Human Resources newsletter

Message from the Director

We have all read articles in the newspaper or heard about situations involving bullying of our young people in schools. Now we are starting to hear about something Photo of August Webinar Postercalled “workplace bullying”. There is no universal definition of workplace bullying. One of the definitions I’ve come across from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries seems to capture the essence of the issue. They define workplace bullying as “repeated unreasonable actions of individuals directed towards an employee which are intended to intimidate, degrade, humiliate, or undermine”.

Bullying runs contrary to every belief or approach taught in our classrooms. We don’t tolerate the bullying of our children and we shouldn’t tolerate the bullying of our employees. There are laws which prohibit bullying of our children. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent law which addresses similar situations in the workplace (unless those situations involve actions based upon race, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability). However, University of Illinois Policy and Rules, 16.04, Employee Conduct in the Workplace states “Employees will treat fellow employees with courtesy and respect for their personal dignity...” If we all comply with that particular university rule there would be no bullying.

Some examples of bullying include:
• Unwarranted or invalid criticism
• Blame without factual justification
• Being sworn at
• Exclusion or social isolation
• Being shouted at or being humiliated
• Being treated differently than the rest of your work group
• Excessive monitoring or micro-managing
• Being given work with unrealistic deadlines

We have zero tolerance for bullying in the workplace. Managers and supervisors have an obligation to intervene immediately if they observe or become aware of workplace bullying.

Employees should feel free to report bullying incidents to their supervisors and to have their concerns addressed. (If the supervisor is part of the problem, other sources for relief could include: the next level supervisor, a union representative, and the Director of Human Resources.)

I also feel the need to mention that not all unpleasant interactions fit the definition of workplace bullying. There can be legitimate conversations between an employee, his/her supervisor, or other employees (e.g., discussing performance short comings, pre-disciplinary situations, quality of work issues) which make the employee feel uncomfortable and can contain criticisms. The key factors in these instances are courtesy and respect. If the employee is treated with respect and courtesy the unpleasant message is still delivered, but employee dignity is maintained.

There is a code or maxim traced back to Ancient Babylon which if practiced would eliminate the problem of bullying. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Bob Lael

Special Recognition

We’d like to extend a special recognition to Bill Abler, Associate Professor Human Development Counseling. Bill has eighteen years of service on our campus. It was recently pointed out by Larry Stonecipher that we missed recognizing Bill for completion of both 10 and 15 years of service. We must offer up our sincerest apologies for these oversights. Bill is surely deserving of recognition for his length of service and the high quality of his service.

Spotlight on HR Staff

Photo of Mary TorricelliJoin us in welcoming our newest HR team member Mary Torricelli. Mary, a Human Resource Associate, is responsible for overseeing Civil Service testing, providing register maintenance and working with classification & compensation. Originally from the Springfield area, she relocated to Arizona where she spent seventeen years. She has since returned to Illinois and now resides in Rochester with her husband, Tim, and their two high school age sons, Reece and Bryce. Mary holds her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification and is a member of the Central Illinois Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management. Mary is familiar with the campus as she is a Sangamon State graduate and spent a short time as a student worker in the IT Department during her studies at the University. Mary comes to us with over 15 years previous Human Resources experience in insurance, semiconductor and healthcare industries.

Photo of Cindy OKeefeTaking care of business…that’s what Cindy O’Keefe has been doing for the last thirty years and now she’s doing it here. Cindy earned her degree as a veterinarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After a few years working as a veterinarian, plans were changed when children entered the picture. She found that balancing home and work was more satisfying while running the business end of her husband’s (also a veterinarian) equine practice from home while raising their three children rather than trying to juggle sick children and emergency veterinary calls. Time has moved forward - the kids have grown up and launched their own careers; the veterinary practice has expanded to have a partner and a hospital. Time has come to once again separate work and home, so Cindy has joined us here at UIS in Human Resources to help us “take care of business”.

Planning on taking a class? Here are a few things you should know.

Employees taking on-site coursework take on the role of student as well as employee and will be automatically enrolled in the student insurance program unless they submit a
Petition for Exemption waiver with proof of insurance. The exemption form must be received by Human Resources before the deadline approximately three weeks into each semester.  It is only necessary to complete this form one time.  If you have previously submitted this form, it will still be in effect.

Another helpful form, the Tuition Waiver Application form, can be found in Nessie under the Benefits tab under "Additional Programs and Services". Tuition for coursework may be eligible for waiver if this form is submitted after you register for classes.  The form must be received before the class end date to be considered, although timely submission earlier in the semester is greatly appreciated.

July 2012

Office of Human Resources

In this Issue:

Director's Message

Special Recognition - Bill Abler

Spotlight on HR Staff

Tips When Taking Classes

Upcoming Events

Extreme Heat Tip Sheet

Insurance & Finances After a Disaster

Conquer Your Stress & Anxiety


Shining Stars

Shining Star award at UISView our most recent Shining Star, Bob Fassero who was caught in the "specific act of going above and beyond normal expectations."

Service Recognition

View the list of fellow employees being recognized for their length of service this quarter.

Employee of the Month

Read about recent recipients including Randy Williams (Jul), Erica Michael (Jun),
Julie Atwell
(May), Amanda Winters(Apr),

Karen Headrick
(Mar), Gloria Newton Davlantis(Feb),
Shawn Craig Shures
(Jan), or make a nomination.


Join us in welcoming new employees to the UIS community.

Our Mission

To be a dedicated partner with the campus in its goal to become, and remain, one of the top five small public liberal arts universities in the nation.