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Articles: Human Resources

You might not know it when you recall all the faculty and staff layoffs of recent years, but according to a new report, the number of jobs in higher education continues to grow faster than overall U.S. employment. An analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by finds that the number of jobs in higher education grew 2.1 percent during Q2 2012, compared to growth of 1.4 percent for all U.S. jobs. A year earlier in Q2 2011, the number of higher education jobs grew 2.2 percent, compared to overall job growth of 1.0 percent.

Those at colleges and universities who have helped implement moneysaving safety programs offer some tips on how to begin persuading officials to get serious about safety. First, talk to all decision makers, including campus risk managers all the way up to vice chancellors.

Erike Young, director of Environmental Health & Safety at the University of California Office of the President, says whether the institution is self-insured like UC or part of an insurance pool, the institution’s insurance premiums can be reduced by working with its actuary.

For years, Kevin Confetti would perform a metaphoric scratching of the head. Thousands of work-related injuries were reported at the University of California’s 10 campuses and five medical centers, costing the system $25 million annually in workers’ compensation claims. As a workers’ compensation specialist for UC, he was responsible for payments to injured employees while they were off their feet.

Micki Meyer, director of community engagement, with David Lord, the donor of her endowed chair position

Rollins College (Fla.) recently hired a director of community engagement. While the position is not unusual, the funding for it might be. An alumnus gave a $1 million donation to endow the position. Donations from David Lord and his family helped establish and support the community engagement office through the years, so he knew the next logical step to expand the program was hiring a director, explains Joe Monti, director of foundation relations. This is the second endowed staff position at Rollins, the other being at their Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

Are the processes of recruiting, employee performance appraisals, recognition, and succession planning at your institution in separate pieces like a jigsaw puzzle? Or are they linked, forming one clear picture about your campus’s talent resources and needs?

Talent management software is helping campus HR professionals connect the pieces to develop a more accurate picture of employees’ abilities and skill gaps­—and in some cases even changing the way HR operates.

In June, 15 colleges and universities were recognized by the American Council on Education and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for innovative practices in supporting faculty before, during, and after their retirement transitions. The awards focused on efforts to support the development of a legacy for retiring faculty, help them transition into retirement, and keep faculty involved in the academic community during their retirement years.

Examples of the measures recognized include:

Administrators, faculty, and staff at Ohio U could opt to begin their "twilight years" early.

It’s an increasingly common move by campus officials during challenging economic times: voluntary retirement. Offering these incentives to faculty and staff provides a ready means of reducing personnel costs while not being seen as severe and traumatic as layoffs, salary reductions, and furloughs tend to be.

Although the details of such plans vary from one college to the next, they all rest on the potential for shrinking the workforce during times of static or declining budgets.

The fact that every campus has a human resources department could lead to inefficiencies within large university systems. Or at least that’s how officials at the University of California saw it. The system is consolidating routine payroll, benefits, leave management, and workforce administration functions from across 10 campuses at a single location near the Riverside campus.

Today’s financial aid director wears many hats: counselor, manager of budgets, supervisor, implementer of regulations, and keeper of data, to name a few. As the role of financial aid director has become increasingly complex and challenging, so has filling this position. A job posting could read something like a hybrid circus performer: juggler/tight-rope walker/magician with excellent communication, supervisory and financial management skills, and at least five years of experience in financial aid.

How much are your employees worth? The struggling economy has prompted many institutions to make serious changes in how staff and faculty are evaluated. While politicians claim education is the key to attracting quality jobs, millions of dollars have been slashed from higher education appropriations. Every budget dollar spent must be justified more than ever. Campus leaders have begun scrutinizing employee performance, and at some institutions uniform salary increases have been replaced with thorough evaluations that link pay to job performance.

The only consistency about cell phone policies for campus employees is that there isn’t any. Likewise, the level of human resources office involvement is as different as the kinds of cell phones or data plans that are available today. In some cases, cell phone policies are developed and implemented by IT or the business office. Other times, HR helps create the policy, then stands on the sidelines. Some schools don’t even have a policy, or don’t request HR’s participation at all.

What should HR leaders do? Should their department even have a role?

(Ed Note: The university and its executive vice president referred to in this story have asked to remain anonymous.)

Can a university use efficiency methods from the corporate world while staying true to its values?

That was the challenge facing The University’s executive vice president (EVP) and his team.

illustration of a professor behind a podium

Tenure-track positions at higher ed institutions are not always the most sought-after jobs on campus. At least, not lately.

University administrators are faced with many challenges, from better financial management to streamlining operations to staying competitive when it comes to attracting and retaining both staff and students.

For the majority of universities, talent management is a relatively untapped opportunity, and it offers both HR professionals and leaders of higher education institutions a proven and practical way to drive competitive advantage.

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that it will conduct an investigation into whether Penn State University failed to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act in regard to allegations of sexual misconduct on campus by a former Penn State football coach.