Tag Archives: presentation

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!

Reflecting on AASHE (with shout-outs!)

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 causes: improving our higher education institutions. This post is about the first conference (AASHE); in a separate post I’ll write about CUPA-HR.

At the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE, aashe.org) in Pittsburgh (Oct 3),  I talked with with an interesting mix of students, faculty, and staff in a variety of different roles. The conference theme was the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and there was heightened sense of urgency to take action on climate change was palpable; this past Monday the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its landmark report Global Warming of 1.5º C is sobering about what needs to be done.

This was my third consecutive year presenting at this conference; for folks unfamiliar with AASHE it is very broad “tent” with a primary emphasis toward environmental sustainability. The expo hall includes everything from electric cars/carts to customized recycling containers to bike share and campus scooter programs to carbon-footprint tracking and academic programs in sustainability from many different perspectives. There’s a whole lot of green building going on out there!

The sizable area of poster sessions at AASHE included everything from thermostat control initiatives (Wesleyan U) to “blender bikes” (Ohio U) to making “bag boards” from compressed plastic bags (UNC-Wilmington). Social sustainability – such as the focus of my project – is a bit of a niche within AASHE. If audience size from year to year is any indication, it is an area of growing interest – and concern – in American higher education. I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our ongoing conversation.

It was a lot of fun to explore my material from different perspectives in each of my two AASHE talks. My introductory session on living wage policies attracted a number of students, and an intermediate level session for people familiar with the living wage concept, where were able to talk in greater detail about what I’ve learned so far through this project and compare notes with practitioners. And some folks came for both (you know who you are – thank you!).

Between the two sessions, I was able to chat with a public policy graduate student from just down the street here in Philadelphia, sustainability coordinators from coast to coast (and all points in between), and adjunct and tenure track faculty in public and private institutions.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with AASHE, and I’ll keep you posted here whenever I have significant news. Next year’s AASHE conference is in Spokane WA, October 27-30, 2019. I hope to see you there.

Second presentation added @ AASHE 2018

My talk “A Primer on Living Wage Policies and Just Employment” was upgraded from a poster session to a presentation and added to the 2018 AASHE Conference & Expo in Pittsburgh. The presentation is Wednesday October 3 at 8:30 am in Convention Center 317. This is a 30-minute compact “on-ramp” for anyone who wants to learn about living wage policies and just employment.

And if you want to learn more, later that morning, I’ll be presenting “This Justice In: Updated Results From the Living Wage Policy Study” at 11:30 (also in Convention Center 317). I’ve revised my earlier post about AASHE (from July) to reflect the new information.

If you’re attending AASHE, or would like to connect in Pittsburgh, please drop me a note (weidner@sju.edu)!

2018 AASHE presentations (updated 9/19)

Updated (Sep 18 2018): AASHE asked if I’d be willing to convert my poster session (announced below in July) to a presentation – and of course I’m delighted to do so. This post has been the edited to reflect the current information on both presentations.

More good news. I’ve had two proposals accepted for presentation at the 2018 AASHE Conference & Expo in Pittsburgh (October 2-4). I’m delighted because AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, aashe.org) is a rapidly growing organization centered on higher education, and brings together everyone from students to staff to academics, all acting on their commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that inspired the theme to this year’s conference, “Global Goals: Rising to the Challenge.”

Both presentations are on Wednesday, October 3:

A Primer on Living Wage Policies and Just Employment(8:30-9:00 am, Convention Center 317).

This presentation is a compact introduction to living wage and just employment issues.

This Justice In: Updated Results From the Living Wage Policy Study(11:30-12:30, Convention Center 317) 

This presentation begins at a more intermediate level and provides me more time to work with participants during my session presentation.

My engagement with AASHE began in October 2016 with my first AASHE conference presentation (with Elizabeth Sohmer in Baltimore), and put me on the path toward this project.

If you’re attending AASHE, or would like to connect in Pittsburgh, please drop me a note!

2018 CUPA-HR presentation

Updated July 12 with presentation date and time

Today I received word that my presentation proposal “When is it Time for a Living Wage Policy?” has been accepted for presentation to the 2018 CUPA-HR Annual Conference, in Indianapolis October 7-9. I’m delighted because CUPA-HR (College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, cupahr.org) is vibrant organization drawing HR professionals from across the spectrum of public and private higher education institutions. My presentation time is 11 am on Monday October 8; if you are attending CUPA-HR, please stop by. I hope to see you there.