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Articles: Human Resources

Higher ed leaders are enhancing orientations to bring adjuncts to campus who are more likely to improve student outcomes.

An email from the department chair with a building and classroom number, a schedule, a syllabus, and instructions for getting a parking permit is about all the orientation many adjuncts receive before arriving on campus to teach their first class. It’s no wonder many of them don’t assimilate into campus.

  1. Pay adjuncts for attending the orientation session
  2. Invite adjuncts on staff to participate
  3. Allow a range of campus departments to make presentations
  4. Give campus tours
  5. Host a getting-acquainted meal
  6. Provide online sessions for convenience and review

As leaders at some institutions have realized, it’s not enough to offer just an orientation for adjuncts. Additional training and support after the initial orientation has ended is good practice. For example, at National Louis University in Illinois, Linda Kryzak launched the Post-Training Café in March 2013 as an online forum for faculty members to support one another and share ideas.

Sidney A. Ribeauis leaving Howard University after five years in office.

On Oct. 1, Howard University (D.C.) President Sidney A. Ribeau announced his retirement from the historically black college after five years in office. He will leave the presidency at the end of December.

Ribeau signed a contract extension just this summer to serve until June 2015. Speculation is that debate over the health of the university and Ribeau’s management of it may be why he has stepped down suddenly. Alumnus Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard’s former provost and chief academic officer, has been named interim president.

Katherine Bergeron, currently the dean of Brown University, moves to Connecticut College on Jan. 1.

The Connecticut College Board of Trustees has selected Katherine Bergeron, currently the dean of Brown University, as the 11th president of the college. She will take office Jan. 1, succeeding Leo I. Higdon Jr., who will retire in December after seven years there.

Subordinated and marginalized. That’s how faculty of color at community colleges are feeling.

Strong management rights

  • Do insist upon a management clause that grants your school operational flexibility, ranging from the ability to assign jobs to enforcing reasonable work rules.

Think outside the box. The phrase is overused, but the actual practice is definitely underutilized. Yet, it still ranks among the most important tips for higher ed HR professionals who are involved in union negotiations.

Creativity is what moved negotiations forward nearly three years ago at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Ore., recalls Art Doherty, now HR director at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande.

Effective succession plans require more than just leadership development programs. How can higher ed officials make that happen? Consider the following ideas from Chris Cullen, managing director of the higher education practice at Infinia Group, a brand strategy and design agency in Washington, DC.

Develop a system that monitors employee innovation. “There is a myth that pleasing your immediate supervisor is the pathway to replacing him or her,” says Cullen. “The reality is that innovation and demonstrated creativity is the pathway to advancement.”

Succession planning is moving from the private sector to higher education administration.

Zero. Zip. Zilch.

That’s what college president Don Cameron found after searching the internet back in 1996 for colleges with succession plans. Surprisingly, not much has changed, since such programs are still not common within higher ed institutions.

Job listings for Ph.D.'s in the social sciences and humanities continue to recover from low points hit during the Great Recession, says a new report from the American Sociological Association.

Listing for positions in two disciplines, sociology and communications, have even surpassed pre-Recession peaks, according to “On the Road to Recovery: Findings from the ASA 2012-2013 Job Bank Survey.”

HR professionals at colleges or universities readily admit that institutional history is important. But not every school is taking steps to capture it.

This is especially important now as more baby boomers retire, walking out the front door with 30 or more years of institutional knowledge and experience. Preserving that knowledge and making it accessible to faculty, staff, and students is critical. After all, how can officials know where the institution is headed if they don’t know where it’s been?

The prospect of employees with more money to invest, easier-to-understand investment options, more personalized customer service, and lower fees has colleges and universities rethinking their retirement plans and moving toward a single retirement services vendor.

Fidelity suggests the following actions for higher education plan sponsors:
1. Target employee and employer contributions totaling 10 percent to 15 percent of an employee’s annual salary to increase retirement readiness.
2. Administer a combined benefits plan of contribution and employer match to increase total contributions, employee engagement, and potentially lower costs.
3. Use employer match to increase voluntary participation rates and employee contributions.

Chances are, your institution is or may soon be recruiting for leadership positions, such as president, chancellor, or vice president. At Alfred University (N.Y.), for example, the search is underway for a new provost, and within the next five years, the institution plans to recruit two vice presidents and a president, says Mark Guinan, HR director at the private university, which supports approximately 1,000 employees and 2,300 students.