Have you heard about CUPA-HR Boot Camp?

There may not be such a thing as a free lunch, but if you’re a CUPA-HR member there is a free course. Designed especially for early career HR professionals or those who may be new to HR in a higher education setting, this 5.5-hour course offers the basic knowledge you need to be successful in any HR role in higher education.

When you take the course, you’ll:

  • Work through scenarios to become familiar with FLSA job classification in higher education, including classification of support staff and faculty.
  • Find out how you can avoid employment and labor law mistakes related to Title IX and other laws.
  • Become acquainted with the sources of funding that drive an institution’s budget.
  • Explore issues related to crisis management and workplace violence policies on a college campus and learn how the higher ed environment differs from other industries and sectors.
  • Learn which discrimination laws can and cannot be applied to expatriate workers, plus other considerations for foreign nationals recruited and employed by colleges and universities

View a full list of modules and topics.

DOL Issues Opinion Letter on Wellness Activities

On August 28, the Department of Labor (DOL)’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued six new opinion letters to address compliance issues under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As WHD states, “an opinion letter is an official, written opinion by WHD on how a particular law applies in specific circumstances presented by the person or entity requesting the letter.”

The August announcement builds upon DOL’s June 2017 statement that it would reinstate the issuance of opinion letters — a longstanding practice of DOL before it was eliminated during the Obama administration and replaced with broader “Administrator Interpretations”— and the January 2018 reissuance of 17 opinion letters drafted at the end of the Bush administration yet withdrawn by the Obama administration before they could be mailed.

While the recent batch of newly released opinion letters address a variety of issues, one of the letters answers an individual’s request for WHD to opine on whether the FLSA “requires compensation for the time an employee spends voluntarily participating in certain wellness activities, biometric screenings and benefits fairs.” The fact pattern set forth in the letter is as follows:

The employer allows (does not require as it is completely voluntary) its employees to participate in biometric screenings which test such things like an employee’s cholesterol level, blood pressure and nicotine usage, as the participation in such screening could reduce the individual employee’s insurance deductibles. The employer also allows employees to participate in wellness activities that may reduce an employee’s insurance premiums. These activities can include attending health classes, participating in Weight Watchers and using the employer-provided gym; however [these activities] are completely voluntary and do not relate to the employee’s job. Finally, the employer also allows employees to attend benefits fairs to learn about topics like employer-provided benefits and financial planning. Again, employees’ attendance at the fairs is entirely optional, open to all employees and not related to the employees’ jobs.

DOL analyzed the facts set forth in the letter using the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1944 determination in Armour & Co. v. Wantock that the compensability of an employee’s time depends on “whether it is spent predominantly for the employer’s benefit or for the employee’s” and separate regulations (29 C.F.R. § 785.16.) which provide that an employee is not entitled to compensation for “off duty” time — “periods during which an employee is completely relieved from duty and which are long enough to enable him to use the time effectively for his own purposes.” Based on that analysis, WHD found that because “the activities described in the letter predominantly benefit the employee, they do not constitute compensable work time under the FLSA.”

As such, WHD concluded that regardless of whether the activities occur on-site or during regular working hours, “the FLSA does not require compensation for the time employees choose to spend engaged in the activities described in the letter.”

DOL encourages the public to submit requests for opinion letters to WHD using this website and reminds the public that the request must state that the opinion is not sought by a party in a WHD investigation or for use in any litigation that was initiated prior to the submission of the request.

HR and the Courts: Recent Rulings and Legislation

Each month, CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard provides an overview of some labor and employment law cases and regulatory actions with implications for the higher ed workplace. Here’s the latest from Ira:

University Argues ERISA Claims Not Subject to Jury Trial

MIT is one of a dozen or so prominent universities to be sued in separate Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) collective actions across the country claiming breach of fiduciary duty for offering too many investment choices and allegedly charging unreasonably high administrative fees among other fiduciary charges and allegations. A number of the cases have been dismissed by federal judges, and at least one was settled. Many are in various stages of preliminary litigation, with some possibly heading to trial.

In late August, MIT’s trial counsel argued to the federal district court judge handling the case that in accordance with Supreme Court precedent, the plaintiffs do not have a right under ERISA to a jury trial. They argue instead that the case should go to a bench trial, wherein the applicable sitting federal district court judge conducts the proceedings and decides the outcome.

