Category Archives: Human Resources

Survey of community and technical colleges closes this Thursday (7/9)

We’re now in the last week of the survey data collection phase for my study of community colleges and technical colleges which will continue through Jul 9.

I’m personally sending an email to the Chief Human Resource Officer of every public locally-governed community and technical college, each multi-college CC district, and each state system or governing board for centralized community or technical college system in the 50 states and DC, inviting them to participate in the study and to benefit from participating by receiving our research results in advance of their publication.

The response to the survey has been excellent — despite the pandemic — with almost 12% of all colleges, districts, and state governing systems participating. We’re hoping to add more institutions to the study this week.

The updated survey takes less than 4 minutes to complete. All invitations to participate in the survey are sent from my email: weidner@sju.edu. The survey is hosted on Qualtrics (qualtrics.com), and invitees are provided a secure link to the survey.

Based on participants’ survey responses, institutions with living wage policies are asked to submit their institution’s policy (if you wish, we’ll redact all identifications of your institution), while institutions with living wage practices are asked to be interviewed (about 30 minutes) about their practices. Institutions completing surveys or participating in interviews will not be identified in our research results and reports.

If you are a CHRO and haven’t received an invitation to participate in the survey, please email me: weidner@sju.edu.

If you aren’t a CHRO, please encourage your CHRO to look for the survey and complete it. Living wage policies and practices are an increasingly important subject that higher education institutions will likely need to address, either sooner or later – but we can’t learn about HR practices in America’s community and technical colleges without your help!

Thank you! Ken

Community college survey launched

I have launched the survey of American public community colleges regarding each institution’s written living wage polices and/or unwritten living wage practices. This survey mirrors the survey conducted of all four-year institutions that I completed earlier this year.

I had originally planned to begin this survey of community colleges immediately after the earlier study of four-year institutions, which luckily was completed in early March, just days before the coronavirus disrupted everything.

My hope at this time is that — despite the great uncertainty surrounding our campuses both this summer and for the coming fall — community colleges HR leaders are interested in learning about living wage policies and practices that their peer institutions have implemented. Doing so will take only a couple of minutes to provide valuable data regarding the state of living wage policies and practices in their institutions.

Who’s invited to participate?

I am inviting institutions to participate in the study by email, and to benefit from participating by receiving research results in advance of publication.

  • Roughly half of American community colleges are governed by a local board, and I am personally sending an email to the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) of each locally-governed community college.
  • For the half of community colleges without a local governing board, I am contacting the CHRO where the authority to approve policy is vested, either (1) a multi-college community college district, (2) a university within which the community college is housed, (3) a system of community colleges, or (4) a state-level board/agency.  

About the survey

Based on the previous study, the survey takes less than 4 minutes to complete, and the majority of respondents complete it within 2 minutes. All invitations to participate in the survey are sent from my email: weidner@sju.edu. The survey is hosted on Qualtrics (qualtrics.com), and invitees are provided a secure link to the survey.

Based on participants’ survey responses:

  • institutions with written living wage policies are asked to submit their institution’s policy (if you wish, we will redact all identifications of your institution); and
  • institutions with unwritten living wage practices are invited to be interviewed (about 30 minutes) about their practices (interview dates and times are available through the survey and run through July 3).

For either branch of the study, institutions and individuals responding will not be identified in our research results and reports.

Timeframe

The first invitations to participate will be sent out on a rolling basis through June 12; successive cycles of reminder invitations will continue until the survey closes (tentatively scheduled for June 26).

If you are a CHRO and haven’t received an invitation to participate in the survey, please email me: weidner@sju.edu.

If you aren’t a CHRO, please encourage your CHRO to look for the survey and complete it. Living wage policies and practices are an increasingly important subject that higher education institutions will likely need to address, either sooner or later – but we can’t learn about HR practices in higher education without your help!

Thank you!

Ken

Reflecting on CUPA-HR

As I described in my previous post, presenting three talks at two very different conferences in a span of six days is a lot of input, particularly when the audiences have such different lenses on our common cause: improving our higher education institutions. My previous post was about the first conference (AASHE); in this post I’m writing about my presentation and experience at my first CUPA-HR Annual Conference in Indianapolis earlier this month.

At the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR, cupahr.org), I presented some of the preliminary findings from the Living Wage Policy Study. A number of CUPA-HR conference attendees were Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) – the very people who I am inviting to participate in the study on behalf of their institutions. During my presentation and throughout the conference, I was able to meet a number of people working in HR professionals at all levels, hailing from from small (one person) HR departments to state-wide systems, and every type of public and private institution in between. Similarly, early interviews with participants in the Living Wage Policy Study have reflected a diversity of processes used by institutions exploring or considering just employment policies and practices.

While the sustainability-focused community at AASHE (described in my previous post) is very broad, the CUPA-HR community is very deeply focused on the existing, emerging, and sometimes as-yet-unseen issues that are central to running HR functions effectively and supporting the work of our institutions. Higher education HR leaders have to be technical experts, systems administrators, people and due-process advocates, risk managers, and change agents, and those varied hats are often stacked one on top of each other. In other words, in higher education, HR deals with concerns both that run both broad and deep. One could sense that from listening to attendees – and by perusing the wide array of exhibitors at the vibrant CUPA-HR expo.

And quite an Expo it was. The CUPA-HR Expo included providers of consulting (for everything from diversity to compensation), recruitment systems, background checks, retirement planning, payroll, HRIS, third party benefits administration, and healthcare for employees and retirees – to name a few. Also present were at least two different providers of health insurance for pets (did you know that around 60% of American households own pets? I didn’t!).

One other observation about the CUPA-HR expo – and an open suggestion to organizers of others conferences: arrange plenty of seating for participants to sit down and chat, right through the middle of the expo hall – if that means getting a bigger expo hall, I recommend it. This was one of the most helpful features of the conference in terms of learning from each other and getting to know some fellow conference participants instead of simply going to the same events as other conference attendees. Combined with 30 minute breaks – which are not only more humane than but also facilitate those most-important conversations between sessions – CUPA-HR 2018 was a very well-designed conference schedule.

One of the recurring themes I heard about from conference participants was the central role they play in crafting institutional responses to events both external and internal to their institutions. Among most challenging issues that any institution faces occur when external events become internal issues, and when internal issues become external news. Whichever way those often intense cross-boundary currents are flowing, HR finds itself at the center of the institution’s response, in close collaboration with the president and other functional areas (e.g., marketing/communication, community/public relations, advancement, alumni relations, student life, to name a few).

This was my first presentation at CUPA-HR, and from a speaker’s perspective it was a very smooth process both logistically and technically. The conference app was terrific, and I am compelled to point out that the printed program was probably the best designed conference material I have seen in some time – one worth retaining. Nicely done!

I hope I am given the opportunity to present at a CUPA-HR event again, including regional and/or seasonal conferences. I’ll keep you posted here whenever I have significant news. Next year’s CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo is in Aurora CO, October 20-22, 2019. I hope to see you there!