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HR Bulletin | January 2021

Save the week: Staff Resources Virtual Fair!

When: March 1-5, 2021

Where: Microsoft Teams

More information coming soon! Questions? Contact OD & Communications at 5.7899


New Faculty Orientation

New benefits-eligible faculty being hired to start in January should attend the New Faculty Orientation scheduled for Thursday, January 14, 2021. The session will be held via Zoom.

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. – Noon
Where: Zoom (Please register for access to Zoom link)

Visit the New Faculty Orientation page for more details! Thank you for your help in welcoming our new faculty members to Texas State!

Deductibles and Coinsurance Start Over!

Every January 1, deductibles and coinsurance payments start over. See below to find out what your maximums are for calendar year 2021. Find out more details about your medical benefit plans on the ERS Health Benefits website.









Total Out-of-Pocket


HealthSelect $0 $500 per person
$1,500 per family
$2,000 per person (in-network)
$7,000 per person (non-network)

$6,750 per person
$13,500 per family
(no maximum if non-network)




$2,100 per person
$4,200 per family
$4,200 per person
$8,400 per family

$6,750 per person
$13,500 per family in-network
(no maximum if non-network)

HMOs $0 N/A
(no non-network benefit)
$2,000 per person (in-network)
N/A (no non-network benefit)

$6,750 per person
$13,500 per family
N/A (no non-network benefit)




Academic Release and Tuition Support Program

Paid Class Release Time Opportunity!

Are you thinking about taking academic credit courses this spring? Our team would like to remind you that if you are a full-time benefits-eligible employee and in good academic standing, you can participate in the Academic Release & Tuition Support Program. Certain fees and designated tuition are waived for participants taking courses here at Texas State. You may also receive paid class release time to attend your courses.


If you are interested in participating and will either request paid leave, wish to opt-out of the waiver, or request department funds to help pay for your tuition and fees, you must complete the Academic Release & Tuition Support online form available in SAP, under ESS+. Please note that you do not need to complete this form if you only wish to receive fees and designated tuition waivers. Student Business Services (SBS) will identify eligible employees and apply the waivers after grades post for the Fall 2020 semester.



All approved forms are due to HR by February 3, the 12th class day of the spring semester.



You can learn more about the program by viewing our new Academic Release & Tuition Support video or by visiting the Academic Release & Tuition Support website. For guidance and instructions on the process and form completion, please review the Employee User Guide and Supervisor User Guide. You may also review UPPS 04.04.35 Professional Development and Educational Opportunities for more details on the requirements and restrictions about this program.

Please contact Organizational Development & Communications at 5.7899 if you have any questions.

Staff Educational Development Leave Program

Are you thinking about going back to school? Did you know that the Staff Educational Development Program provides a wonderful opportunity each fall and spring semester for up to seven full-time benefits-eligible staff who have been part of Texas State for one year to receive special support for degree work?


What are the benefits?
If you meet the requirements for eligibility, you may receive up to 20 hours per week of release time for courses taken at Texas State or other accredited higher education institution. Selected employees can earn nine to 12 credit hours for an undergraduate program, and six to nine hours for graduate programs. And guess what? Fees and tuition are waived! Plus, even though you have the option to work part-time, you will keep your full-time rate of compensation.


Where can I find more information?
For more info, please visit UPPS 04.04.35 Professional Development and Educational Opportunities for details regarding eligibility and application procedures.


How to apply?
Each semester members of President’s Cabinet nominate employees within their division for a chance to participate in this program. Applications are due to your cabinet member by March 1. You can learn more and apply on the Staff Educational Development Leave Website!


Who to contact?
Please contact OD & Communications at 5.7899 if you have any questions.

Tips from the Training Corner

Setting SMART Goals

New beginnings provide opportunities to start fresh and pursue any goals you have been wishing to accomplish. Before you begin planning your new goals for this year, take a moment to reflect on last year’s goals. Were you able to accomplish them? Did you find it difficult to follow through on some?  If you find goal-setting and follow through tricky, you are not alone. Studies show that only 8% of people follow through and continue their resolutions after 30 days (Prossack, 2018).

Fortunately, there are ways to assure the accomplishment of your goals. In this article, we are going to briefly cover SMART goals. We will define what SMART goals are and how to create them. SMART is a well-known acronym for goal-setting established in The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker in the mid-1950s.


SPECIFIC: Goals should be precise and tangible for more effective planning.

Tip: When setting goals, focus on answering the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why) and how for clarity.

Example: “I want to increase my professional knowledge competency to keep my skills and knowledge of my field current.


MEASURABLE: Goals should be quantifiable that can provide evidence of progress toward their achievement.

Tip: Create concrete criteria that will help you measure your progress and notify you when you need to reevaluate to reach your goal.

Example: “To achieve my goal of increasing my professional knowledge competency, I will attend at least one professional development course regarding my field of interest each month.


ATTAINABLE: Goals should be achievable given your current resources and reasonable time frame.

Tip: Think about how you can accomplish this goal. Do you have the necessary resources?