MIT’s counsel argued that “ERISA itself provides no express right to a jury trial, and the Seventh Amendment only guarantees the right to a jury trial in suits at common law.” The counsel also argued that the Supreme Court has interpreted “suits at common law” to exclude ERISA lawsuits.

We will follow developments in this and the other university ERISA lawsuits.

California Sexual Harassment Legislation Restricting Arbitration and Non-Disclosure Agreements Headed to Governor for Signature

California lawmakers recently passed legislation which would ban mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment cases in the state and also ban the use of non-disclosure agreements prohibiting employees from disclosing sexual harassment violations. The legislation would allow for “voluntary” arbitration of sexual harassment litigation and would allow plaintiffs to request non-disclosure agreements but would ban employers from requiring them as a condition of settlement. The California legislature is also working on six other bills inspired by the Me Too movement.

New York was the first state to act in this area and already restricts mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims and non-disclosure agreements. In addition to employees, the New York law also protects contractors and others from workplace sexual harassment. Commentators state similar legislation is “in the works” or being considered for proposal in several other states.

Appeals Court Affirms University’s Summary Judgement Victory Rejecting Former Professor’s National Origin Discrimination Allegations and Retaliatory Discharge Claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina) affirmed a trial court’s decision to dismiss a former professor’s claims that Longwood University denied her tenure because of her national origin and denied her due process (Balas v. W. Taylor Reveley IV, et al. (4th Cir, Case #17-1991, 8/16/18)).

The plaintiff had taught at the university for seven years and claimed she was denied tenure because of her national origin and then was retaliated against by being fired after she raised the national origin discrimination claims. The trial court found that the university presented a valid reason for her tenure denial and firing (the university stated that her teaching and academic work was sub-par) and that she failed to show that the reasons proffered were pretextual.

OFCCP Issues New Enforcement Directive Calling for Investigators to Factor in Religious Freedom in Alleged LGBT Discrimination Matters

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) recently issued a new enforcement directive calling for investigators to factor into their investigations of LGBT cases recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings and White House Executive Orders that protect religious freedom.

Commentators say the directive was done to target the Labor Department’s ban on bias against gay and transgender workers. The acting OFCCP director stated in issuing the directive that these instructions are connected to an upcoming rulemaking that will be added to the OFCCP’s regulatory agenda.

State Marijuana Laws Conflict With Federal Mandate, Leaving Disability Cases to Be Determined Differently Depending on Employers’ State of Operations

Vermont is the latest state to legalize limited recreational use of marijuana for adults over 21 years of age (the state has already legalized the use of medical marijuana). In light of these developments, drug testing and disability cases continue to raise questions. The federal government guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act is that an employer is not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana, even if legally prescribed under a state law, because the use is still illegal under federal law. It is commonly interpreted even in states where recreational use and medical use of marijuana is permitted that use on the job which results in impairment is not allowed and generally can be grounds for termination. There may be exceptions under some state disability laws where medical marijuana use is permitted during working hours for a disability if the use does not create impairment and the job is not safety sensitive.

Current best practice is to seek guidance from local counsel in your state if you operate in a state which has legalized the use of medical marijuana and/or its use for recreational purposes. Employee policies and handbooks should be reviewed and revised depending on your state of operation for the latest compliance practices in your state.

Underpaid and Underrepresented: Women of Color in the Higher Ed Workforce

“Intersectionality” – the combination of discrimination or bias experienced by individuals with overlapping identities, each of which is associated with discrimination on its own.

Research has shown that women and minorities each face their own challenges related to equal pay and representation in the higher ed workforce — women working in higher ed leadership earn less than White menwomen are underrepresented in higher-paying, more prestigious positions in American colleges and universities; and minorities are underrepresented, particularly in high-level higher ed jobs, and underpaid in the majority of campus jobs.

But how do these inequities intersect for women of color?

CUPA-HR’s new research brief, Representation and Pay of Women of Color in the Higher Education Workforce, seeks to answer this question by examining representation and pay equity for the intersection of two groups: women and individuals who identify as either Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino. The brief explores the kinds of inequity women and ethnic minorities experience and how inequities differ by position type.

