The University Explores More Flexible Work Options

When Geraldine “Gerry” Slawek looks for a new hospital coder for her department, the candidate’s distance from campus, or the threat of an ominous commute never comes to mind. Slawek heads up a department of 20 hospital coders, most of whom work from home.

“Telecommuting really expands our reach to find great talent. It’s a morale booster, and it also allows us to keep our best people,” said Slawek, director of outpatient coding at UHealth.

Flexible work arrangements are not new at the University of Miami, but are used sporadically and, for the past seven years, offered mostly through the popular flexible summer workweek program to some employees. But that may change.

Nerissa Morris, vice president of human resources, is looking to expand workplace flexibility beyond one season and has appointed an employee work group, which meets every two weeks, to assess existing policies and practices and identify new structures for workplace flexibility that can create new options across the University.

“We want to take a new approach in meeting the needs of the workforce and operations through the development of competitive and relevant strategies and policies for workplace flexibility,” said Morris.

The goal is to provide a set of guidelines and recommendations to leadership this fall. Employees who have experience with flexible work arrangements at UM are encouraged to share their story by completing a brief questionnaire.

“Flexible arrangements can work really well if done correctly,” Slawek said. “Leaders should look at their management controls and put structures in place before attempting to implement telecommuting agreements.”

Slawek established guidelines and expectations to ensure that work continues to run smoothly. New team members participate in a minimum 60-day onboarding period where they are evaluated on quality, production, and communication.

Melissa Pino, HR manager at the Miller School of Medicine and a member of the employee work group, is excited to share her experience as a full-time telecommuter.

Six months ago, when she learned that she had to move to Nashville, Tennessee, she was both excited and devastated.

“I really didn’t want to leave the University, which I love,” said Pino.

Today, Pino continues her same routine each day before going to work. She says the only thing that’s changed is the view from her office.

“We have a scheduled call every Monday morning to discuss projects,” Pino said. “There is also open communication via email, calls, and text messages throughout the week. And I have regular one-on-one’s with my boss.”

“I’m always connected to the U, regardless of where I am,” she said.



Posted in For Your Benefit, NewsComments (0)

Health Researcher by Day, UM Grad Spreads Joy at Night by Teaching Salsa

John Salerno_Salsa

John Salerno, left, who has taught and professionally competed for multiple schools of salsa, competed in the 2015 Orlando Salsa Congress with his partner.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 24, 2016)—By day, John Salerno works to improve health equity among minority populations as a research coordinator at the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. By night, Salerno teaches the fundamentals of LA-Style salsa dancing at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center.

When Salerno was just 2 years old, his family took a leap of faith and emigrated from Panama during a time of political turmoil and moved to Miami. In 2009 Salerno became an undergraduate student at UM, where he first fell in love with salsa dancing. After learning the basics from friends, Salerno was hooked. He quickly pursued his passion, becoming a professional salsa performer and instructor.

“Dancing salsa has brought so much joy to my life,” says Salerno. “But teaching others to experience the same joy is even more fulfilling.”

Salerno extended his stay at UM to continue his graduate studies, and now the salsa dancer is a full-time research staff member at the UM SONHS Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research: El Centro, managing projects, programs, and events.

Not only does Salerno believe salsa improves his physical well-being, he also attributes his overall happiness and productivity at work to his favorite pastime. Salsa dancing helps the researcher stay active while having a positive impact in his work and personal life.

“When you dance salsa, endorphins are released in your brain, giving you a greater sense of well-being,” explains Salerno. “You are also burning fat while you dance, and when you look good, you feel good.”

Salerno has been an active member of the Herbert Wellness Center for more than seven years and is glad he can give back in the form of salsa dance instruction.

“We always welcome skilled and certified University employees as our class instructors,” says Michelle Kasparian, assistant director of group exercise and community classes. “As employees, these instructors help us to connect with the University community, and they contribute to a sense of shared values and University pride that is unique to our programs.”

Salerno, who has been teaching salsa for five years, encourages the UM community to try salsa dancing as a fun way to work out and a great way to express and release yourself through the art of dancing with a partner. His Beginner LA-Style salsa class teaches the basics and fundamentals of LA-Style salsa that is sure to get you on the dance floor in Miami and abroad. His class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. in the Herbert Wellness Center.

Adds Salerno, “This class is perfect for someone who wants to learn to dance and likes to have fun!”