Example: “To achieve my goal of increasing my professional knowledge competency, I will attend at least one professional development course regarding my field of interest each month. I will review the updated calendar of course offerings to make sure I register on a timely basis.


RELEVANT: Your goals should be aligned with your current values, vision and long-term objectives

Tip: Each of the goals you set for yourself should align with your broad objectives. If any fall outside this scope, you may need to recalibrate. Ask why the goal is important to you, and how it’s achievement will contribute to your well-being.

Example: “To achieve my goal of increasing my professional knowledge competency to stay competitive within my field, I will attend at least one professional development course regarding my field of interest each month.”


TIME-BOUND: Goals should have reasonable and specific end dates that help you prioritize tasks.

Tip: Your goal should have a time-frame. Select a reasonable and specific target date and try to anticipate roadblocks.

Example: “To achieve my goal of increasing my professional knowledge competency to stay competitive within my field, I will attend at least one professional development course a month and create an action plan to apply knowledge gained in my workplace and measure progress each month.

As you may have noticed, creating SMART goals takes time, practice, and lots of patience. According to research conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews from Dominican University in California, a written goal is 42% more likely to happen (Forleo, 2019). The more you practice, the better you will become! If you need additional resources, check out this LinkedIn Learning tutorial on Setting Team and Employee Goals Using SMART Methodology.

Our last tip for you is to find an accountability buddy – perhaps a coworker, supervisor, or even a friend to practice with you. According to the American Society of Training and Development, studies have shown that having an accountability buddy increases your chance of success by 95%, especially when scheduling recurring check-in meetings (Wissman, 2018).





Do you know of other similar resources your fellow Bobcats would like to learn? We’d love for you to share it with us! Email the ODC team with details.

Start Your New Year with WellCats!

Is wellness on your New Year’s Resolution list? WellCats can help! WellCats offerings will help you adopt lifestyle changes that last and achieve your New Year’s resolutions.

When you join WellCats, you gain FREE access to:


Meet one-on-one virtually with a national board-certified health and wellness coach to learn how to find and keep your motivation, manage time, develop good habits, and improve your confidence in living a healthy lifestyle.


During this virtual one-on-one session, a trained nutrition professional will assess your current diet and help you identify goals to improve your diet, overall health, and well-being.


A variety of group training classes are offered virtually through Zoom and Facebook to meet different member interests and fitness levels.


These virtual “hands-on” cooking classes focus on whole foods, healthful takes on popular dishes, and exploration of new ideas!


Wellness experts highlight topics that align with the WellCats eight dimensions of wellness: occupational, physical, nutritional, social/emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial, and environmental.


The WellCats newsletter is a monthly communication that provides health and wellness tips, program updates, current events, and other helpful information.

Check out our new WellCats video. Registration is ongoing, and employees can join anytime. Visit our WellCats website to learn more about how to start your year off well with WellCats!

Update Your Address!

If you’ve moved and haven’t updated your address, now is the time to do it! Updating your address ensures that important items, like your tax forms, insurance cards, retirement statements, and other important items are sent to your correct address.


  • Update in the SAP Portal Employee Self-Service (select ‘My Personal Profile’ in the Payroll-Benefits section).


  • Once you update in SAP, we will update your new address with ERS for all insurance related carriers.


  •  If you are a TRS member, you will also need to update your address with TRS directly. You can either do this through your myTRS account or with a form TRS 358 mailed directly to TRS.


UPPS Corner

A guide to understanding policy updates and changes approved by President’s Cabinet for UPPS’s for which HR is the Senior Reviewer.

UPPS 04.04.30 | University Leave Policy
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures pertaining to university leaves.

Section 16.01

  • A full review of this policy resulted in the following changes to Section 16.The timeline for employees to enter time has been specified. The process for individuals serving in the role of departmental time administrators is now clarified.

Effective Date: October 21, 2020

Next Revision Date: December 1, 2022


UPPS 04.04.01 | General Workplace Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines and expectations for work schedules, work locations, and other general workplace conditions.

Section 04.02

  • This section was updated to clarify that provisions
    apply to all employees, not just non-exempt employees.

Effective Date: October 1, 2020

Join us in welcoming our new employee Bobcats!

Employees hired between November 1 - November 30

Jacob Armitage, Instrument Technician, Shared Research Operations

Joycelin Blea , Administrative Assistant II, University Registrar

Gordon Bohmfalk, Director, Facilities Planning, Design, & Construction

Charles Crawford, Sergeant, University Police

Kellie Donajkowski, Education Program Manager, Edwards Aquifer Research & Data Center

Donata Elber, Nurse Practitioner, Student Health Center

Shawna McCaden, Grant Specialist, Educational Talent Search Program

Theresa Paeglow, Grant Specialist, Texas School Safety Center

Melissa Ramirez, Advisor, Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Alexandra Reyna, Human Resources Assistant, Human Resources

We remind all new staff employees hired during the past month that N.E.W. is designed to provide useful information to new staff regarding the resources, benefits, and opportunities associated with employment at Texas State University. For more info and to connect with other new bobcats access the official new employee website.

