Three Elements of a Successful Onboarding Program

Onboarding programs consisting of a brief history lesson about the institution and instructions for how to get a parking pass aren’t likely to inspire new hires. Here are three elements of onboarding programs that go beyond the basics to create a deeper understanding of campus culture and a sense of belonging. Orient New Hires to... View Article

Suicide Prevention and Awareness: Four Ways HR Can Lead the Conversation

This blog post was contributed by Maureen De Armond, Executive Director, Human Resources at Drake University. In higher education, we must plan for many worst-case scenarios, including tornados, fires, active-shooter situations, and, as we now know, pandemics. Among this wide range of difficult scenarios that could present themselves on our campuses at any time, suicide... View Article

The Wildfire Program Welcomes a New Cohort for 2022-23

For the higher ed HR community to thrive there must be a pipeline of early-career professionals waiting in the wings, and one way CUPA-HR equips early-career pros to grow in their role and take steps toward their career goals is through the Wildfire program. The program, sponsored in part by HigherEdJobs, is a 12-month immersive... View Article

The Emerging CUPA-HR Leaders Program Welcomes a New Cohort for 2022-23

The goal of CUPA-HR’s Emerging CUPA-HR Leaders program is to identify potential volunteer leaders who have shown exemplary leadership and initiative within higher ed HR and exhibit the desire to play an active role in advancing the profession. Invited participants have the unique opportunity to engage in problem-solving work groups and develop deep networks with... View Article

5 HR Considerations for Fall Vaccination Planning

Whether your institution is mandating, incentivizing or encouraging vaccinations for employees, HR has a critical role to play in how the plan is communicated and how barriers to getting vaccinated are mitigated. Consider overall campus safety and messaging when communicating which groups will and will not be required to be vaccinated this fall. For example,... View Article

CUPA-HR Soundbite: Can Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines?

Note: See the results of CUPA-HR’s April Snap Poll to find out how institutions are structuring their vaccination policies and the types of incentives they’re offering. Mandating or strongly recommending COVID-19 vaccinations for faculty and staff raises a host of legal and practical considerations for higher ed employers. In a recent CUPA-HR webinar presented in... View Article

Keep the Momentum Moving Forward for DEI

In recent weeks, we’ve highlighted key takeaways from CUPA-HR’s town hall meeting, Partners in Justice — We Will Not Be Silent! Leaning into uncomfortable conversations to help lead the charge for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and addressing systemic racism and inequality on the individual, team and organizational levels are just two of the “nuggets”... View Article

Lean in to the Uncomfortable — 3 Ways Higher Ed HR Can Lead the Charge for DEI

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” This sobering statement echoed throughout CUPA-HR’s recent town hall meeting, where higher ed HR panelists discussed how to tackle systemic racism on campus and urged higher ed HR pros to challenge leaders and rethink policies and procedures that perpetuate ongoing inequalities and create barriers to inclusivity. Panelists shared these three... View Article

Become a Better Champion for DEI by Focusing on These Three Areas

The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and too many others have prompted a flood of angry voices demanding justice and radical change. Many of us have joined those voices in our communities. As higher ed HR leaders committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), we are also uniquely positioned... View Article

Returning to the Workplace: Employee Expectations

Teleworking arrangements necessitated by COVID-19 were an entirely new experience for many higher ed employees. While some may have initially struggled to adjust to a virtual workspace, shelter-in-place directives have given workers time to settle into this new way of work — just in time to shake things up again. Now, institutions are thinking about... View Article

Checking in Again With Jay Stephens: Focus on the Future

CUPA-HR Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rob Shomaker is back again with Jay Stephens, vice president for human capital services at Kansas State University. Jay explains how Kansas State is moving from crisis mode to focusing on the future and offers advice on planning for a fall return to campus. Related Resources Preparing for... View Article

AI and the Quest for a Meaningful Employee Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will require the entire workforce to learn new skills, whether it’s to keep up to date with an existing role or pursue a new career as a result of automation. AI will not eliminate jobs; it will create them. And HR will be focused not only on the employee’s ability to do... View Article

The Importance of Upskilling During Turbulent Times

Many institutions will return to campus this fall with tighter budgets and a leaner workforce. Preparing the internal talent pipeline and keeping employee skill sets agile through upskilling will be critical to navigating these challenging times. The term “upskill” has been turning up with increasing regularity in conversations about continual learning and keeping staff current... View Article

Three Ways to Put Ethical Leadership Into Action at Your Organization

This blog post was contributed by Linda Fisher Thornton, chief executive officer of Leading in Context LLC and adjunct associate professor at the University of Richmond. She spoke about ethical leadership at CUPA-HR’s virtual conference in April. In today’s world, leaders have more information available to them than ever before, but this torrent of information isn’t helping... View Article

