Connections Higher Education Newsletter

Celebrating educators who’ve inspired us

“A teacher affects eternity,” said the American historian Henry Adams.

Inspired2Educate, a new national recognition program launched last month by PeopleAdmin, illustrates this perfectly.

We’re asking current educators like you, Who inspired you to make education your life’s work? Is there someone who stands out? A favorite teacher or professor? A guidance counselor or principal? My guess is there’s somebody who inspired you to not only become your best, but who also ignited in you a passion to educate.

If so, we want to hear your story.

Inspired2Educate encourages current education professionals at all educational institutions — from public to private — and at all grades levels — from kindergarten to doctoral programs — to nominate via video or in writing an educator who inspired them. Each month, PeopleAdmin will award one person with a $1,000 scholarship for their own professional development, as well as $1,000 for their educational institution to use however it sees fit.

We’ve already received dozens of submissions, including from educators at colleges and universities like yours.

If an educator has touched your life and helped you become the educator you are today, I urge you to visit PeopleAdmin.com/Inspired2Educate. Tell us your story. Together, let’s keep the inspiration alive and celebrate those educators who build a better future, each and every day.

Learn more about Inspired2Educate in our recent blog.

Tell us your story

Exclusive: The Power of Diversity, Part 1

Q&A with Nancy Aebersold, HERC Founder and Executive Director

Nancy Aebersold

Nancy Aebersold

Diversity is one of the most “serious, complex, and nuanced” topics in higher education today, according to Nancy Aebersold, founder and executive director of The Higher Education Recruitment Consortium, known as HERC.

A non-profit consortium of colleges, universities, hospitals, research labs, government agencies, and related non- and for-profit organizations, HERC was founded in 2000 with 19 members. It now boasts over 700 members from across the country.

PeopleAdmin partners with HERC and shares a deep commitment to help institutions hire the most diverse and talented faculty and staff available. HERC members using PeopleAdmin’s SelectSuite 7 solution, for example, can now reach more professionals with diverse backgrounds through our integration with DirectEmployers Association, an employer-driven nonprofit focusing on talent acquisition and inclusion.

Here is Part 1 of our Q&A with Nancy, complete with a guide on the ten practical steps for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion:

Q: Can you explain why diversity is integral to institutional excellence, and how it results in better educational outcomes for students?

A: Increasing academic workforce diversity is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to attaining the missions of colleges and universities — which is to educate, inspire and prepare future generations to further the advancement of our diverse society. Educating people of all backgrounds, beliefs and cultures takes a diverse academic workforce.

Students benefit from seeing themselves mirrored in the front of the classroom, in the lab and in the highest levels of academic leadership. Diverse representation and inclusive learning environments provide inspiration and aspiration and help students believe, “I can be there or I can achieve thought leadership in the profession I choose.”

Also, a diversity of perspectives produces a more energized and dynamic academic environment. People with different life experiences ask different questions. They enrich dialogs, and may ignite contestation or disruption of the status quo, which fuels the creation of new knowledge, innovation and deeper understandings.

Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge for institutions actively seeking to hire faculty and staff that reflect the cultural diversity within our society? And why is that so difficult?

A: I think the greatest challenge is the demand for diverse Ph.D.s seeking faculty appointments far outweighs the supply. To solve that, it will take time, strategic policy changes and resources. There are a number of vital organizations working on developing a K-20 pipeline of students from historically excluded populations who are currently underrepresented in the academy. Building this pipeline of highly qualified, diverse professionals who see rich opportunities to grow their careers in higher education is only one half of the equation.

The other half is increasing understanding and developing practices at all levels within our higher education institutions about diversity, equity and inclusion (I will use this in its abbreviated form “DEI”  throughout, not to minimize meaning, but to economize on the use of words) in order to change institutional climates to consistently act upon those values. There is a knowledge gap that needs to be filled by “educating the educators” about barriers to inclusion such as all of the blatant “isms” and “phobias” that we see played out in their most extreme forms in hate crimes, campus violence and sexual assaults; as well as seemingly more subtle forms of prejudice such as unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and stereotyping. The goal in addressing these issues through education, dialog and sharing of experiences is to create work and learning places that are safe, respectful, equitable and welcoming to all.

