CUPA-HR Podcasts

What better way to celebrate CUPA-HR’s 75th anniversary than by talking with smart higher ed HR leaders who have left their mark on both the association and the profession? Listen in as they share their experiences in CUPA-HR, the strategic importance of HR in higher ed, the power of professional relationships, and their career advice for higher ed HR professionals.

This podcast series is brought to you by the 2020-21 cohort of the Emerging CUPA-HR Leaders program. All of guests featured in the series are recipients of CUPA-HR’s highest honor, the Donald E. Dickason Award, which was named for the association’s founder and recognizes outstanding contributions to CUPA-HR and the profession. They are also long-time higher ed HR professionals, and most are former CUPA-HR board chairs.

Episode 1: Don’t Wait to Be Anointed or Appointed

Andy Brantley joins Patti Couger to discuss the future of HR and how to pull the lessons of the pandemic forward — focusing more on work quality than hours worked and acknowledging the needs of the whole person. Listen in as Andy and Patti share how HR professionals can help support and enrich the new world of work by leading from where they are.


Episode 2: Growing Through Change

In this episode, Allison Vaillancourt shares some professional advice she received from a CUPA-HR peer that changed her entire approach to HR and helped her advance her career and secure several leadership positions. Kirk Beyer talks about the power of influential listening and persuading others to rethink their approach to an issue and how that came into play when making the decision to move the CUPA-HR national office from Washington, D.C., to Knoxville in 2003.


Episode 3: A Shift in Mindset

Listen in as Jack Giarusso and Stewart Mixon describe efforts to make CUPA-HR a more inclusive organization and the board’s transition to a more strategic, less operational role. You’ll enjoy this conversation between Jack and Stewart as they talk about organizational growth, the birth of the Knowledge Center, building on the successes of their predecessors, and some humorous conference planning stories.

Episode 4: Model Behavior

In this episode, Lynn Bynum and Lauren Turner dive into how HR can have a broader impact on students and future campus leaders when modeling inclusive behavior and prioritizing DEI work. Lynn also shares how CUPA-HR helped her make the transition from the corporate world to higher ed HR, and Lauren offers insights into how HR can become a recognized leader within the institution and help others become better leaders.

Episode 5: Drawing on the Expertise of Peers

Mark Coldren shares his experiences serving on the CUPA-HR national board and being in the room where key conversations about what matters in higher ed HR took place. Mark also talks about HR specialties and the impossibility of knowing everything. He suggests that you “know just enough to be dangerous,” and then draw on the expertise of your peers around you.

Episode 6: When Opportunity Knocks

The path to HR was an unexpected one for Jane Federowicz. She began as her institution’s accountant and ended up being asked to create an HR department. Jane shares how making connections with her higher ed HR peers at conferences helped her develop in her role and move up the ranks, and how her background in accounting gave her a leg up when working with the institution on finances and budgeting.

Episode 7: Lifelong Learning  

In this episode, Barbara Carroll shares some of her favorite CUPA-HR experiences — experiences she never thought she would have had as an HR leader — including serving on CUPA-HR’s Public Policy Committee and providing a higher ed perspective to a room full of senators and congressional representatives. Linda Lulli shares the importance of being a lifelong learner in the HR profession, and how to be adaptable and resilient.

Episode 8: Something You Can’t Get From a Book

Listen in as David Blake and Donna Popovich discuss how higher ed HR can emphasize the importance of diversity and inclusion by starting off every activity with the question, “Who isn’t here that needs to be a part of this conversation?” They also talk about building relationships with CUPA-HR peers and how they can teach you things that you can’t learn from a book.

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The CUPA-HR national office will be closed July 4 in observance of Independence Day.