Preparing for the Return to Campus: Two Institutions Share Their Approach

In March, many colleges and universities had policies and procedures in place that provided guidance for moving to online instruction and telework arrangements while ensuring that their communities stayed safe and well. However, now, as we pivot toward fall, we’re in uncharted territory. Enrollment and budget shortfalls are likely, and COVID-19 will continue to be... View Article

Five Ways to Enhance the Onboarding Experience for Student Affairs Professionals

This blog post was contributed by Stephanie Hoffmann, assistant director of community standards and responsibility at Rollins College. Ensuring that student affairs professionals feel engaged with their institution, know what resources are available on and off campus and know how they can utilize their strengths can help them perform better in their roles and positively... View Article

Higher Ed Challenges Are Our Challenges!

To fully understand and embrace the changing role of higher ed HR, we must first acknowledge and connect our work to the most pressing challenges of our institutions. At CUPA-HR’s national board of directors meeting in July, we asked the board to identify the most pressing challenges their colleges and universities face. We asked the... View Article

A New Normal for Higher Ed

The campus is alive with all the startup activities of the fall semester. New freshmen and transfer students have begun to find their way around campus, and returning students have unloaded all the stuff they had packed into their parents’ basements during the summer. A celebratory opening convocation preceded the first day of classes to... View Article

5 Ways Technology Can Help Humanize Contingent Faculty Hiring

This blog post was contributed by Sarah Forbes, senior vice president, PageUp. Higher education institutions are increasingly looking to contingent labor (adjuncts) to complement full-time or tenure-track faculty and administrative staff. The issues surrounding adjunct hires, their pay and the effects of stretched and inexperienced resources on student outcomes are currently a hot topic. Even... View Article

Support the Development of Your Early-Career Employees With Stretch Projects

At the recent CUPA-HR Association Leadership Program in Tempe, Arizona, 12 early-career higher ed HR professionals began their year with CUPA-HR’s Wildfire program, and 10 recent graduates of the program shared project outcomes as they wrapped up their year with the program: William Budding of Harvard University and Abby King of the University of Kansas... View Article

A 4-Step Model for Leadership Success

Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when we published it in 2017. It’s been updated here with additional resources and related content. What does it take to be successful as a leader in higher education human resources? Mary Lucal and Ron Tredway from the University of Tennessee shared their formula with attendees at... View Article

6 Tips for Managing Organizational Change

When it comes to organizational change, managing the change process itself oftentimes is the hardest part. When the University of California, Irvine (UCI)’s HR team implemented a new HR model, they made sure to have a process in place to help usher in the change. Here are the steps they followed: 1) Create a vision. For... View Article

All Things Onboarding

CUPA-HR recently hosted an online discussion in the members-only CUPA-HR Connect General Discussion Group where higher ed HR practitioners shared their onboarding wisdom, their innovative and successful onboarding practices, and answered each other’s questions. From these online conversations, we have compiled questions and responses spanning all aspects of onboarding — from training for hiring managers... View Article

How to Prepare For (and Respond to) an Active Shooter Incident on Campus

Editor’s note: You may have missed this article when we published it in 2015. It’s been updated here with additional resources and related content.  “Active shooter situation – campus on lockdown.” These are some of the most terrifying words you could ever hear. Unfortunately, too many campuses across the country have faced this reality. According... View Article

Let’s Stop Calling It Succession Planning

Another provost leaves after just three years — which by the way is the median tenure for provosts — and we open yet another search. We appoint an interim (probably the same person who served as interim during the last search), bring in another search firm, dust off the job description we used just a... View Article

12 Great Reads of 2018

Another year down, and a new one underway! As you jump back into your work in this new year, we hope you’ll take some time to read about some of the great work your HR colleagues are doing at colleges and universities around the country. CUPA-HR’s The Higher Education Workplace magazine and Higher Ed Workplace blog highlight new and innovative... View Article

HR’s Role in Balancing Free Speech and Inclusivity

Results of a recent survey of college and university presidents conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE) show that half of all presidents surveyed rely on their chief HR officer to weigh in when setting institutional policy related to campus inclusion and free speech. And 30 percent of presidents said they rely on HR... View Article

Why Team Time Is Good for the Organization

What if I told you that 82 = 392? It’s not fuzzy math, I promise! For a recent CUPA-HR virtual workshop, we had 82 registrations, which resulted in 392 individual attendees — which tells us that most attendees participated in a group setting. Learning and working in teams has many advantages, including helping individuals develop... View Article

What Can HR Do to Support the Changing Faculty in Higher Ed?