Q: How would you describe HERC’s partnership with PeopleAdmin?

A: In a word: impactful.

HERC has appreciated a long-term partnership with PeopleAdmin and in the past year, as PeopleAdmin’s new leadership team has fully emerged, I have noted a significantly greater level of engagement and commitment to understanding and serving the higher education sector’s talent management needs. My experience with the current team has convinced me that they are energized, fully invested and dedicated to providing solutions that will address the challenges, needs and opportunities being communicated by higher education’s talent management professionals.

This level of engagement has resulted in a deeper and more meaningful partnership between HERC and PeopleAdmin. For instance, HERC learned from its members that more professional development on the topic of DEI in the search committee process was a topmost need. In order to bring the best thinkers and practitioners to share their knowledge on this topic with HERC’s members, HERC needed an investment to provide speakers’ honoraria. When I discussed this need with PeopleAdmin’s CEO Kermit Randa, he immediately responded with a generous contribution to support a webinar series on the topic. As a result, in February 2016, HERC engaged Dr. Robbin Chapman, associate provost and academic director of diversity and inclusion at Wellesley College to give a webinar entitled, “Micro-Messages & Your Search Committees– Subtle Signals That Can Help or Hinder the Recruitment of Women and Minorities.” HERC has three additional PeopleAdmin-sponsored webinars planned for 2016.

Q: What steps should colleges and universities take right now to bring about the level of diversity needed to benefit everyone?

A: First, an institution’s senior leadership and the heads of each department and school should take stock of the current state of DEI to establish a baseline. The answers to the following questions will help determine which areas need development:

  1. Has your institution/department/school made a formal and transparent commitment to DEI?
  2. Has it ratified DEI in its institutional policies?
  3. Has it implemented DEI practices in its operations and practices?
  4. Has it employed DEI language and imagery in internal and external communications?
  5. Has it created accessible mandatory and elective training and development on DEI for all members of the campus community?
  6. Has it established accountability measures to monitor DEI in all of the above areas?

Then, for individuals involved in higher education workforce recruitment, development, advancement and retention, I recommend following these ten practical steps for advancing DEI.

In Part 2 of the Power of Diversity, in the next edition of Connections Higher Education, Nancy talks about what lies ahead for HERC and how technology can play a role in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Shout it Out

georgia

“There are plenty of vendors out there who do one thing well. There are very few that do many things well. The fact that you do many things well is the one reason PeopleAdmin is highly recommended.”

Neil Jones, executive assistant to the vice president of academic affairs, Georgia College & State University

lewis

“We recently switched over to the PA 7.0 system [SelectSuite] and have been pleased with our experience so far.”

– Lori Misheck, director of human resources, Lewis University

tarleton

“PeopleAdmin has the best product for higher ed out there. Service is great as usual, and the standards are high.”

– Wendy Haynes, manager, compensation and recruitment, Tarleton State University

am

“Your PA 7 staff is wonderful, very helpful and pleasant.”

– Rosie Ruiz, associate director, employee relations and equal opportunity, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

Solutions Corner

New enhancements empower diversity recruiting, system customization

At PeopleAdmin, we recognize the power of partnership. That’s why we’ve recently strengthened our partnerships with organizations such as HERC and released new product functionality to make it easier for you to meet diversity initiatives and customize SelectSuite notifications to fit your needs.

