January 20, 2005

"Cougar News" student newspaper to begin publication

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Columbus State will have a student-produced newspaper, which will be written, edited, designed and photographed by students, and printed by the Ohio State University Lantern Press, which will sell advertising to support the publication.

Bob Stein, instructor in Technical Communications, will serve as faculty advisor to the Cougar News, working with students in his mass media and special topics classes to write weekly news and feature stories for the paper. The first edition of the paper is expected to be distributed February 2.

"I kept thinking that it would be nice if the stories and articles my students wrote in their classes could be published, and couldn't understand why there wasn't a student-produced newspaper on campus," said Stein. "It took quite a while, but the students were so enthusiastic and willing--I managed to get approval for the project to proceed starting this quarter. The students are very excited."

Technical Communications, Communication Skills and English classes at Columbus State each offer courses that deal with mass communications and news writing, so the new Cougar News will offer students the opportunity to fill out portfolios and resumes with bylined articles. Design and photography will be coordinated by adjunct instructor Jennifer Poleon, working with students in Graphic Communications and Multimedia Production.

Because the advertising supports the cost of printing the newspaper, the Cougar News will not cost Columbus State anything to publish. The newspaper will be distributed on campus at various points of entry to buildings. Advertising can be purchased in Cougar News by contacting The Lantern at (614) 292-2031, extension 42158. A reduced column-inch rate is available to Columbus State departments, and advertisers who buy ads to appear in both The Lantern and Cougar News will receive an additional discount.

The Cougar News will not replace the Student Activities Department's Statement newsletter, an in-house publication that will continue to list announcements and notices to students on a weekly basis.  

If you have a story idea for the students producing Cougar News, contact student editor Matt Lester at   email mlester1@student.cscc.edu to submit your idea for consideration.

Health care costs impact local employers

Virtually every week you can read any newspaper or magazine and come across an article about the rising cost of health care in America. According to a survey conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Families USA, Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, and the Ohio Family Coverage Coalition, health care premiums increased 35.9 percent between 2000 and 2004. While average earnings rose by only 12.4 percent, health care premiums have increased 2.8 times as much as worker's wages .

Family health premiums for working Americans ballooned from $7,028 in 2000 to $9,320 in 2004, with the amount paid by workers rising from $1,433 to $1,947.  

So, what does all this mean for you as a health care consumer and as a Columbus State employee?

As the concept of health insurance coverage continues to evolve due to these rising costs, employers, including Columbus State, are looking at new plan designs that will ensure affordable health care plans continue to be an option for employees. In order to do this, according to Business First 's quarterly Business Watch survey of Central Ohio executives, Columbus companies are redesigning their health care plans, switching insurance vendors, increasing worker co-payments and deductibles, as well as negotiating insurance contracts. Employers also are examining plans that will have employees becoming consumers in managing their health care and expenses associated with it. These consumer driven plans are called Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which we will describe, in further detail in subsequent articles.

Currently, college officials and the College Healthcare Committee are investigating various options that are available. Watch the Update news service for information on the findings and health care plan options that will be available for the next open enrollment in May 2005.

Julie Sullivan named January Staff Employee of the Month

Julie Sullivan, advisor in the Student Support Services program, part of the federally funded TRIO programs, has been named January Staff Employee of the Month.  

Sullivan is responsible for counseling students about academic issues and financial aid, as well as personal and career issues. She works with low-income, first-generation and disabled college students who qualify for these services.

Dale Gresson, also an advisor in Student Support Services, nominated Julie for the award because, "She has developed a sense of trust (with her students) that allows them to share situations that might have otherwise forced them to drop out of school. Because of the efforts of Julie, students find themselves attending classes the next quarter."

Sullivan received a plaque, a certificate and $100 in recognition of her award.

Do you know a staff employee who has gone above and beyond their job description and deserves recognition? Submit a nomination for Staff Employee of the Month to the Human Resources Department. Nomination forms are available on the Intranet in the section entitled "Forms" under Resources.


Instructional Technologies Institute Offers New Seminars for Winter Quarter

The Instructional Technologies Institute (ITI), a centralized location for education and training on methods for teaching online classes, technology development, and instructional technologies, is offering a new slate of seminars for Winter Quarter. The classes include: Blackboard, GroupWise, Web/Multimedia, Microsoft Office, Web Savvy, and Teaching with Technology classes.

A discussion board section has also been added to the ITI site that will allow faculty and staff to use discussion board technology to post questions, ideas, and general information related to a variety of topics on technologies used at Columbus State. The discussion board will be available February 1.

For more information or to register for an ITI seminar, visit the website at http://global.cscc.edu/2iti . If you have any questions about ITI, contact Paul J. Owens at pjowens@cscc.edu , or extension 5667.

Help for pearly whites

Would you like to improve your smile? Do you need your teeth cleaned, whitened or need x-rays? Columbus State's Dental Hygiene students can help.

If you're interested in quality cleaning, x-rays, whitening, fluoride or sealants, call the OSU Dental Clinic at 614-292-2751 and ask for an appointment with a CSCC student. Appointments are available from 4:45 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. Monday through Thursday with all sessions held at the OSU Dental Clinic. Dental insurance plans, including Medicaid, are accepted.

Depending on the health of your mouth, one or more appointments may be needed.

GED students to be recognized

The Communication Skills Department will hold a recognition ceremony January 28 for GED students who have completed an essay contest that began on Make a Difference Day last fall.

"Envisioning Possibilities: A Writing Workshop and Essay Contest for GED Students" will culminate in the awarding of several scholarships for the writers of the winning essays. The ceremony will be held Friday, January 28, from 7-9 p.m. in the West Student Lounge in Nestor Hall. The ceremony and reception are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Deborah Bertsch in the Communication Skills Department, extension 5860.

HR memo lists payroll dates and deadlines

The following is a copy of the letter all employees received attached to paychecks on January 14. The memo was sent as a reminder to keep these important dates in mind.

Our goal every pay period is to make sure our employees receive their paychecks, and that those paychecks are both timely and accurate.  Every employee on campus is critical to the successful achievement of this goal. Toward this end, we ask you to be prompt about submitting leave request forms, payroll actions and time cards.   Supervisors, in turn, should submit those forms to the Human Resources Payroll Team in a timely manner. Dates by which we need these items to ensure accurate compensation on the upcoming payroll appear in the chart below. The college pays employees on the 15th and the last day of each month. We provide the calendar below as a tool for your use during this quarter. It will be updated every quarter and published in the electronic version of Update .

Timecards/Payroll Action Forms Due


January 18, 2005

January 31, 2005

February 1, 2005

February 15, 2005

February 16, 2005

February 28, 2005

March 1, 2005

March 15, 2005

March 16, 2005

March 31, 2005

April 1, 2005

April 15, 2005

April 18, 2005

April 29, 2005

If forms are not submitted by these dates, employees' paychecks may be short of what they are due, or a paycheck may be missed and will need to be paid on a subsequent payroll. Please note that special paychecks will be issued only in cases of "extreme hardship," a circumstance that will need the approval of the Cabinet member who oversees the division.

Ensuring our employees are paid timely and accurately is a process that requires each of our attention. We appreciate your collaboration in this effort to ensure the Payroll Team can promptly and accurately pay the College's employees. Thank you.