In 1969, nearly 8 out of 10 faculty members in higher ed were tenured or on the tenure track. Today, more than 70 percent are non-tenure-track. The faculty model is clearly changing, but institutions are struggling to adapt — and it’s having an impact on student success. In her session “HR and Support of the... View Article

A Fresh Perspective: Introducing Emerging CUPA-HR Leaders

Pictured (left to right): Erik Smetana, University of Missouri System Administration; Lauren A. Rubitz, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Darrell Easley, Mississippi State University; Kenneth Nelson, University of Colorado Boulder; Marc Serrett, South Dakota State University; Shanna Hines, Bates College Six CUPA-HR members have been selected to participate in the 2017-18 Emerging CUPA-HR Leaders program.... View Article

Plan, Stretch, Connect: How Six Early-Career HR Professionals Are Developing Professionally in Higher Ed

Six early-career professionals who are participants in CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Wildfire program — Shamika Patterson, Tapiwanashe Nhundu, Chris Roediger, Thuy Nguyen, Heather Butterfield and Drexel King — joined nearly 200 individuals July 13-16 in Tempe, Arizona, for the Association Leadership Program (ALP), an annual gathering of CUPA-HR leaders from the chapter, regional and national levels, corporate... View Article

Top Disciplines for New Faculty Hires in Higher Ed

According to data from CUPA-HR’s Faculty and Department Heads in Higher Education Salary Survey, the hottest disciplines for new faculty hires in higher ed are nursing, psychology and English language/literature. Mathematics and music round out the top five.   Other Findings: Racial/ethnic minority tenure-track faculty are paid equitably at all ranks, but the representation of... View Article

Why and How One University Hit the Reset Button on Performance Management

Performance reviews in the vast majority of organizations follow this trajectory: setting objectives, feedback, manager assessment and rating, consensus meeting, salary/bonus decisions. But does this process really work? Is it efficient? Is it consistent across the organization? Is it viewed as a value-add? Most employees would answer with a resounding “no.” So what’s the solution?... View Article

Building HR Competencies (and Solving Problems) Through Group Think

In 2015, the University of Wisconsin System implemented its own human resources function, separate from the State of Wisconsin. This new autonomous way of doing HR changed a number of dynamics and gave the university the opportunity to rethink a whole range of policies and procedures and how it could best administer them. Out of... View Article

How One HR Organization Is Using Data to Drive People Strategies

“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” – Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO And therein lies the problem of NOT using sound data to drive decision-making in business — everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks his or hers is the right one. While many... View Article

5 Emerging Trends in HR and Higher Ed

Keeping a finger on the pulse of current and emerging higher education and HR-related trends that may have implications for our students, employees and campus communities is a crucial part of our role as HR professionals. In order to effectively assess, plan for and respond to these trends, we must first be “in the know.”... View Article

How to Use Benchmarking to Ensure Competitive Pay for Faculty

Benchmark (v.): Evaluate, check, or measure (something) against a standard. One of the best strategies higher ed institutions can use to attract and retain talented, top-tier faculty is to offer competitive pay. And one of the best ways to ensure your institution is offering competitive pay is to benchmark that pay against other institutions. Benchmarking faculty... View Article

Resolving Workplace Conflict at the Ground Floor

Think about the many different work styles, personality types, viewpoints and temperaments in your organization. Now add to that mix competing ideas, workplace stress, ego and pride, and it’s easy to see how coworkers can butt heads. While many workplace disagreements are either intentionally resolved or simply fizzle out on their own over time, others... View Article

How to Be the Manager Everyone Wants to Work For

People leave managers, not companies. – Marcus Buckingham In my 25 years in the workforce, I’ve been on the receiving end of many different management styles. I’ve reported to the my-way-or-the-highway manager, the micromanager, the laissez-faire manager, the perpetually cranky manager (huh … thinking back, I’ve had some pretty terrible managers!). Granted, most of these... View Article

3 Ways to Hone Your Digital Leadership Skills

What’s your social media capacity? Are you a whiz? A novice? A work in progress? A not-for-me? Are you the first to try out a new platform, or does the thought of yet another social media app make you want to bury your head in the sand? No doubt, social media can be overwhelming …... View Article

Shawn Achor’s Happiness Advantage at Work

We’ve all read about it, heard about it and discussed it with our HR colleagues — unhappy employees hurt our organizations. Author and researcher Shawn Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success, and when he was first selected as a keynote speaker for the CUPA-HR Annual... View Article

Award-Winning Work in Higher Ed HR

Great work is being done by HR organizations at colleges and universities across the country. From innovations in processes and procedures to transformative HR work, from unique and forward-thinking diversity and inclusion initiatives to championing change, many HR organizations are successfully positioning themselves as strategic business partners and contributors to their institutions’ missions — and... View Article