New Employee Welcome: Friday, January 8, 2021

In accordance with CDC guidelines of social distancing, monthly N.E.W. II sessions will be held virtually via Zoom from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Visit our updated N.E.W. II website for more information.

Contact the Office of Human Resources with questions at or call 5.7899.

Bobcats On The Move

Congratulations to the following employees who were promoted or reclassified. Employees promoted or reclassified between November 1 - November 30.

Katie Alonzo, Promoted to Academic Budget Specialist, College of Education

Elizabeth Castaneda, Promoted to Grant Director (non-faculty), Educational Talent Search Program

Scott Christensen, Promoted to Microcomputer Lab Coordinator III, University Libraries

Beatrice Leija-Pyle, Promoted to Grant Coordinator, Texas School Safety Center


Texas State Employee Discount Program

The Texas State University Employee Discount Program is the exclusive discount marketplace for you and your fellow employees. Thank you so much for all your hard work and continued support!


  • Sam’s Club | Stock up on winter necessities with 40% off a Sam’s Club membership.
  • Acer | Get 15% off tech products for home or the office!
  • Samsung | Get 40% off TVs phones, tablets, and more.

January Courses

The featured courses are coordinated through Organizational Development & Communications. Registration is available through the SAP Portal. Please visit the OD & Communications Course Calendar.

January 14 | Student Emergency Services

January 20 | Finding and Using Copyright-Compliant Images and Music Online

January 26 | Supporting Transgender/Non-Binary People in Higher Education

January 29 | WellCats Educational Series: Mindfulness Matters (New!)


November Employee of the Month | Christina Vaughan

Senior Administrative Assistant, McCoy College of Business

Christina took on the role of Senior Administrative Assistant during Covid-19 and during the change over to a new Dean. She was previously Administrative Assistant III and was asked to do her job and fill in as interim Senior Administrative Assistant before being promoted. Christina initially supported business graduate programs and associate deans. She quickly learned the role and began to make important improvements that resulted in substantial gains in service to graduate students and overall efficiency of the office. 

In January 2020, the Senior Administrative Assistant left to take a position off campus and Christina did not hesitate to step in to help even though she was not initially interested in the position.  Not only did she seamlessly assume the responsibilities; Christina again observed where improvements could be made and put them into practice all while ensuring her usual job responsibilities were not overlooked.  She trained department chairs on the usage of TEAMS and provides support needed to keep the administrative group of the college connected and informed. This has been a year of change and Christina has shown herself to be a dedicated, helpful, and organized employee willing to do what it takes to get the job done. 

The spring semester brought difficult decisions regarding the response to Covid-19 and budget cuts. Christina’s competence, professionalism, calm and caring demeanor, along with a good sense of humor was appreciated by everyone with whom she worked in the dean’s office, and by department chairs, other administrative assistants in the College and by callers and visitors.

In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations in the dean’s office, she also does an excellent job of managing the dean’s busy calendar, which is a feat.  She keeps everyone aware of any approaching deadlines and always exhibits a positive attitude, even if the circumstances are challenging.  She takes pride in her work and is always willing to arrive early or stay late.  Christina provided an exemplary level of support as McCoy College welcomed a new Dean and adapted college-wide protocols related to COVID-19.  She truly makes a difference at Texas State.

Congratulations Christina on being recognized as the November 2020 Employee of the Month!


December Employee of the Month | Jessica McClean

Research, Instruction, & Outreach Librarian, Alkek B. Library

Jessica is a service-oriented person to the core. Everything she does is done with customer service in mind, even when she is working internally with a project team or committee within the library. Jessica, in supporting the work of the University Libraries, is willing to go the extra mile in everything; her leadership and her strategic thoughtfulness help to make everyone’s work more effective and engaging.

Jessica was on the team to migrate the campus from citation managers RefWorks to EndNote.  She performed at the highest level – figuring out every detail that the users might need in the process. Jessica not only thought about how things were done in the past with workshops and classes, but also looked at taking advantage of how faculty and students use Canvas and other multi-modal modules. 

When promoting Open Education Resource (OER) adoption with faculty, Jessica considered how to teach faculty about OERs, did prep work to assist faculty in finding source content, and developed a peer review process wherein the content could be continually improved.  Jessica’s application of the peer review method for improving the quality of the OER Community of Learning for faculty and librarians has raised the quality of the course and incentivized participation for those stakeholders.  She would say it was a team effort; however, she led that effort and executed it smoothly.

Jessica never turns down a challenge and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is consistently creating new exhibits and events that are engaging as well as topical like the first virtual Maker Day event. No one ever hesitates to ask her for advice, help, or support because of her interpersonal and leadership skills and willingness to help. A graduate student needed assistance with their research and while Jessica was not the subject librarian, she was willing to help and willing to schedule a zoom meeting if another librarian was not available.  This is typical of an interaction with Jessica. 

Jessica’s teamwork approach is just as important as handling her job responsibilities and completing the tasks. It is her strategic thinking process of considering the most effective way to form relationships around projects, meeting multiple stakeholder needs, and engaging the campus community, that serves the University Libraries so well.


Congratulations, Jessica, on being recognized as the December 2020 Employee of the Month!