Here are some findings:

  • Women of color are paid only 67 cents on the dollar compared to White men in the higher education workforce.
  • In three out of four job types (professional, staff and faculty) women of color are paid less than White men, men of color and White women.
  • Women of color are underrepresented in the higher ed workforce as a whole compared to their representation in the U.S. population.
  • Women of color are represented more in lower-paying staff positions and less in higher-paying faculty, professional and administrative roles. This stands in contrast to White men, whose representation increases significantly with pay and position level.

 

 

So how do we begin to address these pay and representation inequities among women of color in the higher ed workforce? Here are four steps higher ed HR professionals can take:

  • Share this brief with your institution’s leadership.
  • Evaluate internal equity for both pay and representation across different job categories. Consider demographic factors both independently and in combination.
  • Compare with peer institutions using detailed and accurate salary data. In this way, ensure fair market wages for all employees and establish competitive salaries when it’s necessary to compete for a limited pool of minority candidates.
  • Take analyses beyond wages and consider employee turnover, age and experience. This may allow for a longer-term view and the ability to address the pipeline of minority women incumbents who could potentially be promoted into higher-prestige roles.

Says Jasper McChesney, author of the brief, “Equity issues cannot be solved overnight, but by planning strategically, with unbiased data, higher education institutions can continue taking steps toward more diverse and equitable campuses.”

Read the Representation and Pay of Women of Color in the Higher Education Workforce brief, and check out CUPA-HR’s other research briefs.

This brief was made possible with support from Fidelity Investments. 

HR and the Courts: Recent Rulings That Could Impact the Higher Ed Workplace

Each month, CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard provides an overview of some labor and employment law cases and regulatory actions with implications for the higher ed workplace. Here’s the latest from Ira:

Court Finds Plaintiff’s Failure to Follow Supervisor’s Direction Not Protected by the First Amendment

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (covering Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana) recently ruled that a public employee’s good-faith and well-meaning decision to refuse his supervisor’s direction is not protected by the First Amendment, and therefore his lawsuit alleging retaliation for asserting First Amendment rights was properly dismissed (Davis v. City of Chicago(2018 BL 162182, 7th Cir., No. 16-1430, 5/8/18)).

The plaintiff was an investigator and supervisor with the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability. He was terminated after refusing to follow his supervisor’s direction to file a report which he believed was inaccurate and misleading. The court of appeals ruled that his refusal was that of an employee and not a private citizen, and therefore he had no First Amendment rights attached to his actions. The court went on to conclude that just because an employee has a good reason for refusing to follow a supervisor’s directions does not mean the employee’s actions are protected by the First Amendment.

Community College President Can Proceed With Wrongful Termination, Defamation and Employment Contract Violation Case as Court Rejects Board of Trustees’ Argument That a Preceeding Board Cannot Agree to a President’s Term Beyond Its Own Term

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the right of a fired community college president to sue the college’s board of trustees for wrongful termination and violation of his employment contract terms (Breuder v. Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 502 (2018 BL 134357, 7th Cir., No. 17-1577, 4/17/18)). The president was hired in 2008 under a contract that extended through 2019, but was terminated in 2015 after new members joined the college’s board of trustees.

The new board, relying upon Illinois Supreme Court precedent from the 19th century, argued that the president’s contract was unenforceable because it exceeded the term of the board that signed the deal. The court of appeals rejected the argument, holding that the Illinois Supreme Court case had been reversed by interceding state legislation that permitted college boards to set tenure policies and rules for professors and administrative staff on their own.

The outdated state Supreme Court decision would have precluded a board from making employment contracts that exceed two years. The appeals court held that to adopt the argument of the board of trustees would put Illinois community colleges at a major disadvantage to community colleges in other states that have no comparable restrictions. The court concluded that such a rule would make it difficult to attract significant talent to the state. The appeals court ruled that the former president’s wrongful termination and defamation claims should move forward, as he was terminated without a constitutionally-mandated due process hearing and was allegedly defamed as part of the process.