Empowering diversity

PeopleAdmin, Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC) and DirectEmployers have partnered to assist higher education institutions in sourcing more qualified, diverse candidates. SelectSuite users and HERC members will be able to automatically post their open positions to DirectEmployers — an association focused on talent acquisition and inclusion — making it easier to search for and attract diverse candidates. [See above Q&A with Nancy Aebersold of HERC]

“We understand the conscious effort required to build a qualified, diverse talent pool in higher education and are excited for the opportunities this new partnership will deliver to customers,” said Kermit Randa, PeopleAdmin CEO. “We will continue building partnerships with organizations that share our mission to help educational institutions attract and hire well–qualified candidates who can guide students to reach their fullest potential.”

This pilot enhancement was made available to a selection of institutions in November 2015 — including George Mason University, Tarrant County College District, and the University of Houston — and all reported their position announcements reached dozens of new, previously under-represented talent pools via targeted job board sites such as Diversity.jobs, Easter Seals, The Veterans Employment Center, Deaf to Work and more.

“The University of Houston is proud to be part of this incredible initiative,” said Joan Nelson, associate chancellor and vice president of human resources. “We seek to attract the greatest and most diverse workforce to meet the academic mission of our campus. Having HERC and PeopleAdmin collaborate to provide unparalleled visibility for our jobs through this integration with DirectEmployers is a benefit.”

This integration will be available to all institutions that are SelectSuite customers and HERC members on April 19, 2016. Contact your sales representative to learn more.

Enhanced email notification customization now available!

Many SelectSuite product enhancements have been developed from customer feedback and requests, including the recent email notification additions, requested and voted on by customers on the Ideas page in the Community.

“It would be helpful if hiring managers can receive an email notification once HR has approved the position description, especially to include comments added at the time of approval. HR users currently are receiving the email notification but it is HR that is approving the request. It would be beneficial for the hiring managers to be able to receive the same email with notes regarding the position, modifications made by HR, etc. This would help with providing more communication to hiring managers,” wrote Jamie Wilson, HR specialist at Middle Tennessee State University, whose feedback helped influence the development of the new functionality.

Now that the enhancement is complete, users can set up a wider variety of email notifications for actions, hiring proposals and postings. That means you can send notifications on posting actions and hiring proposals to users outside of the approval workflow, and you can choose when you want search committee members to receive email notifications about job postings.

“This enhancement makes it easier for users to receive notifications exactly when they need them,” said Jonah Schrowang, product manager at PeopleAdmin. “It provides more flexibility, improved customization and faster, more efficient workflow approvals. I encourage customers who are interested in this enhancement to vote or comment on the related ‘Reminder Emails and Other Time-Based Triggers’ idea in the Community. We’re planning to add the functionality later this year and always appreciate more customer feedback.”

To vote on this related idea:

  1. Log in to the Community and click the Ideas tab
  2. Select “2. SelectSuite” in the Zone drop down box at the top
  3. From the drop down boxes on the right, choose the category “General” and status “Planned”
  4. Click “Reminder Emails and Other Time-Based Triggers” and vote or enter your comments
Herc

“We seek to attract the greatest and most diverse workforce to meet the academic mission of our campus. Having HERC and PeopleAdmin collaborate to provide unparalleled visibility for our jobs through this integration with DirectEmployers is a benefit.”

Amazing Customer Experience

3 opportunities to share and save at PeopleConnect 2016

Get inspired and enhance your user conference experience by submitting a speaking proposal, nominating your institution for an award and registering today!

PeopleConnect 2016 is all about Making it Happen — a worthy theme for what you do daily in higher education, in your career, and in everyday life. To help motivate you and build on the skills you need to meet your everyday challenges, keynote speaker and “motivational pyromaniac” Denise Ryan will offer insights, humor and inspiration to prepare you for any task you face.

But that’s just one of the ways PeopleConnect 2016 has more to offer than ever before…

Complete these three tasks to make sure you don’t miss a single action-packed moment!

1. Share your story
Do you have a great success story using SelectSuite or PeopleAdmin 5.8? Has your department configured or implemented PeopleAdmin products in an innovative way or built effective programs around a crucial talent management process? Help inspire others and celebrate your success by leading a session at PeopleConnect 2016.

