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2014 Town Hall Meeting Q&A

Employee Questions

The status of the room scheduling policy is below.

  1. We are finalizing the policy for final review.
  2. We met with Student Affairs regarding their concerns and our concerns as well.
  3. A meeting has been scheduled to meet with Facilities Management to coordinate and address current issues that will resolve academic issues.
  4. A meeting has been scheduled with Larry from HSBE to ensure we haven't missed concerns that effect the NSU community.
  5. We are meeting again with Student Affairs as a follow up of their processes.

After the 2nd week of October, we will work on scheduling a meeting with the President to present the policy changes. I am sure soon after the meeting, we will have it signed and shared with everyone.

The Office of Human Resources offers videoconferencing for many of workshops that take place on main campus.  In addition to video conferencing, we have offered training online in both  self-service and instructor led formats.  We are currently in the process of exploring additional E-learning opportunities. 

We will continue to make every effort to  provide training and development opportunities that meet the needs of regional campus employees working in conjunction with the leadership team of the regional campuses.

We are so proud of all of faculty, staff and students who donate thousands of hours a year to causes important to them personally and professionally as well as to the university's commitment to the community. It is clearly one of the things that sets NSU apart and something we are known for. One of the items we are measured on by rankings as well as by people considering donating to NSU is the number of faculty and staff who donate as well as alumni. If everyone could make a small contribution, this would go a long way in helping us demonstrate how much loyalty and appreciation we have for NSU.

Thank you for your inquiry posted to the "Ask the President" email at Nova Southeastern University. We appreciate your bringing your concerns to our attention. Upon review it has been determined that our current practice meets regulatory requirements under the law, and has had a legal review by university counsel. Further, it is standard practice at other institutions. Thank you again for bringing your concern to our attention, it is greatly appreciated.

Currently, NSU has more than 2000 alums living in Jamaica, the majority from the Huizenga school of Business and Entrepreneurship, followed by the Fischler School of Education and then by the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences. While only a few alumni in Jamaica currently donate to NSU; with more than 2000 alums living there, we certainly have potential. So we would first start with some regular communications to the alumni and do an analysis to see what cities the majority of the alumni live near. Then we could come visit and see if there were enough alumni interested in starting a chapter. Having a chapter requires commitment on the part of several key alumni who have connections in the area and a willingness to invest time and energy to connect the group. Also having a cause to work together on is helpful, so perhaps providing internships, a scholarship for a Jamaican student, or mentorships might be a good place to start. Moreover, we are NOT discontinuing programs in Jamaica. We will continue to offer on-line programs. We have never asked alumni to pay to be in the Alumni Association; however, we have requested all alumni to give something to increase our % of participation of alumni.

The office of physical plant will request pricing to prune the roots of trees causing the asphalt to break up, to repair the holes, and we will also get a price to resurface and restripe the lots. Our ability to resurface the entire lot will depend on resources available, but we can certainly repair the "potholes". Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Over the last year, Human Resources has been reviewing titles, salaries, and competitive market data for jobs across the University in order to enhance internal equity, market competitiveness, and career progression opportunities.  One of the largest groups of jobs, our Administrative Assistants, covers over 400 employees, and these jobs were realigned into 8 standardized jobs with consistent grades and titles.  Human Resources is currently focusing on several other institution-wide career families, such as finance, research, and student advising (which includes recruiting), and expects to complete them over the next several months.  

Our non-exempt jobs (hourly positions) were aligned and retitled as an early phase of the President's new performance appraisal initiative so that common "task goals" could be developed.  The development of common task goals provides an opportunity for persons in the same job and performing similar tasks to be evaluated in a similar manner.

Human Resources is working on the next phase, which will align 1,867 exempt (salaried) jobs - for which there are 1,696 unique job titles.  This part of the project is time consuming because individual job descriptions must be analyzed in order to determine job families and job groups, and establish minimium educational and experiential qualifications determined to level the jobs appropriately.  External consultants were engaged to assist and accelerate this process.  When this phase of the project is completed, we will be able to determine the natural career paths at the university.

NSU will contribute almost 22 million dollars to premiums and HRA contributions in 2014; about 1.6 million more than last year. Regarding the cost of coverage for families, NSU has adopted a multi-year plan to increase its share of the overall contribution for NSU family insurance coverage. To date, the university has increased premium contributions to employee and child coverage to 60.36% from 56.3%, employee and spouse increased from 44% to 50%, and NSU contributions for family coverage increased from 47% to 50%.

As financial resources allow, you will see a continued commitment to our families reflected in the university health plan benefits and contributions.

Physical Plant and Public Safety inspected the HPD first floor garage in reference to the request to add a stop sign, in between the new North to South entrances, and regarding the lighting.  NSU’s Parking Consultants have recently completed the current vehicle traffic configuration and we have agreed that lighting should be adjusted.  The lights have been reconfigured to provide increased lighting when entering the garage from the bright sun outside.

