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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.


Should We Change Our Name?

Perhaps a few of you reading this have recently changed the name of your HR operation. Some 20 years ago, we began to see a few new monikers like the People Department and other people-centric designators. Recently, however, there has been an acceleration of name changes in the HR world.

Why might that be? Is it an effort to disassociate from the negative accusations that HR is no longer relevant, that HR is nothing but a bunch of policing bureaucrats or that everyone hates HR? Perhaps there is an element of truth in those comments in some venues, but perhaps the name changes are reflective of a new emphasis, a new direction in HR administration, a rebranding or makeover.

Are we talking about HR transformation? In some instances, yes. Are we redefining HR — even dropping the old-school term “human resources?” Southwest Airlines, CISCO, Google and other companies known to be on the forefront of innovation in the workplace have reimagined HR and have dropped the term. Our higher ed HR niche has been challenged in years past to get leadership to see our work as an investment in the capital asset of the human resource, despite the fact that in colleges and universities faculty, in particular, are seen as the greatest and most important institutional asset.

Changing a name can communicate a rebranding, but that must be substantiated with action. Such is a great topic for a discussion among our peers and definitely a call to increased awareness of the current thinking of HR gurus such as Dave Ulrich and his associates at the RBL Group as well as Jacob Morgan who authored The Future of Work


Higher Ed Symposium: Why Blowing Up HR Isn’t the Answer, February 28-March 1, 2016, Tempe, Arizona

HR Organizational Design Toolkit

HR Transformation Toolkit

A Growing Trend: Emotional Support Animals

If you have not yet been involved in responding to a request by a student or employee to be accompanied by an emotional support animal, it may be just a matter of time. A growing trend, and recognized need, is for individuals with psychological or mental disabilities to use a companion animal, most frequently a dog or cat, for therapeutic purposes. Typically, a doctor or other medical professional must certify that an individual has a disability under federal law and that an emotional support animal is therapeutic. However, the requirement to allow an emotional support animal in the workplace or classroom has not been addressed.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against the disabled in any program receiving federal funds. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) authorizes individuals with disabilities to bring service animals into public places, but only dogs that have been trained to perform tasks for the disabled individual. Emotional support animals are not typically trained and certified, and these animals are not limited to dogs. Thus, it is generally thought that the ADA does not apply to emotional support animals.

However, in situations in which Section 504 and ADA apply simultaneously in public housing or housing associated with a university, emotional support animals should be accommodated. In April 2013, HUD issued a notice that public universities are required to comply with the Fair Housing Act and allow emotional support animals in college residence halls and dormitories.

Accommodation for emotional support animals is an evolving issue to which we need to be attuned. 

Resources and Readings:

Emotional Animal Support Center

FAQs on Emotional Support Animals

Federal Laws and Emotional Support Animals

National Service Animal Registry

Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals



Learning Opportunities Abound to Help You Grow as an HR Professional

You owe it to yourself to keep developing as an HR professional – to pave your path to upward mobility. So what’s on your learning agenda over the next few months? Check out some of what CUPA-HR has to offer!

Virtual Workshops – An All-New Learning Experience

On May 12, Tiffany Cox, chief diversity officer at Tennessee State University, will present Tips, Tools and Expert Advice for Title IX Coordinators. This workshop will explore specific procedural practices and expectations, such as preparing for a hearing, writing reports and conducting an investigation. A panel of higher ed Title IX coordinators will also share their experiences, lessons learned and offer key advice for those with Title IX responsibilities on campus.

Registration for the Workshop: $95 for members/$195 for non-members.

More Learning Opportunities:

Upcoming Conferences and Events  

Other E-Learning Opportunities

 CUPA-HR Essentials Videos


FLSA Overtime Update

On June 30, 2015, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division released its much-anticipated proposed rule to expand overtime pay eligibility. CUPA-HR, along with 18 other higher ed associations, filed extensive comments on September 4. The final rule is expected to be released sometime later this year, potentially mid-summer according to the latest regulatory agenda.

The proposal would set a new minimum salary level threshold that employees must be paid to qualify as managerial, professional or administrative employees exempt from overtime requirements. DOL has proposed setting the new minimum threshold at the 40th percentile of weekly earnings for full-time salaried workers, which based on 2013 data is $921 a week ($47,892 annually). Under the current regulations, a person qualifies as a salaried worker exempt from federal overtime pay requirements if that person makes more than $455 a week ($23,660 annually) and has “primary duties” that are consistent with managerial, professional or administrative positions as defined in the regulations. DOL has proposed automatically escalating this minimum salary on an annual basis by attaching it to the 40th percentile (DOL estimates will be $50,440 for 2016) or by indexing the $921 number to CPI. DOL proposes publishing the increased minimum salary 60 days before it becomes effective.

We know that the uncertainty over what will happen with the proposed overtime regulations and when is disconcerting, so CUPA-HR’s government relations team is doing all it can to keep in front of the issue and will continue to provide CUPA-HR members with updates and news as soon as it’s available.


FLSA Toolkit 

FLSA News and Resources 

The Higher Ed Workplace Blog – FLSA Overtime: How, When and Why to Prepare 

The Higher Ed Workplace Blog – A Call to Action Regarding Proposed Changes to the FLSA Overtime Rule 

CUPA-HR Webinar – FLSA Overtime: How, When and Why to Prepare