Steps Already Taken
From: Final Report, November 2004
From the beginning, our task force
has been eager to identify, propose, and support improvements
in programs and policies that could be implemented before
we completed our work. Over the past year, more than
a dozen significant steps have been taken to enhance the
health and well being of students, faculty, and staff. These
steps have included the following:
Student Health Plan (SHP)
- Effective this fall, the SHP prescription drug plan was
improved by eliminating the claims process. This makes
the plan comparable to the University’s faculty/staff
plan. Instead of paying out-of-pocket for prescription
drugs and then submitting a claim for reimbursement, students
now have a $100 deductible and then pay only a small co-pay
for each prescription.
- Effective this fall, the deductible for medical coverage
was reduced from $250 to $200.
- Effective last year, well-baby coverage under the plan
was significantly improved and eligibility for coverage
under the plan was extended to same-sex partners.
University Health Services (UHS)
- Last year the Priorities Committee provided almost $110,000
in additional funding for support staff personnel (1.89
FTEs); this amount was later modestly supplemented by the
provost to add roughly another .14 FTE to expand psychiatric
- Effective October 1, 2004, all faculty and staff (and
their household members) have access to a 24-hour-a-day,
7-day-a-week Employee Assistance and Work/Life Counseling
program, at no cost to them, through Carebridge, a company
with extensive experience in providing these kinds of services. There
also will be a counselor on campus eight hours a week. We
discuss this program in greater detail later in our report.
- Effective January 2005, all University employee health
care plans will expand coverage for mental health visits
from 24 to 50 per year; will expand coverage for physical
therapy, occupational therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation
therapy from 20 to 30 visits; and will expand eligibility
for mammogram coverage.
- The amount available under the Staff Educational Assistance
Plan, which helps staff members pay tuition and fees
for courses they take toward an undergraduate or graduate
degree, was increased from $3,000 a year to the federal
limit of $5,250 a year.
- The Excelling at Princeton program that was launched
last year to provide bi-weekly staff members with opportunities
to work with an instructor from Mercer County Community
College to develop their skills has been extended and expanded. The
University covers the costs of the program and pays for
released time so members of the staff can participate.
- On October 19 the Dean of the Faculty announced the creation
of a dependent child care fund to cover costs of dependent
child care for full, associate, and assistant professors
who are attending learned society meetings, other conferences,
workshops, and professional development opportunities.
- Building Services identified more than 70 steps to improve
cleanliness and make long-deferred repairs in all areas
of Dillon Gym. Some have already been completed or are
under way, while all others have been prioritized and will
be reviewed as part of the major maintenance process.
- The University agreed not to increase the faculty/staff
permit fee for Dillon in 2004-05 so the task force could
continue considering a fee scale based on ability to
- Last year Dining Services began making extensive information
about nutrition available on-line.
- Last spring the task force recommended that the underutilized
Frist Beverage Lab be converted into a Healthy Eating Lab
featuring entrees that are high in nutrients and vitamins
but low in fat and calories and that it provide demonstrations
about preparing healthy foods. This fall, the Frist
Healthy Eating Lab opened, offering soup, salad, sushi, and
other healthy options to students, faculty, and staff who
have been patronizing the lab in growing numbers (now over
400 customers a day). The lab has already added evening
hours to its initial lunchtime schedule.
- Last January we reported that Alison Nelson, manager
of benefits and compensation in the Office of Human Resources,
had been designated as the University’s coordinator
for child care matters on an interim basis. She continues
to serve in that role.
- Last April we reported that the University had removed
any limitation on the support that could be awarded to
graduate students by the University League Nursery School
from funds that the University provides for scholarship
fall we clarified that these funds could be used to assist
families in the part-day as well as the full-day program. As
a result of these changes, the School was able to provide
almost $24,000 in scholarship support to University families,
as compared to only about $6,000 a year ago.
- As reported in April, the provost’s office reserved
one slot per class (a total of six slots) for this year at
the U-Now Nursery School for University families who arrived
too late to participate in the School’s regular application
While we are very pleased that so many significant steps
have already been taken, there is much more that needs to
be done if Princeton is to address the needs we were asked
to examine and live up to the principles we propose at the
beginning of this report. The agenda we present below
is extensive and ambitious. We recognize that a number
of our proposals require additional work or substantial resources
before they can go forward, and that everything we propose
cannot happen at once. At the same time, we hope that
the University will take as many steps as it can as quickly
as it can. We turn now to our final set of recommendations.