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Human Resources and Provost Relationship Explored by LVAIC Higher Education Leaders Institute

February 26, 2020, @ 4:10 PM

In the most recent session of the LVAIC Higher Education Leaders Institute, participants gathered to explore human resources challenges and what this position means for the leadership of a college or university. The group gathered on Friday, February 14 at Moravian College for a session led by Carol Traupman-Carr, Vice Provost at Moravian College, and Jon Conrad, Vice President of Human Resources at Moravian College.

To begin the session, the presenters offered an overview of their journeys to their current roles, as each presenter in the LVAIC Higher Education Leaders Institute begins each session. This led to explaining the role of Human Resources in higher education, specifically as it relates to hiring and managing faculty versus staff. At Moravian College, the role of Human Resources reports directly to the President. In colleges and universities, this role is responsible for:

  • Finding and Attracting Talent
  • Retaining and Rewarding Talent
  • Placing and Aligning Talent
  • Staff and Faculty Development, Compliance training.
  • Disseminating information to all employees (broadly defined) about employment policies, procedures, opportunities
  • Offering a safe place for confidential discussions.
  • Assisting with employee relationships – peer to peer, peer to supervisor, supervisor to peer — where things might not be going smoothly

At some institutions, this means reporting directly to the President. At other institutions, this role reports up through the Chief Financial Officers. In others situations, the role stands separately or is outsourced. Still in other scenarios, it works with Legal, Payroll, or Administration through combined departments. In different structures, the role can be centralized or decentralized, as well.

In terms of its interface with Academic Affairs, the role must interact with all “faculty, staff, and employees.” Faculty serve as a different type of employee wherein the entire structure of their work includes shared governance and has different job expectations and may receive tenure (employment for life). Simultaneously, faculty are employees, which means they are bound by all institutional, local, state, and federal policies and regulations related to employment law. Further, they can be recruited on a global scale. Faculty are hired and promoted based not only on their teaching, but also on their service to the institution and community, their relationship to students, their contributions to scholarship, and collegiality. Human Resources and Academic Affairs partner on faculty searches, faculty personnel issues, compensation, and policy interpretation.

Beyond working with employees, Human Resources professionals must be aware of several changing topics, some specific to higher education and others more broadly applicable to all human resources management. These include:

  • #MeToo and the Dynamics of Institutional Power
  • Civility on Campus
  • Political Impacts
  • Hot Labor Market
  • Wage Equality
  • Changing Healthcare Landscape
  • Background checks
  • Diversity
  • Earnings
  • Balance Between Employee Advocate and Management Support
  • Cultural Leadership

To begin exploring these challenging topics, participants worked through 5 different case study scenarios. These case studies explored issues of gender identity in the workplace, shifting responsibilities when challenges arise in personal life that impact work-life balance, romances between employees or employees and students, and more. Examining these scenarios allowed participants to explore whether these issues would fall under Academic Affairs, Human Resources, the Department Chair, etc. Participants were also challenged to work through the way institutional policies would impact the outcomes of each of the scenarios, what information was missing that they would need to gather, and what actions they would take as the Human Resources representative.

Participating in the LVAIC Higher Education Leaders Institute allows faculty and staff from across the LVAIC community to explore numerous leadership roles across higher education and develop knowledge regarding potential paths for careers in each department. For more information regarding the LVAIC Higher Education Leaders Institute, visit the Leadership Opportunities page of the LVAIC website.

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