Since its first meeting in October 2016, the Syracuse University Benefits Advisory Council has discussed a range of health care topics—from campus vaccine schedules to health care trends—and focused on an understanding of the University’s overall benefits plan. As an advisory group, the council is part of the University’s commitment to foster institution wide excellence, provide employees with a voice in benefits discussions across the entire organization and support progress of the Academic Strategic Plan’s theme of One University.
In addition to understanding the health care benefits and retirement plans currently offered to employees, the council explored potential enhancements and refinements to the plans, as well benchmarking studies to help the University remain competitive. With the March 2017 acquisition by United Healthcare of the current plan administrator POMCO, the committee explored and provided input on the request for proposal process to find the University’s next benefit administrator.
“The strength of the committee comes from its broad representation of individuals from across the University that are affected by the benefits,” says Maxwell School Professor of Practice Thomas Dennison. “The team shared clear information and listened to the feedback from the group. The council provided a good sounding board for the definition of a solid set of affordable, competitive benefits for the University.”
The council members, which include faculty, staff and students, are:
- Stephen Block, assistant dean for administration, iSchool
- Nina Brown, assistant professor, Newhouse School
- Fiona Chew, professor, Newhouse School
- Thomas Dennison, professor of practice, Maxwell School
- Andrew R. Gordon, senior vice president and chief human resources officer (chair)
- Rajesh Kumar, president, graduate student organization
- Eileen Lantier, senior associate dean and associate professor, Falk College
- Rebecca Mitchell, reconciliation audit coordinator
- Chuck Morris, department chair and professor, College of Visual and Performing Arts
- Brian O’Connor, supervisor, Physical Plant
- Craig Powers, machine repair technician, Physical Plant
- Melissa Rashford, administrative specialist for enrollment management
- Yudaisy Salomon Sargenton, administrative secretary, College of Arts & Sciences
- Derek Seward, associate professor, School of Education
- Amy Sloane-Garris, executive director of graduate programs
“This was an excellent opportunity to listen and build understanding around the complex benefits arena. Our council better understands the priorities of our employee population related to benefits and costs,” says Ann Verillo, director of benefits strategy. “Our discussions provided insights about our comprehensive benefits package, marketplace changes and trends to consider.” The council will continue to meet during the summer to further discuss the University’s benefits offerings.