction Awards, and recognized the most recent Innovative Diversity Efforts Award Grant recipients.

DEAP Winners
Guy deBrun
Linda Sobel
Madison Equality
Eunique Hamilton & Ashley Short

WOD winners
Dr. Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy
Diane Secord
Hannah Kotarski

Employee Appreciation Event

JMU’s annual Employee Appreciation event will be held on Thursday, May 12 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. All JMU faculty and staff are invited to participate in the fun! 

Activities for Employee Appreciation include:

  • Lunch served at the Festival Ballroom from 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. (no pre-registration is required for this complementary meal)
  • Community Service Fair outside the Festival Ballroom
  • Two Bingo Sessions
  • Two Movies
  • Workshops

Visit the Employee Appreciation website at for more details on the day’s activities and lunch menu. If you have any questions you can email

A Snapshot of Upcoming Workshops Offered by JMU Training and Development

Workplace Flexibility: A Discussion with Human Resources (TD2108) (Tuesday session also available)

Leadership Feedback: What Your Employees Wish You Knew! (TD2063)

Team Building Basics (TD2084)

Retirement 101: Understanding Your VRS Retirement (TD1212)

Understanding and Using the Grievance Procedure (TD1151)

For additional information or to arrange customized sessions for your department, please contact Suzanne Vance, Training Coordinator at, or 540/568-4101


Human Resources is dedicated to customer service, a positive approach to change and the pursuit of excellence that promotes university and individual success.

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