The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Potential Labor and Employment Policies Resulting From the 2020 Elections


Regardless of who wins the 2020 elections, the higher education community can expect big changes in labor and employment policy. Which policy initiatives are pursued will depend on who occupies the White House and which party controls either (or both) chambers of Congress. To help CUPA-HR members navigate and understand the possible outcomes, we have developed two charts outlining the possibilities under a second Trump term or under a Biden administration as well as the consequences of who controls Congress.

8 Practical Ways Higher Ed HR Leaders Can Build Trust


In their CUPA-HR virtual annual conference session, “Grabbing at Smoke, or Building Trust?,” Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes, executive director and chief HR officer at Austin Peay State University, and Donovan Johnson, compensation analyst at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a 2019-20 Wildfire participant, offered practical ways higher ed HR leaders can build trust with their teams and with stakeholders at their institutions to elevate their influence as a leader, foster a positive team environment, and increase morale and motivation.

HR and the Courts


CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard highlights recent rulings around telework as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, Title IX discrimination claims, liability for due-process violations, and termination of tenured schoolteachers for economic reasons.

Rising to the Occasion and Our Calling: 3 Takeaways From the 2020 Virtual Annual Conference


Those who participated in this year’s virtual annual conference experienced powerful and inspiring messages from keynote speakers and higher ed leaders on timely topics, such as systemic racism in the higher ed workplace; how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the higher ed landscape, provided growth opportunities and strengthened bonds and trust; and much more. Here are three of our key takeaways.

Daily Microactivities Can Help Build Habits Around Diversity and Inclusion

by Jill Thompson

A common way higher ed institutions strive to enhance diversity and inclusion is by enrolling employees in training on the subject. According to Amanda Felkey, presenter for a recent CUPA-HR webinar, one evidence-based alternative to diversity and inclusion training is using commitment devices. Commitment devices not only prime our thinking for the day, they help us tap into our slow-thinking to form new habits and reprogram our intuition through exposure, enhanced familiarity and habit formation.

USCIS Fee Rule Increase Temporarily Blocked


On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing or enforcing any part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements rule (Fee Rule), which was set to take effect on October 2, 2020. 

Trump Issues Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping


On September 22, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) on “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” Once implemented, the EO will impose new requirements on federal contractors, including colleges and universities, with respect to content of workplace training programs.

CUPA-HR Submits Comments on DOL Requests for Information on Family and Medical Leave


In early September, CUPA-HR submitted two sets of public comments responding to two separate requests for information (RFIs) on job-protected leave in the United States — one from the DOL’s Women’s Bureau and the other from Wage and Hour Division. Issued July 2020, the RFIs allowed interested stakeholders to submit comments during a 60-day comment period, during which CUPA-HR circulated a survey to CHROs and analyzed the responses to complete our comments.

Tips for Addressing ADA Claims as Employees Return to Work


In a recent CUPA-HR webinar, “Avoiding ADA Compliance Pitfalls in a COVID-19 World,” 71 percent of polled participants said they are somewhat worried and 22 percent said they are extremely worried about increasing ADA requests as employees return to work. Rae T. Vann, shareholder with Carlton Fields, shared several tips and strategies for higher ed HR pros to address these concerns in a fair and consistent manner.

Taking Care of You, Your HR Colleagues and Your Campus Community

by Andy Brantley

The last several months have been like nothing we have ever experienced, as COVID-19 disrupted and reshaped our lives and our work. These work and life challenges have taken a toll on our mental health and well-being, and it is so important that we acknowledge this and find ways to address these challenges for ourselves, our HR teams and our colleagues across campus. In September, CUPA-HR leaders from across the country met virtually in small groups and shared ways they are coping and thriving in this uncertain environment. Here are some of their recommendations.