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Welcome to the New and Improved 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.

Featured Content

What’s Your Organizational Culture?

Is your institution’s culture in need of an extreme makeover? Or maybe just a tweak or two? Being a culture champion is not an easy task.

As higher ed HR professionals, we should recognize the importance of culture to an institution’s ability to recruit and retain the exceptional human resources we must have to meet our standards of excellence. Here are some resources to stimulate thought and provide guidance.

Other Resources

Who Drives Culture in Your Organization?

Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument

Upcoming 2014 Annual Conference concurrent session: “How to Create a Positive Workplace” (Session 2)

Upcoming 2014 Annual Conference concurrent session: “Diversity Programming to Create a Culture of Faculty Engagement” (Session 2)

Culture Champion

Keepers of the Culture

Organizational Culture Toolkit

HR Audits

Hardly a week goes by without there being one or more reports of federal investigations on campuses or significant financial penalties being imposed pursuant to federal audits. With the plethora of federal regulations and rules that higher ed HR professionals must follow, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with compliance activities above and beyond the daily demands of recruiting, training, employee relations brush fires, performance assessment and everything else we do! But lurking out there are potential missteps relating to I-9s, Title IX, FLSA, VEVRAA, ACA, retirement program fiduciary duties, FMLA, ADA, GINA, HIPAA, EEO and records maintenance and retention.

Want to acquire some peace of mind? Consider conducting an HR audit. Yes, it will be time-consuming, but the exercise will demonstrate (1) the importance of adherence to the details of compliance to your staff, (2) your proactive risk assessment and avoidance to institutional leadership, and (3) your good faith to federal auditors, if they come knocking on your door. Want more information on risks, recent federal investigations and guidance on conducting an audit? See below.

Other Resources

HR Audits Toolkit

OCR Launches Another Title IX Sexual Assault Investigation

Survey: One-Third of Midsized Firms Fined for Noncompliance in the Last Year

Standard Severance Agreement Won’t Protect You From EEOC Claims

Who’s Getting Targeted Under Title IX?

Department of State to Conduct Random J-1 Visa Site Visits

CUPA-HR Webinar Archives

Fallout From Federal Minimum Wage Executive Order

On February 12, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10/hour. CUPA-HR’s Public Policy site has the latest on proposed DOL guidelines on this topic.

The watershed created by EO 13658 has resulted in 34 states considering or having already increased their minimum wage, as have several cities. Institutions of higher education are re-examining their pay plans, compensation policies and minimum wage.

The federal regulatory schedule for the remainder of 2014 projects that the overtime rules relating to executive, administrative and professional categories of jobs will be issued in November.

Other Resources

Federal HR-Related Regulatory Schedule June–December 2014

Minimum Wage by State

The Minimum Wage Is Getting Pushed Up State by State

New FLSA Toolkit With How Tos


The topic of microaggressions is generating much discussion among HR professionals in higher ed. A “microaggression” is a small, subtle, everyday verbal or nonverbal action (e.g., slights, insults, indignities and denigrating messages) that communicates a hostile, derogatory and/or negative point of view and leaves people feeling overlooked, undervalued, disrespected and/or silenced. Microaggressions can have a negative impact on everything from hiring efforts to day-to-day interactions among colleagues.

In the area of talent recruitment, microaggressions might include leaving colleagues off of e-mails during the search process, making assumptions about the skill level of a candidate because of his or her background, and checking email or texting during a search committee discussion. While such actions may seem harmless, they can have a toxic, unintended impact on both valued employees and potential hires.

Other Resources

Microaggressions: Sometimes the Little Things Hurt the Most

Microaggressions Can Have a Toxic Effect in the Workplace

Unmasking “Racial Micro Aggressions”

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit

The New Talent Acquisition Frontier: Integrating HR and Diversity Strategy in Private and Public Sectors in Higher Education, a book by CUPA-HR members Edna Chun and Alvin Evans

Microaggression (Academic Minute)