Message from Mark Schmelz, Chief Human Resources Officer:
As fall arrives, you can feel our campuses starting to come alive. Classes have begun at the law school, and soon we will be welcoming back other students for the beginning of a new academic year. We keep moving forward but not without acknowledging where we have been. The experience of the past two years was real. The impacts are real, but so are the insights we gained.
We are poised to have the closest to normal academic year we have had in a couple of years. I think we are collectively excited about that, and I believe we have emerged stronger from the challenges of the last few years. I am hopeful that we will continue to take stock of our gains over the last couple of years and carry them forward with us. Here are a few that human resources will be keeping at the forefront of our work and in our discussions with employees and with campus leaders:
Remembering that employees are people not just professionals.
I have treasured the opportunities to get to know colleagues more personally and share a moment inside their lives as we Zoom from our “home offices” or share experiences during an extraordinary moment in time on a walk through campus. Let’s create space for colleagues to bring their whole, authentic selves to work each day and remember that we are all more than our position and the work we do for the university.
We have demonstrated these last couple of years that creative solutions and resourceful thinking can produce positive outcomes. Remaining nimble and giving thoughtful consideration to workplace adjustments that serve our employees well while still meeting the needs of the university. Let’s remain open to creative possibilities, embrace flexibility with how we approach our work, identify what works and change something when it doesn’t, and resist falling back into old habits because that’s how we used to do it.
Promoting collaboration and relationship building.
I continue to be in awe of all we have accomplished and know that we simply could not have gotten to where we are today if we had not rallied together as a community, worked collectively to tackle challenges, and forged relationships across the institution. Let’s continue to cultivate our relationships and carry that collaborative spirit with us in all we do because we accomplish even more when we do it together.
Please join me in identifying experiences that have served you and your colleagues well over the last couple of years - make a concerted effort to keep them relevant, discover new ones, and leverage them as we move forward together. I also encourage all of us to continue to lead with kindness and compassion as we each navigate our personal responsibilities and professional obligations.
I echo the sentiments shared by Acting Provost Janet Woodruff-Borden that we are entering a new year with new leadership and a renewed sense of hope and optimism about what we will achieve together. As you embark on a new academic year, seize every opportunity to make it the best year yet – get involved, set goals, seek out professional growth and opportunity, and utilize available resources to make the most of your employee experience at the University of Oregon. Employees are critical to the foundation of this institution, and your engagement and experience is important to our success. I look forward to the start of a new academic year and continuing this journey with you all.