In addition to Beginner LA-Style Salsa, the Herbert Wellness Center offers dance, youth and adult aquatics, martial arts, and tennis classes open to both members and non-members. Registration for these classes begins Monday, August 29 and closes Monday, September 12. Classes begin the week of September 6, and a free trial for each class (first meeting only) is available through September 12, excluding youth aquatics. Registration is not required to attend the free class. Class registration is available online or by visiting the sales office Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Posted in For Your Benefit, Freeze Frame, Health and LifestyleComments (0)

Apply for Leadership Miami by September 7

Develop your leadership skills and make a difference in the community as a member of the Leadership Miami Class of 2015-2016. Leadership Miami brings together Miami-Dade County’s emerging leaders for an intensive learning experience that focuses on community issues and leadership skills. The University is looking for enthusiastic individuals interested in making Miami a better place to live and to work. A program of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Miami offers participants the opportunity to connect with Miami’s leaders through a dynamic series of lectures, interactive seminars, small group discussions, and leadership skills exercises.

The opening conference will be held on October 28 and 29. Throughout the six-month program, participants are required to attend monthly Saturday sessions, complete fieldwork assignments, and implement a community service project with their team. The cost of tuition is $1,700, and a limited number of scholarships are available. For more information about the program or to request an application,  email mherris@miami.edu or call 305-284-5478. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, September 7.


Posted in For Your BenefitComments (0)

Get Fit at the Herbert Wellness Center With or Without a Membership

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (August 17, 2016)—The start of the fall semester brings opportunities to set new goals and get started on healthy lifestyle changes. At the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus, University employees can participate in a variety of programs and services that are offered throughout the year—without the need for a membership.

“Having a vision and setting goals are essential to living a healthy lifestyle,” explains Christina WooChing, who joined the Department of Wellness and Recreation in August as the wellness programs administrator. “If you want to make healthy lifestyle changes, setting a schedule early in the semester and sticking to it will help you reach your goals. Make it a social event by inviting colleagues and participating in our programs together.”

Non-members can enjoy engaging cooking classes as an award-winning cookbook author, Chef Robyn Webb, brings healthy living to the Herbert Wellness Center with her new two-part cooking series as well as stand-alone classes. Taste flavors from around the world and gain hands-on experience from a professional chef who has taught a wide variety of audiences.

“I teach real-life skills,” says Webb. ”You’ll learn the absolute best and necessary cooking techniques that you’ll have the rest of your life, whether you are a beginner or advanced.”

Learn more about the Herbert Wellness Center’s cooking classes by visiting miami.edu/wellness.

Also open to non-members of the facility are group instructional programs, including tennis, dance, martial arts, and youth and adult aquatics. With the exception of youth aquatics, a free week of these engaging and educational classes runs from September 6–12 for participants to try the wide range of classes and find which fits them best. Registration for these classes begins on Monday, August 29 and runs through Monday, September 12. Learn more about each class and how to register at miami.edu/wellness.

Pilates is a frequent favorite of University faculty and staff. A workout that focuses on strengthening the core and increasing flexibility, Pilates classes are available at the Herbert Wellness Center once or twice per week. Registration for these small group classes begins on Monday, August 29 and ends on Wednesday, September 7. Visit miami.edu/wellness for more information.

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start. The Herbert Wellness Center’s goals-focused infographic can help you find the perfect program for your fitness and wellness needs. Visit miami.edu/wellness for a complete list of programs and services available to those who do not have a membership to the facility.

“Both new and returning ’Canes alike can find the right programs for their fitness and wellness needs,” says Scott Levin, executive director for the Department of Wellness and Recreation. “We are proud to offer programs that support all fitness and ability levels. We want all ’Canes to say, ‘I found my fit at the Herbert Wellness Center!’”


Posted in For Your Benefit, Health and Lifestyle, NewsComments (0)

Mindful Living

This Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) seminar is offered monthly to explore the basic tenets of mindfulness, review the significance of mindful living, and guide participants through a mindfulness practice. Being mindful increases engagement with the present moment and allows for a clearer understanding of how thoughts and emotions impact our health and the quality of our lives. This month’s seminar will place emphasis on the attitude of “non-judgment.” Attend to awaken your innate capacity for mindful living and nurture a practice to positively inspire every facet of your life. This seminar will be facilitated by a UM FSAP consultant.

Miller School campus: Tuesday, August 30, 12-1 p.m., Dominion Tower, room 301C

Rosenstiel campus: Wednesday, August 31, 12-1 p.m., Library Media room

Coral Gables campus: Thursday, September 1, 12-1 p.m., McKnight Building, room 201AB

FSAP Health and Wellness seminars are offered as part of the University of Miami’s Well ’Canes Program. Register through ulearn.miami.edu. For help with ULearn registration, or to receive email announcements of upcoming seminars, please call the FSAP at 305-284-6604.



Posted in Events, For Your Benefit, Health and LifestyleComments (0)

  • Features
  • Tags
  • Popular
  • Subscribe
  • Subscribe to the Veritas RSS Feed
    Get updates to all of the latest Veritas posts by clicking the logo at the right.

    You can also subscribe to specific categories by browsing to a particular section on our site and clicking the RSS icon below each section's header.

UM Facebook

UM Twitter