New to Higher Ed HR, Wildfire Program Participant Finds Her Tribe Through CUPA-HR
January 22, 2018

Six early-career higher education human resources professionals have been immersed for the past six months in all that is CUPA-HR and the profession. From attending CUPA-HR conferences, meetings and other learning events to cultivating relationships with senior higher ed HR leaders and CUPA-HR volunteer leaders to experiencing a “day in the work life” of their mentors and more, the six individuals in CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Wildfire program have had plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and connect. (If you’re not familiar with the Wildfire program, read all about it!).

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be profiling this year’s Wildfire participants and hearing their stories firsthand. We hope you enjoy getting to know this awesome group, as we have over the past few months! We’ve already met Drexel King of Baylor University.

Here, we’ll hear from Christine Roediger, director of human resources at Northland Pioneer College in Show Low, Arizona.

As an undergraduate many years ago, I fell in love with what was then called “personnel.” The idea of working with employees and impacting a business by getting the right people in the right position resonated with me. However, the combination of my dual marketing/management degree and outgoing personality seemed to point me to marketing opportunities, and I spent the first decade of my career in the appliance business doing everything from market research to sales and retail management.

Throughout that time, I continued to feel a tug toward what had been renamed human resources. In the late 1990s, there was a major shift in the appliance industry due to electronic innovations, and fewer jobs were available. I decided that was a terrific time to take a step toward my goal of working in HR and decided that the best way for me to make the move would be to look for a job in training and development, because every one of my previous jobs had included a component of teaching other employees to be more effective.

In 1998, I joined University of Cincinnati as a program director in executive education. We offered our own training curriculum to the Greater Cincinnati business community, but also offered customized consulting solutions. Our clients were primarily HR managers, and my desire to be in their tribe grew as I worked with them to craft workplace solutions.

After several years of consulting and entry generalist-type positions, I joined the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where I was the one-person HR department. There, I learned about CUPA-HR and applied for the Wildfire program. When I learned I was selected, I felt like I had finally found my “tribe.” In my current role at Northland Pioneer College (NPC), where we serve remote and rural counties, being part of the Wildfire program has provided me with much-needed support and a network that has helped me navigate a variety of projects.

The professional challenge before me now is that of being hired to be a “change agent” and updating systems and processes throughout NPC. With multiple campuses and the budget challenges facing all public institutions, it is no small task. While we have a terrific team at the college, having the support of HR professionals throughout the nation has made a huge difference for me. I see that the challenges we’re facing at NPC are the same challenges my colleagues in public and private institutions nationwide are facing — and I know there is help, advice and a listening ear a mere phone call or email away.