University Research Director Loses First Amendment Discharge Case, Court Rejects Protection of His Public Comments Critical of Research Center’s Budget, Finances and Need for More Space

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (covering North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas) affirmed the dismissal of a former University of North Dakota research director’s First Amendment retaliatory discharge case by the trial court, holding that the university honored the research director’s due process rights to a hearing contesting his discharge (Groenwold v. Kelley (2018 BL 143529, 8th Cir., No. 16-4019, dismissal affirmed, 4/24/18)).

The court also held that the research director’s public comments about the research center’s finances, budget and lack of space were not a matter of public concern and not protected by the First Amendment. The court concluded that just because the comments were not about his personal finances or other personal matters, that was not enough to make them a matter of public concern. Finally, the court recognized that the university had provided the research director with a pre-discharge hearing and appeal rights and concluded that his due process rights were honored, and therefore the discharge should stand.

Court Finds Employee Was Discharged Because of Temper, Not Ethnicity or National Origin, and Rejects Allegations That His Supervisor Called Him a “Hot-Headed Mexican” as Proof of National Origin Discrimination

A federal district court recently ruled that a parts manager who was called a “hot-headed Mexican” by his supervisor did not state a Title VII claim for ethnic or national origin discrimination following his discharge after an incident at a training session where he reacted aggressively and threatened a company trainer (Gonzalez v. Premier Quality Imports (2018 BL 139242, ED La., 17-6387, 4/19/18)).

The court granted summary judgment to the employer, who cited a pattern of behavior in which the employee exhibited aggressive behavior and a temper in dealing with other employees. After having negative run-ins with other employees, the plaintiff’s supervisor called him a “hot-headed Mexican.” When he told the supervisor that he was Cuban and not Mexican, the supervisor called him a “hot-headed Cuban.” The court ruled that he was clearly discharged because of the incident during the training session and not because of his ethnicity or national origin.

California to Be First State to Mandate Women on Boards

Proposed legislation being considered in the California legislature would require that California-based companies with all male boards of directors add women. If the law is passed, California would become the first state in the U.S. with such a requirement for publicly-held companies. Countries such as Norway, France and Germany already have national laws requiring gender diversity quotas to bring more women into the boardroom. While the law would not apply to nonprofits, it is likely that if passed it will be the beginning of a legislative trend that may also spread to nonprofit boards.

HR and the Courts: Recents Rulings and Legislation

Each month, CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard provides an overview of some labor and employment law cases and regulatory actions with implications for the higher ed workplace. Here’s the latest from Ira:

University Prevails in Gender-Based Pay and Discriminatory Discharge Allegations, Court Cites Faculty Vote Not to Renew Appointment and Rejects Evidence of Department Chair’s Sexist Comment

An appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a digital art instructor’s gender-based pay discrimination and sex-based retaliatory termination lawsuit, notwithstanding a sexist comment by a department chair. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi) affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the case on summary judgement against LSU and several individual faculty defendants (Hester v. Board of Supervisors of the Louisiana State University et al. (5th Cir. No. 16-31242, 4/4/18)).

The plaintiff, who was the wife of a law professor at the university, joined the faculty in 2009 as a part-time instructor. After she complained that she was required to perform full-time duties, the university increased her salary from $25,000 to $41,000 and gave her the title of “professional in residence.” She claimed in her lawsuit that even after the raise and title change, she was paid less than male counterparts. She also claimed her department chair told her repeatedly to behave like a “trailing spouse” of her husband, the law professor.

The court, in dismissing the plaintiff’s claims, cited a faculty vote of 15 to 2 not to renew her appointment, which the university stated was based on faculty members’ non-sex-based-related conclusions that the plaintiff had refused to teach some courses, had received poor teaching evaluations, and lacked a sufficient record of “creative activity.” The plaintiff filed an internal appeal of the faculty’s action, which was rejected. The internal appeal decision cited the plaintiff’s lack of collegiality with the faculty as an additional reason for non-renewal.

Regarding the plaintiff’s gender-based pay discrimination allegations, the court concluded that the male faculty members she cited as comparable were indeed paid more, but they also had more qualifications and/or responsibilities than she did. The plaintiff’s allegations of the department chair’s sexist remarks were dismissed as vague, long past and not directly related in time or otherwise to the faculty vote not to renew her position.

