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Staff Senate Newsletter • Feb. 5, 2021


Mandatory Ethics and Standards of Conduct Training

On Feb. 1, all faculty, staff and student employees received an automated email message containing a direct link to the mandatory Ethics and Standards of Conduct training module in the Bridge Learning Management System. This automated message is the best way to directly access the online training. Alternatively, you can access the training through UNT Bridge.

As a reminder to supervisors, please be sure that all your staff – including your student employees – complete the training. It is important that we encourage them to do this as soon as possible. Supervisors should be able to log into the Bridge system to determine if your direct reports have completed the ethics and standards of conduct training. If you discover team members listed who no longer work for you, please off-board them through Human Resources to have them removed from your team’s list.

The training must be completed within the next 60 days.

If you have questions or encounter difficulty accessing the training, visit the Navigating UNT Bridge site or reach out to the training team with questions by email at

Picture of COVID-19 vaccine in bottleCOVID-19 Information: All ERS Health Plans Fully Cover Vaccination

The Employee's Retirement System of Texas encourages everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it made available to you. For information on when and where you can get a COVID-19 vaccination, contact your health plan, primary care provider, other health care provider or the county links below. You may register to receive the vaccine in any county, not just the one you live in. The Texas Department of State Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more information.

Picture of white service dog on green backgroundBlind/Visually Impaired Faculty/Staff Training

The first Blind/Visually Impaired Training for this semester will be held on Feb. 8 at 10 a.m. and the second will be on Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Register for the trainings now and contact Jessica Stone for questions or more information.

Picture of white hands using sign language on green backgroundd/Deaf Connect Faculty/Staff Training

The next d/Deaf Connect Faculty/Staff Trainings will be on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and Feb. 18 from 3 – 5 p.m. Please contact for questions and register for the trainings in advance.

A Seat at the Table: A Black queer and trans perspective - Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. via ZoomA Seat at the Table

Join the UNT Multicultural Center and UNT Pride Alliance on Feb. 10 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. for a conversation around the intersections of being a member of the Black community and the LGBTIA+ community. UNT and Dallas-Fort Worth community leaders will take the virtual stage and share their experiences and insights regarding current events and future directions. Register now for this Zoom event.

First Chair Chats: A Digital Music Collective Series @ UNT Libraries logoFirst Chair Chats

Music libraries and schools have been responding to the increasing interest in video game music and sound production. In this extended episode of First Chair Chats, our invited experts will explore topics about the history of video game music, collection management and cataloging in music libraries, designing with accessibility in mind, the players perspective, composition techniques, teaching video game music composition and sound design, and working in the industry. We invite attendees to ask questions throughout the event. Attend First Chair Chats virtually on Feb. 11 from 1 – 4 p.m.

Picture of relationship word cloud in the shape of a heartBlack History Month: A Thin Line: Relationship Building in the Black Community

Join the Multicultural Center and Black Student Union for this Black History Month event, covering the importance of healthy relationships in the Black community. They'll discuss topics and current trends including long-term relationships, dating, situationships, and even entanglements with a licensed relationship therapist! This will be an engagement you don't want to miss! Register now for this event on Feb. 11 from 6 – 8 p.m.

AHA: At Home Academy LogoAt Home Academy: Let’s Talk About Retirement Savings

Mary Atkins, UNT Human Resource’s Retirement Specialist, will share information about the voluntary retirement savings plan benefits available to UNT employees. This “best kept secret” is a benefit that you can easily use to start saving to supplement your retirement plan income. All employees are invited to attend the Staff Senate At Home Academy events. Please sign up in advance and use your UNT email address to register.

