Corporate Sponsors

Welcome to the Knowledge Center!

Take a few minutes to explore one of the featured topics below, or check out one of our many HR toolkits, designed with the higher ed workplace in mind. We will continue to add and expand toolkits, so stop by often to see what’s new. And if you have an idea for a toolkit or a resource to recommend, send us an e-mail at

The Knowledge Center is for CUPA-HR members only. If you’re not a member, stop by the Membership section of our website to learn more about the many benefits of membership.


HR Trends and Directions for 2016

In a recent white paper on HR Trends and Directions for 2016, HR guru Dave Ulrich discusses HR’s POT (perspective, outcome and transformation).

According to Ulrich, “HR does not start with HR. In leading companies, HR shapes business value because HR starts with the business. The dated strawman of HR as an administrator of benefits or policy police is out of date. With an HR outside-in perspective, HR starts and delivers customer and investor value.”

“HR is not just about talent,” espouses Ulrich. “Leading organizations are now pivoting from an exclusive focus on ‘war for talent’ to a perspective called ‘victory through organization.’ Individuals are champions, but teams win championships.” He advocates that there are three generic outcomes of great HR work: talent, leadership and capability. Talent refers to employee competence, commitment and contribution. Capability refers to ensuring that the organization has the right systems and culture to meet stakeholder requirements. Leadership is the bridge between capability and talent. “Leaders embody the culture or capability of the company and perpetuate it through their thought and actions,” he writes. 

Business results are driven by strategic HR investments in governance, practices, competencies and analytics, according to Ulrich. In the white paper, he writes: “HR governance is handled increasingly through professional services units within their organizations where HR experts turn their insights about people, performance, information and work into line manager client value. Innovative HR practices have facilitated business results by focusing less on bureaucratic processes and more on simple and integrated solutions. HR competencies ensure that HR professionals have the unique skills to deliver business results and demonstrate personal credibility. HR analytics have helped make HR investments that have business impact.”

Evaluating Positions for the New Overtime Rule

With potentially hundreds of positions likely to be affected if DOL’s proposed overtime rule becomes reality, you may be wondering where or how to even begin evaluating positions on your campus. Following are some considerations for evaluating position classifications to ensure compliance. 

1) Review positions that are below the new salary threshold ($47,476) and determine which ones, if any, your institution might want to adjust to the new threshold, so that those positions can remain exempt. This exercise would be particularly useful for positions that are already fairly close (within a few thousand dollars) to the new threshold.

2) If your institution chooses not to move these employees to the new threshold, you’ll need to convert them to an hourly equivalent (typically the annualized salary divided by 2080) and make them FLSA non-exempt. If an employee never works above 40 hours a week, this approach will not cost the institution any additional money. Work that exceeds 40 hours a week, however, would need to be compensated at time-and-a-half. The institution may also want to calculate the resulting overtime cost if all of the “switched to non-exempt” employees were to work 41 hours every week, rather than 40 (or 10 times that if the employees were to regularly work 50 hours rather than 40).

3) Once it is decided which positions will be raised to the new threshold, you then need to consider the collateral impact on internal salary equity against similarly situated positions and against positions higher up the same “job family tree.”

4) It is usually important to maintain a salary differential between positions that are adjusted to the new threshold and those currently at or near the threshold, so institutions would need to consider what salary adjustments might be needed.

An example: Development Officer I is currently paid $42,000 and Development Officer II (higher-level development officer) is currently paid $51,000. The institution decides that it is important for the Development Officer I to be an exempt position, so the salary is raised to $47,476 (the new threshold). However, this change will also require a salary adjustment for the Development Officer II to acknowledge the different expectations, knowledge and experience for the higher-level position. Simply moving the Development Officer I to the threshold would solve the immediate compliance challenge, but it would also create a significant internal equity challenge (salary compression). 


DOL Releases New Overtime Rule – Exemption Threshold Raised to $47,476    

Webinar – FLSA Final Overtime Rule: What You Need to Know and Do Now

NEW – Payment of Coaches and Athletic Trainers Under FLSA (white paper)

NEW – Essentials Videos – FLSA: Then and Now and FLSA: Impact on Your Institution

FLSA in Higher Ed: Minimizing Risks and Managing Challenges

CUPA-HR FLSA Overtime Regulations Advocacy and Compliance Web Page


7 Things to Know About the New Overtime Regulations



University of Missouri-Kansas City Campus Climate Resources

The University of Missouri is addressing campus climate through a number of recently publicized venues:   

  • A weekly feature in the UMatters publication answers questions that faculty, staff and students have raised either through “listening sessions” or through e-mail submissions. 
  • A staff ombudsman position is being added to the existing faculty and student ombudsmen positions. 
  • Human resources encourages employees to first reach out to their immediate supervisor with complaints or concerns. If the supervisor is at issue, then HR is available to consult with the individual. 
  • Mediation is offered through the School of Law.   
  • Grievance procedures are publicized. 
  • Discrimination or Title IX complainants are directed to resources or invited to file an official complaint. If the concern involves sexual harassment or assault, an individual can file a Title IX incident report.  
  • Employees can also file anonymous complaints about fiscal, ethics or discrimination through an Ethics and Compliance Hotline hosted by the UM System.   

The multiplicity of avenues available to students and employees are designed to address the multitude of issues that, when effectively addressed, will enhance UM-KC culture.

Share recent DEI activities on your campus by e-mailing


 CUPA-HR Organizational Climate Toolkit

 CUPA-HR DEI Toolkit

 CUPA-HR Title IX Toolkit

 CUPA-HR Complaint and Appeal Toolkit


Resolving Conflict at the Ground Level

Organizational change is inevitable. Add different employee work styles, personalities, viewpoints and temperaments and you have a perfect environment for conflict. Some disagreements are minor and fizzle out over time while others fester for days, months, or even years – affecting productivity, morale and performance.

To help employees address interpersonal conflict and work-related differences in a timely and productive manner, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) implemented a neutral conflict resolution (NCR) program. To facilitate this program, several individuals were designated as Neutral Conflict Resolution Representatives (NCRRs) to help mediate workplace disputes. As NCRRs, they do not weigh in on substantive matters or determine who is right or wrong, but assist with the process of communicating so parties can jointly explore on their own how they will address and resolve differences. To qualify as NCRRs, individuals participate in a highly interactive five-day mediation training program similar to a program offered at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) to address a similar need for informal mediation processes. 

Designed to address issues such as personality conflicts and long-standing disagreements in a controlled, structured, mediated setting, it is not a substitute for IPFW’s formal grievance or complaint processes which address issues with potential legal or policy ramifications. Key to helping the organization achieve a culture of healthy conflict resolution was putting the skills of understanding and working through conflict in the hands of the institution’s most valuable assets – its employees.

Dimples Smith and Daniel Griffith from IPFW and IUPUI facilitated a session on this topic at the 2016 CUPA-HR Midwest Region Conference.

Resources and Readings:

 Neutral Conflict Resolution (The Higher Education Workplace magazine article on IPFW's program)

 IPFW NCR Program Informational Sheet

 Website: IPFW Neutral Conflict Resolution Program  

 Practices for Early Intervention and Resolution of Conflict  

 IUPUI Mediation Training Sample Agenda (with PHR/SPHR recertification credit hours noted)