Unlike most of the buildings on campus that have direct digital air conditioning controls (DDC) that control space temperatures by a central computer, allowing the occupants limited control over temperatures, the Terry Building has pneumatic controls. Pneumatic controls provide the occupants of the Terry Building with full local control over their temperature set points. The NSU standard temperature in those buildings with DDC is 74 degrees. Unfortunately, there is no temperature limitation on the pneumatic thermostats, and the investment to upgrade the Terry building to DDC is in the 7 figure range.

Our Public Safety director met with Facilities Project Manager this morning (1/27/14) about the conflicting street sign issue at SW 30 St and 76/77Ave. We have been advised he is working now with the Town of Davie to correct the signage issue.

A few years ago, NSU surveyed several other organizations in order to obtain data regarding paid holidays. Upon analysis of the survey data, it was determined that NSU should incorporate a winter break closure. In order to add several more holiday dates to accompany the winter closure, NSU no longer had Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah or Good Friday as holidays, but instead added another personal day for a total of three. Martin Luther King, Jr Day was already a holiday and it was decided we would keep all other current holidays in order to maintain consistency. By adding another personal day it was thought to give employees more flexibility on which holidays they would like to celebrate. Therefore, upon approval from employee's supervisor, either personal time or vacation time could be used for President's Day.

The University complies with the IRS requirement that travel expenses reimbursed to an employee are based either on a per diem methodology or based on actual expenses incurred (with appropriate supporting documentation).  The University reimburses based on actual expense and therefore requires employees to include detailed, itemized receipts for all reimbursements. Per the University’s current policy, if the employee provides a detailed itemized receipt for a single meal of $50, and the employee was traveling prior to 8am (and therefore approved for 3 meals), then the full amount would be reimbursed. The cap for individual meals only occurs when travel time is limited. For example, if travel begins after 12pm, then only Dinner will be reimbursed, and the cap for that day will be $25. Please see travel policy for complete details:

Nothing is more important than the personal safety of our NSU community. The parking services program is one of the many ways that NSU Public Safety enhances campus security and increases parking lot safety. 

Affixing the parking permit to the exterior of the vehicle gives our officers the ability to quickly identify vehicles that might not belong on our property or in a particular lot.  For example, if someone was parked in one of our lots waiting to commit a criminal act, the absence of a parking permit on their vehicle in an otherwise parking-by-permit area will draw the attention of our public safety staff to investigate further.

A visible permit is also necessary for parking services to ensure that campus parking areas remain organized and safe. Our officers need unobscured access to parking permit barcodes to perform their parking services functions. Decals that are placed behind glass, window-tint, defrosting elements or simply placed on a dashboard cannot be read by our barcode readers.

So, proudly displaying a stylish NSU-shark parking permit has positive safety outcomes and serves a practical operational purpose.

Public Safety escorts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where a public safety officer will walk you to and from your vehicle if you feel uncomfortable doing so by yourself. Note: If you ever suspect you are being followed, call the Police immediately.

The Health Professions Division buildings have some 3,500 doors, and not knowing specifically which doors are being referred to below is difficult to address.  However, the HPD Terry, Ziff, Pharmacy, Dental, and Assembly II buildings main entrance exterior doors all have ADA or automatic access as designed by architectural design teams when they were built in 1994-96.  All other doors are mechanically ADA accessible as per the 1990 ADA code; but on occasions when weather or HVAC issues arise (suction), they are serviced to ADA standards again as required.  The needs of our students and visitors are always paramount; whenever there is a special needs request, the Office of Facilities Management and the Office of Student Disability Services reviews the request accordingly.

Yes.  We have considered it.  We determined it unfair to charge the students to use the facility and not charge employees.  Employees may have unlimited access to the RecPlex and our 57 weekly group exercise classes, plus locker access, plus complimentary fitness assessment and customized work out plan for $12.50 per paycheck through payroll deduction.

In announcing merit increases in December 2012, President Hanbury noted the connection between student enrollment and retention, university expenses, and merit pay increases.  Several units at the university have experienced enrollment challenges this year as a result of many factors including national trends in law and education and strategic decisions made in business and undergraduate. Understandably, President Hanbury has cautiously decided to delay a decision in this regard until after winter 2014 enrollment is confirmed and an early forecast of the 2015 budget is prepared.

Thank you for your suggestions.  While we continue to build toward one NSU, sometimes a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work for everyone.  While there are overall NSU guidelines on merit, for example, NSU leaves specific distribution amounts based on individual performance up to the individual Centers.  All recommendations for merit increases are reviewed by the VP for HR and executive leadership before they are finalized.  Similarly, one dress code would not apply to every department – some departments require uniforms for example and others are able to designate a casual day or even business casual throughout the week.  Usually in these situations, the department stipulates that employees must use discretion on days where they may be meeting with clients or other visitors.  Other departments make the determination that they want professional attire at all times for their environment while Oceanography may allow tee shirts and cutoffs due to the nature of their work.  So, while we are striving for one NSU we also recognize individuality is necessary for our departments as well.