2021 Equity & Diversity Conference

2021 UNT Equity & Diversity Conference: Facing the Future Together - Allies, Accomplices & ActionTo ensure the safety of the attendees this year, the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity will partner with the North Texas Community College Consortium to deliver the 2021 Equity & Diversity Conference presented by Hilti entirely through Zoom. This year, they are excited to offer:

  • Increased conference capacity
  • Keynote speaker Jeff Chang
  • Presentation of the Inclusive Excelence Award winner to UNT Libraries
  • Continuation of both coporate and academic conference tracks
  • Virtual all-day networking room
  • Access to all workshop recordings with registration

Workshop topics range from bias awareness to self-care to workplace climate. You can see a full list of workshops, the schedule at-a-glance, and learn more about keynote speaker Jeff Chang on the brand-new conference website! The registration deadline is Feb. 16.

Follow all things 2021 Equity & Diversity Conference with the official conference hashtag #EDC21atUNT or tweet your commitment to expanding your diversity, equity, and inclusion knowledge!

Unlikely Allies in the Academy: Join Racial Reconciliation Dialogue Series Unlikely Allies in the Academy

The fourth cohort of the Unlikely Allies Series starts Summer 2021! In order to participate, you are required to engage with the Unlikely Allies in the Academy informational session video through UNT Bridge, which is 90-minutes and pre-recorded. You will then have the option to sign up for a live Q&A session with the facilitators and previous participants. Diversity & Inclusion staff will reach out with further details on how you can join the fourth cohort after you engage with the informational session video in UNT Bridge. For urgent questions, contact

UNT OLLI: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North TexasOLLI Learning

In case you missed the news, OLLI at UNT's virtual spring semester began Monday, and when you buy one membership, you can get another half off. Courses, which are designed for adults age 50 and over, cover areas like health and mental health, history, music and more. And you'll notice some familiar UNT names among the teachers. Check the spring catalog.

Benefit-Enhancing Changes to TexFlex (flexible spending plan)

Due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, the following enhancements to the TexFlex spending accounts have been announced, effective immediately:

  • The annual carryover limit for TexFlex accounts has been temporarily removed
    • All unused funds from plan year 2020 will carry over to plan year 2021, with no limit to the amount that can be carried over
    • No action needed on your part – you’ll be notified by Wageworks when your carryover is completed/updated in your account
    • Previous carryover limit was $500
  • More time to use your funds after you leave employment (or stop contributing to the plan)
    • If you stop contributing/leave employment before the end of plan year 2021, you can continue to incur claims for reimbursement until August 31, 2021
  • You can now make changes to your elections without a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) if you are currently participating in TexFlex
    • For plan year 2021, increase or decrease your amount (or end your enrollment) but not below what you’ve already contributed (if you’ve already contributed $300 via paycheck contribution, you can’t reduce your amount below that)
  • For the dependent care flexible spending account:
    • Submit dependent care claims for children up to age 14
    • If you enrolled in the dependent care flexible spending account before January 31, 2020 and had a qualifying dependent who turned (or will turn) 13 during the 2020 or 2021 plan years, you can submit claims for that child until they turn 14. (Previously, could only claim for children 13 or under.)

Call ERS at 877-275-4377 to make changes to your account. More information about flexible spending account benefits can be found at

Microsoft Cortana logoCortana – Get to Know This Time-Saving Tech Tool

Have you noticed those “Cortana: Your Daily Briefings” emails in your inbox each morning? The next time you see that Cortana email in your inbox, take a second to check out how you can put this handy, easy-to-use tech tool to use for you. Have tips to share? Email HR about how you use Cortana and other (free) productivity tools to make your work week smoother sailing.

Take Advantage of Preventive Services

Early detection is the best medicine to help find undiagnosed medical problems. Now more than ever is the time to take advantage of the HealthSelect preventive screenings. Learn more about your family's check list of services.

Join Us at Our Next Meeting!

Meetings are open to all UNT staff members. The next meeting will be held on Feb. 9, 2021 at 3 p.m

For meeting agendas, minutes and recordings, please visit the Agendas and Minutes page

Contact Us!

If you have an article, announcement or suggestion relating to this newsletter, email to have it included.