The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

Student Success — It’s HR’s Job Too

HiResEvery business is about the bottom line. And every individual in an organization is responsible for helping that organization meet its bottom line. For higher ed, the bottom line is student success. While lots of individuals working in higher ed make very visible contributions to student success on a daily basis — professors, financial aid counselors, residence hall assistants, admissions staff, and so on — human resources rarely has this opportunity. Sure, we contribute behind the scenes to the end goal in myriad ways, but it’s not often we’re able to be front and center.

However, when leadership at Alamo Colleges last year charged each and every department on campus with making a direct impact on the district’s number one goal — to increase the number of graduates and certificate holders by 2016 — human resources got innovative.

The HR compensation team compiled data on lifetime earnings by level of education and major as well as unemployment rates for the same and presented this information to the more than 2,500 students who attended San Antonio College’s new student orientation at the start of last school year. Says Chris Bordovsky, compensation manager for Alamo Colleges, “Coupled with tools for researching career opportunities and an integrated discussion of goal-setting by student life staff, we have a powerful program painting a positive future for students starting their higher education journey.”

In fact, the approach proved so successful at San Antonio College that the team is “licensing” the material to other Alamo Colleges campuses and training student life representatives on how to present the message. The initiative has also been recognized by the district’s chancellor and board of trustees as an example of the innovation possible through collaboration.

For its student engagement initiative, Alamo Colleges’ HR compensation team received one of three HR Innovation Awards presented by CUPA-HR this year. If you’re headed to the CUPA-HR annual conference in Orlando this fall and want to learn more about HR’s role in contributing to student success, attend the session “Student Success – It’s HR’s Job Too” presented by Alamo’s HR team.

CUPA-HR’s HR Innovation Awards are sponsored by PeopleAdmin and are presented annually. If you know of a CUPA-HR member institution that has created an innovative HR model, be sure to submit a nomination when award nominations open this fall.