“One of the primary reasons I attend conferences is to learn innovative ways that other customers are using the products, through the breakout sessions,” said Matthew Cherry, HR systems/employment specialist at Colorado College.

Like Matthew, we know no one has more relevant experience than you — those who use PeopleAdmin solutions every day — so we hope you’ll lead or co-lead a breakout session. Consider how you can contribute to compelling session topics, including:

  • Your SelectSuite or PeopleAdmin 5.8 experience
  • Successful recruitment or diversity initiatives
  • Methods for overcoming compliance hurdles
  • Implementation or upgrading best practices

Submit an eligible speaking proposal by April 13, 2016, to receive 10 percent off the cost of registration. If your proposal is accepted, you’ll receive 40 percent off your registration rate.

2. New this year! Nominate your institution for a PeopleConnect Customer Award
PeopleConnect Customer Awards recognize PeopleAdmin customers for their commitment to advancing higher education, solving HR challenges or using technology creatively. Nominate your institution in one or all of this year’s award categories:

  • Innovation Award: Celebrating new, unique and creative ways colleges and universities use PeopleAdmin products to overcome challenges, improve HR processes or streamline workflows.
  • Inclusion Award (DE&I award): Recognizing improvement and lasting impact of successfully implemented diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
  • Aligning the Stars Award: Celebrating the use of PeopleAdmin products to promote and improve interdepartmental collaboration for the benefit of staff, students and the university at large.
  • Helping Hands Award: Recognizing an institution’s positive influence on the future of education, whether through charitable work, innovation, reallocation of resources or other means.
  • Make It Happen Award: Acknowledging employee-led efforts to overcome obstacles and support the mission of the institution using PeopleAdmin solutions.

3. Register today and save
PeopleAdmin’s 13th annual customer conference is June 22-24 in Austin, Texas, and you can save $50 by registering before April 30. Register three or more attendees for PeopleConnect 2016 and save an additional $50 on each.

Register Now and Save
Feedback

Reader feedback: Community networking tips and updates

During a recent call with a PeopleAdmin representative, Pat Dixon, recruitment manager at Ringling College of Art and Design, wanted to encourage Community users to add photos to their profiles…

“So it would be easier to put faces to names this year at PeopleConnect,” she said.

Thanks for the great idea, Pat! Networking opportunities abound at the user conference and in the PeopleAdmin customer portal. Picking your online connections out of the crowd at PeopleConnect will be much easier when you know what they look like.

Here’s how you can upload a photo to your Community profile:

  1. Log in to the Community and click the “User Group” tab at the top.
  2. On the left, you’ll see your name. Click it to go to your profile.
  3. Hover your mouse over the blue smiley face image on the left and click “Add photo” when it appears at the bottom of the image.
  4. This will open an “Upload Profile Photo” box. Upload the image you want to use and click Save. NOTE: Your picture must be an image file no larger than 8 MB.
  5. The box will refresh and ask you to select the part of the picture that you want as your thumbnail image, this is the small image that will be used most often on the Community. When you’re finished cropping your picture, click “Save.”

You can further enhance your networking opportunities on the Community by updating your profile and contact information by following steps 1-2 above, then clicking the pencil icon below your profile image and adding your information in each of the profile fields.

Community enhancements

We’ve been busy improving the Community, too. Here are some of the latest tools and enhancements:

  • New Community Quickstart Guide will help you learn how to use the Community.
  • A “URL for Reported Issue/Question” field has been added to cases, so you can now reference the specific Web page for which you have a question.
  • Contact information now syncs between your customer profile and cases — so when you update your contact information on your profile, the Support team will see the updated contact information on your cases.
  • Monthly SelectSuite update summaries for January and February are now available on the SelectSuite User Group page.

