President Knapp Names Co-Chairs of Benefits Task Force

Sara Rosenbaum, Erica Hayton will lead faculty and staff representatives to examine benefits.

President Knapp Names Co-Chairs of Benefits Task Force
(William Atkins/GW Today)
January 09, 2015
George Washington University President Steven Knapp announced the co-chairs of a new task force charged with reviewing the university’s benefits at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting. 
Sara Rosenbaum, founding chair of the Milken Institute School of Public Health’s department of health policy, and Erica Hayton, director of benefits strategy for human resources, will lead a group made up of a medical resident, six faculty members and six staff representatives.
Ms. Rosenbaum is also the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy.  With her expertise in health policy and Ms. Hayton’s understanding of benefits at the university, the task force is well-positioned to navigate the rising costs of health care and review how GW benefits compare to peer institutions, Dr. Knapp said.
“I think it’s a strong group that we’re assembling, and we’re looking forward to the results,” Dr. Knapp said.
He unveiled plans to establish the task force during last month’s Faculty Senate meeting. The task force, he explained, will examine trade-offs among health, tuition and retirement benefits and between benefits and salaries. He formed the task force in response to feedback about the university’s decision to change its tuition remission policy in January.
“There was a sense that the consultation was too narrow, and we want to have a broader consultation process,” he said. 
Dr. Knapp said the task force will come up with short-term recommendations on May 1 and long-term recommendations on Dec. 1.  These recommendations will be shared with the Benefits Advisory Committee (BAC), a separate committee that provides ongoing feedback about the full range of benefits to the university’s Human Resources and Benefits Administration. 
At last month’s meeting, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution that would allow staff members employed before Dec. 31, 2014, to grandfather into tuition benefit policies that were available when they were originally hired. In his remarks on Friday, Faculty Senate Executive Committee Chair Charles Garris said discussions regarding the proposal have occurred among the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the university administration, but “there is no progress to report.”
Sociology Professor Gregory Squires asked whether the new task force would discuss the possibility of expanding the university’s pool of funds allocated for compensation.
“That’s a whole trade-off question. If you increase one pool, what do you take away from?  What we really need to make sure we focus on is that we have the right trade-offs to begin with,” Dr. Knapp said.