The Broncho Beat – October 2022 Issue

Feature Story: 2023 Open Enrollment

Sydney Wood, assistant director of Benefits and Communications

It’s that time of the year again! UCO’s annual benefits open enrollment is quickly approaching. For 2023, eligible faculty and staff can enroll from Monday, Oct. 17 to Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in medical, dental, vision and all other ancillary benefits for themselves and their dependents. All benefit-eligible faculty and staff MUST enroll or decline all benefits by Oct. 28, 2022, or they will not have medical, vision, dental or dependent coverage for 2023.

2023 will bring some significant changes with the overall goal of managing our health plan costs, while still providing quality options. The Benefits team, amongst other stakeholders across campus, heard from multiple different carriers this year. After much feedback from faculty and staff and thoroughly evaluating all options, the University is moving from Aetna to Healthcare Highways for medical, and from Aetna to Delta Dental for dental.

We believe Healthcare Highways will be the best partner for our long-term benefit goals and strategies. Healthcare Highways is known for creating health plans centered around a high-performing network of exceptional doctors, offering meaningful choices when it comes to affordable, quality care. Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans rely on them to sustainably lower healthcare costs, including over 15 Oklahoma hospital systems using Healthcare Highways’ medical networks for their employees’ health benefits. They do not cut costs by cutting corners — rather, it is by intentional contracting, carefully checking medical bills to make sure providers are not overcharging you and most importantly, by helping you stay healthy.

Below are some details about the changes:

  • The first dollar plan will no longer be offered. There will still be four plan options available—the $1,250-Sync, PHP-Sync, PHP-Plus and the HSA-Plus plan.
  • There are two networks available to choose from: the plus and sync. For those wanting to maintain their relationship with Mercy or other major providers, the plus plans are for you. This network is most similar to our 2022 Broad network but will include SSM Health. The sync network is similar to last year’s high-performance network, but we’re happy to announce it is more expansive. The Sync network will include Integris, OU Health, Norman Regional, McBride Orthopedic Hospital, amongst many more. Faculty and staff can find an extended list of providers on the People & Culture Hub. You can also search for providers on Healthcare Highways’ website.
  • The PHP-Sync plan was created to be a “family-friendly” plan after a large amount of feedback requesting such. We lowered the premiums for family coverage while also lowering the deductible/out-of-pocket max. Additionally, co-pays were added for non-preferred brand drugs, specialty drugs, specialist visits, urgent care visits, outpatient mental health visits and emergency room visits.  
  • While we are switching to Delta Dental, the plan options are staying fundamentally the same. If you like the plan you are on currently, then you will be able to select it again—this time with a wider range of in-network providers.

The Zero Card, MDSave, CVS, VSP vision plans and our extra voluntary plans with Hartford are here to stay for this year.

The UCO Benefits team will be hosting multiple events, including benefit fairs, open enrollment meetings and computer labs. The benefits fairs will be held this week on Oct. 5th and 6th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Heritage Room in the Nigh University Center. Faculty and Staff will be able to meet with our insurance partners for the 2023 plan year, including Healthcare Highways, Primary Health Partners, Hartford and more. For a full list of dates, times and location, visit the People & Culture Hub.

The best advice when it comes to picking insurance is to be informed. Every person is different, and so are their health needs. There is not one insurance plan that fits all, and it is important to evaluate which one fits your needs best. While we can’t tell you what plan to pick, the Benefits team is always available to educate and talk through all the options available. You can reach us at or (405) 974-2318. Alternatively, you can learn more about how benefits work at the Benefits 101 page on the People & Culture Hub.

Want to know more about the “why” behind switching medical carriers? We hosted a “State of Benefits” forum on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. The recording of the live stream is available here.

Get To Know a Broncho

David Ball, Title IX program specialist

What is your background? 

I am a second-generation Korean American. I was born in Japan and raised in Oklahoma. I received a bachelor’s in psychology here at UCO and discovered my passion for adult higher education during my time as an undergraduate.  

Tell me how you first got involved at UCO.  

As a UCO alum and the current Title IX Program Specialist, my student involvement began as a Project SPEAK educator in 2016. Being a Project SPEAK educator sparked my true passion for consent education and outreach. I hope to create meaningful and engaging programs for the UCO community. 

What would you say your strongest beliefs are about your contributions to the university? 

