Staff Council readying conference for next month

By Staff

Recipients of the annual Service Excellence Award were selected at the Thursday, March 4, meeting of the University of Colorado Staff Council. The awards recognize individuals who have provided outstanding volunteer service to their campus, community/civic/professional activities and the university.

Four recipients – one each from the Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver campuses and one from system administration – were selected from submitted nominations. The names won't be announced until April 16, when chancellors from each campus and President Bruce D. Benson will introduce the awardees during the All Staff Council Conference in Boulder. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

The conference also includes a leadership workshop, breakfast and lunch, campus reports and a presentation on the CU-Boulder Center for Community, an under-construction building that will include a student center, dining area and student services.

Also during the staff council meeting, E. Jill Pollock, senior associate vice president and chief human resources officer, discussed the university's move to benefits self-funding. The plan, which would allow the university to better manage health benefit plans, could cut costs over time from 3 percent to 8 percent annually, she said. Self-funding also would allow the university to design health plans that fit the needs of employees.

In addition, Pollock said, a complete benefits review is under way to compare what CU offers, including tuition waivers, with what other organizations with whom CU compares offer. She said surveys may be conducted to find out about services desired by employees in order to determine if group plans are feasible.

The university also is focused on a wellness and prevention program that would begin with a voluntary health-risk assessment that employees could complete online. Pollock said studies show such assessments, along with medical management programs, can reduce health costs over time by up to 3 percent, slow the rate of increase in health plan rates and cut down on absenteeism. About 1 percent of the money received from employee and employer medical premiums would go to the health and wellness program.

"This is a great opportunity for the University of Colorado, and by extension, the state of Colorado, to lead the nation" in improving the health of its people, she said.

In other business, Dan Montez, director of the Office of Policy and Efficiency, said the Task Force on Efficiency continues to review university policies and within the next few months will complete policies concerning alternative work schedules, leave sharing and use of alcoholic beverages at university events.