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Articles: Human Resources

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.

  • Tim Jordan has been named vice chancellor and chief financial officer at Antioch University (Ohio). He has served in finance-related capacities with Antioch for almost 30 years, most recently as the vice president for finance and administration at Antioch University New England (N.H.).

Does being an executive-level higher ed administrator “pay off” in perks? Presidents and chancellors, at least, may well think it does.

For the first time, administrators responding to CUPA-HR’s annual “Administrators in Higher Education Salary Survey” were asked if they received any of five “executive-only” benefits—housing, car/car allowance, club membership, deferred compensation program, and performance-based incentive opportunities.

In her role as web manager and assistant director of institutional marketing at Elms College (Mass.), Karolina Kilfeather routinely relies on student workers to help carry the department’s workload.  She has found that while they may make valuable contributions, students often pose special management challenges.

Although many campuses are tobacco-free, it would be rare to find 100 percent compliance among staff, faculty, and students. There are usually a handful of smokers huddled together in a corner, puffing away.

“We try to tell people to spread the word in a respectful way, to be friendly, be positive, and not forget you’re talking to a fellow employee or student,” says Patrick Hennessey, a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for a tobacco-free campus at Westchester Community College (N.Y.). The campus’ ban took effect Sept. 1, 2012.

More than 1,130 U.S. higher ed institutions have implemented smoke-free campus policies, and the number is expected to climb, according to the organization Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. The University of California can soon be added to the list.  Starting in 2014, each of its 10 campuses will be tobacco-free, says UC, Riverside spokesperson Kris Lovekin. To promote a campus event relating to the annual Great American Smokeout this past November, student affairs staff distributed zombie-themed cards modeling an app developed by the American Cancer Society.