Federal Jury Awards College Female Hockey Coach $3.7 Million in Damages in Sex Discrimination and Retaliatory Discharge Case Including Allegations of Title IX Violations

Sharon Miller, former coach of the women’s hockey team at University of Minnesota Duluth, has won a $3.7 million jury verdict in her federal trial alleging that her contract was not renewed because of her sex and in retaliation for reporting alleged Title IX violations in regard to unequal treatment of men’s and women’s hockey programs at the university (Miller v. Board of Regents University of Minnesota (D. Minn., no. 0:15-cv-03740, jury verdict, 3/15/18)).

Miller’s additional claim of sexual orientation discrimination, alleging that she was also discharged because she is a lesbian, was not included in this verdict (the court dismissed that part of the case because the Eighth Circuit holds that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation). However, it has been reported that Miller and two other former female coaches are separately pursuing the sexual orientation discrimination claim against the university in state court under the state statute, which arguably covers sexual orientation.

The verdict followed a seven-day trial, and Miller was awarded $3,744,832, which according to her counsel was what Miller had asked for “to the dollar.” Bloomberg BNA has reported that the university chancellor stated that he respectfully disagrees with the verdict and that the university takes seriously its commitment to ensuring “a diverse and inclusive campus community.”

Supreme Court Changes Legal Standard in Deciding Exemptions From FLSA Overtime Requirement to the Benefit of Employers, Abandoning Long-Held “Narrow Interpretation” of the Overtime Exemption Provisions

The Supreme Court, in a recent decision holding that car service advisors are not entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), made a sweeping change in the legal standard that has been used for decades in deciding whether an employee is exempt from overtime under the Act. In its holding, the Supreme Court rejected the employees’ claims for overtime and reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which had granted the employees’ claims that they were not exempt from the overtime requirement.

In handing down a 5-to-4 decision (the four liberal-leaning justices dissented), the Supreme Court ruled that the “narrow construction” legal standard which had been used for decades in narrowly granting exemptions to the overtime provision is no longer valid. Instead, the Supreme Court held that going forward, exemption requests should no longer be treated as giving the greatest possible benefit to the worker as done under the narrow construction approach (Encino Motor Cars v. Navarro(U. S., No. 16-1362, 4/2/18).

Justice Thomas ruled, “We reject this principle as a useful guidepost in interpreting the FLSA.” His decision was joined in by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Alito and Gorsuch. Justices Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan all dissented. The majority held that exemptions are entitled to a “fair reading” of the law. Commentators pointed out the narrow construction approach is akin to judges putting their thumb on the scale before making the decision.

Class Action Pension Litigation Against Prominent Universities Continues, Although Judges Continue to Narrow the Scope and Dismiss Some Claims

The class action Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) pension litigation, which has been filed separately against approximately a dozen prominent universities, continues — although some of the claims have been dismissed and the litigation has been in some cases narrowed. With the exception of the University of Pennsylvania, which was successful in having the entire class action dismissed by a federal court judge, the other cases are moving forward, with some of the allegations being thrown out by the respective presiding judges.

The most recent decision narrowing the scope of the litigation came in the Yale University case, where a federal district court judge dismissed allegations that the university acted disloyally in managing its retirement plan. The judge also dismissed the allegation that Yale offered too many investment options, concluding that the plaintiffs offered no evidence that a pension plan participant was confused by the offerings. Allegations regarding recordkeeping services, charges and related monitoring of investments remain to be litigated (Vellali v. Yale University (D. Conn. No. 3:16-cv-1345-AWT, order partly denying motion to dismiss, 3/30/18)).

Judges have allowed similar litigation to proceed against Cornell, Columbia, Duke, Emory, New York University, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Vanderbilt and the University of Chicago.

In other pension-related news, a number of private colleges in Virginia and Wisconsin have banded together to form a “Multiple Employer Pension Plan” in an attempt to reduce the size of recordkeeping fees and the overall administrative burden to individual colleges. The Multiple Employer plans were formed separately in each of these states with help from the applicable local statewide association of private colleges. The Virginia plan has 14 private institutions participating and the Wisconsin plan is starting with two institutions. Institutions in New York and Pennsylvania are also considering establishing similar statewide plans. The Virginia plan has hired one fiduciary organization and one investment adviser to service all colleges participating.

