Human Resources » For Your Benefit

For Your Benefit

Linda Hendricks Thank you for dedicating a few minutes to read For Your Benefit, a newsletter about the benefits offered to you as a UT employee.

Inside you’ll find details about open enrollment for health, dental and vision insurances and other state- and University-provided programs. I encourage you to take advantage of these benefits and reach out for help if you’re unsure about something. You’ll also find information about retirement, accessibility, wellness, trainings and much more.

Our goal is to share important and timely information with you in an easy-to-read format. I hope you find the stories helpful and encourage you to share comments and suggestions by emailing us at

Thank you for your commitment to the University.

Linda Hendricks Harig
UT System Vice President for Human Resources

Inside the Fall 2015 Issue

Enroll Now in 2016 Insurance Programs

piggy bank

The annual enrollment period for health, dental, vision, basic and term life, longterm care and optional special accident programs is underway and runs through Oct. 15, 2015.

Learn what's changing and find out what programs will be the best fit for you in 2016.

Read More »

A Reminder from UTHSC Family Nurse Practitioner Marie Bredy:

Any time something is free—do take advantage of it, especially pertaining to good health.

Marie BredyPrimary prevention is key to averting the development of diseases. Our insurance coverage allows for free annual physicals, blood work, vaccinations, immunizations, screenings, coaching and more. Continuing relationships with your medical providers is necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If a follow-up appointment is recommended or scheduled—keep it. Falling behind creates a gap in therapeutic management. Don’t let the next visit be in the hospital after a heart attack. The more you come in, the better, so you receive the best possible care on the front end.

Marie Bredy, DNP, is a family nurse practitioner with the University Health Services clinic at the UT Health Science Center. The clinic serves students, employees and families of UT employees.

Retirement Prep: Are your savings on track?

umbrella raining cash

30% of UT employees are retirement eligible—More now than at any time in UT's history. Whether your last day is decades away or right around the corner, now is the time to figure out if your savings are on track to meet your needs.

Read More »

Quiz: Test your Retirement IQ

Test your knowledge of retirement information in five simple questions.

Take the Quiz »

Tips from a Trainer

Ivory PattenUT Management Specialist Ivory Patten shares ways to make meetings more efficient and effective.

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Help Make Sure Presentations and Events Are Accessible to Everyone

accessibility icon It’s a right that everyone has the same equal access and ability to succeed. You may think you’re helping a few specific individuals, but there are likely others in your class, listening to your presentation or attending your event who have needs and are trying to manage on their own. When you focus on accessibility and offer accommodations for everyone—everyone benefits.

Learn more »

Work Healthy UT Takes Off with New Website and Employee-Driven Blog

Work Healthy UT is a new statewide initiative to better communicate the dozens of health and wellness resources available and create an online community for healthy living enthusiasts and those who want to learn more.

Work Healthy UTThe Work Healthy website launched in March and includes information about:

  • Trainings and workshops
  • Fitness centers, classes and clubs
  • Community and family events
  • On-campus health clinics and services
  • Tobacco cessation
  • Apps and online trackers
  • Ideas for making small changes

Perhaps the most exciting part of Work Healthy UT is the new blog written entirely by faculty and staff. Check it out and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Excerpts from the Blog

The Gift of Gardening

Melissa Powell with her husband, young son and two dogs

I began to feel like an astrophysicist who forgot to take astronomy or a neurosurgeon who never took anatomy. I felt like a piece of the puzzle was missing, so I spent a summer volunteering on a farm—working in the fields and listening to the farmers throughout the growing season.

Gardening has been holy ground for me. It’s reminded me of the seasons of life. That growth often happens despite my failings. And that the Earth and her people are gifts to be cherished.

Melissa Powell is a registered dietitian and dietetics lecturer at UT Chattanooga. Her favorite subjects are faith, food, farming, family, friends and football. She’s also written posts about summer reading and recipe sharing.

Read the full entry »

4 Tips for Taking Life’s Bumps in Stride

Jonathan Ruth

We expect instant news, instant text replies, instant streaming videos, etc. No wonder standing in the checkout line five more minutes seems unbearable.

There’s dynamic empowerment in choice. Regardless of what life throws at us, we get to choose how we respond. Getting angry takes energy. So does laughing. Why not choose the one that makes you feel better when it’s over?

Jonathan Ruth works in the IRIS Administrative Support department with the UT System Administration. He’s also a life coach and has a passion for helping others. His advice for letting little things go serves as a good reminder about what’s important in life.

Read the full entry »

Cholesterol, Cravings and Food Costs: My Experience with Clean Eating

Susan Robertson

I made the decision to start walking every day and switch to a whole foods diet—no processed foods and very little sugar. There went my nightly handful of peanut M&Ms.

From the beginning, I never called it a diet, because that sounded so much like a fad. I called it a lifestyle change, and it certainly has been. I’ve lowered my cholesterol and even lost 30 pounds.

Susan Robertson handles communications for the UT Institute for Public Service. She enjoys spending time outdoors, watching all sports, reading, cooking and fulfilling the needs of her demanding miniature dachshund, Wrigley.

Read the full entry »

“Momma! Daddy’s staring at the box of pasta again!”

a family photo of Darren Hughes with his wife and two daughters

Wren came out of the womb screaming and didn’t let up for four months. That’s how long it took us to identify most of the allergies that were making our daughter feel so miserable. But this post is not about gluten. It’s about what happened when relatively late in life (I’m 43), I was forced to start reading—and I mean really reading—food labels.

Our dietary changes were provoked by Wren’s health issues, but we’re all benefiting from them. Rory recently had her pre-kindergarten check-up, and her pediatrician was shocked by her low cholesterol numbers. (Apparently cholesterol is a growing problem among American 5-year-olds!)

Darren Hughes lives on a small farm with his wife, two daughters, a couple horses and a whole mess of cats. He’s director of online engagement for the UT Foundation.

Read the full entry »

Shingles: Not Just Things on Your Roof!

Victoria Niederhauser

In about one out of every three people, chicken pox will reactivate later in life and cause a condition called herpes zoster—more commonly called shingles. As we get older, our risk of getting shingles increases. In fact, half of shingles cases occur in people over the age of 60. A vaccine was developed several years ago, and one dose is currently recommended for individuals over the age of 60.

Dr. Victoria Niederhauser is a faculty member and dean of the UT Knoxville College of Nursing. Her scholarly activities focus on the areas of child and adolescent health promotion and disease prevention, with an emphasis on immunizations.

Read the full entry »

Facts & Figures: Working at UT

piggy bank

If number of applications submitted is an indicator for being a great place to work, UT is on the right track. More than 70,000 applications were received in 2014 for a total of 1,800 positions.

View the numbers »

Progress Update

Almost a year has passed since the November 2014 employee engagement survey, but hardly a week goes by that Mary Lucal isn’t thinking about your feedback.

She’s one of more than 50 staff and faculty members serving on work culture improvement teams at each campus and institute tasked with recommending new approaches, programs and ideas based on survey results.

Read More »

Annual Reminder to Check the Code

According to the 2014 employee engagement survey, the majority of employees think UT is a great place to work—a special place, even.

To maintain the workplace culture that employees enjoy, the University adopted a code of conduct to clarify existing University policies and rules for how employees should conduct themselves.

Make sure you’re doing your part to promote responsible and ethical behavior by reviewing the code at