As the child of an immigrant, diversity, equity and inclusion have also been core values for me and reflected through my involvement with UCO. This was a motivating factor that led me to assist in spearheading the creation of UCO’s Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Faculty and Staff Association (FSA).

What do you do when you are not working? 

When I am not working, you can find me spending time with family and friends.  

Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Certification Forms

Wanda Edmundson, HR operations supervisor

If you are participating in the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness program and require employment certification, please submit your form(s) to Human Resources. Forms can be submitted to us via email at or in person between the hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Due to the potential high volume of requests, please allow 3-5 business days for your form to be completed and returned.

Continuous Cultural Competence Learning Experiences

Cristi Moore, inclusion strategist

The Office of Inclusive Community has curated a variety of excellent diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging, intercultural and social justice learning opportunities. Be sure to complete your three learning opportunities before the end of the year. Follow these instructions below to record your completion status.

Step One

Participate in a learning experience of your choosing which centers diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, or social/environmental justice. A selection of learning experiences are provided as a starting point. However, you are free to choose any learning experience so long as it meets one or more of the Continuous Cultural Competence learning objectives.

Step Two

Log into the UCO Learning Center and access the Continuous Cultural Competence section on the Annual Required Trainings webpage. Select the first module titled, 1. Continuous Cultural Competence Free Choice Learning Experience, and complete it based on the learning experience with which you engaged. This quick module asks for details of the learning experience you selected along with one lesson learned.

Step Three

Select another appropriate learning experience and complete the second module in the Learning Center titled, 2. Continuous Cultural Competence Free Choice Learning Experience, based on your participation in that learning experience. Now repeat one more time. You will end up completing one module per learning experience for a total of three modules.

*Please note if you participate in a learning experience that is three or more hours long (such as a conference or book group), you may use the details of that one experience to complete all three of the Free Choice Learning Experience modules.

Title IX October Events

David Ball, Title IX Program Specialist

The UCO Title IX office has several events planned during the month of October for the Central community.

These events include:

  • Title IX Table in NUC: Visit members of the Title IX office from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, on the second floor of the Nigh University Center;
  • Coffee Conversation: Enjoy coffee and making connections from 9:30 -10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and Friday, Oct. 28, in the Max Chambers Library, Room 414; and,
  • Lunch and Learn: The Title IX office will host a lunch and learn from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, in the HES Virginia Lamb Living Room.

Title IX Community

Benefitting the Women’s Research Center & BGLTQ+ Student Center (The Center). Title IX will be collecting menstrual products for The Center throughout the month of October.


  • Pads
  • Tampons
  • Panty Liners
  • Menstrual Cups

Drop-off Locations

  • Title IX Office, LIB 414
  • Office of Diversity & Inclusion, NUC 136
  • Student Involvement Center, NUC 141
  • Wellness Center Lobby
  • The Center, Thatcher Hall 106

Be a Title IX Decision Maker and Procedural Advisor

The UCO Office of Title IX has re-opened the opportunity for faculty and staff to serve as decision-makers and procedural advisors for Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. Procedural advisors assist students throughout a Title IX case by advising on the process, preparing for the formal hearing or informal resolution, and participating in the hearing.

Decision-makers serve on a hearing or appeal panel to decide the outcome of a case by reviewing evidence and asking questions of the involved parties, witnesses, and investigator.

Faculty and staff interested in serving will be required to participate in a 90-minute introductory training session and will be provided the opportunity to participate in several 30-minute training sessions throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Sign up:

For questions and additional information contact Title IX Program Specialist David Ball at or by visiting the Office of Title IX’s website.

TechCorner: The Integrity and Security of Data Begins with You

Amanda Keesee, manager of academic technology & training

Higher education lives by the data it gathers. Everything from enrollment rates, to graduation numbers, recruitment information and dollars spent, higher education institutions use data to make decisions that affect the lives of the students and employees on a daily basis. Having confidence in the integrity of the data and consistent access to that data is vital to ensuring processes across the university is able to run and thrive in an increasingly turbulent atmosphere.

Because of this, Data Governance has become a hot topic across the higher education landscape and is something that employees at the University of Central Oklahoma can expect to become a core piece of the day-to-day processes of the university in the future. It is a vital component of any overall data management strategy but what exactly is Data Governance and what does it have to do with you?