The Faculty Workforce Is Aging … Is the Pipeline More Diverse?

by Missy Kline | April 11, 2018

Like much of the American workforce, college and university professors are aging — the majority are between the ages of 55 and 75. As these baby boomers (who are mostly White males) near retirement, what do their successors look like? Are higher education institutions doing a good enough job of hiring more diverse faculty to complement their increasingly diverse student bodies?

Data from CUPA-HR’s 2017-18 Faculty in Higher Education Survey suggest that colleges and universities are recruiting and hiring more women and people of color for entry-level faculty positions, but these numbers drop off at higher ranks, and women and some minorities are not paid equitably at these higher ranks.

Representation of Women and People of Color
Much like administrators in higher ed, high-ranking faculty members are more likely to be White males:

  • While nearly two-thirds of all instructors and half of new assistant and assistant professors are women, women’s representation drops to around one-third at the rank of professor.
  • Overall, minorities are best represented in non-tenure track research faculty. Non-tenure track teaching faculty have the least minority representation.
  • The majority of department heads are White males.


Pay Inequities
Data from the faculty survey also indicate pay inequities for women and some people of color, especially in the higher ranks:

  • For teaching faculty, women make lower salaries than do men across the board.
  • In a departure from the salary gaps noted for most faculty, female new assistant professors in non-tenure track research positions are paid much more than their male counterparts.
  • For teaching faculty, racial/ethnic minorities make equitable or higher salaries compared to White faculty.
  • While non-tenure track research faculty of color earn more than Whites in the rank in which they are least represented (new assistant professor), their pay gets progressively lower with promotions in rank.

So what can we deduce from these findings? It appears that higher ed as a whole is beginning to move in the right direction as far as diversifying the faculty workforce and attending to pay equity in positions where the representation of women or minorities is visibly low, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that students are seeing a reflection of themselves when they enter a college classroom.

About the Survey
A total of 238,698 full-time faculty positions were reported for this year’s Faculty in Higher Education Survey. Supplemental salary and course relief data were collected on 9,419 department heads. Salary data on more than 70,000 adjunct faculty were collected in aggregate form. CUPA-HR’s Faculty in Higher Education Survey is the only survey that provides data for the current academic year, maintains institution anonymity, collects data by rank and specific discipline, and collects comprehensive demographic data.

Read about the trends in faculty salary increases and faculty makeup over the past few years; read an overview of this year’s Faculty in Higher Education Report; and order survey results.

Ever-Changing Higher Ed Leads to Update of CUPA-HR’s Strategic Priorities, Values and Code of Ethics

CUPA-HR’s strategic priorities were last updated in 2011, and our values and ethics statements were last updated over a decade ago. With the ever-changing needs in today’s complex higher education landscape, it is important to periodically review our priorities, our values, and the ethics that guide our work to ensure their relevance and their impact.

During its December 2016 and April 2017 meetings, the association’s board of directors spent several hours assessing what business we are in and what makes CUPA-HR unique and special. The board also compared these outcomes to our stated priorities, values and ethics. The results from these discussions were then shared with over 200 national, regional and chapter leaders at the Association Leadership Program (ALP) in July 2017. Our leaders engaged in great, lively dialogue and provided outstanding feedback that the national office and the board used to update the association’s priorities, values and ethics that guide our work.

Our priorities have been streamlined from six to four, but our key work has not changed. Multiyear plans associated with the priorities, as well as key actions and anticipated outcomes for this year, continue to drive us forward. We have made a tremendous impact on higher ed and higher ed HR by focusing on our strategic priorities. That tremendous impact and our progress will most definitely continue!

Based on feedback we received, we made significant changes to our stated values and the behaviors (ethics) that define how we approach our work. We could have included a laundry list of values and another laundry list to define our ethical behaviors to support our values, but our discussions clearly pointed us to four values and five key behaviors. I’m particularly pleased that our first stated value is “community and belonging.” We are more of a community than an association because of the ways that our members engage with one another to learn and share resources.

Thanks to board chair Donna Popovich of University of Tampa, our national board of directors, our region boards and everyone else who helped create these very important updates. Your work, and your leadership, are very much appreciated!