Public Safety toured the Palm Beach campus late last week with NSU's security integrator, Siemens Technologies.  They were able to confirm that some infrastructure has already been installed to accommodate emergency intercom systems in the classrooms.  Public Safety will continue to work with Siemens to develop a full scope of work, including infrastructure and equipment, and present a budget estimate to Executive Management. The budget estimate will be presented within the next 30 days.

Facilities Management is currently developing artwork for the proposed exterior banners. We've confirmed with the regional campus that the following programs should be represented:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Psychology
  • Respiratory Therapy

Within the next two weeks, Facilities will be able to present proposed artwork to executive management and confirm if the exterior banners are permissible by code.

Yes, of course clinical staff is an integral part of Vision 2020. However, continuity of and quality care for NSU’s patients is also of paramount importance. Clinic administration will devise a plan, going forward, where employees celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. years of dedicated service will be present at Team 2020; and additionally, we will look at technological ways to bring Team 2020 to your work stations.

NSU will not spend one dollar for the construction of the HCA Hospital

They will build the research hospital at their costs and all employees will be theirs. Our students will be given the opportunity to rotate through their facilities as we do other hospitals.

They will be on property where we own 50% of the land (UPP) and they will be paying taxes. The property will be integrated into our campus and will be on our research FLR network.

They will collaborate with us in research in our new CCR Building. Such arrangement will allow the first research hospital to be constructed in South Florida and true "benchside to bedside" clinical trials.

Departmental managers provide opportunities to the staff to cross-train and participate in webinars and local HR meetings. These opportunities give staff a broad exposure to various HR functions and jobs and provide specialized training. Further, the department provides support for study and testing activities for staff interested in obtaining HR certifications. Regarding the OHR market study, the data used in the study is being updated and refined and will be reevaluated within the present context of the University financial resources.
Thank you for sending in your questions, you raise some great issues.

Let me clarify that NSU's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Behavioral Health Benefit is part of the ICUBA benefit plan. All 24 ICUBA higher education and secondary school members subscribe to MHNet as part of the ICUBA Benefit Plan.

The ICUBA Board of Directors (on which NSU's VP for Human Resources serves as Board Chair) is aware of the issues you raised regarding access to providers and reimbursement rates in the MHNEt network. As a result, ICUBA gave MHNet a limited one year extension of its current MHNet provider contract and required it to expand its network provider choice options and to establish a reimbursement rate to providers that would encourage more provider participation.

We are encouraged by the fact that at the end of 2012, MHNet was acquired by Aetna, and this merger will have a very positive impact to the provider network available to our employees. Full integration of the MHNet / Aetna provider and hospital network is scheduled to be completed by the end of calendar year 2014. The final network configuration won't be known until the integration of MHNet into Aetna is complete, but the MHNet network will be increasing in size. If you are having difficulty finding providers please call the MHNet Client Connect program (877) 398-5816, MHNet clinicians will locate appropriate providers in your area.

One thing I do know is that dissatisfaction with reimbursement rates is a universal complaint among providers of all specialties in health plans everywhere.

While it is true that the ICUBA health plan carves out coverage for behavioral health, it is also true that the ICUBA health plan provides complete parity between health benefits and behavioral health benefits. There are no limitations on accessing behavioral health specialists, and the reimbursement for a behavioral health specialist visit is the same as any other specialist visit, in PPO 70, employees pay a $30 co-payment and in the Preferred PPO they pay 20% of the contracted rate. Parity applies to in-patient services as well.

As we discussed at the last OC faculty meeting, an explanation includes that goals have been set for the Oceanographic Center by NSU central administration and include a heightened emphasis on research and graduate education. Hence increased time for research and less teaching time has been approved in the budget for faculty. Many of our graduate students are seeking research experiences, and this activity continues to be encouraged a key element in graduate education and for accomplishing research project goals. In a R1 university setting only a limited number of exceptional undergraduates are normally accepted for work in research labs. At the Oceanographic Center our exposure to undergraduates has diminished, nevertheless, undergraduates becoming involved with research certainly remains possible when opportunities, time, resources, and funding arise.

In addition, just this past Friday I received an email from Brad Williams which said the following:

President Hanbury created the College of Undergraduate Studies in late Spring 2013. Part of the President's vision for this newly formed college is to bring life to his frequent phrase of building the undergraduate programs by leveraging our wonderful graduate and professional programs." Dr. Williams with his newly appointed role as Dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies has been asked to develop this initiative. Toward this end, I have been asked to contact you via a conversation between Dr. Williams and you. This program will provide First Time in College Students (FTIC's) an opportunity to experience all of NSU's Graduate and Professional Programs in a hands-on setting. Through this meaningful experience students will learn about your academic program offerings, interact and shadow current graduate students, and have the opportunity to conduct career exploration. The outcomes of this program will allow students to make decisions regarding their undergraduate experience and shape their future career path.

So, I am hopeful a productive synergy will arise from the discussion with Dr. Williams with the caveats of opportunities for choice, time available, resources, and funding. I am hopeful we can think of possible ways to best do this. Funded graduate student mentorships could be an option for consideration too.

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