We’re also working on new support features within SelectSuite, including live chat and the ability to search the Community Knowledge base directly from your HR Suite. This functionality will be available only to users with certain management privileges … stay tuned for more information as these tools are finalized.

Learn more about PeopleAdmin Community tools, tips and tricks in the upcoming New & Next webinar.

Spotlight: Colorado State University’s investment in SelectSuite training pays dividends in high adoption rates

“Our entire institution uses SelectSuite for all hires, and they enjoy it.”

Having the right tools to accomplish a critical task — and believing and trusting in those tools — can make a world of difference.

Colorado State University (CSU) knows an HR solution like Select Suite is no different.

That’s why CSU has taken the comprehensive training PeopleAdmin provides during implementation even one step further and invested in creating a CSU-specific SelectSuite training library geared for even their least tech-savvy employees.

“I want people to be on board with SelectSuite so we can all get the most out of it,” said Chris Mullen, assistant director for recruitment and selection at CSU, who has overseen the SelectSuite implementation and training for more than 7,000 employees.

In this case, getting the most from SelectSuite has led to high solution-adoption rates, improved HR efficiencies, and greater audit-ready documentation since Colorado State implemented SelectSuite three years ago.

“Implementing change is not easy for everyone but providing additional training can ease some of the issues and concerns,” Chris said. “We try to meet everybody’s needs, every type of learner, with in-person trainings for every different section.”

For example, CSU offers SelectSuite training guides with screenshots and computer lab-style training where super users work with employees one-on-one to answer questions.

“Now we’re moving into more video,” Chris said, quick to add that it’s not as labor intensive as it may sound. “When I get a question, I log in as the person with the issue, record my desktop and show them how to do it. I then send them the video. And that has gotten rave reviews.”

Once recorded, videos are added to the university’s training channel on YouTube, so other employees can find answers easily. Chris’s goal is to achieve an automated training process, so all employees have access to necessary training with minimal effort from his team.

“SelectSuite’s intuitive for the millennial generation or someone who uses technology like myself,” he said. “A lot of our employees didn’t grow up with technology. But with training they learn easily how to look at applicants, review them and combine their documents.”

CSU’s training emphasis has led to high adoption rates among university employees at all levels, including support staff and mid-level employees. “Our entire institution uses SelectSuite for all hires, and they enjoy it,” Chris said. “SelectSuite brought together a lot of efficiencies for us. We got rid of a lot of paper — and not just in my office. We combined a ton of processes into the system that got rid of all kinds of paper, emails and letters being sent from one office to another.”

Colorado State shows that you get out of HR technology what you put into it. Their up-front effort to introduce the system and provide instruction so that all stakeholders can use it to meet their needs has significantly decreased the learning curve, improved efficiency and prepared their university for an even more successful future.

Recent News & Articles

Promote Faculty Engagement by going Digital

Compiling, tracking, and reporting on faculty via paper processes is never ideal. But for many institutions, it feels like the only option for institutions. Going digital is a process and requires planning and effort. The long-term benefit though is a simplified entry point, a self-sufficient system, API integrations and a simple and accessible platform for all parties from IT to faculty and staff. 

Learning, Connecting, and Growing at PeopleConnect 2019

It was wonderful to host and connect with our customers at PeopleConnect 2019. If you joined us in Austin, thank you! If you missed the conference, we had a great three days with 250 higher education peers who came together to learn, network, and share new and exciting opportunities to advance the missions of research, teaching, and service. They made our annual customer event a huge success!

Addressing Pain Points in HigherEd

Advancing the higher education ecosystem is a challenge faced by administrators and educators all over the world. Higher education institutions today are responsible for many critical outcomes. In addition to student success, there is a renewed focus on the recruitment and retention of faculty, as well as the setup and administration of organizational systems powering human capital management. These pressures in higher education create dysfunctional systems and processes causing a mission gap and lack of alignment among teams, leadership, and the overall institution.

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