Data governance is everything you do to ensure data is secure, private, accurate, available and usable. It includes the actions people must take, the processes they must follow and the technology that supports them throughout the data lifecycle.

Data governance means setting internal standards—data policies—that apply to how data is gathered, stored, processed and disposed of. It governs who can access what kinds of data and what kinds of data are under governance. Data governance also involves complying with external standards set by industry associations, government agencies and other stakeholders. Source

Having solid standards, effective processes and increased security can sound more like a barrier to data management than a benefit; when in fact, putting these pieces into place means the university will have better access, more quickly and more readily to the types of data needed to make accurate and timely decisions. Additionally, with strong data governance, you can manage risk to data security more easily through proper authorization preventing outside forces from accessing personal data or even insiders from accessing data they don’t have the right to see.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and is the perfect time to begin thinking about the data you have access to, the ways in which you interact with that data and the steps you are taking to keep both your personal and the university’s data secure. OIT will be providing opportunities throughout the month for you to learn more about staying cyber-aware and will have increased opportunities to attend the annual required Cybersecurity training offered both in-person and on-demand in the UCO Learning Center.

You will begin hearing more about Data Governance at UCO over the coming months. OIT invites you to actively participate in regular discussions about data security, privacy and access with those in your units and to reach out to the UCO Information Security team if you have questions or concerns about the data in your area.

The Wellness Program

The Wellness Program at the University of Central Oklahoma is dedicated to improving the overall health and well-being of individuals both on campus and in our community through encouraging healthy lifestyle choices such as physical activity, healthy eating and social interactions. Improving the health of UCO faculty and staff increases productivity and retention, while decreasing absenteeism and medical costs.

Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of all types of chronic diseases, increase productivity, improve happiness and reduce turnover, which is why UCO supports physical activity as part of the workweek.

UCO physical activity benefits provides two hours of working time each week to participate in physical activity, dependent upon supervisor and department approval. In addition to physical activity time, UCO encourage faculty and staff members and their supervisors to:

  • Allowing flexible work arrangement for paid physical activity time;
  • Utilizing free access to the UCO Wellness Center including group fitness classes;
  • Encouraging walking meetings;
  • Implementing activity breaks for meetings longer than one hour; and,
  • Developing teamwork centered physical activity opportunities.

Check out the UCO Wellness Center group fitness class schedule here.

Directory of Talent and Skill

The directory of talent and skill is a source of external products and services provided by UCO faculty and staff off the clock. We have several faculty and staff who use their talents outside of their role here at UCO. We have crafters, makers, freelancers, designers and more. You may view the list on the Hub.

Do you have a product or service you provide outside of work? If so, would you like for other UCO faculty and staff to be aware? Email to inquire about adding your name and product/service to the directory. 


Brittany Tremblay, administrative assistant III, Global Affairs

I’d like to give a Kudos to Theresa Smith in the Compliance Office. Theresa has such a positive attitude and is always willing to lend a helping hand. I recently had to fill out my first requisition request and Theresa took time out of her day to walk me through the entire process, she was also incredibly patient and encouraging the entire time.

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Deer Oaks EAP

National Hispanic Heritage Month, also known as LatinX Heritage Month, is celebrated each year in the United States from Sept. 15th through Oct. 15th. It celebrates the cultural heritage and achievements of Hispanic-Americans (i.e. those whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America). This year’s theme is Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation. Communities across the nation will celebrate in various ways. For listings of celebrations in your area, check your local college and university campuses, your children’s schools and local news stations. Below are some links that give further resources, history and listings of national festivals and educational activities that you may be interested in.

National Celebrations, Events, and Resources

This U.S. government sites lists all the federally sponsored virtual and in-person events for Hispanic Heritage Month:

Good, Good, Good—”23 Activities to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (2022)”:

U.S. State Department—”Hispanic Heritage Month 2022″:

The White House—”A Proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Month, 2022″:

Boys & Girls Clubs of America—”6 Ways to Celebrate Hispanic & Latino Heritage Month”:

Good Housekeeping—”Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month”:

The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month:

Hispanic Heritage Month educational resources and toolkits can be found at

Deer Oaks EAP Monthly Newsletter

All UCO faculty and staff have access to the EAP through Deer Oaks. The EAP provides free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, prevention and education services for you, dependents living at home or elsewhere and anyone who lives in your household. View the monthly newsletter on the Hub.